Ship-based Warp Travel

dusty

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#1
Heyo o/ Have recently had an excess of time to day-dream, so I thought I'd post some of it here.

First, a very important disclaimer
For those of you who may not know, I'm an FB employee currently on furlough, but I don't work in the design department. What follows is written purely for my own enjoyment, and does not reflect the ambitions or inclinations of the development team: This is not a feature in design or development.

I also want to take a quick second to apologize for the formatting :') it feels very pompous, but it helps keep my scrambled thoughts at least sort of organized (also Xenforo has terrible support for nested bulleted lists)

Key Objectives:
  • Reduce time spent idling during local/near-local space travel
  • Expand options for player-vs-player combat and interdiction
  • Implementation must avoid reducing chances of player interaction
Highlights:
  • Enables relatively quick travel within local space. Super distant travel is possible, but not necessarily recommended for a number of reasons
  • Compatible with interdiction and proposed tracking/scanning systems, does not prevent PvP in transit
  • Fills gap between normal spaceflight and warp gate/capital ship travel
Background:
A common sentiment in feedback is that the size of the playable universe makes it difficult for players to interact or engage with other aspects of gameplay. Starbase currently offers three methods of travel – regular spaceship travel, warp gate travel, and capital ship travel – with which a player can navigate the universe. Each option has benefits and drawbacks, and represent a particular stage of the game: Capital ship warping being the late-game, and regular spaceship flight (and now warp gate travel too, with the removal of the fast travel core requirement) being the early game.
  • Normal ship flight offers finesse but with limited cargo and range, and generally require their operators to invest a significant amount of time in order to reach valuable minerals, stations, and other points of interest. It is further exacerbated by the relatively slow speed at which spaceships can travel (150 meters per second).

  • Warp gates offer some amount of mobility to the ordinary ship, but their utility is limited in the absence of player-constructed variants. Should these be able to be built in the future, warp gates could offer a strong foundation for the mobility of new players while also encouraging cooperative play in their construction and maintenance.

  • Capital ships offer easy access to the entire universe, and are a huge economic boon to their operators with near-limitless cargo space and mobility. However, they have an intense cost associated with them in both the upfront construction cost of both a station dock and the capital ship itself, as well as their long-term maintenance (warp chips, fuel, etcetera).
As currently designed, capital ships represent the ‘end game’ of Starbase, and present some interesting possibilities. However, their impact is so massive that they tend to warp gameplay around them:
  • Economic Effects: Capital ships demand massive investment in either group efforts or via a well-supplied marketplace, but thereafter offer a huge return on investment by making the accumulation of resources comparatively trivial. However, the deluge of materials that the average capital ship can transport and provide craters market value, which in turn greatly hinders new players starting off in basic mining ships as they are unable to compete with the capital ships. While this does offer interesting options for those who are inclined to join a group, solo players are often left out.

  • Exploration: Capital ships currently offer the only way to explore distant moons in a reasonable fashion, which isn’t necessarily something that needs to be fixed. However, they also demand that the pilot have a warp chip to the area they wish to travel to. While this does provide interesting market effects in the form of navigation chips, it still demands that some player invest tens of hours in idle space flight to generate these chips. Deep space exploration is effectively limited to only those who own a capital ship, and who are willing to further compound their capital ship travel with this marathon of flight in order to generate navigation chips.

  • Military Offensives: Capital ships can transport a great number of military craft to an area, but only if that area has been previously surveyed and a navigation chip for it exists. Because of this, there are currently no practical options for interdiction and ambush, and beginning a siege is equally complicated.

Proposal for Warp Drives:
This concept details a ship-mountable warp drive, which offers players the ability to travel quickly through space without requiring the investment of a capital ship. However, this warp drive must take into consideration some factors.
  1. The warp drive must not be able to be used as a ‘get out of combat free’ card, nor should it be so effective and free of consequence that it totally supplants regular ship travel, or eliminates the chance of player interaction in normal space

  2. The warp drive must not place unachievable demands on the game engine (eg: moving faster than 150m/s)

  3. The warp drive should be somewhat prohibitively expensive, so as not to encourage the subversion of regular space flight. However, it should not require too many warp-specific components (apart from the warp drive itself) to operate.

  4. The warp drive should not be able to effectively replace a capital ship and the advantages it brings. It should, however, offer a stepping stone to a capital ship, and/or additional gameplay options that complement capital ship gameplay (such as offering a method of quickly generating warp chips for a capital ship)

  5. The warp drive/warp space should – in as many ways as possible – offer an experience that is intuitive and familiar to the average player, and its usage should be relatively simple. Properly integrating the warp drive on a ship shouldn't require too much work to install or operate competently, but also shouldn't be as simple as bolting it onto some random plate.
This warp drive concept takes cues from existing works, such as Minecraft’s nether realm and Halo’s slipspace. These systems entail an alternate dimension of compressed space (henceforth ‘warp space’), within which the displacement of X meters corresponds to X*Y meters in ‘normal space’, where Y is some pre-determined multiplier. A warp drive would therefore reduce a ship’s travel time by some fraction, offering significantly faster – but not instantaneous – travel without necessitating special considerations in terms of physics interactions, etc. from the game engine.

