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Nichollan

Interstellar travel

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Nichollan    133
Not sure if this fit better in another forum, but anyway. It appears like there has to be some sort of 'jump' or travelling through 'hyperspace' one way or the other if the game is to have interstellar travel. A possibly more realistic alternative would be near-lightspeed - If you are in a spaceship that is in near-lightspeed travel to a nearby star, the time taken observed from the ship could actually be pretty short. However, the time taken for the travel observed from a planet would be millions of years. Maybe if allowing backward time travel you could explore the star systems on different times during a timeline. Sounds complicated though. I actually find it kinda pathetic when I see that a game has put up some simple wormholes for interstellar travel. However, Stargates (from the series) are actually pretty cool. That is probably because the depth the stargates are given, like: - All the chevrons for dialing to other planets - The value of knowing stargate adresses, which you might put on a great deal of effort to collect - Having a unique history, being built by an ancient alien race from a different galaxy - Their weaknesses from alien attacks through a different stargate, and the effort people who have studied its technology put up for stopping such attacks. For the realism of jumping you could attribute its possibility to "all the things that we do not know." For all I know there could be a substance on some distant planet which could give you telekenethic powers - because no one can say for sure that there isn't any. It's pure pseudoscience alright.

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ville-v    100
Sorry, travelling near speed of light is not possible. If you would encounter a single atom (let alone a rock) on your path, there would be so much energy in the collision that your ship would be no more. If detonation velocity of TNT is 10k m/s, an object with detonation velocity of 0.3kkk m/s will have quite influence.

Think of a bullet. When it hits target, it may make a hole with 5mm radius, but it will cause a shockwave in the target material and the hole it leaves target from can have radius of 20cm. If your starship does not have enough mass, the explosion will slow the collision shield down so much that the rest of the ship will collide with it.

Something around 1 million km/h is maximum speed in travelling the traditional way in space, so if you want a realistic game you have to limit world into a single starsystem.

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zer0wolf    1022
Quote:
Original post by ville-v
Sorry, travelling near speed of light is not possible. If you would encounter a single atom (let alone a rock) on your path, there would be so much energy in the collision that your ship would be no more. If detonation velocity of TNT is 10k m/s, an object with detonation velocity of 0.3kkk m/s will have quite influence.

Think of a bullet. When it hits target, it may make a hole with 5mm radius, but it will cause a shockwave in the target material and the hole it leaves target from can have radius of 20cm. If your starship does not have enough mass, the explosion will slow the collision shield down so much that the rest of the ship will collide with it.

Something around 1 million km/h is maximum speed in travelling the traditional way in space, so if you want a realistic game you have to limit world into a single starsystem.

Or you could just have an imagination and assume that if humanity has achieved the ability to somehow propel a ship at light speed then we've also achieved the ability to manipulate the cosmic forces in general to some degree, so some sort of gravity repulsion system could be used to protect the ship [wink]

I think having wormholes or stargates of some sort are pretty well essential, because traveling at even the speed of light would be really, really slow when trying to achieve intergalactic travel.

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rozz666    896
Quote:
Original post by zer0wolf

I think having wormholes or stargates of some sort are pretty well essential, because traveling at even the speed of light would be really, really slow when trying to achieve intergalactic travel.


It wouldn't be. The velocity of a ship is measured from e.g. Earth. For a person that inside a ship when the velocity aproaches the speed of light, from inside the ship it aproaches infinity, because the time slows.

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zer0wolf    1022
Uhmmm.... okay? The closest star to the Earth, besides the Sun obviously, is Alpha Centauri, which is 4.37 light years away. This means that, even traveling at the speed of light (hence the light years part), it will take 4.37 YEARS.

Call me strange, but if I'm playing an intergalatic space faring game, I'm not going to want to sit there for 4.37 years for me to get to the closest planet in the game. [wink]

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swiftcoder    18437
Quote:
Original post by zer0wolf
Call me strange, but if I'm playing an intergalatic space faring game, I'm not going to want to sit there for 4.37 years for me to get to the closest planet in the game. [wink]
This holds true for interplanetary flight as well. I don't know about the rest of you, but 10 minutes is about all the time I am willing to spend starting at a starfield with nothing else going on - and at the speed of light, 10 minutes would barely make it to Mars on a closest-approach path.

