Game Distance Units

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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Magus
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#16 Post by Magus » Thu Jun 08, 2006 7:40 pm

You could use Light Months, 80 LMs would equate to 6.6666 LYs.
Alternatively, you could use some distance unit based around another stellar systems reference: an Orion Parsec, where Orion's orbit is smaller than Earth's and thus results in a smaller distance unit.
Finally, you could keep it in terms of Light years or some other meaningful astronomical unit. You then add an explanation about hyperspatial travel and starlanes, that your hypothetical method of FTL travel only allows transit to stars on a certain network, which commonly do not include stars that are neighbors.

On another note, the line "I'm going to try to avoid this whole issue by changing the size of the universe" is priceless.

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marhawkman
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#17 Post by marhawkman » Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:30 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
maelstrom512 wrote:As far as math being done with the conversions, I agree this could lead to trouble. If we go with a conversion scheme we will need to be very clear that the conversion only happens when going from internal to end-user (and vice versa) and no internal representations are stored converted. (Scripts would be included as internal because a script developer is still a developer and not an end user)
Content also need stringtable entries as well though... which need to use correct units, which will be different from those in the scripts...

Bah. I'm going to try to avoid this whole issue by changing the size of the universe... I'm not sure how many other coding assumptions were based around its current size, so this may be a simple fix or may be totally nonworkable...

Edit: That didn't go as well as I'd hoped...
Image
As far as you (Geoff) ending up doing it, isn't what us programming types that are new to the project are good for? Semi-tedious tasks that require looking at a lot of different code? :wink:
IMO it's best to start by finding a somewhat self-contained issue you can chew away at until you've started learning the code and its structure. My first code contribution was the starlane generation code, which was pretty much independent of anything else. The IO stuff is strewn all about in files that are likely changing due to other coding...

If you want something to do, and can't find an appealing-looking feature request or bug report, do please ask and I'll see what I can find for you to work on. There's plenty to go around...
On a rather humorous note, I find it very amusing that the term parsecs would actually have no real meaning in our created galaxy because it depends on the size of the Earth's orbit... :P
And also the definition of an arc second...
oohhh!!!! Pretty!!! Is it possible to simply do a search and replace?
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Daveybaby
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#18 Post by Daveybaby » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:57 pm

I would normally say that changing the in-game units to something non-arbitrary is the right way to go. Using light years as a unit of distance is a sci-fi staple. However, since this game uses a starlane style of movement, you can get away with a lot by just changing technobabble.

For example, if you were using a Moo1/2 style movement system, saying that all of the stars were 80 or so light years apart would just seem weird, since we know thats not generally the case. However since FO uses a starlane style system, its not necessary that two connected stars are actually close neighbours in normal space - in fact, they could be on opposite sides of the galaxy in terms of realspace. At the same time, two very close stars in realspace could be on opposite sides of the map in the game. What i'm saying is, if you treat starlanes as some sort of hyperspace network, then you dont have to use realspace distance units at all.

@Geoff: looks to me like some scaling factors need tweaking in the display code. There are probably some hard coded values in there that would benefit from being calculated at runtime.
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#19 Post by ewh02b » Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:19 pm

Daveybaby wrote: At the same time, two very close stars in realspace could be on opposite sides of the map in the game. What i'm saying is, if you treat starlanes as some sort of hyperspace network, then you dont have to use realspace distance units at all.
problem: although this is possible, I find it highly unlikely that we'd find hyperspace networks in the shapes of spiral galaxies. you'd have to get rid of certain galaxy shapes to make the hyperspace network more believeable.

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Daveybaby
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#20 Post by Daveybaby » Tue Jun 13, 2006 9:12 am

Well, taking the case of 2 stars on opposite sides of the galaxy was (fairly obviously, i thought) just an extreme example to illustrate the point. And you somehow forgot to mention the fact that having a hundred stars in the shape of a spiral galaxy in realspace is even more ridiculous. :roll:

If youre going to model a spiral galaxy with only a few hundred usable stars, and trying to keep travel times sensible, then one of the more believable ways to do it would be by the use of starlanes which cover hundreds of lightyears in realspace, but only a few lightyears in hyperspace.

