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Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#76
I gave this some thought and had an idea.

tl;dr version:

Place "Dark Systems" between some but not all stars. Use slight of hand with optional special engine to allow interstellar travel without jumping.

Most of this thread has been talking about the mechanics of jumpgates and jump drives, which while important are not the focus of this post. Instead, I think there should be multiple ways to get into most systems, including static jumpgates, equipable jump drives, and plain old high speed travel through interstellar space.

A short note on jumping though; We have to consider 2 things, player experience and Game Engine work. Jumps should not be RL instantaneous, because part of the purpose is to give the engine buffering time to load up details in the next system. Jumping should be a rather quick and nearly instant travel between locations. Should it take several minutes and include a minigame? no. Should it always include a graphical stage-curtain? Depends on how pretty it is... and should also be optional.

So my idea was that we can in fact allow interstellar travel via sub-light of FTL drives which don't actually jump (teleport) from system to system. This can be done by adding in "Dark Systems" which are either entirely empty or nearly empty. These systems represent the vast interstellar spaces between stars, but according to the engine, they're about the same size, or even smaller than regular star systems.

The dark systems adjust the actual speed of ships in transit across the space according to the power of their Hyperdrives (See Below) as well as the speed indicator numbers on the UI. The systems vary in this speed dilation to represent the variable distances between stars.

Let's say all systems according to the game engine are 1,000,000 units in diameter. In a normal star system, a sublight engine can average about 25 units per second. this means on sublight, it will take about 11 hours to cross from end to end. Given that the estimated size of these systems extends to about the orbit of neptune, you're going about 91% the speed of light. Personally, I think 11 hours to get from end to end is pretty reasonable to give you a sense of the immensity of space without being TOO immense. Now, the average distance between neighboring stars is between 4 and 5 light years (but can be much larger). If you are in a Dark System, and remain on sublight (Which I believe you absolutely should be able to do), even assuming constant acceleration... well you have fun with that, see you in a few years. When you enter a dark system on sublight, the game keeps your speed indicator numbers the same, but drops your actual speed in units/sec to a pitifully low number ~0.006u/s or about 1 unit every 3 minutes if partial units are not possible.

Hence the Hyperdrive. In reality the Hyperdrive is just telling the system to adjust your u/sec to a much higher number. Exactly how high is dependant on the level of technology. We are still aiming for a good player experience, so I would say that to cross 5 light years, Hyperdrives should range in speed from 20000c (2h 11m) to 200,000c (13 minutes). Hyperdrives also supply you with a lovely graphic to make the trip a bit more interesting.

Dark systems are entered by the same sort of transition used in planetary landings, but simply given a different graphical effect for the illusion and immersion while the game engine does it's thing. Sublight engines would not only have to be at the edge of a system to enter, but in the right position in a system to enter, otherwise they are just flying off into endless space within the given system. Ships with hyperdrives should simply have to be facing the destination and have no obstacles in the way, before they simply jump and immediately enter the dark system. These can be accomplished by a simple destination marker.

Additionally, dark systems don't exist between every system, and don't always connect to multiple systems.

We can imagine that some stars are simply too far apart to realistically travel between them in a player acceptable timeframe, even with FTL drives. I personally think that a single dark system shouldn't connect to more than 4 systems, and only ~80% of stars should connect to a dark system at all. But of course, this should also be adjustable. Image While many Dark Systems are empty, some would in fact have a few resource zones or maybe even a rogue planet. These could be a base of operations for raiders, prison worlds, or even the last pockets of a dead empire (ala machu picchu). To get to them, you must simply drop out of hyperdrive when you're close enough. These systems should be treated like any other(excluding speed). Not only should the occasional wormhole pop out into a dark system, constructions such a warp rails, or hyper-rails* between systems can be made, making interstellar travel without jumpgates a decent, if slower alternative.

*As a side note for hyper-rails, which are warprails but uberfast and only built in Dark Systems, I am thinking that certain high-level hyperdrive technologies could drop a series of buoys in their wake which when activated, form into warprails.
Image
Challenging your assumptions is good for your health, good for your business, and good for your future. Stay skeptical but never undervalue the importance of a new and unfamiliar perspective.
Imagination Fertilizer
Beauty may not save the world, but it's the only thing that can
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Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#77
relevant IRC dump