This would see the following considerations made for the warp space dimension:
  1. Warp space is effectively a compressed alternate dimension to the universe. For the sake of an easy calculation, we could consider the warp dimension to be at one-tenth scale; this would mean that traveling one meter in warp space would correspond to ten meters in normal space. Excepting the portals, this warp space layer does not have any physical interaction with ordinary space, so as to avoid extensive calculations and work.
    • Because warp space is compressed, the 5km view distance effectively encompasses more of the play area while within warp space, as players will be able to see other players in warp space who would ordinarily be – in normal space – up to 50km away (or by whatever scale was chosen, if not 1:10).

    • Optionally, ships currently in warp space could have a corresponding ‘ghost signal’ in normal space. This could be used to track ships traveling through warp space and opens up possibilities for interdiction.
  2. Upon initiating warp travel, two portals are generated: An entrance portal in the current space, and an exit portal in the other dimension at a corresponding location. This secondary location is calculated using the 3D coordinates of its sibling portal and the scale factor of the warp dimension. If necessary, the portal’s position may be altered to avoid collisions with existing objects (stations, ships, asteroids, etcetera).

  3. Inside of warp space, gameplay continues as normal: Ships and endoskeletons may move freely, shoot weapons, cause destruction, etcetera. The warp dimension itself could be devoid of natural hazards such as asteroids, planets, or nebulae, but it is shared by all players currently in warp space. As such, it could serve as an area for reliable player combat.

  4. To compensate for the decreased travel time, resource consumption (propellant, electricity) is amplified. The obvious multiplier would be to use the same scale modifier that the warp space uses, but this may not be entirely preferable.

  5. To discourage players from settling or camping in warp space for too long - or from simply using it too often - station construction is prevented and ships would become irradiated over time, utilizing the same ‘stacks’ concept as corrosion and heat (though this may apply to the ship as a whole instead of per part to save on performance). Radiation stacks are directly proportional to how readily a ship may be detected by ship scanners, and could also disable ships in the long term. Radiation stacks persist in both normal space and warp space, and only decay over time. An excess of radiation could optionally cause sporadic failures in ship electronics and machinery as simulated component decay.

  6. Ships and objects which are left derelict in warp space are unceremoniously ejected into normal space after a period of time. Removal of the warp core or causing excessive damage to it while in warp space should also cause the ship and its crew to be ejected into normal space (or potentially more disastrous effects).

.. And the following devices added to the game:
  1. Warp Drive Core: This contraption could be composed of several ‘fluff’ sub-components and has a scaling footprint. It could also come in distinct size options (small, medium, large, etc. for correspondingly sized ships). To prevent abuse and to avoid making it easy to dodge combat, the following considerations should be made:
    • The warp drive core has a very high electrical consumption rate, multiplied by the number of charge capacitors (see below) attached to it, which is sustained during the entire warp initiation process. Keep in mind that the intent here is to rip a hole in the fabric of spacetime, and this shouldn’t be something that is done lightly.
      • Optionally, the electrical intake could have a conversion efficiency rate, which would directly affect how much electricity the capacitors subsequently receive. This could also be affected by the heat stored in the warp drive core (ie, heat generating electrical resistance).
    • The warp drive core generates heat proportional to its electrical intake during charge-up, multiplied by the number of heat tokens supplied by its charge capacitors. This heat generation should be extremely high, and could have a limited heat dispersion rate.
      • The purpose of this high heat generation is to prevent ships from soaking it with a wall of regular heatsinks, which would make the cool-down trivial. This heat could also persist beyond exiting warp space, preventing the warp drive from being used for back-to-back warping.
    • The drive core acts like a heatsink, and is capable of storing significant thermal energy which in turn must be dispersed by the ship’s cooling system. Though the warp process can be sustained through high heat, it cannot be initiated unless the warp core has sufficiently cooled.

