Poll for FTL travel

    Which method of FTL do you prefer?


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    Wait, energy usage per second? Isn't the jump instantaneous??
    The jump itself is instantaneous, yes. However, I think there should be some base Power cost per second for having a Motivator attached to your Ship. Otherwise you could just stick a Motivator and a Computer on a bare Ship's Core and instantly teleport yourself around the whole solar-system using the Power stored in the Beacons.

    Shouldn't there be no intrinsic cooldown, only something regulated by the power demands required?
    I only included a cool-down because everyone on here seems to think FTL will be a horribly un-balanced get out of jail free card if it doesn't have one. I agree with you there should be no artificial cool-down and just have the more natural one of waiting for your Power Tanks to re-charge. This would remove the need for the Expander altogether.

    Instead, the expander creates a pool of FTL-only energy that gets charged after the main ship power is full. The expander energy pool expands at or below a linear amount with the block count, unlike the existing power tanks, which expand above a linear amount. It would be used on small ships to increase FTL range.
    I don't see the need for a separate FTL-only Power Tank. FTL travel itself simply uses your existing stored Power at or below a linear amount by default. Much more intuitive and no need for a new block type.
     
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    The jump itself is instantaneous, yes. However, I think there should be some base Power cost per second for having a Motivator attached to your Ship. Otherwise you could just stick a Motivator and a Computer on a bare Ship's Core and instantly teleport yourself around the whole solar-system using the Power stored in the Beacons.
    And there's a problem with that? You need a beacon network to do that. Personal transport with the minimum amount of energy required. Also, cores can get by with no power. It wouldn't be a balancing factor.

    I don't see the need for a separate FTL-only Power Tank. FTL travel itself simply uses your existing stored Power at or below a linear amount by default. Much more intuitive and no need for a new block type.
    The FTL-only pool is for small ships to increase their range. Large ships would simply find the power tanks more efficient, since those get more efficient the larger the group is. They would add say 10,000 energy each, but this energy could only be used for FTL. Basically the amount stored currently in the tanks would be added to your current power levels to determine maximum range. An extension of the current idea to make it more viable for smaller ships.
     
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    And there's a problem with that? You need a beacon network to do that. Personal transport with the minimum amount of energy required. Also, cores can get by with no power. It wouldn't be a balancing factor.


    The FTL-only pool is for small ships to increase their range. Large ships would simply find the power tanks more efficient, since those get more efficient the larger the group is. They would add say 10,000 energy each, but this energy could only be used for FTL. Basically the amount stored currently in the tanks would be added to your current power levels to determine maximum range. An extension of the current idea to make it more viable for smaller ships.
    Are you saying smaller ships should have a built-in way of making it easier for them to use FTL? It might not be a balancing factor between Players but, for the sake of immersion alone, I'd have to disagree with that. Small ships by their nature have to be purpose-built. Only larger ships have sufficient room to be able to take on more generalised roles. Any small Ship which is not purpose-built for FTL should not be able to use it without some kind of assistance, such as using the Beacon dock or hitching a ride on a Carrier ship of some sort. Otherwise, anyone with a beginner-sized mining/combat ship can disappear off to their own remote part of space and you reduce one of the incentives for people to build transport hubs and communities.
    Maybe scrap the idea of the Power-per-second requirement of the Motivator block. Having a Player Teleportation Network that can be access using only 3 blocks might not be a bad thing. However I say a definite no to the idea of a bonus Power pool specifically for FTL, just to give smaller ships a boost.
     
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    The problem is that you can't get enough power from power tanks to boost your overall power very far at small scales. If I want to have some sort of booster ring system like in star wars, in order to double the range I would need an unreasonably large vessel. I'm not saying that any fighter should be quickly retrofitable to be a long-range vessel with little loss of stats. What I am saying is that small scout ships need to be viable, which they cannot be with only power tanks. Also, I'm not sure why you would say that giving FTL to everyone immediately would result in people going out to the middle of nowhere since they would need a beacon to get there.

    EDIT: I just tested, in the dev build (with 50,000 starting energy) it takes 500 blocks to double the power a ship has.
     
