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Warp Drive vs Jump Drive: What's up with That?

posted Mar 14, 2013 20:59:17 by Mike_Substelny
Currently Artemis 1.7x allows you to play a TSN ship with either warp drive or jump drive. I have asked Thom to preserve this in the future so you will always be able to choose either form of superluminal propulsion. But this is very difficult to explain canonically. How can Artemis have warp drive one day and jump drive the next day? Why does a jump drive ship look exactly like a warp drive ship?

My plan is to make jump drive TSN ships non-canonical. That is, you will always be able to play with jump-drive TSN ships, but most of the battles you fight will be outside of canon. While the human race can buy or build a jump-drive ship, the TSN specializes in warp drive. Civilian ships might use either form of superluminal travel, but most prefer warp drive.

My hope is that some future release of Artemis will introduce a new player race called the Ximni. The Xmini will use jump drive and weapons that are different from the TSN. Ximni ships will look like they have jump drive instead of warp engines. Players could still select warp drive for a Ximni ship, but that will be ouside of canon.

Note that I will never discourage players from doing this. Playing outside of canon is like staging a battle of the starship Enterprise vs the Battlestar Galactica. It could be a lot of fun!

So what do you think? Is that a solution with which you can live?
"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton!"

(Likely actual words of Admiral David Farragut, USN, at the battle of Mobile Bay. Four bells was the signal for the engine room to make full steam ahead).
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31 replies
horacius.moreau said Mar 14, 2013 21:46:31
I must admit that I like the idea of all vanilla features being canon.

For discussion's sake, here are two points I'd add.

First, the same way you can't tell an electric car from a diesel-powered (apart from branding, obviously), I see no reason why a jump drive couldn't fit in the same chassis as a warp drive.

Second, the way I saw it, jump drives were introduced in later years, by the Ximni. They are not really understood by the TSN's engineers, so pretty much all TSN ships use warp drives. However, the Ximni have agreed to fit a few TSN ships with jump drives, giving the TSN a small fleet of jump-enabled ships.

How does that sound?
A Journey Onwards - A fiction blog set in the Artemis universe. The story of a young man joining the TSN.

Mike_Substelny said Mar 14, 2013 23:14:50
Horacius, that sounds fine. I like the way you put it.

Historically, every valuable technology eventually winds up in the hands of everyone who really wants it. It took only a few years for the Soviets to get the A bomb and then the H bomb. Even Packistan had nuclear weapons within a few decades of their invention. So in Artemis's epic timeline of more than a century there would be a period --- a decade or two -- when USFP engineers would not understand jump drive, but eventually they would be able to make it if needed.

Perhaps it's my personal aesthetic, but I would like to see a morphological differentiation between warp drive engines and jump drive. I think it would be fun to someday have a crew spot a ship and be able to tell it was going to jump just by looking at it.
[Last edited Mar 15, 2013 12:30:32]
"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton!"

(Likely actual words of Admiral David Farragut, USN, at the battle of Mobile Bay. Four bells was the signal for the engine room to make full steam ahead).
TaigiaReilly said Mar 15, 2013 02:46:02
I just love the jump drive to get around. So much so that you can say I'm part of House of Pain.
Anyway, it works well for our crew and we have been building strategies to work with it.

Who are we to say what we'll see in the future? Military equipment is all very standardized to the point of the differences being hard for outsiders to notice. The difference between a warp and jump capable ship could be very tiny but noticeable for those who know what to look for.
Mike_Substelny said Mar 15, 2013 12:54:40
You make a good point, Taigia. Here is an example from history, two WWII German cruisers. First the Admiral Hipper:

Then the Admiral Scheer:

They have similar size and appearance. At a glance you can tell the guns are different, but you CANNOT tell that they have vastly different propulsion systems. The newer Admiral Hipper had three steam turbines; the older Admiral Sheer had eight diesel engines. You can hardly distinguish this from the outside.
"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton!"

