Explanations wanted!

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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treczoks
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Explanations wanted!

Post by treczoks »

Fellow spacers and inhabitants of the Ooniverse!

We all know that some things in the Ooniverse are odd - the "Galaxy sectors", the extra cargo bay that nearly doubles the cobbys capacity within the hull, or the fact that intrasystem travel does not consume fuel, etc.

In another discussion I found a nice explanation why the normal flight does not consume fuel (something about "pushing spacetime" and the "exhaust" being only a kind of radiation by-effect of this), which also explained why the ship stops as soon as you turn this engines off, and why we fly the way we do. Sadly, I don't know in which discussion it was, or who wrote the article.

In this discussion I would like to collect explanations and discuss them, with the ultimate goal to flesh up some parts in the wiki.

For a start, my explanation for fitting an additional 15 tons of cargo capacity into the ships' hull is: The "Extra Cargo Bay" is not about volume. A ships cargo space is fitted with a robotic rail system that a) connects to the stations cargo loader/unloader, so moving cargo in and out of the ship can be done automatically, b) is used to keep the cargo containers in place during flight and c) can shuffle cargo around to eject them in case of emergency.
So what we buy as "Extra Cargo Bay" is just fitting an extra set of robotic loading rails into the (already existing) cargo space.

If you have more explanations for the Ooniverse oddities - here is your chance!

Yours, Christian
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Post by JensAyton »

The official extremely unofficial explanation for witchspace can be found here, with a coda here.
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Post by Chrisfs »

I thought the extra cargo bay was an actual physical addition wielded on ton the ship, but if more exotic answers are required, I would go straight to the top.
an Extra Cargo bay is actually a small machine which creates a pocket dimension inside the ship. This dimension allows you to hold extra stuff. But if the machine is damaged in a fight, the entire space goes away at once. (If this is the way it actually works).

Your ship is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside slightly
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Post by drew »

Chrisfs wrote:I thought the extra cargo bay was an actual physical addition wielded on ton the ship, but if more exotic answers are required, I would go straight to the top.
an Extra Cargo bay is actually a small machine which creates a pocket dimension inside the ship. This dimension allows you to hold extra stuff. But if the machine is damaged in a fight, the entire space goes away at once. (If this is the way it actually works).

Your ship is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside slightly
I thought the extra cargo bay was a roof-rack. Works on my VW Passat... No?

Cheers,

Drew.
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Post by Commander McLane »

There is of course an explanation in the Wiki:

http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Cargo_Bay_expansion
Some ships can be reconfigured to increase their cargohold. This is no trivial upgrade, as it involves moving bulkheads and rerouting multiple systems, while maintaining the ship's inertial balance.
The manual knows (and this is canonical!):
Cargo Bay Extension Specification: Standard model is the Mariner Freight Chamber.
Last edited by Commander McLane on Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by DaddyHoggy »

Commander McLane wrote:There is of course an explanation in the Wiki:

http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Cargo_Bay_expansion
Some ships can be reconfigured to increase their cargohold. This is no trivial upgrade, as it involves moving bulkheads and rerouting multiple systems, while maintaining the ship's inertial balance.
The manual knows (and this is canonic!):
Cargo Bay Extension Specification: Standard model is the Mariner Freight Chamber.
And I don't think the CBE can be damaged either can it?
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Re: Explanations wanted!

Post by Disembodied »

treczoks wrote:In another discussion I found a nice explanation why the normal flight does not consume fuel (something about "pushing spacetime" and the "exhaust" being only a kind of radiation by-effect of this), which also explained why the ship stops as soon as you turn this engines off, and why we fly the way we do. Sadly, I don't know in which discussion it was, or who wrote the article.
I don't know if it was this one you mean, but here's something I wrote on the subject a while ago:
A ship's drive accelerates quirium particles in a closed circular particle accelerator – a torus – thus manipulating the fabric of spacetime, drawing it in at one end and pushing it out at the other. The faster the quirium spins, the faster the ship goes. No quirium is consumed in the process. Properly maintained, a closed quirium torus could propel a ship indefinitely.
[nifty diagram of a Witchspace "broomstick" drive]

Top view:
(bow) <----O----## (stern)

Side view:
(bow) <----=----## (stern)
When local spacetime is sufficiently flat, i.e. not distorted by a large mass or by the actions of another nearby drive, it can propel the ship at around lightspeed. If local spacetime is too distorted, this torus system can only operate at a fraction of capacity: 0.2C, 0.35C, etc. In these distorted conditions, spinning the qurium at full speed would cause it to rapidly decay, bringing the whole engine to a crashing halt in milliseconds. The "Witchdrive fuel injector" system gets round this, by constantly topping up the quirium in the torus from an external tank.

Of course, the ship doesn't actually move at all: it remains stationary, while space itself is hauled in at one end and rammed out at the other. Because of this there is no inertia, hence the non-Newtonian flight characteristics. When the ship appears to "turn", it's actually revolving the entire universe around itself. Because the torus is fitted in the horizontal plane of the ship – see nifty diagram above – it's easy to move the ship (or rather it's easy for the ship to move the universe) up and down vertically, but almost impossible to move it horizontally. However the ship can be spun around its longitudinal axis (or rather, the universe can be spun around ... you get the idea) by rotating the drive assembly. Some progress has been made towards "yawing" by building a smaller torus set at 90° to the main loop, and spinning it either clockwise or anticlockwise. The internal strain on the ship, and on the drive train itself, though, is massive, and personally I think this is just a passing fad with no real advantage.

