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Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#1
[This is based on information I've gleaned from various threads, so feel free to merge this with an appropriate one. Plus, I'm guesstimating other features and incorporating various opinions so please set me right if I've got them wrong. I've mentioned some of these ideas before, but I'm collecting them here in one coherent post. Please note I'm making a distinction between intra-system "flying" and inter-system "jumping".]


Concepts
========
I gather that star systems are modelled as distinct "rooms" of infinite size, i.e. the star is at the origin and all planets, moons, stations and other furniture at various x-y-z coordinates. This means that even if you could fly for ever, you'd still not reach another star as every one has its own distinct room.

So how to get from room to room? The current answers seem to be:
a) Jump drive (JD)
b) Jump gates (JG)
c) Ferry (powered by JD)
d) Wormholes


Navigation
==========
Now a few games I've played use gates; notably the X series and Freelancer. To me a major problem with those is that they feel just like doorways to another room, not a journey through space. Perhaps a long corridor more than a doorway, but still not very spacey. Part of the problem here is one of cartography and navigation - the rooms are just cells regularly spaced on a flat grid.

This can be improved by using a full 3-D star map so that star-to-star distances can be worked out realistically. Such a map could show my present location, maybe a shaded sphere to show my current jump range (if I have a JD and some fuel), and a few colour-coded lines showing known JG and ferry routes.

If I choose to jump to a target it could be as simple as choosing it on the map and pressing go. Now where do I arrive? For JG and ferry that's easy because there will be gates and ferry ports at distinct locations. For JD maybe it just plonks me at a random location far enough out from the star, leaving me to fly in or wherever I choose.

Thus each star would have a "map space" location as well as a "game space" room.


Technology
==========
a) JD - I feel this should be a piece of machinery that takes up a certain amount of hull space. Probably they will range from low to high tech, with higher tech being smaller and/or more efficient and certainly more expensive. The JD should use fuel, and the amount of fuel reqired for a jump is directly proportional to the jump distance and to the mass of the ship (including payload). Jumps should NOT be instantaneous but use up a certain amount of game time. Any engine can make a faster jump, but it should use up more fuel. I suggest this should NOT be linearly proportional i.e. jumping twice as fast should use up more than twice as much fuel. The details about size, efficiency, speed, fuel use, etc. are a matter of game balance so may be best resolved through testing. However I think that fuel requirements should be significant so that players can't jump vast distances without refuelling. The more fuel you carry the less cargo space you have left.

b) Ferry - this will use a JD so the same basic ideas apply. However a Ferry should be like a space station you dock with/enter and interact through menus. There could be a range of services such as maintenance, refuelling, news feeds, bars for meeting NPCs, entertainment, etc. Essentially a travelling town with lots to do. I feel that large ferries should have much more range than typical JD ships and JGs, but there should likely be wide variations.

c) JG - now this is a tricky one, though there are many interesting possibilities. I'd like to avoid the room-to-room "corridor" feel mentioned above, so I'd suggest that gates work by sending a "bubble" from start to destination. You turn up at the gate and wait for the next bubble. The bubble should be big enough to send a bunch of ships off together, and likely you should be able to chat to the NPC ships in the same bubble whilst en route. There could be "single lane" and "dual lane" gateways, where the single lane has to wait for a bubble to arrive before it can send one back the other way. Maybe multi-lane for very busy routes so there's less waiting. There could be travelling schedules and timetables, and certain hours or even days where it's closed for maintenance. This would give a real sense of it being a managed service. Oh, and of course, you have to pay to travel!

d) Wormholes - I've no idea here! I understand the concept but I don't know how it would best apply to the game. Maybe like a JD to a fixed location without using fuel?


Visuals
=======
a) JD - maybe a slightly surreal rushing-through-space effect with vivid colours and arty visuals, showing the parallax effect of moving between the stars. Distortion due to Lorentz-ish contraction would be a nice touch.

b) Ferry - similar to a space station with menus to access various sectors, and maybe images to show the various bars, shops and services. There could also be an external view showing the same rush-through-space effect as the JD.

c) I suggest this should be similar to a), but showing a "fishbowl" effect for the bubble as well as the other ships within it. Alternatively the bubble could be opaque / silvery to show it's a distinct region of space-time with no direct connection to elsewhere.

d) Maybe you enter a demarcated region of space; thereafter it's similar to a)


Other rooms
===========
A room would not have to contain a star or planets; there could be other features worth including in the game. Wandering starless planets, nebulae and dust clouds, asteroid fields, all sorts of astronomical items. There could even be space stations deliberately sited off the beaten path, or deep-space JGs built to extend the range of a JG route or add junctions. Such a lonely JG node could have a cluster of bars, shops and services catering to those waiting for the next bubble. Other rooms may contain tantalising traces of a vanished civilisation...


Maps
====
The 3-D star map should only show what is known. However, there would be many stars and other rooms that are not initially known to the player. Such knowledge could come from buying information, capturing maps from others, even hearing rumours in bars. Acquiring such information will add these features to the known map. To allow for such rumours to be false, jumping to a "false star" will end the player in an empty room, so he'd be wise to bring enough JD fuel to get back again! Likely the map should be editable so that rumour-based features could be clearly marked. Another method may be to fit "parallax" scanners that can work out distances to nearby stars and add them to the map. These scans would only happen during a jump, and ideally would only locate stars perpendicular to the direction of the jump.


