Warp Points

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Warp Points

Postby Crucis on Thu 06 Dec 2012 11:00

For those that know me, Warp Points in Cosmic have been sort of the bane of my existence. It's been very difficult getting a handle on them.

It should be a well known fact to some that I don't generally like how Ultra handles WP's (tiny WP capacities and TSA), though there's a point or 2 even in Ultra's WP rules that are nice, like allowing multiple tactical pulses to transit a WP for ships exceeding a WP's capacity. Don't know if I'll use it, but it is a nice concept ... though it does go against the general philosophy of 3E warp points and WP capacity.


When it comes to WP's, I'm caught in a bit of a conundrum. Even some 3E fans aren't entirely happy with 3E WP's, and yet they are a part of the Canon History to which Cosmic will attempt to stay true to. Some don't like Closed WP's, and yet they are a major part of the canon and won't be going away. (Not to mention that they're a necessary game mechanic for those who generate star systems only as needed.)

Some don't like the constant WP assaults, but what does one expect when the most important terrain feature in the game is a tactical and strategic choke point? (Not to mention another major part of the canon.)

Others don't like the large WP capacities in 3E. But in a game where the balance of power favors the defender in WP assaults (at least until the invention of the SBMHAWK), limiting WP capacities only serves to further increase the defender's advantage in a WP assault.


One thing that I don't particularly like about the WP capacity numbers in ISF is that they miraculously almost always are on even multiples of 100 (with only 2 exceptions). This doesn't seem very natural to me. I'd think that nature would be a bit more random. So this is a wild idea I had to create a more natural feeling version of WP capacities.

Instead of having a WP type having a capacity of 5oo hs, I was thinking that it would have a capacity of 450 + 1d100 hs, with the 1d100 to be rolled at system generation or after the WP survey (depending how a particular player or SM handles WP details). So instead of a capacity of an even 500 hs, it could be anywhere from 451 to 550 HS. No more miraculous and unnatural multiples of 100. And as has always been the case, the WP capacity of the 2 linked WP's would be equal to the smaller capacity WP.

However, having suggested this, it's also worth noting that it introduces a bit more record keeping, since you could no longer just say that WP1 in system "A" was a Type 1 WP and know that that meant that it had a capacity of 500 hs. You'd have to record what its actual capacity was on the star system's system data sheet. It is worth doing this? I don't know.

An alternative to the above randomized WP capacity idea would be to make the capacities of the WP Types have much less consistent values for their capacities. That is, rather than have 13 out of 15 have capacities on even multiples of 100, make them a bit more random and less consistent. Rather than Type 1 having a capacity of 500 hs, maybe it should be 525 hs or 482 hs. Something other than a number evenly divisible by 100. But for simplicity's sake, if it was, say, 482 hs, all Type 1's would have a capacity of 482 hs, and that value would be in the WP Type table as its capacity.

In theory, I like the randomized capacity idea better, since nature isn't quite so rigidly constant. But the alternative has the benefit of consistency.



On another point, some people don't like the idea that 3E WP's only allow 1 ship per pulse to safely transit a WP. There are a couple of problems with this for me. First, it's very much against canon. But even worse, allowing multiple ships to safely transit a WP without risk of interpenetration only serves to enhance the value of swarm tactics, which I seriously do not like.

For example, let's say that I allowed multiple ships to make transit safely at 50% of the WP's normal capacity. That is, a 500 hs wp could safely handle up to 250 hs worth of ships in a single tactical pulse without risk of interpenetration. That would be 20 ES's or 15 CT's ... PER TACTICAL PULSE!!! I can't think of anything more likely
to further encourage swarm tactics than that! (Well, maybe I could, but I'm not going to bother trying...) So while this little idea is nice and simple, it also encourages a tactic that I really, REALLY want to discourage. Thus, WP's will continue to only allow 1 ship per tactical pulse to safely transit WP's.



Yet another point, some people aren't thrilled with the large WP capacities in 3E. I think that they were intentionally made so large back when 3E was written because Dave Weber and Steve White had the huge hull types seen in EXODUS and EXTREMIS (the most recent STARFIRE novels) in mind at the time, even though at that time (early 90's) the largest hull type seen was the 300 hs Supermonitor.

But to be honest, I could be entirely happy if the 300 hs Supermonitor was the largest WP-capable hull type in the game, in spite of what's seen in EXODUS and EXTREMIS. And if 300 HS was the largest WP capable hull type, that would imply that 300 hs was the largest WP capacity. And there'd be a little more room for fiddling around with capacities in a tighter 300 point range rather than a 500 point range.