Code: Select all

<+Smartflakes_91>  hyperion: question for your inter-system-travel suggestion: where would be the "cutoff" for the "dark system" connectivity?
 <+Hyperion>  what do you mean cutoff?
 <+Smartflakes_91>  8 lightyears are traveled through in a few minutes, but 8.1 ly are an insourmountable obstacle?
 <+Hyperion>  ah, hmm
 <+Smartflakes_91>  "not every system connected to dark systems.... based on distance, some are 'too far' separated"
 <+Hyperion>  that is an issue i hadn't quite resolved
 <+Smartflakes_91>  :V
 <+Smartflakes_91>  :P
 <+Smartflakes_91>  also "sub-light FTL drives"
 <+Hyperion>  well, sub light drives
 <+Smartflakes_91>  "slower than light Faster Than Light drives "
 <+Smartflakes_91>  :V
 <+Hyperion>  in general, what do you think of the idea?
 <+Smartflakes_91>  in principle i'd like it
 <+Smartflakes_91>  but some details are wonky
 <+Hyperion>  yeah
 <+Smartflakes_91>  the cutoff thingy for example
 <+Hyperion>  well thats part of the issue with the every system is infinitely large
 <+Smartflakes_91>  and the "slowing down" for making stuff interstellar-y big in the dark systems explodes in your face when you have two independently moving ships in there
 <+Hyperion>  its hard to say why a hyperdrive can take you to the nearest star but not any star
 <+Smartflakes_91>  mhm
 <+Smartflakes_91>  we could use an analogy sword of the stars uses for one of its interstellar drive systems
 <+Smartflakes_91>  you have hyper travelable routes between stars
 <+Hyperion>  i dont think it blows up in your face. the system defines the slowdown based on the illusionary distance between stars, but ships can alter that unit/sec speed for themselves with hyperdrives
 <+Hyperion>  the system as a whole puts a single variable on it
 <+Smartflakes_91>  yeah, but you /see/ that its lying to you when you move relative to other ships
 <+Smartflakes_91>  "im moving waaaay to slow relative to this carrier"
 <+Hyperion>  what do you mean? a fast ship zooms by a slow ship
 <+Smartflakes_91>  not when both move with 0.2mm/s when the speedometer says 2km/s
 <+Smartflakes_91>  you dont get past the 2km carrier as you used to
 <+Smartflakes_91>  when in sublight
 <+Smartflakes_91>  when in a "proper" system it takes you a second to fly over its hull, when in a dark system it takes you ages
 <+Smartflakes_91>  even though the lore and UI tells you that you move the same speed
 <+Hyperion>  well if you're both going the exact same speed in the same direction, it would make sense, no?
 <+Hyperion>  or do you mean opposing directions
 <+Smartflakes_91>  hence why i said independently moving
 <+Smartflakes_91>  :P
 <+Hyperion>  ah
 <+Hyperion>  make other ships invisible?
 <+Hyperion>  er, no
 <+Hyperion>  that wont work either
 <+Hyperion>  silver said that star sector had a warp map, where you can go when you get out of a solar gravity well
 <+Hyperion>  you just fly around in there
 <+Smartflakes_91>  yeah
 <+Smartflakes_91>  but thats not normal space
 <+Smartflakes_91>  thats hyperspace
 <+Hyperion>  i dont know how they did it
 <+Smartflakes_91>  with other spatial dimensions
 <+Smartflakes_91>  you also dont see your ships physically
 <+Hyperion>  ah
 <+Smartflakes_91>  but only a fleet representation icon
 <+Hyperion>  it is a rather large obstacle to getting all the slight of hand right
 <+Smartflakes_91>  i'd personally do it similar
 <+Smartflakes_91>  you dont stay in normal space
 <+Smartflakes_91>  you swap to a different space
 <+Smartflakes_91>  which is spatially compressed
 <+Smartflakes_91>  systems get objects that you can fly to in that parallel dim
 <+Smartflakes_91>  but with normal engines
 <+Smartflakes_91>  and retaining all relative ship size and speed proportions
 <+Smartflakes_91>  as in hyperspace you /are/ moving with xkms, but those are multiplied by whatever hyperspace effects
 <+Smartflakes_91>  so ship mechanics wise movement stays the same
 <+Smartflakes_91>  but its amplified on the interstellar map
 <+Hyperion>  :/ Maybe its just the effects of my meds... which have definitely been clouding my mind, but i still dont quite get what youre saying
 <+Smartflakes_91>  gimme a few minutes to get my comp booted to have a proper keyboard
 <+Cornflakes>  so
 <+Cornflakes>  the point of the dark systems is to make 1km "in engine" distance to 1ly "game lore" distance
 <+Cornflakes>  no?
 <+Hyperion>  yes
 <+Cornflakes>  and if we try to do that in "normal" space
 <+Cornflakes>  aka "look out of the window now" 
 <+Cornflakes>  it doesnt work consistently
 <+Cornflakes>  so my idea is to abandon the normal space limitation
 <+Cornflakes>  when we want to travel continously from one star to another
 <+Cornflakes>  we switch to another dimension where 1km flying IS 1ly
 <+Silver>  Why not just pretty cutscene thingy? :V
 <+Cornflakes>  because we want to fly manually and continous :V
 <+Hyperion>  yes, and also have stuff in deep space
 <+Silver>  deep space is boring though :V
 <+Cornflakes>  deep space could just be another exit point /from/ that alternative dimension
 <+Hyperion>  usually, but not if you put stuff in it
 <+Hyperion>  hmm, true
 <+Cornflakes>  so when you turn of your "hyperspace stabiliser" or whatever between two systems
 <+Silver>  I like the idea of having stable warp points at the edge of systems
 <+Cornflakes>  you drop out in an on-the-fly generated deep space "engine" system
 <+Cornflakes>  like, the wormholes in LT silver? :V
 <+Hyperion>  as to i silver, but we're trying to see if we could have "normal" space interstellar travel
 <+Cornflakes>  i dont think so if we want to avoid instancing or allowing "normal" sublight flight
 <+Silver>  at the relative speeds, there would be no incoming interception, and a stern chase is a long chase, so that would need either MASSIVE blank areas or just boring chases
 <+Cornflakes>  and without creating a coordinate system big enough to hold all the universe
