Friday, February 17, 2012

A little problem with "out to the edge" starjumps

While going out to the edge of a system to where the "gravity distortion" is low is simple enough with a single-star system, it could get interesting with multi-star systems.  How do we handle the case where a pair of not-terribly close-together stars of similar mass (say two stars roughly equal to sol, but with an orbital separation roughly equal to the orbit of Jupiter) where as time passes the acceleration and potential energy at any particular point changes.

For a story you don't worry too much about that sort of thing - you can write your special case, like the variable Alderson Point in The Gripping Hand.  But for a game you have to manage the general case; not get bogged down in calculation or create "laws-of-nature" that are going to call for interstellar routes to change with time.

So, potential energy and momentum still non-negotiable; what sort of system might work?  Or do we have to relax our chosen constraints a bit; or wave our hands a bit faster with binary stars?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Six months later

I really want to get this going again.  So here's the plan:

  1. I have officially retired one other project; does not much reduce the hobby-work load but at least cuts down the guilt load.
  2. I need to develop a scorecard on how near completed the data processing effort is; by having something to report against I should develop a clearer set of progress.
  3. I need to get back into the software.  At the same time, I need to work backward from the target database through the scorecard to a design that lets me add process to process to get from start to end.
  4. I need to put in some definite time each night to work on this.  Something besides wandering around youtube listening to French pop.  That's going to be the trick and we will see how we do. 
  5. I need to make action a bit more interesting for me by developing parts of the "Strategic RPG" in parallel to the star mapping exercise.
Wish me luck.