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BigEd

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Posts: 188
Reply with quote  #1 
Ok, so the title is a little misleading...

I've been thinking about the debate on having 3D flight and combat.  Galaxies and start systems tend to flatten out from the rotation.  This means pretty much all the interstellar flight once inside a particular system would occur on the same plane as the primary rotation of the main star/gravity well/black hole...

I am not an astro physicist or whatever, but what would the implications be if you were to fly to far outside of the main rotation of the rest of the solar system?
Xavier Wise

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Reply with quote  #2 
You wouldn't have to fly round planets...?

I imagine you'd still be within the affects of any star (ie radiation/gravity) as it would project outward in a relatively spherical way.... if that makes sense. You would just not have to contend with the gravitational effects of planets. I imagine a solar system like ours to be like a small ball, in the centre of a spherical bubble. The planets then sit on a disc surrounding the ball. You then have a simple 'above and below' that disc.

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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #3 
Honestly speaking, given any three points not in a straight line, say, a trio of stations, a plane can be traced through those three points. Any travel between those three points would be less efficient if it left that plane. Thus, any starship travelling to or between the stations would stay in that plane.

In addition, if an enemy force were to approach that plane from above, it would come under attack from all three stations at the same time. If the stations were to send out ships to reach the attackers, for example, they would all arrive at close to the same moment. Whereas, if the enemy were to approach from the edge of the plane, they could engage the forces of the first station first, dividing up the defenders.

I actually designed a Super Star Trek-like game with a 3D map once, and came to the conclusion that there was no real advantage to a 3D layout. Unless I arranged the enemies in a sphere around the target, which left them too far apart to support each other, the 3D space ended up being unused. It was natural for the enemies to advance along a single front, which put them in the same plane as the stations which were their targets. Artemis adds a two and four front layout, but even the four front Siege spreads the enemies pretty thin.

Of course, this assumes that minefields and the like are laid out in a sphere, and an enemy can't "sneak past" by going above or below the field.
cxfAtheus

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Posts: 322
Reply with quote  #4 
How did I ever miss this discussion. I think it's right up my alley.

I have to agree, Ryleyra. If the play space where spherical, it would still be beneficial to approach from the plane that all three stations are located on. However, once you throw in more than three stations (all not on the same X,Y,Z coordinates) the approach gets a little muddier. You could still choose a plane to attack from which contains three of the four stations, and puts the fourth station as far as away as possible. If there are no bases, just enemy ships, it would make engagements more difficult, as the fleets begin to converge on one point from every direction using the most direct possible route (above, around, below, etc.), rather than all fleets approaching from the same plane.

For gameplay, I think working in a single plane is good, although I'd like more up and down than what we get, or to have the enemy use the up and down for at least a little variety (even if it doesn't really impact gameplay that much)...it just looks cooler.

As to the original question. If you went beyond the last planet, you still have to deal with the absolute massive Kuiper belt. Beyond that (so far as we know) there isn't a ton until you reach the Oort cloud. Past the Oort cloud you get some more free space until you hit the edge of the Heliosheath, which is shorter in front of our sun's orbit (of galactic central point), and longer behind the sun (sort of tear drop shaped). Also, since our sun wobbles around due to the gravitational pull of the planets on it, the Heliosheath isn't a smooth tear drop shape, but a wildly bumpy texture.

However, all of the planets, asteroids (mostly) and the Kuiper belt are in a single plane (generally speaking). The Oort Cloud and Heliosheath are closer to spherical. So, if you flew "above" or "below" the sun, you would have mountains of empty space to play with that are still within the Sun's gravity, but don't really have to worry about planets and asteroids getting in the way. After a few hundred million years, your station might drift down to join the rest of the Solar System's plane...but if you can get a few hundred million years out of a space station, you're doing ok.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cxfAtheus

I have to agree, Ryleyra. If the play space where spherical, it would still be beneficial to approach from the plane that all three stations are located on. However, once you throw in more than three stations (all not on the same X,Y,Z coordinates) the approach gets a little muddier. You could still choose a plane to attack from which contains three of the four stations, and puts the fourth station as far as away as possible. If there are no bases, just enemy ships, it would make engagements more difficult, as the fleets begin to converge on one point from every direction using the most direct possible route (above, around, below, etc.), rather than all fleets approaching from the same plane.


It's my assumption that once you have three stations established, for efficiency the fourth would be placed in the same plane as the other three. It gets back to the observation above; travel between the station and any two of the three existing stations is shortest if it stays in the same plane.

If we assume that the stations are fixed locations, and not effected by gravity (far outside of the Heliosphere) then any amount of energy spent on a vector up and away from the plane of the stations would have to be countered by an equal amount of energy to push yourself back DOWN to the plane of the stations. So you would spend twice as much energy on vertical movement than if all four stations were in the same plane.

