Friday, November 28, 2008

Menu concept

The menu will transition in size to fit the number of menu items set by the script. Each menu item acts as a button or check box glyph. When the mouse rolls over an item; which looks like text; a mechanical thing surrounds the text. The animations will not be so slow that it becomes annoying after using the menus 100s of times. The top part is one of the early small frames; before it reaches the correct width. The bottom is a demo of the menu at size 4; the text shown is not quite how it will look in the engine.

Improved Explosions

Although only I have seen the explosions in full quality playback, I felt that there was room for improvement and started these new ones. These hardly look as good as when animated in full quality. A particle engine would handle the major particles within the sequence.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Widening our vision

Since some people complained that reading long posts in the narrow blog page was annoying. I decided to widen it up a bit. Let me know if you like it better now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

How much science should we pour in?

OK, I basically like the idea of adding a layer of realism to our game. In fact I was reading an article in GD Magazine a while ago and it was a call for developers not to underestimate their player's intelligence, basically when we are doing something unrealistic it should not seem that we "forgot about it" or "did not know" but rather that we decided to do it that way.

I also like the idea in freelancer where you get all those sort of strange items and technologies that you use right away (e.g. nanobots) without needing to know how or why they function, but you have a glossary that lists and explains everything in more detail for those interested.

Blake's idea of moving wormholes around sounds like it could add real gameplay value, if used correctly. Imagine placing wormholes in strategic areas to prevent enemies from coming through in the opposite direction. However, I do not think the player should be able to drop them on the fly. I like the fuel suggestions as well and using energy as backup for currency. But these do not make much difference in gameplay.

As far as details of attacks go, I do not think we should go so deep as to explain why a specific laser frequency is invalid at play time. But we can do it in the glossary to exapline why laser type X can not be stopped by shield Y. Some RPGs display a lot of details after each attack including rolls and chances, etc... which we could make optional if many people think that such info should be visible to the player. I for one do not care much about reading numbers while I'm playing... but then again, maybe that's because I'm a mathematician.

I feel that many of Blake's ideas can be implemented without requiring much complications of the gameplay (or development), if we focus on getting things done that do not conflict with the laws of physics and perhaps refer to the most striking of them in conversations between chrarcters:
"You know, my grandfather told me that diamonds were once regarded as a valuable gem."
"No way!"
"Seriously, he lived back on Earth."
"Ah, I see. So they were goverened by the restricted local supply and demand laws of their little planet. I wish I could see Earth one day."

I do not see anything technically different yet and unless we get a concrete design of how things would work if things are changed we won't have reasons to believe it would be any more difficult.

So if you, content guys, can work this out into one coherent updated design that you feel is better and will attract more players (without much work load), then go ahead and give it a shot.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Response, tweaking of concepts, and core game play modes- XP and optional micro-management

First to Jason:

Copy, Open word (or whatever), Paste, Read. ;) Much easier on one's eyes. This one is long too.

To all:

Thanks for your comments, both of you- very useful feedback.

*fix* I figured out how to change the wormhole thing.

For one, it's just as viable to have the second worm hole collapse than to have both of them do so, which would prevent grieving- grievers would just lose their own wormholes.

Worm holes, as instantaneous transit, imply a time difference, and I've figured out a very simple way to achieve that and account for relativity in simultaneous space.

Basically, one part of space is the future, and one part of space is the past. You travel back in time through a worm hole to the part of space that is in the past.

Lets say a worm hole spans 500 light years. You travel through it instantly, reaching the other side in the past- 500 years in the past (due to the length of the worm hole). Then, to return, you have to travel using a warp drive, at a paltry light speed, and take 500 years to do it, arriving back in the present.

By explaining it in that way, it becomes more obvious why a worm hole cannot go back the way it just came (time paradox- you could travel back in time and affect your own past).

Anyway, as far as the game play is concerned, it provides an instant link between two places- there are advantages and disadvantages to each kind of transit- with a worm hole, it's fast, but you're limited to worm hole paths- where people put them, or where they were naturally- which cannot travel in any direction (only from the future into the past). With a warp drive, you have to stop and make detours around star systems and the like, but you can travel from wherever you like- no need to have a worm hole present.

"With the currency, why not go with the good ol' USAs approach of just saying money is worth what it is without any real backing"

That's governmental backing, which is quite unstable in a free market.

We could make wormholes natural and immovable things, but there should be some things that have particular value based on pragmatism. *control* of existing worm holes could even work- if it were the case that they just existed there, those who controlled the areas could charge a fare for people to pass through them.

