Wednesday, November 5, 2008

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).

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