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# To-scale Solar Systems.

Discussion in 'General' started by Alexandre Fyne, Nov 4, 2017.

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## Would you prefer worlds with far apart planets or close together planets?

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2. ### Close together

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
1. ### Alexandre FyneTrainee Engineer

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5
You may have heard of real-scale planets, but you might not have heard much about real scale systems.

I decided to make a real solar system that fits the scale of Space Engineers, so distances and sizes are divided by 100 (Earth is 12,000km wide in real life, and 120km wide in Space Engineers). So I took all the distances from our real solar system, divided them by 100, and placed the planets into the world.

To give an example of the scale, here is the Earth and the Moon. They use the Terra and Luna workshop mods by Duke of Lorraine.

(Full album )
At the edges you can see the distances involved. Even when distances are divided by 100, they stop being measured in kilometers and start being measured in light-seconds. For example, if you travel from Saturn to Jupiter at 100,000 meters per second (100km/s), it will take you about a day and a half to make the trip (assuming you don't want to slow down). Now jump drives can help, but even if you can jump 4,000km in a single jump, that's still 0.01334256 light seconds.

Usually travelling within a planet-moon system is quick with speed mods. If you can travel 2,000 m/s, the trip from Titan to Saturn will take you about 10 minutes (specifically 609.2 seconds). The trip from Earth to the Moon is 31.555 minutes at 2,000 m/s. Phobos to Mars is 47.425 seconds.

Of course, this is nothing like real life. In real life gravity doesn't cut off to 0 after a certain range, so you have to take orbital mechanics into consideration, plus the distances are 100x bigger than in Space Engineers.

I might publish the world if people ask me to, it requires a few mods, such as some mods that add custom clouds like those from Saturn and Venus.

I will post a poll down below to see what everyone else thinks of these kinds of worlds. Thanks for reading, discussion is encouraged.

Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
• Like x 5
2. ### TaemienApprentice Engineer

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468
I voted far apart. Though I have to ask what exactly is the point?

That's a rhetorical question by the way.

If planets are far apart, so much that jumping to them is a pain in the butt and velocity based travel is more or less implausible, then the planets might as well not exist. If we can simply jump to them, then they might as well be close. That's the main issue here. When we make planets far apart, we have to find the sweet spot on how long, tricky, and feasible planetary travel is to make it worth the effort.

I suggested this before a while back, but something I'd like to see changed in SE is how the map works. Something similar to Elite: Dangerous' means of travel with Supercruise. In the default game of SE, our speed limit for engine purposes and limitations is 100m/s. I don't see any reason for this to change. Speed mods are fun, but for multiplayer and such they get quite unstable.

So my idea is to leave the speed limit in. When you're moving around on a planet or in its orbit, the way it works is similar to how it works now, at least to a certain distance. The idea is that systems (Earth/Luna, Mars/Europa, and Alien/Titan) are on their own maps. There's also maps in the empty space between them too.

What happens here is when you use a drive that allows FTL travel, you enter a sort of origin map. You still travel at 100m/s max as normal, but the display shows another 'speed' or factor. The planets, asteroid clusters, and other phenomena show up abstractly but appear 'smaller' than they normally would. So say you are on Earth and wish to travel to Mars. You enter this FTL travel and you can reach mars a bit quicker then normal. Once you get close to Mars you drop out of the FTL map and enter the regular one. Lets say you decide to 'collide' with Mars directly in FTL mode. In that case you would get close and due to 'gravitational' interference it drops you out before you actually collide. Make sense lorewise and makes for easy coding.

The great thing about this is if one player is on Mars and another on Earth, they don't need to check for distance to see if they are in range to send packet updates. They're simply not on the same map.

The other great thing is scaleability. Is the default solar system not enough? Add in alpha centuari and other systems. Then we have a interstellar map that can be entered while in the FTL map. Again you still only travel at 100m/s in mechanic terms, but the factor or 'speed' shown is scaled up while on that map. Find the star you want, drop to regular FTL mode and then travel to the planet before dropping to normal space.

Now we can realistic distances, looks great, seems believable, and doesn't face the problem I presented earlier. The hard part is adding content that warrants the use of such travel. But at least thats the fun part.

• Disagree x 3
3. ### ArcturusSenior Engineer

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1,649
Last time I checked, the Earth's diameter was 12,742 km. Do you believe in the "Fat Earth Theory"?

• Funny x 3
4. ### Alexandre FyneTrainee Engineer

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--- Automerge ---
I like this idea, and maybe after the tech is all there procedural planets could be coded in, opening up the universe of Space Engineers and making it feel less closed. Procedural planets might take a little longer to code, but I'd imagine getting realistic looking procedural terrain would be easy enough.

Maybe for longer voyages the cryochambers could come in useful. Maybe if all the players are inside a cryochamber while the ship's FTL drive is active, it shortens the journey to a few seconds, by hibernating.

I also had an idea for vanilla gas giants. They don't have to be actual planets, just large spheres of atmosphere that damage your ship if you go too deep into them. Making bases on one of the moons would be exciting.