 <+Cornflakes>  why should there be no interception?
 <+Silver>  not there shouldnt be
 <+Silver>  but it would be hard to do so
 <+Cornflakes>  why?
 <+Cornflakes>  in LT speed != acceleration
 <+Cornflakes>  especially if we have fantasy-magic-hyperdrives
 <+Silver>  Think about how the interception works in ED, without magic interception guns you cant ever get close enough to use a realistic interception device
s
 <+Silver>  :V
 <+Cornflakes>  with the difference that we are talking bout LT, and hyperdrive speeds are essentially the same as cruise drive speeds in system
 <+Hyperion>  mhm
 <+Cornflakes>  and ED is using so much smoke and mirrors that such things /cant/ work anymore
 <+Cornflakes>  also because of their very sluggish ship mechanics
 <+Silver>  :V
 <+Hyperion>  Could we root a hyperspace grid to the system or origin, but essentially turn other systems into points on thatgrid?
 <+Cornflakes>  we could create a hyperspace "system" and turn systems into points in that grid
 <+Hyperion>  thats what i meant
 <+Cornflakes>  thats what im describing all along V:
 <+Hyperion>  oh
 <+Hyperion>  so you trat systems in hyperspace the same way you treat zones in a normal system
 <+Hyperion>  treat*
 <+Cornflakes>  basically
 <+Hyperion>  ok, now here's an interesting question, what is the structure of the universe?
 <+Cornflakes>  in what context?
 <+Hyperion>  in relation to jumpgates
 <+Cornflakes>  i still dont get it?
 <+Hyperion>  are two points connected by jumpgates close to each other on the hyperspace grid, or is there simply a network of jumpgates which connect a wide messy network of points in the universe?
 <+Cornflakes>  if we have hyperspace i'd say that jumpgates create a warp rail equivalent in hyperspace
 <+Cornflakes>  you have entrypoints for hyperspace generated by them
 <+Hyperion>  essentially, is there a wormhole at proxima centauri that goes to the andromeda galaxy, and its quicker to get to andromeda than it is to get to Sol
 <+Cornflakes>  and they accelerate travel between selected poitns
 <+Cornflakes>  so they are close on the hyperspace grid
 <+Hyperion>  hmm, why do you say that?
 <+Hyperion>  why should LT not also have a vast number of systems which have no jumpgates, and are rather isolated backwaters
 <+Cornflakes>  what forbids that?
 <+Cornflakes>  jumpgates just make hyperspace access easier and travel there faster
 <+Hyperion>  so you think that wormholes shouldnt be instant?
 <+Cornflakes>  when we have hyperspace mechanics no
 <+Hyperion>  hmm
 <+Cornflakes>  maybe so fast that it doesnt make a difference
 <+Cornflakes>  but all interstellar travel should use hyperspace
 <+Hyperion>  I like that
 <+Hyperion>  should wormholes be invisible in the hyperspace dimension, or should various systems look like a stick and ball molecule model?
 <+Cornflakes>  wormholes themself would probably just be points
 <+Cornflakes>  the hyperspace "rails" between them should have some graphic effects, though
 <+Hyperion>  can you jump on and off a wormhole rail?
 <+Cornflakes>  not sure
 <+Cornflakes>  if in doubt yes, makes the rest of the interaction simpler
 <+Hyperion>  so if you jump off, the game instantly spawns an empty system?
 <+Hyperion>  or if you drop out of hyperspace between stars
 <+Cornflakes>  when you drop out of hyperspace yes
 <+Cornflakes>  when you drop of the line you are still in hyperspace
 <+Hyperion>  ah
 <+Hyperion>  what sort of interactions should there be between ships in hyperspace?
 <+Cornflakes>  im not that sure
 <+Cornflakes>  in first instance we could just replicate normal space interactions
 <+Cornflakes>  as ships are already moving normally
 <+Hyperion>  well then you would need hyperspace weapons to hit each other too
 <+Cornflakes>  not really
 <+Cornflakes>  as space is compressed
 <+Cornflakes>  you /are/ only a few km apart there
 <+Hyperion>  but it's your engines that are allowing you in the compressed space, when you shoot a gun, wouldnt the bullet immediately fall out of hyperspace?
 <+Cornflakes>  your engines get you /to/ compressed
 <+Cornflakes>  space
 <+Cornflakes>  not what allows you to exist there
 <+Hyperion>  hmm, so a sort of equipable door
 <+Cornflakes>  yes
 <+Cornflakes>  thats what wormholes and jumpspaces substitute for small ships
 <+Hyperion>  can you get stuck in hyperspace?
 <+Cornflakes>  if you dont find a wormhole...
 <+Cornflakes>  yes
 <+Hyperion>  so, hyperdrives are equipable doors, wormholes are static doors, and jumpgates are point to point rails
 <+Cornflakes>  basically
 <+Cornflakes>  wormholes and jumpgates are doors, and the doors are connected using rails
 <+Cornflakes>  for both gates and holes
 <+Hyperion>  i remember the whole thing where we had talked about wormholes being doors between discreet rooms(systems)
 <+Hyperion>  if we go with the hyperspace idea, this throws that all out the window, doesnt it
 <+Cornflakes>  yep
 <+Cornflakes>  at least, partially
 <+Cornflakes>  systems would still be discrete rooms
 <+Cornflakes>  you cant get from one system to another without some "door"
 <+Hyperion>  this would make turtling absolutely impossible against any enemy with a hyperdrive
 <+Cornflakes>  if we dont limit use of hole punchers
 <+Hyperion>  you can block the staticwormholes but the equiped ones can still get you
 <+Hyperion>  this sounds a lot like DW:Universe, but systems are discrete rooms instead of a single room
 <+Cornflakes>  well, we could introduce mechanics to prevent hole punching and traversal of hyperspace
 <+Cornflakes>  walls in hyperspace so to say
 <+Hyperion>  hmm, perhaps the equvalent of zones, giving hyperspace a sort of swiss cheese appearance
 <+Cornflakes>  "you no go here" bubbles?
 <+Hyperion>  but stars can still exist in the inaccessable parts, you just cant get to them unless a wormhole exists in the system
 <+Hyperion>  yeah
 <+Hyperion>  though you could easily have wormhole flavors... general hyperspace access wormholes, as well as point to point wormholes
