Inter-Sun [A Micro Jump Graphic Novel...]

EDIT: Now in proper 'graphic novel' format. See below for GIANT PIX...

Source: https://youtu.be/zEjjz23h3xc


EXPLAINER (click for large image):




(Low quality jpg version)


STORY (click for large image):




(Low quality jpg version)

FOR VERY SLOW CONNECTIONS: HORRIBLE OLD IMGUR ALBUM

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HOW IT WORKS:

Short Version:


Select a distant star in that system. Engage your hacked FSD to jump straight at it, improvising your arrival amongst the local gravity wells. --Or--. Plot a route first in the orrery view to find the safest approach. Flying skillfully down the created tether will also help you avoid shredding your ship.

Long Version:


  • Jumpable suns are marked with their own icon. Selecting one means a direct tether is automatically prepared in a straight line to that destination.
  • Engage your FSD and your ship will enter a hacked mini jump mode, skirting along the edge of witchspace but not quite in it, propelling you down the prepared path.
  • The optimal flight area is the secondary zone around the main tether. Touching the central tether will increase damage to your craft, as will leaving the travel envelope surrounding it.
  • You can adjust the approach path of the tether to an extent in the Orrery view. The longer the distance travelled, including curvature of the tether, the greater the cumulative damage to hull and modules. Intersecting with braking masses can offset this damage, making a planned route worth the time.
  • Hitting the gravity wells around large masses will slow you down. Outer edges slow you a bit and are not too damaging. Inner zones slow you more quickly but are more punishing. The larger the mass the greater these effects. Using the star's gravity well is rarely advised. (You can gauge the general damage and braking affect of different routes using the Orrery, even if the route itself is beyond the tether's limits).
  • Leaving the safety of the tether envelope to reach braking zones is often required when the tether won't stretch to suitable braking zones.
  • Leaving the tether involves a 'kick' in direction and acceleration that further complicates the act of clipping the desired braking zone(s).
  • Jumps are marked in the Supercruise backdrop as a fading line for a short while, advertising direction of travel and arrival points.
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WHY IT'S GOOD:

Short Version:



  • A fun mechanic for those who like Risk-vs-Reward gameplay, involving flight skill & strategic foresight where desired.
  • It's optional, with the risks & potential costs meaning Time-vs-Reward approaches are still viable.
  • Adds new 'cat and mouse' gameplay to instances & Supercruise.
  • Still uses full orbital range of each solar system. Not 'box to box'.
  • Relatively easy to use but rewards deeper knowledge.
  • Makes use of existing procedural variation in systems to make them feel more individual and diverse.
  • Its gives the Orrery a reason to be, which it needs.
  • It would look badass in practice ;)
Long Version:


  • This Risk-vs-Reward mechanic gives those of us who dislike 10-minute sun treks an entertaining way to shorten it. Those who prefer the Time-vs-Reward approach have reasons to stick with their preferred technique. (IE they would avoid the repair costs & significant risk of death involved). Trade profits over time would likely equalise, with quicker turnaround being offset by damage and death at the hands of incompetence & pirates.
  • This mechanic should be fun to use and add more variety to Supercruise. Easy to slam on for an alternative high risk escape route where needed, or when impetuously chasing after a fat target doing the same. Even better used in a refined manner, starting with strategic system oversight and ending with high octane piloting to execute on your plan.
  • Some will argue you can just avoid missions that direct you to secondary stars etc. This is just not true. Assassination destination reveals, distant route itineraries for passenger road trips, 'Psst I've got a message for you' info tip-offs. These things spring out of left-field all the time. You honestly can't mitigate for a lot of them.
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BONUS PIRACY TECH IDEA:

Having pirate kit that allowed them to disrupt the tether (possibly by triangulating around the latching point within a short window) could be cool :). If successful the tether would whiplash and attach to the next largest mass. (Pilot's could prepare for this somewhat by scoping the Orrery, but it would still take some mean piloting skills to adjust when it happens ;))

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KNOWN ISSUES:

  • Credit balancing: Although the risk/reward balances seem to be in the right ballpark to keep 'slow boat' alternatives viable, some basic calculations suggest that players using the tether could out-earn standard methods, making it a path of least resistance.
  • Possible Solutions: Some form of credit cost, beyond the existing wear & tear costs (& periodic loot loss & death). Possibilities include: Make the tech incur a criminal fine on use / require a paid permit to utilise the nav beacon / involve use of a more expensive fuel type.
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FREEFORM PHILOSOPHISING: WHY SPACE WOULD STILL BE REALLY BIG....