After some brainstorming I came up with some ideas for the FTL Drive.
• It could use an edited version of the Jump Drive, which would be believable and easier to implement. Maybe it could look more bulky and powerful.
• It would consume lots of power, and if you are going exploring into deep space reactors will be impractical.
• It could be upgraded to allow faster travel and more power efficiency.
• Using the FTL may require the use of a sensor of some kind, that would detect nearby systems and give rough guesses into what planets are in them.

Normally with these things I would say that an FTL Drive is handwaving Sci-fi mumbo jumbo, but the idea for an "Alcubierre Drive" is based on real scientific theories and is being debated by theoretical physicists right now. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive)

5. ### TaemienApprentice Engineer

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Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't the current planets procedurally generated? That step might already be done.

6. ### Alexandre FyneTrainee Engineer

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Nope, planets are pre-made by the devs, or modders. They use heightmaps stored in the game's texture files.

The stock planets are "Earth-Like", "Moon", "Mars", "Europa", "Alien" and "Titan". Only Moon has a similar real-life counterpart, all the others are either fictional or not realistic.

7. ### MalwareMaster Engineer

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9,728
FYI: They tried procedural planets first. They stepped away from them because the generated planets were uninteresting and boring with the kinds of algorithms that could be used - as in, those which were fast enough.

• Agree x 1
8. ### quarior14Trainee Engineer

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• Friendly x 1

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10. ### LevitsSenior Engineer

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At those ranges instant travel from point A to point B could be done with Jump Gates (<yep, still pushin for em)... You know, after spending all that time traveling, you build a gateway to shorten the trip back.

Also, upgrading tech (or using the gate for an initial boost; such as increasing the jump range x10) to increase jump drive distance could be used to allow for an expanded solar system. And with a game that you can literally spend hours just flying around 24 isn't exactly out of the question. At least it would be a long-term goal to reach Pluto or something; though I think 'realistic' measurements might need to be toned down by 50%

• Like x 1
11. ### ForcedminerSenior Engineer

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jump gates do sound cool but that little bit of evil inside me is going all.
hey a jump gate.
blow it up.

• Funny x 1
12. ### quarior14Trainee Engineer

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If you check my mod, I have a remplacement for the jump drives but the power isn't change, just the Max Distance Jump.
I have a other for 200 000 ly but for this moment, there are not galaxy and the max distance if I remember when there are many problem for floating number is around 4-6 AU approximitave (a bit more the semi-major axis of Jupiter around the Sun) from the center.

They are already map for this, see my maps and alternative maps if you search Solar System in the workshop.

Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
13. ### LevitsSenior Engineer

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2,122
Definitely a strategic chokepoint and fits with the game building aspects. Traveling to other places to set them up would fit well with factions/clans in the game too as someone eventually would end up with the short straw . "Who's going to spend the next couple hours heading to Pluto?" <strangely, I know a few that might just volunteer for that ride.

But the problem I find myself in most of the time is the want to return to places that I've been. But making the trip currently, even at such short distances, is just a pain so most of my facilities I setup on one planet are left forgotten when I inevitably move to explore the next. And I'm personally not a fan of suicide-spawning around the galaxy in my "survival" games.

As for the choice between far apart or close. I would like them far but only with proper implementation of devices/means to actually travel back and forth. Jump drives are far too short-range currently and there is no other means to get around. Close is all we can really hope for right now unless something like gates or some serious boosts to jump drives is implemented.

14. ### MalwareMaster Engineer

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Unfortunately the game doesn't support those kinds of distances. It isn't infinite. There's a theoretical limit of 6.6AU - but in practice it doesn't work so well a fraction of that distance. Things start to jitter and generally behave weirdly, other things just go completely nuts.

15. ### chrisbSenior Engineer

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I would love a 'to scale' solar system, but the game just isn't stable enough. Though that may change, who know's..

16. ### FoolishOwlJunior Engineer

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What would be the goal here, aside from increasing travel times?

17. ### MalwareMaster Engineer

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Does there have to be an "aside"? That's quite a valid goal in itself as far as I'm concerned.

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Fair enough.

19. ### damoranJunior Engineer

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608
In competitive (PVP) gameplay, assuming players or factions start on different planets, distance would provide at least one challenge for your opponent. It would take some time to get to them even with jump drives.

Sort of like the base-building timer in strategy games, provides you with time to build up proper fortifications before the enemy can start harassing you.

20. ### dispairApprentice Engineer

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252
I am a fan of gameplay. I like realism, sure, but real distances are not fun. Sleeping simulator anyone?

I think that planets should be in range of a jump drive. The only good reason to not have all planets within ten minutes is sim speed.

Of course an entire solar system complete with moons would be fantastic, just needs to fit in the center where physics plays nice.

21. ### UrbanLegendApprentice Engineer

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But why? Like what would you "do" during all that travel time? Go into suspended animation (IOW "bed")? Stare into the endless black void until you go mad?

22. ### TimuroslavApprentice Engineer

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From a sandbox perspective far apart sounds romantic and beautiful... for the first few hours.