Times and starts
=================
Some people want immersion and realism, others want fast gameplay. Realists will want to feel they've travelled a long way, so a jump should take appreciable play time. Other will just want to get there ASAP so it could be instantaneous in play time even if game time is long. Setting options may cater for both, where the actual play time could be configured by a slider.

Similarly the initial game start may allow a jump-capable ship and the price of a fuel load, or else one which can only fly in-system without buying an expensive upgrade. In any case the initial system should have a number of worlds, stations and other features so there's lots to do and money to be made.


Other ideas
===========
Normally jump fuel would be bought from vendors, but it may be possible to extract and refine it yourself. Perhaps scoop it from a gas giant or drill from a planet, and refining should be necessary too. It all requires specialist equipment, but that could potentially be fitted to a larger ship. Using these technologies on an industrial scale could allow players to become fuel merchants if they chose.

Fuel could come in different grades, with expensive higher grades giving better performance. e.g. 1 unit of high grade has the same effect as 2 units of low grade, or whatever.

There could be rare technologies such as engines that don't use standard fuel, and can be recharged from space alone (e.g. Casimir effect or galactic scoop). These should be hard to find and very expensive.
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#2
I'm actually glad a post like this popped up. I had some thoughts but hadn't really formed them until I read your post.

First, when it comes to Jump Gates (JG), they're paired with wormholes. JG is just an artificial wormhole. In full civilized and colonized systems, we'll see mostly JG and hardly any wormholes as this is the method of travel. In fringe and frontier systems, we'll see nothing but wormholes as no one has taken the time to build a JG. Basically I see the wormhole as the solution to system-to-system travel when no one has colonized there.

Now, when it comes to jump drives (JD), I started thinking of many different things. I'm going to speaking more from a purist perspective that you shouldn't be able to jump instantly to the other side of the universe or get from A to B fairly quickly if the two points are a long ways away (whether rapid jumping or a single jump) but after putting a lot of thought into it, I realize that with the near infinite of Limit Theory, I need to abandon a lot of those trains of thought. So here is my solution;
  • Jump Capabilities Affect Weapons - Because of the technology of JDs, energy weapons don't seem to work within a close proximity of the drive. Let the proximity be the same ship. This means that if you have a JD on board, you pretty much forego the use of weapons. The reason - You need a separate Jump Ship in order to make system-to-system jumps without a gate/wormhole. However, this ship is able to open up a bubble and allow your fleet through. This also means that with a player starting out, we make it a little bit harder before the player can just zip to any corner of the universe. I'm equating this with some of the limitations upon starting out in minecraft. You can build a wood pickaxe, but you can't immediately go for diamonds; you need iron and a furnace to at least create an iron pickaxe first. I'm trying to figure an analog to LT for this. It also means that once you have your fleet, it's not a problem to add one more ship, and it allows for interesting convoys too. The downside? I can't figure out how to make this viable if you're just a single ship.
  • Gravity Affects Jump Range - If we can jump within a click of a planet at any given time, it makes surprise assaults on planets/bases/outposts incredibly easy. Jump your fleet in, destroy the place before an enemy fleet can even react and then jump out. 20 second battle when it might have been possible for the AI to rally friends otherwise. As said before, military strategy becomes a joke. Instead, let the gravity well of a star or other massive body prevent you from jumping within a certain radius. This way you can't get too close to the star, or the planets in orbit around it. Let the limit be beyond the planets, but not insanely far from the star. Kind of like the solar wind pressure messes up the equipment if you're too close. This way you can't accidentally jump into a planet or other ship that's within the system, but close enough it doesn't feel like you need to travel forever to get out of range before being able to jump.
  • Warp Rooms - In Freespace, (although it wasn't revealed until near the end of the first game) the jump points just brought you to subspace and in subspace you still had distance to travel before reaching your destination. This would be like a large room or corridor that connected jump points. Maybe have that room have quite a few jump points in it and you need to actually choose which point to exit out of. Whereas a system may have 3-5 JG/Wormholes, the subspace room would have 10-20, or maybe even as many as 100. Each point would be a scaled distance to where the system you're trying to get to is. If one of those points really is halfway across the universe, let that be pretty far away in this warp room..
  • Super Expensive Ultra Dynamic Extreme Fuel to the Max! - Let jump fuel be expensive so that at least on the onset, you can't (or limited) jump very far or too many systems, but for a game that's been played for a bit, this doesn't become an issue.
Anyways, I realize that each of these ideas has pitfalls of their own. I'm just trying to bring up ideas that I know I would be comfortable with that would still appeal to both sides of the argument.
Image
Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#3
How about going the EVE route with the large jumpdrives? You can jump from any point of the universe to any other, provided there's a jump beacon on the other end.

This means that you need a ship carrying the beacon at the destination, limiting the opportunities for surprise butts...err, assaults out of nowhere, and would also maintain the exploration base of the game - it's a nice way of moving large distances, but it won't get you anywhere you haven't been before.

I'm also for making the process take quite some time (with all power funneled into the jump engines, making you a sitting duck before and shortly after the transition) and require specialized fuel (not in the sense of "brewed by virgins on a moonless night", but more like "has to be siphoned of a gas giant and then refined".

