I’m sorry fasterphil I can’t hear you over the sound of this glorious sunshine.
I’ve just finished reading Dauntless, the first novel in The Lost Fleet series. It wasn’t a bad read, and there’s enough potential at the end of it for me to give the second book a chance, but personally I found the characters a little one dimensional and the plot wasn’t very complex (Iain M. Banks has spoiled all other sci-fi for me!). The main concentration is on three separate fleet engagements that occur as the Alliance ships are trying to escape hostile territory. The battles themselves are nothing special, but what interested me about them is that this is set in a Universe where faster than light communication isn’t possible, and so when combat occurs across the scale of a solar system, there are significant delays between telling a squadron of ships to execute an order, and them actually receiving that order and performing it.
This isn’t something I’ve seen in a sci-fi book before, and it makes for a nice mechanic. So much so that I wondered how this would play out if you were controlling ships in a game and had to plan ahead the orders you wanted your subordinates to execute and transmit that order in time for them to act on it.
The other idea the author uses, again based around the rule that information is only transmitted at a limited speed, is that you would only be able to see what an enemy (or friendly) ship was doing at a time relative to their distance and the speed of light. So for example, a ship 10 light-minutes away may execute a manoeuvre, but you wouldn’t know about it until the image (i.e. light) of it doing so reached you ten minutes later. So youmight have issued an order assuming it was going to still be there or following a particular course, but since then it’s changed direction or performed some other action.
I’ve been messing about with a prototype console app which models the order transmission idea. It can transmit a message to all ships, and then each one reports the time at which it receives it. Those ships further out get it later than those closer in.
I can feel some more tinkering in game programming coming on!
nothing lasts forever (except the WinRAR free trial)
Nabbed all of the images from yesterday to document the belated (or elongated) birthday celebration of friend, bassandchip. If you hadn’t guessed it was a day out on the tracks and it was FABULOUS! You should check his blog out, it’s pretty swiggy swoo.
Had an awesome time last night karting with all my friends. Obviously my Dad took first place, he does have a professional history of racing after all! I got third, and they gave out medals for first to third and for the fastest lap. Rounded off my Birthday weekender perfectly.
New _ensnare_ album released which perfectly rounds off the end to my Birthday weekend! So much awesomeness.