 <+Hyperion>  or a single flavor of wormhole, but different behaviors depending on your equipment
 <+Cornflakes>  i'd personally say that natural wormholes are /always/ connected
 <+Cornflakes>  to preserve the general connectivity of the universe
 <+Hyperion>  ok
 <+Cornflakes>  but that jumpgates dont have to be connected
 <+Hyperion>  jumpgates give you access to the hyperspace system?
 <+Cornflakes>  yes
 <+Hyperion>  i remember talk about untamed wormholed vs tamed wormholes, that jumpgates were just built around tamed wormholes
 <+Cornflakes>  meh
 <+Cornflakes>  with my ancient wormhole system that would be an option
 <+Cornflakes>  but not mandatory
 <+Hyperion>  so, if i get the idea straight, natural wormholes are always A-B doors. If you go into a jumpgate you can exit at any other jumpgate or wormhole
 <+Cornflakes>  no
 <+Hyperion>  but if you have a Hyperdrive, you can enter hyperspace and exit hyperspace wherever you want
 <+Cornflakes>  lemme explain
 <+Cornflakes>  wormholes are doors between normal and hyperspace
 <+Cornflakes>  wormholes can form naturally or be created by jumpgates
 <+Cornflakes>  wormholes can be connected by acceleration lanes in hyperspace
 <+Cornflakes>  natural wormholes are always connected
 <+Cornflakes>  artifically created ones can be connected
 <+Cornflakes>  so a natural wormhole has a fast lane to its partner
 <+Cornflakes>  jumpgates that are built as point to point connections are usually connected
 <+Cornflakes>  but you can also just open a wormhole to enter hyperspace and stay there
 <+Cornflakes>  or move arbitarily
 <+Hyperion>  ok
 <+Hyperion>  so the hyperdrive just enables you to enter hyperspace without a jumpgate
 <+Cornflakes>  yes
 <+Cornflakes>  its a portable wormhole generator
 <+Hyperion>  but you cant leave hyperspace with a hyperdrive, you need to find an already created exit
 <+Cornflakes>  no
 <+Cornflakes>  if you have a hyperdrive, you can create wormholes at will from both sides
 <+Hyperion>  ok
 <+Hyperion>  so what are hyperspace walls?
 <+Cornflakes>  your "you no go there" bubbles
 <+Hyperion>  so you cant just pop up anywhere
 <+Cornflakes>  you only can traverse them on a hyperspace rail thats already established
 <+Hyperion>  and can stars form in you no go there bubbles?
 <+Cornflakes>  yeah
 <+Cornflakes>  the bubbles are artifical (at least some)
 <+Hyperion>  so you can only get there if a natural womhole already connected the system
 <+Cornflakes>  or an already connected jumpgate
 <+Hyperion>  well how did the people that made the jumpgate get there?
 <+Cornflakes>  via wormhole or before the bubble existed
 <+Hyperion>  oh, bubbles come into and out of existence?
 <+Cornflakes>  some exist naturally, some are created by players
 <+Hyperion>  ah, so you could place some sort of hyperspace shield generator in a system, and then only the already present wormholes become the only ways in
 <+Cornflakes>  yes
 <+Hyperion>  ok, i see
 <+Hyperion>  can the hyperspace roads branch off?
 <+Cornflakes>  in first iteration i'd say no
 <+Cornflakes>  at least not the natural ones
 <+Hyperion>  so you cant connect your hyperspace network to a natural wormhole road
 <+Cornflakes>  place your gate next to a natural wormhole ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 <+Hyperion>  so, a turtle system without wormholes is actually completely inaccessable?
 <+Cornflakes>  you cant get out either, though
 <+Cornflakes>  maybe walls are not hard walls but make it harder to get there
 <+Cornflakes>  and if you build specially equipped ships you can force your way through
 <+Hyperion>  well there was the whole unstable wormholes that pop in and out of existence
 <+Hyperion>  your hyperspace shield can't stop those, can it?
 <+Cornflakes>  no
 <+Hyperion>  so in hyperspace, natural roads are constantly appearing and disappearing
 <+Cornflakes>  if we have random wormholes
 <+Cornflakes>  i was never that fond of that mechanics
 <+Hyperion>  well it was only to prevent an inpenetrable fortress
 <+Hyperion>  hmm, perhaps hyperspace walls just force you to drop out of hyperspace
 <+Hyperion>  and you just have to go the last little bit in normal space
 <+Cornflakes>  would have the same effect
 <+Cornflakes>  as you would drop out of hyperspace in another system
 <+Hyperion>  yes, you're just MUCH further out
 <+Cornflakes>  meh
 <+Cornflakes>  seems kinda useless
 <+Hyperion>  well it's a time wall
 <+Hyperion>  it becomes a "Well you can attack the system, it will just take a damn long time to get to where the interesting stuff is
 <+Hyperion>  hyperspace compression is pretty extreme
 <+Hyperion>  what would take minutes in hyperspace cound instead take days in regular space
 <+Hyperion>  it would also make hyperspace shields infinitely scalable
 <+Hyperion>  the stronger the shield, the further out in hyperspace it extends
 <+Hyperion>  meaning the longer the time-wall
 <+Cornflakes>  meh
 <+Hyperion>  a hyperspace shield actually just affects the system it's in, and only has a graphical representation in hyperspace
 <+Hyperion>  it just pushes out the jump in distance
 <+Hyperion>  the systems are pretty much infinine in size, no?
 <+Cornflakes>  yes
 <+Hyperion>  throw the jump distance to obscenely far from the star with your shield
 <+Cornflakes>  mh
 <+Hyperion>  hmm?
 <+Cornflakes>  coming out in the system you wanted to still seems kinda useless to me
 <+Hyperion>  how so?
 <+Cornflakes>  what is a wall worth if it doesnt keep them out?
 <+Hyperion>  well it does keep them out, but not perfectly, it just makes the going much much slower
 <+Cornflakes>  if then i'd make the hyperspace travel inside the bubble much slower
 <+Hyperion>  and instead of new equipment to get around the shield, you just build warp-rails to bore your way through the time wall
with friendly support from dinosawer python services :V

