More/ larger galaxies

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Zireael
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More/ larger galaxies

Post by Zireael » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:15 pm

Do you feel that 'the Eight' are too little? Ever wanted to visit that mysterious Ninth Galaxy from Elite Plus?

...

Re-starting Wildeblood, Pleb and PhantorGorth's idea from this thread.

Basically we know how to do it, now how about making it into Additional Galaxies OXP?

EDIT: Changed thread title due to the other idea being floated around.
Last edited by Zireael on Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: More galaxies

Post by Pleb » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:38 pm

Although it is possible to add more galaxies by modifying the source code, this is not something that is currently possible to do with an OXP. Would be cool though! 8)

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Re: More galaxies

Post by Redspear » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:57 pm

Personally, I'd be more interested in larger galaxies, expanding out from the 8 charts we already have.

For example:
  • 1a - 1b - 1c
    1d - G1 - 1e
    1f - 1g - 1h
Where G1 is the current galaxy 1 chart and each of the other 'numbers' represent other 'tiles' that are added to the edges of the original map in order to expand it.

Therefore, each of the eight galaxies could be about nine times as big and perhaps even use the current seeding system to generate the additional areas.
The 'known planets' and their relationships to one another could remain unchanged (there may be new ways to navigate to planets around the edges of the current maps but I would imagine that newly generated areas could be screened for known issues).

There'd need to be some navigable distances between planets along the edges but it should be possible to do (not necessarily practical but possible).
Might require a scrolling galaxy map though...

Just an idea :|
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Re: More galaxies

Post by Commander McLane » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:18 pm

The main objection against having more galaxies is still that it would basically just be more of the same. For those who don't know this particular factoid yet: when Bell & Braben went to their publisher, they wanted Elite to have million or billions of galaxies, which would have been easily possible at extremely little cost by manipulating the seed. However, their publisher was wiser than the two excited young programmers who wanted to show off their potentially gigantic universe. He immediately saw that the ensuing endless repetition of basically the same pattern would make the limits of the procedural generation glaringly obvious. Thus he decided that eight galaxies would be a good number. Enough to give the impression of vastness (2048 different systems in a space game was unheard of at the time), while not yet looking boring through endless variations of the same.

Not to mention the nightmare of having to check millions or billions of galaxies for offensive procedurally generated planet names.

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Re: More galaxies

Post by Cody » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:25 pm

Commander McLane wrote:... having to check millions or billions of galaxies for offensive procedurally generated planet names.
Ah yes, the planet names - I've often thought that they would've been much more interesting if those letters of the alphabet hadn't been excluded.

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Re: More galaxies

Post by Zireael » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:22 am

Pah, offensive names are not that much of a problem. :D
Redspear wrote:Personally, I'd be more interested in larger galaxies, expanding out from the 8 charts we already have.

For example:
  • 1a - 1b - 1c
    1d - G1 - 1e
    1f - 1g - 1h
Where G1 is the current galaxy 1 chart and each of the other 'numbers' represent other 'tiles' that are added to the edges of the original map in order to expand it.

Therefore, each of the eight galaxies could be about nine times as big and perhaps even use the current seeding system to generate the additional areas.
The 'known planets' and their relationships to one another could remain unchanged (there may be new ways to navigate to planets around the edges of the current maps but I would imagine that newly generated areas could be screened for known issues).

There'd need to be some navigable distances between planets along the edges but it should be possible to do (not necessarily practical but possible).
Might require a scrolling galaxy map though...

Just an idea :|
I love this idea, but unfortunately I don't think it's doable.

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Re: More galaxies

Post by Pleb » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:12 pm

Commander McLane wrote:The main objection against having more galaxies is still that it would basically just be more of the same. For those who don't know this particular factoid yet: when Bell & Braben went to their publisher, they wanted Elite to have million or billions of galaxies, which would have been easily possible at extremely little cost by manipulating the seed. However, their publisher was wiser than the two excited young programmers who wanted to show off their potentially gigantic universe. He immediately saw that the ensuing endless repetition of basically the same pattern would make the limits of the procedural generation glaringly obvious. Thus he decided that eight galaxies would be a good number. Enough to give the impression of vastness (2048 different systems in a space game was unheard of at the time), while not yet looking boring through endless variations of the same.

