Back to the Map

So – I integrated Shadows into Dom – and they don’t work. Something in the render path is basically chucking a curve ball into it and knocking it for six. I did my best with the time available, but I’ve had to park it for now.

I decided to turn back to the Map, and made some massive (and long needed) performance improvements to the underlying DEX (Data EXchange) layer that sits on top of the SQLite databases. With 10,000 stars in the test galaxy, suddenly everything became ‘real-time’ again when applying filters to the map. Huzzah, etc.

Next, I started on visualising the routes that the NavCom would calculate when you choose a destination, based on the currently selected drive system.

Despite my best efforts – it seems I’ve written code-poison. I can’t figure out why the algorithm is failing – it constantly gets locked into picking the same two stars in a route, despite being told to ignore any star it’s previously picked. 😐

Anyway – I knocked the following up to detail how the drive systems will work, with their various pro’s and con’s – and how they will impact the players choices as they ply their trade or explore the galaxy. I have to get some of this out of my head and down into ‘print’ at some point!

So – we’re into “Design” and “Tech” land here… and this is a huuge post – feel free to bail if you wish!

Drive Systems

So, you may (or may not) be aware there are many drive systems on offer in Dominium – split into two categories ; c- and c+.

c- drives are for moving around ‘local space’ – ie. somewhere you want to interact with other objects, like ships or stations etc. Various tech and drive systems are on offer, with the best relying on Inertial Dampers and Momentum Exchange or Displacement systems. These all allow for non-newtonian flight mechanics, but are typically reserved for larger vessels. Smaller vessels (scouts, fighters) can benefit from these, but due to the technology curve, most mass-market smaller vessels are still newtonian based.

c+ drives are for ‘the long haul’ – where you won’t be fighting, docking, etc. but traversing the hugeness of space to get between planets or stars.

c+ drives are really “where it’s at” technology wise.

At the moment, we have the following drives which can be used ;

FTL – presently the most common and widely used. It relies on sub-space warping, and establishes a non-relativistic bubble around the ship pushing space around it, allowing the object within to travel at many times the speed of light (c) without experiencing time dilation. It is extremely sensitive to gravitational influences, which can result in your trajectory/course being thrown off by hundreds if not thousands of light years. As such – courses have to be carefully plotted to avoid gravity wells.

G-drive : cutting edge technology, much faster than FTL, and also non-relativistic as it operates in higher dimensions. It relies on gravity wells entirely, and must be able to interact with a gravity well. If you are too far for your drive to reach, you can be stranded in deep space. Effectively, this drive uses gravity wells as ‘stepping stones’.

Continuous Wormhole Drive : relies on wormholes punching through sub-space to bring two-points in real space together. Long established technology largely only available through gate-stations, set up in la-grange points in various systems. Sulranian Imperial Naval R&D have broken the technology barrier to finally produce a ship mounted wormhole generator and shielding to allow a vessel to project a wormhole ahead of it, allowing for instantaneous travel across large tracts of space. Extremely sensitive to gravitational fields, which can prevent wormholes being formed, mis-projected, or to collapse during transit. Only available in a restricted sub-set of the Imperial Navy.

There are others – but I’m not revealing them yet 😉 You can see more info on the technology within Dominium here if you’ve a mind to.

So – with all these fun toys to play with, what does that mean for the player?

Well, you’ll notice they all let you zip about the galaxy, but have pro’s and con’s. Fuel isn’t really a concern in this advanced society – energy is abundant and (largely) limitless. Your vessel has an available power core and can supply your ship indefinitely if maintained. They can be upgraded, and in some cases added to. The tech, and capabilities of the drive determines how far it can go, how much power it needs to do it, and how often it can be used. Also, this is just a computed/suggested course system… you can override it and lay in any course you so choose at any point – within the safety parameters of the drive being used that is 😉

Let’s plot a journey to a nearby star system…

A to B

Let’s use FTL to get there first…

FTL Navigation

So, FTL is affected by nearby gravity wells – so our NavCom has to plot a course that avoids them, but doesn’t go too far out of the way. It does this by triangulating the nearest pair of stars to where you are, and finding the gravitational mid-point between them ;

FTL - Mid-point

From that mid-point, it finds the next nearest pair of stars, based on the overall heading it needs to adopt to the destination…

FTL - Choosing a path...

This mid-point was chosen because it’s on the same “side” of the intended direction, when compared to the current mid-point to the nearest star. (Trust me.) So now we use the same method for the entire journey…

FTL - the full mid-point set

And voila, we have the FTL course from A to B…

FTL - The Course

So, this means  a slightly longer journey than the straight line, a slight meandering course, and 6 ‘pinch points’. Pinch points are important – because FTL works the same for all ships, these pinch points mean – for a very busy route – that you can guarantee traffic will be passing through them. This makes a great place to camp! Yes, deliberately! Camping is useful for bounty hunters who might be tracing someone in a peaceful neighbourhood, and also pirates if you are travelling through a less welcoming one. Basically, you know to expect trouble in these areas.

G-Drive Navigation

G-drives are a lot simpler. They just need to know the nearest stepping-stones to use to get you to B. But, the stones with the stronger gravitational fields win – rather than the one’s nearest your ship.