I'm not to keen on limiting weapon capacities, though. By simply making the jumpdrive large and power hungry enough, you already diminish the overall capability of a jump-capable ship. No need to further cripple a man who is already carrying a sack of bricks.
Hardenberg was my name
And Terra was my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#4
DWMagus wrote:Because of the technology of JDs, energy weapons don't seem to work within a close proximity of the drive.
That would mean you could use a JD as a weapon free zone - a place of sanctuary. I can see pros and cons for that idea! Certainly worth more thought. For example, people could use detachable JDs as a jump frame; they park it somewhere in a system and then fly about to conduct business/combat. When they're ready to go elsewhere or flee (!), they attach themselves (presumably with a security code to avoid theft) and shelter or jump out. Even just the vicinity of anyone's JD for shelter. Fly the whole thing to a refuelling point when needed.
Instead, let the gravity well of a star or other massive body prevent you from jumping within a certain radius
I completely agree! I think we discussed this before.
Warp Rooms
Ah, now that opens up a few ideas! I suggest "Layered Hyperspace", where each star/room exists in one of several (potentially limitless) distinct layers.

If you enter a layer (with a JD/whatever) you have access to all the stars in that layer, and they're all within flying range. This would mean you could access far-off stars if they're in that layer. It would be modelled as another flyable room, with the stars proportionally positioned throughout the room so that far-off stars still take some time to fly to. There could be various visuals and other effects to remind the player they're in hyperspace. Maybe combat could be possible, but only with certain types of weapons. Better engines mean flying faster there.

Entering a hyperspace layer costs jump fuel, but once you're in you can fly anywhere in that room i.e. access all stars positioned in it. When you're in the vicinity of a star you can jump out to its normal space. In some ways this would be like flying around a big 3-D star map which only contains the subset of stars belonging to that layer. You could also choose to jump out far from a star, but you'd end up in an empty room. Maybe a nice touch would be to "paint" the nearby stars on the sky background. Same deal for star rooms, in fact.

Wormholes/JGs would connect stars in different layers, and there could be expensive "trans-layer" JDs too. So initially you could only jump to same-layer stars (if you can jump at all), and must use JGs for access to different ones. Different ferries could have regular or trans- JD engines. Your 3-D star map would have to display layer information, maybe via selectable filters and colour coding. As for non-star rooms, they may normally be invisible within the layer, but an Augmented Reality system would display them. Maybe another piece of expensive kit you have to buy.

I can see problems with procedural generation adding layers and stars, but I think this could be resolvable with a bit of thought. Code-wise, each star object could have a pointer to its "parent" layer, and similarly each layer would have a collection of pointers to contained "child" stars. Just a suitable one-to-many relationship. Star-layer matching would be procedural, and game balance could be adjusted by tweaking the matching algorithm.
Super Expensive Ultra Dynamic Extreme Fuel to the Max!
Love it! This should be required for inter-layer jumps, and if you buy it you can expect flunkeys to clean your viewscreen, check your cabin pressure, polish your space boots and bid you an excellent journey! :D

Edit===
Hardenberg wrote:No need to further cripple a man who is already carrying a sack of bricks.
Hehe! Yep, I'd favour that approach rather than a weapon-free zone. Mind you, a "Sanctuary Generator" could be an interesting concept to play with too.
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#5
Hardenberg wrote:How about going the EVE route with the large jumpdrives? You can jump from any point of the universe to any other, provided there's a jump beacon on the other end.
I like this a lot. This would also mean that beacons would be tangible entities and that if you try to place one too close to a certain destination (i.e. homeworld of the Regal King of Florinigans), the police may see it as hostile and/or just destroy it outright. This allows for an AI interaction, allows you to still have get to the unexplored area before you can just jump to it instantly.

As for the different 'layers', that works, provided that the space on that layer is a contracted layout of what's around you (or maybe a gravity mapping of such a thing). I love many of these ideas.
Image
Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
Post

Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#6
Here's an idea - a beacon transmits at a particular "hyperspace frequency" and also has a unique ID. When you go into hyperspace you do so at a particular frequency, and can then see all beacons transmitting at that particular frequency. You'd home in on your desired beacon and jump out to normal space at its location. Thus a layer represents a region of hyperspace exisitng at a particular frequency.

This could allow for all sorts of faction politics, such as connecting empires or avoiding connections. Some places could have multiple beacons so as to connect at different frequencies. I still like the idea of finding things via rumour, so you could still plot 'virtual beacons' in an augmented reality nav system and drop out at their location. Then you find if the rumour is true, or it's just empty space, or maybe even a trap! Decoy beacons. Similarly if you've visited a beacon once and thus know its precise location, you could always jump out at the same place even if the beacon is removed/switched off. Assuming your nav gear is good enough!

There could be difficulties implementing this procedurally e.g. what happens when new distant stars are generated with beacons at particular frequencies. Well I reckon if they don't yet exist on the regular map, they don't yet exist in hyperspace. Thus the same existence rules would apply to both.

It could also be the case that jumping to different frequencies need different amounts of fuel, thus allowing more game balance tweaking. As for wormholes/JGs - they would connect two points over the same frequency, but wouldn't allow you to go off-route i.e. fly around.
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#7
One method I've seen used is a combination of Jump Drives and Jump Gates.

Jump Drives allow travel from specific Jump Points (gravity anomalies around system's edges) to one or more nearby systems (per Jump Point). Each Jump Point connects to a specific set of nearby systems allowing FLT (not instantaneous) travel. Any ship with a Jump Drive can access these points and jump system to system allowing you to access any system eventually. This would have been the original FTL travel method before Jump Gates were invented, and would still be the only way to access systems without gates. Also, each ship wishing to traverse a Jump Point would require a Jump Drive. As this technology is older, and has been largely replaced by Jump Gates, this drive system would be readily available (possibly a standard feature) to shipmakers and pilots. Upgrades to this system would most likely be rare beyond possibly a few models with varying performance as the system has been all but replaced for normal transit.