"But it doesn't actually say that the four human-player factions fight “each other”, not quite sure where that came from. "

From the online PVP mode of game play. If the factions are not fighting, and all players are official members of the factions, then that kind of PVP mode in online play would not make sense.

"I think the ‘more intelligent’ players will agree that diamonds will not be worth much for the reasons you imply; but as for the rest, what will they say about diamonds not being worth much? Will they believe you?"

They will when they mine and ruin their drill bits on chunks of rough diamond. For their sake, we won't even need to call it diamond- we can just call it "dense carbon grit" to discourage them from picking it up and trying to sell it in ignorance. They may later discover that it is diamond, but only after long knowing it is comparatively worthless (and one of the worst hardships a miner can suffer).

We can create some other very cool and beautiful looking things of great value.

"I used the concept of records and guitars from being valuable in another of my futuristic game ideas,"

I like that. I think a bustling antique aspect to artifacts would be pretty cool.

"I wanted to pick a time for when people on earth, are likely start to inhabit space, do we think that it will take more than 70 years from now?"

It's not so much about inhabiting space as the massive social and political changes that would need to take place, and the migration of that kind of population.
Just as the railroad had to be built before "settlers" could conquer the Western interior of North America, there's a certain level of infrastructure one needs to have a level of true space civilization- The U.S.A. with her current boundaries wasn't settled as soon as we developed the steam engine.

"Is a simple attack and defense attribute really over-simplified to cause “Most scifi fans” to “drool”? "

I think maybe you misunderstood me; in my context, drooling was good. I mean that the details would make scifi fans drool (like people do when presented with good food).

"Either you aim for the hard core sci-fi fans or the casual; or try to cater to both with different modes, incentives and levels of detail."

I would tend towards the latter- catering to each by providing optional micromanagement, wherein the player can choose to micro-manage an area, or spend XP on good crew who will offer advice that can be taken by default.

That is, say you, as a player, really enjoy twinking out a ship with specific combinations of weapons and armor- and many people really enjoy power gaming these gritty details. You'd appreciate the details about different kinds of lasers, plasma weapons, armor, ballistics, and missiles. Because you enjoy doing that, you can spend your XP to recruit or level up an NPC crew member who specializes in navigation- that way you don't have to do it.

On the other hand, a player who loved navigating could spend XP on getting or leveling an NPC crew member as an arms and armor specialist, who would provide purchasing recommendations and outfit your ship(s) for you so you don't have to worry about it.

Say a player only likes flying around and shooting things- doesn't care about interstellar navigation, and doesn't want to bother about what kind of weapon or armor the ship has- well, that player spends XP on both kinds of NPCs, and focuses exclusively on flying around, shooting things, and gaining XP.

All of these players end up being equal.

The weapons fan divided his time between weapons and missions, gaining 500 XP, and spending it all on the navigator.

The navigation fan divided time between navigating and missions, gaining 500 XP, and spending it all on the weapons master.

The grinder who just likes to shoot things spent all of his time on missions, gaining 1,000XP, spending half on a navigator and half on a weapons master to have a ship equal in potency to the others'.

You could even be an all around person, spending 350 XP on two NPCs, and doing a bit of tweaking on each to get your ship up to snuff. More missions than either of the first two, but a bit less than the third person.

Optional micromanagement like that, where a player can focus on his or her favourite aspect of game play, I believe is the key to balance between detail and shallowness.

Regarding Really Long Posts >=| and the Current Debate

My eyes!! I don't quite think the narrowness of this blog was meant for posts this long.

Now, to the debate mostly between Chris and Blake. As a CS/Aero major, I'm definitely leaning towards the more scientific view of game making, in fact my first game of breakout ended up as a full on physics simulation, and not so much a game of breakout. I know how easy it is to get lost in the battle of fun and realism, and I've come to understand compromises must always be struck. This isn't to say fun and science are mutual, the first time I played Deus Ex, I spent hours tossing objects around in all its simulated physics glory, same with Half Life 2. The original Outpost sought to incorporate as much real and theoretical science as they could fit, it made the game an amazing and unique gem that was fun to play.

