An alternative FTL System - WarpSpace

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    Hello people,
    i figured i post this thread here for some long time discussion, as discord swallows a lot of answers and i do want as much input/feedback as possible.

    I present to you WarpSpace.
    WarpSpace replaces the vanilla FTL mechanic ("admin teleport") with a minecraft nether like space which you enter to travel distances quicker.
    You enter the warp by firing your FTL drive, in the warp every meter travelled will translate in 10 meters travelled in realspace.
    I already built it as a quick proof of concept mod and it does already work, Multiplayer tested.
    Showcase video:

    The video is of the 0.1 version, im at 0.3 now which brings in easier navigation as your navpoint is translated into/outof warp so you will know where to go to reach the desired coords. Also you will drop out of warp if you are going to slow, experimental feature.

    I did testplay it a bit, and it does work well after a couple minutes of getting used to it.
    The main problem i see is that since warp entry points are every 10 sectors (a side effect of how warp position is translated), you will always have to travel a couple sectors after dropping out of warp.
    Simple example: (which i playtested)
    Travel 4 systems to the nearest asteroid belt.
    thats 16sectors x4 systems realspace + 6 sectors diagonal to get from the systems edge to the asteroids.
    70 sectors, assuming a 10 km sectorssize thats 700 km.
    closest warpentry point is at max 7 sectors away (diagonal of a 5x5x5 sector box)
    so you hop into warp and the 700km get scaled down to 70 km. Thats 140 seconds flighttime at 500m/s
    so 2 minute warp traveltime, + 7 sectors to get from the entry point, to the target, another 2 minutes.

    This leads to 2 main problems:
    a. travel time from warp exit point to target will always be a couple sectors
    b. travel time in warp scales linear. so it will still take a long time to cross bigger distances (2 minutes for 4 sectors, 20 for 40)

    in conclusion:
    there is an inherent risk that players are forced into annoying long flights.

    A side effect is that warpgates still work as vanilla, so they are suddenly the best way to travel longer distances bc they are instant, precise and you dont have to be afraid of being attacked in the warp.


    So to tackle the flight time problem, there are some possibilities.
    a. reduce warp flight by scaling up the warpfactor. so instead of 1:10 you could do 1:100
    Benefit: you now only have to fly 1/100 of the realspace distance.
    Problem: warp exit points are now space 100 sectors apart. so for our example above, you only travel 7 km in warp, but then have to travel 70 sectors from the warp exit point to your target.
    (kind of like a highway exit thats far away from your hometown so youll have to travel a long time across countryside)

    So just scaling up warp does not do the trick
    b. allow precise warpdropout. instead of rounding the warp coordinates to its scale (1 entry point every 10 sectors), you could either drop out precisely to your navigation waypoint or translate your position in the sector in warp to the realspace position. (latter option would be a playtime nightmare to navigate).
    Problem: this takes away warp entry points. these entry points are known to everyone and are (right now) the only way to jump into a system. at scale 1:10, each system has 4 entry points which could be defended by a faction, used to prey on passerbys etc. They are essentially node points of travel. I would like to keep them if possible. also entry points open up the possibility for other mechanics that fill that gap, like a warpbeacon chamber that allows precise drops. If you allow players by default to do precise drops you run into the same problem vanilla FTL has, almost admin teleport, where you can just drop and any pursuer cant follow bc he doesnt know what sector you dropped to.

    c. multi level warp. Introduce more levels of warp. This is the most complex version and might be the most confusing.
    The idea is that have 3 levels of warp. each level has a higher scale and you switch between them to reduce travel time while maintaining semi precise drops.
    so you enter warp at level 1= 1:10 scale. if you need to go big distances, you jump again to get to level 2= 1:50. you are either teleported to another space so that warp levels are completely separeted, or all warplevels could share the same space. for very big distances you can go to level 3 which is 1:100 or even more.
    this way you allow the player to choose which scale to travel at, and also allow him to drop out at a 10 sector spaced exit point, and not 100 sectors away.

    Please give your thoughts on these ideas, note that this feed not mainly about FTL alternatives in general, but this specific warpspace idea.
    I am open to any ideas, but there are limitations of what is possible through my coding skill and the way starmade code behaves.
     
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    The idea seems sound and very interesting. The travel nodes do present an opportunity to grief players, though, and bad players/community is really the worst thing about this game, and always has been. But you can't help that, alas. Is the warp space like, some void space sectors above or below the plane of the galaxy you get teleported to? Could you scale it back to 1:5 scale as the lowest level of warp, if you continue with that idea, then 1:10 and 1:100?

    Also, how do I know where I am in warp space and where I'll drop out if, like you say, I slow down below warp speed?
     
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    The idea seems sound and very interesting. The travel nodes do present an opportunity to grief players, though, and bad players/community is really the worst thing about this game, and always has been. But you can't help that, alas. Is the warp space like, some void space sectors above or below the plane of the galaxy you get teleported to? Could you scale it back to 1:5 scale as the lowest level of warp, if you continue with that idea, then 1:10 and 1:100?

