Traveller AR iPhone - Leaked News (Long!!!)


Staff member
Just been sent this, details on the new Traveller AR game...

Traveller AR Launch Release 1.0
Product Requirements / Game Design Document
Release 1.0 (Summer 2011)
Traveller AR is a Space-based MMORPG Game for iPhone that provides an engaging and visually immersive experience with deep RPG complexity to fans of Space-based RPG games.
Manifesto (preface by Marc Miller and Tony Howlett)
We are producing a fast, fun, intriguing, and potentially addictive MMORPG for the iDevice platform based on the classic Traveller P&P RPG. In our preliminary discussions with Marc Miller, he recounted the history of his text-based Trader for the Apple II - in which players could travel from world to world, buying goods low and selling them high, carrying messages past dozens of worlds, or just exploring the worlds his game had created.
Our technology can achieve all of that (especially the fun of travelling and exploring new star systems) and more. Our goal is to achieve three specific results:
 RDME. A Rich Decision making Environment where players can return again and again, always able to develop new game play strategies in response to new challenges.
 Fast. Players should be able to play for a few minutes at a time: waiting for the bus, for class, for lunch, always returning to where they were, always able to make a few fun decisions and then move on.
 Fun. Players should always encounter fun challenges: with good feedback on their decisions, as they move through the Traveller universe of star systems and worlds.
We are creating an Free-form RPG experience, where players may choose what to do, when to do it and why. We are designing for at least 3 distinct gameplay types:
1. Explore - Much of Traveller is just about “going someplace new”… exploring the known galaxy, and meeting new races and new people. Some players may never fight a single battle, but instead explore large swaths of unexplored territory.
2. Fight – The Traveller universe is filled with danger, intrigue, and war. There are hostile aliens, hostile pirates, and otherwise aggressive encounters, and if you choose to stand and fight, Traveller-AR will let you to do just that. Some players may choose to ONLY fight in PVP or PVE battles, and concentrate all their efforts and time into “fighting the good fight”, or “fighting for profit/themselves”.
3. Trade – Commerce is alive in Traveller and buying low, selling high, and living to enjoy the profits may be the only thing some players live for. The vibrant economy system will let players optimize their flight paths and trading skills and benefit mightily by a well executed strategy.
In addition to each of these 3 playing styles, many players may choose to do a combination (fight/trade/explore) or all 3. The game is being designed for people who not only love Traveller and are long-time fans, but also for people who are simply fans of Science Fiction/Space RPGs. Playing Traveller-AR lets players of both types:
1. Become instantly immersed in the beautiful and deadly augmented reality of deep space.
2. Explore a Galaxy’s worth of depth achieving new ranks, trophies, and skills.
3. Engage in exciting PvP or PvE battles or simply explore and trade for infinite replay-ability.
Finally, we want this game to be faithful to the Traveller universe and its principles. For many people, it will be totally new, but for the experienced Traveller player, it will be familiar and faithful to what they already know. Traveller has built its universe over thirty years, and it has withstood the tests of time; we want to depend on its wealth of detail to help us present a positive experience to players. We have resources in the form of game rules texts for reference; and we have rapid-answer experts available when questions arise.