I'm happy FDev rejected the 'box to box' jumps between stations & known locations mooted in the early days. It would have made a mockery of the galactic scale they'd built if we just zapped from POI to POI.

It is possible to space the boxes too far apart though.

I've heard it argued that the use of dead time and empty gamespace to recreate the 'you're in space, it's huge!' thing is effective and desirable, and ultimately essential. And it may be to some, and more power to you. But for me it's such a blunt toolset, and a dull one on a gaming front. I just don't see it as necessary, or at least see it as over-used to date. There are more subtle & dynamic approaches:

These stellar systems already communicate their awesome aspects through orbital changes over time, through the approaches to giant arrangements of objects at various speeds, through the changing of a nebula backdrop as you jump towards them.
There are multiple reinforcements of scale and grandeur throughout the game. I'm not sure empty space is truly needed to do Stellar Forge justice. At least not for this gamer.

Despite being kinda zappy, I reckon this micro-jump system actually stays with that philosophy. It emphasises the scale of each solar array of planets, even if it provides the option to collapse the space in between them. It should even accentuate the importance of local geographies and individual characters in the process. And, by design, I reckon explorers, min-max traders, Time-vs-Reward players and others who enjoy that in-between lacuna and long-approach can still happily and logically avoid this risky procedure as part of their preferred approach to the game. (While perhaps making occasional cheeky use of it if they find a Thargoid in their face or what have you...;))

Hopefully it's a win-win mechanic!
 
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Ho....ly.... Sh*&....


Rep sir o7

Take as much rep as you want.
I love it, FD make it so..look out the nannies are coming
Haha, cheers y'all :D

It is a meaty addition in a lotta ways, when they could just go 'select destination sun on arrival' instead. But there's something more appealing about this. Another use for the flight model, another place where knowledge could tell. More Supercruise colour and tactics, more piracy honeypots, more high risk / high profit trade routes. It just kinda builds on existing stuff, and complements other bits too. Gotta be worth it ;)
 
I really like this idea. I'd also like for jumping between stars to be more than just a loading screen. Short jumps could be as boring as they are now, but longer jumps could be quite complex and even rather dangerous. Neutron boosted jumps should be something that takes a lot of skill to master. Black holes along your route could mean disaster.
 
I really like this idea. I'd also like for jumping between stars to be more than just a loading screen. Short jumps could be as boring as they are now, but longer jumps could be quite complex and even rather dangerous. Neutron boosted jumps should be something that takes a lot of skill to master. Black holes along your route could mean disaster.
Chained hyperjumps could be cool for sure. (I guess if the game didn't have to generate the interim destinations it could be done?)

I was wondering if chaining could work inter-system too. There are often multiple distant stars etc. Could use one to catapault you to the next maybe? And yes black holes shiukd be fearsome here too! :D
 
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Sticking this here because it's cool crit. The earning-potential balance definitely does need work. I think the other angles are kinda holding up though...

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Okay, so your fundamental "solution" is that micro-jumps should be risky?
This post is cool and good :)

It's a fundamental component, but not the be all. (It proves particularly telling out in the black though, which is an aspect you don't touch on below. I honestly think you'd be a massive fool to use it when exploring - although there are some fun wrinkles that could be explored - such as uber-rare components for rare repairs etc.)

But let's go through trade examples, as you make some fine points:

Let's take a look at that.

Let's say I'm doing long-haul cargo missions in my T9 for Cr10m a pop.
I can stack 3 missions at the same time, before my hold is full, and they take an hour to complete.
That gives me Cr30m per hour.