Jump Gates are basically artificially created/harnessed Jump Points that allow FTL travel from any gate in a network to ANY other at a much faster rate of travel than Jump Drives. Each gate is attached to a single network of gates which requires a key to use. These keys are small objects imprinted with the gates operating frequency that allows the ships navigation computer to interact with the gate. One key on a single ship is enough to allow an entire fleet to jump so long as everyone is in position when the jump is initiated. Each network uses a different frequency which is "hardwired" into the gates and key when they are constructed. This requires you to buy/steal/earn a key to each gate network you wish to use, or buy passage through it. Each key also contains a map of gates on the network which can be expanded as more gates are built/discovered and can start out relatively limited if a government wishes to restrict travel through "their" network. This technology could have been discovered long ago, and as such reflect the economic and strategic layout of long past factions, or be a relatively new development which mirrors modern economic and strategic faction layouts. The commonly discussed idea of a ferry service could still be achieved, and such ferry services could be the method used to traverse gates a player has no key for.

Together, these methods maintain the bigness of space feeling (it could take dozens of single jumps using a Jump Drive to reach your destination), and the convenience (when going between major systems) of fast point to point travel. They also create very interesting economic and military dynamics which change based upon whether the gates are a found-in-place technology or a relatively newly invented one. This also allows for defense planing as you always know where anyone can enter any given system, and where they have to go to leave it. You can also track a ship through Jump Points to an extent due to the limited nature of destinations available at any given one (anywhere from 0 to maybe 3 or 4 systems max).
Last edited by twitchYarby on Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#8
twitchYarby wrote:One method I've seen used is a combination of Jump Drives and Jump Gates.
Ah, you bring up some very interesting ideas here, such as transport networks and straight-through passes. However, there already seems to be an idea (see posts above) that it is wormholes which are the natural phenomena made use of by jump gates, while jump drives are a later tech using the same nature of hyperspace.


JG Lore
=======
For a moment, think about what lore would work; it's normal for scientists to discover aspects of nature and others find ways of making that knowledge useful in a progression of stages. So maybe in LT lore - when wormholes were discovered and investigated, some found ways of using them for travel i.e. invented jump gates. As the science was further understood, they developed a way of using hyperspace from almost anywhere i.e. jump drives were invented. Seem feasible?

It makes sense that wormholes/JGs would be positioned some distance out from a star and planets, and I think that would work well in the game as it avoids unbalancing battlefleets suddenly appearing and destroying everything without warning. Similarly JDs would be restricted to being quite far out, as they need flattish space to work i.e. some way up the gravity well of the star. On that note, though, it might be an idea to use any Lagrangian points of gas giants to use JDs too (a few small regions closer in), though maybe it should be limited to smaller ships as larger ones need a larger flatspace area.

In terms of speed, I suggest that basic JDs on average jump-capable ships will be slower to use than JGs, but larger ships (more fuel, maybe larger engines) will be able to go faster at greater expense. Ferries would have huge fuel tanks and powerful engines, but their economy of scale would mean they're economical to use. Or else they have a monopoly on routes where JGs don't exist.


JG Networks
========
Now, what is a faction/corporation in the game? Well, I reckon it's generally a self-serving body controlled by elites, whose main concern is making money and controlling sources of revenue. In other words, it's pretty much like a medieval robber baron. So, how would corporations treat wormholes/JGs? They'd try to control as many as they can so as to make money and spread their control. They'd guard them and charge travellers for using them. Just like robber barons controlling rivers and roads through their domain - think of all those Rhine castles.

That's fine as long as they control entire routes, but what if they only control half of a route i.e. a different corporation controls the far end? They'd either cooperate or lose all revenue for that gate. Even if they cooperate, it's less than likely they'd coordinate so much that people could pass along many routes through different domains on one ticket/pass, like a key. In some ways, I reckon gates would be like canals where the corporation controls the lock gates. You have to pay to pass, though maybe a season ticket would get you through all of their own network. Or a number of journeys for a price. If not, then you have to pay each time you use one, though that should just be a simple no-hassle account deduction.

One alternative might be that specialist transport companies manage networks of JGs and ferries, with the permission of the corporations whose domains they traverse. Obviosuly this would be a commercial relationship, where the corporations get a cut and avoid the hassle of managing and maintaining them. If so, this could even mean that players could build up / take over such routes.