I also cut nonrelevant parts from the log.
Post

Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#78
Building on the Idea cornflakes posted as well as the conversation we had, here is a more readable version of the idea (with a few more of my own thoughts as well)

Create a meta-system that is accessed via wormholes.
Image Key:
Solid purple: Natural-Stable
Dashed Purple: Natural-Unstable
Red Circle: Jumpgate
Red Dot Line: Acceleration Lane
Yellow Circle: Hyperspace Shield
Yellow blob: No-Go Zone

In this meta system, star systems exist as points with vaguely defined spaces, and are treated much like planets are in a regular system. You jump in and out of them in exactly the same way as you make planetary landings.

In this meta-space, wormholes are doors, not tunnels. These doors can either be natural-stable, natural-unstable, artificial(jumpgates), or portable(jump drives).
  • Wormholes are connected by acceleration lanes, which function exactly the same as warp rails in a normal system. Natural wormholes always have an indestructible acceleration lane connecting 2 different locations. Artificial wormholes(Jump gates and Jump Drives) start out as just doors into the meta-space, but over time acceleration lanes can be constructed.
    We couldn't really decide on the construction mechanics of these acceleration lanes, except that naturally occurring wormholes cannot be interacted with in any way except for going from point A to point B.
  • Artificial acceleration lanes however, could perhaps split and merge in hyperspace, creating a sort of interstellar highway with onramps and offramps to any number of locations.
    On artificial acceleration lanes, you might be able to jump on or off at any point, while in natural lanes this is not possible.
  • In meta-space there exist vast regions of inaccessible space, areas you simply can't travel through, this is to not only simulate the strange geometry of this higher dimension, but to provide some obstacles/protection for systems. Naturally occurring wormholes, either stable or unstable are the only things which can pass through these areas.
  • Natural wormholes usually connect 2 systems, but sometimes they drop out in deep interstellar space, where there may or may not be anything in a blank system generated on the fly. There is also the option to have deep space points of interest such as rogue planets which don't appear on the map unless you are very close to them.
  • Unstable wormholes have acceleration lanes and wormholes which sometimes collapse. If you are on one of these unstable lanes and the lane collapses, you are immediately dropped out of hyperspace into a blank system. If you do not have a jump drive to get back into hyperspace, you are stranded and need to send out a distress signal and await rescue. If you also don't have a distress beacon, you can hope someone eventually finds you, but chances are this is game over for your character. If however you do have a jump drive, you can just pop back into hyperspace and be on your way at a much slower space.
  • Jump drives are portable temporary-wormhole generators that exist on a ship by ship basis, and do not allow for whole fleets to enter hyperspace via a dedicated wormhole generator ship (for that you need a jumpgate). If you have a jumpdrive, you can enter or exit hyperspace wherever, whenever you want, in systems or in deep space. If you do not have a jumpdrive, you can only enter or exit the meta-space via already existing doors.
  • Hyperspace shield generators requiring great amounts of energy can be constructed. While you can build these in deep space, the great energy required will usually restrict them to systems that can get power from the local star.
    Like Castle walls, these shields prevent access to a location via jumpdrive, and bottleneck entry into the system to already present wormholes. To prevent the unassailable fortress, if there are no wormholes already present within the confines of the shield, the shield is imperfect and holes can be found. In the context of unstable wormholes, they count as an entry point, meaning that the system IS unassailable until the unstable wormhole opens.
  • Because the whole universe cannot be simulated at once, I also propose the idea that the longer you spend in hyperspace the slower you move. This gives the engine more and more time to process LOD actions. Explained with techno-babble, you could assume that hyperspace puts significant wear and tear on your engines, and their efficiency goes down dramatically with time, and they will need to recover
  • Natural wormhole networks will exist in a variety of sizes, some will only have a few systems, while others will be vast networks of connected stars. If you are in a small network, you're quite confined unless/until jumpdrives are invented, or an alien race builds a jumpgate in your network to connect you to theirs.
    An interesting aspect of this method is that you can have systems which have no natural wormholes, and exist and evolve independently from the rest of the universe. Because of the limitation that a ship cannot exit hyperspace without a wormhole, only ships with jump drives will be able to access these systems until an artificial jumpgate can be constructed. You could find an entire civilization in these systems which has been completely isolated for it's entire history, and for better or worse, you would be their Christopher Columbus.
  • A very nice thing about this method is how well it integrates into the system of concrete information units. Unless you possess these concrete data entries, you will only be able to see the stars around you, you won't actually be able to see the various wormholes or acceleration lanes in hyperspace until you traverse them yourself, or get the information from someone who has. These interstellar info-packets would be one of the primary commodities that explorers sell, and control/censorship of such information would be a top priority of any faction.
Edit: Edited image for better visability
Image
Challenging your assumptions is good for your health, good for your business, and good for your future. Stay skeptical but never undervalue the importance of a new and unfamiliar perspective.
Imagination Fertilizer
Beauty may not save the world, but it's the only thing that can
Post

Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#79
hm... im going back on my "only one way to enter hyperspace" and so on.

because that way we could have more possibilities for different kinds of hyperspace access with significant gameplay differences.

just some random brainstorming, expect changes of mind :ghost:
(im also mostly translating the drive systems from


ships without extra drive systems can only use wormhole + hyperrail connections to get from one system to another, they cant exit any kind of hyperrail (natural or artificial) and not move "offroad" in hyperspace.
least flexible and bound to already existing connections.

then there are ships which have some ability of travelling in hyperspace but are unable of enter or exit hyperspace on their own, they need natural/artificial wormholes to get into hyperspace or need to piggyback on another ship entering hyperspace.
some drives are slower but mostly ignore bad "weather" in hyperspace and generally go the same speed regardless of the surroundings.
other drives are very fast but very susceptible to the environment and thus can only be effectively used in charted areas with known paths through the turmoil.

wormhole generators are available that work, like outlined earlier in this thread, by opening a two way (may some versions only one-way ones?) gate into hyperspace, enabling any ship in the area to change plane.
hyperrail generators are an addon to wormhole generators (as they are useless on their own).


for now its just mostly a rebuild of what was already discussed in here, so now to some new things :)

with all the different functionalities separated out and the different forms of hyperdrives that can be combined out of them we can introduce new concepts of interactions with hyperspace


the classic "jump" drive for example, it just makes "poof" and your ship changes from normal to hyperspace (or in the other direction), with all limitations possible that one could imagine.
some work only in deep space, some only in deep gravity wells, some have to have a running start, some have to be in rest, some have to be used in a suns corona... whatever.

in combination with the "high speed" variations of hyperspace propulsors it could as well be used to create a "star wars" variation of hyperdrive that has to calculate a save hyperspace path for a while before blasting off with no steering beyond the precalculated course which fall out of the jump when interdicted.



something less directly drive related:

in order to limit the size of hyperspace "systems" the game has to create (as the universe is still infinite) "clusters", which are the same groups of stars that josh showed waaaaay back when he showed us the interstellar map, could be used to separate hyperspace into distinct rooms with a limited amount of systems.

building from the "clusters" two different ways could be gone:
clusters are the biggest "doll" in our nesting arrangement of space volumes and connected by a "ball and stick" topology, as hyper calls it

or we could introduce larger layers which follow the same general theme the system-cluster nesting created.
system - cluster - constellation - galaxy - whatever
which always roughly contain the same amount of objects to be loaded in the engine at once.
larger layers could also require different drive technologies to be effectively traversed ("Ultradrives" or similar)

clusters would also make interesting gameplay by creating chokepoints for travel between them at the inter-cluster jumpgates
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Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#80
Considering that Josh is insistent on his original freelancer model, hyperspace would probably be a mod.