Now let's say you're doing the same thing using micro-jumps.
Depending on how it works, you would, presumably, be taking a considerably shorter time to complete the missions.
You'd be completing them in, say, 15 minutes instead of 1 hour.
That's going to give you Cr120m per hour.
Currently I see the time saving as far less than that. More like:

* Jump prep [0 secs -> 3 mins depending on familiarity]
* Jump process [Approx 1/10th of a normal inter-stellar transit]
* From arrival to station [1 min -> 5 mins depending on skill, as you can end up anywhere in the orbital reach of the destination star]

Add in the heightened risk of piracy, via: plotting time near starter sun / telegraphed transit line and drop point / damaged craft vulnerabilities etc, and there's another big 'delay' variable in the mix. (Which could be balanced with the help of NPCs etc). So would could say something like:

* Extra pirate delays, from interdictions & engagements etc (and occasional death by crashing into sun): [2/10ths of average transit time??]


The approx total for an established '10 minute transit' route = 5 mins from sun to station say. [Totally open to more massaging on this, this is a first take ultimately].

Basically the intention is to reduce the time in deadspace with near no stimulus / emergent events / input requirement (as this is the bugbear), and replace it with actions within or near 'geography'. Contracting the time taken isn't actually the core aim, nor the core result hopefully.


The most likely thing to happen is that FDev will nerf those missions to account for the ease with which they can be completed.
That means I'm going to end up earning a quarter of what I currently am.
Your use of micro-jumps affects me.
Well I mean everyone loses under that scenario right?

But I digress.
My T9 cost me Cr170m and has a rebuy of roughly Cr8.5m

If you're capable of, ideally, making Cr120m per hour compared to the Cr30m per hour that I make and the only thing "balancing" our relative earning potential is the risk of using micro-jumps then it needs to be risky enough to reduce your income by Cr90m
If the rebuy on a T9 is Cr8.5m, it'd need to be destroyed TEN TIMES PER HOUR to offset the advantage using micro-jumps grants you.
So my napkin numbers above put the time saving at approx half. So you'd be making 30mil ph with jumps. So you'd still need to die like 3 times per hour for parity.... So hmmmm. Yeahhhhh. Some other parameter needs to come into play :D

Possibly the answer is hefty fines? Like the use of the drive is illegal? Part of me likes that. It's occasional enough in its use generally, and the 'reward' of skipping the uber-space-'naturalism' might feel worth it to me.

We should remember that damage costs and lost loot will also come into play on top of rebuys, but they'll be more variable. (I mean I guess you could instigate a higher likelihood of the cargo bay giving out, and have cargo spillage take place, but that's possibly getting silly ;))

It's a tricky one, but not insurmountable I don't think...


*EDIT*

It might be worth pointing out, too, that if using micro-jumps is risky enough to balance against somebody who's not using them, you're not going to complete many missions per hour which would seem to undermine the whole "It'd be good for people who don't have a lot of time" argument completely.
I'm not really pitching this from a 'don't have a lot of time' perspective. Not precisely anyway, although it's in the mix. My primary objective is fun, for those that find it in more active places. That's a primary aim. To make a fun mechanic, that also happens to be fair to broader playstyles etc.
 
FOR SLOW CONNECTIONS: IMGUR ALBUM

---Please check out one of the above (preferably the vid)---

---


HOW IT WORKS:

Short Version:




Long Version:


  • Jumpable suns are marked with their own icon. Selecting one means a direct tether is automatically prepared in a straight line to that destination.
  • Engage your FSD and your ship will enter a hacked mini jump mode, skirting along the edge of witchspace but not quite in it, propelling you down the prepared path.
  • The optimal flight area is the secondary zone around the main tether. Touching the central tether will increase damage to your craft, as will leaving the travel envelope surrounding it.
  • You can adjust the approach path of the tether to an extent in the Orrery view. The longer the distance travelled, including curvature of the tether, the greater the cumulative damage to hull and modules. Intersecting with braking masses can offset this damage, making a planned route worth the time.
  • Hitting the gravity wells around large masses will slow you down. Outer edges slow you a bit and are not too damaging. Inner zones slow you more quickly but are more punishing. The larger the mass the greater these effects. Using the star's gravity well is rarely advised. (You can gauge the general damage and braking affect of different routes using the Orrery, even if the route itself is beyond the tether's limits).
  • Leaving the safety of the tether envelope to reach braking zones is often required when the tether won't stretch to suitable braking zones.
  • Leaving the tether involves a 'kick' in direction and acceleration that further complicates the act of clipping the desired braking zone(s).
  • Jumps are marked in the Supercruise backdrop as a fading line for a short while, advertising direction of travel and arrival points.