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    OK, I have an idea for FTL travel which I think is simple, scalable, intuitive and doesn't require bringing in lots of additional complex rules and limitations.

    Essentially, it's the existing "teleport" feature that's currently available as a console command, but accessed via an FTL docking block (or Beacon) and controlled with a menu which lets you make a "Hyperspace jump" from one Beacon to another. The construction challenge takes the form of requiring both Ship and Beacon to meet certain criteria before a jump can be made. Please consider the following:

    Theory
    Travel through normal space: Requires Engines to move. Engines require power. The total amount of power expended in getting from Point A to Point B is affected by the mass of the object and the distance travelled.

    Travel through Hyperspace: Requires Engines and power in exactly the same way travel through normal space does, i.e. you still need a fixed amount of power to get from Point A to Point B. However, because distances and times are relativistically compressed in Hyperspace (insert technobabble), the power expenditure (and therefore the journey time) is instantaneous. The main problem is navigation as it relies on abstract mathematical calculations to plot courses between observable Beacons.

    Blocks Required
    Hyperspace Computer - Allows a Ship or Base to view the Hyperspace Menu.
    Hyperspace Computer Expander - Reduces the warm-up time on Hyperspace jumps.
    Hyperspace Motivator - Allows a Ship to make a Hyperspace jump. Requires a constant supply of Power per-second to remain active (like the Cloaker/Radar Jammer).
    Hyperspace Motivator Expander - Reduces the cool-down time on Hyperspace jumps. Increases the amount of Power per-second the Motivator requires to remain active.
    Hyperspace Beacon - Provides docking areas which ships can instantaneously jump to. Requires a constant supply of Power per-second to remain active.
    Hyperspace Beacon Expander - Increases size of the docking area, allowing ships with larger volumes to use the Beacon. Increases the amount of Power per-second the Beacon requires to remain active.

    Mechanics
    Any ship fitted with both a Hyperspace Computer and a Hyperspace Motivator can make a jump. However, you are only able to jump to locations containing a Beacon. The Hyperspace Menu shows you a list of all the Beacons you can reach based on the total power stored in your ship. Locations which require more Power to get to than both the ship and Beacon have stored, or have docking areas too small for your Ship, are greyed-out or simply not visible at all. Each Beacon allows only 1 ship at a time to be docked at it. Beacons which already have a ship docked appear in red and cannot be jumped to until they become empty and turn "green". If you are already docked at a Hyperspace Beacon before you make your jump, then any Power stored in the structure the Beacon is attached to will *add* to the total Power available for your Jump. Upon completing a jump, you appear docked at the destination Beacon and un-dock in the same way you would from a regular Docking Block.

    Both Beacons and Motivators are visible on the Hyperspace navigation menu. Beacons are visible permanently, but Motivators are only visible during their warm-up/cool-down times. This allows for a jumping ship to be tracked via your own Hyperspace Computer for a limited period, making stealthy jumps somewhat challenging.

    Balance
    Instantaneous power expenditure means that the more Power you have stored in your Power Tanks, the longer the distance you can cover in a single jump. Otherwise, you're limited to lots of smaller jumps with added re-charge time in-between. So, to have a fast FTL ship (one that can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs) you need to be more concerned about the total number of Power Tanks you have, rather than your Power output per second. The amount of Power required to travel a certain distance in Hyperspace could be equal to or higher than the amount required to travel the same distance in normal space. Adjust accordingly if balance is required.

    Adding the power stored in Beacon stations to a jump allows ships to travel further than normal and naturally creates transport hubs. It also allows very small ships to make use of the Beacon network for more "domestic" purposes, such as cargo transport.
    A Station designed to be a mass-transit hub would require lots of Beacons, Beacon Expanders and Power Tanks to allow Ships of different sizes to use it and keep traffic flowing evenly.
    A Station designed to be used only as a Navigation point within less-explored space would require very few Beacons (maybe only 1) and enough Expanders to allow ships of whatever size you imagine will require use of the facility. You would only need sufficient Power Generators to keep it all active as Ships can use their own power for the Jumps.

