2 per second
The Skywalker Engine is a jump drive that is capable of an advanced form of, literally, jumping around spacetime. It is a very experimental technology, and many of its kinks have not been resolved or even discovered, yet.
An anonymous pirate accidentally discovered the groundbreaking properties of this device when his Rhoda Blackhole malfunctioned and his perception of space-time shifted "uncontrollably". This naturally caught the attention of Deep Science, who paid for his psychiatric bills after his sentencing, and got to work perfecting this device using the components the pirate described. Using the combined effects of the most complex technologies so far, pilots are able to travel along another space-time dimension at lightning speeds, making travel times even shorter than with the Khador Drive. However, the resulting disorientation and meddling with reality can make traversing the galaxy very, very dangerous.
The blueprint is only obtainable through Deep Science, and consists of the following:
- 1t Khador Drive
- 2t Rhoda Blackhole
- 1t Rhoda Vortex
- 1t Spectral Filter Omega
- 1t Fluxed Matter Shield
- 1t Chromo Plasma
- 64t Nanotech
- 3t Void Essence
- 17t Electronics
- 17t Nanotech
Upon exiting a space station, a sky blue meter appears on the right side of the HUD, below the cargo number. A number within the meter tells how many energy cells are in the cargo hold, and the meter itself gives a relative percentage of how much of the original amount is left. The percentage always resets to 100% when leaving a space station, regardless of how many energy cells are available. At the top of the screen, where information about a scanned asteroid is relayed, the current year is displayed. Present time in the galaxy, after the events of Supernova, is defined as 3626 A.D.
Like all temporal-manipulating operations, the button to operate the Skywalker Engine is located above the autopilot button as a stylized cube, replacing the fast-forward button and clock button of the Rhoda Vortex during normal flight. When on autopilot with no hostile ships in orbit, the fast-forward button will take over the cube button.
The cube button can only be held to operate, not tapped like the fast-forward button. When held, the space around the ship will begin to lose focus, with all ships despawning, while rings of purple lightning form around the player's and information about the current date turns form the current year into XXXX ??.
The following cumulative spatial events will repeat, given a player has a sufficient amount of energy cells. Each larger action takes precedence over the smaller, should it happen:
- Every second, the player's ship has an 80% chance to shift 500 metres in any direction and orientation, from its current position.
- Every other second, the player's ship has a 40% chance to jump to a random planet within the system it is flying in.
- Every four seconds, the player's ship has a 20% to jump to a random system adjacent to the current one it is flying in, regardless if it is connected to the jumpgate network.
- Every sixteen seconds, the player's ship has a 20% chance to jump to Void space.
Along with spatial events, temporal events can occur, as well, all having a 10% chance of occurring:
- Travel backwards in time a random amount.
- Travel to a different version of the present time.
- If in the past, travel back to the present time.
- Traveling to the future is not possible.
However, the player cannot know the year he or she has traveled to until his or her scanner has calculated the age of the universe (relative to stellar unit time), which is seven times the scanner's time to lock (at least 12600 ms with the Hiroto Ultra/Proscan).
Depending on how much and how far the player travels with the Skywalker Engine, he or she can experience many different events, including, but not limited to:
- Nivelian Civil War
- Terran-Vossk War
- Void Conflict
- Origins of Valkyrie Station
- Ginoyan Supernova
This small list already means the potential for paradoxes. If Keith detects his alternate self, in a random ship, the only option is to escape the current orbit of the planet. Defeating or being defeated by himself will result in a game over, no matter where the conflict takes place. This opponent version of Keith will pursue his paradox duplicate until after a large number of planet visits. If the player docks Keith at a space station and his paradox duplicate arrives, usually after at least 30, seconds a dialog box will appear with him announcing your discovery, "Aha! I've found you! There's no escape from Keith T. Maxwell, now!"
Similarly, engaging combat with any major character will result in a game over if either character is defeated. However, unlike the opponent Keith, they will not pursue.
Constructing a Skywalker Engine is just as formidable as taking on the Nivelian, Midorian, and Vossk most wanted boards in one sitting with no bathroom breaks, and is harrowing as making 20 Chromo Plasmas. However, the construction is worth the experience.