---


WHY IT'S GOOD:

Short Version:


  • A fun mechanic for those who like Risk-vs-Reward gameplay, involving flight skill & strategic foresight where desired.
  • It's optional, with the risks & potential costs meaning Time-vs-Reward approaches are still viable.
  • Adds new 'cat and mouse' gameplay to instances & Supercruise.
  • Still uses full orbital range of each solar system. Not 'box to box'.
  • Relatively easy to use but rewards deeper knowledge.
  • Makes use of existing procedural variation in systems to make them feel more individual and diverse.
  • Its gives the Orrery a reason to be, which it needs.
  • It would look badass in practice ;)
Long Version:


  • This Risk-vs-Reward mechanic gives those of us who dislike 10-minute sun treks an entertaining way to shorten it. Those who prefer the Time-vs-Reward approach have reasons to stick with their preferred technique. (IE they would avoid the repair costs & significant risk of death involved). Trade profits over time would likely equalise, with quicker turnaround being offset by damage and death at the hands of incompetence & pirates.
  • This mechanic should be fun to use and add more variety to Supercruise. Easy to slam on for an alternative high risk escape route where needed, or when impetuously chasing after a fat target doing the same. Even better used in a refined manner, starting with strategic system oversight and ending with high octane piloting to execute on your plan.
  • Some will argue you can just avoid missions that direct you to secondary stars etc. This is just not true. Assassination destination reveals, distant route itineraries for passenger road trips, 'Psst I've got a message for you' info tip-offs. These things spring out of left-field all the time. You honestly can't mitigate for a lot of them.


---


FREEFORM PHILOSOPHISING: WHY SPACE WOULD STILL BE REALLY BIG....

I'm happy FDev rejected the 'box to box' jumps between stations & known locations mooted in the early days. It would have made a mockery of the galactic scale they'd built if we just zapped from POI to POI.

It is possible to space the boxes too far apart though.

I've heard it argued that the use of dead time and empty gamespace to recreate the 'you're in space, it's huge!' thing is effective and desirable, and ultimately essential. And it may be to some, and more power to you. But for me it's such a blunt toolset, and a dull one on a gaming front. I just don't see it as necessary, or at least see it as over-used to date. There are more subtle & dynamic approaches:

>These stellar systems already communicate their awesome aspects through orbital changes over time, through the approaches to giant arrangements of objects at various speeds, through the changing of a nebula backdrop as you jump towards them.

There are multiple reinforcements of scale and grandeur throughout the game. I'm not sure empty space is truly needed to do Stellar Forge justice. At least not for this gamer.

Despite being kinda zappy, I reckon this micro-jump system actually stays with that philosophy. It emphasises the scale of each solar array of planets, even if it provides the option to collapse the space in between them. It should even accentuate the importance of local geographies and individual characters in the process. And, by design, I reckon explorers, min-max traders, Time-vs-Reward players and others who enjoy that in-between lacuna and long-approach can still happily and logically avoid this risky procedure as part of their preferred approach to the game. (While perhaps making occasional cheeky use of it if they find a Thargoid in their face or what have you...;))

Hopefully it's a win-win mechanic!
+Rep

Micro Jumps and In-system Jumps are very popular in Sci Fi Novels today, so it would be great to see it come to ED.

I personally would like to see phase one support in system jumps to any in-system stars of sufficient distance from the primary.

Phase two could also support super gas giants.
 
+Rep

Micro Jumps and In-system Jumps are very popular in Sci Fi Novels today, so it would be great to see it come to ED.

I personally would like to see phase one support in system jumps to any in-system stars of sufficient distance from the primary.

Phase two could also support super gas giants.
Cheers!

Yeah the use of gas giant mass is an interesting one. There are definitely variants where it could work. In this case I think it might be unnecessary, because you can nuance your arrive to drop at other planets in theory (if you chain your braking zones etc, and gas giants would prove a particularly effective stopping point). One of my key desires was for it to be a 'big box to big box' system, with you potentially arriving with the whole the star's orbital range still to traverse, if you messed up your approach.

