Monday, 28 April 2014

Fuel in Elite Dangerous

The latest DDF proposal about fuel makes for interesting reading. DDF forum members voiced an opinion that they didn't like the original idea that whole units of fuel would be consumed for hyperjumps, just for reasons of development convenience; especially considering ships now have a deciated fuel tank, rather than just drawing on fuel in cargo. The developers came back with a modified proposal that meant fuel usage was more analog.

An interesting addition was that the relationship between fuel consumed and distance jumped is not linear; it follows a curve. How steep the curve will be is not decided, but the result will be that longer jumps will be less efficent than multiple, smaller jumps. This could have some interesting side effects:

  1. Depending on the steepness of the curve and the price of fuel, some trade routes could be noticeably less profitable if they are attempted in a single jump.
  2. Grades of fuel and other ship equipment which affect hyperdrive efficency will have their benefits amplified.
  3. Making players use more jumps increases the chance of them having interesting experiences (piracy!)
  4. An increased number of jumps will come with an increased chance of a misjump over the same amount of time (unless the chance of a misjump is adjusted).
  5. Instead of instantly reducing the quality of you fuel to that of what has been scooped efficiency can now be proportional to the volumes of different quality fuels in the tank.

Can you think of any other potential side effects?


  1. Yeah this has a lovely impact on the complexities of the system!

    I don't know if there's a wear and maintenance component, but it'd be an interesting trade-off between an incentive to maximise jump count for minimal fuel cost, and minimising jump count to maximise lifespan of the drive and keep repair costs down.

    I know this isn't part of what you've mentioned, but I could also imagine a situation where the curve gets altered by things like sun-spot activity or recent supernovae. It would give a nice ebb and flow to the jump count vs cost ratio for existing systems, and keep the whole thing dynamic. Sort of like how solar activity can make radio transmissions skip off the ionosphere and disrupt GPS, you should always check the hyperspace weather reports.

    1. Yes, cosmological features could certainly make a difference e.g. jumping to or sling-shotting a star with a greater mass requires less fuel and so and extra element of skill is introduced through course planning.