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janx

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Reply with quote  #46 
I would like the scaling to be set such that we can have a planet or something in the area.  And that ships could be chasing around it or something.

It'd be nice if we could get to a scope where traveling to other planets/stars was also in the mix.

That might be at cross-purposes with Artemis's apparent goal of just doing fun combat.

But the reality is, Artemis is pretty much the only show in town* for a bridge simulator, and some folks want to simulate more than just combat.

*there's that other new open source bridge, but it's got pretty much a the same "just for scenarios" view
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #47 
Well, as I said in the thread I linked to, I think Artemis has done a good job of leaving the question of scale up to the players. The official scale says that a sector is 100 km square, but the only place that is explicitly stated ingame is in the Sensors configuration on the Server Select screen, and in Jump drive distance. All other distances have no units.

The fact that there are no planets or stars in the game also contributes to this idea that scale is a vague, undefined concept. There are objects in the game that can be used to establish scale, asteroids and nebula, but asteroids range from 950 km across to 1 km, while a nebula is usually hundreds of light years across, so what Artemis calls a nebula is probably just a common gas cloud. That doesn't narrow down the scale very much.

So to me, a sector could be a vast section of the galaxy, where every base station represents a star system and a planet in that system, and the ship travels at hundreds of times the speed of light. (With possibly time compressed so that a couple of days or weeks takes place is just two and a half minutes) Or the sector could be an outpost on the edge of a star system, a couple of AU across, small enough to be played in real time, but big enough to have a good chance to catch an enemy force trying to sneak past our defenses.

Or, a sector could be the area over a planet, with ships whipping around at barely over the speeds spaceships travel today. It's all up to the player, really. And if a script wants to define a solar system, like the BSG mod, that's okay. Or if a script wants to have just one really big planet and its moon in the sector, that's okay too.

I will say that Artemis is a space combat game, not a space trading game or a space exploration game. Travel to other planets, or even travel to planets at all isn't a part of it at this time. However, the various Sandboxes have done a good job of linking sectors together with interplanetary/interstellar jumps, and that's added a lot to the game, although Thom didn't come up with the concept. The implication is that the jumps are taking the player farther than he could EVER go in the sector.

Maybe with Thom talking about ideas about trading, such as picking up drops from a monster and selling them to a station, or non-combat missions such as scientific exploration, gates and sector jumps will make it into the main game, or maybe there will be some other kind of intersystem travel. Maybe the infinite sector idea will allow travel to locations ten or thirty minutes apart. I once suggested that the War Server could be used to emulate that. I don't really know, but it sounds interesting.
Arkantos

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Reply with quote  #48 
I thought I remembered reading somewhere that the in-game unit was μls, which I presume means "micro-light-seconds." That can't be right, though because one μls comes out to approximately 300 meters, which would put the size of a sector at 30,000 kilometers on each side. For reference, the circumference of the earth is 40,075 kilometers. Does anyone else remember the μls stuff, or am I just smoking dope?
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #49 
I believe Mike once said he was trying to convince Thom to make the units microlightseconds.

Ironically, if you assume Warp 1 (for a Light Cruiser) is the speed of light, then a unit is exactly 1/600th of a lightsecond. That's pretty close to a MILLI-lightsecond. (1.67 millilightseconds, to be exact)

(FYI, I believe the proper term is "light millisecond")

I prefer to think the "m" stands for a custom measurement the TSN made up to make sector measurements easier. Heck, it could mean, "one hundred thousandth of a sector, however big the sector may be". [biggrin]

ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #50 
I'd like to note that in putting together my Sector Expansion Mod, I have come to the conclusion that while decreasing the scale of the objects in the game is technically the same as increasing the size of a sector, in practice it is a bit more complicated. The biggest issue is that while you can constrain the size of the objects, you can't make the area covered by Helm or Weapons smaller. So you will be able to SEE further, even if you can't shoot at or even make out targets at that range.

Other issues are that you can't make beam ranges less than about 250 or drones will explode before you can shoot them. Very short beam arcs can also be difficult to see. You can reduce the range of torpedoes and drones, but the range won't be indicated on screen. (Torps also move slower, although I think Drones and station torps move at the original speed) Finally, Unlimited sensor range is unchanged, and although you can alter the limited sensor ranges to fit the scale, in some cases that can make your sensor range less than visibility range.

In other words, I think expanding the size of the sector is still a productive thing for Thom to work on. My experiments do give an idea of how increasing the size of the sector will change gameplay, and perhaps suggest some gotchas. For instance, if Thom implements a 1 million by 1 million sector, he will want to space the base stations very far apart, so the ships can use them as waypoints and fuel stops, instead of bunching them up together.
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #51 
"Meters" is a pretty common unit of measurement for game programmers. Often the meter does not have any bearing on reality. There is no way to reconcile any unit of measure with Artemis as a spaceship simulator, though it might work for a Zeppelin simulator.

I believe we will someday have a larger and/or customizable and/or infinite sector. You can already do it many ways with mission scripts.

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Arrew

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Reply with quote  #52 
I think the idea Mike had in his official canon was that ships just "flew" between star systems kind of like in Star Trek, rather than by Jump Gates or Mass Accelerators.

I like Jump Gates in Artemis Though because they go well with a Sector Transition and allow you to have gates as objects in game that can be interacted with and even destroyed.

A couple of scripters now use scrolling sectors too to make larger play areas.
janx

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Reply with quote  #53 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrew
I think the idea Mike had in his official canon was that ships just "flew" between star systems kind of like in Star Trek, rather than by Jump Gates or Mass Accelerators. I like Jump Gates in Artemis Though because they go well with a Sector Transition and allow you to have gates as objects in game that can be interacted with and even destroyed. A couple of scripters now use scrolling sectors too to make larger play areas.