    • Each warp drive core size has a certain upper thermal limit. Exceeding this thermal capacity for any reason triggers either A) an explosive meltdown, or B) a forced shutdown and subsequent cooling period, during which the warp process cannot be initiated. The accumulated heat must then be eliminated entirely before the warp drive can be restarted.
      • This will create situations in which it is mathematically impossible for a ship to utilize its warp drive for its own travel purposes. Ship designers must be cautious to not violate these constraints. The goal of this system is to prevent any scenario where a practical ship is able to maintain a warp-ready state for too long, and to introduce consequences for doing so.
  2. Charge capacitors: The warp drive’s sole customization option is in the quantity of charge capacitors, which accumulate the electricity required to begin the warp process. The maximum charge rate per capacitor must be low so as to prevent it being used too rapidly (as an off-the-cuff example, 10% per minute), but adding an excess of capacitors could reduce charge time to some degree. These capacitors cannot charge and discharge at the same time, and each capacitor adds a number of heat tokens to the warp drive core.
.. And would see the following considerations made for the gameplay associated with the warp drive:
  1. Opening a portal into warp space is an energy intensive process in which the sum total of invested energy is equal to the diameter of the portal. This diameter determines which ships can and cannot transit through the portal. It follows that the maximum diameter of portal which can be generated by a warp drive is proportional to the number of charge capacitors on a warp core. Each charge capacitor on the warp core intakes electricity at a fixed rate, and a very large ship would require a significant number of capacitors and a proportional charge time, preventing quick escapes.

  2. To open a warp portal, a ship must have an assembled warp core with enough capacitors attached. To begin opening the portal, the ship must first charge the capacitors on its warp core to a percentage of charge sufficient enough to generate a portal which can fit the ship.
    • A warp core should have read-only YOLOL fields which indicate the maximum diameter of a portal which it can generate at that time, as well as the diameter of the spaceship to which it is currently attached. The default behavior of the warp drive will be to open a portal that is sufficiently wide for the ship it is attached to, determined by the ship’s bounding box. However, a player can override this setting through YOLOL.

    • The warp core should be able to discharge its electricity and begin forming the warp portal at any time, even if the accumulated electricity is insufficient (or overly-sufficient) for the ship itself to transit the portal.

    • The purpose of this system of expanding diameters is to allow both small and large ships to utilize warp space with a scaling resource demand: Small ships can utilize warp space without monumental costs and without needing a massive device on their ship, whereas large ships must sate a proportionally larger demand and device footprint. This also allows players to ferry multiple ships through one portal, which reduces the barrier to entry for groups of players, and gives players a visual indication of how much longer a portal will last in space (as portals should collapse slowly). This also gives other players a chance to pursue the ship, whatever their reasoning may be.
  3. Warp space is entered and exited via transiting a portal, which is generated by a ship’s warp drive at a fixed point in space ahead of the ship. This portal begins as a tiny rift, which expands in diameter as the warp drive dispenses the charge contained in its capacitors. This process shouldn’t be instantaneous, but it also shouldn’t add significant wait time after an already-lengthy charge time.
    • Once the portal has begun to open, any ship which is physically compatible with its diameter may transit to or from warp space.

    • Some method of automatically orienting a ship to enter the portal at the precise center may be needed. Otherwise, free flight sounds good.

    • The portal is held at its configured diameter for a period of time (a few minutes tops), after which it will begin to shrink. The portal is still navigable at this point, but it is more risky.

    • When a new portal is being created, there should be some indication of its imminence in the other dimension so that players may move out of the way if necessary (or ambush the exit).
  4. Navigating warp space could be made possible in a few ways:
    1. Flying ‘blind’ (ie as a player would normally fly, without any navigational assistance) is the most basic option.

    2. Navigation chips could interact with the warp core to enable a transponder visible to the ship’s pilot.

    3. The planned 3D map could give an imprecise indication of where the ship currently ‘is’ by translating its warp space coordinates into normal space coordinates, and displaying the player’s position as if they were in normal space. This would also allow normal ships to act as deep-space explorers, but remember that resource consumption (propellant, electricity, etc.) is also amplified. No free meals!

    4. Some form of warp space beacon, which would be set up on stations in normal space, could have their transponders visible within warp space
  5. Ships accumulate radiation while in warp space, which is readily detectable within both warp space and normal space. This radiation level will decay over time, but will make tracking ships significantly easier; the trade-off for significantly quicker travel time must be enhanced danger, before, during, and even after transit.
    • Warp portals could interact with scanning devices by broadcasting some form of signal which indicates not only its own position, but also the time left until the portal collapses.

In summary, the warp drive itself should be a relatively simple device with a scaling footprint in order to allow ships of all sizes to incorporate them without significantly disrupting the design of the ship itself (as the fast travel gate cores often did). It is essential that the stat values of the warp charging sequence, etcetera, be set high so as to prevent instantaneous charging and warping, but not so high as to dissuade its usage altogether. The goal of the design should be to make ordinary spaceflight still preferable for short trips (as an example, distances shorter than a few hundred kilometers), while providing an attractive but risky alternative for longer distances.

It is predictable that the warp space would become the new playground of piracy-focused players, as the compacted space would net significantly more targets. I don't think this should be discouraged, as the lack of reliable action is one of the foremost drivers of player loss. Warp space would also provide players a means to escape combat, but not one that exists without counter-play: Wherever one player goes, the other can easily follow – and in fact, entering warp space to escape a pursuer may have the opposite effect entirely, as both parties would be significantly closer to one another in warp space. Further, it seems unlikely that this form of warp drive would significantly impact how frequently players interact in normal space, as both the time (several minutes per warp charge, plus cool down) and resource investment should prevent it being used to station hop over short distances – plus, interaction beyond the proximity of the Origin stations is already minimal. With the future inclusion of tracking devices such as radiation/thermal scanners, warp space and normal space could be more effectively intertwined as two sides of the same coin, rather than as two separate playing fields.