(Likely actual words of Admiral David Farragut, USN, at the battle of Mobile Bay. Four bells was the signal for the engine room to make full steam ahead).
Mike_Substelny said Mar 15, 2013 13:07:50
But then if we consider aircraft different propulsion types can have strikingly different appearance. Take the American B-36 which had six piston engines and four turbojet engines:

And the American B-52 which was propelled by eight turbofans:

While these aircraft could carry similar payloads on similar missions, a quick glance can tell there is a huge difference in their propulsion systems.
"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton!"

(Likely actual words of Admiral David Farragut, USN, at the battle of Mobile Bay. Four bells was the signal for the engine room to make full steam ahead).
Captain said Mar 16, 2013 01:11:04
I think since in space they would have engines inside ship there would be no noticable difference outside. The engine system would probably be completely different but it would all be inside ship. However the exterior design may change depending upon engine type. For example a chase ship with lighter armarment and such. While another ship would be extremly heavily armed and they would have jump instead. But there would be no nesscary difference.
To Mankind
And the hope that the war against folly may someday be won, after all

Isaac Asimov
LawsonThompson said Mar 16, 2013 04:38:17
Foolishly rushing into a conversation...

I would assume, based on what shreds of sci-fi literature I've consumed throughout life, that jump drive would be a more "exotic"--indeed, alien--propulsion system. The "canonical warp" and "alien-sourced jump" storyline would make sense to me.
AdmlBaconStraps said Mar 17, 2013 02:33:18
You could run with the idea that Jump drives are uncommon/horribly expensive and so are reserved for emergencies or some such and ships are refitted as required.

Of course, that raises the issue of 'why not just have a permament fleet with the jump drives'..

You might also say it has some bizarre health effect that limits the time that a crew can be exposed to it? That would open you up to some interesting mission possibilities - things like, do we use the jump drive to save a planet, sacrificing the crews lives because we've used it too much already? type scenarios.

Either way, i can roll with whatever way you go with it - my crew only uses warp anyway..
Mike_Substelny said Mar 17, 2013 03:41:32
Actually the health effect thing is an interesting idea to explore. Perhaps humans are affected by jump drive and Ximni are not.
"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton!"

(Likely actual words of Admiral David Farragut, USN, at the battle of Mobile Bay. Four bells was the signal for the engine room to make full steam ahead).
hancock.steven said Mar 17, 2013 08:51:18
Depending on whether the jump drive employs a hyper-spacial or wormhole technology you could have different causes for health effects. The gravitational side-effects of wormholes might have less effect on a species native to a higher mass planet. Where as instantaneous travel through hyper-space, i.e. travel via a parallel plan of existence, could have any imagined set of issues dependent on the nature of hyperspace.
xavierwise.tsn said Mar 17, 2013 13:29:51
Personally I have viewed Jump Drives as experimental technology, still being developed by the TSN. To me, the technology could have been gained through a number of different ways; espionage, trade, scientific discover, pulling apart alien vessels etc.

To my understanding, new weapons or ways of warfare have not been extensively used until they have been throughly tested in battle and refined. Consider for example, the development of gun powder weapons through to modern day firearms. They were used alongside traditional weapons for a while before eventually coming in to common usage on the battlefield. It it was much later that a move was made beyond lining up and firing at the on coming enemy to the modern day "fire and maneouvre" tactics we see today. Initially, they were unreliable, expensive or not efficient enough or in enough numbers to prove effective and therefore needed refining, testing and proving before being used more widely (the stages of development in firearms seems to be extensive; firing mechanisms, improvements in accuracy e.g. rifling, etc). Of course, the best technology seems to go to the most elite units first as well, usually due to the cost or expertise required to operate them.

Going back to the Jump Drive, there are several factors that I can see that can justify the Jump Drive as being experimental. You have to wait for the drive to charge before the jump initiates, they seems less energy efficient than warp drive, the loss of low warp is a detriment to maneouvring, it take time to develop tactics and confidence using the jump drive.

To me, the Jump Drive is still being tested and refined by crews of the TSN. When all the issues have been ironed out, then they may be issued more widely, or utilised on speciliast ships (missile cruisers?) or elite units.
RyanAdair said Mar 17, 2013 23:35:57
I will throw in my 2 cents.

Jump Drives and Warp Drive use different elements of 'space'.

