Cornflakes_91 wrote:thymine and everyone in favour of one-way wormholes:
i found a problem with one way connections to random wormhole ends
if you connect your jumpgate to an already existing, enemy controlled wormhole you can send ships through without fear of immediate retaliation, as there is no direct way of travelling to the source of the ships.
effectively unlimited attack without possibility of counter attack? sounds like dangerous terrain for balance...
You and Cha0zz just gave me an idea that I'm really interested in.
Cha0zz expanded on the idea he presented earlier by imagining that the scanner data you obtain from an endpoint is affected by any connections it forms with other endpoints:
You see in the diagram above how connected endpoints appear as small bumps along the frequency spectrum. However, what if those bumps were smaller versions of the profiles of the connected endpoints themselves
? In this way, frequency profiles work in a kind of fractal manner, where the profile of one endpoint contains smaller versions of the profiles of other endpoints one jump away, each of which contain the profiles of other endpoints two jumps away, and so on.
I'll be using the following terms for the sake of clarity:
- Frequency profile refers to the pattern of emissions - the amplitude of emissions at each frequency - for an endpoint in its entirety. This is the pattern you will see on your frequency scanner if you direct it at an endpoint.
- Receive zone refers to the part of the frequency profile over the lower frequency ranges which is where you will see smaller versions of the frequency profiles of other endpoints that the endpoint we're considering receives from.
- Transmit zone refers to the part of the frequency profile over the higher frequency ranges which is where you will see a smaller version of the frequency profile of the endpoint that the one we're considering "points" (transmits) to. There is always exactly one of these. If an endpoint transmits and receives from the same endpoint (as a bidirectional connection), its profile will appear in both the receive and transmit zone.
- Identification zone or ID zone refers to the part of the frequency profile over the middle frequency ranges, which is the part of the profile that uniquely identifies the endpoint we're considering and remains fixed regardless of what connection it forms. This allows wormhole endpoints to be distinguished from one another and information on them to be stored in a database for future reference, as mcsven proposes.
A sketch of roughly what a profile might look like for an endpoint that receives from one endpoint and transmits to another is given below.
For a bidirectional wormhole in which two endpoints are paired together and form no other connections with other endpoints (the most commonly occurring variety), a frequency profile would look like this:
In both these graphs, I simplify the level of detail considerably, because I only show the ID zones of the two profiles within the receive zone and transmit zone, and not their own receive and transmit zones in turn.
It's interesting to note that in the case of a bidirectional connection - or any other series of connections that form a cycle, for that matter - the frequency profile will be infinitely complex, because each endpoint's profile will be based on the profile of its pair, but its pair's endpoint will be based on its own profile in turn. Therefore the profile that emerges in this case would be a true fractal. I only point this out as an interesting side-effect of the proposal - an algorithm used to generate a frequency profile of an endpoint would only be limited to a certain depth of, say, 4 or 5 levels before the contributions of profiles generated at that level become inconsequential, and to avoid generating unnecessary CPU overhead.
How does this tie into gameplay?
The idea is that scanners can have different levels of resolution, and you and other agents in LT can research scanners with higher resolution as you progress through the game. Now, the higher the resolution of the scanner, the smaller the details of a given frequency profile the scanner can glean, correct? In the case of wormholes, the finer a scanner can resolve a pattern of emissions from an endpoint, the better able it is to also resolve the smaller fractal-like profiles of the connected endpoints one jump away. And if it's got really high resolution, it could potentially even glean the yet-smaller profiles of connected endpoints that are two jumps away, and so on.
Imagine a ship approached a wormhole endpoint. A basic scanner would only provide information about that one endpoint, such as its charge level and ID:
An intermediate scanner with higher resolution could resolve the profiles of any endpoints directly connected to the one it's scanning, giving information about them as well:
An advanced, high-tech scanner with very high resolution could resolve the profiles of endpoints that are two jumps away, giving them still more information:
How does this resolve the original issue about unidirectional endpoints favouring attackers?
Cornflakes wrote:if you connect your jumpgate to an already existing, enemy controlled wormhole you can send ships through without fear of immediate retaliation, as there is no direct way of travelling to the source of the ships.