As mentioned earlier, the design of this is intended to provide faster travel without requiring too much investment in terms of development, though it would likely still be quite challenging.


warp demo.png
 
Last edited:

Askannon

Well-known endo
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
98
#2
I quite like the idea, since it would allow for a new decision aspect for designing and also for operating ships.

I have three questions though:
1) Would Titan asteroids, moons and Planets be represented in the warp space (even if not as an obstacle, but as a ghost shape) to inform players if they would spawn inside Eos if they would fall out of warp here?

2) Is having a warpcore a prerequisite to entering a generated portal or would it be that the one who opens the portal keeps any who follow/come alogn in warp?

3) Would it be, in theory, possible to have two or more warp cores and cycle them? Or would the radiation mechanic be synced 1:1 with the overheating of the core?
 

dusty

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#3
: D It's definitely easier to paint in broad strokes, so I expect there would be a lot of details (like these three) that would need refining. I'm far from a professional designer, but I've got plenty of time on my hands for guesswork.

1) I'd expect there would have to be some method of determining obstructed areas for planets, moons, titan asteroids, and safezones. A purely data-driven solution that checks the coordinates on the opposite side and returns a boolean would probably be the simplest, but I think a visual representation would be better so that players aren't flying around aimlessly searching for a spot they could exit from. Perhaps it could utilize chunks of belt fog that occupy the same space (naturally translated to the warp realm), and players could immediately know whether or not they could transit just by finding a clear space. Stations could also have some permissions list to allow allied players to exit directly into their safezone, which I'd think would be balanced by the warp realm itself being quite dangerous. Obscuring locations with fog/whatever in the warp realm would probably only be necessary for large obstructions like safezones and titan asteroids though, as the exit portal in normal space could just be moved around a little to provide a clear exit amidst smaller obstructions like regular asteroids.

warp demo2.png

2) I see no reason to reintroduce the restriction that the fast travel gate previously had, so as long as the portal is still large enough any ship, construct, or even a jetpacking player could transit it. Naturally, shepherding unequipped ships in like this would be a bit risky, since they would also rely on the other ship to let them exit.

3) I'm not a big fan of artificial restrictions generally speaking, but I could see an argument being made in favor of limiting the device to a single unit per ship. Perhaps - if a ship were to have several drives - each drive would automatically split the heat/radiation/etcetera, so that having a cold swap on board wouldn't be quite so simple. I suspect the irradiation mechanic which the (future) scanners/detection relies upon would need to be bound to the ship rather than the core itself as well, in order to prevent players from simply pocketing the device.

As an aside, I'd also be very much on board with a fully-realized 'void' aesthetic for the warp realm, and the more oddities the better.
 
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La_fleur_

Well-known endo
Joined
Aug 19, 2021
Messages
80
#4
These are good suggestions, but we are lacking PVP right now. We need sieges of capital ships, we need thermal and radiation radars, we need to abandon the eternal shields of the station. The shields of the station must have energy for their work and this shield could be overcome if the energy of the shield ran out. If you shoot at the station's shield from outside, the energy should be spent faster. Thermal and radiation mechanics should work that the bigger the ship. The more ships have engines, generators and other things, the more it is visible on radars and it is more accurate to determine. There are also no points of interest in the game. The ore is scattered equally all over the moon and it is simply impossible to find someone. The fact that you are saying this at the moment does not seem to me a priority, and judging by the fact that the developers are no longer engaged in the game, we will not see it all soon, if at all
 

dusty

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#5
Those are all valid concerns that merit their own discussion, but I'd like to keep this thread devoted to just thoughts and concerns about the potential existence of warp drives, etcetera. Please remember that development is currently on hiatus, and most of us are unfortunately not back and working. This thread shouldn't be taken as an indication of development priority or any other official position, as it's really just idle day-dreaming that occurred while waiting for development to begin again.
 
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#6
Those are all valid concerns that merit their own discussion, but I'd like to keep this thread devoted to just thoughts and concerns about the potential existence of warp drives, etcetera. Please remember that development is currently on hiatus, and most of us are unfortunately not back and working. This thread shouldn't be taken as an indication of development priority or any other official position, as it's really just idle day-dreaming that occurred while waiting for development to begin again.
The whole Starbase community can't wait till development will continue again, in my humble opinion this is the best space game ever created, so please keep that in mind, it tells how good you devs are. :)

Yet I have a question for you related to this particular topic, what we're talking here and in general is always considering the current planetary system, but the original blueprint of Starbase declares basically infinite universe, speaking of that, what would you suggest as a solution to the interstellar travel, at some point pilots would have to fly further and explore the galaxy, so it has to be a some superfast travel mechanism in place to accomplish that trip.
 

