That’s a (World) Wrap

Developer Diary 6

A couple developer diaries ago I wrote that ships in Fading Suns: Noble Armada could sail off one end of the map and come back on the other side. There really is a viable, completely legitimate theory that the universe wraps around upon itself. That’s the only reason we have FSNA game space connect with itself, allowing a ship to sail off one side and come back on the other 😉

Okay, that’s not quite correct. Yes, the wraparound universe theory has its place in cosmological discussions. Our FSNA wraparound, however, is based purely on gameplay considerations and bears no resemblance to it.

  1. We have to have some boundaries in space. In the miniatures game, if a ship flies off the map, it is gone from play. In an RTS, however, that proved extremely frustrating. Players have a lot to keep track of, and losing a ship just because you did not keep a close enough eye on it proved extremely frustrating.
  2. Having ships bump into an imaginary boundary also proved frustrating. It would kill their momentum, thus making them easy targets for enemy broadsides and boarding.
  3. The wraparound universe has precedent in gaming. The best example was the original Star Control, where going off on edge of the universe and coming back on the other was a major part of the strategy.
  4. The wraparound is just-plain fun, allowing players to speed off one side and come screaming back on the other. Ships disappear, only to reappear zooming right through the middle of the fray.

I admit that in a game with pseudo-realistic physics it feels strange to have this cosmological cheat. Have you played games that had to implement such systems for the sake of gameplay?

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