G-Drive : Nearest Strongest gravity well

And so we find all the suitable gravity wells along the way…

G-Drive : The stepping-stones

And as the G-drive has to transit these gravity wells, it has to enter each one to acquire enough momentum to exit it and enter the next in the trail, so we get a winding course between these stars…

G-Drive : The Course

G-drives are much faster than FTL, but also require more power and shielding, as well as hull integrity compensators. Their tech, capacity and power all determine how sensitive they are to gravitational fields – more advanced ones can detect fields and interact with them that lesser drives can’t.

CWOD Navigation

CWOD can just punch a hole from point to point – but only in the direction of the projector itself – which is usually aligned to the ships principal axis. An ingress is generated directly ahead of the vessel, and the terminus is projected as far ahead as desired, based on the capacity and power of the drive of course. Due to the negative effects of gravitational wells, it has to project into a volume of space with as little gravitational field as possible – this is usually the nearest / lowest ‘lagrange point’ between nearby stars…

CWOD : First jump

Similar to the algorithm for FTL navigation, but this time it’s taking the gravitational mid-point for the volume of space, instead of that intersecting the direction of travel.

CWOD : Choosing a path

Again, a similar choice of path to FTL – but based on the volume of space…

CWOD : The chosen mid-points

And, finally, the desired course ;

CWOD : The Course

As you can see, this course meanders even more than the G-drive! and requires 8 ‘lay-over’s’ – where you have to jump 8 times before reaching your destination, in order to recharge the drive and shields. CWOD potential is determined in part by the mass to power ratio of your ship – so a capable drive / power source in a small ship can jump much larger distances than a huge vessel with the same drive and power source.

Terminus points are typically in deep-space between stars, so there’s very little traffic to worry about – especially given the restricted availability of the drives. However, for those pirates amongst you who that might decide to traverse these regions via FTL by manually plotting a course… be wary of Imperial Navy fleets lying in wait… they can get there a lot quicker than you can!

But, if and when CWOD comes onto the public market… things will change very rapidly!


Comparison of all three drive systems

So, three ways to achieve interstellar travel. All with various pro’s and con’s… all of them affected by your choice of ship, power source(s), drive systems, shields and any other kit draining power from your energy grid.

This may make it all sound like a micro-management nightmare! But, DON’T PANIC! You only have to dive into this if you want to, to really tune the best performance out of  your rig. Normally, you can just hit the “Give me the maximum drive power” button, and the vessels AI will sort this all out for you.

I hope you enjoyed this insight into how things will work in Dom!


Other News

Chapter 1 of Book 1 is now being officially proof-read/critiqued! I’m aiming to rejig each chapter and send them one at a time, and then merge in any suggestions from the proof-reader before finally calling it a day and publishing the darned thing. It’ll be a while yet – but at least it’s nearing the end of the journey!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Mak View all posts by

9 Comments on "Back to the Map"

  1. Cornflakes_91 August 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm -

    Ooh! Shiny technobabble/lore/gameplay minglings :3

    Im excited to see something in video form at some point (or even try something… ;))

  2. Mak August 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm -

    Cheers Cornflakes_91 🙂 sorry it took so long to approve your comment, WP only told me about it today! It’ll be a while before anything is worth getting your hands on, but it’ll happen… Somehow… 😉

  3. Cornflakes_91 August 19, 2014 at 5:34 pm -

    Long? That were 53 minutes 😛

    Werent here in a while and remembered today, thats why therevis a new post under a old thread.

    I really enjoy reading about your lore here, and am really excited to see the “kickstarter’s coming closer” between the lines 😉

    Would like to see more lore, especially technobabble 🙂

  4. Mak August 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm -

    Doh! For some bizarre reason I read the post date as 8th August! My apologies to WordPress – it’s been a busy day 😉

    Thanks for the enthusiasm, it’s always good to know someone’s listening. Lore and technobabble I can do! In spades… feel free to check out the info pages on the main site if you haven’t already.

  5. Cornflakes_91 August 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm -

    I have been waiting for ages now that you write something new into these links 😛

    I think i actually found a way for large ships to overcome the g-drives limitation and use it without having to hop stars.

    Mount a big G+ generator in front of the ship, turn it up -> profit 😛

  6. Mak August 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm -

    LOL – Ok, I’ll have a think and see what I can do.

    Nice idea btw – hopefully you’ll get the chance to try it!

  7. Cornflakes_91 August 19, 2014 at 8:12 pm -

    Is (will) the physics for the drives simulated in such fidelity? *.*

    meaning for the g-drive for example: “steer to gravity field” and not “steer to next system with biggest star”

    Awesome! 😀

    Dont forget making more such interacting systems!
    (Like with that old post about customizing missles…)

  8. Mak August 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm -

    Yep, it will be. Gravity wells play an important part in how the drive technologies work – and that’s across the board. g-drives, FTL and WOD are all affected in some way, even by nearby ships. And certain deployable items 😉

    And nope – I won’t forget – the only problem I have is the ‘when’ factor!

  9. Cornflakes_91 August 19, 2014 at 8:43 pm -

    Well, i see star wars style interdictor ships incoming ^^

Subscribe to The Dominium Observer Newsletter!