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Warp vs. FTL vs. Hyperdrive (self.

scifi)

submitted 2 years ago by Cirusness

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Hope this starts a curious discussion. I am a big Star Trek fan, watching
Battlestar again, and remembering the Millennium Falcon. I was wondering, who would
win in a space race?

I notice with Warp and Hyperdrive you notice the movement from A to B, while FTL
(BSG) you simply blink from place to place- should this not make it faster?
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[]snarkhunter 752 points 2 years ago*

A consistent problem that space-based scifi has is that a lot of writers (and
people in general) just don't have a great idea of how vastly bigly huge space is.
And "transit time" is something a LOT of plots require. Let's say the average
galaxy is about 100,000 LY across. How long should it take a ship to cross the
galaxy? The Millenium Falcon can apparently "be on the other side of the galaxy" in
under a day. If that's the case then it's much harder to have points in the plot
where we're hoping that someone makes it in time. If you can cross the galaxy in
under a day, that means that going from one star system to another one nearby is
practically instantaneous. There's no "the invasion force has set off and will
arrive in a matter of days" or anything. War would be this ridiculously dynamic and
ever-changing cross-galactic melee. If they hit your homeworld with a strike team,
in 15 minutes every ship in your fleet can respond, except for the ones you send to
bomb THEIR homeworld. Etc.

So maybe you lower the cruising speed. Star Trek: Voyager saw a ship flung 75,000
years from home, and we're told it will take about 75 years for them to get back
(wormholes and such aside). So that means your cruising speed is roughly 1000 light
years per year. Or about 2.75 light years a day. Alpha Centauri is the closest star
to our sun, and it's about 4 LY away, so in order to make Voyager a compelling
storyline now it takes over a day to get from Earth to Alpha Centauri, and a matter
of weeks or months to get anywhere else. So now that delegation takes a month and a
half to get from Qo'Nos to Romulus. Bajor is three weeks from Earth.

So there's a problem with just increasing your maximum speed to X times the speed
of light. Most shows basically lampshade this. Some, like Trek, kind of attempt to
deal with it by making high speeds maintainable for shorter distances. You can go
at warp 9 to get from Earth to Vulcan quickly, but it's riskier, bad for your warp
core, and if the plot requires it a line from Geordi - "we're still seeing
fluctuations in the warp core, I can't push it past warp 3" means you'll be too
late to save whatever from whoever.

Star Wars and BSG both have VERY fast transportation, arguably faster than Trek, at
least that's what we're told. The caveat, though, is that you need star charts. You
can't just point yourself towards some unexplored corner of the galaxy and land
yourself in the middle of it. Well you can but you could die because there's a
supernova there. You have to do some plot-required amount of navigational
calculations, THEN you get to almost instantaneously travel to your destination.
And we get the feeling that exploration and charting safe routes through new areas
is fairly slow work. The idea of "space lanes" in Star Wars - corridors that have
been shown to be free of black holes and other dangerous obstacles - help corral
ships together. Which also helps with plot. If I can randomly take almost any route
through 3-dimensional space to get from any point A to any point B, it's much
harder to set up an ambush. If to get from A to B I have one fairly narrow tube I
got to go through, then OH NO Imperial Interdictor-class Star Destroyers!

The method that works best for me plot wise is the wormhole one. Starships can go
fast, but possibly not even past light speed, or at least not by much. But once you
discover and activate a mass relay or stable wormhole or jump gates, you can travel
to and from that place fairly quickly. AND those provide good strategic positions.
Blockading a system just means you're putting a bunch of ships right at the jump
gates or wormholes near to it, because those are the points through which the
invaders have to come.

tl;dr - actual speed isn't that interesting to me. Choosing a mode of


transportation that is both consistent and sets the stage for good plots is.

edit: thank you person who bought be reddit gold. but be warned you're encouraging
my idearrhea.