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Wilks Checkov

Debate 8: Advancement of game FTL

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Okay for this weeks debate I thought I would go off on a tangent and discuss a topic that interests me a great amount. 

 

 

As far as we know at the moment there are only two ways of FTL travel in-game, and they are tied together; one will not work without the other. 

 

Anyway what I aim to discuss tonight is a few other potential possibilities for FTL that would / could be available later on in the game, once people have access to more knowledge, and are more - industrialized. 

 

 

 

 

Potential Advancement of game base FTL - timeline: 

 

Of course we already know about the stargate probes and how they will be used as warp / jump beacons for ships to travel to distant solar systems - and that this process takes months apparently. 

 

Let me go ahead and note - this post will NOT be talking about probes, and that this post will make some speculation on potential game mechanics - so the post may later be annulled by validated information. 

 

Reminder "DO NOT DISCUSS PROBES" - this has already been covered many many many times in several posts. 

 

What it will be talking about are a few other potential possibilities that could be used within the game at later points in time to provide better travel time / speed, as long as you have the skills/knowledge to use said techs. 

 

Here is a list of potential FTL technologies that "could" appear after a base understanding of the stargate - jump gate and probe system. These will be in order of development / technological advancement / skill level.

 

  • Warp drive: Will to the best of my knowledge be the first form of FTL that is accessible within the game - is used to travel to a stargate probe in another system. Uses large amount of power - consistent rate of energy consumption. {Ship Based}
  • Jump gate / stargate: Will be a very large physical object that is used to jump between systems instantaneously. Requires a large amount of power - however energy peaks at jump - requires massive generators to deal with peak. {Station Based} {Fixed Object}

 

          Far as is currently known - these will be in the game in one way or another. Anyway here is a few potential ways of FTL that                     "could" be available later on throughout the game. 

 

  • Hyperspace: A faster form of FTL than Warp. Uses a large consistent supply of energy during usage. Requires a large surge or burst of energy at engagement of drive to tear into subspace to travel. Fairly large generator. {Ship Based}
  • Jumpdrive: One of the last forms of FTL. Is considerably far more advanced than Hyperspace or Warp based FTL. However requires "MASSIVE" capacitor banks to store energy for the drive to activate. Will rely on charge rate to use the Jumpdrive. Jumpdrive itself will have a charge time - say 15-30 minutes, also the size of the Jumpdrive is massive - only large ships can handle it - as well as the support infrastructure required to operate it. It also requires near constant maintenance. The advantage is that the jump drive can cover a large distance instantly - no time to travel, and has no speed, you just blink into existence at your destination. 

 

Anyway these are simply theories on what could be available for transportation later on in the game, once the technological level of the civilizations are able to access, research, and use it. 

 

So what do you think of expanding the potential means later on the game for FTL. Should we have access to better forms of FTL later on in the game? What are your opinions on this? 

 

 

Feel free to leave your thoughts on the subject - feedback is appreciated - and also leave a like. 

 

 

And remember to have fun debating!

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Forgot to mention - I am no longer going to be doing a Debate every single day, instead I will be working on a longer more interesting weekly debate. 

 

Just thought I would go ahead and clarify this. I did forget to mention it in said above post. 

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So the devs have said there will be no jump drives

 

We don't have plans for jump drives inside ships (vs Stargates that are independant structures made to help other ships to jump). FTL will be possible via warp drives but they will basically be about travelling at very high speed, a few multipliers above the speed of light (no offence, physicists, this is SciFi!). The reason is that we have this mechanism of probes that must be launched to be able to deploy stargates. If we were to allow jump drives, or insanely high speed, they would be used to bypass this constraint and deploy stargates much more rapidly. We believe it will give a better overall gameplay if new parts of the universe are discovered with relative efforts, creating a feeling of achievement and conquest that would simply not be there if it's too easy to just "jump there". It will allow to see the known world grow as the community is expanding, constantly opening new territories to explore and conquer.

 

As far as hyperdrive, I agree that there should be some capacity to increase the speed of FTL. I would prefer to see some kind of tech upgrade/research mechanic applied to the normal FTL rather than a different kind of FTL, if it were a choice. I would love to see both research/upgrade mechanic and newer FTL implemented. It would be interesting to see choices involving a new experimental hyperdrive, or the super upgraded FTL.

 

Another important thing is to keep in mind the devs' statement above: "If we were to allow jump drives, or insanely high speed, they would be used to bypass this constraint and deploy stargates much more rapidly. We believe it will give a better overall gameplay if new parts of the universe are discovered with relative efforts..."

So it also depends on the balancing of an increased FTL speed too. Is 2x enough? Too much? How much higher should the fastest FTL be able to travel, relative to the earliest FTL available?

 

IMO I think 2x is in the ballpark, while 5-10x is too much. IE a normal interstellar journey of one month would be reduced to 3 days (obviously, but just giving perspective here). I would think that is too fast given that the devs have stated they intend weeks-long journeys (interstellar), not a handful of minutes, hours, or even days.

