Note that the most recent versions of the Ultimate Editor support the map range values "none" (= -1) and "towable"( =3, useful for "fighters") for starships
1. Ship Range Mechanics
Normally, ships have a map range of 0 (short, green), 1 (medium, yellow) or 2 (long, red).
Task forces will have the lowest map range value of all ships they consist of.
If you give a ship a map range of -1, it has no range at all, and all task forces contaning such a ship will also have no range.
If you give a ship a range of 3, it will have no range at all on its own, but if grouped with other ships, the 3 is considered a "higher" value than 0, 1 or 2. This is used for fighters (see section 4).
2. Ship Speed Mechanics
Normally, the speed of a ship is greater than zero. However, you can set it to -1, and it will be displayed as "-1", but in fact the ship will have infinite speed, i.e. it will be able to reach any sector within its map range in just one turn.
But that's only half of the story. If you group some ships, then the group will have the speed of the slowest ship, i.e. the ship with the lowest speed value. And "-1" happens to be very low, so a ship with speed "-1" will make the whole group move with infinite speed. This is used for transwarp carriers (see section 3).
Note that it's also possible to assign a speed of zero to a ship. However, if you ever select a ship (or group) with zero speed and then move the mouse across other sectors, the game crashes, because for the ETA (estimated time of arrival) calculation, the distance is divided by zero!
(that is, if the ship/group has any range at all)
3. Transwarp Carriers
As the name implies, a "carrier" is a ship that can be grouped with other ships to improve their speed and/or range (in this case, it's the speed).
Just choose a ship class and give it a speed of -1, and it will act as a transwarp carrier that is able to carry any other ship to any sector within their combined range instantly
A "fighter" is a ship that is not capable of interstellar travel on its own, but can be transported by other ships instead.
After it had turned out that a ship with a range of 3 would have no range on its own, siggi had the key idea which became the final breakthough for the implementation of fighters:
Now if a fighter has a map range of 3, it does not even matter which range its carrier has (as long as it's 0 or 1 or 2), so any ship with short/medium/long range will act as a carrier for such a fighter.siggi wrote:If fighters have a range of 3 (as in "more than long", as far as I understand it), though, the range is not negative (obviously so, but wait, I am getting somewhere...).
If these fighters were now assigned to a task-force (maybe one having a transwarp-carrier) containing ships with a range below 3, wouldn't then the lower range of these ships be assigned to the task-force, enabling the fighters to move?
And of course this concept is also compatible with the "transwarp carriers"