This would solve many problems such as traversing hostile corporation boundaries, much like antagonistic cattle barons (who would never cooperate with each other) let the railroad run through their land as long as they get paid. This could be an interesting option, trying to extend your network by doing deals or fighting for dominance, as well as protecting the network you already have. It would be Railrood Tycoon in space!
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#9
Each method presented would affect the mechanics of travel, economy, military, and government in it's own ways. Presenting the player with differing sets of opportunities and challenges. It's always fun to see the different ideas that surface and how they affect the final product. Given procedurally generated history, it's possible that each story presented could manifest as details change from universe to universe. As for the technology, we all seem to be coming up with the same basic mechanics only applying them differently.
So far the general opinion seems to be that whatever the FTL science, we should only be able to enter and exit this mode of travel at specific points in a system.
As for instantaneous travel, the argument seems more geared toward should the player experience some of the travel time than whether time should elapse in game. In my opinion, most FTL should incur an in-game time cost, but it seems the player would prefer to choose whether they feel it or not.
Also, the use of the word key seems to have caused confusion as to my actual meaning. The key in this instance is simply the device which allows the ship to interact with the JG (select the destination and execute the jump). The reason for the pairing is that it only works with certain gates (all aligned to a specific subspace frequency band), and a single ship with a key is all that's necessary to jump an entire fleet. In this case a ferry could simply be a relatively small ship with such a key aboard instead of a behemoth that berths tons of ships (see 5 below).
However, there already seems to be an idea (see posts above) that it is wormholes which are the natural phenomena made use of by jump gates, while jump drives are a later tech using the same nature of hyperspace.
Wormholes do seem to be a popular explanation for FTL travel as the [theoretically] exist outside spacetime. I believe it has already been mentioned that wormholes will exist in-game as well, so they're definitely a safe bet for basing technologies on.
The JG idea I presented operated via the theoretical Alcubierre Drive (basically creating warp bubbles), but could easily use wormhole tech instead (options). The key part of the JG technology i presented was that, while JDs require you to jump from specific points around the system (where space is flat enough), JGs could be built anywhere in a system because the energy matrix responsible for allowing FTL travel has been aligned to compensate for the spacial curve caused by a stars gravity. This makes JGs more convenient because they are faster, and they drop you in a more convenient location in system.
Your idea for using lagrange points as JD access points would be excellent (though i would personally reserve them for the intra-system highway technology), but their existence will depend on how he builds his solar systems, and whether he chooses to have the game calculate such points.

Also, consider these questions:
1) Do Jump Gates work in pairs? (You seem to be suggesting this method)
1a) If so, how did we ever use them to leave Sol system?
2) If JGs were the first technology, how do we have populated systems without a JG present (and possibly unpopulated ones with)?
3) If JGs operate in pairs, are they tied into a pair permanently or does the pairing shift as travelers select a destination or upon entering a gate are you able to select which subspace path you want to follow (stable point-to-point wormhole vs stargate vs borg transwarp network)? (You seem to be suggesting the first)
3a) If the first method, are there multiple JGs in a system linking different points throughout a territory?
3aa) If not then how do you get around in this network if each system only connects to one other?
4) If the average JD is slower to use and/or has less range than a JG (and seemingly much less efficient monetarily), why are JDs more popular than JGs? (Freedom of movement?)
5) Why, if distance and mass are factors in fuel consumption (which you've suggested), how are ferries (super-massive hulks that only grow even more massive as ships dock and require massive engines which consume astronomical amounts of fuel) cost effective enough to be profitable? Consider the economic expense to design, build, fuel, crew, and maintain something massive enough to hold 12 ships of any reasonable size. The comparison to earth ferries is inaccurate here. It would be more accurate to use the example of the supertanker in "The Spy Who Loved Me" that was built to berth submarines. Fuel costs increase (non-geometrically) as mass increases which is why our carrier fleet is nuclear while everything else is still fuel-oil based (it was more cost effective to spend the money on nuclear power than pay for fuel). Where is the economic balance here?
6) Why do you assume that all factions will be greedy, self-serving corporations concerned only with the bottom line?
JoshParnell wrote: In this thread
The Hedge Knight wrote:As usual, there won't be factions like these. We only get corporations entities that govern planets, there will be no super religious fanatics or imperial forces with the vanilla game.
That's not exactly true; I was just saying that politics isn't going to be a big feature. When I said that, I meant, for example, it's unlikely that we'll hear a lot about the internal structure of factions, members staging coups, etc. But I think it's certainly possible that factions will each have driving motivations, for example, pure conquest, religion, etc. These driving motivations will no doubt impact the way they deal with other factions.
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#10
twitchYarby wrote:we should only be able to enter and exit this mode of travel at specific points in a system
Not necessarily - it would be more the case that it's specific points we don't use, though that would include all (or almost all) of the inner part of the system. Planet space. If we limit jumps to "flatter" space, then it's everywhere beyond a certain distance from the star. Exceptions may be Lagrangian points, though perhaps that would better be used as the basis for in-system fast travel, also avoiding any surprise attack on planets & their stations. Thus a quick way to get to interstellar-jumpable space is to fly to the nearest usable lagrangian and hop out to the outermost one. Then it's just a bit further to jumpable space.

Another way to do it is that you can jump from anywhere to anywhere, but the risk of damage to your ship is inversely proportional to the flatness of space. Jumping from/to deep in-system would be almost suicidal, but may be worth risking on occasions. In terms of mapping, curvature could just be approximated to (negative) gravitational potential of the star, so would be proportional to M/r where M is the mass of the star and r distance from it. The higher the curvature, the greater the risk. Balance and playability would determine the "safe" range. Better (and pricier, rarer) engines may reduce the risk.
a single ship with a key is all that's necessary to jump an entire fleet
This is about how to interact with a gate. I suggest in general it would be menu-driven, as it's owned by someone else, and there may be other services available. However, maybe a "travel pass" idea could work, in which case a key would be a good way of doing it to skip the payment part. You buy a key from whoever owns the network. Or steal/capture, etc.
The JG idea I presented operated via the theoretical Alcubierre Drive
Wouldn't that have to be for JD i.e. the technology producing the field would have to move with it? It works by distorting space around it so the distortion would "travel" with the ship. Otherwise if you travel outside the effect you lose it. A JG is a fixed installation so could only produce a localised effect. To work, it would need to access an entire warped-space pathway from source to destination, so it would need something other than Alcubierre. However, it's an excellent idea for a JD I reckon - good find!