Much like the visible light spectrum moves from (Infra-red) Red to Violet (Ultraviolet).

Space also has a spectrum only based around time. There is space where time is "folded" (Jump drive) and space where time is "Warped" (Warp Drive). For talk sake it's Hyperspace and Subspace.
If you were to interpret 2 dimensional simplification of space with this concept it would look like this:


Normal Space


Hyperspace causes a ships mass to increase to infinity and is the reason why Jump drives require such a large commitment of energy to function and allow for a ship to fold space instantly, it is also the reason why the ship immediately moves from one location to another as it's achieving a hyperbeyond light speed.

Subspace is achieved by lowering a ships mass below that of it's actual atomic mass essentially meaning the ship is less effected by the physical laws of "Normal space" bot immune.

Bottom line is this:

Warp Drives - humans can tolerate the change in gravity to less than Earth gravity / mass.

Jump Drives - humans cannot and ships must have internal protection built in to prevent side effects.

That's about all my 2 cents. :p
Mike_Substelny said Mar 18, 2013 17:48:32
This is a geat discussion. Thank you everyone for your input. Keep it coming.

Perhaps at some point late in the timeline the TSN will deploy a special ship designed around jump drive: a scout, spy ship or mobile base.
"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton!"

(Likely actual words of Admiral David Farragut, USN, at the battle of Mobile Bay. Four bells was the signal for the engine room to make full steam ahead).
AdmlBaconStraps said Mar 19, 2013 00:46:37
To further my health issue idea:

Perhaps jump drive gives off a particular type of radiation that Humans are effected by if you want something simple to run with. (I'm studying in the health sciences/medicial fields, so by all means, if you want a plausible/medically accurate description of these effects, I can get them for you)

You could also look at the mechanism of the transport itself (and this is based on my understanding of various FTL research papers I've looked at).

Warp is (IRL) actually possible by 'cheating' the laws of physics. The running idea is that if you have a ship that 'scrunches' the fabric of space-time ahead of it and 'stretches' it out behind, the ship is effectively moving at faster than light speed without ACTUALLY doing so. I'm fairly certian NASA is looking into this (if not, someone else definitely is) right now. This shouldn't have any effect on human physiology.

Jump drive on the other hand (and just based on how I see it working from a technical standpoint) seems to either fold space or open a wormhole in order to make the 'jump' such as it were. Folding space should theoretically have no real effect on human physiology as it's not too different from the FTL theory I mention above but would require a LOT more power (giving a reason for some bizarre radiation to be given off). Opening a wormhole provides some interesting possibilities however.

Given that (last I heard) the running theory was that a black hole is the other end of a 'white hole' and the two being connected by a wormhole this provides a lot more concern about the physiology of the process itself. Gravitational forces for one would be insane which (without getting too technical) would really mess with most of your innards, circulatory system in particular. Tearing holes in space-time willy nilly also isn't likely to be great for the universe itself so from a purely environmental perspective, you could explain the limited use of them that way.
Mordric said Mar 22, 2013 00:43:14
May I propose an alternative, what if the 2 systems are just extremes of the same propulsion method?

Lets say that the warp drive is not as continuous as it seems. A method of bending space was created but due to the power and technical requirements it allowed only moving a small distance, maybe one km. This step distance was difficult to expand because it required an exponential increases in power and heat build up. To make it a practical mode of transportation it was easer to just make the steps happen more quickly. If you made 100 jumps a second your brain would not perceive the individual movements but instead piece it together into smooth motion just like the frames in a movie. The higher warp factors could just indicate how quickly the steps happen and giving the drive more energy increases the distance of each step.

Later technology was improved and spatial dimension manipulators (the parts that bend space) developed that could handle high burst currents. A system was developed where a capacitor is charged and a whole bunch of energy is put into the drive at once to make one large jump, and thus the jump drive. Extra energy added to the jump drive allows the capacitor to charge faster, reducing jump time. The high currents also produce extremely high electric and magnetic fields which disrupts the ships computers momentarily on a jump

These 2 systems would have the same basic parts, which would explain why the ships with different drives look the same and the ships could be converted between the 2 types.
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