What actions does a player perform in order to use a warp drive?
Well in the case of KSP perhaps after you get along the tech tree of advancement you can unlock basic warp drives capable of short bursts at something like 0.5c or lower sublight speeds. It would simply aid in getting into transfer orbits or cutting down time between where you leave and where you want to go.
What are the challenges of using it?
Developing the technology, make it really hard to get to even the basic warp drive. Make it so the player has to find a way to harness dark energy and manufacture enough negative energy. There are plenty of difficulties, otherwise we would have them in real life already.
What can go wrong?
Warp bubble failure destroying the ship, creating a black hole is always a possibility, a planet buster, destroying near by satellites or stations. There is so much that can go wrong with bending space. You could even add in the challenge for manual warp flight where the player has to oscillate the field intensities and doing that wrong can end in the ship being destroyed, running out of energy, overloading the FTL component, or just collapsing the field.
This thread isn't about KSP but I figure these same mechanics could be applied to any space game.
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Edited by DoctorOfSpace - Tuesday, 08.01.2013, 23:34
Hopping into the KSP discussion, why not simply have nuclear pulse propulsion a viable way for relativistic speeds (6-7% c)? It with even fit within the theme of KSP since it is essentially throwing nuclear devices behind a spacecraft that, coupled with a faster time acceleration while thrusting would allow for (limited) interstellar flight.
Also Ksp is somewhat relevant to this topic since it is probably one of the more realistic space games (not observatories and simulators), and it is actually fun for people not all that interested in space.
So ... yeah, the debate about KSP and warp drive ...
Mechwarrior kind of solved this. Jumpships could go 30 lightyears at a time, but had to spend a week charging their batteries between jumps. And this was with fusion engines and solar energy collection sails.
An interstellar trip even on I think its 10,000x time would still take a long time. And lets be honest here, having to take anymore than a couple minutes to get from star 1 to star 2 is not fun for a game.
I think a game mechanic should be implemented in this case where as long as you have your ship's trajectory toward the star set precisely, you can instantly forward time to when it reaches its destination, sort of like when you currently select a far off galaxy and hit the go-to option, it takes you there very quickly. And if there's anything unforeseen between the ship and its destination, such as a black hole or rogue planet or something, it will halt the timewarp process so that you have the choice on whether or not you want to explore this thing. For the sake of realism, it could be made so that only AI-controlled probes or generation motherships or something like that could make the journey.
I had thought of something similar but less complex so you can work with space engine: 1) a tutorial 2) the choice of a planet that can support an intelligent civilization 3) is generated the physical aspect depending in the planet 3) advancing civilization from the Stone Age to the space age will come into contact with other civilizations (AI) fight with other civilizations and colonize planets
the universe is made to be explored, but no one will ever visit it all
Until they implement warp drive into KSP that would be terrible. An interstellar trip even on I think its 10,000x time would still take a long time. And lets be honest here, having to take anymore than a couple minutes to get from star 1 to star 2 is not fun for a game.