    Making the whole FTL system rely on total Power storage means a jump can be inhibited or disrupted entirely by hitting a ship with enough Powerdrain Beams. This would encourage Players to build "tackling" ships aimed at crippling other vessels instead of damaging them. Also, if a ship's shields are getting hit by weapons fire, it keeps firing it's own weapons, or is thrusting using it's normal engines then the time taken for it's Power Tanks to re-charge sufficiently for a jump is extended. This is a much more natural way of disrupting jumping than adding artificial damage limits, or creating specific "anti-FTL" weapons etc.

    Expanded or Optional Ideas
    Jumping to Planets:
    Planets create a large enough gravity well to be detectable in Hyperspace. As such, your Hyperspace Computer is able to plot a course to them. The upside is; you don't have to have already made a journey to a Planet via normal space in order to jump to it. The downside is; you will appear inside the gravity well of the Planet, so better make sure you have enough thrust to escape on arrival.

    Emergency Jumps: A lot of people in this thread seem to be surprisingly keen on the possibility of being annihilated the instant you use your shiny new FTL system. To satisfy this death-wish, I suggest you have an option in the Hyperspace Menu for an "Emergency Jump". You still have to have a Beacon/Planet targeted, but this option reduces the warm-up time to zero and jumps you to a random location within the sector of the target. If your Ship re-appears in any space which is already occupied by another object (Asteroid, Planet, your own Base etc.), then any overlapping blocks on both your Ship and the object suffer immediate, extremely high area-of-effect damage which ignores shielding.

    My Personal Rant
    I hear a lot of talk on here saying FTL would have to be nerfed (long cool-down times, prohibitively huge energy expense to make a jump etc.) in order for it to be balanced. I fail to see the logic in this as everyone constructing an FTL system will have the same constraints, so it's naturally balanced. Ultimately, all we really want from an FTL system is reduced journey time. The main argument seems to be "people will use it to escape before I can blow them up". Well, so what? People will try to escape using any means necessary. Why should we bring-in rules preventing people from building a faster ship? It's a bit like accusing Han Solo of cheating because he owns the fastest ship in the Galaxy. So long as you can track your opponent then there's nothing stopping you from building an even faster ship than theirs if you want to give chase. Or just stop the other ship from jumping at all by hitting it with enough Powerdrain Beams. This game should be about presenting challenges which encourage creativity gameplay, not imposing artificial limits because a few players are complaining they came last in a race.
    Why do we need beacons? They "encourage exploration" but are really just an artificial barrier to balance the game. Beacons should, if implemented assist in FTL travel when people are using smaller ships and larger ones without a good enough setup. Those beacons would better described as gates, fixed portals to other gates. I agree completely that a ship should be able to escape a slower one, but maybe allow people to follow your hyperspace trail if they are quick for the sake of added tactics. Power though, it just isn't suited for the application, The recharge is too fast and tanks are only used for a few quick discharges in a well designed ship. A passive cooldown would work nicely for ending prolonged chases though. Any ship should be capable of FTL to any location though, so long as the distance isn't ridiculous and the builder focused on that heavily.
     
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    I'll respond in a slightly mixed-up order. It'll make sense when you read it :)
    Also, I'm not sure why you would say that giving FTL to everyone immediately would result in people going out to the middle of nowhere since they would need a beacon to get there.
    Good point. I suppose that depends if you implement the ability to jump to Planets as mentioned in the Expanded/Optional ideas section. If you don't then this whole idea becomes limited to a domestic fast transit system which can't be used for exploration or attack. Depends on what people agree we want FTL for...

    The problem is that you can't get enough power from power tanks to boost your overall power very far at small scales. If I want to have some sort of booster ring system like in star wars, in order to double the range I would need an unreasonably large vessel. I'm not saying that any fighter should be quickly retrofitable to be a long-range vessel with little loss of stats. What I am saying is that small scout ships need to be viable, which they cannot be with only power tanks.
    OK, thanks for clarifying that. Most people on this thread seem to think that using FTL should have a prohibitively high cost. It sounds to me like having to add mountains of Power Tanks fulfills that cost perfectly. Besides, if you're not going to have the Planet jumping feature, then FTL Scouts are impossible. However, like you I'd also like to see small purpose built ships become viable. If you do allow Planet Jumping and people agree the Power cost should not be prohibitively high, then you can do either one of the following:
    A) Reduce the Power requirement for an FTL jump so it only needs a percentage of the requirement to travel the same distance in normal space,
    or
    B) Change the rules on Power Tanks to allow then to contain more Power.

