As a sailor and an EVE player, I wonder if interstellar traveling with solar sails would be something interesting.
A new kind of ships, from frigs to battleships, equiped with deployable sails, to be able to travel between systems, without the need of a titan bridge or stargate.
Positioning and navigation can be made as hard as you want ( need of a cyno or not, warpoff point close to a star or not)
To make a difference with other ships that do need a jump bridge or stargate, these sailing boats can be restricted to certain roles (scouting, hauling, … )
Jump-gates for near instant travel between systems and warp tunnelling withing systems exist in games for a very good reason: space is big. Really big. And even light is slow by comparison. Players get bored easily.
That “feels a bit slow 3AU/sec” is still 1,500 times the speed of light.
(Warp factor 9 for all the Star Trek enthusiasts out there)
There are good playability reasons for not doing it - it would be like having a real time sailing simulator where every journey is “cross the Atlantic in real time” but without the excitement of waves and changing wind direction - solar sailing isn’t as exciting as wind sailing at sea, everything is constant and predictable and really low forces.
So saying, I really like the solar sailing concept as a way of exploring the inner solar system - it just wouldn’t work in s game like Eve.
The theoretical maximum speed of a solar sail is about 10% light speed if you rely on the solar wind, perhaps as high as 20% if you give it a boost with a bunch of high power lasers. But the acceleration is very low and journeys within the solar system will take weeks or months. In a universe with a technology like Eve’s warp drive that can move spacecraft at several AU/Sec (1 Au/Sec = 500 times the speed of light) a solar sail would only be used for recreational purposes.
Thank you for bringing the Zephyr to my attention. This might be a first step to what I am looking for.
And what I’m looking for is not RP, but another means of transportation in New Eden.
Problem I have with the Zephyr is something about navigation: How can this ship navigate on solar power in a direction that is not straight away from a star? In a RL sailing boat you need the resistance of water to have acceleration in a direction that is not in line with the wind vector. Does the Zephir have a way of creating such a resistance on its own? Or do laws of physics simply work differently in New Eden?
Some of above reactions rightly pointed on the issue of speed. Sub warp speed for interstellar traveling would be rather stupid. Even exploring the inner solar system would be a very boring something. But if the Zephyr is designed to navigate on solar power, not parallel to the light vector, it might also be possible to find some kind of technology (triglavian, jovian, whateverian … ) that can multiplie this speed on a logarithmical scale? Lasers would only be useful if they are not mounted upon the ship itself, but on another structure. Mounting it on the ship would be like putting a ventilator on a sailing boat to create more wind in your sails, only ending up with extra weight and lots of foul wind.
Navigation: cyno / location bookmarks / gates
My third thought is on navigation. Why create a new kind of speed if warping exists for inner system transport and instant relocation through star gates and jump bridges for interstellar travelling?
Because of the need of a point of arrival. Both warp tunnels and jump mechanics need points of arrival. In real life sailing you don’t need a point of arrival to go somewhere, only a startingpoint and a force of movement.
And I think this would be a completely different way to move around in New Eden: Set a course, and hit the lightwaves. Maybe according to the level of new kind of navigational skill, you might be able to cross greater distances.
In RL sailing there are ways to estimate where you will be after a certain time of sailing. In New Eden you might be able to set a course and, maybe according to a level of a new navigation skill, you can ‘land’ within a certain perimeter of the point you wish to land.
You don’t need a cyno, an end gate a structure or any othe kind of signature. double clicking the star map would be enough in my imagination (something like double clicking in space for aligning within a system now)
Off cours this kind of travelling can’t be available for all ships, cause it would change traveling, fleets, war mechanics … too much. But maybe we can fiddle with the Zephyr to take a start. Maybe a Zephyr II? Or Boreas (is the Greek wind of the North, whereas Zephyros is the wind of the West)
One thing is sure, this new technology has to meet a better level of quality than my knowledge of English (Tnx for your patience and efforts to read all of this)
The mechanics of solar sailing and their interaction with orbital mechanics are different to those of a sail on a wind driven ship.
On a sailing ship the thrust from the sail is the reaction force from the defection of the moving air mass by the sail. If this isn’t directly inline with the direction of the hull, then a proportion applies in line with the hull, driving it forward, the rest is resisted by the hull preventing crabbing motion.
With a solar sail you also have thrust generated by the deflection of the mass of the solar wind - the defection is by refection of photons, hence really low forces.
The result is perpendicular to the angle of the sail. Tilt the sail relative to the sun and you can generate forces. But as you point out, only away from the sun.
You will have a proportion along the orbital path or against it, increasing or decreasing orbital speed.
Increasing the orbital speed moves you away from the sun. Very slowly, this is really low thrust.
Decreasing orbital speed reduces the orbital period and you move inwards towards the sun - your perihelion and apohelion reduce. How much and how fast depends on the angle of the sail (the residual radial thrust has to be considered) and your position relative to perigee.
Likewise you can shift your inclination and the angle of the major orbital axis by tilting the sail to change the direction of thrust.
Orbital mechanics aren’t terribly intuitive - and in space it’s not “position” that is important but the velocity and poistion (and hence orbital characteristics). At sea if you take your sail down you stop moving (ok, you drift, but…). In space, take down the sail and you remain in continued motion.
That’s all very hand-wavy. The details are fascinating - in the same way the detail of a sailing ships interaction with the wind is. But, yes, a solar sail can, even with a thrust vector that can never point upwind, can approach a start it is orbiting around.
Eve doesn’t have the physics for this - there’s no gravitational model, space has drag, and a whole bunch of non-realistic physics stuff that is there because at its heart is is a game not a simulation.
It’s more submarine billiards than space simulation.
Huge fun though.
Ok, enlighten me. Why is it no good?
Your arguments can only help to change a dumb idea into something usefull.
This solar sailing brought me to the idea of warping or jumping without the need of a pre-made point of arrival (read previous post)
I think it would give an extra layer and huge opportunities to be able to travel with some restricted ships, within or between systems without the need of a bookmark, cyno, end gate…
Maybe solar sailing is not the best technology for this. Only brainstorming here…
IF there were points in ‘space’ you could only get too using this method that may open the game up to something new and from an exploration level, interesting; provided lots of new and randomish content was added for explorers… but… deep space travel should come at a cost, for example channels may not work or may be slowish, you may get blown off course, hit a comet or asteroid… yah de da de dah etc etc.