I've broken the 7 ly limit! (sort of...)

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Mauiby de Fug
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I've broken the 7 ly limit! (sort of...)

Post by Mauiby de Fug »

From browsing the forums, there are a few things that keep on getting requested... Laser cooling boosters, a garage that enables you to own multiple ships, and a way to jump more than 7 light years...

I've often found in programming that I develop a greater understanding of how and why things work by making mistakes, and finding out why things don't work! Now, laser cooling boosters I don't see the need for, and have no interest in. I had a bash at writing a garage oxp, to see exactly why this idea wouldn't work, and in doing so, became more familiar and comfortable with shipdata.plists, began to get my head around what things were available in scripting, and even worked out how to make cloaking devices and naval energy units available for Jamesons!

Which led me to my next task - trying to circumvent the 7 ly rule.

It's a rule which is hard-coded into Oolite - no ship can jump more than 7 light-years at a stretch. But I then realized that you can make jumps without using any fuel, by following through a wormhole left by somebody else! So, what I've done is managed to make a piece of equipment (installed as a mine on an empty pylon) which, when fired, will trigger a chain of wormholes.

Your target destination is selected on the galactic map. You use the equipment. It follows the path to the targeted system using fewest jumps. A wormhole to the first system on that route is created. You then head through this wormhole, and arrive in the next system. There, you find a wormhole to the next system already created, and so forth...

This has primarily been an exercise in programming for me, and understanding the different classes, and getting to grips with the various events. But if there is interest around, I might have a bash at tidying it up, and releasing it as an oxp.

Things I would probably do:
  • Add another piece of equipment that works on the shortest time route. (Looks easy to do...)
    Build in a failure rate and a chance of mis-jumping. (And possibly heading off course...)
    Decide on a price, and where said equipment could be bought. Possibly only make it available to commanders of a certain rank, or maybe amount of credits/total worth, as I know that there are some commanders out there who play the game without killing people if they can help it!
    Decide how long the wormhole should stay open for.
Now, I know that the 7 ly rule is there, not only because that's the way it was in old Elite, but for reasons of game balance as well. I agree with these reasons wholeheartedly! I would have to try and choose settings and probabilities so as not to skew this too much.

I am also aware that this would affect various missions. "Long Way Around" would take far less time, the Nova mission could easily be missed, and in "Thargoid Plans", the skirmishes with the thargoids could be easily escaped. There might also be issues with "Trident Down", where events happen based upon the number of hyperspace jumps the player has made. These are a few examples, and there are probably others which I can't think of off the top of my head.

The obvious thing would be to say that it's the player's choice to use the equipment or not, or even to install it, but I find the missions to be a fun and enjoyable part of Oolite, and would not wish to affect them. Therefore, I might try and make it compatible with these things if possible, either by outright disabling it being bought, or causing it to constantly mis-jump/fail. I'd have to look into it and see what I could do...

Questions, comments, corrections?! Feedback is welcomed...

(There are still a few hiccups - every now and again, the "ship" doesn't seem to make it through its own wormhole and doesn't appear on the other side, which, while possibly a useful thing in itself, needs explaining. But apart from that it seems to be working pretty well.)

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Re: I've broken the 7 ly limit! (sort of...)

Post by Commander McLane »

Mauiby de Fug wrote:I am also aware that this would affect various missions. "Long Way Around" would take far less time,
No, it wouldn't take less time. It simply would make no sense at all. If you wouldn't need to go the long way around, but could make it in one jump, it simply wouldn't be the long way around anymore, which is the whole point of it.

But besides that, another reason for sticking to the 7LY rule is the square time rule. The longer your jump would be, the more time it would need. And at least sometimes times is of the essence. So this is another reason not to allow indefinitely long jumps.

Your solution, of course, is not affected by this. The player will simply make a series of under-7-LY jumps. Very clever, by the way. :D

I like that he will still have to make individual jumps. Materialize in a system, locate the next wormhole, fly towards it, rinse, repeat. If you want to make it more challenging, you could limit the time the next wormhole stays open (you do that by choice of the ship which creates the wormhole; the bigger the creating ship, the longer will the wormhole last). If you take a fairly small ship and the wormhole stays open for a couple of seconds only, there could be a chance that the player doesn't make it, especially if he's awaited at the witchpoint and gets attacked by somebody. I would like this addition of a fail chance.

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Post by Mauiby de Fug »

By less time, I meant from the player's perspective, rather than the game time on the ship's clock.

Yep, the way wormholes stay open in due to how much mass the creating ship has. Since the model I'm using is a qbomb (for no particular reason, 'tis just small and sits on a pylon), I was stumped for a bit as to why it would disappear without creating a wormhole, until I remembered the mass thing. I changed this using the density property in the shipdata.plist, and lo and behold, it appeared.

That's a point about ships at the witchpoint - I might add in a chance of hostile ships added there myself, rather than leaving it to random. Course, this doesn't actually use any of the player's fuel, so they can easy use injectors and zoom away into the wormhole to escape.

It's all about balance!

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Re: I've broken the 7 ly limit! (sort of...)

Post by Cody »

Mauiby de Fug wrote:Build in a failure rate and a chance of mis-jumping. (And possibly heading off course...)
I woudn’t use this myself, for gameplay reasons... but the chances of a mis-jump should increase with each successive jump.

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Post by Mauiby de Fug »

Agreed! I have yet to test if the scriptedMisjump property will work if the wormhole belonged to another ship, but assuming it does, I'd probably have a cumulative effect...