Imagine an attacker intends to attack a system belonging to another faction. He has a big fleet with him, and among that fleet is a large, expensive WHM-equipped vessel. Based on previous exploration of the system or the use of a stealthed scout, the attacker obtains the ID of one of the S1 or S2 endpoints in his enemy's system. The fleet admiral orders the WHM-equipped vessel to establish a jump-bridge with that endpoint, which it begins doing.
Now, one thing to bear in mind is that it takes a considerable amount of time to establish a jump-bridge capable of ferrying a whole fleet, and the attacker has just formed a connection with one of the stationary, stable and therefore probably well-monitored or secured endpoints in the enemy system. If the enemy faction is on its guard, it won't be long before they notice what's happening - if they are monitoring the profile of their endpoints and notice an unexpected and unrecognised profile appear in the receive zone of one of them, they'll know something's up. Now, they may not be able to prevent that jump-bridge from forming short of destroying a potentially quite-valuable connection between their system and another, but what they can
do, if they have a high enough level of technology, is perform a high-resolution scan of their endpoint as the attacker is establishing a jump-bridge to it. That jump-bridge means that the receive zone of the endpoint would have changed and now includes a smaller version of the frequency profile of the endpoint being maintained at the attacker's fleet location by the WHM-equipped vessel, and a powerful enough scanner could resolve that profile and therefore get a lock on it. The defender can then attempt to establish their own
jump-bridge to the attacker's endpoint at the same time as the attacker is establishing their own.
As stated in a previous post and in agreement with what Gazz said, closing an already-formed J-type endpoint is a complex procedure that takes time, and the higher the level of charge it's at, the longer it takes to close. Therefore, when the attacker notices the defender forming their own jump-bridge to its location, it has a few choices:
- They can continue to try and charge their endpoint, hoping to get their jump-bridge stable enough to transport the fleet to the defender's location before the defender stabilises their own jump-bridge. If they fail, the defender will be able to jump their own counter-fleet through to the defender's location and into the middle of their fleet.
- They can try to safely close the endpoint, hoping to shut it down before the jump-bridge of the defender stabilises. If they fail, the above situation occurs.
- They can try to shut the endpoint down quickly, but this has a high probability of explosively destroying the WHM-equipped vessel and anything around it. The WHM-equipped vessel is expensive, so even losing it alone would count as a considerable loss for the attacker.
You see that in a situation like the above, the attacker and defender may frequently end up racing each other to establish a stable jump-bridge before the other.
How does this affect other areas of the proposal?
One other notable thing that this proposal affects is how exploration vessels could use WHMs. I previously intended for WHMs to be used mainly for backtracking through existing systems. Now, however, an exploration vessel with a suitably advanced scanner may be able to scan one endpoint and get locks on endpoints that are connected to that one, but which they haven't needed to physically scan themselves. They can potentially jump to endpoints that they haven't visited.
However, exploration vessels are likely going to spend most of the time charting unexplored and uncivilised regions of the galaxy. Most if not all naturally forming wormhole connections will be bidirectional connections between two endpoints, neither of which form connections with any other. In this case, an exploration vessel equipped with even the most sophisticated scanner would only get a lock on two endpoints every time it scans an endpoint of a natural wormhole: the endpoint it's physically scanning, and its pair. So it could now use its WHM to jump directly to the paired endpoint if it wanted to, but this would likely be pointless as it could just transit along the wormhole using the endpoint right beside it.
However, if more complex wormhole connections can form naturally, then an exploration vessel with a more sophisticated scanner would have an advantage in these situations. Exploration vessels would also have an advantage in developed/civilised regions of space, where complex wormhole setups are more likely to form. They could scan one endpoint that is part of a complex network and obtain locks on many other endpoints as well, allowing them to travel around the civilised regions of space quite quickly. I think this is ideal, since exploration vessels are built to explore and so it shouldn't take too long for them to move around civilised/previously-explored regions of the galaxy.
Couriers equipped with more advanced scanners could potentially find faster ways of getting around the galaxy as well, decreasing communication delays between commanders and subordinates (for both the player and other agents) in the case that they cannot instantaneously communicate over an established information network.
Edit: "transit zone" -> "transmit zone"