May 30th 2013
When approaching the technology of Star Citizen, we wanted the universe to be filled with things. That’s a weird statement, sure, but in order to have a dynamic economy with supply/demand needs and resources to be mined/transported, we couldn’t have a universal box that could generate anything and everything. The classic example is the replicator from Star Trek (definition via Wiki: A replicator can create any inanimate matter, as long as the desired molecular structure is on file, but it cannot create antimatter, dilithium, latinum, or a living organism of any kind).
It’s probably not realistic to ignore the inclusion of a replicator-type technology in the future, especially considering the massive applications 3D printing is already capable of offering — it’s a stylistic and economic decision not to include it. As stated earlier, there’s a dynamic economy to feed and it will be hungry. If the classic replicator existed, factories wouldn’t need resources flown in; they would go to their industrial-sized Tech-In-A-Box and punch in whatever they needed.
There are however tools capable of fashioning replacement parts; this saves mechanics from having to stock or send away for ship-specific replacement coils, gears, pistons or other replacement parts. Due to their low cost, a version of these 3D printers can be found in almost every mechanic shop in the UEE. The lowest base-models will only accept one type of building resource and will make parts of cheap quality. The quality and flexibility goes up from there. The highest has attachments to accept all sorts of building materials and can even build out of hybrid mixtures.
Now we’re going to look at how the people of the UEE move around. We’re talking about:
In a space sim, this is a broad topic. Obviously the players are going to have ship transportation. (Otherwise it would be a walking sim?) Leaving the game itself aside, this will be an exploration of how transportation factors into the daily life of the Star Citizen universe. So we will start on the ground level and move our way up to the stars.
Ground-based transportation still exists in the 30th Century, but most of it tends to be for utility and industrial use. On the settler and frontier planets, you will find a large amount of ground-based transports. In the more populated systems, there are still roads and cars (for lack of a better word) that exist for private use, but they are no longer the dominant form of planetside transportation. That honor goes to:
Air-based vehicles, also called hovers, are the main form of transportation within the atmosphere. You will see these in the more populated cities and less so on the frontier planets. As more money and people move to these smaller worlds, the number of hovers starts to increase.
With the masses of flying vehicles crisscrossing the cities in their arranged traffic patterns and the daily influx of interplanetary ships coming in and out of the atmosphere, you would think it would be a recipe for frequent mid-air collisions, raining fire and debris. To minimize this, transportation planners have effectively created traffic planes, local altitudes where air travel is allowed in a specific direction.
For spaceships, there are specific descent/ascent paths to drop onto the planet. These paths usually lead to landing zones, but there are exits to merge with traffic planes.
All of the large cities scattered throughout the UEE have multiple forms of public transportation. Prime, for example, has a subway system as well as an elevated monorail system. Don’t feel like waiting for the tube? Hop in a hover taxi.
One of the main questions that has been asked since beginning this feature is how common are spaceships? In these Guides, we have always stressed the desire for variety. To the general populace, spaceships and interplanetary travel may be a reality of daily life but that doesn’t mean that everybody owns a ship. It’s not as common as cars on modern-day Earth. However, space travel is not solely the province of the rich or the social elite. It’s somewhere in the middle. A wide variety of people from all sorts of social and financial background have taken to the stars. Of course, there will be members of the rich who own the sleekest ships, but there are just as many flying junk-ships pushing through the black.
Commercial Space Flight
Since we’ve established that everyone doesn’t own a ship capable of inter-system flight, there is a robust commercial space flight market. These large transports are capable of transporting people, goods or a mixture of the two. The largest provider is Crusader Industries (who owns Crusader in Stanton System). There are carriers that specialize for all types; some cater to settlers who want to start over on frontier worlds while others offer luxury cruises to the Goss system.
The Earth-Pinecone Run was the first main commercial transport route between Sol and the Ellis system. The route itself changed and expanded after the proliferation of Terra, so now the Run links Earth and Terra (it still has a layover in Ellis).
As covered in the previous entry on Technology, moving between systems is possible through jump points. Each of these jump points allow crossing massive distances in a short time. To briefly recap, the area around the first jump point was nicknamed the Neso Triangle because ships kept disappearing without a trace. Nick Croshaw discovered that the anomaly was in fact a gap in time/space and successfully navigated through to become the first NavJumper and discover what would come to be known as the Croshaw System.
Jump points are invisible to the naked eye. They are generally discovered using very narrow and precise scan sweeps, but these scans can even be fooled by some jump points that will only appear at certain angles. In short, we want them to be tough to spot; that’s why discovering one is an event.
The area between the two jump points is known as Interspace. While the scientific community has often wondered what exists there, every attempt to explore or study Interspace has failed. Travelling through Interspace is very dangerous and many would-be NavJumpers have died attempting the traverse. In the past they’ve been described as a blurring of time, like moving fast and slow at the same time, having to navigate around obstacles that are in front of and behind you at the same time. Ultimately, this will be part of the game mechanics, so this will be amended as it’s designed further.
If a pilot or crew successfully navigate through a new jump point, they should record the route they took to their NavDrive. They can then sell this data to the UEE (or privately if they wish) who will copy the NavData (making necessary calculation adjustments to accommodate ship size) so all ships will mirror the same path as the original NavJumper and therefore open up the new system to everyone.
Aliens & Jump Points
Do the Xi’An, Banu, Vanduul or Kr’Thak all use the same technology as us to navigate jump points? While each of the cultures has its own method of traversing/discovering/maintaining them, jump points are the main conduit of interstellar travel for all civilizations. This section crosses somewhat into game mechanic territory and also is currently under discussion, so expect this to be clarified and refined in the future.
I do have several questions: What about industrial technology? Should we expect factories to be filled with futuristic mechatronics, droids/robots moving crates about and only a few Humans or Banu supervising facilities? Or would that depend on the wealth / tech level of a planet?
A: There is a certain level of automation at all levels, but I think you’re right, the number of Human workers in the factory is probably related to the wealth of the planet.
What about combat droids? Are they illegal technology or just restricted? Since there are droids in SC with a basic AI, the next logical step is mount a gun in a simple cleaning droid to make it, with a “slight” change of its basic AI programming, a combat droid.
A: Good question. As far as your fiction goes, I don’t see why your character couldn’t alter a repair-bot to chase boarders with a blowtorch. In the game, I don’t know.