Author Topic: Jump Drive mechanics  (Read 6897 times)

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Offline PTTG

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Jump Drive mechanics
« on: December 02, 2011, 03:33:47 PM »
Current hyperjump mechanics:

Ship sets course and speed towards destination star. This achieved, and once outside of hyper limit, the ship engages drive, accelerating to at very least 2500 times the speed it had at the moment of activation and departing the physical universe.

When the ship reappears at its destination, it produces a drive flare (detectable by EM sensors), and may suffer brief "sensor blindness", with the worst performing drives causing this effect for 36 hours, although compromising some efficiency for stealth is quite easy- military drives can make much smaller flares and avoid sensor blindness.

What I don't like is sensor blindness. While certainly effective at balancing massive civilian ships with small military ones, it seems a bit off.

While the jump flare makes sense, why not have a much shorter "power drain" state instead of the blindness, where a ship takes somewhere between a few seconds and several minutes (depending on the crew, and the type of engine) to simply get all systems back to full power after the draining conditions of the jump. Additionally, before a jump can occur, the ships must charge the drive, consuming fuel and taking some time before the jump can be made. A civilian ship might take a day or two to fully charge, then take ten minutes to reactivate the maneuvering thrusters, sensors, ect, on the other side. A military drive could ready for a jump in hours or less, and only take a second or two to get the lights on.

The options this would give just for some tactical potentials- ordering your ships to charge jump drives immediately, or have them stay discharged to save fuel, for example. Also, it means that you can't simply fly straight through a series of lined-up systems with nearly no fuel usage- every jump requires some amount of fuel beyond merely correcting the course and maintaining speed.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 02:34:00 PM »
Being unable to jump for a couple of days isn't much of penalty for a couple of reasons. Firstly, this isn't like Standard Aurora where you have to go through a chain of systems. If you want to go to a system on the far side of the galaxy, you can go just go straight there. You don't need to travel through the intervening systems. Therefore if you re-enter normal space you are very likely going to be staying for a while. An exception may be some sort of long range scouting expedition without stopping to survey but the chances are that nearby stars are not likely to be neatly lined up so you will have to spend quite a lot of time changing course. Secondly, being unable to 'escape' for two days isn't a major disadvantage. Partly because it will likely take any defending forces more than two days to reach you, unless you appear on top of them, and partly because it will take a while to decelerate and reverse course or alter course to another system before you can jump anyway.

However, on the other hand I am not a great fan of the sensor blindness idea either. It was just the best I could come up with at the time.

Your post has suggested a couple of options though. Perhaps the 'no jump until recharge' might work anyway but with longer timescales. Perhaps one day for the 'military FTL drive' end of the spectrum and ten days or longer for the commercial FTL drive, although the disadvantage there is that it would make it difficult for commercial ships to support military operations. Or the power drain idea, but with longer effects. The main engines are offline for an extended period after a jump - a few minutes for military up to several hours or even a couple of days for the engines of commercial ships to be available. They will be on a ballistic trajectory until they recover but again the issue is the ability of commercial ships to work with military ones.

Something else I have been considering is the 'Lost in Space' option. The chance of catastrophic failure in hyperspace could be based on the size multiplier of the FTL Drive. Maybe 0.1% or lower for one extreme and 3-5% for the other extreme. I doubt most players would risk military ships on the latter range of chance, but something like a terraformer or harvester that didn't jump very often, or a less expensive ship like a freighter would be an acceptable risk. It would also serve as a way of pruning back commercial shipping lines as civilian ships would be lost over time. In fact, maybe the age of a ship or the number of previous jumps or the time since overhaul, would affect the chance of being lost in hyperspace.

Steve
 

Offline Mormota

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 02:44:12 PM »
That would make the game very similar to Warhammer 40.000. Which is an incredibly good thing, I must add! The only thing we miss is the ability for a ship to arrive before leaving.  ;D

I don't really think even a ten-day penalty would matter at all. Even in Standard Aurora, my commercial ships sometimes only make a jump every 15-20 days depending on the size of the system. Now imagine everything being slower and even having to decelerate, and you have much longer times now.
 

