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Re: [VV] Vectorverse FTL

From: Allan Goodall <agoodall@a...>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 14:45:23 -0600
Subject: Re: [VV] Vectorverse FTL

The GZG Digest wrote:

> Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 12:05:56 -0500 (EST)
> From: "Grant A. Ladue" <ladue@cse.Buffalo.EDU>
>    Hmm, I don't know how defendable *any* gate would really be.  The
guy on the
>  other side can just push through large bundles of seeker missiles and
>  devices.  The attacker doesn't have to worry about hitting his own
ships at 
>  all, so he can just pump seek and destroy weapons through.

I haven't been following the Vectorverse thread for a number of reasons,

but the latest discussion on FTL caught my interest.

I read an article in _Scientific American_ a couple of years ago about a

possible FTL travel device that used a "jump gate" in an interesting 
manner. The article was about negative energy, and it postulated that 
you could use it to create a "warp bubble". The ship inside would seem 
to be in normal space, but the bubble itself could travel at faster than

light speeds.

You needed a device to create the bubble around the ship in the first 
place. That would be your jump gate. The ship needed some method of 
maintaining the bubble (in FT terms this would be the FTL drive, though 
it doesn't actually "drive" the ship anywhere). Once formed, the bubble 
would travel in a straight line. I'm not sure how it regulated speed, 
but I think there was a method.

Since a ship could only move in a straight line, you would need a "slow 
ship" to build a return gate. Then, travel would be between gates, but 
the ship didn't have to arrive "in" the gate at the other end. To move, 
a ship would (accurately!) point the launch gate at another star system,

engage the bubble around the ship, and then off it would go. The crew of

the ship would (accurately!) time the trip. Once the time piece said the

ship was at its destination, the crew would disengage light speed, the 
bubble would collapse, and they would be back in normal space.

I saw new nodes created with automated construction crews heading to a 
star system, where they assemble their gate. Obviously they have a good 
deal of incentive to get the job done right!

This has some really nice features for a wargame:

1) You need a jump gate (we all love jump gate models!) to leave, but 
not to arrive. The jump gate at the other end becomes a strategic 
target, thus a source of scenario ideas.

2) FTL requires an FTL generator, which can be PSB-ed to be too big to 
fit on single missiles. So, you need at least some sort of FTL ship to 
transit to the enemy system.

3) Since gates are only to boost you out of a system, you can move the 
gate to a certain degree. Obviously you'd want to keep it within 
sublight distance of habitable planets, but in war time you can move 
them around so that a "soap bubble missile cruiser" can't easily take it

out, or it can't be easily killed with high-speed rocks. Obviously 
killing a gate would result in the crew of the attacking ships stranded,


4) You can't FTL out of a fight, just into one! You have a ready reason 
for all those "fight to the death" scenarios, and reasons for "strike 
the colour" rules.

This is the form of FTL that I'm using in my own home-brewed universe. 
The above is the form that initial FTL travel takes. In the next big 
jump, technology wise, gates are small enough that they can be towed in 
a bubble by an FTL capable ship. In the final version, ships carry their

own disposable gates that launch off the ship and last just long enough 
to form the bubble. Gates are still used to send ships off, initially, 
but these disposable "jump rails" are used to get the ships home in the 
case where a jump gate doesn't exist or was destroyed.


Allan Goodall

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