[epiar-devel] Navigation Screen
chris at epiar.net
Mon Jan 4 13:23:51 PST 2010
I've been notoriously bad at fully explaining the design of the game, so I apologize up front for the moments when I say " Oh yeah it has to do X", when X is something like a building foundation. :-)
This is already decided in Epiar. We had this conversation years ago. We do the best of all worlds, while trying not to be a complete rip off of Escape Velocity and other games:
* It's technically an infinite canvas.
* There are hyperspace gates ("jump gates" we call them). Mostly small ships use them. They form the CS graph and help reveal the structure of the galaxy. There is a toll.
* Only large ships capable of housing large reactors have FTL drives. They can jump to any (x,y) in the universe, though conceivably we should make it so only the most monstrous ships are capable of jumping over and over again without massive energy drains.
The advantages to doing it this way:
* We have the perceived simplicity of a network of jump gates without having bizarre game limitations like having an "edge" to a sector. Though the programmer may wish for an edge, it's bad for gameplay.
* A ship out of credits technically could fly to a nearby section. To make jump gates the preferred option, "star systems" (clusters of planets that are very close to each other, e.g. 20 seconds to 1 minute by average thruster speed) are placed anywhere from 2 minutes apart to 10 minutes apart.
* To help navigating, we were experimenting in 0.6.0 with a couple of ideas: a computer navigation system (this is what the "System" on the HUD is for, giving you a general idea of where you are, e.g. "California") as well as X,Y coordinates (other space games similar to ours use this. It's very helpful for missions to say, "I need you to tug my ship back in, sir. I left it at 24,32."). An auto-navigator that either flies between systems, uses jump gates, or FTL would be a great upgrade to buy on a planet.
* We can hide planets by not including them in jump gate networks. This makes for some fun missions, pirate planets, etc. We can also have jump gate networks that simply aren't connected, e.g. "one must fair the dangers of the Orion radiation belt to make it to that corner of the universe" sort of thing.
There's no immediate need to implement this for 0.2.0. We're not building binary releases for 0.2.0 and are not billing it as a player-oriented release.
On Jan 3, 2010, at 6:25 PM, Matthew Zweig wrote:
> We probably should have discussed the Navigation Screen 2 months ago when we were determining the requirements for Epiar 0.2.0.
> To my knowledge nobody has expressed interest in implementing a Navigation Screen, nor have we had enough discussion on what kind of Navigation we want. Of course, the Navigation Screen is fundamentally tied to the way that Navigation works, so we should discuss both at the same time.
> I think we agree that the 'things' in our game cluster around 'solar systems'. This is where the players want to go in order to do whatever it is that our players want to do.
> There are three different Navigation ideas I've heard for getting players between solar systems:
> 1) The Infinite Canvas idea says that if you fly in the correct direction for long enough, you could arrive at a new solar system.
> 2) HyperSpace Gates could be stationary objects that could transport a ship from one system to another 'instantly'.
> 3) Faster-Than-Light (FTL) Drives could allow ships to transport from one system to another instantly.
> The traditional method for displaying solar systems has been a graph (the cs kind not the math kind). That is, ships in System A can travel to Systems B,C,D but none of the others. This works really well for designing galaxies (collections of solar systems) such that a player _must_ go through a certain system before getting to another.
> This method doesn't work really well with the infinite canvas method and even though it doesn't make physical sense it is a standard that users will understand. Another problem with the Infinite canvas idea is how much data do we store on the nearby systems while a player is 'between' solar systems.
> Also, I think the system graph for the FTL drives does not have to be the same graph as the Gate Graph.
> Are there any other ideas that I haven't mentioned here?
> Is anyone interested in implementing parts of the navigation or navigation maps?
> ~Matt Zweig
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