However, as corn and I have been bouncing this idea off each other, I feel Josh is mistaken, and going for a worse method than could be done.

But on the hyperspace concept, I had the idea for how to research and advance hyperspace related technologies, and also how to make hyperspace infinite without overwhelming LOD.

Tl;dr
Study natural wormholes to make better artificial wormholes.
Study acceleration bridges in hyperspace to move faster in hyperspace
Study unstable wormholes to learn how to make artificial bridges
To make hyperspace infinite, add "depth" levels which trigger the engine to re-prioritize LOD processing distant places as more and more important
You need to do a sufficient amount of difficult, expensive, specialized research to unlock these greater levels of "depth"



First, we separate wormholes (doors) from movement within hyperspace. Wormhole generators are different than hyperspace drives. Wormhole generation technology affects the detection and creation of artificial wormholes. Hyperdrive technology affects the speed and freedom of movement within hyperspace and the ability to construct your own acceleration bridges. Hyperspace depth technology allows access to greater dimensions of hyperspace (see below)

Wormhole Tech
In the beginning, there were only natural wormholes, they connect networks of systems but appear wherever the engine placed them. Any ship can traverse them, but they are restricted to the natural bridges in hyperspace and merely traveling along them causes some amount of damage to the ship. In this early period of wormhole tech, we see the basic idea of wormholes which Josh has created.

Wormhole tech can be studied on any research module anywhere, but unless this research module is close to a natural wormhole, it won't make any meaningful headway. As wormhole tech advances, it grants the ability to create larger and longer lasting wormholes. The earliest artificial wormholes might be able to create an opening into hyperspace that is open for a few seconds and could let the smallest ships through. But with more research, they can grow to let capital ships and then whole fleets through... Or the tech could advance along a different path, where the opening stays open longer, and can eventually be made permanent as it gains power from a gigantic dedicated wormhole module: the first Jumpgate. And of course as time progresses, those who do the most research on wormholes will have the largest, longest lasting wormholes and the smallest, most efficient wormhole generators.

Hyperdrive tech
Those first pioneers into hyperspace via artificial wormholes will find themselves facing a new challenge... They can barely move and can't find their way through the disorienting nature of hyperspace (graphical effects for human players, bad pathfinding for AI)

What they need is a Hyperdrive, the hyperspace equivalent of thrusters. To get these, research is done on those natural wormhole bridges between systems. A research ship must in fact be researching Hyperdrive tech WHILE it's riding one of these natural bridges to make meaningful headway on Hyperdrive tech.

When the first Hyperdrives come out, they will enable faster, safer travel on the hyperspace bridges which were previously causing damage during travel... But they will also enable slow movement in hyperspace even without an acceleration bridge. Just like jumping off a warp rail, they will be able to freely explore this new plane of the game.

As Hyperdrives advance, they will enable faster and faster movement and longer durations in hyperspace before the damage forces them to drop out. But once in open hyperspace, they will be able to made advancements which have hereto eluded them: artificial acceleration bridges.

Here they will discover that acceleration bridges are static fields of acceleration, just like the static nature of warp rails. But with those ever-present bridges on stable wormholes, they will never learn how the bridges come into being. What they need is an unstable wormhole, where the bridge appears and disappears, forms and collapses. Once they're out in free hyperspace, they can get close andstudy these bridges, and soon they can start to make their own.

The first artificial acceleration bridges will again like the first artificial wormholes be small, weak, temporary...and of course expensive. But as research on unstable wormhole bridges continues (which will take a long time because of the limited time a ship can stay in hyperspace) the artificial bridges will get stronger, last longer, and be able to carry more and more ships. With time, just like jumpgates, powered artificial hyperspace bouys will enable permanent bridges to be constructed from any system to any system. Those who advance Hyperdrives to this point will have an incredible advantage over the systems in their area, as they will have the ability to create highways between systems. And because hyperspace objects are invisible to those who haven't used them or gotten close enough to detect them, these can actually be secret highways. :twisted:


Hyperspace Depth
Up to this point, I have been talking about cornflakes idea of a cluster, the small group of 10-100 star systems which for many people will make up most of their game. But as cornflakes suggests, clusters are merely neighborhoods in the infinite web of the LT universe, 1-3 orders of magnitude further apart than systems within a cluster are from each other. Clusters themselves are linked by much larger, longer, stronger natural wormholes and acceleration bridges. But here we would start to face problems with the engine and your computer's processing speed. Because the faster you can travel between ever more distant systems, your computer will at some point fail to keep up in its LOD simulations. To save us from the LOD failure caused by hyperspace I suggest a mechanic that I call hyperspace depth. By this I mean we treat hyperspace like the ocean, with shallow water near the continents and much deeper water beyond the continental shelf.

Using the metaphor of the ocean, Clusters are the shallow water where a bunch of little system "islands" pop out into normal space. At a shallow level of "depth" you are in the intracluster scale, where hyperspace travel is primarily between nearby systems. Travel between Clusters occurs at a greater "depth" and slows your travel exponentially. This can be overcome by going to a hyper-hyperspace; Let me explain.

The game engine optimizes LOD simulation by focusing on the player's current cluster giving only general LOD simulation to other Clusters nearby; it knows they exist, it knows the major players in the systems, the general tech levels, and relative strengths of the economies and militaries.