Not to mention the nightmare of having to check millions or billions of galaxies for offensive procedurally generated planet names.
I have to agree. Although I did play around with the source code to explore the possibilities of more than 8 galaxies, it is basically more of the same. And the way they are generated means that it's always going to be more of the same. As far as I could tell, you could never have more than 256 systems in a galaxy because of how they are generated. In order to have more you would have to devise a whole new algorithm, which then would make it no longer the same game...

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Re: More galaxies

Post by Redspear » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:47 pm

Commander McLane wrote:The main objection against having more galaxies is still that it would basically just be more of the same...
Very much agree; to the extent that my first galactic hyperjump in elite was a big disapointment :(

However, bigger galaxies is not quite the same as more galaxies (and I appreciate that no one was necessarily saying that they were, so no rebuke or correction is intended here...)
It could be argued that they would suffer from the same problem but let's imagine a couple of hypotheticial situations...
  • Suppose the original galaxies in elite were only half as big (128 systems?) and then someone was suggesting that they could be made twice as big as that. Well, the same argument could then be made that it would just be more of the same and that with 128 systems there was already plenty of variety and possibilities.

    Now suppose that (ignoring issues with regards to missions and other oxps for the moment) someone suggested reducing the galaxy sizes in Oolite to half their current size (i.e to 128 systems as in the example given above).
    Would anyone think this was a good idea?... Don't know about that :?
    Would anyone think that was a bad idea?... Damn sure I would :shock:
So what's my point?

Lot's of tiny galaxy maps are quite dull; their sense of scale is extremely limited and their significance is questionable when the sytems they generate are from exactly the same set of variables (many of which don't particularly affect the player's experience - 'was it zero-G cricket or zero-G hockey; and come to think of it, after the 100th time, do I care?').
The extra galaxies created do not add much, rather they provide temporary subtitutes for those we already have.

Bigger galaxies however, add to the sense of scale. Somewhere where I could get so very, very far away from Lave that so many worlds could lie between me and it and yet I could still plot a course back there that I could see every step of on a single map.

Of course, we could think of the current galactic maps as sectors of one galaxy (creating very nearly as large a galaxy as I have suggested above) but the scale is then created in our head rather than on our screens (unless the galactic maps were displayed together in one larger map but that wouldn't make so much sense when they exist as discrete sectors).

Now realistic scale and oolite don't really go together but I don't think that means we need ignore scale, or insist that everything is already optimised to perfection between playability and realism/immersion. Yes these galaxies are tiny and my suggested galaxies would still be tiny but they'd be big enough to give a greater illusion of a galaxy without the confusion of something so realistically big that it would likely be beyond our comprehension to grasp.

...

Sorry, I 'went off on one' a bit there :lol:
Pleb wrote:...As far as I could tell, you could never have more than 256 systems in a galaxy because of how they are generated. In order to have more you would have to devise a whole new algorithm, which then would make it no longer the same game...
Ok, so imagine we generate the other 8 'tiles' that I was suggesteing, seperately. 8 other galaxies if you like (from the same algorithm) but then they are stitched around one of the current galactic maps (as illustrated above) in order to make that galaxy bigger. Not tampering with the systems we know or their relative positions to one another but rather looking off the four (2D) edges of the currently known galaxy into new territories.

This raises some questions...
  • Are possible hyperspace routes created purely by distance between systems?
    If so, would stitching 'galaxies' together like this work to create larger galaxies expanding out from the ones we already have?
    Can the galaxy number array (if that's the right word) accommodate all these extra sytems?
    If not, could this easily be changed or could such arrays be grouped together somehow to function effectively as one galaxy.
    Could individaul, newly created sytems be removed if it were necessary to preserve certain mission environments (e.g. access routes to systems)?
    And (most importantly) does anyone else think that this might be a good idea? :|
Thanks for reading :)
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Re: More galaxies