1) Movement
a. Players move through space at a constant rate until stopped or course is changed
b. Speed is rated in thrust numbers 1-6, players can set the speed by via the click wheel (boost pops out a choice of numbers 0-1, zero = stop, keeps us from having to have a separate stop button). Current Speed should show on HUD
c. It takes 1 second (or some appropriate time to speed up for each G). the same when coming to full stop.
d. Thrusting produces a “boost” sound for speed, faster as you increase speed. A different sound for reverse thrust.
e. As a PC approaches any static object (base, planet, sun), certain affects take place at B range (zero hexes).
(1) Bases will ask you if you want to dock.
(2) Gas Giant planets will ask you if you want to skim fuel atmosphere if you have the right attachments (scout gets by default). or repel and display “You don’t have the equipment to skim for fuel”.
(3) Planet’s atmosphere
(4) e will ask if you want to survey. If you say yes, it will run a check against your survey skill (see addenda) if successful, the player is credited with a survey for that planet. Doing all the planets in a system, credits them with a full system survey.
(5) Suns give damage at much father range.
f. Radar system/coordinate system on the HUD, so you can tell where you are and where you need to go
(1) Specifically… your ship is in the center of the radar and your currently facing direction is “up” on the map. As you rotate your free-look view what is “up” is still what you are facing, so the radar map continues to rotate, but your ship keeps facing “up” in the radar.
(2) Planets on the radar are small circles, ships red triangles, etc.
(3) How far out you can see things depends on your Sensor package on yoru ship (standard issues is S=7 or seven rings. Upgrades or players Sensor Skill can increase this
g. Collision detection should be implemented with SHIPS->PLANETS See above for behavior
h. Collision detection BETWEEN SHIPS (both PC and NPC ships) should NOT be implemented as it is complex to get right (lag & latency compensation required)… Instead ships that pass each other will “just miss”. *no ramming in 1.0*
i. Fuel:
(1) In-system travel is considered to be powered by fusion drives and essentially unlimited
(2) Jumping requires fuel. Your tank can hold up to the limit of your jump drives and must be refilled either at a starport (for cost), free at a base (if player is the right class) or by skimming gas giants (if you have the attachment) See addenda for details
j. Asteroids/Belts
(1) Asteroids in a system will be concentrated in concentric belts around the system (determined by the extended system data). There will be a number of the larger 3d asteroids in these areas (but not a crazy density). There will also be a larger number of small rocks and dust not visible (perhaps a slightly different background with a haze: TBD)
(2) Flying in these areas is hazardous. There is a X percentage chance when moving in a given time of incurring small damages by being hit by space dust. Ship will shake (vibrate phone) when this happens. The chance increases with speed.
(3) Piloting skill will have an effect on this lessening the chance
(4) In 1.0, you CANNOT collide with a visible asteroid 3d model., you just slide past it similar to other ships.
(5) When entering an Asteriod Field, HUD display warning message “Warning: entering Asteroid field. You may take damage from space dust”.
(6) Asteriod fields will be in blobs spaced around the system
k. Jumping
(1) Characters can “jump” in space as long as they are X distance from a planet and Y distance from any solid object (ship, base, etc).
(2) They can jump as many hexes as their jump drive will allow (J rating=) and they have fuel for.
(3) Jump drives can be refueled at either starports, bases or skimming gas giants
(4) There is a chance for a misjump (randomly putting them anywhere within jump range, even the same system) with every jump. It is small but increases with distance to gravity wells such as ships (jumping in a battle)
(5) Scouts and other characters with good astrogating skill have much lower chances of misjumps
(6) See addenda for detail
l. System status
(a) Each system is rated by the Travellers Aid Society for travel as either “Normal” “Yellow” – Dangerous or “Red” – Interdicted. Yellow systems are rated dangerous due to various conditions such as wars, high rate of bandits,etc. One may go there at their own risk and there are no restrictions on PVP due to the lack of imperial authorities to restrict it. Red areas are off limits to civilian populations for various reasons (plague, intrinsically dangerous areas, high asteroids, radiation, etc) or for military reasons.
(b) Upon attempting to jump to one of these sectors, the HUD will warn the character:
(i) Yellow: “Entering a system marked as dangerous by the Survey