When you are in cluster A, Clusters B, C, D, and E are processed in this basic sense they are updated very occasionally, and in very broad terms, such as

Cluster B:Faction 12: economy+2%, tech: combat+5% movement+1% production+2% (war with Faction 17: 318 ships to 257 ships[Fac12 lose 45 ships, Fac 17 lose 97 ships, Fac 12 gain 4 systems]) and so on...

Taking place every few minutes so as to give a general history of economic, technological, and military changes.

Because of LOD limitations The game generally treats other Clusters as independent entities with 3 exceptions: When you are in a system with a trans-cluster wormhole, when a faction is a trans-cluster power, and when you are in trans-cluster hyperspace & are within a certain range of that cluster.

This Fuzzy Isolation is what allows the infinite living universe to continually change and evolve. What I mean when I say that this is overcome by going to hyper-hyperspace is to enter a plane which not only gives faster travel between Clusters, but actually alters the engines LOD priority. In normal space the activities of distant Clusters are always processed in the broadest of terms in long intervals - in level 1 hyperspace, distant Clusters are given a bit more detail and calculated more frequently - and in level 2 hyperspace, distant Clusters are given even more details and are given even more calculations.

The reason being that if you are in normal space, you chances of visiting a distinct cluster in the near future are very low (unless you're in a system with a trans-cluster wormhole) - if you are in hyperspace, your chances are an order of magnitude higher, so the engine should probably get on with making that part of the game more interesting at a higher pace - if you are in level 2 hyperspace, your chance of visiting a different cluster are actually quite high (because level 2 hyperspace has no other purpose than really fast travel), so it should be churning out histories and economies of the nearby Clusters before you get there.


So?
Bringing this back to Hyperdrive technology, we add another area of advancement, hyperspace depth. In the same way research on wormholes, Hyperdrive speed, and artificial bridges required location specific research to make meaningful advances, so does hyperspace depth. If you want to advance your hyperspace depth technology, you conduct research in deep hyperspace on the edge of clusters (along the edge of the continental shelf in the ocean metaphor).

Unlike most LT research, hyperspace depth research has 2 phases (since we don't have distinct techlogies ala Civilization, star ruler, etc). In phase one, your research slowly raises a number from 0 to 1, where it serves as percentage speed bonus for hyperspace movement. Within a cluster this is very useful as it gives you two areas of research for increased speed. It will technically help you travel between clusters, but as the hyperspace-depth speed penalty increases exponentially, 200% normal speed won't help you much. Since meaningful advances in this field require research in deep hyperspace, this will be very expensive research, as you have already had to come a very long way from just using natural wormholes, and just getting to stay in hyperspace for a meaningful time took dozens or hundreds of advancements.

However, once you hit that set point, you unlock access to level 2 hyperspace. When you do, the engine trigger flips, and LOD in your current cluster goes down, and in the nearby clusters it goes up. We can imagine that timescales begin to change at the higher levels as well, so perhaps your meticulously micromanged empire down to the perfect balance of every module on every ship will be in jeopardy, especially if you start flying off into the deep universe.

But, once you are in level 2 hyperspace, the same rules that applied to level 1 hyperspace apply to level 2, With two differences. First, the game will start treating clusters of systems the same way it did normal-space systems; they become blobs like an asteroid zone (you could actually fly across an entire cluster in seconds before popping out again, btw). Second, to make meaningful headway in level 2 hyperspace, you have to start all over with your research, doing exactly the same stuff as when you first entered hyperspace. What's worse, these level 2 advances can't be translated down to level 1. So if you do 100 units of speed research in level 1, enter level 2, and 100 units of speed research in level 2, that doesn't mean you have 100 + 1000 units of speed research, you just have 100 in level 1, and 100 in level 2... This is mainly so you don't overwhelm intracluster LOD Limitations with exponential research.


Gurren Lagann
Finally, in principle, this sort of hyperspace depth could be repeated and repeated until you're basically running the original worldgen algorithm, saving only scant details from your original normal-space world. If we so desired, we could create a new aspect of the game where extremely advanced cultures harvest entire clusters the way you normally harvest an asteroid, ultimately ending up back where you started, but with the ability to dive down back to normal space and be an outrageously powerful ship that appeared out of nowhere... Or so it seems to those simpletons.

At this level of hyper-hyper-hyper-hyper-hyper-hyperspace, the activities of normal space have been entirely erased and whole clusters or superclusters are just harvestable resources for a dimension beyond comprehension. This sort of play essentially turns LT into a Gurren Lagann simulator, where entire galaxies are used as ammo XD... Just a thought.
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Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#81
So, what happens if I shoot or ram someone in hyperspace? Would it matter? Would their debris drop into the nearest 'real-space' or would we have to introduce a new type of resource gathering? If I drop out of hyperspace into "deep space" does the new node stay forever or eventually vanish?

Should we allow people to enter and exit wormhole lanes or enter hyperspace to scout out other entry points to a system? If so, how? Systems are effectively infinite in size. I have difficulty imagining something like this unless hyperspace is a traverse-able version of the star map with everything represented as simple nodes/dots. Something like the way Sins of a Solar Empire handles hyperspace might be more in keeping with what Josh has described.

I do like the idea of free-roam within hyperspace, I just don't see it interacting well with [near] infinite system sizes.
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Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#82
Jazehiah wrote:So, what happens if I shoot or ram someone in hyperspace? Would it matter?
Yes, as much as in normal space.
Jazehiah wrote: Would their debris drop into the nearest 'real-space' or would we have to introduce a new type of resource gathering?
Why new type of respurce gathering?
You do it the same way as in normal space, fly to the wreck and salvage it with transfer beams.
Jazehiah wrote: If I drop out of hyperspace into "deep space" does the new node stay forever or eventually vanish?
what node?
Jazehiah wrote: Should we allow people to enter and exit wormhole lanes or enter hyperspace to scout out other entry points to a system? If so, how?
Why not? Hyperlanes behave like warp rails in any non-hyperspace location.
Jazehiah wrote: Systems are effectively infinite in size.
Soo.... what?
Jazehiah wrote: I have difficulty imagining something like this unless hyperspace is a traverse-able version of the star map with everything represented as simple nodes/dots.
Did hyper and i describe anything different?