Offline Zebulon

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 07:33:07 PM »
I'd just like to add my two cents about a 'Lost in (hyper)Space' mechanic. I'm a bit leery of the idea because the possibility of losing a ship wholesale to what is pretty much random chance just doesn't sit well with me. This may be a bit knee-jerk - after all, bad luck may cause a slow ship to jump into a black hole system or straight into a jump point blockade in the current Aurora. Still, though, this leads to the possibility of ships being lost on completely routine travel between systems which just feels like a sort of irritating tax on resources.

That said, I do love the idea in a narrative fashion - tales of ships lost to unknown circumstances in an unpredictable travel medium is neato, and the WH40k vibe is hard not to love. In fact, it might be sort of interesting to have the chance lead to a handful of different occurrences - maybe the ship somehow arrives back in the system it left from, or a random system (probably in some relation to the departure or destination system) or something like that.

It also strikes me that it'd be really cool - though likely too much trouble with the code base - to have another 'monster' race (ala Precursor/Swarm/Invader) that interdicts ships in hyperspace, dragging them back into real space somewhere between stars (creating a temporary system with no celestial bodies in it; or heck, maybe a system (or chance thereof) that contains a brown dwarf or rogue planet?). They then proceed to munch (or attempt to munch) whatever they interdicted. That'd potentially add some gameplay to the phenomenon.
 
In either case, it might be nice to make it an option like the overhauls and gates on jump points and such.
 

Offline Panopticon

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 07:41:36 PM »
So how about a compromise? You have a small chance to get "lost in space" when you jump to unfamiliar systems that decreases with successive trips as safe hyperspace routes are mapped?
 

Offline TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 07:47:58 PM »
I'd love to have NPR Ghost Ships :D

Given the way Aurora plays though I'm not a big fan of random ship losses in travel.  Mainly, it can take a lot of time and effort organizing military fleets or building asteroid harvesters and then you get screwed randomly. It can be really hard to recover from that in some situations.

I'm not sure sensor blindness or recharge or any other mechanism will matter much given the difficult defenders will have in 'pouncing' on any arrivals. I think the tightness of the random distribution on arrival is a much better differentiation between military and civilian drives.  Is it really a big deal that commercial ships cant operate well with military ones anyway?  I mean that's kind of the point.
 

Offline PTTG

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 08:41:49 PM »
Arrival accuracy is a big concern for military vessels. In fact, it seems reasonable that inaccurate drives could be dangerous for military groups that want to arrive in close formation.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2011, 06:57:15 AM »
Arrival accuracy is a big concern for military vessels. In fact, it seems reasonable that inaccurate drives could be dangerous for military groups that want to arrive in close formation.

A squadron will always arrive together as that is the idea of the squadron size tech line. Different squadrons could be widely scattered depending on the survey status of the destination system

Steve
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2011, 07:03:42 AM »
I'm not sure sensor blindness or recharge or any other mechanism will matter much given the difficult defenders will have in 'pouncing' on any arrivals. I think the tightness of the random distribution on arrival is a much better differentiation between military and civilian drives.  Is it really a big deal that commercial ships cant operate well with military ones anyway?  I mean that's kind of the point.

I agree with regard to the difficulty of finding a mechanic that will penalise a ship or squadron on arrival. Unlike jump points where a couple of minutes of downtime can be fatal, it is likely to take several days for defenders to intercept new arrivals, that is why I was considering some form of in-transit penalty.

In terms of commercial operating with military, it is true that taking commercial ships into battle is not generally a good idea. However, especially in the type of long range ops that will be necessary with the FTL model, it is likely that commercial ships such as tankers and supply ships may be operating with a military force. On the other hand, I guess the FTL model also means those commercial ships would likely be in a different squadron and may well arrive a long distance from any military squadrons so they whether they have compatible penalties may be moot anyway.

Steve
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2011, 07:28:18 AM »
I'd just like to add my two cents about a 'Lost in (hyper)Space' mechanic. I'm a bit leery of the idea because the possibility of losing a ship wholesale to what is pretty much random chance just doesn't sit well with me. This may be a bit knee-jerk - after all, bad luck may cause a slow ship to jump into a black hole system or straight into a jump point blockade in the current Aurora. Still, though, this leads to the possibility of ships being lost on completely routine travel between systems which just feels like a sort of irritating tax on resources.

