Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Some of you might be familiar with a space mmo game called Earth and Beyond.
The game certainly had flaws and wasn't for the wide audience either but it definitely excelled in certain areas.
Having recently played Star Trek Online and Earth and Beyond sort of in paralell (thanks to the E&B emulator project) I got reminded how much I like E&B's version of the galaxy, of (sector/system) space.

For those who don't know, it is essentially comprised of a multitude of different systems interconnected by jumpgates. The important part is that within a system you can both be flying as sublight- or at warp speed, warp speed being roughly 15-20 times faster than sublight. As a player you can, if you want, travel through an entire system by sublight only... it just takes ages. Certain areas need to be passed in sublight only due to various environmental effects... or you might want to drop out of warp early to engage cloak or approach a point more carefully or what not.

The point, and to live up to the topic's title, I think the version of space/sectors of E&B is something I would like to encourage the STO devs to take a look at (since its current incarnation is free to play it wouldn't even cost them money, "only" a bit of time) and consider implementing certain aspects maybe for the overhauls of STO's exploration system. Earth and Beyond may have many flaws by current standards, but one thing is for sure, space truly feels big there. Looking at the combination of warp- and sublight speed within single systems, combined with the player being in complete control of when and how to use their warp drive, on top of all the environmental/enemy related etc. surprises scattered across the systems, I think this would make for an excellent setting for STO's future exploration content (if this is still being worked on on a relatively basic level).

Just another of my 2 EC I wanted to get out there.

(I should add thought that to be honest I know how incredibly unlikely it is that we will ever get to see an "open" world/space like this in STO. The game is and by any and all means will in all likelyhood (have to) stick with the "shoebox" size / individual systems. But it was worth a shot mentioning an alternative, and who knows, if some dev(s) do find time to take a peek at E&B, maybe a tiny aspect of it might find its way into STO.)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
01-07-2011, 03:31 AM
As a Former E&B player I know where you are coming from and would have to agree that the travel system in E&B would work great for STO if it could be impelmented. Basically it would cut out the load screens and the (I know I am going to get flamed for this) "Retarded" Flight controllers.

Plot a course acrros the galaxy map, go get a drink, the autopilot will do the rest to the system you want to go.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
01-07-2011, 05:33 AM
Since sector space is really quite sparse in repsect to fixed icons, I can't really see why we can't have a fully open space and move from one to another that same as we do from one subsector to another. This business of loading to move from Sirius to Regulus then loading again to go to Psi Velorum and so on is reminiscent of a limited memory Xbox game.

A simple method would be to have a bitmap of the systems with 4 bytes to give X/Y and a single byte for Z coordinates since most of sector space is on a fairly level plane, that means 5 bytes to locate any object. One byte to identify which sprite is used for a star system icon. That is already loaded into memory. Apart from that, all we would need is an update of where specific players/NPC's are at any given time. If we are only updated with anything within a range of 5 LY, (call it sensor range), it would not take a lot of memory at all. How many players and systems can you get in a 5LY range? It's not a massive number of sprites in memory at one time. That means it doesn't matter which direction you travel, the systems that are not visible yet are already loaded, same with other players and NPC's.

We are running machines with 4Gb+, I'm sure we could fit every sector into that a few hundred times over, even with the rest of the client.

As for the space in systems, take a leaf out of Eve's book (which is probably similar to E&B as well) and put all the planets, moons and such in one big place with warp drive being a fast way to move from one to the other. Every system in Eve is vast, you can slowboat from planet to planet but it would take literally months even in an interceptor at 4K/sec + unless you go to warp. After coming from Eve, the systems in this game make me feel claustrophobic and sector space is just so annoying to have to load a new sector every two minutes or less.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
01-07-2011, 09:24 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaKoolAidMan View Post
(...) cut out the load screens and the (I know I am going to get flamed for this) "Retarded" Flight controllers. (...)
Oh yes, please. Getting rid of those alone would be one huge improvement.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
01-07-2011, 09:28 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaKoolAidMan View Post
As a Former E&B player I know where you are coming from and would have to agree that the travel system in E&B would work great for STO if it could be impelmented. Basically it would cut out the load screens and the (I know I am going to get flamed for this) "Retarded" Flight controllers.

Plot a course acrros the galaxy map, go get a drink, the autopilot will do the rest to the system you want to go.
they are not flight controllers anymore, they are your bridge officers
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
01-07-2011, 09:49 AM
The main reason why the sector blocks are still there and can't be changed into a seamless sector space spanning the playable-in universe is because Star Trek Online is an instanced game. Because everyone plays in the same universe without changing universes, the limitation isn't limited to the 3000 per server you might expect of some other game like EverQuest 2.