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Post by drew »

Heh heh, just when you think they've thought of everything, somebody comes up with a blinder...

Nice one.

This sounds like one of those pieces of technology that sounds brilliant but goes disastrously wrong when first used by some poor unsuspecting punter... hmmm...

<wanders off whistling contentedly>

Cheers,

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Re: I've broken the 7 ly limit! (sort of...)

Post by Eric Walch »

El Viejo wrote:
Mauiby de Fug wrote:Build in a failure rate and a chance of mis-jumping. (And possibly heading off course...)
I woudn’t use this myself, for gameplay reasons... but the chances of a mis-jump should increase with each successive jump.
There is a good reason to not add this feature; Mis-jump chance in wormholes will be a new 1.75 feature, so no need to do it yourself :wink:

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Re: I've broken the 7 ly limit! (sort of...)

Post by Cody »

Eric Walch wrote: Mis-jump chance in wormholes will be a new 1.75 feature,
Great!

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Post by Disembodied »

I'm not sure about using something like this as a regular piece of kit, personally, but it would be a great little wrinkle in a mission. Say, for example, the Navy finally make a breakthrough in their research on all those Thargon drones. They've managed to reactivate one, and induce it to home in on the nearest signal. You're given the job of taking it out somewhere, launching it and following it to see if you can ambush a Thargoid ship and turn the tables on the Bugs.

Of course, maybe it doesn't work quite as expected. Maybe it homes in on the strongest signal, not the nearest, and the player goes hoppity-hoppity-hop and winds up inside some ginormous Thargoid attack fleet ... with hilarious consequences. :twisted:

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Post by Switeck »

One could also make an infinitely reusable missile/bomb that gives 7 L.Y. of fuel every time it's activated. That would be a total cheat/cheese, but just another way to effectively get past 7 LY without having to refuel.

I've been hitchhiking other ships' wormholes from time-to-time as well, but the most insane thing I've seen was hiding behind a Hoopy Casino that didn't want to die...it jumps out at low energy. Its wormhole is HUGE and lasts a really long time.

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Post by Killer Wolf »

if i've misunderstood, sorry - but i totally disagree w/ something that can create wormholes in a *destination* system. do you mean it's done as soon as you trigger it an system 'a' and a chain is immediately created in systems 'b' thru 'whatever'? clever, but completely illogical.

one way to do hops for long distance would be to hire wingmen. say you need to make three stops. you each have 7ly, so ship 1 jumps and you all follow. in the destination, ship 2 jumps to the next step, and you all follow (mebbes not ship 1, his job's done) etc, until the player is in range for the last jump. that way you cross a fair distance using only your last jump's worth of fuel.
using your example, you could change a ship for a pylon mounted drone (decision time, how many jumps do you want to make over missiles carried?) but again, i think this goes against canon about what can create a jump : even some ships don't have jump engines, not sure how/why a pylon-mounted piece of ordnance would.

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Post by Cody »

Killer Wolf wrote:one way to do hops for long distance would be to hire wingmen. say you need to make three stops. you each have 7ly, so ship 1 jumps and you all follow. in the destination, ship 2 jumps to the next step, and you all follow
I used this idea in Kaxgar, in a way… three ships travelling in company, one takes point and opens a wormhole, but forces a mis-jump. All three ships arrive in interstellar space, but instead of having to fight Thargoids, the third ship, which has a full tank, immediately opens a new wormhole, and they all jump straight on out to an uncharted system that is only reachable from midway.

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Post by Mauiby de Fug »

I'm not sure about it being a regular piece of kit either; hence, it would be disposable and not easily available. And I myself wouldn't necessarily use it all the time - 'twould take away the fun of blasting away all those ships in anarchy systems! But it can be useful for traversing long distances quickly, without having to refuel. Quickly meaning for the player, not the in-game clock.

To make an infinitely reusable missile that gives 7 ly of fuel really isn't that hard to do, but that would spoil the fun. My way (hopefully) will refrain from skewing the game balance too much...

The idea is that the drone creates the wormhole, and travels through it. By the time you follow him through and reach the other side, he's already created the next wormhole and jumped through.

KW's point about how a pylon-mounted piece of equipment can create wormhole is a good one, and ought to be addressed. Thinking on my feet here: How big exactly is a jump engine? My understanding is that it's only the smallest ships that don't have jump drives - presumably all the room is taken up with life support, living space and the cargo hold, not leaving enough room? And all the drone consists of is the jump engine and a fuel tank, thereby not needing to be immensely big? I don't know how the sizes match up; I could be talking complete rubbish! Alternatively, perhaps the Q-bomb has been modified to create wormholes, rather than as an offensive weapon? Who knows what the Navy scientists have been up to!

As a matter of interest, what exactly is canon with respect to jump drives? And where from? For me, "canon" consists of stuff from ArcElite and Oolite, as those are the versions I've played; I couldn't care less about the Frontier stuff. And I was wondering: what do pilots actually do during hyperspace? Go to sleep for a few hours?

El Viejo, is that a technique that actually enables access to some of the disconnected parts of the galaxies? I'm curious...

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Post by Cody »

Mauiby de Fug wrote:El Viejo, is that a technique that actually enables access to some of the disconnected parts of the galaxies? I'm curious...
Yes, you can use it to cross The Great Rift in G7, provided you have the fuel collector or fuel pods oxp installed.

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Post by Phantom Hoover »

Wait, exactly how does this work? Does it make a wormhole into interstellar space, or...?

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