Design: Starlanes

Past public reviews and discussions.
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krum
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#107 Post by krum » Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:21 pm

Or we could just erase the longer starlane when two of them cross?

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Thumper
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#108 Post by Thumper » Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:55 pm

Nightfish wrote:
tsev wrote:
A X ------------B----------XC


A X-------XBX---------XC

Can we make it so that the program knows when it's about to produce something like the first example and have it automatically convert it to something like the second example? I mean what if B was not exactly between A and C but little off center? Could we set some sort of limit? Like "3 stars have to fit between B and the starlane that passes B", meaning if B is too close to the starlane connecting A and C the program sort of bends the starlane to connect A to B and then B to C.

Also, can we have the program avoid crossing starlanes? That would probably look better than having a more chaotic starlane setup and would also help the player in finding his way around the galaxy.
I think there is a concept missing here. Is the galaxy a 3D model? If yes then NF's b could actually be half way across the galaxy from "A" & "C". Rotating the galaxy should cure the parallax problem. Also as in MoO3 the "far stars" should be depicted smaller than the "near stars". And as in MoO3 there is nothing stopping "A" & "C" from being on the far side of the galaxy when the player is viewing them.

On rotating galaxies... please remember the new XYZ position. MoO3 always tosses you back to a single starting view. :(


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Tyreth
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#109 Post by Tyreth » Sat Aug 02, 2003 1:24 am

Nightfish wrote:That would work pretty well when you're trying to figure out where to travel, but how well would this work in gauging strategic positions? I think it's a high priority that you can tell at a glance without highlighting or selecting where choke points are. Also we need to make sure those choke points are in fact created. I'm not sure that's a certainty unless we make starlanes connect to the nearest stars first, though I might imagine it wrong, I've never seen starlanes in action in any game so far.
Potentially we could colour the starlanes, but I'm not sure how. Perhaps starlanes as a gradient color, with a brighter color on the end that connects to a system with more starlanes, a darker color on the end connecting to systems with few/no starlanes.

Then you can easily see where the concentration of starlanes is.

Another option is to highlight starlanes based on their distance from the currently selected system.

I'm not sure how distracting these colors would be in game though, I'm finding it hard to imagine.

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#110 Post by Tyreth » Sat Aug 02, 2003 1:27 am

tsev wrote: Well, to answer your second question first, the MOO3 map is 3D so if you've got a starlane that overlaps other systems, just rotate the map and you'll alleviate the problem. I thought this was too much work to see exactly the geography of the galaxy and I'm glad we decided to go with 2D for FO.
Thumper, this answers your question - we have a 2D map.

Moo3 was horrible with the rotation. The universe looked so flat when you weren't rotating that it was deceptive. If we had decided to use a 3D starmap, I'd want something that involved the galaxy slowly (very slowy) rotating all the time, and easy to rotate like Homeworld with a right click. That way you constantly have the impression of a 3D galaxy and can see the depth of different stars.

Not important point though, since we are using a 2D map.

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#111 Post by tsev » Sat Aug 02, 2003 2:09 am

tyreth wrote:
Nightfish wrote:That would work pretty well when you're trying to figure out where to travel, but how well would this work in gauging strategic positions? I think it's a high priority that you can tell at a glance without highlighting or selecting where choke points are. Also we need to make sure those choke points are in fact created. I'm not sure that's a certainty unless we make starlanes connect to the nearest stars first, though I might imagine it wrong, I've never seen starlanes in action in any game so far.
Potentially we could colour the starlanes, but I'm not sure how. Perhaps starlanes as a gradient color, with a brighter color on the end that connects to a system with more starlanes, a darker color on the end connecting to systems with few/no starlanes.

Then you can easily see where the concentration of starlanes is.

Another option is to highlight starlanes based on their distance from the currently selected system.

I'm not sure how distracting these colors would be in game though, I'm finding it hard to imagine.
I agree, its hard to visualize. Once I get a little further in the map, maybe I can set up some graphics demos, or we could have the graphics team generate some samples for us to look at.
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#112 Post by drekmonger » Sat Aug 02, 2003 3:00 am

Another option is to highlight starlanes based on their distance from the currently selected system.

I'm not sure how distracting these colors would be in game though, I'm finding it hard to imagine.
I like this idea; sounds like it would look cool.

Maybe also highlight the system the mouse if rolling over if there's no system currently selected.

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#113 Post by Thumper » Sat Aug 02, 2003 3:05 am

tyreth wrote:
tsev wrote: Well, to answer your second question first, the MOO3 map is 3D so if you've got a starlane that overlaps other systems, just rotate the map and you'll alleviate the problem. I thought this was too much work to see exactly the geography of the galaxy and I'm glad we decided to go with 2D for FO.
Thumper, this answers your question - we have a 2D map.

Moo3 was horrible with the rotation. The universe looked so flat when you weren't rotating that it was deceptive. If we had decided to use a 3D starmap, I'd want something that involved the galaxy slowly (very slowy) rotating all the time, and easy to rotate like Homeworld with a right click. That way you constantly have the impression of a 3D galaxy and can see the depth of different stars.

Not important point though, since we are using a 2D map.
I've played great games with 3D galatic maps that were great. The best was Frontier Elite II. Thousands of stars and not a single star lane to clutter up the works.