I think the problem with just flying between stars is that the Warp speeds in the game are insufficient to cover the distances in scifi-practical timeframes.  Even 4x speed of light is "useless" for purposes of getting from Sol to Alpha Centauri.

Since it's BS, something like Jump Gates solves the technical fluff problem and in-game problem of transitioning to new starts/places.

The Warp speed in the game is sufficient for interstellar travel (from a verisimilitude perspective).  Going 4xLight will cut a 40 light-minute trip to an outer planet in the same system down to 10 minutes.
Arrew

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Reply with quote  #54 
Like you said Janx it fixes the science and also means you can "jump", pun intended, right into the action. It is a game after all and navigating 10 or 100 blank sectors is dull compared to just jumping into an enemy filled sector.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #55 
Well, it is possible that Warp has a higher limit than stated, it's just Warp 4 is the fastest you can go in combat. In order to go Warp 8, 16, or 20, you have to shut down power to weapons and shields, leaving you helpless if someone decides to ambush you. Of course, it's unlikely anyone would be able to catch you at that speed.

In Star Trek, Warp is a geometric progression, Warp 1 is 1c, Warp 2 is 8c, Warp 3 is 27c, Warp 4 is 64c, and Warp 5 is 125c. (I've misquoted that, I erroneously remembered the progression as 1/2/4/8/16c, and used that to compare to the Artemis scale) Anyway, Warp is clearly linear in Artemis, as I have tested it, and Warp 4 is clearly 4 times the speed of Warp 1.

My point is, you need at least 16 times the speed of light to make interstellar (between stars) travel feasible. Star Trek is lucky in that nesting Warp bubbles apparently increases their efficiency geometrically, but Artemis apparently doesn't have that technology. Interstellar travel is still possible at Warp 1, but only by using stasis and generation ship technology.

I think that Jump Gates do solve the question. The TSN uses high Warp technology on robotic ships or ships with a crew in stasis to travel to a new system, and then they build a jump gate that the other end. Traffic can then progress much faster than the original journey. The other alien races would do the same thing, or make use of Jump Gates that already exist. (As I suspect the Kraliens do, their "gods" are really just the creators of an ancient gate system that they collect "rent" for)

I'll note that system is pretty much identical to the system used in the old MMORPG Earth and Beyond. Man set out across the galaxy in generation ships, and then once the Ancient Gate was found, more modern ships caught up with the first settlers.

Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #56 
Jump Gates I agree are a great way to explain how to quickly traverse systems. My group uses them extensively, and they become a great plot device in terms of defending them, jumps going wrong, or gates going offline (effectively stranding you). Our canon goes with the explanation that they are natural phenomena (called jump points), and the gates themselves just anchor them to one spot in space.  We have expanded significantly on their use; one guy outlined a whole 'jump gate theory' that is now part of our canon.

The issue, as discussed above, is things like planets and stars. They are just too big to be represented in game. We get around this by saying the action takes place outside of a star system. Basically, the jump points are an arrival location, outside of the system, and therefore a vital area of space to defend. We have included some smaller planet objects in scripts, and although they are quite large in terms of the player ships, in 'real terms' they are tiny.

As for the sectors, it is easy enough to link one to the next in a mission script; there are several scripts that do this already. The problems is, this can only be done in a mission script. Personally, I feel this is where the true strength of the game lies. The fact that we as players can create adventures over infinite amounts of space is really cool. What I would really love is the ability to have two different sectors generated at the same time, so some ships could be in an adjacent sector. At the moment, the movement from one sector to the next is really just an elaborate illusion - everything in the sector is destroyed, the ships are repositioned, then new stuff is created. 

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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #57 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xavier Wise
They are just too big to be represented in game.


Well, they could be represented in game, but that just holds a great big funhouse mirror up to the elephant in the room. Star Trek Online has planets in their sectors. But it's blindingly obvious that their planets, whether on the sector map or the system map, are not to the same scale as the ships.

I think Earth and Beyond actually had a good solution in the other direction. There were planets in Earth and Beyond sectors, but they were basically part of the skybox. You could never fly to the other side of the planet, it was just too big. I've been planning on making a skybox like that for Artemis, I just hadn't gotten around to it.

That would mean Warp isn't faster than light, though.

Quote:
What I would really love is the ability to have two different sectors generated at the same time, so some ships could be in an adjacent sector.


I don't think that's technically possible -- although it could be done if each ship in a fleet generated its own sector. For instance, you could have each ship running on its own server, and if two ships wind up in the same sector, then the second ship connects to the first ship's server for its position information. If that ship leaves the first ship, it generates its own sector, and if the first ship joins it, it would discard its own sector and use the second ship's sector.

This would require some major changes to Artemis, though. It might be accomplished with the help of the War Server. Or, Artemis could be altered so that ALL servers only manage a single ship, and you have to chain servers to have multiship.

The bigger question is how you have ships "jump" from one sector to another. It can't be by crossing a sector boundary if sectors are infinite. So Thom would have to add an official Jump Gate. I will note that with infinite space in a sector, you could jump ships about 1,000,000 units away, which would give the illusion that they are in another sector. (Technically, they WOULD be in another sector, if a sector is less than 1,000,000 units across)

That's another question. Do we want to keep the War Server? Or dump it? Does an infinite sector, or one 1,000,000 units across make the War Server obsolete?

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