2) Combat:
a. Players should be able to target ships (touching and getting a reticule) and then be presented with context sensitive navwheel options
(1) Pressing “lasers” begins firing your lasers at the selected target continuously (at the laser’s firing/recharge rate).
(2) Pressing “missile” launches 1 missile at the selected target.. and then another missile cannot be fired until recharge rate/timer.
b. Reticule: when touched a ship (PC or NPC) should display the reticule with the following information:
(1) For PC, it will display character name. For NPCs, it will display Type and number.
(3) The color of the ship type would be based on relative strength of the ship; PC HP – Target HP, perhaps a positive value is green. Low negative values are yellow and big negative values red. Hull Points (HP) as a bar.
c. Scan option on the navwheel gives more information: Ship Summary.
d. HUD elements
(1) Hull Points
(2) System status for
(a) Fuel
(b) Cargo
(c) Weapons (charged/Disabled)
(3) Speed “S=50%”
(4) Missile M=quantity loaded
(5) Location X/Y/Z
e. Attack actions (missile/laser) are not present on the wheel unless in range of one of the players weapons;
f. Combat follows combat scripts which use “To HIT” and “Damage” and “AoE” calculation all done Server-side (to protect security/prevent cheating)
g. When a ship is selected and the players hits “lasers”, any laser type weapon automatically fires as often as it can till turned off by selecting lasers again.
h. To fire missile weapons, the player must press the missile button
i. When player armor points reach zero, their ship is destroyed, destruction animation played and death sequence takes place (see below)
j. “Hits” on your ship cause phone to vibrate; single Buzz on hit, multiple Buzz on kill.
(1) Also plays a sound like you got hit.
(2) Missiles explode on hit (animation)
(3) In Portal-View, when you are hit with missile, it shows flash or 2 of orange on the screen.
k. Defense:
(1) Missile defense: The player can set a number of his lasers on the shipsheet to “Missle Defense”, it wont fire on offense, but will allow a “to hit” roll against incoming missiles.
(2) Laser defense: If a ship is carrying laser defenses (sandcasters) they automatically fire when the ship is attacked.
(3) Sand casters provide protection form laser attacks for a short period and have a long recharge rate.
(4) See the combat charts for specific lists of weapons and effects/damages
l. Loot – when a player or NPC is destroyed, (0-100% of cargo appears as loot (3Dmodel of container). It will be randomly generated portion of NPC/PC holds. It will appear as floating containers which can be clicked on and brought aboard. It can selected just like a ship. Loot can be destroy by fire upon it. By selecting “scan”, A Full screen cargo screen (very similar Ship:Cargo page) will come up and you can select the items you want to take; leaving ones you don’t . You may only take to the limit of your cargo hold. See addenda for detail
(1) In the inner system (Ring 10 and in); there is no PVP, only PVE. Players can be attacked by hostile NPCs. Selecting a player, the weapons will be grayed out.
(2) Outside the inner system, in “deep space” (ring 11-up), anything goes, PVP, PVE and the NPCs will tend to be tougher. Upon enter ring 11, a warning message “Warning: entering deepspace, PVP allowed”. Upon deepspace, Corresponding message “entering inner system, no PVP allowed”

3) Starports and Bases
a) TradeCenter
(a) Players will be able to select from a list of trade goods in the “trade center” to buy. This will go in their hold up to its capacity (think backpack in D&D games). Players will also be able to sell anything in their hold for the listed prices.
(b) Prices and goods offered will be based on the Trade engine build on the lists and formulas provided in the trade documents.
b) Shipyard
a. Players will be able to order repairs on their ship, priced per hull point. Certain player types or skllls as well as location and macroeconomics factors will affect listed prices.
b. They will also be able to buy upgrades to their ships (weapons, countermeasures, etc). Players can only buy items that will fit on their ship (a scout courier has 2 hard points so can fit two normal sized attachments at most).
One page with Fuel (per ton), Hull Repair (per HP), upgrade items and then ships.
(a) .
c. They will also be able to buy whole new ships. A few upgrade ships will be available at each starport. When you buy a new ship, you get trade-in credit on your old one plus any upgrades of 50-90% depending on your skills. Starter ships get zero tradein value.
d. All ships and upgrades have a standard price, same galaxy wide.

c) Imperial bank / CoinZ Store
a. Page that offers Packages for CoinZ
(1) Button to “Get more CoinZ” that links to a page to purchase 4 different coinZ packages
b. .