You jump into the hyperspace "system" and normal space star systems become objects like planets in normal space
Jazehiah wrote: Something like the way Sins of a Solar Empire handles hyperspace might be more in keeping with what Josh has described.
which is different to wormholes... how?
(Note: i played sins to death multiple times)
Jazehiah wrote: I do like the idea of free-roam within hyperspace, I just don't see it interacting well with [near] infinite system sizes.
Does every place in a system have to map to an unique point in hyperspace?
why not map the infinite swathes of normal space to a finite amount of hyperspace.
For example with something similar to the lorentz factor, but instead of lightspeed and velocity you insert the hyperspace radius of the system and your hyperspace distance from the local star/system center.
The factor then outputs the distance you have to go from the system center in real space to reach a certain hyperspace distance.

So the same way you cant reach lightspeed in RL regardless of how hard you try, you cant reach the outer hyperspace border of the system.
Post

Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#83
Unstable wormholes have acceleration lanes and wormholes which sometimes collapse. If you are on one of these unstable lanes and the lane collapses, you are immediately dropped out of hyperspace into a blank system. If you do not have a jump drive to get back into hyperspace, you are stranded and need to send out a distress signal and await rescue. If you also don't have a distress beacon, you can hope someone eventually finds you, but chances are this is game over for your character. If however you do have a jump drive, you can just pop back into hyperspace and be on your way at a much slower space.

Hence my question about temporary deep space nodes.

If a system is infinite in size, how do you represent it in hyperspace? How do you decide where ships will appear in the system?
For example with something similar to the lorentz factor...
English, please.
which is different to wormholes... how?
The reason I bring up sins, is because their systems of representing planets is similar to what is already in place.
If I'm understanding things correctly, you want a hyperspace parallel universe so you can ignore the hyperspace lanes. This hyperspace parallel universe represents everything in the "real world" as something like a zoomed out Sins game where warp rails connect planets and wormholes connect systems. The major differences lie in notation. As far as I'm concerned, you could turn the entire LT universe into a game of Sins if you did an amazing job of scaling the LOD.
Did hyper and i describe anything different?
You tell me. I'm just trying to clarify and simplify over 7200 words of hyperspace ideas and make sure I didn't miss something vital.
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Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#84
Jazehiah wrote: Hence my question about temporary deep space nodes.
Wtf is a node in your context?
Jazehiah wrote: If a system is infinite in size, how do you represent it in hyperspace? How do you decide where ships will appear in the system?
I wrote you a long and exhaustive paragraph on that :P

You treat approaching the "hyper border", the outer border of a system in hyperspace, like approaching light speed.
The further out you are in normal space, the further you have to travel to make ever smaller changes to your equivalent hyperspace position.
You can get arbitarily close to the border while in normal space, but you can only reach it in infinite distance.
Jazehiah wrote:
For example with something similar to the lorentz factor...
English, please.
That was english

Jazehiah wrote:You tell me. I'm just trying to clarify and simplify over 7200 words of hyperspace ideas and make sure I didn't miss something vital.
Hyperspace is basically zooming out.
In normal space you have the bubble of a system where you are in and move between planets.
In hyperspace you have the bubble of your local cluster and move between systems.
Hyperspace is game engine wise just a system like all the others, but instead of floating planets you have floating star systems
Post

Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#85
Perhaps it might help to clarify that a system isn't exactly like a planet in normal space, you can't crash into it. it's like a small bubble which you can travel into while still in hyperspace. What Corn's idea of the lorentz factor states is that while systems are infinite in their own "room", the further you get from the 0,0,0 coordinate in normal space, the distance you are from the exact center when you pop into hyperspace diminishes exponentially. You can head out into the infinite black for hours in normal space, and yes, you'll get closer to the "edge" of the bubble in hyperspace. However, if you travel out from the star for 1 hour in normal space, you might get 1/4 the radius of the system bubble out from the center, if you travel for another hour, you'll only get 1/4+1/5, another hour and you'll get 1/4+1/5+1/6, and so on. You'll never actually reach the edge, because after your 100th hour, you might only be getting 1/200th the radius closer to the edge. Yes, you're damn close to the edge, but not at the edge.

As your view of the deep-space nodes, I assume you mean empty system-bubbles which are created when you drop out of hyperspace in deep-space. In that case, you're just creating a small version of the same thing. You can travel forever, but again, you'll never reach the edge. No the new nodes are not permanent, they really only exist as long as something is in them. Worldgen can of course create these small deepspace bubbles like any other system with semi-random contents, or they can form from normal game occurrences. However if there's nothing in them, they immediately collapse.

We can rationalize a population of these deep-space bubbles existing, forming and collapsing, coming into and out of existence all the time if they haven't been discovered. Already i have proposed that in this hyperspace dimension, what you haven't discovered is invisible while in hyperspace, unless you get damn close to one of these natural bubbles, you'll never know it was there, and if no one discovers it, it just disappears. The only way to detect an object from hyperspace unless you're very close to it is when it's emitting a distress signal.
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Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#86
That made sense. I think. The boundary stuff sort of makes sense. I'm going to reread some of that before posing my next question. Hopefully it will clarify itself.
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Re: Interstellar Travel, Wormholes, and Jump Drives

#87
I don't know if it's been mentioned, because 6 pages, but a quick comment on the "mini-game to speed up travel" idea in the OP.

X-Rebirth attempted something like that for Super Highways with their anomalies. While I very much enjoy the game, this mechanic was a waste of time. It's not nearly engaging enough to deal with the long travel times in SH, they just become tedious and annoying. I'd rather take the opportunity to use the bathroom than hold down the throttle and dodge the anomalies.

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