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    Reposting some suggestions I made some time ago in the Discussion with the devs thread, to bring its points into better visibility, cause I wouldn't want this aspect of the forthcoming Universe Update to be any less awesome than it could be ;)


    So here are a few suggestions (or speculations of what the devs might already be doing) regarding the new galaxy structure:
    • Keep the solar systems being made up of a regular cubic grid of sectors, with the host star (or pair of host stars) residing in the center sector (to ensure that their furthest planet orbits and asteroid belts don't cross the system boundaries).
    • But abandon the regular cubic grid of solar systems, to remedy the unnatural and weird orderliness of the galaxy.
    • Make the planned galaxy regions vertically non-overlapping, but make them several systems thick, to retain galaxy depth.

    And introduce metasystems:

    Base the generation of galaxies' spiral shape on upscaled "metasystems", within which individual solar systems could reside at random positions. To explain, currently the galaxy is made up of a set of filled and a set of empty "pixels", which together demarcate the spiral arms and the central bulge.

    These 3D pixels are the current 16x16x16-sector-sized solar or void systems. Instead, metasystems would play this same 3D pixel role in the galaxy shape generation, but they would be cube shaped volumes made up of whatever number of standard systems. If they would be composed of let's say 5x5x5 standard systems, they would contain 125 possible positions for a star and its orbiting stuff, chosen randomly.

    This way, there would be a small enough chance for stars within a spiral arm or the central bulge to align in unnatural vertical columns, or north-south/east-west horizontal rows, or diagonal lines (and an almost zero change to form a weird, fully regular cubic or rectilinear grid).

    Furthermore, the star-size to galaxy-size ratio would shift closer to realistic; galaxies would become 5x larger in diameter, and much less dense, so stars wouldn't visually block out each other that much. Also, the ratio between planetary orbit diameters and interstellar distances would shift closer to realistic too (currently it's possible to have a smaller distance between two planets of different systems than between a planet and its host star; systems are separated by smaller distances than their diameters; the galaxy feels cramped; separate solar systems with void systems from all directions).

    So again, the rule would be that 5x5x5-system-sized metasystems would either contain 124 standard systems of void plus a single randomly positioned solar system (in case they're within a spiral arm or the central bulge) or only void units (in case they're between spiral arms or in intergalactic space).


    And perhaps implement a void skipping function to the base jumpdrive, to mitigate the cons of such an increase in the amount of empty space.

    Opinions anyone? :)

    125 stars now, versus the same amount in 125 metasystems, visualized in SketchUp:
     
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    jayman38

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    With so much empty space, it might be time for Starmade to take a page from Elite-a-likes and put in a max-speed-multiplier, depending on proximity to objects. E.g. Supercruise, Time-dilation, Microjumps, etc. Max speed in Starmade is largely a function of avoiding problems interacting with multiple objects, so maybe max speed could be more flexible out in the void. However, docked items may find themselves undocked, abandoned, rubber-banding around space, or otherwise exhibiting odd behavior. (Oops. Looks like your turbolift just jumped out of the hull. Sorry, Cap'n! Hold tight! We're coming back around to getcha.) It could be a tricky problem for Schine to figure out.
     
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    With so much empty space, it might be time for Starmade to take a page from Elite-a-likes and put in a max-speed-multiplier, depending on proximity to objects. E.g. Supercruise, Time-dilation, Microjumps, etc. Max speed in Starmade is largely a function of avoiding problems interacting with multiple objects, so maybe max speed could be more flexible out in the void. However, docked items may find themselves undocked, abandoned, rubber-banding around space, or otherwise exhibiting odd behavior. (Oops. Looks like your turbolift just jumped out of the hull. Sorry, Cap'n! Hold tight! We're coming back around to getcha.) It could be a tricky problem for Schine to figure out.

    A possible way I can think of to mitigate the cons of the particular way in which this suggested change would increase the amount of empty space, would be to add a void skipping function to the base jumpdrive:

    1. The player either selects a desired non-void destination sector, or points the ship in whatever direction, and activates the jumpdrive.
    2. The game asks "Is the next sector along the line between the ship and the destination (selected or determined by max jump distance) within a void system?"
    3. If yes, disregard it.
    4. "Is the next sector between ship and destination within a solar system?"
    5. If yes, count it in the normal jump calculation.

    This would require the game to be able to differentiate between solar systems and void systems, but the long-distance jumpdrive-travel user experience would remain the same, if I'm not missing something.

    A problem I see with this is an upper limit on the number of void sectors one can skip: if there would be one, we could prevent TOO long jumps (ie. we don't want jumpdrives acting as if the source and destination systems would be neighbors, while they would actually be on the tips of different spiral arms with only void sectors along the connecting line), AND also prevent single-jump intergalactic travel. But this would also mean that emigration to other galaxies would have to be done the hard way, with classic locomotion only. But that's arguably a non-issue, especially since Schema expressed the intention to condense all action into the starter galaxy.

    (Also, edited the original post to include a SketchUp visualization of the gist of the suggestion, to get a better feel of it.)
     
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    I don't think it's a good idea for me to have so much space between systems it would make jumpdrive a must have and regular moving just boring as hell with pure empty systems like that

    For me the universe update should make everything bigger with real planets that actually looks big and the rest of universe at the same scale so that the universe feel a bit more like any other recent 3D spaceship game like starmade.

    Keep in mind that the main goal of the universe update is to make everything less "infinite but empty".
    I think if we really need to keep empty systems they need 3 points:
    • being populated with enemies
    • having something that player should want to get inside them (loot or upgrades for example)
    • make it possible for certain pirate stations for example to cancel our jumpdrive and trap us in an enemy sector (that way the player cannot fully ignore void systems)
     
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    Should be able to make some pirate ships and stations with jump inhibitors now, though they'd doubtlessly have to be adjusted sometimes.

    If I dared to stand beside the devs dreams, I would suggest making the regions they want to use the "civilized" and economically viable portions of the galaxy, where people are willing/able to live and which are already mapped, have a large number of services available like traders guild shops etc, and keep the rest of the "uninhabited" galaxy as places you can conquer and civilize more or less for bragging rights but not major endgame credit, with some extra easter eggs for explorers.

    Upgrade tech I feel is actually doable, and I had a half-cocked idea how to make it less painful.
    You can totally seed the rest of the Galaxy with pirates but also uncontacted alien civs; hostile, friendly, neutral, could be good trade partners for the rest of the galaxy or someone to conquer.
     
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