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Nichollan    133
If you just forget about the part about blowing yourself to pieces in near-lightspeed, wouldn't at least be a bit cool to populate the fourth dimension of a universe?

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DarkInsanePyro    187
Time = Distance / Speed

Interestingly this is not true when you get close to the speed of light. Time, Mass, and Length are all varied when traveling at great speeds. I am unsure of the equation (used to know from Physics II (college)), but it is a ratio where you will precieve things differently at high velocities. For example, getting close to light speed, although ~4 Light-years is a long distance, it will NOT take 4 years to travel to that specific location, as the distance between your location and the target are reduced during travel. Although this is true... you would need to be going 0.999999999999C (made up value) in order for the gamer to not want to shoot himself. :P

[Edited by - DarkInsanePyro on November 22, 2008 1:06:36 PM]

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rozz666    896
Quote:
Original post by zer0wolf
Uhmmm.... okay? The closest star to the Earth, besides the Sun obviously, is Alpha Centauri, which is 4.37 light years away. This means that, even traveling at the speed of light (hence the light years part), it will take 4.37 YEARS.

Call me strange, but if I'm playing an intergalatic space faring game, I'm not going to want to sit there for 4.37 years for me to get to the closest planet in the game. [wink]


No. Velocity = Distance / Time. Time for the passangers slows down. Therefore velocity increases. The travel will take 4.37 years when observer from Earth. Inside the ship it will take the time to accelerate to the speed of light and decelerate (of course accelerating to the speed of light is also impossible, because the mass of the ship grows to infitity and the engine maximum power is constant, but this assuming you've got HUGE amounts of energy, you can get near the speed of light).

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rozz666    896
Quote:
Original post by Nichollan
If you just forget about the part about blowing yourself to pieces in near-lightspeed, wouldn't at least be a bit cool to populate the fourth dimension of a universe?


How do you want to populate time? ;-)

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Nichollan    133
To make it possible to populate time I would suggest making several versions of the galaxy in the game which each represent different points during a timeline.

Each version of the galaxy runs independently and what happens in one version of a galaxy does not affect what happens on the later version in the timeline. However, it might be possible to e.g. destroy a planet at one point in a timeline... and in the later points on the timeline that planet will not exist whether or not the planet has been destroyed at said point.

The part about traveling backward in time would be central in the game and probably have something to do with its title.

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Wavinator    2017
I think imagination's your limit here, especially the more into science fantasy you're willing to travel.

There's no real reason why you couldn't put everything around one star if you needed to avoid jump. A high future system could be littered with artificial worlds, many with a scale far more appropriate for meaningful exploration that zillions of empty procedurally generated planets. Asteroids could be elaborate biotech gardens; you could have thick clusters of man-made stations webbed by transit lines and taxis; or you could have giant, ship eating clouds of nanotech gone very bad. (Larry Niven even proposed an oxygen rich smoke ring filled with kilometer long trees where you didn't even need a suit to breathe!)


If you're determined to use realistic, relativistic travel, I'd consider a few things before you go after the calculations. At a respectable 50% light speed, many of the the nearest stars are roughly nearly a decade to a century away, objectively speaking (subjective you'll have to chase down, but it only significantly kicks in up past 80% light IIRC). So in 10 to 100 years, what's going to change? Are the ports going to grow at all? Is civilization going to expand to nearby stars? Could you get to a port only to find that it has collapsed?

If you're going for something insane where it takes only a few days to travel (what, something like 99.999999999999999999% light or whatever, never mind the small universe it takes to sustain that kind of power output) I think you're still not going to be home free no matter what type of game it is, unless you can skip time. You might have a mechanism, for instance, where the player is said to hibernate and then wakes up at the new system. But a system 25 light years away should have experienced at least 25 years of changes.

