Small Paint Suggestion

I just had a small idea for the game when it fully releases. I doubt it would be terribly interesting for battlescape, but it might add a certain degree of realism to the full game.

Basically, as a ship travels through space at high speeds, it’s going to be constantly colliding with gases and other micro-objects that will pit the surface of their ship. Now for normal purposes this wouldn’t have much of an impact, mostly just a little roughening of the surfaces, but as far as colors are concerned, it would quickly wear away paint or other colors that had been applied to the external section of the spacecraft. This happens slowly, but the more you travel or the faster you go, the more this will occur.

The idea is that a small modification to your shields allows you to block this paint damage from occurring, at the expense of a few percent of your shield capacity. Basically, you’d be trading a small percentage of your shield’s power for protection from minor aesthetic damage. The gameplay impact would be slight, but notable, as the people who primarily fight for a living would want to have every part of their ship tweaked for maximum performance. (Potentially only higher cost shields could be tweaked like that, to prevent low level players from tweaking it and then complaining about having to repaint all the time.)

However, the police/government forces of the central areas would also know this. If a person were to fly into civilized space with a pirate flag waving, you would grab a lot of attention from the authorities. In the same way, a person flying into civilized space with all their paint blasted off from interstellar wind(and potentially laserfire or worse) would instantly get the attention of those dedicated to protecting the peace.

So if you wanted to go into civilized space, you’d need to stop and buy a fresh coat of paint if you didn’t want to appear suspicious and potentially be searched for contraband/illegal weapons or whatever other dirty goods you might be carrying.

Again, the fading would be a slow process, so you’d only need to repaint every few days/once a week. It wouldn’t have much impact, but I feel that it could add a certain level of immersion to the game, not to mention making different players more identifiable. Looking for a mercenary? Check out that guy over there, his ship’s been stripped down to the silver, he’s probably an awesome pilot. Wondering if that freighter’s been modified into a carrier or is carrying valuable cargo? Check it’s scarring! But be careful, as they might be pirate hunters that keep themselves looking like a cargo ship to draw you in and destroy you.

Anyway, just a little idea.

As a ship travels through space at the speeds the game will be looking at, colliding with gases and other micro-objects won’t pit the surface of the ship or wear off the paint. They’ll blow holes in the ship the size of planets (and given that none of the ships in the game are planet sized…).

Deflector shields an absolute necessity, and need to be built into all shield systems by default. They’re not something that can be turned off. The gameplay impact would be non-existent, as gameplay needs to be balanced around this from the very beginning.

Welcome to the forum DemiserofD. Were you a member on the original forum?

Kichae is right of course and no more need be said on the matter, but I wanted to point out how absurd this idea is from another angle.

You’re saying that there are two types of shielding - one that defends against weapons, and one against debris. Increasing defence against debris decreases defence against weapons and vice versa.
This is just makes no sense. Weapons munitions (apart from lasers) are matter. Gases and micro objects are matter.

Careful, you’re dangerously close to opening the can of worms that is the realization that, in order for shields to both deflect space dust at near-light speeds and be damaged by a ship’s weapons, said weapons need to be powerful enough to blow planet sized holes in things.

Oh, wait, never mind… I did that for you. Wups!

I never was a proponent of the durable hulls idea. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Or just pretend the space is actually empty and say “things go around the warp bubble instead of colliding” and problem solved :stuck_out_tongue:

Unless Im remembering stuff that forum lurkers made up to explain this kind of thing, the “warp” speed on infinity that allows people to move around star systems in minutes actually bends space around the ship, resulting in the space emediatelly around the player being at the same speed as it was when the ship entered warp. Any particle that ends up on the ship’s path(trying to enter the warp bubble) would follow a curve around the ship because space is bent around it, and it would never actually touch the ship.

When warp is off, the particles and micro-meteorites are not at sub-light speeds, but at space shuttle speeds.

I thought one of the key features of Infinity is to be Newtonian physics and being able to accelerate to near light speed without warp?

That would still be too slow. To get anywhere in the solar system within a reasonable game time, you need to go a good bit faster than light speed. So I think that the warp will just be the canon explanation for how the travel mechanics work and why nothing hits it.

I also think that for performance reasons, you won’t be able to accelerate up to the speed of light. If the warp system is used and you accelerate up to light speed, there would be nothing to stop you when you near a planet (think collision detection). Therefore I think the warp will always be active so that there is a canon explanation for why ships slow down all on their own when nearing planets.

Also, if pure newtonian thrusters would allow a ship to go to a fraction of c fast enough to be usable in the game, it would mean accelerations so great (thousands of g) that any form of twitch combat would be impossible. How would you have fighter battles if the slightest change in movement sends you hundreds of km apart?

Warp was a mechanism that allows ships to move fast enough in a system (in minutes instead of weeks) and for ships to interact by creating a small ‘arena’ where they are newtonian relative to each-other when they meet (should said ‘arena’ move along with the ships at warp speed or be immobile relative to the system was still debated, though).

A version of the warp was also always on, where massive bodies would progressively pull you in newtonian movement, plus a speed limit (said speed limit is mandatory as the engine can’t load terrain at arbitrary speeds, and you don’t wan mountains popping into existence right in front of you when moving at 10 km/s)

The obvious solution would be that acceleration to near c would be possible, but would just take a long time to achieve. According to my calculations(and ignoring relativistic effects) it would take a week at 50 g’s to accelerate to the speed of light. Now obviously that’s not possible in reality, because of those pre-mentioned relativistic effects, but still, we’re talking about very long periods of time here, especially considering the maximum human tolerance is only like 2 g’s over long periods of time. Now infinity will doubtless ramp that up, with any number of reasonable explanations, but even then it’s doubtful we’ll have the ability to accelerate at over 8000g, which is what it would take to get to c in an hour.