Post by cim » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:40 pm

Redspear wrote:Lot's of tiny galaxy maps are quite dull; their sense of scale is extremely limited and their significance is questionable when the sytems they generate are from exactly the same set of variables (many of which don't particularly affect the player's experience - 'was it zero-G cricket or zero-G hockey; and come to think of it, after the 100th time, do I care?').
I'm sure someone trading in sporting goods in New Cargoes has made that exact mistake...
Redspear wrote:Very much agree; to the extent that my first galactic hyperjump in elite was a big disapointment
I find the eight galaxies have a very different feel to them.
1 - mostly well connected, but you've got that large bit at 5 o'clock which is almost a separate bit.
2 - lots of bottlenecks. Most of the Eight's double bottlenecks.
3 - similar to 1 in terms of general connectivity, but with that odd disconnection across a lot of the north edge.
4 - odd government types: only four of the eight used, which gives it a lot of Anarchy bottlenecks, especially if travelling east/west.
5 - feels very core+frontier, in a way, with oddities like the Steel Halo or Tetiri Conclave, or the thin route from S to SE
6 - this one just makes me uneasy. I don't know why.
7 - the Great Rift, but even without that divided into two halves with narrow bottleneck routes between them
8 - Oresrati, of course, but also very well connected in terms of routes to reach various points.

The topology is something the core game is trying to make more use of than it does, as you'll see if you try to smuggle the wrong person through the Maorin pass in the next version... (as I've said in different ways elsewhere: Elite by necessity and Oolite by not getting round to it yet make fairly poor use of the diversity already available)
Redspear wrote:but they'd be big enough to give a greater illusion of a galaxy
Perhaps read "Galactic Chart 1" as more like "Galactic Sector 1" than "Chart of Galaxy 1", and "Galactic Hyperdrive" as "hyperdrive which transports you on a galactic scale" not "hyperdrive which transports you on an inter-galactic scale"? The charts aren't near each other, but nor are they each galaxies in their own right. Why they're like they are in identical scale ... well, I have some partial answers on that but I don't expect anyone to believe them.
Redspear wrote:Are possible hyperspace routes created purely by distance between systems?
If so, would stitching 'galaxies' together like this work to create larger galaxies expanding out from the ones we already have?
Can the galaxy number array (if that's the right word) accommodate all these extra sytems?
If not, could this easily be changed or could such arrays be grouped together somehow to function effectively as one galaxy.
Could individaul, newly created sytems be removed if it were necessary to preserve certain mission environments (e.g. access routes to systems)?
1) Yes.
2) Yes, if it was just done by adding new systems at coordinates outside the usual bounds.
3) Theoretically it should just be a matter of changing the systems-per-galaxy constant. In practice there's probably some subtle assumptions elsewhere that will break.
4) That would get messy as currently implemented when the player was near a border. Adding more systems to an existing chart would be easier.
5) Given that we haven't discussed a mechanism for adding these extra systems yet, probably the easier approach would be not to add unwanted ones in the first place. If you're adding systems which weren't in Elite, there's no particularly good reason to exactly mimic Elite's galaxy generation algorithm [1]. But the way connectivity works you would have to be very careful not to (e.g.) join up the great rift, or provide back doors in to various peninsulas, so I think you'd end up with the rectangular borders of the original map still oddly visible in places.

[1] It's unclear whether there's a good reason for Oolite itself to mimic Elite's galaxy generation algorithm in creating the basic eight charts now that there's no longer a need to store the entire galaxy data in a few kilobytes. I suspect on balance getting the same results from a different approach might be advantageous, though I can think of advantages to the current mechanism too (not least: it works, more or less, without some fairly fundamental recoding)

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Re: More galaxies

Post by Cody » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:48 pm

cim wrote:Why they're like they are in identical scale ... well, I have some partial answers on that but I don't expect anyone to believe them.
<chortles> I have some ideas about that too - but I'll keep them to myself, I think.
Galaxies, they ain't though - I prefer to call them octants.