If you're thinking along the typical combat or space trader route for this, I'd honestly say forget it. Those genres are nonsensical anyway when it comes to realism for far more fundamental reasons (the energy cost to get to the fight is ludicrously high, robots can sustain far higher acceleration than humans through the voyage, and a future with space travel would expect bio/nanotech, making the energy cost of trading far higher than making almost anything other than info/plans, which could be sent via laser)

Relativistic travel might actually work in an adventure game or strategy game quite well, however. Someone told me the old Sun Dog: Frozen Legacy used it in an RPG context, which I wish I could have seen.

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taby    1265
Quote:
Original post by ville-v
Sorry, travelling near speed of light is not possible. If you would encounter a single atom (let alone a rock) on your path, there would be so much energy in the collision that your ship would be no more. If detonation velocity of TNT is 10k m/s, an object with detonation velocity of 0.3kkk m/s will have quite influence.

Think of a bullet. When it hits target, it may make a hole with 5mm radius, but it will cause a shockwave in the target material and the hole it leaves target from can have radius of 20cm. If your starship does not have enough mass, the explosion will slow the collision shield down so much that the rest of the ship will collide with it.

Something around 1 million km/h is maximum speed in travelling the traditional way in space, so if you want a realistic game you have to limit world into a single starsystem.


I'm not sure where you get this realistic maximum speed from. Considering that a semi-trailer at 100km/h will obliterate you, I find your argument hard to follow.

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thk123    180
Quote:
Original post by zer0wolf
Uhmmm.... okay? The closest star to the Earth, besides the Sun obviously, is Alpha Centauri, which is 4.37 light years away. This means that, even traveling at the speed of light (hence the light years part), it will take 4.37 YEARS.

Call me strange, but if I'm playing an intergalatic space faring game, I'm not going to want to sit there for 4.37 years for me to get to the closest planet in the game. [wink]


While you are correct in principle, how many games do you know that actually are REAL time. In a single 1h game of AoE, you can cover hundreds of years. The problem comes when there is nothing else to do while you are waiting for your ship to arrive.

Obviously this depends on the type of game as to how to resolve this. If you are controlling an entire fleet, then you make it difficult for the player to have all his ships going at this speed. If, however, you have only one ship, then the player must be able to do something whilst traveling at this speed, maybe he gets attacked by Defenders of Physics, or argue that nothing can go at the speed of light and attack anything that does.

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Tangireon    239
Iron Seed (old 1994 dos game) does just that, you pilot a single ship that uses sub-light travel speeds (better ships go near but never equal or surpass light speed), while scaling the waiting time so that the player barely waits for anything at all whenever you decide to travel. Additionally, the crew lifespan problem is explained by not having a biological crew at all - their brains are digitally stored into the ship computer.

I don't think it matters if you want a "hard/known science" sci-fi or a "fantasy/unknown" sci-fi universe for your game - one might create more immersion than the other, but there are other better ways to immerse your audience and I don't really think your general audiences will care all that much about the technicalities of your universe, as long as you are able to make them care about your gameplay or story, and are consistent with the rules you built for your universe. I tend to say my spaceships go at the speed of plot, or in this case, play.

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rozz666    896
Assuming a straight path and unlimited engine power, travel between any 2 points in space will take about 2 months. It takes about 1 month to accelerate to the speed of light (assuming acceleration of 10 g -> t=c/10g), and the same amount to decelerate. When you reach the speed of light, the velocity perceived from the ship is infinite, so you don't spent any time traveling - you just accelerate and decelerate. Because you can't travel at the speed of light, you have to do it slower. So it may take 1 second, or 1 hour or 1 day, depending how much slower than light you are.

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Feralrath    163
Well the real answer depends on if you want to stick to real physics or delve into the theoretical physics. The main difference being that theoretical physics takes a stand that what we know to be true now might be proved to be false at any given point.

