'what if' (dilema)

scheherazade

Rear Admiral
suppose you wanna have real-scales (or something close to it) for planets and systems in a WC mod.

of course if you REALLY travelled 1000+ kilometres per second its not that bad, since you'll get wherever in a decent amount of time.

but at those speeds you can't fight because other ships would be on screen for a fraction of a second if you passed them.

you need to go slower for combat to be good gameplay
you need to go faster to get anywhere anytime soon.

requirement is : no autopilot time-trick (hit autopilot and you're magically there 2 seconds later)

which solution is better :
A) smaller scales, planets are smaller, etc. ships fly relative to each other at speeds that 'lie' about how slow they are really going. (the typical solution, ex. says 1500 kps, but its really more like 60 mph)

B) a dual-mode speed. for combat you're at 1000 METRES per second. and when you hit autopilot, your ship points itself to where you wanna go and accellerates to 1000 KILOMETRES per second.

(replace 1000 with whatever speed you like, 350, 1500, etc)


my question is related to vega-strike.
i plan on doing some WC sorta work with it, and i'm wondering which compromise is better.
+proper scales let you do some nifty things, like hide enemy strike fleets behind planets :).
+slower speeds make combat more fun (as opposed to shooting by each other at a bajillion miles an hour), like ww2 dogfights.

i personally think the 'B' solution is best all around. but i hate to break continuity with wc. would it be too much to allow dual-mode engine operation?

loaf << pretty much whatever you say i'll go with, you're sort of 'the man to ask'...

but i'd like to hear some input on what people think either way.

thanks,
-scheherazade

note : real-scales don't have to be actually real (can be much smaller), just big enough to make planets look big. compare this to privateer, where if you managed to get close enough the planet looked like a toy. but big-at-all still needs fast speeds because you need a good distance to make a big planet look small in the distance. we don't want solar systems with a buncha planets stacked up next to each other.
 

ChanceKell

Rear Admiral
Wing Commander uses the "dual-speed mode," as you put it. They travel at hundreds of kilometers a second with scoops closed to cross great distances. The scoops are opened when they engage their targets, which slow them down to hundreds of meters a second, making battle possible. That's WC speeds in a nutshell.. try the search option to get more details.
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
I think the question was about how it was simulated on the game engine, not how it worked in theory.
 

HammerHead

Rear Admiral
In WC 1&2 the game simply mixed up.

the best way to see it is when you have a cap-ship marked on the nav map as a nav object (usually on strike missions)

when you target the ship on targeting system you see you range to target on meters, but if you'll switch to nav system (while marking the ship as your destenation) you'll have your distance, which will be on the same numerical amount as the range in the targeting system, only marked in KILOMETERS.

The rate of range/distance "closere/opening" is also the same. only the unit of measurment changes.

(I've checked it maybe a hundred times and it allways got me confused.)
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
I'd like to see the scoops modeled accurately. That's something that never was really portrayed in the games.
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
I'd like to see the scoops modeled accurately. That's something that never was really portrayed in the games. Today 10:18

Wasn't the scoop just EM-fields..how should they be modeled...you just won't see them ^_^
 

Edfilho

Cry some more!
I think he meant he wanted to see them accounted in the ship's behavior, and probably also a button to toggle them.
 

scheherazade

Rear Admiral
hmm, if scoops can account for a dual-speed mode of operation, than modelling them would be the best solution.

high speed fo rtransit, and decent gameplay speeds for combat.

i'll give it a try.

-scheherazade
 

scheherazade

Rear Admiral
OK let me straighten this out

scoops

out -
fuel regenerates at some pace?
slower flight?
in
faster flight?


the X speed indicated, max speed, etc, for any given ship, is it the scoops IN or OUT speed?


my approach is :

thunderbolt -
380 km/s max speed (non-afterburn)
1000 km/s max speed (afterburn)

so i would do :
380 m/s max scoops out
1000 m/s max scoops out afterburn
380'000 m/s max scoops in
1'000'000 m/s max afterburn scoops in

now, since scoops-in is for transit,...
why afterburn when scoops are in (already moving fast)?

should there be one generic max speed for scoops in?
or have max&afterburn for scoops in?

also
the X1000 factor for scoops is rather huge (but rather proper, since you really need to get your ass moving when you wanna go to the other sice of a solar system), would that be ok as the difference attributed to scoops?
and
for such a large factor, the scoop range would have to be immense
so i would model them as some sort of energy field, wave, etc, that expands out from the fighter. maybe of a branching-lightning sorta style, in all directions radially to the sides (i.e. a plane who's normal is the direction of flight). not as bright as lightning, more fine and delicate, with some particle effects. and fades out to invisibility as time goes by.
when deactivating, i'd make it fligker some and then disappear.

what about an accelleration?
how fast should you reach 380km/s from 380m/s when you retract scoops?
is it a matter of seconds? or a minute?

should i make scoops-in transit speeds only available when autopiloting?
i.e. scoot your ass over there, but don't ever go that fast when a player is controlling you? simply for gameplay, you might not wanna let people go that fast... not under their own control that is.
have player input extend scoops? come up with some excuse for this such as "computer keeps you from hitting debris which would destroy you at that speed, manual input disallows those speeds"

and for the same reason have an enemy-interupt excuse? like when your autopilot path intersects enemies, you drop to slow speeds, as there is a danger they will launch something into your path?

would this be a decent implementation?
suggestions?