Your suggestion also gives me some ideas about more than one technology of JD that might be suitable in different circumstances - I'll think it through and post later.
1) Do Jump Gates work in pairs? (You seem to be suggesting this method)
Yes. Enter one end, exit the other. At least that's what I understand so far.
1a) If so, how did we ever use them to leave Sol system?
2) If JGs were the first technology, how do we have populated systems without a JG present (and possibly unpopulated ones with)?
Maybe WE didn't. Isn't this an alt universe with different races? Does LT has an established lore about this? Well, whoever did must have found one. They must be within flying range of planets (to be useful in the game), so presumably were discovered by a spacefaring civilisation. Prior to that they may have settled exoplanets the slow way over hundreds/thousands of years. If modern humans can spread from Africa to the whole world over a few tens of thousands of years, then settling the galaxy will be a doddle when we devise the technology. ;)
3) If JGs operate in pairs, are they tied into a pair permanently or does the pairing shift as travelers select a destination or upon entering a gate are you able to select which subspace path you want to follow (stable point-to-point wormhole vs stargate vs borg transwarp network)? (You seem to be suggesting the first)
3a) If the first method, are there multiple JGs in a system linking different points throughout a territory?
3aa) If not then how do you get around in this network if each system only connects to one other?
They're tied to wormholes i.e. a natural point-to-point distortion of spacetime. The idea is that the gate is a way of a) stabilising and b) using the wormhole to get from one end to the other. So yes, they're permanent and have a fixed route - at least during the game timescale.
I still don't know if they're meant to be rare or common i.e. whether most stars have several gates (multiple routes) or if they'll only link a minority of stars. Maybe this is still to be decided, based on what ideas we can come up with! I do like the idea of creating routes, but maybe that would be more suitable for JD craft (e.g. ferries) whereas JGs are relatively rare. I reckon the start system should have a JG, though, as it provides initial access to another star. Effectively they're geographical (cosmographical?) features usable for far transport, akin to rivers in olden days. Their existence would determine the spread of populations, so it makes sense that JGs will often have one faction controlling both sides.
4) If the average JD is slower to use and/or has less range than a JG (and seemingly much less efficient monetarily), why are JDs more popular than JGs? (Freedom of movement?)
Exactly so. Go where you want. If JGs are relatively rare, you can jump the gaps.
5) Why, if distance and mass are factors in fuel consumption (which you've suggested), how are ferries (super-massive hulks that only grow even more massive as ships dock and require massive engines which consume astronomical amounts of fuel) cost effective enough to be profitable?
Economy of scale and the ability to carry ships. Bulk buying fuel at vast discounts, and having large efficient engines that guzzle less per kg of payload. Plus, they sell you stuff on board - a captive market during the voyage! For a typical ship it's cheaper to take a busy-route ferry than to jump, but if you're economising, bring your own munchies.

The parallel to earth-based ships is not quite valid, as they suffer from massive friction and drag due to the sea and air; however, the cheapest way to transport goods is still by bulk carrier or container ship. The big advantage of nuclear-powered vessels is avoiding the need to refuel, not economy. (I'm in the UK so only our subs are nuclear so they can stay hidden, not even the new Queen Elizabeth carriers). Spaceships don't have drag, so conceivably it should be as simple as mass * distance for a given speed. I think speed should be non-linear because warping space is more relativistic (more speed, more warp) and it's a balancing factor for the game to prevent limitless speed increases.
6) Why do you assume that all factions will be greedy, self-serving corporations concerned only with the bottom line?
a) Any hippy factions (at one with the Universe, it's all so beautiful, man!) will soon get gobbled up by those more ruthless who don't want to share the love.
b) I'm probably a bit of a political cynic! :D

As the game doesn't have full-blown governments and empires, the corporations will primarily be financially-driven. As this models a tough Universe with lots of shooting, I reckon the parallel of robber barons and opportunistic city states best applies. By all means other motivations may be there too, but I'd guess pretty much nobody will turn down a profit-making opportunity. A developed galaxy of stable, harmonised, peaceful governments may be more realistic for hypothetical spacefaring species, but won't result in a shoot-em-up game like this one!
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#11
twitchYarby wrote: Also, consider these questions:
1) Do Jump Gates work in pairs? (You seem to be suggesting this method)
1a) If so, how did we ever use them to leave Sol system?
I like the pairs idea the most. As for how we left Sol? I was also saying that JGs were equivalent to artificial wormholes. Maybe Sol has a wormhole somewhere in the Oort cloud, and after discovering that, we were able to figure out how they work, and thus create a JG closer to the interior planets to the same destination or different one.

I also like the idea that JGs can be built, but this introduces a lot more logistics than anything else, as you can't just willy-nilly weave through your star map (although if you can, it would only be a matter of time before someone somehow made their star chart look like Darth Vader or something else as impressive).

P.S. And holy balls has this thread turned into I think the biggest wall of text we've seen on these forums yet!
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#13
Yeah, as for how we got out of Sol in the first place, we slow-boated it in hyper sleep so we could build a jump gate at the desired location to make subsequent trips infinitely faster. Kind of like in Lost in Space, haha.