So, you keep your in-game units high, and write background technobabble to describe how the starlanes shorten the distances and travel times, while keeping realspace travel between stars prohibitive.
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maelstrom512
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#21 Post by maelstrom512 » Tue Jun 13, 2006 1:44 pm

The problem with explaining it by claiming it is a hyperspace network is that people just don't think like that. I see a galaxy (even if it is ridiculously flat and small) and I think that I am looking at normal space. The explanation that you are looking at a hyperspace plane and not physical one is just going to miss most people...

I think the suggestion of light months is actually pretty good... I've heard light seconds, and light days before, why not light months? (The only problem I can think of off my head is that stars are a little to far apart at 6 2/3 ly apart, but I say that's when we remind people its a game and not real life and if they want to fix it they can tweak the galaxy generation code)

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marhawkman
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#22 Post by marhawkman » Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:07 pm

maelstrom512 wrote:The problem with explaining it by claiming it is a hyperspace network is that people just don't think like that. I see a galaxy (even if it is ridiculously flat and small) and I think that I am looking at normal space. The explanation that you are looking at a hyperspace plane and not physical one is just going to miss most people...
Even with the cool bacground that actually SHOWS the other stars? :lol:
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#23 Post by solidcordon » Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:11 am

blah
Last edited by solidcordon on Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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utilae
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#24 Post by utilae » Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:09 am

What is wrong with keeping the current scale anyway.

The stars, etc are a good distance apart, so I say we keep the current scale.

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Geoff the Medio
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#25 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:46 am

utilae wrote:What is wrong with keeping the current scale anyway.
As I said in the first post, stars being 80 units apart is too big a number to call the units lightyears or parsecs.
The stars, etc are a good distance apart, so I say we keep the current scale.
Perhaps you understand what the discussion is about...? This has nothing to do with how far apart the stars are. This has to do with what units are used to describe the same distance.

For example, is the distance between your house and your job 10 km, or 10 000 000 mm? Does your car drive 60 km / h, or 20160000 m / fortnight?

In real game terms, ships will take just as long as they would otherwise to get to where they're going. The map can be zoomed, so the absolute number scale is irrelivant, but if the map didn't zoom, the stars would appear the same distance apart on the screen.

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#26 Post by Ran Taro » Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:30 pm

You could kill two birds with one stone with Davey Baby's suggestion.

Just display lots of 'non starlane connected' stars in the background (that you therefore can't travel too). These stars are just (dimmer) bright spots that have no real gameplay effect. However the apparent increased number of stars means that:

a) There seems to be more stars in the galaxy and
b) Stars seem to be closer together.

However it seems that only a small number of stars are connected, and therefore useable.

Hence it seems that you have a more realistic scale in two different ways without actually changing any of the scale coding. I'd still use a fanciful technobabble name though, it saves you from perfectionist quibblers. Just add fluff to say it refers to travelling in Starlanes.

Example suggestions: "Stellar/Star/Quantum/ Positron/Quark/Zentronium (etc)" then add "Years/Months/Weeks/Parsecs/Jumps/Fathoms/Leagues (etc)". Personal favourite: "Stellar Fathoms". Who can argue with that?

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#27 Post by Daveybaby » Mon Jun 26, 2006 1:02 pm

I prefer 'Quantum Fortnights'. :P
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#28 Post by Ran Taro » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:21 am

How about "Quantum Leap Years"? :wink:

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Kharagh
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#29 Post by Kharagh » Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:19 am

"Zentronium TerraHairsbreadth" is the one we should take :lol:

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Impaler
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#30 Post by Impaler » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:32 am

Stellar Fathoms gets a thumbs up from me. It could be explained as the distance light travels in the time it takes Orions primary moon to orbit the planet, this is equivilent to 19.2 earth days making a StellarFathom aproimatly .052% of a Light year and 80 Fathoms ~4.3 lightyears.

The Orions werent realy shure how such an odd unit of measurement became so common but once it became their common unit of measure it was inevitably handed down as the defacto standard for the whole galaxy.
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