Now, if the stations are in orbit, either around a star or a planet, then things get incredibly more complex. Even then, though, an orbital transfer takes the least amount of energy if in the same plane as the orbit. The exception is if you trace an elliptical orbit that takes you up above the plane of the ecliptic and then back down again, intersecting your destination at the point where its orbit crosses yours. The two orbits have to exactly meet at two points, however (departure and arrival) and there are an infinite number of such orbits. It's simpler to choose two orbits in the same plane.

Quote:

For gameplay, I think working in a single plane is good, although I'd like more up and down than what we get, or to have the enemy use the up and down for at least a little variety (even if it doesn't really impact gameplay that much)...it just looks cooler.


I agree, and it gets back to the idea of the four stations being in slightly different planes. When I wrote my game, the stations were "staggered" vertically. What I found was that the attacking enemies naturally adjusted to this "stagger" and flew in a straight line to the station, making their movement extremely predictable. You didn't really have to consider the third dimension, just position yourself to intercept, and just before you jump, note to yourself, "Oh, the height is 3 here, so I'll just jump to three".

It helped that I displayed the sector on a 2D grid, and the 3rd dimension was color. So it wasn't even "the height is 3" as much as "the height is blue".

On the other hand, the AI was very simplistic in my game and there were no obstacles the enemy had to go around. Forcing targets to fly over or under obstacles in Artemis could make tracking their movements much harder. For instance, I've noticed that when Arvonian fighters approach your ship, they tend to fly over and under it, instead of passing to one side or the other. If they moved vertically to avoid asteroids, that would tend to spread out an attacking force vertically.

Quote:
As to the original question. If you went beyond the last planet, you still have to deal with the absolute massive Kuiper belt. Beyond that (so far as we know) there isn't a ton until you reach the Oort cloud. Past the Oort cloud you get some more free space until you hit the edge of the Heliosheath, which is shorter in front of our sun's orbit (of galactic central point), and longer behind the sun (sort of tear drop shaped). Also, since our sun wobbles around due to the gravitational pull of the planets on it, the Heliosheath isn't a smooth tear drop shape, but a wildly bumpy texture.

However, all of the planets, asteroids (mostly) and the Kuiper belt are in a single plane (generally speaking). The Oort Cloud and Heliosheath are closer to spherical. So, if you flew "above" or "below" the sun, you would have mountains of empty space to play with that are still within the Sun's gravity, but don't really have to worry about planets and asteroids getting in the way. After a few hundred million years, your station might drift down to join the rest of the Solar System's plane...but if you can get a few hundred million years out of a space station, you're doing ok.


Yeah, but the problem is there's nothing there of strategic value. An attacking force, if it gets that far, is going to head for inhabited planets. It might still be easier to come at Earth from above, but there's plenty of empty space between the planets. And the gravitational pull of Jupiter and the Sun is going to be the same whether they are below you or in the same plane.

I consider it far more likely that combat in Artemis takes place in lookout outposts on the edge of the Heliosphere. These would probably be arranged in a sphere or a flattened ellipsoid around the solar system. In fact, the grid of sectors we think of as "flat" could be a grid plotted on that sphere. Locally the grid is flat, but over the span of the whole solar system it is a ball, like the projections of a map on the Earth.

If you extend the idea further to suggest that a sector is actually in orbit around the sun, and thus moving relative to the Sun and planets, you could REALLY warp someone's mind. [biggrin]

ryleyra

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Posts: 3,007
Reply with quote  #6 
I'll note that all of this is largely symbolic, and based on certain assumptions about scale and topology. For instance, the assumption above is that a sector is a portion of a star system, and a large enough grid of sectors would encompass the solar system itself. (In the scale above, it would have to be a grid FAR larger than the War Server. One could envision "fronts" where each War Server map is a defensive grid bringing the enemy closer and closer to Earth)

One could just as easily assume a sector is a whole solar system, though, as in the BSG mod, or the TSN Sandbox. In that case, you may wish to assume that a base is actually a representation of a base station in orbit around a planet, with the planet not depicted for simplicity. The War Server "grid" could represent a portion of the galaxy, connected by Jump Gates, which isn't rectangular at all.

On the other side of the spectrum, if the stations are all in orbit around the same planet, flying between them becomes an incredibly complex maneuver. Far more complex than Artemis can handle, frankly. They would have to be in the same orbit, if they were to remain the same distance from each other, presumably in a slanted orbit like the International Space Station and at four different points along that orbit. Newtonian movement between them would require orbital transfers, while non-Newtonian FTL maneuvers would have to maintain orbital velocity before and after the "jump". It's no wonder Star Trek never showed such orbital maneuvers. (The transporter made it irrelevant)

It would actually be easier to assume all such stations are in geosynchronous orbit, or outside the Earth's orbit at a Lagrange point.
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