Initially posted as a reply, but with all the discussion about the incomplete nature of warp, I thought a new topic would be more appropriate! It’s clear warp is not finished yet (admitted by Flavien), and people aren’t quite agreeing with it yet, so have at it!
What if warp is pre-planned somehow, but automatic once it starts? The idea being that warp transit is not controllable from inside the warp.
Something like this:
You engage warp by orienting yourself to your target and perhaps the HUD visualises a kind of cone-shaped tunnel ahead.
You tune your desired speed with the mouse wheel, and the cone narrows for lower speeds but widens for higher speeds. Slower = accurate, faster = less accurate.
Warp activates and you whizz off down the tunnel automatically, able to slightly influence how much you drift inside it. Skilled players would therefore be able to warp faster with a wider cone of probability, but control it in such a way that they do end up near their target.
Newer players could rely on the slower, more accurate/stable warp until they get used to it.
Feel free to adapt and improve, come up with your own ideas, or shoot down in flames!
One thing to remember is that currently the moons are really close to the gas giant and the distances are rather short. Once the scales have been adjusted and interplanetary travel will happen the problem with the warp usability will probably be much worse, especially with overshooting.
I like that the warp is manually adjustable and very controllable (if you know how it works), but for new players and just to get from a to b its difficult.
I would suggest keeping the manual ability and having a standard assisted warp travel method.
Here is how that could work:
Before warping the player selects his destination on a ‘map’ or by targeting the planet/station/whatever. Once pressing the warp button the ship instantly accelerates and keeps accelerating, the player has normal control over its direction however the travel speed is calculated by the ship. So the ship keeps accelerating towards the target, on the middle of the distance (or wherever) the ships starts to decelerate automatically. Once the target is reached the ship slows down significantly or just drops out of warp to a hard stop once a set distance (10km to target/atmosphere etc.) is reached. This dropping out distance could also be adjustable through menus ingame, so if a player is very good or ‘brave’ he can set the distance to 100 meters in front of a station to perform a surprise attack for example, including the risk if he doesnt aim correctly he might hit parts of the station or miss it completely.
The other mode would be entering warp without a target/destination selected. This mode could just work like right now, or with warp levels that each have a set speed (which I think might make ‘freewarping’ around the system much easier).
I feel that the warp is not really intuitive, especially if looking at it from a more casual and easy-going side. The more I think of it, the more it seems that there really is no reason for warp to not be automatic once certain velocity is reached. I mean there will be a minimum warp entry threshold and there is already a exit threshold (you exit at min velocity, be it your warp velocity or entrance velocity) and since warp is not in different space to ‘normal’ space, there is nothing holding the game back from automatically entering and exiting warp.
The warp button just seems like an unnecessary hindrance from a more approachable gameplay perspective and since warp is just an acceleration multiplier and exists in the same space, it looks logical for it to be automatic.
There can still be a cool pop-in/pop-out animation for warp even if it’s automatic entry/exit.
But that only solves the problem of players not finding the warp button. Accelerating and decelerating would still be the same or not? I think having to press a warp button to enter and exit is the smallest problem.
This would only trade the freedom to enter/exit warp on notice for having one less button.
There is a reason for warp to not be automatic. You can’t fire weapons in warp. Granted that at higher velocities attempts at combat are pretty futile, but it’s still an option. Likewise, you can always use the flexibility of warp to cause mischief by buzzing enemies at low warp and then departing again before you attract fire.
I like playbennies idea of an automatic speed adjustment for warp. It’s the most difficult part currently. You could let people still manually aim at stuff. The speed adjustment would need to keep that in mind though and not speed up when you are pointing away from the target.
What’s the difference to using the number row on the keyboard? Convenience to have it on the scrollwheel and just step up/down?
I’m actually pretty ok with the current warp system. I don’t like the disconnect between warp and out of warp speed. I would like it to see how adding going below out of warp speed to the dropout conditions and see how that affects current mechanic.
The deceleration speed of warp is immense. It would still look like dropping right on top of someone. I think pressing the warp key in warp should do the same as setting speed to zero. I think adding some sub 1 exponent to the acceleration would help to further make it look like instant drop while not being the same.