That said, the idea was more of an aesthetic one than anything. Maybe the shield ionizes a small number of particles and releases them inside the shield bubble, or maybe it’s like the Dune shields and only lets particles go through if they’re below a certain speed, or something along those lines. I just thought it would be cool to have a real gameplay effect of being a pirate or merc beyond having a “like-me” meter in a stats panel drop a few extra ticks.


I, of course, am not talking about durable hulls. Rather, I’m saying that in order for a players weapons to be strong enough to damage a ship’s shields, those weapons will need to be strong enough to compete with the Death Star’s laser.

Except that we’re supposed to be able to accelerate to near-light speeds without the aid of the warp engines. It might take a long time, but it’s something that we’ve been led to believe should be possible. If that’s no longer the case, having the ships get shredded at ultra-high velocities by relativistic space dust is a perfectly reasonable method of preventing people from accelerating to those speeds.

If that’s still the case, then those shields need to hold.

I really do loathe the always-on warp idea.

No one said accelerating to near light speeds using conventional thrusters was going to be practical, just that it has been suggested in the past that it was possible.

My comment was tonge-in-cheek. If weapons are that powerful then the idea of hulls providing any sort of defence is, of course, ridiculous.

Shhh. Hulls durable enough to withstand planet destroying lasers are perfectly reasonable! Especially if they have liquid armour!


I can see why, but allowing warp to be turned off leads to quite a few problems, like : what happens if the ship is ineracting with another warp drive? What is capping your speed at low altitudes on airless worlds? Also, why would you want to turn it off? If it is for hiding, it can be done by simply stopping the ship (near planets it wouldn’t make a difference, and in deep space you’re as good as immobile).

Wait a second, I am reopening an old flame dial, am I not?

A bit more on-topic, some visual effect when warping would be good. While dust impact on shields would raise too many questions IMO about their strength, you could have an effect where dust trails are seen curving around the ship as per some anti-dust counter-measure. This could work in addition to some visible space- or ship-warping to show that this isn’t just newtonian.
OTOH, it would be good if those effects were optional, I’m sure some of us will prefer seeing space in its naked beauty with minimal or no effects when travelling.

My favourite effect, though, would be for system-wide structures to appear as you go faster. For example, when you are around planets, limited to sub-C, you only see magnetic fields and solar wind bow shocks becoming faintly visible, maybe with some brighter outlines. When you are in deep interplanetary space at dozen of c, those are more visible and bigger structures appear. Solar wind across the system, with the occasional (cosmetic) solar flare, maybe gravity wells or dust concentrations, with things like our asteroid belt becoming visible…
This way, the further you are from things, the bigger they are, so you always see visible things moving around. Additionally, it would help instantly recognizing where you are. Note that detectable ships could also have visible trails, so you can see them more instinctively than with your detectors.
Obviously, this would need to be optional, as the majesty of space is a major selling point for some people. But this would help for those who are more interested in the “shooter” than in the “space” part.

Something inspired from blue/redshift may also be nice

Either, way, “always on warp” still doesn’t make perfect sense. If its the warp drive that limits speed, then any defense fighter designed to defend planetary structures would simply remove it’s drive before battle and have “super speed” compared to warp drive fighters.

No matter how you explain it, it will never make perfect sense.
Its the same problem with the old ripcord/teleport idea that explains why the ship explodes without killing the players. If you explain its because you teleport to safety, you have to create crazy reasons why you cant teleport ships or goods around. And if you don’t explain how you always survive, you have to explain how you are immortal.

Some suspension of disbelief will always be required. The only thing we can do is to pick the gameplay we want, and then create explanations that back that gameplay in a somewhat acceptable way. The other way around might make the explanations fit better, but won’t make a better game.

So… back on topic.

We could say that there is interference that happens with the fusion/nuclear/etc reactor present in all ships. The closer you are to a massive object, the more unstable it gets, up to the point it just explodes. Thats why the ship’s computer controls the speed so you don’t kill yourself when fighting/exploring on planets.

You don’t need to have “always on warp” to explain this.

IMO the only way to actually keep players in close proximity and at low enough speeds(less than mach 1, much less) to allow decent dogfights is to have warp bubbles. The ships can easily counter any G forces from any planet’s surface, but they cant dogfight in space accelerating at 20gs because most of this acceleration comes from the warp drives. Inside the warp bubbles the ship’s engines can only provide a few Gs relative to the other ships inside it, resulting in speeds that humans can actually follow.

And thats the gameplay element only. WHY and HOW the warp drives creates those bubbles, how it interacts with planets, other players, jamming devices and etc… I don’t really care. Its futuristic space tech and the writing team can eventually figure it out. If current physics can’t explain it well enough, just create something like the “mass effect” on the mass effect games, and you are good to go.

I could explain it away with things like “the powerplant/warp system is a permanent system that can’t be turned off without destroying it” or “thrusters actually use a byproduct of the warp drive to avoid using reaction mass” ; I’d feel it easier to explain that the opposite, but…

You’re right ; but that’s my first interrogation about cutting the warp drive off. What does it bring to gameplay?
It makes things more complicated, and it doesn’t change much if you are immobile (just shut your ship off), near a body (you already are speed-limited) or in deep space (thrusters or not, you’re not going anywhere). So, what gameplay elements can it add that I miss?