What would you guys think of limiting the WP capable hull size maximum to 300 hs (i.e. Supermonitor sized)? (Essentially by making the maximum WP capacity no greater than 300 HS, that is...)



That's all I have for now. So have at it!!!
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Re: Warp Points

Postby Crucis on Thu 06 Dec 2012 12:01

One thing that I meant to include in the initial post is that I think that it might be good to link WP locations (distance from WP) to the star type. WP's are attracted to mass in 3E. But I could easily see WP's for less massive stars needing to exist somewhat closer to their system primary than WP's linked to more massive stars.

OTOH, I wouldn't want this to be a complicated process. And this is probably a case where simplicity will trump detail because it's not a detail that's imperative.


I should also note that it's my intention to do WP distances in system hex based distances, rather than LM's. After all, even in the ISF rules, WP's are placed in center of their system hex, so what's the point of going to the effort of doing WP distances in LM?
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Re: Warp Points

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Thu 06 Dec 2012 20:51

I got a few ideas. Not sure how workable they will be.

1) WP size (5d10)*10

2) WP distance in system hexes. Base of 6-30 hexes. 4% chance per hex.

Modifiers for stellar class are as follows

Blue Giant +3 hexes
White +2 Hexes
Green +1 hex
Yellow 0
Orange -1 hex
Red -2 hexes
Red/White Dwarf -3 Hexes
Red Giant -6 Hexes (allows for coronal wp's per canon)

3) WP types are as follows

Type 1 6-10 system hexes from primary
Type 2 11-15 hexes
Type 3 16-20 hexes
Type 4 21-25 hexes
Type 5 26-30 hexes
Type 6 31+ hexes
Type 7 1-5 hexes
Type 8 coronal WP for RG

Closed wp's will occur after all open wp's in a system have been rolled/discovered. Standard rules apply. Closed wp's are undetectable except by the transiting ship, or by observing a transit.
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Re: Warp Points

Postby Crucis on Thu 06 Dec 2012 23:43

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:I got a few ideas. Not sure how workable they will be.

1) WP size (5d10)*10

2) WP distance in system hexes. Base of 6-30 hexes. 4% chance per hex.

Modifiers for stellar class are as follows

Blue Giant +3 hexes
White +2 Hexes
Green +1 hex
Yellow 0
Orange -1 hex
Red -2 hexes
Red/White Dwarf -3 Hexes
Red Giant -6 Hexes (allows for coronal wp's per canon)

3) WP types are as follows

Type 1 6-10 system hexes from primary
Type 2 11-15 hexes
Type 3 16-20 hexes
Type 4 21-25 hexes
Type 5 26-30 hexes
Type 6 31+ hexes
Type 7 1-5 hexes
Type 8 coronal WP for RG

Closed wp's will occur after all open wp's in a system have been rolled/discovered. Standard rules apply. Closed wp's are undetectable except by the transiting ship, or by observing a transit.


Alexei, I get the feeling that your ideas are rather colored by Solar's WP's. ;)

Here's a partial listing of the ISF WP's, with distances converted into sH.


WP TypeDistanceCapacityVisibility
Type 115-30 sH500 hsOpen
Type 215-30 sH450 hsOpen
Type 315-30 sH400 hsOpen
Type 415-30 sH100 hsOpen
Type 520-30 sH500 hsOpen
Type 620-30 sH400 hsOpen
Type 71-7.5 sH500 hsConcealed
Type 87.5-20 sH400 hsConcealed
Type 97.5-25 sH300 hsConcealed
Type 1010-30 sH200 hsConcealed
Type 1125-30 sH180 hsConcealed


This is basically my starting point.

At this point, as I mentioned in the first post, I could turn 500 hs WP's into 450 + 1d100, and so on. Or I could just say that Type 1's 500 hs capacity was really, for example, 487 hs.

As for distances, a 20-30 sH distance could easily be tweaked to 21-30 sH, i.e. 20 + 1d10.


===

However, just as a starting point, I was looking more for feedback on some of the ideas and questions that I posed in the initial posts. For example, what would you think of the idea of supermonitors being the largest warp transit capable hull type, meaning that the largest WP capacity would be around 300 hs?


Or what do you think of the idea of WP distances being somewhat linked to their star's relative mass? That is, the less massive the star, the closer to the star the WP's would be. But this could be a problem for starless nexuses, since without a star to be linked to, there's no mass at all. And if WP's tended to be closer to their stars when those stars had less mass, then how would one explain starless nexus WP distances?