Why not just have instant drop?
It’s too extreme in my opinion. It doesn’t feel like the same space when doing that. All I’m asking for is a 0.25 to 0.1 second long deceleration when coming in at about 10-80km/s. A compromise.
I don’t like anti warp gizmos. This is why I want to think about restrictions beforehand. Being able to warp right into an enemy fleet, drop bombs and disapear 10 seconds later … is that fun … for both sides?
What about chases? How do you slow someone down even when you can get close to them in warp?
Maybe the solution is to make these areas super deadly for smaller ships. What about capitals then?
One idea is disrupt/hinder zones near entities/stations/bases. That’s been done by elite …
Maybe the easiest would just be to have warp nearly/completely deplete your energy bar once you drop out. You would be a sitting duck.
Yes convenience, but now that you said that it sounds stupid so I’d like to take that suggestion back and leave it as is.
I could live with that, as long as the coolness remains.
That would make surprise attacks useless. I don’t think hindering people from fleeing makes much sense gameplaywise. It probably would be preferable to die and to respawn instead of taking the time to flee and repair your ship. It would just be somewhat useless to attack a lone enemie in the middle of nowhere because this would be a useless endeavor, I am not sure if that actually would be a bad thing.
I’m with critic, warp would be much better if it was simply an automatic progression from regular travel. As soon as you exceed 1000m/s warp drive automatically engages and as soon as you drop below that speed it disengages.
It saves have an extra key or system menu option.
it’s far more intuitive.
You no longer need a warp cool down.
You no longer need the energy limit (although you could still have it).
Chases will simply progress naturally into warp.
Sudden warp drops from 1000km/s to 100m/s are exploity.
Slow warping is exploity.
Travel mechanics would feel more seamless and integrated.
The biggest issue with warp isn’t the entering and exiting IMO but the speed management. Entering warp naturally on 1000km/s would take ages and it would take ages to reenter warp if a destination is missed.
The whole problem with overshooting the destination still remains and is worse once entering and exiting warp is so slow. Looking at the stream from kateclick it seemed to me that setting the right speed, not overshooting or colliding were the biggest issues for a newbie, pressing the warp button is straightforward IMO.
I prefered retaining the warp speed on warp exit as it seems more natural - however given how dangerous it is especially for new players who will die everytime they warp out in front of a planet and have no idea that they have no chance of decellerating in time by using non-warp engines and will die unless they rewarp… i can see why the retain warp entry speed on warp exit model is probably a lot safer, particularly for new players.
I am torn about the one button warp exit mechanic. On the one hand it eases travel by a LOT. Very convenient. On the other hand you have no counterplay right now against getting jumped on as you can combine slowwarp, instant warp drop and instant kill turrets to delete any small ship with near zero risk. The only way to avoid that is to stay in warp yourself. As soon as you commit to a fight outside warp, anyone who wants to can jump on you. ( However weapon balance is far from final so this should not be a mayor argument for or against certain warp mechanics. )
A simple adjustment could indeed be a longer warp cooldown after exiting. I agree that if that was implemented, a clear visual cooldown countdown/indicator would be needed.
Generally, there is a bit of a conflict between warp as a travel tool and warp as a tactical tool. The very free and direct way we currently have is better for the tactical tool aspect, but a more automated/seamless system like Critic suggested would probably be better for the travel tool aspect.
I have not made up my mind on the fundamentals of the warp system, so the different views here are very important input for me, too.
However i have a few details i would want to see:
Staggered warp activation times from smallest ships - fastest to largest ships - slowest. I mean the time between button press and actual warp starting. Even for big capships no more than ~10-20 seconds, but it should differ between ships. It feels wrong to have the very big ones playing the same very fast hit and run style as the small ones.
I dislike the very easy warp entering at ground level in atmosphere. Mostly because i want space and atmosphere dynamics to be different. If we raise the minimum entry speed again this issue would automatically disappear. If not, it would require another rule, like ground proximity or air density to prevent warp entry - and too many of such rules would convolute the warp system.
The higher a minimum warp speed, the better you would have to time a manual warp exit, if the manual exit was retained. It increases the risk in the manouver, if we want that.