I'd view that as the real complication to the sector block zone divisions. If you pay attention to Dev comments, though, it looks like their tech development for the game is making strides in the direction of allowing more people in the same zones (such as starbases). This might be the precursor to wider sector space zones.

If you take a macro view of things, it looks like Earth & Beyond's jumpgate travel system is roughly analogous to how Star Trek Online treats the few Transwarp Gates it has (the Gamma Orionis one, anyways). It's not like the concept isn't there... it's more that it isn't prevalent (nor very well pictured, despite ship captain's being able to transwarp their ships around from any location back to their faction headquarter).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
01-07-2011, 10:14 AM
WoW, thanks, for the memories. i remember E&B quite fondly (still miss my Terran and Jenquai) - BUT...

You seem to be under a misapprehension concerning a couple of things in your post, to wit:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Admiral-Flint View Post
Some of you might be familiar with a space mmo game called Earth and Beyond.
The game certainly had flaws and wasn't for the wide audience either but it definitely excelled in certain areas.
Having recently played Star Trek Online and Earth and Beyond sort of in paralell (thanks to the E&B emulator project) I got reminded how much I like E&B's version of the galaxy, of (sector/system) space.

For those who don't know, it is essentially comprised of a multitude of different systems interconnected by jumpgates. The important part is that within a system you can both be flying as sublight- or at warp speed, warp speed being roughly 15-20 times faster than sublight. As a player you can, if you want, travel through an entire system by sublight only... it just takes ages. Certain areas need to be passed in sublight only due to various environmental effects... or you might want to drop out of warp early to engage cloak or approach a point more carefully or what not.
Welcome to 1980. No, really. This gameplay was prevalent in the original space sim, ELITE - once you could afford a jumpdrive, you also got the Skip command as part of the package. That allowed you to travel really fast in-system to your destination (unless you either stopped the skip., OR you were knocked out by a encounter). Sound familiar? Wasn't new to E&B at all - quite common in space sims back in the day. The reason for the jumpgates is due to SYSTEM LIMITATION - it never fails to suprise me just how many people are fooled by hidden instance changes to think that a universe is seamless - in STO' it's not really hidden at all. In EvE it's hidden by the use of jumpgates (every system in EvE is it's own instance - they're just not private ones at all. Same with other games - and the astutue eye can tell when the instance changes, every time. E&B used EvE's system to hide 'em.

Quote:
The point, and to live up to the topic's title, I think the version of space/sectors of E&B is something I would like to encourage the STO devs to take a look at (since its current incarnation is free to play it wouldn't even cost them money, "only" a bit of time)
Guess you've never heard of copyright law, have you? Last I heard, EA owns the rights to all of Westwood's products, INCLUDING E&B. Now, they're not doing anything with the IP - that doesn't mean that they won't guard it, OR sue Cryptic/Atari if they use parts of it in a similar enough fashion. The reboot being F2P is MEANINGLESS in this c ontext - the fact it's F2P is what's keeping the programmers of the reboot out of the courts. For them to be sued successfully, EA would have to prove damages - and if the reboot folks were taking money, there'd be provable damages. And before any yammering about "no current products" - well, CURRENT is the watchword there, as EA has in one form or another been bringing back some of their classic franchises (Wing Commander Arena, Command and Conquer 4 (and the announced 5), and Red Alert 3 come to mind).

Quote:
and consider implementing certain aspects maybe for the overhauls of STO's exploration system. Earth and Beyond may have many flaws by current standards, but one thing is for sure, space truly feels big there. Looking at the combination of warp- and sublight speed within single systems, combined with the player being in complete control of when and how to use their warp drive, on top of all the environmental/enemy related etc. surprises scattered across the systems, I think this would make for an excellent setting for STO's future exploration content (if this is still being worked on on a relatively basic level).
Since the only "jumpgates" in STO are the transwarp gates (and the wormhole in DS9), that's gonna be kinda hard ti implement at this time without a pretty big fiction rewrite (they'd have to account for "why no jumpgates in the shows/movies", as well as other inconsistencies. I've already written in another post how I think it could be done (have a special warp animation when changing instances, a variantion of the warp-in sequence), but that only masks the issue brought on by hardware limitations. Remember, no matter how powerful your current hardware is, there's going to be cratain hardware limitations that cannot be gotten around with current technology - and instancing is one of them.

