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Old January 7th, 2018, 05:07 PM
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Default Hop Culture - Implications

There was a lot of chatter on the Jump-7 discussion about Hop drives, so I thought we could put those thoughts here instead of cluttering up the other thread.

The Hop drive is an order-of-magnitude improvement over the Jump drive. Ratings are in tens of parsecs instead of single parsecs; aside from that, their characteristics -- volume, cost, and power requirements -- are the same as that of jump drives, and it still takes one week in transit. Hop-1 is a TL17 technology, and the TL progression mimics that of the jump drive: TL18 has no increase, while Hop-2 is TL19, Hop-3 is TL20, and so on.

Some of these thoughts come from Cryton (Richard Ricker) and WHULorigan (Wayne).


Marginalizing Unimportant Worlds

You now can bypass less optimal worlds and effectively colonize only the one that are the most habitable, or the most profitable, and can ignore the rest.

The metaphor Marc used was that of the Interstate highway system, connecting major population centers while bypassing all of the nothing-towns that used to thrive on the state highways. Route 66 is dotted with now-unvisited towns, since I-40 is a much more convenient way to get around.

So, there will be more significant backwaters in a Hop culture, and clusters of better-off worlds around Strong center worlds. In some ways, Hop routes might be seen to bypass "flyover" parts of a subsector (the Hop-1 drive could be seen as a convenient way to hop from one subsector to the next).

Unimportant worlds may not only become isolated, but might be abandoned (or never colonized to begin with when new territory is opened up). More likely though, is an "outback/village" effect. Worlds that would normally be bypassed being settled by people who don't want to be bugged by interstellar tourism, but are still part of the local hop polity. Far-flung, but not out of contact unless they choose to be. After all, that world that's a week away is still only a week away.


Exploration, including the Zhodani Core Route

On the other hand, exploration will experience a boom. More or less, Charted Space grows, if only because you can now travel 10 parsecs in a week on a Jump-1 fuel allowance. This means a Jump-6 courier can be retrofitted with Hop-1 and make six Hops (= up to 60 parsecs) before requiring fuel.

That means exploration distances "grow" by a factor of 100, and Charted Space grows by something less than that. Your Scout/Courier can now cross half a sector in two weeks, and then think about refueling.

You're not bottlenecked by crappy worlds. Heck, even the Great Rift is no longer a barrier.

Only need the way stations (1 or 2 per sub sector at most) and any scout bases would in effect become more useful to chart/explore all those useless non-habitable/profitable worlds that were bypassed and not colonized.


War

A hop equipped fleet (even just hop 1) can out maneuver any Jump fleet, giving such a massive advantage to the first polity to discover hop, that it's not funny. Example: if the Imperium is the first to get hop, it conquers known space in a generation (and grows from appx 320 parsecs in "radius" to, say, 533 parsecs in "radius"). Jump based polities either fold, or join the new Hop polity. That's pretty much all there is to it.
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Last edited by robject; January 7th, 2018 at 05:23 PM..
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