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Re: More galaxies

Post by Redspear » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:01 am

Cim, thanks for such a thorough reply :D
cim wrote:
Redspear wrote:Very much agree; to the extent that my first galactic hyperjump in elite was a big disapointment
I find the eight galaxies have a very different feel to them.
1 - mostly well connected, but you've got that large bit at 5 o'clock which is almost a separate bit.
2 - lots of bottlenecks. Most of the Eight's double bottlenecks.
3 - similar to 1 in terms of general connectivity, but with that odd disconnection across a lot of the north edge.
4 - odd government types: only four of the eight used, which gives it a lot of Anarchy bottlenecks, especially if travelling east/west.
5 - feels very core+frontier, in a way, with oddities like the Steel Halo or Tetiri Conclave, or the thin route from S to SE
6 - this one just makes me uneasy. I don't know why.
7 - the Great Rift, but even without that divided into two halves with narrow bottleneck routes between them
8 - Oresrati, of course, but also very well connected in terms of routes to reach various points.
I suspect that the subtleties were lost on me as a pre-teen at the time but i take your point :)
cim wrote:Perhaps read "Galactic Chart 1" as more like "Galactic Sector 1" than "Chart of Galaxy 1", and "Galactic Hyperdrive" as "hyperdrive which transports you on a galactic scale" not "hyperdrive which transports you on an inter-galactic scale"?...
Yep, I was getting at that interpretation here in this part of my last post:
Redspear wrote:Of course, we could think of the current galactic maps as sectors of one galaxy (creating very nearly as large a galaxy as I have suggested above) but the scale is then created in our head rather than on our screens (unless the galactic maps were displayed together in one larger map but that wouldn't make so much sense when they exist as discrete sectors).
Anyway, a very helpful answer. Thanks :D
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Re: More galaxies

Post by Diziet Sma » Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:47 am

cim wrote:
Redspear wrote:Lot's of tiny galaxy maps are quite dull; their sense of scale is extremely limited and their significance is questionable when the sytems they generate are from exactly the same set of variables (many of which don't particularly affect the player's experience - 'was it zero-G cricket or zero-G hockey; and come to think of it, after the 100th time, do I care?').
I'm sure someone trading in sporting goods in New Cargoes has made that exact mistake...
<Sheepishly raises hand> :oops:


(only did it once, though)
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Re: More/ larger galaxies

Post by Zireael » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:47 am

Lot's of tiny galaxy maps are quite dull; their sense of scale is extremely limited and their significance is questionable when the sytems they generate are from exactly the same set of variables (many of which don't particularly affect the player's experience - 'was it zero-G cricket or zero-G hockey; and come to think of it, after the 100th time, do I care?').
The extra galaxies created do not add much, rather they provide temporary subtitutes for those we already have.

Bigger galaxies however, add to the sense of scale. Somewhere where I could get so very, very far away from Lave that so many worlds could lie between me and it and yet I could still plot a course back there that I could see every step of on a single map.
That's a very good point.

I admit, I was thinking of Frontier universe when restarting the topic of more galaxies, but I believe now that larger galaxies are the way to go.

Making a sketch now which shows what part of the Frontier universe the Galaxy 1 is...

EDIT: Here's the sketch:
Image

Blue smudge obviously meaning the Galaxy 1. Note that these 23x29=667 sectors, 42 of which are Gal 1, are only a small part of the Frontier universe, which could go up to thousands in every direction: the highest coords I've heard of are on Daniel Sevo's Frontier page, (-2613), (-4332) and (-5198), (-3314) ...

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Re: More galaxies

Post by Redspear » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:19 am

Diziet Sma wrote:
cim wrote:
Redspear wrote:Lot's of tiny galaxy maps are quite dull; their sense of scale is extremely limited and their significance is questionable when the sytems they generate are from exactly the same set of variables (many of which don't particularly affect the player's experience - 'was it zero-G cricket or zero-G hockey; and come to think of it, after the 100th time, do I care?').
I'm sure someone trading in sporting goods in New Cargoes has made that exact mistake...
<Sheepishly raises hand> :oops:


(only did it once, though)
:-D I expect I'd fall for that one too but I haven't tried new cargoes yet...

Nice map Zireal. Is the rest of the frontier map based on our real-life galaxy???
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Re: More galaxies

Post by cim » Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:28 am

Redspear wrote:I suspect that the subtleties were lost on me as a pre-teen at the time but i take your point :)
It's much easier to see them in Oolite when (with an Advanced Nav Array, or the charts on the Wiki) you can actually see the connectivity on the map, rather than in Elite where you'd really have to fly around a chart a lot to pick up the subtleties - it would take a lot of exploring, for example, to even be sure that the two isolated worlds in chart 3 really were isolated.

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