I share many of the same ideas Blake has mentioned, but also realize many cannot be implemented, and many should not be implemented, for the simple fact they would make the game less fun, and more frustrating. Various damages and armor types should be a given, c'mon even the old Warcraft had this with heavy, medium, and light armors that were effective and weak against various types of damage. This wouldn't be hard to add, just have classes of damage, ex. Explosive, Impact, Plasma, Laser, and Electrical. The armor types could be split into categories of active and passive, with emp, projectile, cooling, an energy dissipating system (Though, wouldn't the ship act as a Faraday cage, even with a taser type setup?), and an energy type force field as the active. Plating and reflective could be passive. Different weapons and shielding could combine various aspect of the different attributes, game testing and balancing could figure out the exact values that each of these stats will mean.

With the currency, why not go with the good ol' USAs approach of just saying money is worth what it is without any real backing, aka Credits, as most scifi games do. Since it is the future, and self contained systems and nanotech should around, make these upgrades for your ship. Make food production, water recycling, power generation, and even matter creation all components you can buy and upgrade. If you don't mind constantly stopping to buy food and water, no need for water filtering and agriculture. If you don't mind your power generation being vulnerable to attack but also being cheap, get big solar panels hanging off your ship. If you have spare energy and space on your ship, start producing or refining minerals and goods, though the equipment would be better suited to a space station, or a planet colony as the energy and space requirements will be very expensive, though perhaps something you can do while logged off.

There is plenty more to be said on this topic, but to avoid writing a really long post... nm, I'm already there, sorry for the long post. How do you make the blog display wider, because right now it's just vertical text. Also, the wormhole concept of moving and trading them seems like it'd be more work than it's worth, plus players would get angry when griefers start sacrificing their own wormholes to destroy other players' wormholes.

Regarding Blakes proposal; let's all post our opinions; and read each others fully. Here is mine

Nice ideas. The laser frequency information and the other details are handy, quite timely. I've learned something new this week. :) I’d like to see what everyone says about it as well, not just me. So members; please post your opinions of Blake’s ideas below; a lot of it pretty much questions the current direction for the game.

Nice symbols as well, but you seem more suited to science advisor & possibly the game designer really.
I agree with your most of comments, but we can only make them come alive if you document how things would work based on the questions I will ask latter. Of course you might not want to answer those questions, I understand that; but I can’t answer them for you either; since your ideas are not from me with my limited scientific knowledge and I am not yet sure how interpret such knowledge for our inexperienced co-workers and common players to understand.

Your ideas seem promising. I'm sure your ideas will prove realistic and appreciated by certain ones; I'm not certain about common youngsters understanding the details yet; but clarifications would be developed later I guess; granted, it will excite those matured and interested in science, I'd say you are very intelligent and intelligent players will like your games. I hope you stay around to see the development through in order to enjoy the results. Your judgment will be the guide for your suggestions.

Only minor error; I’m not sure if you read the game document fully; I would understand, as it is not finished, I don’t get a single chance to focus on it. But it doesn't actually say that the four human-player factions fight “each other”, not quite sure where that came from. But apart from that your points are interesting; here are my opinions of yours;

I will try my best to back my statements here with successful game examples; as it is a game we are creating. If that is not possible, then I will illustrate through similar mediums.

I like your concept of having different attack types; this is the case in World of Warcraft and Command and Conquer; I originally left this detail out because those games don't have crew specialists under complex management. Attack types would certainly be more realistic.

All your statements about the ore I acknowledge; things like diamonds will not be worth much in such a scenario with expanded access, technology and resources. I saw that a Star Wars film used a spacecraft made of gold to depict the wealth of certain characters (I think it was in episode 3, before Vader is KO’d by Obi-Wan Kenobi); because ordinary people of today understand gold to be valuable. You agreed dense metals would be somewhat valuable.

I think the ‘more intelligent’ players will agree that diamonds will not be worth much for the reasons you imply; but as for the rest, what will they say about diamonds not being worth much? Will they believe you? I believe you, and know that you are right, but not all the players will; and they will post up some strong comments about what they do believe, on our future website.

Example: I imagine a poor character begging with the aim of exchanging a pile of diamonds for a bite to eat, and a rich guy replies ‘No, sorry, not worth much; not enough for even a bite’ Anyway, you said certain “things can be converted into human food”; so that story scenario probably wouldn’t exist in your concept; and should not.

Diamonds are beautiful stones, guys love them, women love them, and the amount years they took to crystallize from unimpressive materials, amazing. Thinking about an example; I don’ t think the cars in iRobot are worth much in that story as crate full of diamonds with your point; but the audience loves seeing them how they look, they look ‘cool’.

It is down to the audience, and what they see as ‘valuable’. And they will see diamonds as in-valuable in the future if they know about them. We must be sure that there are many who will play and will understand what we present to them.
I’d understand if diamonds are left out. And I agree with the point about things you can’t synthesize being valuable (I used the concept of records and guitars from being valuable in another of my futuristic game ideas). I acknowledge the point about water being recycled.

