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Saturday, May 26, 2012


I was thinking of how to implement star-to-star travel, using supply range, when I realized something.  This will be basically a node graph with all nodes connected to all nodes for a star-to-star system.  Not much difference from Master of Orion 3's starlane system in functionality.  So I thought, why not do the hard part first, by setting up starlane system in the game, then I can convert it to use star-to-star travel?

The only difference between starlanes and star-to-star is that with starlanes, some of the connections are the "express" meaning faster to travel, and is visible, while other connections are "off-road" or slow, and invisible lines.  With star-to-star, all lanes have equal travel cost (multiplied by distance), and are invisible.

Another additional benefit of this system is that I can add a flag to each object in the galaxy "BlockPath", which if set to true, will remove any starlanes that intersect with this object.  So for example, you can't travel through a black hole like in MoO 2.

Stargates will be a special value stored in the starlane class.  Each starlane class can hold a list of empire's modifications.  So if you have two systems with stargates, you can use them to travel in one turn, while other empires can't use your stargate.  Or you could even slow down your enemies by increasing the travel cost of starlanes connecting to the affected system.

While the ships still use the grid-based system, I've started work on starlanes and visible drawing of them (will be improved in the future).  Here's a preview:

The goal is to support both starlanes and star-to-star, you select which one you want through game configuration.


  1. Just curious, how are starlanes going to impact FTL speed? Will they increase or multiply the speed by some value?

    Knowing you, it will be moddable :D

  2. Actually, starlanes would be the regular speed as normal star-to-star, the "off-road" will be an multiple of the normal starlane's speed. So for example, if stars A and B is 4 turns apart with a starlane, and the multiplier is 5, then going off-road would require 20 turns. You will be able to modify this value in the game configuration :)

  3. MoO 3 had the same approach with somewhat higher coefficient. If you are going to make "off-road" travel viable you shouldn't follow their steps. Even when multiplier is 5, there would hardly be any situation where "off-road" flight is more convenient than using starlanes. I think the multiplier shouldn't be higher than 3.

    In my 4X project I opted for approach where starlanes add speed instead of multiplying it. That way I can encourage players to use starlanes in the early game while giving them a freedom of movement in the late game.

  4. Yes, I don't plan on having an punishing coefficient for going off-road, but it should still promote using starlanes. There are some situations where you might want to go off-road, such as bypassing a heavily defended chokepoint, but in Moo 3, by the time you've arrived (like 60 turns later), your fleet are obsolete, and most likely things have changed.

    Another problem with MoO 3 is that it never uses off-road in path calculation for AI, or for you when finding a path. It would try to arrive to an unexplored star using starlanes, but if that fails, use the closest explored star and use an off-road route. The problem is very obvious when you want to go to a star that's only 4 light years away, but not connected to a starlane, and it suggests a route that traverses the entire galaxy before arriving at that star, instead of offering an off-road route that takes less time.

    Yet another problem in MoO 3 is that off-road uses different engine than starlanes. So if you have the best warp engine, it don't matter because off-road length is determined by your system engines. Beyond Beyaan will just use the warp engines for both starlanes and off-road for simplicity.

    I also plan on adding some stars that are "off-grid" or unconnected to any starlanes.

    However, if players want to enforce starlanes, they can simply up the coefficient to 100 or so, making any off-road routes undesired.