d) Travellers Aid Society (TAS) Club / Missions
a. The typical starport bar found in every starport that contains a bulletin board of available plus NPC talk. Players may chat in the lower window and also see some “rumors” flying by if they listen close
(1) We will have a language filter for bad words for our Chat engine.
(2) Tabbed for easy filtering
b. Missions available will be listed along with Accepted missions. By touching on a mission, you get additional detail
e) Other bases
a. Navy Base
1. Naval Character can close to B distance and dock. Any hull point damage is replaced and there is a similar “mission” board and chat area in the Officers club. Other players receive a warning message and will be fired on if they don’t move away

b. Scout Base
1. Scout characters can close to B distance and dock. Other characters are ignored and are pressor’d away if they tarry. Any hull point damage is replaced and there is a “Scouts lounge” similar to the Officers club

c. Research Station
1. Can only orbit it now and receive a message for scientists only
4) Modes:
a) HexMode
a. Hexmode will have three levels of zoom:
(1) Galactic Map
(2) System Summary – picture of main world on left, system summary on right , using long text version of UWP
(3) Whole System (showing large, static objects only) available anytime, for any system
(4) Sensor range: shows ships and other non-static objects within range. The view is a static, non moving view which can be refreshed.
(5) Search Function to find system
b) Portal Mode: Looking out your spaceship window, 1st person. Two views possible:
a. AR view: uses compass and accelerometer to show you a 360 view of space around you. Camera is ON. Move is by touch.
(1) AR capabilities – There will be hidden space “caches” containing credits, secret messages or other special items tied to GPS locations that can only be seen on AR camera on mode. Because of their stealthy nature, they don’t show up on sensors (visual scanning only!).
b. “Space” View: Acts the same as AR view but with Camera is OFF with a space background

c. “Tilt” view: same capabilities as AR view, just instead of having to turn around to view 360, you can move camera by tilting phone. Camera is OFF
(1) The Caches are not viewable in this mode.
(2) This is not “flight in space”… it is simply changing the angle of your portal-view by tilting the iphone… rather than using compass. (e.g. your free-look is done by tilt, rather than by actual iPhone compass)
(3) Just as in other views, You still must “touch” the screen to begin moving the currently facing direction.

5) Nav-Wheel
a. It is always context sensitive
b. It is “easy” to use and “stops” at each item.
c. It displays a menu of possible options depending on what is happening in the game (engaged in combat vs. flight vs. trade, etc.).

6) Character Generation/Development
a) Upon first login, players will be taken to character screen to generate their first character. Upon subsequent logins, player will default to last character used and they may access character management from the “char” choice on the nav-wheel or “account” from the main menu
b) Players fill in the variable in a char info screen that includes player input “name”, “sex” and “race”.
c) Character class selection will offer a “quick pik” option to just choose a character/ship combo using swipe (see our trailer video)
d) Initial character/ship selection will be:
a. Spacer (Navy) / Fighter
b. Scout / Scout Courier
c. Trader / Beowulf free trader
d. Merchant Marine / Far Trader
e) Players advance in several ways
a. Ranks – gained by completing missions, or doing things in your class (earning class faction points).
b. Skills – improve with rank,even numbers levels you get one skill point to add
c. Attributes – start with preset based on class/race chosen, add one points on odd ranks
d. Money gained – every successful mission gives a player credits. These may be used to buy ship upgrades or new ships or many other useful items. Loot can also be sold for money.
e. Special ability are gained at certain ranks (see character charts)
h. Medals – given away for special or unique attainments. For example, if a player clears an entire system of hostiles, they might get a “System Commander” medal
f) Character page will contain four tabs:
a. Character – generic picture with character stats, skills, medals
b. Ship – Ship picture with stats, customizations, etc
c. Cargo – a listing of cargo on the ship. A button next to each to “jettison”
d. Missions – list of active missions with “drop” button next to each. *max 10 active missions. Ability to “drop” a mission on this screen.