I’m not a fan of detailed realism in games of any genre; my top 10 games of all time are not much realistic with game-play details. (None of my top 10 sci-fi movies, cartoons or comics features much realism with weapons and objects either)
I think realism has a negative impact on game-play if not implemented well. Particularly for casual gamers who are a large group. We are dealing with long periods of time and focus in development and testing; but I can only say that, I can’t show you that; you have to experience such development and results for yourself. I feel the articles below highlight what to expect from realism, and what kind of audience to expect. (This comment is not about realistic graphics). Baring in mind we are making a 2D engine based game now (with 3D rendered images), are a small team (at present) and are limited with time and I acknowledge that many of my ideas are not realistic, and needed brushing up and much more focus.

Also; I agree that a game that is in no-way realistic is just immature.
These articles pretty much discuss further issues of going for the realistic & logical game. The second one concludes with a comment such details as being unnecessary.
gamasutra . gamedev

About Clifford Macintosh; Apple, they probably would get upset, which is pretty sad and pathetic considering the size of their company and our small group; anything for money.

The Clones, yes this is definitely cliché and definitely a placeholder name.
Regarding the comment; “Another problem with this is that is makes the player very small in comparison to the faction. If you've ever read Dune, the great houses are a good example of conflicting factions in which a player would seem to matter more. I think gameplay as a privateer with the option to join some sort of house or company would be most appealing. With missions one can take from various places”
I think the area of player role is simply not developed yet, pretty much because different ideas for the role keep getting proposed by different people into the game document. It does not yet go into details regarding the player’s specific role in the factions or their missions. The players certainly do start of small in comparison to the faction; and were going to develop into generals or leaders. Valid point.

I always disagreed with time setting which was earlier than 2104 before you came. You say we should add another 100; say maybe 2200 (2204).
I think to myself, what was life like 100 years ago? No spaceships, computers; no electric toothbrushes, not even an electric calculator invented 40 years or more ago. What will life be like around in 2104? I wanted to pick a time for when people on earth, are likely start to inhabit space, do we think that it will take more than 70 years from now? (at the approximate start of the back-history)
I heard of personal private space flight trips FOUR YEARS AGO lol; will we still be thinking about whether to go out into space over 70 years from now? .

Technology does advance quickly, 15 years ago I was amazed at playing a 32bit game; now they don’t even bother to talk about bits. Other technology has advanced pretty rapidly.
As the one who is studying science, your judgment would be more accurate than mine on judging when living in space will be possible. 2200 it is then.

There are some game play and story related parts I'm not sure about; but my opinion doesn't matter if the majority disagree with me; It is interesting that there is so much that seems wrong about the game-play aspect of the current plan (for which me and two previous members are responsible for); but it is also a benefit for me to understand someone else’s point of view:

Is a simple attack and defense attribute really over-simplified to cause “Most scifi fans” to “drool”? I ask because those attributes are a sum of the effect the crew members have on a playing unit (Spacecraft / foot army); Similar to ‘level’ being the sum of experience points. An example: Strength skill in Civilization 4; a summary of more detailed skill attributes which includes unit circumstance (that's right, the best, one of the largest, one of the most successful commercial budget turn based strategy game over the past few years has ONE combat skill, which is a sum of further attributes and circumstance) and let me tell you; that's the one of the most challenging games I have ever played; check out the numerous comments on

On that basis, I severely doubt; if anyone who feels that simplified attack and defense attributes that summarize numerous underlining attributes for clarity is not good considering the list of other attributes (within the crew’s personal attributes in our case), will never enjoy the games I enjoy, or like any game idea I come up with.

A good illustration is RPG character level; imagine the case of forming a strategy; ‘Level 14’ is easier to read, express and estimate in the mind than Experience Points 1,203,211; which Level 14 represents. (Only the game developers would know the logarithm formular between levels, the players are interested in the single or two digit figure). Imagine performing a math sum in your head whilst manually shooting AI and saying to your RPG game team mate; ‘Oh, I have 1,203,211 experience points, only 296,789 experience points to go’, no way; a smaller sum is far easier to express; and use for expressions. Attack and defense is there for a similar purpose, and the game document talks about the crew member’s affect on those two sums. Some details are yet to be added for obvious reasons.
We had in mind that many GREAT games are not so realistic with the action and interaction; like:

WoW: Magic?, smelt ore with your hands?