    Also, how do I know where I am in warp space and where I'll drop out if, like you say, I slow down below warp speed?
    Since each system has 4 nodes at a 1:10 scale, i dont really see the danger of griefing, because it to many entry points to try and prey for passerbys, but not to many if you want to set up defenses in your own system. But sure, any ability to defend a system can also be used for piracy/griefing. I dont know a solution to that, maybe some kind of recon system could solve that. so you would know whats at the target before you drop out and cant be surprise attacked, or at least not as easily.
    Super fast EDIT:
    Now that you mention it, a trans-warp recon system could be a very interesting addition. First thought i have is some kind of Submarine like ping. you fire your scanner, it pings through the warp into realspace and gives you some rough info about the exit sector. not enough for planning attacks but enough to be sure that theres no enemies nearby. and to balance it out, the ping reveals your location to the whole system or something. Will think about it some more, probably needs to be built in first before i can tell if its decent or not.
    Edit end

    At the moment, you just get teleported 300 sectors up, since that was very easy to implement. It was suggested to use test sectors etc. but i havent looked into it and dont really see the need.
    I will look into different scales soon, but i think 3 minute flight is acceptable, will test soon.

    Your warp coordinates multiplied by ten is your drop out point (and 300 down), and your nav marker gets translated and moved to its qarp equivalent, so just follow the nav marker and drop out when you reach its sector.
    I do want to add a custom HUD element so its easier to tell and less obvious that you re just 300 sectors up.
     

    DrTarDIS

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    I really like this mod. I have a few considerations for you. I'm going o say flat out I don't consider piracy a "problem" but rather one of the very few things to DO in starmade. I think the LACK of piracy is the actual problem.

    Rather than firing FTL twice, have FTL slowly discharge while you are in warp and kick you back into realspace once empty. This allows for a few things in ship design:
    • "longer jump" chambers could be repurposed to determine what ratio you use for FTL translation. People with them active would use another grid, for ex one 300 DOWN that operates at 1:20 or 1:30 or...
    • having multy-charge jump extends FTL time, much the same as the current "longer jump" chambers
    • ships with auto-charge FTL chambers can stay in FTL indefinitely. This makes an actual important reason to have the chamber on an explorer or long-haul. (also becomes a MANDITORY system for FTL pirates giving "prey" a potential advantage)
    • interdiction in realspace should generate some sort of effect visible in warpspace. Result interdicting anywhere in one of the exit point ranges makes the area impassible or "expensive" in any of the warp spaces(assuming you use the "longer jump" suggestion above.) and kicks anyone who enters the visible effect area drop-out into realspace sooner. (boarder control for factions)
     
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    Now that i think about it, it sounds like slipspace from Halo, in the fact that FTL is done through an alternate dimension where the thing that propels the spacecraft are the engines, not the drive itself, anyway it’s something very interesting for SM, and I like the concept, i think it’s more befitting to starmade than the insta teleport that is being used right now. It also leaves more space for imagination and therefore, roleplay, in my opinion.
     
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    Yeah, it is super cool compared to the regular teleport mechanic. And yeah, griefing probably won't be a huge problem, but exploitability is always something to consider since the hardcore pvp community is pretty dirty and loves using them.

    I do like that longer warp time suggestion too
     
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    A thought on griefing:
    With the warpspace, a potential raid is far harder to pull off. 1 warpsector = 10 realspace sectors, so if you sit in your warpsector and you can see 1 sector in each direction, you essentially can see whats going on in the warp for the whole stellar system. Very hard to sneak into your system by warp then.
    If you do eventually get attacked, the attacker cant just teleport away, as soon as you receive backup or start hurting his shields. He will have to go into warp and you can just follow him. No more "teleport away scotty!"
    So yeah, you can probably camp someone a bit better (maybe, really just an assumption at this point), but you can punish any raider, which makes it a much fairer fight in my opinion.
     
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    I would love to see this type of thing in the actual game, because while I personally prefer the in-game mechanic as I build mostly Star Wars ships, and the Jump drive is essentially a Hyperdrive, whereas this mod matches Star Trek (among others) propulsion where you enter FTL and can travel the galaxy, and if I ever make anything Star Trek in the future, this certainly matches the Star Trek aesthetic much closer, and they could both work in the game as seperate reactor chambers, albeit this one having much less practical use.
     
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    A thought on griefing:
    With the warpspace, a potential raid is far harder to pull off. 1 warpsector = 10 realspace sectors, so if you sit in your warpsector and you can see 1 sector in each direction, you essentially can see whats going on in the warp for the whole stellar system. Very hard to sneak into your system by warp then.
    If you do eventually get attacked, the attacker cant just teleport away, as soon as you receive backup or start hurting his shields. He will have to go into warp and you can just follow him. No more "teleport away scotty!"
    So yeah, you can probably camp someone a bit better (maybe, really just an assumption at this point), but you can punish any raider, which makes it a much fairer fight in my opinion.
    Another fun idea. Dropping mines in warpspace.

    I like this concept for a WHOLE lot of reasons, the big one is that there's more to FTL than just "I teleport here now". This gives warpgates a unique utility for long-range travel. You can even have multiple stargates in one system. Just hop into warp to take the other.

    Strike that, I love this idea. My fondest memories of starmade are traveling outside of FTL.
     
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    You could put a battle station in every sector entering your system both in the warp and in the galaxy, thus making it effectively a fortress.

    Or, you could put warp gate stations in the warp, creating a super-fast travel lane

    Or, you could put warp gate stations in the warp that lead back to the regular galaxy,, carry out a raid, and instead of entering the warp, drop out of the warp, which in theory since you were in the warp the entire time (never disengaged your warp drive) you'd be at minimum 300*10 sectors away, almost straight down, probably in a distant galaxy. Where you could enter the warp in that galaxy and take a warp gate system leading back 300 sectors up, teleporting you back to the regular galaxy. A stupid starmade trick. A useless exploit.