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Was not meaning jump drives to be a easily accessible technology - would be more of a item that can be accessed with a few years of research - one a good chunk of known space is already explored. 

 

Hyperspace is similar to warp - minus one fact - warp uses real space - while hyperspace uses subspace - subspace "technically" things can move relatively faster. Thus enabling higher speeds - but with more costly effects to use. 

 

 

Once more I go back to saying - linear technical advancement - hyperspace would be available say with a year of RND. Jump drives should be far far longer - 

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The devs have already stricken down the idea of a jump drive, replacing it with the stargate. And I do get the feeling that stargates will indeed take a very long time to get, months after game launch perhaps.

 

I'll go along with whatever pseudoscience you want to explain FTL. From a gameplay perspective, if it goes faster, the question is: How much faster? If it can reach another star system in 10 minutes (vs, say, 4 weeks), it renders stargates almost useless. I have no idea what kind of costs could be incurred to make up for such a huge benefit. Even complete and utter destruction of the entire ship might not be enough.

 

I could see FTL taking a few weeks or months after launch to get up and running. After that another few months or more for stargates to start appearing.

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The devs have already stricken down the idea of a jump drive, replacing it with the stargate. And I do get the feeling that stargates will indeed take a very long time to get, months after game launch perhaps.

 

I'll go along with whatever pseudoscience you want to explain FTL. From a gameplay perspective, if it goes faster, the question is: How much faster? If it can reach another star system in 10 minutes (vs, say, 4 weeks), it renders stargates almost useless. I have no idea what kind of costs could be incurred to make up for such a huge benefit. Even complete and utter destruction of the entire ship might not be enough.

 

I could see FTL taking a few weeks or months after launch to get up and running. After that another few months or more for stargates to start appearing.

Not talking even closely about 10 minute travel times. Where you even get that number from?

 

 

More realistically it would be more along the line instead of 4 weeks it would be more like a week maybe week and a half at the best skill level. Stargates would still have their uses for instantaneous transportation. 

 

As for jump drives - smaller ships can not handle them - only very large ships should be able to - as you have to provide the infrastructure to generate store and then dissipate that charge to the JD. 

 

 

And I am speaking about Jump Drives in a hypothetical sense - knowing that it likely will not be added to the game - but still does help giving potential direction to go. 

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This is all very interesting.

The chain of advancement being;

 

Ground based Drives -- Standard Prop. Drives -- Faster Than Light (Warp) -- Stargates -- ??? 

I would assume that sub-space or 'Hyper Space' travel could be a possibility beyond warp drives, I imagine they would use immense amounts of resources though, being much faster than standard FTL (Warp). However, I am unsure how they would eventually put that it. Would it be much, much faster, say 4x or just faster to a smaller degree, i.e, 1.5x, thus making it better but not essential for speedy travel? I'm unsure how this would be balanced or whether it would fall before or after stargates. 

As for other methods of travel, while I love the idea of jump drives, it's sad to see them get shot down. I imagine only capital classed ships would be able to get them, and they would have to be specifically fit with enough energy to do so, with restrictions around other things to balance it. But, once again, that won't happen.

I'm not really able to think of more at the moment - Though, my input is that I think the devs are pretty set on the chain up they want, and that it is going to take a couple months to get to even being able to build gates regardless of whether you have the FTL tech or not :P 

 

//-- Off topic (slightly) --//

As for stargates, I have always wondered how the gates are going to handle large groups of ships, whether its going to be numbers based (i.e, 5 - 10 players at a certain energy peak that the gate can provide, meaning we need larger energy pools for larger fleets) or would it be mass based, making small pirate gates viable to only those running smaller ships, limiting the ability to get into the system without finding alternate routes, etc. 

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The ideal of there only being 2, "end all be all" types of space engines doesn't sit well with me since this game has so many advancement and progression based themes as part of its core. So some cool ideas you've got there. I like that you are adding progression to the ideas that the devs put forth so far, and I would love to see some of your ideas implemented, even if it literally takes IRL years or longer before someone can finally research the tech for it.

 

That all being said though, in reference to the FTL Jumpdrive you suggest, I do have some concerns. If one could, al-la BSG, jump to another star system instantaneously, I worry about the extrasolar jump-gates ultimately becoming unnecessary. Perhaps making it only for shorter jumps, such as distances inside of a star system? Even if the range is far shorter than what you were originally proposing, I think having an engine like this would give any org. a HUGE tactical advantage as they would literally be able to jump in and attack a rival at a time and location of their choosing, as well as still keeping the currently proposed jump-gate system intact. If it follows the inter-system route, we might even be able to make the drive for smaller craft to utilize as well; but make the (for lack of better terminology) "size" of the drive determine the distance it can travel (could base it on waste heat or something). Heck, you might even be able to utilize it with the hyperspace drive to sort of leap frog towards a distant non-jump gate system, using hyperspace while the jump drive recharges or something. I don't know, I feel like I'm just babbling now, but wanted to add my 2joy. ^_^v

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Well hey, there is also costs involved in here. No matter how many upgrades are done, it could be that using stargates when possible is the cheapest method of moving vast distances in a short amount of time. Using the warp engine, while it could get faster in the future, could be really expensive power wise and only get more expensive as you try to push the warp engines to go faster and faster.