Civillization: One scientist can research anything, bullets can destroy a tank, a warrior with a sword can destroy a tank, the game has one class of laser; no frequency differences

Counter Strike: Players can shoot straight at long distances even though their arm was partially exploded by a grenade. A character can climb a ladder, shoot straight and reload in less than a few seconds, with their heart busted open with a bullet

Command and Conqueror: One class of laser again; the weapons are just prefixed with the word ‘Laser’, with no frequency ranges even considered. They have a laser that beems down from a satellite dish and zaps tanks and buildings via remote control. One faction can dig a tunnel from one island to another in matter of seconds.

Star Wars: Need I say more; who cares how the light sabers work

So if our game is to be geared towards being like them, successful? It would not contain much realism would it? (Is it to be a fantasy? Science; fiction?). As for emotion and other areas affected by realism and the time spent on it; will the result under these working conditions be good? We (the previous writers, game designer and myself) just assumed most players will not care how the lasers work; it won’t affect their purchasing decision, they would predominantly only care that it takes damage, and how much damage the weapon takes; we just felt that many players are just interested in the fun and enchanting story in our case, not realism in the Sci-Fi Role Playing game's game-play. A judgment based on the top rated games listed, how far do we take realism in game-play based on following the examples of industry trained game developers? Or do we ignore this?:



But that is not to say, that realism in game-play is entirely wrong, or possible! Flight Sim is realistic; but that is no Science Fiction RPG. I’m just trying to imagine how realism in a space flight crew management role playing system will be received by the majority. Regarding majority of the gaming community we expect to play, based on their influence on the top games mentioned; do they care how the 40 pixel squared laser cannons work? I’m not too sure about that. That might make a nice poll.

We are not competing against the likes of those games considering we are a small group; but do we expect people to enjoy our game for long if it has more emphasis on logic and reason than any of those aforementioned games, and the chart games in those lists? I’m not too sure about that either.

Probably, I’m getting the wrong impression from the emphasis on laser frequencies; granted it will be cool to have laser frequencies, just not sure if the complexity of making an online RPG is being considered before focusing on such details.
Either you aim for the hard core sci-fi fans or the casual; or try to cater to both with different modes, incentives and levels of detail. I don’t get the impression your advice considers common gamers, the majority of games players and youngsters who buy indie games. Only the smart, which is fine; just not what I and the previous guys where aiming for.

But people will disagree with what I say here; we all have different perspectives, it is just the way it is; some people care for logical explanations for science-fiction weapons, some just care for the action. Some people buy a game because it looks nice, or because it has many weapons in it, perhaps because it has different laser frequencies featured in it; I’m certain I wouldn’t buy a Sci-Fi RPG because it has logical weapons; and shouldn’t try to make something I wouldn’t play.
Thinking about games like Worms, Star Wars, City of Heroes, Starcraft, Command And Conquer, WoW, Quake, Guild Wars, Dune, Unreal and Doom; However different, they share similar instances of unrealistic weapons and items.

Funny experience; I’ve played a game based in the near future with Rail Guns that shoot through a brick walls, without scratching a single brick or the wall paper on it, no smoke or nothing and yet the human target gets the beam shot through them, burns them I think and then bleeds them as they die. Imagine working on a project like that for months and months, ‘hmmm; shooting through walls, not very realistic; we need to find a more logical solution’; that Red Faction game was a decent hit, it got released on PS2 because of its reasonable PC success, eventually. I can’t stand the game, but not because it is un-realistic.

That’s all I will say from now. It will be great seeing it all work out.

If the majority agrees with your direction and if you are up for the challenge of helping us make your advice take place; please explains how it works in the game, what the player sees (taking your time). The answers to these questions will sum up how the ideas will work and will be a good start towards making them happen.
Explain the attack types and how it all works within a 2d engine between players playing online and with the AI, what kind graphical content is needed to illustrate the ideas presented, how the different attacks and maneuvers work & what buttons are used. How modelers can get an understanding of how realistic planets, substances, effects, weapons, robots look like and animate so things match up with the scientific guidelines. Or does it matter there? Try to provide details on who the player represents and what factions exist if the current seem undesirable, who the main characters are, the minor character types, antagonists and protagonists; when we should include the main characters, how linear the missions are, and how many should exist, and how they challenge the player etc, how devices affect targets with different attacks and defenses as you outlined, how many different devices and weapons would exist (eventually). Let us know how damage is calculated based on different attacks, how damage is calculated based on items and crew members (if they would make an affect), how buffs and de-buffs work (if they exist); this determines how the XML specifications will be set up. Let us how the GUI controls the different attack types; and if manual and automatic fire input is still going to fit in, how missions are played, what missions consist of, how players interact, how information is presented to the players regarding things like laser frequencies, governmental stocks, energy sources, waste-to-food conversion and other issues you present Also; how logical details affect how all the special effects look as currently, imagination is being used.

