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Author Topic: The Hamster Ball  (Read 1394 times)
Angelfish
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The Hamster Ball
« on: September 23, 2009, 03:58:44 pm »

How do you prevent 2 ships from escaping eachother in combat? The answer is crazier than you think.. put them in a Hamster Ball!

Which is exactly what happens in Star Control. Though we don't realize it because we fight our battles in a 2D representation of the area of the sphere in which our fight is taking place.

Basically, this 'Hamster Ball' is a field around 2 ships that bends space-time to form a sphere around them.

But how is this field formed? Ancient precursor artifacts installed on ships? By the planets themselves? Is it a natural phenomena when you enter combat?

Suggestions are welcome!
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Death 999
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Re: The Hamster Ball
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 04:32:41 pm »

For the purposes of my fanfiction, an N-way interaction between the dominant spacetime distorters (planets and  ships' drives) sets up a closed bubble. The more ships involved, the larger it is. So, if you have just 2 ships, it'll be what we see in melee. If you each have fleets, you're looking at a bubble so large that looping around is nearly hopeless.
This hasn't come up yet, but it will.
Note that I did include a mechanic by which fleets can be broken up - if approach is too rapid, the bubbles can't merge, and each ship is separated into its own 1-on-1 matchup; these will successively merge as individual ships are destroyed.
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Angelfish
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Re: The Hamster Ball
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2009, 04:48:25 pm »

For the purposes of my fanfiction, an N-way interaction between the dominant spacetime distorters (planets and  ships' drives) sets up a closed bubble. The more ships involved, the larger it is. So, if you have just 2 ships, it'll be what we see in melee. If you each have fleets, you're looking at a bubble so large that looping around is nearly hopeless.
This hasn't come up yet, but it will.
Note that I did include a mechanic by which fleets can be broken up - if approach is too rapid, the bubbles can't merge, and each ship is separated into its own 1-on-1 matchup; these will successively merge as individual ships are destroyed.

I like that idea! They are then like soap bubbles that can 'pop' together if they overlap. It would also appear that the more mass the objects in the bubble have, the bigger it is. This would also explain why combat is fought around planets. The bubble might 'need' the extra mass from the planet to generate enough space for the ships in it. Finally, if you imagine such bubble as a marble that can roll to the lowest near point (ie. a planet) that also explains how combat ends up around planets in hyperspace and in solar systems. The ships don't move there themselves to do battle, the bubble moves them!
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Resh Aleph
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Re: The Hamster Ball
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2009, 05:04:47 pm »

... or it's just a gameplay mechanic. Tongue
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Re: The Hamster Ball
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2009, 06:06:45 pm »

... or it's just a gameplay mechanic. Tongue

Star Control 2 uses a lot of screen transitions. Meaning, one screen you exit truespace, next screen you're already in hyperspace. One screen you're being followed by aliens in a solar system, next screen you get attacked and are already in that hamsterballarena SC2 uses.
If I want to do such transitions realtime, ie. from solar system exploration to combat, we have to establish what the SC2 arena actually is Tongue. And also it'll help in making a 3D version of melee. Now we know that it has to be a hamster ball instead of a flat surface placed in a 3D environment.
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Death 999
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Re: The Hamster Ball
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2009, 06:26:09 pm »

It's a gameplay mechanic that absolutely needs to be incorporated into the actual world rules in order to make sense of things. In particular, the Vindicator and other fast ships can't just run away from anyone with their superior speed, they need to use the hyperspace escape.


Certain things need to go, like the relative size of the planets and the ships, due to Talana's account of the fleet battle at Organon; but that we can consider a function of bubble curvature -- the more ships in the battlespace, the larger the planet seems, until in the maximal limit it is as large as it really is (though gravity is still much much stronger).
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CelticMinstrel
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Re: The Hamster Ball
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2009, 04:57:55 pm »

Ooh, this is a very interesting theory... nice explanation of why SC2 battles are always fought one-on-one.
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