Quote:
Just another of my 2 EC I wanted to get out there.
Same here

Quote:
(I should add thought that to be honest I know how incredibly unlikely it is that we will ever get to see an "open" world/space like this in STO. The game is and by any and all means will in all likelyhood (have to) stick with the "shoebox" size / individual systems. But it was worth a shot mentioning an alternative, and who knows, if some dev(s) do find time to take a peek at E&B, maybe a tiny aspect of it might find its way into STO.)
Read above - even E&B WAS NOT TRULY OPEN WORLD. Whether or not something can be PERCEIVED as "open world" depends on how good a job the probrammers did in "hiding" the instancing/server swaps. E&B did a good job. EvE does a very good job (enough so that parts of the game can be cut out at will and reset without affecting the rest of the system) - STO doesn't bother to hide it at all. That may change, that may not - up to the devs, and it requires a lot of work to really nail it in a believable way. Expecially in the Star Trek universe, which doesn't allow for conveniences like "jumpgates".
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
01-07-2011, 12:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Callasan View Post
WoW, thanks, for the memories. i remember E&B quite fondly (still miss my Terran and Jenquai) - BUT...

You seem to be under a misapprehension concerning a couple of things in your post, to wit:



Welcome to 1980. No, really. This gameplay was prevalent in the original space sim, ELITE - once you could afford a jumpdrive, you also got the Skip command as part of the package. That allowed you to travel really fast in-system to your destination (unless you either stopped the skip., OR you were knocked out by a encounter). Sound familiar? Wasn't new to E&B at all - quite common in space sims back in the day. The reason for the jumpgates is due to SYSTEM LIMITATION - it never fails to suprise me just how many people are fooled by hidden instance changes to think that a universe is seamless - in STO' it's not really hidden at all. In EvE it's hidden by the use of jumpgates (every system in EvE is it's own instance - they're just not private ones at all. Same with other games - and the astutue eye can tell when the instance changes, every time. E&B used EvE's system to hide 'em.



Guess you've never heard of copyright law, have you? Last I heard, EA owns the rights to all of Westwood's products, INCLUDING E&B. Now, they're not doing anything with the IP - that doesn't mean that they won't guard it, OR sue Cryptic/Atari if they use parts of it in a similar enough fashion. The reboot being F2P is MEANINGLESS in this c ontext - the fact it's F2P is what's keeping the programmers of the reboot out of the courts. For them to be sued successfully, EA would have to prove damages - and if the reboot folks were taking money, there'd be provable damages. And before any yammering about "no current products" - well, CURRENT is the watchword there, as EA has in one form or another been bringing back some of their classic franchises (Wing Commander Arena, Command and Conquer 4 (and the announced 5), and Red Alert 3 come to mind).



Since the only "jumpgates" in STO are the transwarp gates (and the wormhole in DS9), that's gonna be kinda hard ti implement at this time without a pretty big fiction rewrite (they'd have to account for "why no jumpgates in the shows/movies", as well as other inconsistencies. I've already written in another post how I think it could be done (have a special warp animation when changing instances, a variantion of the warp-in sequence), but that only masks the issue brought on by hardware limitations. Remember, no matter how powerful your current hardware is, there's going to be cratain hardware limitations that cannot be gotten around with current technology - and instancing is one of them.



Same here



Read above - even E&B WAS NOT TRULY OPEN WORLD. Whether or not something can be PERCEIVED as "open world" depends on how good a job the probrammers did in "hiding" the instancing/server swaps. E&B did a good job. EvE does a very good job (enough so that parts of the game can be cut out at will and reset without affecting the rest of the system) - STO doesn't bother to hide it at all. That may change, that may not - up to the devs, and it requires a lot of work to really nail it in a believable way. Expecially in the Star Trek universe, which doesn't allow for conveniences like "jumpgates".
Woha, what a ..."nice" post...."welcome to 1980", "fascinating how many people are fooled by...", "guess you haven't heard of copyright law" etc.
I will leave you to the illusion that you and only you can see everything so clearly and that me liking enb's system totally equates me thinking there are no instances there etc. etc. and so forth. And guess what I won't even resort to insulting you back.

Glad you enjoyed the reminiscence though... ahh wait let me guess now comes a "you probably never heard of sarcasm have you" reply.

I for one am now back to silent mode on the forums and off to some STO playing and some more EnB.
Happy flaming.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
01-07-2011, 12:53 PM
Quote:
EvE does a very good job (enough so that parts of the game can be cut out at will and reset without affecting the rest of the system) - STO doesn't bother to hide it at all. That may change, that may not - up to the devs, and it requires a lot of work to really nail it in a believable way. Expecially in the Star Trek universe, which doesn't allow for conveniences like "jumpgates".
This is the only part I'll focus on.

STO definitely could do a better job hiding its technical constraints, rather than bluntly forcing us to answer prompts and hitting invisible walls after five minutes of flight.
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