All this will be of great assistance when producing the content and designing the XML entities and classes; we on the creative team would then know how to make it happen. I’d help if necessary, but relate with the proposed level of detail. What ever else the programmers would need to know would be proposed by them.
Meanwhile hopefully others will comment and not just leave me to give an opinion; then will make our minds up on what to include and what not; then commence with the development of the content for the demo. Unwanted elements and ideas can remain in that to simply attract attention to the website and the real game being developed.

Have a nice evening, thanks for the input.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lasers and optical shielding

This diagram demonstrates the spectrum of a possible laser (all lasers differ in spectrum) and an example of optical hull plating.

The properties as related to light- laser weapons, scanners, and visibility- are expressed by this diagram.

REFLECTION property quality:
PQ "Diffusion", floating point, % percentile

0 = no diffusion, 0%. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% reflection of Z wavelength and 0% diffusion is reflected off the hull at full strength at the angle of incident (this beam can hit other ships that are located in the path of this angle)

1 = full diffusion, 100%. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% reflection of Z wavelength and 100% diffusion is diffused as a flash of light on the hull, and does not remain coherent, and can not hit another ship.

RETROREFLECTION property quality:
PQ "Angle", floating point, radians

0 = direct retroreflection, 0 r. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% retroreflection of Z wavelength and 0 r angle is retroreflected off the hull at full strength at the source of the beam (this beam will hit the laser it came out of, amplifying the beam and eventually overheating the laser)

0.5 = indirect retroflection, 0.5 pi r. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% retroreflection of Z wavelength and 0.5 pi r angle is retroreflected off the hull at full strength at a random angle within a con of 0.5 pi radians (this beam may hit the ship it came from, or may miss, possibly hitting another ship)

1 = very indirect retroflection, pi r. Same as above, but at a larger angle.

DIFFRACTION property quality:
PQ "attenuation", floating point, % percentile

0 = perfect propagation, 0% loss. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% diffraction of Z wavelength and 0% attenuation is bent around the ship, continuing out the other side of the ship (effectively passing through without doing any damage to the ship). The beam may continiue to hit another ship. With 0% attenuation of a visible colour, the ship's colour chanel is removed (for example, if there is 0% attentuation of red on an otherwise yellow ship, the ship would appear green and transparent to red light- a red star behind the ship would shine through). With 50% attenuation of all visible colours, the ship would be 50% transparent.

1 = complete attenuation, 100% loss. A laser beam of Z wavelength that hits a hull with 100% diffraction of Z wavelength and 100% attenuation is refracted in the hull, and scattered away. The beam can not continue on to do damage, but when it hits it makes the entire ship seem to light up slightly in the colour of the beam. A ship with complete diffraction of visible light and 100% attentuation merely looks like a fuzzy blob of whatever colour light is hitting it (in space, probably rather dark, but not invisible).

Most mirror shielding, in order to be effective, must also be equipped with cooling to prevent it from melting under intense laser assault (no mirror is perfect).

Hull cooling properties, which can be added under a reflection, retroreflection, or diffraction property, will be discussed later.

Commentary on design doc and preliminary science writing

2104 is far too early for anything approaching a galactic

stretch. At least a hundred years should be pinned on; probably a bit more.

A clone army is a bit cliche, and, functionally, extremely

weak. Clones, having identical DNA and immune systems, are

highly vulnerable to specialized biological weapons- it would

be simple to wipe out a large population given identical

genetics and very similar conditions of living.

Clones- not all they're cracked up to be.

Dr. Clifford Macintosh? I think a different last name would be a good call, given the prominent company.

The four factions are all basically high end governmental

bodies- why are they fighting each other? It's a little confusing.

Another problem with this is that is makes the player very

small in comparison to the faction.

If you've ever read Dune, the great houses are a good example

of conflicting factions in which a player would seem to matter


I think gameplay as a privateer with the option to join some sort of house or company would be most appealing. With missions one can take from various places

The currency system also doesn't really make sense; currency

needs a backing of some kind; even if it's an exchange based on

planet ownership or government stocks.

