Marcel wrote: ↑
Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:44 am
Just a quick thought, what about requiring an upgrade to your hyper-drive for intra-system jumps?
A fantastic idea, in my humble opinion, and to all to all you decision makers, coders etc who take the time to read this, I appreciate your time.
I do have to apologise for weighing in after this conversation has petered out but I'm not so humble. Here's the not-so-humble opinion piece:
P O T E N T I A L
I have played most all the newtonian space sims -- well, all of them that stood out in reviews (etc) to the point I thought they were worth playing. Right back to Glyn Williams's 'Warhead' on the Amiga, Frontier and so on. The key point though is that I think Pioneer has the potential to be one of the best space sims ever, if not the best.
O K A Y , H O W ?
Well, there was this space sim that had a newtonian flight model, but did not have such liberty in regards to Hyperspace. Instead of hyperspace distances being determined by a function of drive class and ship mass, it was determined by 'jump points' that existed at Lagrange points between certain bodies in any given system. Entry to, and exit from hyperspace was almost always at such a Lagrange/jump-point. Although I don't personally think Pioneer needs this kind of constraint, in that game, they were always permanently paired with a jump point in another system. No-one was entirely sure what made the pairings, or even what made some Lagrange points stable enough to be used as jump-points, but there were evidently only 1-4 stable jump points per system -- with the accompanying fictional literature hinting that some jump points were only reliable under certain [planetary] alignments and other (short lived) jump points appeared for no known reason and disappeared similarly. Certainly their is scope for drives of different class being able to make safer (but not exclusive) use of 'less stable' jump-points.
Anyway, the bit of tech that enabled hyperspace at jump-nodes was called a capsule drive and the 'supercruise' equivalent was called LDS for (yawn warning) Linear Displacement System. LDS enabled non boring travel inside a given system and (clearly) exceeded the speed of light as you could get from the goldilocks zone of an M class star to the start itself in way under 8 minutes.
I digress though: The advantage of this game mechanism was to concentrate system traffic around the entry/exit points. This makes the whole notion of space pirates intercepting inbound traders far more plausible -- not to mention giving police/navy a realistic chance of policing a system. It really changed the dynamics of arriving in a poorly policed or heavily pirated system. As it stands in Pioneer, if you arrive in a system with a craft that has sufficiently high main drive acceleration, you can exit hyperspace, max thrust half way to the destination, flip the ship, max thrust in reverse until your speed is near zero and all the AI guided ships can't manage the intercept because they are using retro-thrusters. All you have to do is keep repeating that technique (because it will, at best, get you within 5% of your destination) until you are close enough to engage autopilot and you're safe. Contrast this with arriving at a lawless system via a well known jump-point, you literally drop out of the jump with a defensive, shields up configuration and immediately engage in radical evasive and defensive and/or offensive strategies.
O T H E R P O I N T S O F I N T E R E S T
The other 'cool' thing about this (other) game was that it gave a crap about heat management -- an important issue in the cold hard vacuum of space where convection is unavailable and passive radiation is your only choice. You would leave dock with a chunk of high specific-heat matter cooled to damned-near absolute zero (hey, the thruster fuel perhaps?) and use it as a heatsink to absorb the energy created by lasers, engines and other systems. Obviously chemical reaction engines are designed to run hot, and ship design can mitigate the engine heat problem to a large extent with a good choice of design, materials, construction and the use of the convenient insulating effects of the vacuum of space. However, LASERs (and energy weapons in general) would need to be aggressively cooled. This brings ballistic choices such as self propelled missiles (guided and dumb fire), ballistics (think 'bullets') and flack shells (a combination of both) in to the mix. They have obvious limitations around the mass, cost and volume of ammunition; but this all adds to the fun. Well, if you ask me it does.
Oh, by the way, the game that incorporated all this was Independence War 2 - The Edge of Chaos. Funnily enough, it was also designed by Glyn Williams, the deisgner and author of the previously mentioned Amiga classic 'Warhead'.