Edit: I'm sure this has probably been brought up already, and I'm sure I already know the answer. Are jump gates going to be buildable by players and NPC's? If so how would the construction process work?
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#14
Point taken, we could indeed have left Sol at near-light-speed and then discovered JGs, or aliens could have come here and opened the door to the stars. I did forget to take into account these scenarios.
@NikoDG to my knowledge, Josh has yet to comment on whether JGs will be buildable in game, but there's no technical limitation that would prevent it. As for construction process, we wont know that until Josh implements that portion of the game most likely.
DWMagus wrote:I like the pairs idea the most. As for how we left Sol? I was also saying that JGs were equivalent to artificial wormholes. Maybe Sol has a wormhole somewhere in the Oort cloud, and after discovering that, we were able to figure out how they work, and thus create a JG closer to the interior planets to the same destination or different one.
I agree with the idea of pairs, though I'm not sure about fixed pairs.
Good point about the traversing wormholes then harnessing the technology as a JG. Initial expansion could then have started with the system at the other end of said wormhole, and progressed at sub-light speed from Sol and this other system out among the stars until JDs were developed. The biggest problem I have with slow-crawler expansion is the resources required to build and supply such super massive ships even putting everyone to sleep for the voyage (at near-light the ship would still have to be massive, just require even more advanced technology be present). Why would a world commit such resources to a project with NO ROI for at least several decades (travel time there assuming a close system + establishing the colony + establishing an industry capable of supporting trade + travel time back)? Building a JG would also have been a massive undertaking requiring many specialized workers to accompany the colony on the voyage.
JabbleWok wrote:
a single ship with a key is all that's necessary to jump an entire fleet
This is about how to interact with a gate. I suggest in general it would be menu-driven, as it's owned by someone else, and there may be other services available. However, maybe a "travel pass" idea could work, in which case a key would be a good way of doing it to skip the payment part. You buy a key from whoever owns the network. Or steal/capture, etc.
Menu driven, obviously. My discussion of keys is suggesting/assuming that JGs are unmanned devices sitting in space. In this circumstance, the keys become the way to ensure only certain people (those possessing keys) can operate the JGs. Unmanned JGs would increase the bottom line profits by reducing operating costs and are financially the better option. The operators could run things out of nearby ships, or (assuming instantaneous comms) some control station more conveniently located in the system. This control center would be the only location required to possess a key to allow a JG to operate, but they could also place one on any ship they choose (which would allow it to operate the JG instead of going through the normal traffic control/tollway channels.
The JG idea I presented operated via the theoretical Alcubierre Drive
Wouldn't that have to be for JD i.e. the technology producing the field would have to move with it? It works by distorting space around it so the distortion would "travel" with the ship. Otherwise if you travel outside the effect you lose it. A JG is a fixed installation so could only produce a localised effect. To work, it would need to access an entire warped-space pathway from source to destination, so it would need something other than Alcubierre. However, it's an excellent idea for a JD I reckon - good find!
Theoretically, no. In fact, the technology is usable (through different applications of the theory) to both JG and JD systems. The theory here is that you could channel more energy through a JG which would result in a faster rate of travel than what is attainable via the energy production capabilities of a ships reactor. Furthermore, each JG could operate bidirectionally and travelers could traverse to/from multiple other JGs simultaneously because everything in space is always moving so the extreme distances combined with differing departure times would make it nearly impossible (nothing is truely impossible, just close enough) for two ships to collide in transit.
1) Do Jump Gates work in pairs? (You seem to be suggesting this method)
Yes. Enter one end, exit the other. At least that's what I understand so far.
I like this concept also.
1a,2
Maybe WE didn't. Isn't this an alt universe with different races? Does LT has an established lore about this? Well, whoever did must have found one. They must be within flying range of planets (to be useful in the game), so presumably were discovered by a spacefaring civilisation. Prior to that they may have settled exoplanets the slow way over hundreds/thousands of years. If modern humans can spread from Africa to the whole world over a few tens of thousands of years, then settling the galaxy will be a doddle when we devise the technology. ;)
So far it seems history will be procedurally generated for each universe. There may be constants, but that's unnecessary so long as the history makes sense (logically fits together). See above about sub-light colony ships. Mankind is naturally impatient. Yes, that is the commonly held belief about our origin, but we don't want to wait a minute for a text message, why would we ever launch something knowing we wont know the results for decades at least?
3,3a,3aa
They're tied to wormholes i.e. a natural point-to-point distortion of spacetime. The idea is that the gate is a way of a) stabilising and b) using the wormhole to get from one end to the other. So yes, they're permanent and have a fixed route - at least during the game timescale.
I still don't know if they're meant to be rare or common i.e. whether most stars have several gates (multiple routes) or if they'll only link a minority of stars. Maybe this is still to be decided, based on what ideas we can come up with! I do like the idea of creating routes, but maybe that would be more suitable for JD craft (e.g. ferries) whereas JGs are relatively rare. I reckon the start system should have a JG, though, as it provides initial access to another star. Effectively they're geographical (cosmographical?) features usable for far transport, akin to rivers in olden days. Their existence would determine the spread of populations, so it makes sense that JGs will often have one faction controlling both sides.
Assuming wormhole based technology, the gates maintain a stable artificial wormhole between two points. Aren't wormholes (especially stable ones) generally considered always-open? If so, these artificial ones, being based on the same principals, would also be always open. I guess you could say that a wormhole cycles open and closed (but then you're tied to a schedule, which i dislike greatly). The real issue here is that once it's open anyone could use it. This pretty much destroys any economic value gained by operating one because the company would have no way to prevent ships from passing through (except shooting which would piss everyone off). If they were the only mode of post-expansion inter-stellar transit for any period of time, then at least all of these pre-JD colonies would have required a JG if they wished to remain linked to the rest of humanity. The real questions here assuming single-route-JGs would be where did each of these colonies choose to link to and how did the two locations coordinate pairing the two JGs? Already having FTL comms during the first expansion would help significantly, but trade would be essential in order for each planet to recoup the cost of launching a colony, and being impatient, we wouldn't want to wait for sub-light trade ships in order to profit. By that logic, there should be a cluster of worlds with a robust JG network representing our pre-JD push outward.
Assuming another race created them, if we are using those systems now then where are they?
As for calling them geographic features that determine the spread of population, this only applies if we discovered a network and began using it. If we made the network, then it would be more apt to call then railroads or canals versus rivers.
5
Economy of scale and the ability to carry ships. Bulk buying fuel at vast discounts, and having large efficient engines that guzzle less per kg of payload. Plus, they sell you stuff on board - a captive market during the voyage! For a typical ship it's cheaper to take a busy-route ferry than to jump, but if you're economising, bring your own munchies.