That said, I do love the idea in a narrative fashion - tales of ships lost to unknown circumstances in an unpredictable travel medium is neato, and the WH40k vibe is hard not to love. In fact, it might be sort of interesting to have the chance lead to a handful of different occurrences - maybe the ship somehow arrives back in the system it left from, or a random system (probably in some relation to the departure or destination system) or something like that.

It also strikes me that it'd be really cool - though likely too much trouble with the code base - to have another 'monster' race (ala Precursor/Swarm/Invader) that interdicts ships in hyperspace, dragging them back into real space somewhere between stars (creating a temporary system with no celestial bodies in it; or heck, maybe a system (or chance thereof) that contains a brown dwarf or rogue planet?). They then proceed to munch (or attempt to munch) whatever they interdicted. That'd potentially add some gameplay to the phenomenon.

I like the idea of a powerful monster race in hyperspace (which is very WH40k :)). Perhaps the penalty for the drive would be that the size multiplier is used as a chance of being intercepted by the 'hyperspace race'. Large multipliers means the hyperdrive is cutting design corners and has a much larger signature in hyperspace, acting as a beacon to the hyperspace race. This interception could take several forms.

1) An amount of damage from an unknown source hits the ship and is assessed on exit into normal space
2) Same as 1) except that the ship appears in normal space midway between the start and destination. I would place them at the appropriate distance from the nearest star system. They would be on one of the existing system maps but just a LONG way from the primary.
3) Same as 1) except the ship appears in normal space in another nearby system within a reasonable distance of the primary
4) The ship is boarded in hyperspace and has to fight off the invading force or be destroyed. Not sure how I would handle this given the lack of player information on hyperpscae so maybe the ship would fall into normal space as well.
5) The crew is driven insane by whatever they encounter is hyperspace and the ship refuses to obey orders. In effect it becomes a renegade.
6) In all the above cases, there is a chance that one or more ships of the hyperspace race will follow the affected ship into our dimension.
7) Whatever else I can come up with :)

In fact, rather than a new race. A redesigned Invader could be the hyperspace race and that is how they enter our dimension rather than via wormholes. That way, the probable number of Invaders would be based on the amount of hyperspace travel. Once they arrive in our dimension, their mission is to kill everyone and destroy everything. I could still have limits on ship size so more powerful Invaders appears later in the game

Quote
In either case, it might be nice to make it an option like the overhauls and gates on jump points and such.

It can't really be an option if that is the only penalty for oversized jump drives. Otherwise, no one would ever design anything but jump drives with the maximum multiplier. Although maybe the hyperspace race could be an option, just like the current invaders, and they have nothing to do with FTL drives. I could find a different mechanic for FTL drives and the optional hyperspace race would have a tiny chance to intercept any FTL jump.

Steve
 

Offline Mel Vixen

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2011, 08:51:25 AM »
Well actually i like option 1 and more then that i would like it if we could exit hyperspace at a specified galactic map coordinate. I mean its just a patch of (mostlikely) empty space anyway so its not that hard on the database. An hyperspace-interdictor tech (only obtainable from invader wrecks?) would be interresting for this and would lend itself to pirating.

Another idea would be using the "jumpflare" a bit different. Instead of having it happen on system-reentry it could be triggered on the jump and then [technobable] propagate along the route a bit faster then the ship, its strength diminishing over time respective distance[/technobable]. If the jump-engine has bigger modiefers the flare would be considerable faster and stronger meaning that the Player or NPR would be warned that something is jumping into the system in a week or so.   
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Offline chrislocke2000

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2011, 09:03:41 AM »
How about making civilian drives more susceptible to speed and location error on jump exit when there has been a lack of grav surveys complete. This could be 2x error rate when only one system has been survey and four times when neither. This would reflect the expectation that civilian ships are generally only expected to operate in "secure" used systems.

Another more harsh option may be to limit civ drives to only working in surveyed systems. That way they could jump out along with military ships to another system but would need that system to have been surveyed before jumping back. Would also still allow commercial exploration ships but prevent them from being able to jump back out of a hostile system anytime soon.
 