Of course, one could flip the idea around and have WPs being further away for less massive stars and closer for more massive stars. This would avoid the problem of starless nexuses.


Or what do you think of the idea of more random WP sizes, as in something like a 300 hs WP actually being more like 250 + 1d100 hs? And the random range wouldn't necessarily have to be 100 hs across. It could be smaller, like 290 + 2d10, i.e. 290 + (2-20), or 292 to 310 hs.

I actually kinda like this idea of random-ish "natural" sizes, though it could require a little more book keeping. It would also mean that you could never be fully certain of what size to build some ships if, for example, a type 9 WP was 290 + 2d10. You could have some Type 9 WP's being 292 hs and others being upwards of 310 hs. You'd know their general distance from the WP and their general capacity. But it could be a risk to build 300 hs SMT's if there was a 292 hs WP that you might have to traverse.

Of course, this was true with the old ISF table. But with this random-ish idea, it gets a little trickier. And that doesn't account for the fact that I haven't pointed out that it might be linking to a smaller capacity WP type at the other end, though I suppose that the concerns don't really change that much.


Anyways, I'm hoping that you will speak to some of these questions.... Thx.
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Re: Warp Points

Postby Vandervecken on Fri 07 Dec 2012 01:54

As I mentioned on a post on page 3 of my 3 Empires - Solar Thread, I modified Solar's WP base impulse capacity by making a die roll that modifies that number. My results allowed all numbers from 22 to 68 to getting rolled (also 70) . Some Numbers didn't happen as often, and the original WP type numbers still occur the most often. Each WP type from A to F has a bell curve of numbers that peak at the old WP capacity number, with some overlap of numbers at the edges of each bell curve. If I write fan fiction, the WP types will each have slight differences in measurable energy output, so that if your ship is very close, and with the right science instruments, you would be able to determine if that 33 HS per impulse capacity was a type B or a type C WP. I like that the universe in my SysGen doesn't have specific numbers that arbitrarily show up and I can see why you would want the same for Cosmic. My preference would be for a random #, but even just getting out of the Hundreds lock seems nice to me. The system certainly works without this change, but it would seem more natural/realistic to me if you did change it.

I prefer smaller WPs, but then my 2 x campaigns using 3rdR never even got close to Super-monitors.
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Re: Warp Points

Postby Crucis on Fri 07 Dec 2012 02:36

Vandervecken wrote:As I mentioned on a post on page 3 of my 3 Empires - Solar Thread, I modified Solar's WP base impulse capacity by making a die roll that modifies that number. My results allowed all numbers from 22 to 68 to getting rolled (also 70) . Some Numbers didn't happen as often, and the original WP type numbers still occur the most often. Each WP type from A to F has a bell curve of numbers that peak at the old WP capacity number, with some overlap of numbers at the edges of each bell curve. If I write fan fiction, the WP types will each have slight differences in measurable energy output, so that if your ship is very close, and with the right science instruments, you would be able to determine if that 33 HS per impulse capacity was a type B or a type C WP. I like that the universe in my SysGen doesn't have specific numbers that arbitrarily show up and I can see why you would want the same for Cosmic. My preference would be for a random #, but even just getting out of the Hundreds lock seems nice to me. The system certainly works without this change, but it would seem more natural/realistic to me if you did change it.


I can see capacities of a given type of WP being around a certain value, but not always AT a specific value. That just doesn't seem natural. After all, all G2 stars aren't exactly the same. Why should all Type 1 WP's be exactly the same? And I can see where a bell curve distribution of sizes for a given WP type is appealing.


I prefer smaller WPs, but then my 2 x campaigns using 3rdR never even got close to Super-monitors.


Smaller WP sizes tends to favor the defender. Also, the effect of WP size will be different depending on whether the limit is a hard limit like in ISF or a soft limit, like in Ultra/Solar, where if you exceed the per-pulse capacity, you just use additional pulses to make transit.
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Re: Warp Points

Postby Vandervecken on Fri 07 Dec 2012 02:58

Those of us who have been playing this style of game, and those of us who specifically have been playing Starfire understand that there is a Link to finding the right size to make WPs and the ability to scale up production/output of your empire. The Solar discussion of Time Decompression was one way to minimalize Rampant scaling up. Will you be doing anything that modifies the 3rdR rules in this regard. That may affect where I'd go on WP size, as I hate having the equivalent of the Maginot-Line with my enemies in Starfire. Or worse, where it seems to become the WWI game of trench warefare where each of the 2 WP leading to Enemy X's space have so much Base and Minefield defenses, that neither side can break through without horrible losses in doing so, if they even can.