(Essentially, I wanted to cut out the dead space and get us from geography zone to geography zone ;))
 
Some fun discussion on the main thread about 'submarine style stealth' in a reworked SC mechanic made me think on this aspect further for the tether.

Although it felt a must that the tether should telegraph the player's trajectory and arrival point, there could be room to nuance it. IE:


  • Visibility could be based on speed, and raised sharply by risky manoeuvrers like riding the edge of the envelope & leaving it entirely.
  • If curving and extending the journey actually slowed your approach (while still accruing more damage) players could opt for surprising angles of arrival for a 'stealthier' use of the tech - although some form of dim tracer line should still flag their approach at a minimum.

I'm not sure how I feel about it (taking an elongated route feels like the no-brainer at the moment, and this possibly diversifies the lines of approach too far, making it difficult for pirates to stalk honeypot zones), & it's possibly better suited to SC alterations alone, but there's something there...
 
It would be interesting if your direction of approach decided which star, in a multi-star system, pulled you out of hyperspace. Subject to overall mass of course.

So if you want to arrive at a distant binary of the primary start, you can jump around to a neighbouring system and approach from their instead of just taking the direct route. Make "navigation" a skill again; you have to take notes!

Of course, this would also change over time as the stars orbit -- but we are only really talking distant binaries, so it will be stable for a few hundred years.
 
It would be interesting if your direction of approach decided which star, in a multi-star system, pulled you out of hyperspace. Subject to overall mass of course.

So if you want to arrive at a distant binary of the primary start, you can jump around to a neighbouring system and approach from their instead of just taking the direct route. Make "navigation" a skill again; you have to take notes!

Of course, this would also change over time as the stars orbit -- but we are only really talking distant binaries, so it will be stable for a few hundred years.
This could be a neat approach to perking up Hyperspace plotting for sure.

It's a bit off the topic, but I think there's definitely room out there for some kind of 'chaining' approach too (rather than the autopilot approach that gets mooted). IE plot your route and either dodge or slingshot the suns you don't want to stop at, impacting your route along the way if you execute poorly etc. It heavily risks being too mini-gamey though, and seriously impacting the sense of scale in galactic traversal (which currently I think they've got the vibe balance right, if not the gameplay interest necessarily - re repetitive long haul jumps). But if they get the timing and flight skills right I could imagine it being a ton more engaging. Allowing for 'approach shots' to your preferred in-system sun would just be the cherry on the cake :)

Ultimately I'd still fear for the 'empty transit' issue within systems not being addressed though. It could perhaps work alongside the type of FSD-injection alt-SC revamps being discussed on the main micro jumps thread.
 
The biggest thing that's playing on my mind here is:

Is it right to make this system too risky for most Exploration uses?

I took the decision in part because of a desire to ensure protection of the time-to-reward approach as a valid style for those who enjoy it, and partially because I assume that Explorers mainly fall into the time-to-reward category, and so it would be a good fit.

My own actual desire though is too see more risk/reward Exploration gameplay one day, and think at least some form of 'super rare materials for uber repairs' dynamic would be appealing once there's a bigger spread of planetary surfaces to scour (ideally with their own risky landscapes, and hey, maybe even caustic bacteria, alongside their rewards ;))
 
Just posting this wee rant I had over on a related Reddit discussion. It expands on my arguments against a core design belief that some hold. IE that: 'long, empty gameplay tranches are required to represent the large, empty nature of space':

Yeah well that's what I'm saying. Long journeys are in theory fine. What's not fine is saying 'emptiness is required to represent space'. The whole 'space must involve long empty journeys to represent its big, empty nature' conceit is such a blunt, unimaginative take, to my mind.

If you think about all the other ways FDev has successfully represented scale we can see that transit times & content levels can flex and still retain the awe. Think of hyperspace jumps. They're the ultimate shortcut, but thanks to things like galmap routes & representations, the skybox shifting as we travel, the tiny-foreshadowed sun of the Hyperspace animation becoming the giant monstrosity of arrival... a suitable amount of awe and scale is retained. (And really, would you want to spend hours at a time traversing to each star, nay a realistic light year or two? ;). The payoff is pretty effective and affective...)

