RSG: No FTL travel

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Revision as of 15:26, 23 March 2010 by SteveBaker (Talk | contribs)

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Because this is a Realistic space game, there is no faster-than-light travel. Because it's a 'persistent world' that people can join in and play at any time, this poses some interesting problems.

Here is what I propose:

There are two classes of people in the universe - and two classes of player to match:

Mortals ("Morts")

Just like you and me. Time passes for morts in realtime. One day out here in the real world is one day in the game. There is no freezing of the world, there is no jumping of time. If it takes you three days to fly from here to there - then you'd better find something else to do while your ship goes from here to there. When you aren't playing, you're in your ship sleeping. If you get killed, you're dead and you have to start again with a new Mort. You can be killed in your ship while you're not playing/asleep. Life is with it. All game AI's are Morts. All new players are Morts until they earn enough to become...

Immortals ("I-morts")

When you have enough money (or maybe if you buy a paid subscription to the game!) you can choose to become an I-mort. The process is kinda ikky - but the benefits are huge. Your Mort brain is first scanned by extracting it from your head and slicing it into 1/1000th of a millimeter slices that are then scanned fed into a computer. Your body is minced up for cat food. Your psyche is now being simulated in a neural network computer - you have become software - an I-mort.

This is interesting because now you can do the following very handy things:

  1. Make a backup of yourself. You can make a copy of your I-mort and store it somewhere in the game - on a well-defended ship maybe - or in an expensive (but fairly safe) 'brain repository' on a well-defended asteroid. You can store copies of your I-mort in multiple places - as many as you like in fact. To avoid confusion, the system only allows one copy of your brain to be running at one time - that is "where you are".
  2. If the computer you happen to be running on gets blown up - you are dead - just like before. Unless you have one or more backup copies! Then you can simply re-activate yourself from one of your backup I-morts and you're back in business. You can still be killed - forever - but only by having all of your I-morts blown up. Keep the location of your I-morts really secret and note that whenever your dying ship sends a message to the backup system to tell it to wake up - that radio signal can be tracked!
  3. You can transmit an I-mort (at the speed of light) to another computer that you own. This allows you (in effect) to teleport between ships and into places that are prepared to accept you - and to sell you the computer time to host your I-mort brain. The amount of time this takes depends on how far you are from the destination. If the destination is within a few thousand klicks - it's more or less instantaneous. If the target is halfway around the asteroid belt - it'll take many minutes (and you'll be sitting here in front of your computer waiting while that happens)!
  4. Shut down and "sleep" in a safe place - even while your ship is slowly and painfully struggling over a gazillion miles of space.
  5. Continuous memory backup. Your newly formed memories are continuously beamed back to the location of your backup brains. This happens slowly and continuously so when you "wake up" after your active computer blows up - there is only momentary confusion. If you have another ship/computer, you can just zap your brain over to it and keep right on playing. If you don't then you're rather stuck - and if you can't find a way to make some money, your computer bills will be run up and eventually, they'll delete you and you're dead.

NOTE: The I-mort concept is a bit of a stretch for "Realistic" - but it doesn't violate any of the laws of physics and it could easily happen one day. What it buys us is faster-than-light travel - and the ability to 'respawn' after you die - and a way to account for what's going on while you aren't playing.