g) Fame system
a. Players will earn Alliance “Fame”, a score from -33 to 33 that rates how players are perceived by the game world. A high positive fame would generate trade benefits, assistance from Navy ships, etc. A low fame setting would generate attacks from imperial ships, but also possibly interesting trade offers, missions, etc.
b. This is rated by alliance so that one might have the following:
c. Vilani Fame: 6 Solmani Fame: 5 Zhodani Fame: 2 Vargr Fame: -1 etc.
d. Players start at 1 fame in their homeworld alliance. (basically unknown, good or bad) and as they do things gain fame points. Negative actions such as Pking, getting caught with illicit trade goods, etc will lower fame. Shooting negative fame characters could actually raise your Fame.
Killing a character with a positive fame in that system will generate a lost of fame (some fraction of point). Killing a character with a negative fame in that system generates a deduction of fame. Fame bonus/penalty calculation is based on how “famous” the NPC you killed was. For instance, killing a -33 fame character generates a greater positive fame bonus than a -1 character would.
7) Mission Engine
a. This module generates missions for players to take. Missions are assigned at the TAS club at spaceports. There are generic missions such as:
(1) Seek and Destroy: Kill 3 pirate ships (for spacers)
(2) Trade Missions: Bring X amount of a specific trade good to a specific port
(3) Survey Missions: Survey X systems
b. We will need to populate the engine with a hundred or so standard missions. We can probably script random generation to make it interesting i.e. “Find and Shoot X pirates for Y credits in the Z system”
b) Missions are turned in at any starport or base in the club.
a. If you have missions that are completed, it will note it with a special symbol on the “accepted” tab. By going to that tab, you can Redeem missions, receive pay and benefits and it plays a victory sound.
8) Stealth Probes
a) Stealth probes are placed in various places around the galaxy according to the system population. They don’t show up on radar and are hard to see due to their stealth appearance.
b) By approaching a stealth probe, you can target it and blow it up. The “loot’ generated will be data that can be sold at a any starport.
a. Three different kinds of probes carry different data and have different behaviors:
(1) Research Probe – standard data collection probe, easy to see, low value
(2) Scout Probe – Evades capture, hard to see, (black with accents). medium value data
(3) Military – evades and fires when you get close, very hard to see (black on black). high value

c) Geo-located stealth-probes – some probes will be placed related to GPS location. When you are close enough to the GPS site, it will place the probe in yoru world and can then be interacted with as a normal probe.
9) Login/Credentials
a) There will be an easy to way to log in (ideally automatically with your last used character.
b) Character should be able to create up to 3 characters and choose which character you want to play as.
c) It protects player credentials and prevents fraud (matched to Phone ID) *see MRD
d) There will be a decent but secure password recovery system *see MRD
10) System Population Engine
a) There needs to be an engine to randomly populate systems with NPC traders, fighters, bad guys (both warring alien races and pirates), asteroids, and stealth caches (see AR section).
b) Populations should be based on system type (UWP), player density (to fill out the game and give it a lived in look) and other macro conditions that we can set.
c) The engine would respawn/despawn objects as player “used” them (destroying pirates, asteroids, etc) as well as despawning
d) AI scripts need to be written for combat (when NPCs attacks, what do they do, etc) and also for friendly NPCs (traders going about their business, navy ships patrolling, etc.)
11) Communication
a) Players can “Hail” other players in sensor range and open up a basic chat window
a. This text would appear in a small drop down on the HUD with the last one or two lines showing. You can hide this element
b. Also need the Chat language filter here. (for bad curse words/etc.).
c. Also need an “Ignore user” button for annoyance protection.
b) NPCs will often hail with predesigned messages
12) HUD Message window: Chat
a) NPC chat
b) A database will contain many different NPC sayings and phrases. These will be what NPCs say when hailed or banter in starport lounges. Most will be simple and inconsequential to game play: “Headed to starport to drop load” “Hi, know a good place to find a mission?” etc.
13) Tutorial
a) A visual tutorial of various aspects of the game. For 1.0, screen shots in context sensitive areas
14) About:
a) Displays a rolling listing of people who worked on the game to the theme music “Behold the Heros”
15) Main Menu Items:
a) Play – takes you into game
b) Options – global settings (music on off etc)
c) CoinZ store – to purchase in app CoinZ packages
d) Account – to logonor create a account
e) Help – Tutorial
f) About – Traveller AR credits
g) Medals/Leaderboard
a. This screen will display the players ranks and medal
msprange said:
b. They will also be able to buy upgrades to their ships (weapons, countermeasures, etc). Players can only buy items that will fit on their ship (a scout courier has 2 hard points so can fit two normal sized attachments at most).