In my opinion a 2D map is a giant step backwards in space game design. You might as well be playing on a board.

What makes MoO3's 3D map so gastly is in fact the inclusion of all of the da/\/\|\| lines.


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#114 Post by Thumper » Sat Aug 02, 2003 3:11 am

drekmonger wrote:
Another option is to highlight starlanes based on their distance from the currently selected system.

I'm not sure how distracting these colors would be in game though, I'm finding it hard to imagine.
I like this idea; sounds like it would look cool.

Maybe also highlight the system the mouse if rolling over if there's no system currently selected.
I like this. You Rt-click on a known/mapped star and then all of the stars close (TBD) unmapped stars display their distance.

For ships and fleets Rt-Clicking on one and then dragging the cursor to an unmapped star will display how many turns it will take to reach.


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PowerCrazy
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#115 Post by PowerCrazy » Sat Aug 02, 2003 9:09 am

Is it necessary, I mean would it really be that confusing to see where the starlanes are going? We are going to have a max of what, 5 starlanes coming out of a starsystem? And the average number will be 3, with a few 1 or 2 starsystems? AND a 2d map? This would seem to be fairly straitforward. Especially if we eliminate intersections. Now if we limit the length of the starlanes to just around a few of the "close" planets we should have a nice network of starlanes to work with. That should be fairly painless for the AI and the player to navigate.

And about eliminating intersections... Its actually a trivial problem (for a computer) Its just a bunch of calculations. We can use Linear Algebra to solve that problem.
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#116 Post by krum » Sat Aug 02, 2003 11:18 am

Nightfish wrote:On the old board we passed that we'd use starlanes and that the ratio of Starlane Speed / Offroad Speed would be constant. This is passed and set in stone. (Unless I rememeber something very wrong.)

The purpose of this thread is to determine the other things we need to know about starlanes.

Aside from the actual ratio we also need to know how "long" starlanes are. Can they span the entire galaxy or are they limited? Do we allow for various starlane length settings at game start?

Well, this ought to be one of our shortest threads ever... Let's hear some thoughts anyway

:D

Anyway, I thinkwhat's left to think about is range. The most obvious hing to base it on would be number of turns to reach the destination. I was thinking number of fuel cells could be an element of ship design. Each fuel cell contains fuel for 1 turn.

So you can make weak scout ships with a great range and terminator ships with a very limited range - and later in the game, minituarisation of fuel cells would contribute to the eXterminate phase :D

P.S. One more thing, we could say the energy it takes to create the bubble of FTL space around the ship increases exponentially with the size of the ship: In effect the fuel cells would cost a fixed percentage of the total space of the ship.

So ships would have the same range with only maxed fuel cells nomatter the size, or even smaller ship could have a bigger range, how you prefer. That is to avoid having a range too long for gameplay purposes.

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Nightfish
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#117 Post by Nightfish » Sat Aug 02, 2003 5:47 pm

Just a heads up: Range has it's own thread and probably won't be in V0.2.

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PowerCrazy
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#118 Post by PowerCrazy » Thu Aug 07, 2003 9:54 pm

hmm so what about starlanes? A nice bell curve oughta work nicely i'd imagine. With a few planets having 5 starlanes and a few having 1. The length could be just whatever planets were the closest. so for five it would be the 5 closest. etc. Nice and simple.
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utilae
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#119 Post by utilae » Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:18 am

I think it would be ok for starlanes to be shown on the map. As long as they are not boring white lines. It would be better to have cool translucent lines. I supose there's not much you can do to improve beyond lines, maybe change the colour, to blue or something.

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#120 Post by Moriarty » Sat Aug 16, 2003 5:05 pm

I believe that there should be options for just about all of the afore mentioned 8 pages of suggestions. Most of these options could be presented to the player on an 'advanced' options page when they create a new game.

Starlanes_on_off - Turn starlanes on or off (off could simply create invisible starlanes to all systems as suggested earlier in this thread). If (off) all related options would be disabled.

max_starlane_distance - Set the maximum distance of a starlane. Distance in whatever units ship travel speed is in (parsecs for MOO1). - or can leave for game to use it's own default

show_starlanes - whether to display starlanes on the map or not.

off_road_travel = allowed/disallowed



As to the A links to C, but B is between them, that's very easy to solve.
Simply make each star system link to only it's closest however-many neighboours. That way if B is closer to A, then A will link to B.

Linked below is a picture of a universe that contains about 100 stars, linked together using starlanes:

http://se.purely.info/d85ddps/slow/bb_f ... 818387.png

Each system is random linked to between 1 and 6 of it's closest neighbours. As you can see, there is only minimal star-lane crossing.
The green & yellow lines are wormholes.


Another universe:
http://se.purely.info/d85ddps/blitz/bb_ ... 629445.png

This one circlar in nature, with about 300 stars. Uses the same linkage policy as the first one.
The aboce two maps are from my severs copy of a open-source game (solar empire). They are both using 'default' length star lanes. But it is possible to get interesting results if you manually limit the star lanes lenght (can create 'star islands' and such like).

Note: The above universes are automatically generated, and are completly 2d in nature.


Hope that lot helps....

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