ZombieMouse

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#7
I love this idea. There was only one point that I really have an objection to on creative grounds:

>the warp drive will be to open a portal that is sufficiently wide for the ship it is attached to, determined by the ship’s bounding box

Using the bounding box to determine the size of portal required encourages boring compact box ships more so than ever. I would suggest that using the ship's mass would be a better way to assess the size of a ship. In a game with so much freedom in building, it would be sad to see a player's creative choices in ship appearance restricted. Some of the coolest ships I've seen have been the ones with crazy antennas and solar panel arrays sticking out. It would be unfortunate to restrict those aesthetic design choices.
 
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#8
This was an incredibly well put together 'daydream' lol. I am a massive fan of seeing different games' Warp Technology, and this is a pretty awesome idea!
I love every part of this design overview, and hope to see parts of it incorporated should Starbase pick up development again!
 

ChaosRifle

Veteran endo
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Aug 11, 2020
Messages
225
#9
First off, obligatory cheap seats comments and passing thoughts:
near-limitless cargo space
I fill their 10k stack storage in a single afternoon. Feels pretty limited, invV2 when? :p
However, they have an intense cost associated with them in both the upfront construction cost of both a station dock and the capital ship itself, as well as their long-term maintenance (warp chips, fuel, etcetera).
Caps are about 20mill to make one at launch, less so now with prices lower. Actually pretty cheap and can be farmed out in less than five hours at origin. Way less with a meta build.
Implementation must avoid reducing chances of player interaction
Agreed. However, question... How do you CATCH a player after following them if max speed is a constant?
However, the deluge of materials that the average capital ship can transport and provide craters market value
Yeah, jumphauling is as jumphauling does.. Price floors on material are.. interesting for the economy. Do you know if the plan is still to not allow civvy caps to park in-belt unless at a station dock? It used to be, unsure if changed.
ships would become irradiated over time, utilizing the same ‘stacks’ concept as corrosion and heat (though this may apply to the ship as a whole instead of per part to save on performance)
Most likely, part count seems.... rough.. on the client.
An excess of radiation could optionally cause sporadic failures in ship electronics and machinery as simulated component decay.
Damn b!t flips! (I love it.)



My understanding is all players are expected to build a cap ship as their main base, and stations serve as passive income if willing to risk the siege. With that expectation, and how inexpensive they are, I am left wondering what in-between normal ships and caps requires. Operations cost of warping from Z5 to origin was 20k credits last I checked, and is relatively fast. My understanding was that 'instant warp' for caps was meant to be this middle ground, where a user could hit warp-now to move at a slower speed but skip the spool time, particularly of use in short hops (like in the eos-belt scale).

I do like the idea, and the aesthetics could be really neat. (I am thinking etherial asteroids zipping past, with smokey/wispy tiny trails) I also agree nav-chips are a pain (it's why my corp has sponsored users to go get them and has been compiling a comprehensive library of all relevant locations... Excited for that advanced cap ship 3D ui that was talked about for point and click to choose destination!!). I do wonder how much purpose this will serve though given how a lot of large devices tend to be expensive in starbase, and cap ships coming in a mere ~6 times more expensive than a simple large gen setup.. you might as well just skip the step? (To be fair, caps dont really feel like a big resource investment, just a time sink, because no free-cam editor.. FREE-CAM WHEN?)



Finally, and really the only reason I made this post: It is really nice to see FB devs (especially the ones on furlough) toying around with ideas in their free time, and investing their time into Starbase still. It is genuinely encouraging to see that, so thank you for sharing your thoughts, no matter who says what about whatever idea proposed. It is also fantastic to have you guys interacting with the community more. :)
 

ZombieMouse

Learned-to-turn-off-magboots endo
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Messages
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#10
I do wonder how much purpose this will serve though given how a lot of large devices tend to be expensive in starbase, and cap ships coming in a mere ~6 times more expensive than a simple large gen setup.. you might as well just skip the step?
Given that slow ship speeds and travel times are a huge complaint of people who quit, I would say it was clear there is a demand.

I still do not own a cap ship of my own despite playing thousands of hours. To me this sounds great.
 

dusty

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#11
.. the original blueprint of Starbase declares basically infinite universe, speaking of that, what would you suggest as a solution to the interstellar travel, at some point pilots would have to fly further and explore the galaxy, so it has to be a some superfast travel mechanism in place to accomplish that trip.
I don't see interstellar travel being done with this sort of warp system, but I think that's alright. I do remember there being some chit-chat about this way back in the pre-CA days, and I think my favorite solution from then was player-constructed warp gates. I don't think there's anything that demands that a warp gate have gates built at both ends before their usage, so the community could take on the initial construction effort to build the 'sending' gate, and building the 'return' gate would have even higher stakes since there would be no way to realistically return until it had been finished. Lots of opportunities for mischievous hijinks along the way, to be sure.