I would advise a backing that humans don't have direct control

over, but that relates to a concrete resource.

I would suggest wormholes as a backing- I can explain this in more depth at a later point.

"Resources like water, fuel & chemical energy are important for

the player’s survival."

Water? No, not unless a ship is damaged. Water can be

recycled with 100% efficiency in a sealed ship.

"Energy" can be turned into fuel, and fuel can be turned into

"energy". Any of these things can be converted into human food

with variable efficiency through on board hydroponic farming or

bioreactor foods.

"Special resources like gold, platinum, diamonds and

extraterrestrial ores sell for many merits"

Diamonds? No. On a cosmic scale, diamonds are worth only what

carbon is worth, and as a very abundant element, that's almost

nothing. Diamonds can be easily produced, and even more easily


There are some dead dwarf stars, the warm cores of which are

massive diamonds far larger than the earth.

Heavy metallic elements are still worth something, but only

really the amount of energy it takes to produce them (we can

make gold, it's just expensive bombarding elements like that to

make them heavier).

Archaeological relics would be worth more- that's something you

can't just synthesize (although you can fake it).

The table regarding value of various ores needs serious


The table regarding value of gems is irrelevant- we can make

any of those gems for pennies.

The biologically sourced items, though, may be of some value-

pearls, for example- especially if they are antique.

History is the only thing with such a high value density.
In a space faring context, a world war II bullet is worth more
than a diamond the size of your head.

I postulated an alien race interested in historical artifacts- I can expand on this later.

Energy sources need to be done properly... oil isn't an energy

source in space, neither is petroleum. Doesn't make any sense

at all. There's no air to burn. Oxygen, in fact, is an energy

source in space, because it can be reacted with readily

available hydrogen and methane (found frozen or as oceans on

plant planets and moons).

Regardless, though, chemical energy isn't worth its weight.

Starting with Uranium makes sense, but that's only nuclear


There are many other means of storing and transporting energy.

Next to fission would be fusion (although the EM signature might be like a neon light to potential enemies), and following that would probably be kinetic energy storage via gyroscopic discs of tungsten carbide and carbon nano-structures. After that, maybe boron-oxygen fuel cells.

Regarding food- another thing worth real value to crew is food.

It's easy to sustain life- big vat of algae pumped through

tubes growing with an array of LEDs, absorbing nutrients from

processed waste and being processed into food cubes.

It's seriously not a concern- if you have energy, you have life

sustaining food.

But who wouldn't give their left nut for a crisp apple in deep


Food needs to be completely reworked. And again, water is

irrelevant, unless there is a leak in the ship, in which case

it's your least concern.

Regarding extraterrestrial Ore:

It's theorized that there are some plateaus of stability for

extremely heavy elements. It is possible that there are

sources of these elements somewhere in our universe where stars

are very dense, and may have accumulated extremely heavy

elements before going super nova and fusing them.

Something like this would probably just be useful as a more

efficient source of energy, though (not to say that's not


Otherwise, the elements that are available here are pretty much

available everywhere.

The weapons and HP should be based on particular attack types.

For example, a laser can be reflected by a mirror shield, doing

damage to the target shield based on the % reflection of the

wavelength of laser light.

A laser beam can also be bent around the ship using a

metamaterial skin, which would do damage to the ship based on

the frequency that penetrates the skin (skins are specific to

certain frequencies of light, although could be adaptable given


A laser could also be stopped partially by a physical shield

that absorbs the energy from it by being very thick and heavy.

A physical shield with a super conductive cooling system- or

possibly one based on the Thomson effect- would also be

effective against lasers. (lasers work by heating a material

and melting it- one that is being cooled at the same rate as it

is being heated will not melt and this prove impenetrable)

Gauss or rail gun accelerated projectiles, however, are

completely different.

A mirror would be very vulnerable to such a bullet, and a

metamaterial shield would not only less the bullet through, but

would be flawed by one, thus making it almost useless against


A cold shield would be meaningless against such a projectile as

well, although a massive piece of metal and a physical shield

would do a pretty good job.

The best shield against an electromagnetically accelerated

bullet is an electromagnetic shield- one that deflects the

bullet rather than trying to stop it.

Another defense, because the bullets do not move at light speed

(unlike lasers) is interception- probably by a laser. A ship

could detect an incoming round, and, because they are small,

vaporize them with a laser before they hit.

There are several other forms of attack, and counter measures

to every one.

Sometimes reality is stranger (and much more interesting) than

fiction, and physics is very much an example of this.