    Still no need for extra blocks, just tweaking rules for the existing ones.

    EDIT: I just tested, in the dev build (with 50,000 starting energy) it takes 500 blocks to double the power a ship has.
    That's very useful, thanks for testing that :) Can you test how much of the 50,000 starting volume of Power is required to move your ship from one Sector to another? If it only needs, say, 30,000 Power then you can replace a lot of your Power generators with Power Tanks and your ship need not be that much bigger.
     
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    Why do we need beacons? They "encourage exploration" but are really just an artificial barrier to balance the game.
    Beacons do not encourage exploration as you can only jump to locations which already contain one, meaning someone must have previously explored that location. If you include the ability to jump to Planets, then they can be used as a high speed "one way ticket" for exploration vessels.

    Beacons should, if implemented assist in FTL travel when people are using smaller ships and larger ones without a good enough setup.
    I agree.

    Those beacons would better described as gates, fixed portals to other gates.
    No, unlike a Gate the start and end point of a Beacon jump is not fixed. Opening up the Hyperspace Menu in your Hyperspace Computer allows you to see all Beacons in the Network that are within range of your Ship. You can choose any of those Beacons to jump to, provided there is not already a ship docked to it. This allows Players to manage their own traffic flow as they can see which Beacons are free and which ones are not.

    I agree completely that a ship should be able to escape a slower one, but maybe allow people to follow your hyperspace trail if they are quick for the sake of added tactics.
    The Hyperspace Menu lets you see what ships are docked at which Beacon to prevent collisions. If you're going to allow jumping to Planets then the Ship's Motivator will also be visible in the Hyperspace Menu until a cool-down period is spent.

    Power though, it just isn't suited for the application, The recharge is too fast and tanks are only used for a few quick discharges in a well designed ship. A passive cooldown would work nicely for ending prolonged chases though. Any ship should be capable of FTL to any location though, so long as the distance isn't ridiculous and the builder focused on that heavily.
    The cool-down could also reduce the rate at which your Power regenerates, making it harder to do a quick succession of short jumps. A Hyperspace jump *is* a quick discharge, so by your own argument that makes them perfectly suitable for the task. Even a Ship with weak Hyperspace capability could still travel to any part of the Galaxy, it will just have to make a lot of smaller jumps rather than one big one. This is what differentiates between a slow ship and a fast one.
     
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    I only included a cool-down because everyone on here seems to think FTL will be a horribly un-balanced get out of jail free card if it doesn't have one. I agree with you there should be no artificial cool-down and just have the more natural one of waiting for your Power Tanks to re-charge. This would remove the need for the Expander altogether.
    I've partially changed my mind on this. There should be a cool-down but only to allow the tracking of a ship that has completed a jump.
    It *may* be an idea to have the cool-down also reduce the rate at which your Power re-charges. But, if the Power capacity of a Tank ends up needing to be increased in order to make Hyperspace jumps feasible (see post #207), then you're naturally increasing the re-charge time anyway.
     

    Lecic

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    What is the point of a beacon? How does a beacon magically allow you to jump? A beacon is just a transmitter floating in space saying "Hello, I am here"
     
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    What is the point of a beacon? How does a beacon magically allow you to jump? A beacon is just a transmitter floating in space saying "Hello, I am here"
    I believe I explained this thoroughly in my original post? #197
    Are you querying what it's actual purpose is? Or just why I chose to call it a Beacon?
     
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    Lecic, I think the beacon doesnt necessarily enable you to jump but it acts more as a marked location where you can target to initiate your on-board jumpdrive, I guess they act as markers for jump information to travel to the locations containing the necessary calculations and clear route. As in reality if you try to blind jump you could collide with objects or encounter other issues.. but thats if you dont allow time for your jump computer to perform the calculations and predict a safe course.
     
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    I'm not experienced at making quote boxes, so please work.