Using the bounding box to determine the size of portal required encourages boring compact box ships more so than ever. I would suggest that using the ship's mass would be a better way to assess the size of a ship. In a game with so much freedom in building, it would be sad to see a player's creative choices in ship appearance restricted. Some of the coolest ships I've seen have been the ones with crazy antennas and solar panel arrays sticking out. It would be unfortunate to restrict those aesthetic design choices.
This is very valid criticism, and I'm not entirely sure what the solution would be. My thought was that the bounding box would make the interaction with the portal as seamless and uninterrupted as possible: No confirmation dialogue boxes, inexplicable rejections, etcetera, as your ship either fits or doesn't fit (also I kinda wanted to see someone peel their ship open like a semi-truck trailer going under a low overpass). A mass-based solution could definitely work though; some kind of YOLOL field that returns an indication of whether or not the portal can support the ship's travel, and then a regular button to initiate the transition would be fine enough I think.

Alternatively, it could be possible to combine a mass-based system with the system of expanding/constricting diameter. The energy requirements for warp would scale with the mass of the ship creating the portal, and thereafter the diameter of the portal would be large enough to fit that ship - any other ship small enough to go through, can. I could foresee a sort-of exploit with any mass-based system though, as players could game the system by deploying a separate 'ship' which is just a handful of 384cm beams and the warp drive itself. If they did, they'd be able to charge and deploy a portal pretty quickly.


  1. Caps are about 20mill to make one at launch, less so now with prices lower. Actually pretty cheap and can be farmed out in less than five hours at origin. Way less with a meta build.
  2. Agreed. However, question... How do you CATCH a player after following them if max speed is a constant?
  3. Yeah, jumphauling is as jumphauling does.. Price floors on material are.. interesting for the economy. Do you know if the plan is still to not allow civvy caps to park in-belt unless at a station dock? It used to be, unsure if changed.
My understanding is all players are expected to build a cap ship as their main base, and stations serve as passive income if willing to risk the siege. With that expectation, and how inexpensive they are, I am left wondering what in-between normal ships and caps requires. Operations cost of warping from Z5 to origin was 20k credits last I checked, and is relatively fast. My understanding was that 'instant warp' for caps was meant to be this middle ground, where a user could hit warp-now to move at a slower speed but skip the spool time, particularly of use in short hops (like in the eos-belt scale).

I do like the idea, and the aesthetics could be really neat. (I am thinking etherial asteroids zipping past, with smokey/wispy tiny trails) I also agree nav-chips are a pain (it's why my corp has sponsored users to go get them and has been compiling a comprehensive library of all relevant locations... Excited for that advanced cap ship 3D ui that was talked about for point and click to choose destination!!). I do wonder how much purpose this will serve though given how a lot of large devices tend to be expensive in starbase, and cap ships coming in a mere ~6 times more expensive than a simple large gen setup.. you might as well just skip the step? (To be fair, caps dont really feel like a big resource investment, just a time sink, because no free-cam editor.. FREE-CAM WHEN?)
I changed up a bit of your post to make it easier to respond to, hope you don't mind.

1. Monetary investment certainly scales with the size of the capital ship to be built, but for a new player (especially one playing solo) I think the upfront cost of tens of millions of credits and many hours of actually crafting and placing those parts is a bit daunting.

2. This definitely warrants further thought, but for initial impressions I don't think the expectation should be that the warp drive itself would make ambushing/etc. as straightforward as "point and click on the player you want to ambush", so to speak, and I'm not sure there's a reasonable and fair way to really allow a pursuer to catch a ship that's already scooting away from you at maximum speed without already being within weapons range. I'd guess that most of the gameplay in attacking another player is strategizing to find a target that is vulnerable enough that you can ambush them, and it seems reasonable to expect that there exists some counterplay to detection mechanics (ie stealth ships, etc.) that would give you a chance to actually sneak up on a player and catch them unprepared - though of course, they would also have such a benefit.

Ideally, charging a warp drive would take long enough that it would give a player a fair chance to reach their target before they scooted away. Otherwise, warp space should only enable players to move quickly through the universe, and the task of catching another player off-guard/unprepared/etc. would fall to the player themselves and upon other related mechanics.

3. As far as I'm aware yeah, that's still the plan for design. I'm not sure how far along the whole docking feature actually is though, so it could be a while yet.