My games have never gotten to that point, but I've heard of games where others have.
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Re: Warp Points

Postby Crucis on Fri 07 Dec 2012 04:00

Vandervecken wrote:Those of us who have been playing this style of game, and those of us who specifically have been playing Starfire understand that there is a Link to finding the right size to make WPs and the ability to scale up production/output of your empire. The Solar discussion of Time Decompression was one way to minimalize Rampant scaling up. Will you be doing anything that modifies the 3rdR rules in this regard. That may affect where I'd go on WP size, as I hate having the equivalent of the Maginot-Line with my enemies in Starfire. Or worse, where it seems to become the WWI game of trench warfare where each of the 2 WP leading to Enemy X's space have so much Base and Minefield defenses, that neither side can break through without horrible losses in doing so, if they even can.


My games have never gotten to that point, but I've heard of games where others have.


To be frank, Vander, I really do not like time decompression in Starfire (and that's putting it mildly). I like the game to move along. I'd die of boredom in a time decompressed game. I quite frankly have never understood the attraction of time decompressed games of Starfire.



As for your comment about the equivalent of the maginot line, we refer to that as WP Stagnation. And it is a problem. But it's also part of the Starfire Canon History. Or rather I should say that the technologies that bring about WP stagnation are a part of the canon. Minefields, armed buoys, OWP's.

A huge problem with minefields is that if you don't have to pay maintenance on them, then there's nothing to limit the size of those minefields. You can just leave them out there indefinitely and expand them over time with the only cost being the cost to buy more patterns of mines. This is an example of one of the unintended consequences of reducing certain types of paperwork in SM#2. The same would be true of armed buoys as well.

Another problem with minefields is that since SM#2 you don't have to actually build your own minelayers. You just let the CFN do it and bing-bang-boom, instant huge minefield! I'm a firm believer that you should have to build your own minelayers to lay your minefields. And if you don't happen to have any, minefields don't magically appear at WP's. And if you want to build a thick minefield really quick, then you'd better have a lot of minelayers.

Of course, WP stagnation comes to a screeching halt once SBMHAWKs arrive. But it seems to me that it takes a long time (TL-wise) for answers to minefields to show up. And I never really liked the idea that until AMBAM's came along that the only way to sweep a minefield was to toss a bunch of purpose-built ships into the field to soak up mine attacks. You'd think that engineers require 5-7 TL's before finally figuring out a better way to sweep mines than playing target dummy.

Of course, another technology that changes the nature of WP assaults is the jump drive (like that found in Alkelda Dawn). Minefields and armed buoys are a lot less potent when you can jump well beyond the WP when entering the star system. But depending on how great the range of the jump drive is affects how great an effect it can have on breaking the WP stagnation phenomena. If the jump range is only 1d10 tac hexes, you're still well within range of any OWPs and the entry region is small enough that mines and buoys can still be used with some effect, just not quite the same as when you know exactly what hex the enemy will be in. Of course, if the jump drive's range is 30 or more tac hexes, minefields and buoys are probably going to be mostly useless and the battle will almost be a deep space battle right from the start, which is going to take away most of the advantages the defender would have, particularly if the defender is the weaker empire. And if one had some sort of "super-jump drive" that had a jump range measured in interception hexes or system hexes ... well then you're going straight to deep space engagements and WP defenses would be utterly meaningless. About the best a defender could do would be to place his defense fleet between the WP and whatever needed defending at a distance where the attacker couldn't use the jump drive to jump right over the defense fleet.


So yeah, I've thought about this question before, though it's been a while since I had to discuss it with anyone...
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Re: Warp Points

Postby Vandervecken on Fri 07 Dec 2012 05:04

I'm a bit tired here at work so please forgive me ...

Crucis wrote:And I can see where a bull curve distribution


I believe that the bull curve distribution has higher numbers showing up at the ends of the curve, like a bulls horns rising up; where a bell curve has the higher nimbers in the center so as to shape a bell, :)


Even with spell-check and grammar-check on, I've made some very "interesting" sentences in my paperwork I do for my job in just the last few months. Oh well, "Nobodies Prefect" ;) !
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Re: Warp Points

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Fri 07 Dec 2012 06:16

I haven't had access to ISF for about 15 years.

I do like the distance modifier based on stellar mass. I included it in my table. My type 8's are the coronal RG wp from scenario 30.01.21 in SAW.

My size goal was to have variability but divided by 10, not 100. The wp type is just a convention based on distance. So far I have no closed wp's available on initial sysgen in most cases.
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