The parallel to earth-based ships is not quite valid, as they suffer from massive friction and drag due to the sea and air; however, the cheapest way to transport goods is still by bulk carrier or container ship. The big advantage of nuclear-powered vessels is avoiding the need to refuel, not economy. (I'm in the UK so only our subs are nuclear so they can stay hidden, not even the new Queen Elizabeth carriers). Spaceships don't have drag, so conceivably it should be as simple as mass * distance for a given speed. I think speed should be non-linear because warping space is more relativistic (more speed, more warp) and it's a balancing factor for the game to prevent limitless speed increases.
You have a valid point to an extent. The hull would be massive, but contain large hollow sections reducing overall mass. Bulk discounts only account for so much savings however, and no matter how efficient the engines the larger they are the more fuel they take. True, you don't have the drag of water to deal with, but you still have to deal with inertia (resistance to acceleration of mass).
You left out a key word in that next part. It should read "the cheapest transoceanic way to transport goods is still by bulk carrier or container ship." And you're right that bulk cargo transport will always be the most efficient method. I just came up with probably the best earth analog: car carries. The biggest difference would be the cars wouldn't conform to any specific dimensional constraints like cars do. This automatically requires alot more structure/volume dedicated to berthing as each ship is unique in size and shape, then you need to consider the volume required to store fuel (both for in-system flight and jumps), then the common areas and access tubes, then crew only areas (cargo, kitchen, maintenance, living, control). At this point, you're dealing with something on the scale of a small space station (by game standards) which has engines and a JD. There is a reason stations are stationary (mass). Such ferries only make sense in-game assuming the vast majority of the ships do not have JD capability (they fill the void so can charge what the like), which is inconsistent with a thriving inter-system commerce. Perhaps they filled the void when the technology was first invented and required truly massive engines, but as technology advanced, the JD would also become smaller, cheaper, faster, more efficient, and more widely available (each to some limit).
"Spaceships don't have drag" - Technically, no (also, Josh stated there will be a small amount of drag built into the physics engine). Otherwise, assuming an object had infinite fuel, an object could be accelerated past the speed of light simply by accelerating long enough. For in-system travel, these behemoths would need to account for inertia and planetary gravity wells on top of drag. For jumps, the larger the displacement required, the more energy (usually exponentially) is required therefore the more fuel is needed. If we also assume non-instantaneous FTL, then we must also account for the suggestion that these behemoths travel faster. Even if they don't travel any faster (defeating the purpose if you do have a JD), speed increase also tends to result in an exponential increase in energy costs. Right here we have to exponential increases in energy (and therefore fuel) cost for these ferries versus smaller ships. Even accounting for bulk discounts (logarithmic cost decrease at best), fuel consumption increase significantly faster than prices decrease.

[tangent]Compare the operating specifications of a Gerald R. Ford class and the Queen Elizabeth carriers. $9b (£5.6b) for the Gerald R. Ford class (includes fuel for 20yrs) and £5.9b ($9.48b) for the Queen Elizabeth (then add cost of fuel for, say 20yrs). The Ford class is 52% larger, but carries 88% more planes and 168% more personnel. It also makes use of state-of-the-art weapons, electronics, and powerplant systems to improve operating efficiency and reduce crew and maintenance requirements. Which would you rather have on your side in a war?[/tangent]

Making a comparison to the two carriers,
Last edited by twitchYarby on Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is this the right room for a jump gate?

#15
twitchYarby wrote:I agree with the idea of pairs, though I'm not sure about fixed pairs.
If they're fixed, it creates bottlenecks and gaps that have to be traversed so it's an incentive to acquire JD technology. It also creates natural boundaries for corporations so that your arrival in their space feels like being in a new realm. It also means you can rely on routes continuing to exist.
Why would a world commit such resources to a project with NO ROI for at least several decades (travel time there assuming a close system + establishing the colony + establishing an industry capable of supporting trade + travel time back)?
By the time there is the technology to build reliable starships, the world would probably be much wealthier and more cooperative, so more likely to invest in such projects. It would probably start at a government-funded level and later move to the commercial sphere, much like we're now seeing with local spaceflight. Without FTL I don't think there will be any travel back - the colony will be there to stay. Any economy with the home planet would likely be based on intellectual property being communicated and designs built locally, not physical items being transported. Interestingly it will likely lead to speciation due to communities being genetically isolated.
Building a JG would also have been a massive undertaking requiring many specialized workers to accompany the colony on the voyage.
Building the first would be a massive undertaking, but subsequent ones would get cheaper as it got more routine. By that time there would be a well established local space economy anyway. As for accompanying workers -they'd likely have sufficient AI to allow robots to carry out such tasks. In real life Project Daedalus is the most detailed starship design commissioned so far, and that envisioned AI robots performing maintenance - and that's just for a one-way probe. There's an awareness that reliability and maintainability would be key factors.

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