Personally, I'm not keen on the idea that all players should be expected to have a capital ship, but I understand that group play is supposed to be the alternative there. I wouldn't want a warp drive to replace the functionality that a capital ship provides, but I do think there's room for players who want to hop around the universe without all the extra baggage that a capital ship brings with it. My thought is that flying a capital ship is kind of like going camping with an RV: You get to bring a whole lot more stuff with you and you can go a whole lot further, but you also need to plan where you'll go, where you'll park, how much fuel you'll need, and so on. On the other hand, you can walk into the nearest forest with a tent and a cooler - the warp drive in this metaphor - and wander, and put down wherever you'd like.

(also please do not take camping advice from randos on a video game forum)
 
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ChaosRifle

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
225
#12
I agree that at first a cap ship seems daunting, all the returning players I have helped seem to expect them to be way more expensive than they are, but once they learn borrowing a hauler from the corp for a good four hours means they have all they need, and the next few hours is building it. A cap ship from zero money (excluding a good hauler, usually only a million credits or less though) can be done in a single weekend 8 hour play session. Not sure how daunting it really is given that, but people definitely expect it to take more, that is for sure.

I'd guess that most of the gameplay in attacking another player is strategizing to find a target that is vulnerable enough that you can ambush them, and it seems reasonable to expect that there exists some counterplay to detection mechanics (ie stealth ships, etc.) that would give you a chance to actually sneak up on a player and catch them unprepared - though of course, they would also have such a benefit.
From a design perspective, that just kinda promotes prepared players ganking new players, because they will be the only ones unprepared, in a constant max speed meta. Other than change max speed to be variable, I have no clue how to address this though. Definitely a long-standing issue the game already has though.

Regarding every player owning a cap-ship, when caps were initially released my company group-funded the first one to be made day-one and then used it to farm the materials for the members to get their own. That group-use was the most impressive thing I have ever seen in Starbase. We had people departing or arriving every minute or two, in a truely busy airspace. Obviously, the issue is that ore is simply not plentiful enough (but is plenty for solo players) to allow for that to be sustainable.. We were jumping the cap ship every few hours because we had hollowed out Z3 on moons several times in all directions except along the belt, making the mining very inefficient time-wise. Again, I have no clue how to solve making group efforts more rewarding than solo endeavours, but they are a lot more fun to be in, and watch. Once a user had the materials they needed, they were off to make their own cap ship, never to be seen again. I would love to see caps bring players together, instead of aid in pushing them apart, but that is another topic entirely.

On that note of being generally faster to move around - Caps and stations having infinite range on their reconstruction machines would make that a lot better too, allowing for a user to, at the drop of a hat, go help a friend or do something as a group (as long as ships were available at their destination) I agree that the biggest issue with Starbase is the meaningless timesink, like travel time or bolting ships (seriously, damaged-part mechanic makes them pointless and hurt performance.. just weld them already) A solution is definitely needed.

(also please do not take camping advice from randos on a video game forum)
Hah, yeah... My nearest forest has black bears, wolves, and coyotes in it. :D
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2022
Messages
3
#13
Hi, I just registered to comment on this thread :)
Please don't overcomplicate it. Yes we need portals/quick travel, but we don't need "waarpspace".

What we need:
1. Just add a device that will open a portal which will be visible (or can be scanned with a special scanner device) from 1000km for both enter and exit points. and will stay for about 10 minutes.
2. Time to enter the portal should depend on ship mass i.e. light fighters will enter/exit faster e.g. 10 sec, heavy miner e.g. 1 minute
3. Portals should require ore to be opened and the max distance to the exit point should depend on resources tier. e.g. <100km max range bastium, <300km karnite, upto 1000km lukium....
4. exit point must be marked earlier and saved into portal opener device (chip) (both enter/exit must be ~30km away from SZ)

What we get:
1. still need to fly to mark exit points
2. can quickly reach distant locations
3. PVPers can scan portals and follow/meet the target
4. miners should decide if they want to fly 1+ hours in safe peopleless space :) or risk opening the portal for instant travel but attract more
attention

+Quick to develop and easy to use.... :)

Thanks
 

shado20

Veteran endo
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
196
#14
i am against this idea of a cheep fast travel crap. i hate the civilian indestructible capital ships for this reason.
space is big, but by putting cheep fast travel in everywhere is makes it small, then why make it so big in the first place if your just going to make it small.

now i like the fast travel gate, and i believe we as players should be able to build the fast travel gates, but that needs to be a lot of construction and work to make, as it should be.

we already have the "cheep fast traveling civilian indestructible capital ships" and you want more?