    Beacons do not encourage exploration as you can only jump to locations which already contain one, meaning someone must have previously explored that location. If you include the ability to jump to Planets, then they can be used as a high speed "one way ticket" for exploration vessels.
    When I said "encourage exploration" I was talking about everyone else thinking that. Why not allow jumps to any sector then planets are the only significant structures apart from shops? Otherwise, make beacons more useful than planets.

    No, unlike a Gate the start and end point of a Beacon jump is not fixed. Opening up the Hyperspace Menu in your Hyperspace Computer allows you to see all Beacons in the Network that are within range of your Ship. You can choose any of those Beacons to jump to, provided there is not already a ship docked to it. This allows Players to manage their own traffic flow as they can see which Beacons are free and which ones are not.
    When I said "gates" I meant portals to hyperspace, it would look nice and let people use them without FTL capable ships, if they bring them to the station, carriers would fill the same role, but in a slightly different way. I think that these should simply transport ships to the beacon the pilot chooses, not A-B but A-B/C/D... No FTL drive required, but having one adds range. Ship-based jumps to beacons also go farther than to planets and even farther than to void sectors (2x range to beacon, 1.5x to planet, 1x to nothing/beaconless station.

    The Hyperspace Menu lets you see what ships are docked at which Beacon to prevent collisions. If you're going to allow jumping to Planets then the Ship's Motivator will also be visible in the Hyperspace Menu until a cool-down period is spent.
    The first sentence would be solved by allowing ships to jump to anywhere within 1km, the second one I'd want some elaboration

    The cool-down could also reduce the rate at which your Power regenerates, making it harder to do a quick succession of short jumps. A Hyperspace jump *is* a quick discharge, so by your own argument that makes them perfectly suitable for the task. Even a Ship with weak Hyperspace capability could still travel to any part of the Galaxy, it will just have to make a lot of smaller jumps rather than one big one. This is what differentiates between a slow ship and a fast one.
    The problem with slower regeneration is that every other system needs power, so you could run out of power using thrusters with the amount of reduction needed to prevent FTL, also having a separate system makes you balance your ship more to make FTL work, I like the idea of smaller jumps but that would make for a frustrating chase. Again, letting weapons disrupt FTL jump capability (like a shield with regen but not blocking damage) and/or a cooldown would allow people to set up ambushes and try to prevent the target from escaping quickly.

    Edit: Well, I now see why programs are hard to debug, I had everything quoted because this was in the wrong place. [/QUOTE]
     
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    mrsinister

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    personally, I think if we could build jumpgates (needing at least 2 to actually work) like in Babylon 5 tv show, that would be an amazing addition to the game. and if a gate is connected (within range) to other gates, a menu would appear to which gate you would want to jump to. This way, you would need to gather resources to build the gate, plus gate construction, etc etc.
     
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    I think Beacons are the way to go, because the CPU cost of large gates could easily kill a server, seeing as you would have to compute not only normal collision, but also what part to break off, and strip off potentially millions of blocks as the ship exits the portal. you also have to calculate it the ship is big enough to enter the portal, whenever it enters the portal, otherwise a ship could just have a nose 1 block wide and use a tiny portal as an entrance portal (assuming the exit portal was large enough to fit the whole ship). Also, it would be heavy (though not nearly as heavy, but still) to tell if the portal is a "ring", and if it's complete. Because of this, just flying a mother-ship into a sector with even one warp gate could crash the server, and defiantly would cause really bad lag issues as long as it was in there.

    With a beacon, you can use the shop algorithms to make sure of no collisions, and dress it up as you please. Maybe it IS a portal. Maybe it's a projector. Maybe beacons are just per-calculated routs, and routs that are not per-calculated are just too difficult/dangerous to navigate. It also allows for more customizable balancing of warping. If you have a gate, you ALWAYS have to make the gate large enough, you can only adjust power costs (and potentially distribution). With a beacon, the only limit is power cost, and you can adjust how it's distributed, as well as how much it is, and possibly add a synthetic warmup time, if so desired, rather than a gate, which can't really have a warm up.

    Now, that said, I have my own ideas on how to balance beacons, but those are just my opinion.
     
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