Hmmm, one has to wonder if this is a 200 ton scout instead of the standard Type S. Or since they reference attachments are they using hardpoints for something else?
Wow. Sounds interesting. Lots of stuff to do. Sounds like they need to fix space based movement though to make it realistic and conform with Traveller rules.
DFW said:
... need to fix space based movement though to make it realistic and conform with Traveller rules.
Traveller space based movement and realistic in the same sentence...

Which is it? :lol:
BP said:
DFW said:
... need to fix space based movement though to make it realistic and conform with Traveller rules.
Traveller space based movement and realistic in the same sentence...

Which is it? :lol:

Continuous accel is what Trav calls for. Which is realistic. What do you mean?
Be serious. :roll:

Continuous accel for spaceships is not realistic - nor is a closed system for solving such (especially at the scales involved in solar systems). [Mathematically sound is not the same as realistic.]

As for 'space based movement' - Traveler rules cannot be used to go from one planet to another 'realistically', or much anywhere else in a moving solar system for that matter, as it doesn't account for a 4D system.
BP said:
Be serious. :roll:

Continuous accel for spaceships is not realistic -


Umm, yes it is. We already use it for space probes. It is the ONLY movement that is realistic. You need to study up on basic physics. Unless, you think that (as this game does) that using a thrust of 1 G, CONTINUOUSLY, results in a constant speed. :lol:
DFW said:
Umm, yes it is. We already use it for space probes. It is the ONLY movement that is realistic. You need to study up on basic physics. Unless, you think that (as this game does) that using a thrust of 1 G, CONTINUOUSLY, results in a constant speed. :lol:
Nope - all space probes, even Deep Space/SMART with Ion drive, have created dis-continuous acceleration (obviously accelerating from outside forces all the time).

Don't recall Traveller rules addressing spaceship 'speed' explicitly - but, despite your poorly worded sentence, you express that Traveller space based movement is unrealistic.

Which is what we were discussing and what you asked about. I wasn't trying to teach you physics - I'm not a teacher. :lol:
BP said:
Nope - all space probes, even Deep Space/SMART with Ion drive, have created dis-continuous acceleration (obviously accelerating from outside forces all the time).

Do you even understand what this is about? As long as you apply thrust you accelerate. The iPhone game doesn't have that.

Seriously, get an education man. You are embarrassing yourself and you don't even realize it.
@ BP and DFW:

From the outside it seems that you are writing past each other. While the
acceleration provided by the spacecraft's drive would of course be conti-
nuous, the actual acceleration of the spacecraft would be influenced by
the gravity fields of all the nearby celestial bodies, with variations during
the spacecraft's flight (e.g. first moving towards and then away from a
major body), and in this sense would be dis-continuous = not the same
over the entire time of the flight.
rust said:
@ BP and DFW:

From the outside it seems that you are writing past each other. While the
acceleration provided by the spacecraft's drive would of course be conti-
nuous, the actual acceleration of the spacecraft would be influenced by
the gravity fields of all the nearby celestial bodies, with variations during
the spacecraft's flight (e.g. first moving towards and then away from a
major body), and in this sense would be dis-continuous = not the same
over the entire time of the flight.

Those are minor influences. The basic flaw is that you can't accelerate for more than one second in the game. Highly flawed.
Yep - I made a post pointing out an element of humor and replied to queries about it in a mature fashion.

Traveller space travel, even neglecting gravity, is unrealistic...

Not to say that is a bad thing - it is playable and in the realm of suspension of disbelief for most people (including myself - well, excepting between planets - but I use it for 100D calcs and orbit to surface).

It makes the game more playable.

Likewise, with a computer game like TravellerAR - playability must trump reality and Traveller rules.

