This whole area was discussed at great length in the old forums. Multiple times. The discussions even went so far as my building a multiplayer 2D full-size solar system environment that explored a couple ways that seamless warp travel might work, based on all those discussions. It was ‘seamless’ in that you could fly between any two destinations in the environment and have a Newtonian experience the whole way.
There were two approaches to warp. Both of them assume that the closer you get to something that disrupts your warp, the slower you moved.
ONE. The original system was structured such that ships were on warp frequencies. Ships on the same warp frequency did not disrupt each other’s warp drives. When two ships on different warp frequencies encountered each other, they would slowly come to a stop wherever they were, and then have to interact with each other.
This system had a couple problems:
A. Smaller ships could intercept larger ships and pin them down. It was EVE Online’s warp disruptors system, but everyone had a perfect warp disruptor. All you had to do was change warp frequencies and go after someone.
B. Interactions between friendlies required either that the friendlies stop and interact, or that they rely on some automated system that allows them to get near each other while still moving at speed. For example, my recollection was that Crayfish, at least, favored automated intercepts.
C. Combat was always stationary when considered from the scale of a solar system. If the fight started halfway between Earth and Mars, that’s where it was going to finish.
TWO. The modified system was one where the original system’s “automated system that allows friendlies to get near each other” became the full time treatment of all ship interactions. There are no warp frequencies. When you are flying in a fighter and approach a battleship, you automatically start to match velocities with it, while it (being the vastly-larger ship) continues to fly around unaffected. It doesn’t matter if it is friend or foe. If it’s a friend, you fly into the hangar. If it’s a foe, you blow up the hangar.
Ships can fly in formation with each other as they fly around a star system. If you want to fly in your shuttle between Star Destroyers as they zip along 1km away from each other at a speed of 0.1AU/s, go for it. It’ll be a trivial task, just like flying between them as if they were stationary.
Intercepting a ship from a distance requires a bit of skill. You’ll have to manage not only your approach vector, but your power level as well. Realize that you can leave your power at 100% and as you approach a ship, your velocity relative to that ship will drop and drop until you are moving at 3km/s relative to it. But if you want to intercept it and stay with it, you’ll want to get your relative velocity down to perhaps 200m/s at time of closure. That’ll be a touchy maneuver, but the warp prototype demonstrated that it’s practical.
Because the modified system lacked warp frequencies to give friendlies free flight when anywhere near each other, there was a rough edge to it where if you were in a busy system, with lots of ships flying between two planets, you would encounter a bit of congestion as ships moving in the opposite direction tried to push you back. Because space is so large and because warp disruption only really kicks in at close distances, any such headwinds tended to be pretty minor. Most of the time, almost nothing at all. Occasionally a momentary pause - and only in congested areas. Smaller ships would just know to stay clear of shipping lanes. Unless they were pirates.
There are piles more scenarios that I could go through, including running fights. The original system precluded the idea of fights that ranged across a star system, while they are standard fare in the modified system. In general, the modified system just worked. Whatever you would do in a small scale Newtonian environment, you could do at the star system scale.
I very much wanted to get my hands on the I-Novae engine so that I could implement the modified warp system in the full engine, but I just lost patience and wasn’t going to invest any more of my time and energy. So now I check back here and watch for interesting gameplay discussions. Sadly, these are not the forums of old.