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The devs have already stricken down the idea of a jump drive, replacing it with the stargate. And I do get the feeling that stargates will indeed take a very long time to get, months after game launch perhaps.

 

Oh boy, gate camping here we come ...  <_<

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The ideal of there only being 2, "end all be all" types of space engines doesn't sit well with me since this game has so many advancement and progression based themes as part of its core. So some cool ideas you've got there. I like that you are adding progression to the ideas that the devs put forth so far, and I would love to see some of your ideas implemented, even if it literally takes IRL years or longer before someone can finally research the tech for it.

 

There should definitely be some variety in FTL and stargates. Perhaps different versions use different sources of power, ranging from electricity to fuel to magic space crystals. Some drives might be a little faster/go farther, some might be more efficient. With an upgrade skill or research mechanic, they could be improved upon by the player.

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Would have to say, it would be best to force all smaller ships to travel via Jump Gates. Only large ships could fit a Jump Drive.

 

However, I don't think Jump drives should take the large ship alone with it. What if the Jump Portal Generator created a jump field 1km wide (as an example) that pulled anything in it along with the large ship with it. (Accept other Large ships to prevent them getting cut in half)

 

BTW: JPG = Jump Portal Generator

 

Interesting note, if you ship is longer then 1km then you would need to add additional JPG's in order for it to be able to jump. (Which by the way I think would make an excellent balance mechanic for large groups of players making something that big, due to the insane cost of say activating 5 JPG's)

 

Further-more, a Large ship shouldn't be able to jump somewhere the Navigator does not have the coordinates to. (IE Someone has to have been there, and gave the coordinates to the navigator if he himself had not been there)

 

Finally, there should be a limit on how many JPGs can be used to go to one place at any given time. (Stops 200 Large ships from all jumping at the same time and landing at the same time, causing the greatest intergalactic car crash you have ever seen)

 

(Also i'm totally gushing this one but)

Would be awesome if you could activate a JPG over a city and take the top half of a city building with you.

Because, that is my favorite moment from Halo 2

(But would also be used to grief to no end)

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One of the things I enjoy about Paradox's Stellaris is that each race picks one of three types of FTL, each with their own pros and cons and vertical progression.

 

The vibe I seem to get is that even after FTL is developed it is still a big deal to use and most activity will take place in systems, instead of in between.

 

One solution with the choke point is that a gate is needed to enter, but the exit point is partially random. The other option is that the only way to avoid choke points is to use the slower warp drive. for FTL. So the player choice is use the gate for fast travel but risk being jumped by a gatecamp, or a slower warp drive but more control over yoru encounters. I can see the viable strategy for risky movement is send in a scout (human or ai?) via a warp drive to check out the other side of the gate, then go through he gate when the all clear is given.

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One solution with the choke point is that a gate is needed to enter, but the exit point is partially random. The other option is that the only way to avoid choke points is to use the slower warp drive. for FTL. So the player choice is use the gate for fast travel but risk being jumped by a gatecamp, or a slower warp drive but more control over yoru encounters.

 

One of the biggest problems in EVE, is gate camping/ganking, just because the gate location is fixed, and everyone must travel thru those holes in order to move to other systems.

 

One other possible approach is we can make gates a "low cost construct-able" device that opens up a travel portal that deteriorates after a set time frame, say 6-12 hours, instead of a "fixed free for all" portal system.

 

What this offers is it will allow people to jump between systems after they construct it (builder determines entry/exit location), yet removes the "gate camp" issue since the gate will never last for a long time.

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To be Honest, the SG Probe thing only really makes sense, if you can actually jump to them. Like, fast. Or will they have a person sized SG on board?

 

I have the feeling, that Stargates will be bilt in various ways, some with high power production to allow frequent use, some with high-capacity fields to allow long range, and others with big size to allow big ships. Of course those three thing greatly interfere with each other. Like bigger range also needs more power, or bigger ships need much more power, even reducing range and increasing spin up-times.

 

And I can totally see Jump drives not outclassing Stargates. Just make the space/power rquirements so big, that ships with jumpdrives will simply get too big to use standard Stargates. And maybe also induce some field shape propertys onto the ship, Like hiding everything in the jumpdrive bubble. Where Expanding increases the costs, etc.

Plus finally, Jump drives would need some marked coordinates. Free form jump on known coordinates might be overpowered.

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