Help: Space Geography
Star Conquest has a fully-realized space system as one of its primary features. Space is big and it can be confusing. Sometimes intentionally! But here are the basics.
Space is divided into sectors, which are simply a way of marking off and differentiating volumes of space.
Sectors are three-dimensional, and are further subdivided into coordinates: 20 by 20 by 20.
Numbers! Each sector is 240,000km across on each axis, or about 1/625th of an astronomical unit, or about 8/10ths of a light-second. So, a lightyear is just shy of 40 million sectors. This would be common knowledge among pilots.
A sector exists because a beacon has been placed there broadcasting its location. This beacon is what allows starships to jump there using their wormhole drive.
Beacons can be based on planets, on space stations, or free-floating in a beacon housing.
There are three types of beacons you'll commonly encounter:
* Primary beacons: These are beacons for main sectors that you can jump to from any location (with a few exceptions). Examples are Earthgate, Providence Gate, or the Dusty Reaches. These are primary thoroughfares and also act as travel bottlenecks.
* Secondary beacons: These are used within a sector cluster. For instance, Old Earth Orbit and Martian Orbit are both marked by secondary beacons. What this means is that from another sector cluster, you would first have to jump to Earthgate, because that is the primary beacon for the cluster. From there, you can jump to Old Earth or Mars, the secondary beacons.
* Weak beacons: These are not really a separate category, because primary or secondary beacons can also be weak. Weak beacons do not broadcast over a wide range, and generally a ship's computer must know of its approximate location before it can scan for a weak beacon. Scanning will still usually take several attempts. Weak beacons are used in Mutuality space to help it remain hidden.
Sectors also each have a security rating describing the degree of safety you can expect there. Check the SECURITY RATINGS help file for more information.
MOVING BETWEEN SECTORS
You can travel to other sectors with your starship's JUMP command. You can type this command by itself for a list of accessible sectors, or you can type JUMP [sector name] to start traveling there immediately. For instance, JUMP EARTHGATE will take you straight to the Earthgate sector from most locations.
Your starship can also successfully navigate multiple jumps. For instance, if you're in a distant sector cluster and you type JUMP OLD EARTH, your ship will automatically travel first to Earthgate and then make a second jump to Old Earth Orbit. Linked jumps such as these will occur faster and use less battery charge than if you performed the jumps individually.
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