Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Space RPGS: Flight Models II

In my previous post I wrote about some considerations for spaceflight models, and identified the key variable as acceleration rather than velocity. I did some more thinking and research and came up with a few implementable options. Adding vectors is fun!

  • Ignore Momentum. I don't like this as it is totally unrealistic and makes a space RPG feel like any other wargame or token-based RPG.
  • Abstract Movement. You could go with a early CRPG style representation: one side lines up on the left side of the board, the other on the right, and they fight in a very abstract manner. You could have rules for maneuvering which could help for dodging attacks, or maybe range categories ("Close, Far, Disengaged...").
  • Track Each Vector's Values: You can track the speed associated with each vector for each token. For example, you could represent something's velocity as follows: "North 2, East 1, West 0, South 0." If the vehicle accelerated to the North 2 and West 1, then you'd modify the numbers to 3/0/0/0. Each turn the vessel moves in the appropriate number of squares. This works great for a small number of tokens. However, if you have multiple tokens it gets troublesome to keep track of as you basically need a separate worksheet for each vessel. Additionally, I think it is necessary to go for at least a hex based system to smooth things out. However, it is probably the easiest way to deal with 3-D movement. It is also easier to deal with higher speeds as you can just subtract X from everyone's speed in a certain direction without changing any of the relative velocities.
  • Use Two Tokens for Each Vessel: You can also use two tokens to represent velocity. In my previous example, you'd have one token representing where the ship is and a second representing where it is going, two squares to the North and one to the West. After acceleration, you'd move the second token one space to the East and one space to the North. Before moving the ship, drop a third token 3 squares to the north of the second one. The advantage of this system is that you can keep track of larger numbers of vessels with relatively little difficulty. The trouble is that you need multiple tokens/minis to run it all and as velocities get larger there is a greater chance for error to occur.
  • Trigonometry: You could use trigonometric functions to add vectors. I think this would likely require a table of look up values. It would allow you to play without minis, however.

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