Ships whizzing past each other too fast to support game play would be no fun...
BP said:
Traveller space travel, even neglecting gravity, is unrealistic...
The setting I am currently working on uses reaction drives with low acce-
lerations (0.01 G is a high value ...) and very much restricted delta-V of
the spacecraft. I am quite happy that spacecraft are rather unimportant
in this setting, because otherwise the attempt to come up with realistic
flight path and flight time calculations would certainly drive me mad in a
very short time - even the constantly changing distances between the
planets and the non-straight flight paths would be enough to do it, and
things like swing-by maneuvers and thelike would be the coup de grace.
As much as I am a "hard sf" fan and simulationist, I really prefer to leave
this level of realism to ESA and NASA. :roll:
rust said:
...I really prefer to leave this level of realism to ESA and NASA. :roll:
But, they make lots of source code available for free! :lol:

Actually, in my early days in Traveller (teens), I wrote programs to deal with in-system movement between planets (and orbits) completely ignoring gravity (but taking into account inclination, orbital velocity, eccentricity, and the like). IIRC, Scouts LBB didn't have quite everything I needed - so I had to extend that and, of course, provide a way for determining orbital positions (initial % in orbit). Making programs for Hohmann (sp?) transfer orbits and the like was actually easier - as there was plenty of info available. For Traveller I had to make up all the math (not having the necessary formal math behind me at that point).

This worked well enough - but was untenable when it came to space combat with rules as written (admittedly, it pre-dated consumer 3D APIs so everything was line drawn and assembly coded and res was so low as to make zooming pretty useless).

When it comes to 3D interaction - dampened, non-linear acceleration is invariably the way to go...
Traveller books are readable on an iPad... :)

(Though, actually, unless the latest/next iOS supports it, best to convert JPEG-2000 images by 're-saving' on a Mac... one of my biggest peeves with the iDevices!)
Hey everyone, I may have jumped the gun releasing that Design Document! *I'm not sure I was "supposed" to do that, as our President is out of town at the moment.

But better to ask for forgiveness is my policy!

Anyways, any/all feedback ideas are welcome, but realize this is a living document, constantly improving as we play-test and do our beta testing.

Are you signed up to be part of the Beta yet? we've been slowly adding players:

Okay, on to the topic at HAND: Acceleration....
1st.) I agree, technically, acceleration should last longer than 1 second [but the game compresses time quite a bit, so 1 second of game-time is actually quite longer]. Also, it gets a tad annoying to hear the thrust sound [as though from inside your ship, not outside].

2nd.) Instead, we think of it like this: all ships have a "maximum possible speed they can achieve within the distance of a single system" [or say orbit 15 from one side to the other]... and so that is the "Maximum Possible" speed in a system.

3rd.) If a ship were to use 100% thrust, they would acheive this maximum possible speed by the time they made it from one side of orbit 15 to the other.

4th.) So, we simply allow the player to choose what % of the maximum "speed" they want to go by calling it % of thrust. [which has the effect to mean % of thrust as applied from one side of orbit 15 to the other].

Then, finally, because the game needs to be "fun", we speed up time a bit, and get players to their "theoretical" maximum speed [as applied thrust over the width of orbit 15], in just a few seconds of playing time.

Hopefully that makes sense.

in actual gameplay, it works quite well:
want to go max speed "in-system", hit 100% thrust, and off you go.
want to go slower, hit 25% and you slow down.
want to stop: no problem, hit 0%, and you slow down to zero [by reverse thrust of course].

All in compressed time, to make it fun to change speed quickly.

The other idea we toyed with was to have players set their desired speed [say 35,000 kph], but we thought %thrust was more true to traveller.

ideas welcome!

What do ya'll think of the rest of the doc.?
hbeverly said:
Wow, I guess my long-winded space-time mesmer worked! no more comments?

It looks like you've done a good job balancing the needs of a video game against the "feel" of Traveller. I think your game is going to be as close to Traveller as a game like Baldur's Gate or Diablo is to classic fantasy RPGs.

That is to say, players will get the more rapid interaction required of a video game while still keeping the most important conventions of the setting intact.

Some of my favorite gaming memories from my youth were games like Starflight, Sundog and similar "fly, fight, collect, trade" sandbox games.

I just wish I had a device to play it on. Then again, my family would probably never see me again, so maybe that's for the best. :)