I'm working what has become an infinitely expanding universe for the game backdrop. I've not decided whether to stop the expansion or to just let it go. Either way, the game map will be so large that no player will ever see every solar system.
So while the universe built, I was working on a few different types of hyper space travel which takes you from one solar system to another. Actions like this in games typically fall under the umbrella statements of "time sink" and "resource sink."
In terms of time sink, it works on a few principles. The space craft lacks a single button you press and then a second later you load into a new solar system. So the first principle is that there are three phases to the time sink. They include: Warm Up, Travel and Cool Down.
Warm Up is simply that, from the time you plot the course and initiate the hyper space travel, a significant number of things must take place in a specific order. Leave a step out or move too quickly through the steps generally results in a failed launch into hyper space. In some rare cases the ship will just disintegrate. I point back to perma death being in play at all times.
Travel is the traditional time sink. Once you launch into hyper space your ship will then go through a period of travel where your navigation system handles the complexity of traveling faster than the speed of light. Depending on the drive unit your ship has, you may be traveling thousands of times faster than light. Depending on the quality of your navigation system, you might actually complete the trip. But the main factors in the size of the time sink is the distance covered and the speed your ship is able to travel. A jump from two nearby systems is measured in minutes. Advanced ships able to travel across dozens of systems may be locked into travel for hours. Massive ships used to transport hundreds of thousands of tons of raw materials may take days. The good news is that this sort of travel does not pause when you logout of the game. But be careful, it would be horrible to reach your destination only to land into a very hostile area. So be sure to send security forces ahead of your arrival!
Cool Down is the period which your ship comes out of the hyper space jump. In future posts I will go into more detail. But the basics are simply this, hyper space jumps take significant energy and resources. The cool down period resets the ship for travel within a solar system and also is another time sink which will prevent the ship from going back into hyper space. Depending on the hyper drive unit you have, the delay between jumps can be minutes or hours. Some units are able to make multiple jumps before cooling down.
So that's the skinny on hyper space travel. I will expand on this as the code supports the concepts. Right now, the ship is traveling with the time sinks. But it is not using resources. So this is the next step and once resource use is in place, I will provide a in depth look at hyper space travel going well beyond this simple explanation.