(i am only 1 player playing by my self, but i have my own "cheep fast traveling civilian indestructible capital ship" so yea) it needs to be not so easy!
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2022
Messages
3
#15
The only problem with "big space" is that it is empty. And it doesn't matter if you fly 2+hours in a peaceful surrounding or if you just "jump" and save your gameplay time to more interesting things like PVPing, mining, building....
Also note that "jumping" will require resources and it will be more dangerous because open portal will be visible to other players.
 

dusty

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
83
#16
Hi, I just registered to comment on this thread :)
Please don't overcomplicate it. Yes we need portals/quick travel, but we don't need "waarpspace".
4. miners should decide if they want to fly 1+ hours in safe peopleless space :) or risk opening the portal for instant travel but attract more
attention
The intent behind the separate dimension is to meet the needs of both the traveler and the potential interloper by offering a compromise between safety and speed. A portal which is visible from 1,000km away is neat, but would still require a potential attacker to travel that distance to reach the portal before their would-be victim has transited to have any hope of actually interacting with them. Given that a ship can only move 90km in 10 minutes, it is unlikely that the portal would still exist by the time they arrived, unless they were already extremely close - plus, the would-be victim would have already continued with their voyage by that time, presuming they didn't just portal from one safezone into another to begin with (or immediately adjacent to one).

we already have the "cheep fast traveling civilian indestructible capital ships" and you want more?

(i am only 1 player playing by my self, but i have my own "cheep fast traveling civilian indestructible capital ship" so yea) it needs to be not so easy!
I'm not sure if you meant this as a reply to the thread in general, but this idea was specifically intended to be the opposite of cheap, fast, or indestructible. I like the fast travel gates for extreme distances but I don't find them particularly interesting, and I think implementing them in a player-constructed form is a bit more convoluted than you might expect (eg, pathing, environmental collision detection, etc.). Plus, it seems a fair bet that player-constructed gates will inevitably lead to a network of perfectly safe highways between safezones.

Unfortunately, I think the ship has sailed with regards to the physical size of the universe, unless it is shrunken drastically in time for 1.0. Our space is big and I quite like having the room to spread out, but I don't care to fly in a straight line for hours upon hours without any meaningful interaction.
 

Askannon

Well-known endo
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
98
#17
I like the fast travel gates for extreme distances but I don't find them particularly interesting, and I think implementing them in a player-constructed form is a bit more convoluted than you might expect (eg, pathing, environmental collision detection, etc.). Plus, it seems a fair bet that player-constructed gates will inevitably lead to a network of perfectly safe highways between safezones.
It might be more interesting to have developers dictate where the construction happens, but leave it to players to supply the resources. That way each gate is a long term project that allows players to work towards something (and obstruction issues will be dealt with).
 

ChaosRifle

Veteran endo
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
225
#18
4. miners should decide if they want to fly 1+ hours in safe peopleless space :) or risk opening the portal for instant travel but attract more
attention
This would add a new top-speed, so safe peopleless space might not be so safe afterwards, because the safety is in the lack of any ability to catch up if going max speed. Depending on how easy it is to warp, it might be more effective to do short hops to intercept people that can't warp, removing said safety.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2022
Messages
3
#19
but would still require a potential attacker to travel that distance to reach the portal before their would-be victim has transited to have any hope of actually interacting with them. Given that a ship can only move 90km in 10 minutes,
Yes, it will take some effort to monitor popular routes and wait for the target at the exit point, note that exit point must be marked so it will be same and the potential attacker can wait and catch the target on their exit point if the victim uses the same route often.
also note that (both enter/exit must be ~30km away from SZ) so you still need to travel 60km outside SZ.

so how the process of "jumping" should look like

Jump requirements:
1. first of all you can only jump to a pre-marked location 30km away from SZ
2. you must be 30 km away from SZ to start the jump.
3. distance to exit point must be <300km tier1 "jump resources" <500km t2 resources and <1000km t3 resources (so jumping is not free)
4. you need to have a "Portal device" (something similar to station box), must be placed in space, exit point selected, and triggered.

Jump process
1. Trigger the portal device, 5Min count down starts. you just wait nearby. both Enter and exit points are visible to other players now
2. after 5 minutes you must be close to the "portal enter" point, click "Jump" and the ship instantly transfers to the exit point of the portal
3. portal stays active for 10 minutes and any other player can "Jump" instantly.

Note that if you open portal close to a public mining station like arma, relicta, nox, etc you risk being intercepted by people from the same station because you have to stay 5 minutes 30km away from SZ while potential attacker needs only 3.5 minutes to reach you.

Hope this makes more sense now
Thanks
 

ZombieMouse

Learned-to-turn-off-magboots endo
Joined
Oct 12, 2021
Messages
46
#20
i am against this idea of a cheep fast travel crap. i hate the civilian indestructible capital ships for this reason. [...] i have my own "cheep fast traveling civilian indestructible capital ship" so yea) it needs to be not so easy!
I know a few players who only keep playing because civilian capital ships allow them to go anywhere without risk of them being destroyed. If the costs were to increase I would sooner see it take the form of safe zone generators for capital ships and stations costing fuel/energy, than any restrictions on where capital ships can go, or making capital ships more expensive to build. I also wouldn't want to see something like this added while there are still bugs that can delete all your fuel.

Player freedom is important and I feel that aiding travel is more important right now than anything that makes it harder.
 
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