Theoretically a gravity drive could be used to create faster then light travel, a gravity drive works by lowering the force of gravity in front of an object while simultaneously increasing it behind the object causing the object to move at the speed of the difference in the gravity fields. The gravity between the two fields would remain the same and since you are being propelled by gravity there is no inertia to put force on the body. This type of drive also solves the problem of coming in contact with particles in space, since the particle will contact the lowed gravity field first its impact on the ship would be negligible.

Theoretically there could also be a dark matter/anti matter/exotic particle engine that could sustain an infinite amount of power and propel the ship as fast and as far as it needed to go.

I am not a huge star trek fan, but the warp dive system in the show/movies relied on a warp shell that was basically photonic particles that created sort of a time dilation field around the ship allowing it to move at great speed while not being effected by the time differential caused by that speed.

Al tho my personal sci-fi way of long distance space travel has always been subspace. Being able to cut through the layers of space and time into an area where the principles of physics don't really apply and distances in our layer of space are cut down to mean skips that can be crossed in a matter of minutes.

If you want to stick to real physics then your basically at a loss because with what we know right now about the way that time works it would be impossible for a human to travel great distance in space at a speed that would actually allow the human crew to survive long enough to reach there destination. Since we do not have working cryogenics or the ability to store our minds in a computer and clone new bodies when we arrive. The fastest forum of space travel that I now about is the ion drive that was used in recent years on crafts such as smart-1 and deep space 1 and most recently on the dawn spacecraft if I am not mistaken.

Well that's my two cents, not worth much but its there.

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Nichollan    133
Quote:
Original post by rozz666
Assuming a straight path and unlimited engine power, travel between any 2 points in space will take about 2 months. It takes about 1 month to accelerate to the speed of light (assuming acceleration of 10 g -> t=c/10g), and the same amount to decelerate. When you reach the speed of light, the velocity perceived from the ship is infinite, so you don't spent any time traveling - you just accelerate and decelerate. Because you can't travel at the speed of light, you have to do it slower. So it may take 1 second, or 1 hour or 1 day, depending how much slower than light you are.


I believe you could never really reach the speed of light because you get less spaceship-time divided on planet-time to accelerate the closer to the speed of light you get. If you were to be in the speed of light, time would be completely still in the spaceship and you would not be able to decelerate at all - maybe by external gravity but I don't know.

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PKLoki    1492
If we're talking about applying special relativity to a game, you also need to consider the breaking of conventional simultaneity. Specifically, two observers in different inertial frames of reference have their own timeline in which they will disagree about the timing - and even the *order* - of spacetime events. Imagine how hard it would be to maintain an authoritative server in a multiplayer game in which events can occur out of order for players depending on their relative locations and speeds.

Incidentally, for the curious, the equations for relativistic speed and time dilation are based on Lorentz transformations. Suggest Google.

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rozz666    896
Quote:
Original post by PKLoki
If we're talking about applying special relativity to a game, you also need to consider the breaking of conventional simultaneity. Specifically, two observers in different inertial frames of reference have their own timeline in which they will disagree about the timing - and even the *order* - of spacetime events. Imagine how hard it would be to maintain an authoritative server in a multiplayer game in which events can occur out of order for players depending on their relative locations and speeds.

Incidentally, for the curious, the equations for relativistic speed and time dilation are based on Lorentz transformations. Suggest Google.


You mean General Relativity? Special Relativity is only for constant velocities and one direction.

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SuperG    1300
My thoughts.

Lightspeed and relativity time dialation. And the need for FTL
It's about games.
* first with games you have to aim at what audience?
A ) Casual to hardcore those large audience have no problem with fiction FTL.
B ) Simulation Serious gamers accademici NASA people those like sience over the top. Avoiding fiction FTL. Niche amrket.
* Multiplayer vs singleplayer. Time acceleration is a problim if you want Mplay. You must bend and twist hard your game concept to fit scientivic STL in your gameplay mechanics.
* Timedilation is a problem to. your game must fit this fenomina. Goes bad with Trading.

It comes clear you have to make a lot of choices.
As stated before to travel 5 lightyears in 1 hour you need 42720 * Lightspeed. Fictional FTL is a must. Lightspeed is to slow for interstellar games. If you want to reach the stars. Without to much restriction to gameplay mechanics.