The same can be said of systems themselves, if not more so. Look at the way the new planetary colourings have added another 'bump map' style layer of realistic mountainous-ness to our gnarled friends, making speedy passes near them more convincingly the act of a tiny craft near a giant rock (despite our mind's eye being unaccustomed to such things). Speed near giant objects is an effective tool for conveying scale, when done right.

This is extended further by the celestial timings of the clockwork orrery. The shadow cast upon our station by a moon moving into eclipse does as much to convince us of the enormity of our environs as any chilly 10 minute trek towards a beacon of distant activity. There are many tools we can play with here...

The argument essentially is what we need to do is either expand the 'geographic influence' of each unique planetary system outwards (IE having their gravitational effects impinge further out into deep space, or their solar 'shadow', or some other such consideration), or contract the deadzone to place most transit within these worlds of possibility. (IE a 'box to box' system where the boxes are massive - they are the two solar arrays, with just the dead zone in the middle accelerated by a technically challenging and risky approach, for those that want it. That's the intent of my Tether idea, and others like it. One that preserves all playstyles, but at least gives options).

The USS spawn mechanics speak to all this too. Would content, even in deep space, really be such a terrible thing...? ;)
/essay :D
I'll reiterate that I still think such time-to-reward playstyles should still be endorsed and viable. I have no problem with players enjoying that form of gameplay and advancement / challenge, at all, and don't seek to rob them of it. I just don't buy the arguments that insist on it being a uniquely vital playstyle & essential experience to evoke and celebrate the Stellar Forge world FDev have created...

Risk-reward lovers of big space need some honey too :)
 
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EDIT: Now in proper 'graphic novel' format. Click for GIANT PIX...

STORY (click for large image):





EXPLAINER (click for large image):


 
Strangely enough, I was about to write up a suggestion really similar to this, just less well presented. +rep for presentation for sure!
My take on intra-system jumps was something like:
Can only be activated from realspace, possibly requiring a nav beacon in local space.
Lock on to target in-system star. align trajectory. Hit hyperspace jump key. FSD spool has blinking "tethered jump" warning above progress bar.
Once jump commences, the white flares of light that surround ship during the pre-jump (ie: during countdown, after drive charged and activated)) resolve into tunnel not too different to an interdiction, but in pale white.
Ship will continuously drift off-course requiring pilot to follow target vector (fixed path, while ship bucks and heaves)
From an outside observer tether jumping ship has the normal "comet" look, but with a laser-like column of light shimmering and pulsing along length of tethered path.
[video=youtube_share;-lWeFYXBlpM]https://youtu.be/-lWeFYXBlpM?t=13[/video]
Any opportunistic player can interdict from ANY point along tether so long as it is "lit".
 
Strangely enough, I was about to write up a suggestion really similar to this, just less well presented. +rep for presentation for sure!
My take on intra-system jumps was something like:
Can only be activated from realspace, possibly requiring a nav beacon in local space.
Lock on to target in-system star. align trajectory. Hit hyperspace jump key. FSD spool has blinking "tethered jump" warning above progress bar.
Once jump commences, the white flares of light that surround ship during the pre-jump (ie: during countdown, after drive charged and activated)) resolve into tunnel not too different to an interdiction, but in pale white.
Ship will continuously drift off-course requiring pilot to follow target vector (fixed path, while ship bucks and heaves)
From an outside observer tether jumping ship has the normal "comet" look, but with a laser-like column of light shimmering and pulsing along length of tethered path.

Any opportunistic player can interdict from ANY point along tether so long as it is "lit".
Great minds :D

Yeah that's got loads of the same touchstones. Certainly the 'transit tunnel + flight skill' approach is a familiar trope and I reckon most people could get on board with it. The UI tether warning would be ideal for sure, and yeah I could see Nav Beacons being the target. (I kinda like the idea of crazed explorers using the system though, but letting it be extremely inadvisable ;))

The twist I like with plotting your own route is that you're essentially making your own difficult course. So there might be payoffs at points between curving towards a better arrival point (or chaining two braking zones to make for a damage-lite arrival), but ending up with a more difficult path to steer down.

(I'm just kinda obsessed with the idea of FDev leveraging Stellar Forge's variety to create gameplay variety too to be honest :D)
 
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