The "exhaust" is caused by spacetime emerging from the Witchdrive: as this spacetime wake merges back into the normal flow, the particles and antiparticles constantly being produced from the quantum foam are briefly travelling faster than light, and hence give off the distinctive blue-purple glow of Cherenkov radiation. The faster spacetime is moving as it emerges from the engine, the more intense the glow. The conical shape is a three-dimensional section of the four-dimensional wake.

(This was all summed up much more neatly by Aegidian, who described the drives as "burrow[ing] through the semi-rigid phlogiston leaving glowing subspace channels that heal at a constant rate, like hot boiled prunes through icy jelly.")

A large enough mass of quirium, spun sufficiently fast, can distort spacetime to such an extent that it can tear open a wormhole. Again, the faster the quirium spins, the longer the wormhole. Accelerated to 99.9999...% of C (constantly topped up from an external tank, as the accelerated quirium decays), the wormhole can reach a full 7 light-years. If it was possible to spin the quirium faster than light, then theoretically the wormhole could be even longer – but it's not possible.
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Post by drew »

And if that's got to make sense, I don't want to BE sober!

I must admit to not being happy with the 'spacetime' and non-newtonian versions of this explanation, nor the 'computers hide the complexity of flight from the pilots so it looks newtonian' variety either. Not simple or elegant enough for my sensibilities.

My view (and I might be being alone on this one) is that the Elite ships operate in some kind of 'aether' (similar to Star Wars/BSG/Star Trek). This has a number of artefacts as seen 'in game'.

The blue exhaust flux is a genuinely newtonian 'thrust'. i.e. it is a 'rocket exhaust' of some type.
Ships appear to require constant thrust to move at a constant speed.
Ships appear to require more thrust to move at a higher speed
Therefore ships' velocity is limited by thrust available and the 'resistive' properties of the 'aether'.
Ships turn and steer by interacting with the aether in a pseudo aerodynamic way
Lasers are visible in deep space, and have range limits
The speed scale within Elite/Oolite 'Light Mach' has nothing to do with the 'speed of light'

Fuel Injectors are just afterburners for the main engines, vastly increasing the available thrust with a significant fuel compromise

Torus/Jump drives effectively bypass the aether, but are only effective when no significant mass is present - they are also a separate drive unit to the main engines

Witchdrive engines work on the wormhole principle Ahruman and I debated before. They are effectively a third drive unit.

Cheers,

Drew.
Last edited by drew on Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:19 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by Disembodied »

It makes sense, for a given value of "sense" ... however, Your Universe May Vary. The cogency of any explanation may go down as well as up. :)
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Post by Disembodied »

I feel compelled to go the whole non-Newtonian hog because it's the only way that I can see to match the non-Newtonian behaviour of the ships: they only have engines pointing in one direction (no retro rockets fire when you slow down, for example), and they never use any fuel – so the ships can't be using reaction drives. But there could still be some sort of "aether" involved: perhaps the engines, instead of thrusting against the aether like a jet, pull the ships through it like a propellor.
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Post by Dr Beeb »

DaddyHoggy wrote:
Commander McLane wrote:There is of course an explanation in the Wiki:

http://wiki.alioth.net/index.php/Cargo_Bay_expansion
Some ships can be reconfigured to increase their cargohold. This is no trivial upgrade, as it involves moving bulkheads and rerouting multiple systems, while maintaining the ship's inertial balance.
The manual knows (and this is canonic!):
Cargo Bay Extension Specification: Standard model is the Mariner Freight Chamber.
And I don't think the CBE can be damaged either can it?
I think that is correct. There is more to the story, but cant remember where. The Cobra Mk III was made by Cowell & MgRath Shipyard, Lave; whereas Mk I by Paynou, Prossett and Salem, 45 years earlier. Mk II abandoned by ?? due to hull problems. Mk II was supposed to have been a new police craft, but GalCop then went back to simple upgrades of the venerable viper. (warning, leaving canon, can't remember where I read that).

After Mk II disaster, Paynou, Prossett and Salem rights sold/bought up by Cowell & MgRath ? Mk III originally for something else that GalCop wanted, deep space reconnaissance, courier. Several intergalactic hyperdrives could be installed, taking 1 t of space each. In addition extended-range intergalactic hyperdrives, 5 t each, were developed but those Mk III prototypes were lost and project abandoned, at least officially.
(far far away from canon)

Mk III commercial version released on open market only configured for 20 t cargo space, leaving 15 t unconfigured and final 1 t of remaining hull space partially configured for one future intergalactic hyperdrive installation. Unconfigured space can be installed with extra cargo chambers, at not too excessive cost. Mariner freight option extends cargo capacity by 15 t, leaving the final 1 t space for one future intergalactic hyperdrive installation. Other uses of the unconfigured space are considerably more expensive.

Hmm some OXP ideas here.
White dots were so much easier to hit
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It's a Ram Scoop

Post by davcefai »

As far as I am aware the intrasystem drive is a ram-scoop system.

A funnel shaped magnetic field scoops up interstellar hydrogen which is compressed and undergoes fusion. This drives the ship.

The visible exhaust is the very hot helium, product of the fusion reaction.

Nearby masses distort the funnel shape of the generated field, rendering it ineffective.

The ships stop quickly because the magnetic field becomes a drag. It is still interacting with the hydrogen but not funnelling it into the fusion chamber.

The Ram Scoop is well documented in Larry Niven's stories.
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