X: Rebirth
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Modifies capital ship AI to jump using the superhighway network instead of jump beacons

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Sticks to your save-game! Back up your saves if you want to test this mod temporarily!

This mod makes a small addition to the logic of move.jump (and a teeny tiny edit to interrupt.attacked).

It adds a bit of code that runs when a ship is about to jump to the next sector on its journey. This code tells the ship to see if there's a superhighway between here and the next sector, in either direction. If there is one, it will boost to the zone where the superhighway is on this side, and jump to the superhighway's other gate in the next sector. If there is no superhighway, or something goes wrong trying to carry this out, no problem; it just uses the vanilla jump beacon behaviour. And if there's two superhighways (e.g. two sectors connected in both directions), and they're in different zones, the ship will go to the closest zone.

There's no particular place the ship must reach before jumping; as soon as it is in the right zone, it fires up the jumpdrive. At the other end, the ship appears about 6km away from the highway gate being used to jump.

So the overall effect is that ships don't use jump beacons anymore; they travel along the superhighway network and use their boost engines to cross a sector, even when they'd normally jump straight to the next sector.

In keeping with restricting jumps to the superhighway network, ships don't jump while fleeing anymore. The only action a capital ship will take when fleeing is to boost.

I just think jump beacons are a little silly in XR, to put it bluntly. I think having capital ships do more actual flying gives a better sense of travel, and I like having them follow similar paths to S/M ships. Having played with this mod for a while, I think it's cool how ships fly around and make traffic lanes, rather than sitting around a jump beacon and disappearing a minute later.

As for jump beacons, having just one entry point for jumping into a sector creates too much of a chokepoint in one place, putting ships and their enemies nose-to-nose, even if they came from sectors in the opposite directions. In too many places these jump beacons are right next to stations and their Targon Tracers, and pirate ships get completely shredded before they can be sneaky or dangerous.

This is obviously a very subjective topic; this mod is a personal AI tweak to my taste, and sort of an experiment into how this affects gameplay in the long term.

Good question. Anything that also edits move.jump could cause a conflict. If you have such a mod, or you think something strange is happening, please make sure to do some investigating. Look at your mods in the CAT Tool, check the debug log for errors, all that.

Introducing flight time to multi-sector journeys isn't without its side effects. The overall jump path is the same as in the vanilla game, which obviously assumes there's no flight time needed before jumping. You can easily imagine possible edge cases where a ship would pick a route that takes fewer jumps, but taking a detour through a third sector, where the superhighways are really close, would be faster when you factor in flight time. There probably aren't any places like this in an unmodded universe, but worth keeping in mind.