Offline byron

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2011, 10:48:03 AM »
This is a really interesting puzzle.  I must admit that I don't like the idea of the monsters randomly eating ships, and particularly not eating mostly commercial ships.
At the same time, there are other options.  I have several that I favor.  First, I like the idea of drive flare, and would want to have that included.  Second, scattering makes a lot of sense.  A smaller drive will almost certainly be less precise.  Third, I think that ships with higher multipliers should probably be somewhat slower.  Not a lot, but enough that you see some effect.  The total range of variance might only be 25-50%.
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Offline sloanjh

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2011, 12:25:04 PM »
This is a really interesting puzzle.  I must admit that I don't like the idea of the monsters randomly eating ships, and particularly not eating mostly commercial ships.
At the same time, there are other options.  I have several that I favor.  First, I like the idea of drive flare, and would want to have that included.  Second, scattering makes a lot of sense.  A smaller drive will almost certainly be less precise.  Third, I think that ships with higher multipliers should probably be somewhat slower.  Not a lot, but enough that you see some effect.  The total range of variance might only be 25-50%.


A few observations:

1)  I'm a little confused about whether the overall discussion (not just the quoted post) is about "civie" jump drive vs. military, or whether the discussion is about researching better and better jump drive technology.  If it's the latter, then I don't really see a need from a gameplay point of view to have any penalty (other than maybe cost).  Why should jump drive tech be any different from armor tech, for example - the higher the tech, the better it is.

2)  If the discussion is about civie vs. military drives, then I would recommend simply having a significant speed difference - say 2x reduction for every 10x level (where level is in the "commercial vs. military vs. fighter vs. drone vs. ... sense).  This would give the flavor of slow, (strategically) lumbering big ships.

3)  Another option (on the civie vs. military front) is to have no penalty at all, i.e. only have one type of hyperdrive.  This would especially work if the cost of a particular drive was linear in the drive size as opposed to quadratic (as IIRC it is in standard Aurora) - a hyperdrive would simply cost a fixed percentage of the ship.  I see two potentially good potential effects here:
a)  It would encourage big ships, rather than a swarm of small ships, since there wouldn't be a quadratic penalty for jump drive size.  This was one of the original goals of Aurora.
b)  I had thought it might discourage "battle-rider"  designs (relative to the civie penalty option), where a big jump ship (with a commercial drive) has a swarm of parasites, but I realized while typing this that that's probably a lost cause - there's going to be a large incentive to produce battle-rider designs to avoid having dead jump-drive mass slowing down combatants.  At least with linear cost there won't be an incentive to produce lots of little mother ships, but instead produce a great big one.  I think the effect more likely to discourage battle-riders is the tactical badness of having to make rendevouz after an engagement.  Hmmm - maybe the cost should even be less than linear for hyperdrive size (same as armor) - a (drive cost) = sqrt(hull size) curve would REALLY encourage large motherships.  Have you thought of the same idea for normal drive costs (some technobabble about economies of scale for a single large drive vs. many small drives)?  This would encourage large multi-role, non-battle-rider designs as opposed to swarms of battle-rider specialists....

Sorry if some of the comments aren't relevant - I haven't been following this thread closely.

John
 

Offline Theeht

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Re: Jump Drive mechanics
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2011, 04:04:40 PM »
    I like the idea of the "battle riders" actually,   I feel that it would be a nice option.  Also, if I am interpreting the Rules post right, you could have either:  large, unstealthy or very expensive jump ships carrying smaller warships, or groups of more expensive but stealthier warships that don't rely on jumpships.  Or the current, warships flying with jump warships.

     About the hyperspace dwellers, intercepting ships randomly in hyperspace seems like it would be  very annoying without adding much to gameplay.  I propose that they would have a very small chance of coming out of hyperspace on top of other ships that are doing so with 0 velocity, and that chance would be increased by the size of the ship and the recent hyperspace activity in that system.  This would cause their attacks to scale with game time and to be less likely to attack minor worlds, and encourage the player to find a balance between centralised trade routes and direct paths.  I also think they should not replace the Invaders: if they were that powerful, the random encounters would be far too powerful early game, and they would be unlikely to attack in large enough numbers to replace the massive challenge of the Invaders.  Also interesting would be if instead of blindly attacking, they would coordinate with other of their ships in our dimension/wait for enough to come in to be an effective force.

 
 

 

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