To solve the lightspeed game problem you can go for
Fiction and you are in need of FTL
For realisme avoiding FTL you may choose to.
Resctrict game space. Around one star. Most interstellar prefering gamers loose interrest.
Avoid Mplay so you can cheat boredom with time acceleration. Most gamer value Mplay a lot.
Go for a very specific gameplay style that fits this realism well. Most gamers loose interrest. Because realism is no priority one by the masses.

Another point. If avoiding FTL fiction you restrict yourself to current scientific level of engines and craft. It wuold not make sens to judge FTL so hard. But with power generation or engine solutions, go very fictional. This leads to a Spaceshutle based game, would be a very niche game. Play field would be the earth orbit and it's moon. Because for current tech Sol is to large.
Or some fictional current earth tech vessel. Maybe reach Mars in a year or so.
the game play is micro managing your vessel. But that is also fiction

with that.
If you value real lightspeed and relativity in your game you alienate yor game from a large audience. Restrict your game on many point of interrest for gamers. Unless your part of that niche market and want to develop a simulation game for your audience. Go for it.

I am more of those, influence with populair scifi and thus IP like.
Startrek starwars stargate farscape firefly andromeda Battlestar galactica etc.
With fiction you reach a bigger choice of gameplay style wich some of them more chance to reach a larger audience. and keep online play and realtime and coöp open for use. And a lot of people are used to such IP's So a fictional universe established like those with FTL solutions. Most people exept easy.

I realy do like Realisme over the top. But lightspeed is so extreem to handle and to merge in a game. And distances are even more extreem then lighspeed is fast. I take realism so far as fun gameplay can handle it. And reaching a large audience with it. Lightspeed relativity theory I would axe. To much problems

And by the manny IP's I do like to explore the universe.
So interstellar travel with FTL is a must for reaching a large audience who want to explore the stars.
So keeping to Sol is like avoiding FTL fiction to keep real sience high. At what cost, you limit your game to sol. While in reallife there is some sientific focus on exoplanets. And most what interrest people to scifi IP are the aliens. Where firefly is a exeption IP. But I don't expect space faring aliens in nearby stars within 50 Lightyears or so. Unless Life must be very common in the universe.
Or your game is focused on kolonisation of nearby starsystems. Where traveling years is speed up by a ingame time jump to a game event like reaching a star.

looking at most space games. So far i know they are scifi oriented even often not using newton combat physics. Some wich are very scientific aimd suffer from boring gamers with long travel time.

I am for a while focused on the space exloring genre. Taking current IP and games as inspiration. I sertenly would avoid real speed of light physics. And solve that with FTL fiction.

Movie TV IP I take would be
Stargate and firefly and BSG and space above and beyond startrek
Games. A merge or mix of
Mass effect Universal combat X3 TC freelancer startrek fleet commander and bridge commander. homeworld

Most people are not into science theory or simulation. But lots of them like scifi. And play games. But no simulations.

That my opinion.

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Nichollan    133
I personally just want to avoid overused clichés for interstellar travel whether or not the alternative is realistic. Some might appreciate familiar concepts, but I for one do not.

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taby    1265
Quote:
Original post by rozz666
Quote:
Original post by PKLoki
If we're talking about applying special relativity to a game, you also need to consider the breaking of conventional simultaneity. Specifically, two observers in different inertial frames of reference have their own timeline in which they will disagree about the timing - and even the *order* - of spacetime events. Imagine how hard it would be to maintain an authoritative server in a multiplayer game in which events can occur out of order for players depending on their relative locations and speeds.

Incidentally, for the curious, the equations for relativistic speed and time dilation are based on Lorentz transformations. Suggest Google.


You mean General Relativity? Special Relativity is only for constant velocities and one direction.


Technically, SR is good for all flat spacetime. If it were not able to handle acceleration (change of speed or direction), then the Standard Model would not exist. GR is only needed on large scales where the curvature of spacetime due to gravitational time dilation cannot be ignored (ex: locally flat SR, globally curved GR).

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