I can provide a complete list, or a table with variables for all of these and how they should work against each other.

That all shouldn't necessarily be in the demo- just damage and HP is fine for a demo.

For the final game though, it would be shortchanged that interesting interplay between attack and defense types by over-simplification. Most scifi fans would drool over that kind of depth.

The Wormholes are also not done correctly (as they are being

done, they seem to completely violate relativity, and create

impossible time paradoxes), and there are other very interesting

forms of extremely fast transit that are also worth using- warp drive, for example, can be very interesting if done properly (unlike star-trek).

Worm holes, for one, can only be one-way. When a worm hole becomes too close to another that loops back in the same direction, the worm holes collapse.

The distance can be calculated such that the distance:

(OutA -> InB) + (OutB -> InA) > (InA -> OutA)

If the distance violates that, both worm-holes collapse. If a ship is passing into one at the time of collapse, it gets cut in half.

Worm holes are invisible except for the difference in light on the other side (misplaced star, or a circle of star space in front of a planet). Worm holes can be detected by the gravitational anomaly, but only if the gravity is different on the other side of the worm hole (a worm hole X distance from a planet on the In side and X distance from an identical planet on the Out side is essentially undetectable).

Going through a worm hole, an object gains or loses energy based on the potential energy of the space it enters.

If the potential energy is lower, the object becomes hot.
If the potential energy is higher, the object becomes cold.

If the object reaches absolute zero, the object vanishes.

I can provide the equation to calculate how much the object heats or cools (it is based on the mass and the potential energy variable)

Worm holes can only be moved by warp drives (which actually don't move the worm holes at all, they move the space that the worm holes occupy).

A ship cannot travel through a worm hole using a warp drive (logistically impossible).

Regarding worm acquisition of worm holes:

Worm holes can be found, purchased, or stolen, and moved using warp drives.

A worm hole can also be destroyed by creating a partial loop using another worm hole.

Worm holes should be the basis of the economy- the value of a credit being determined relative to how many credits it costs to purchase a worm hole.

Humans should not be able to create wormholes- this technology would be far too advanced.

I have postulated an alien race capable of doing so, however. Normal materials would be useless to this race, however, these beings are particularly interested in the novelty of ancient artifacts and objects from history- they are a sort of collector people. Otherwise, they have no interest in human affairs- they will trade only in wormholes for artifacts (thus giving artifacts more objective value).

Warp drives are very different from wormholes, which are instantaneous transit.

Warp engines produce light speed transportation, and only light speed transportation.

They require energy to travel "up hill" in potential energy, and actually produce energy traveling "down hill".

A warp engine does not actually move a ship- it moves the space that a ship occupies. It causes the space "behind" the ship to grow and the space "in front" of the ship to compress.

As a consequence, a ship does not need to be moving relative to any reference frame in order to jump into warp, jumping into warp is instantaneous, and coming out of it does not leave the ship moving and is also instant.

During warp, the time on the ship is completely frozen.

If warp is performed through dense space (space filled with particles), the particles are condensed in front of the ship when it comes out of warp.

Traveling through dense space, thus, exhausts more energy. This results in warp roads, where particles have been cleared away by constant warp use.

Careful scheduling must be maintained, though, as a warp crash can be lethal for both parties involved.

I can provide more information on warp drives in future explanations.

Sub-light-speed (true propulsion):

Ion drives- work only in dense space (at higher speeds, it works in less dense space, but not in a perfect vacuum), use the present particles to propel the ship by accelerating them in the opposite direction using an EM field.

Solar sails- work only away from stars (not towards), although will work at lower efficiency at an angle away from a star.

Nuclear rocket- uses nuclear explosion to propel the ship by expelling particles at high velocity in the opposite direction.

Conventional rocket- uses a chemical explosion to propel the ship by expelling large amounts of moderate velocity particles in the opposite direction.

Laser propulsion- uses light pressure to propel a ship; only works well against a good mirror (without, it is very nearly useless).

Sling shotting- uses gravity to steal potential energy from planets and other large bodies to accelerate.

Gauss gun/rail gun- Usually only used when you're stranded and have nothing but metal and energy. Shooting in the opposite direction provides slight propulsion (mining asteroids for uranium and additional metals can perpetuate this form of propulsion almost indefinitely).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Outlines for icons.

In no particular order:

Mining, laser science, engineering, atomic science, gunner, robotics, medic, captain, pilot, chemistry (because it makes more sense to separate them out than to have a generic "scientist"), and profession field icon.

Can everybody tell which ones are which?