-scheherazade
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
I took the liberty of digging through horrible, horrible Spacebattles post to find this thing by LOAF about how scoops worked. I hope this clears things up. (If it doesn't, I can get the article from the Terran Confederation Handbook and post that, too)

First, a very quick overview of exactly how Wing Commander ships are propelled in the first place. Four important components are responsible for making a ship 'go':

1. Powerplant: Ships in the Wing Commander universe are built around fusion powerplants (exception: older Kilrathi fighters use a highly expendable nuclear powerplant). These fusion powerplants consist of an electromagnetic field. The field is generated by regular electromagnets and then amplified and directed by magnetic monopoles. Hydrogen is released into the field and then supercompressed -- creating "hot fusion". The energy given off by the powerplant is then used to power ships systems, including the drive unit.

2. Engines: There are two main types of engines used on Wing Commander ships. Most fighters mount ion drives, which ionize supercompressed hydrogen to generate thrust. Capital ships (and a few notable exceptions) mount far more complex Matter/Antimatter drives, which react the supercompressed hydrogen put out by the fusion drive with anti-matter to generate thrust.

3. Ramscoop: A second electromagnetic field (the "primary proplusion node") plays an important role in propelling a Wing Commander craft -- all ships generate an enormous (several square kilometers in size) electromagnetic ramscoop (note: fighters generally have only one field, which doubles as both a ramscoop and fusion plant). The field sweeps the area ahead of and surrounding a ship clean of spaceborn hydrogen. The faster a ship goes, the more hydrogen is taken in -- and the more drag is created.

4. Containment Vessels: Hydrogen is funneled through a ship's intakes ("flux resonance tubes") and stored in an internal fuel tank. A series of plasma coils keeps the hydrogen in stasis until it must be passed through a fuel control collar into the fusion powerplant. A ship uses its onboard fuel supplies *only* to accelerate, decelerate and to compensate for drag created by the ramscoop. This supply is refreshed by hydrogen atoms continually from the ramscoop. A ships *maximum* speed, as listed in Joan's Fighting Ships, is that at which (during optimal conditions) an exact parity between fuel use, hydrogen intake and drag is reached. For a massive capital ship the average is about 150 kps -- for a fighter, around 500 kps.

Several factors limit the actual speed of a ship. Most importantly, competition for hydrogen. During combat (or, to an even greater extent, around large capital ships) hydrogen is limited. Instead of a single ship gathering all the hydrogen in several square kilometers you have several (or hundreds or thousands). Speed is limited (according to the targetting VDUs in Wing 1 and 2) to about 1 meter per second rather than 1 kilometer per second (thus a Ferret would travel at 500 meters per second, a Devestator at 320, and so forth and so on).

(Side note: during atmospheric flight, internal fuel supplies alone power a fighter. Fighters in an atmosphere generally maintain a speed of 500 meters per second.)

(Second side note: afterburners don't function the way you think they do. They do not draw on onboard fuel. In activating the ship's afterburners, two things occur: first, the size of the ramscoop's opening is reduced -- lessening both drag and hydrogen intake. Second, the hydrogen which is taken is is syphoned directly to the engines rather than the fuel tanks. Total thrust is doubled by exactly 50% -- with the previous level being maintained by the onboard fuel tanks. Thus the onboard fuel is depleted only to maintain the ship's previous thrust.)

(Third side note: large capital ships frequently operate with 'scoops closed', using only onboard fuel to generate thrust. A ship travelling with scoops closed cannot easily maneuver, but can reach speeds of around 10,000 kilometers per second in half an hour. Such operations must be planned, as the ship will also require another half hour and an equal amount of fuel to deccelerate).

The short version:

* During combat, ships travel at around 1 mps per 1 kps.

* Capital ships can generally escape really, really quickly if need be.

* Ships do not have an easily expended source of fuel.

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should i make scoops-in transit speeds only available when autopiloting?
i.e. scoot your ass over there, but don't ever go that fast when a player is controlling you? simply for gameplay, you might not wanna let people go that fast... not under their own control that is.
have player input extend scoops? come up with some excuse for this such as "computer keeps you from hitting debris which would destroy you at that speed, manual input disallows those speeds"

I think shields would absorb most of the damage from small debris ... if we were worried about that sort of thing, nobody would ever accelerate to KPS speed. For bigger things, make some sort of warning that gives players time to react. An autopilot would also be nice.

and for the same reason have an enemy-interupt excuse? like when your autopilot path intersects enemies, you drop to slow speeds, as there is a danger they will launch something into your path?

Again, I think it should be an option, not a requirement. I want to have the freedom to smash into large objects at high velocities. Also, when you're running away you generally don't want to slow down for any reason.
 
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