Yeah I saw that giant nodemap, it's still probably the biggest until now.
And the funny thing is, that nodemap is/was only going to be relevant for just the first few missions of the DatDB campaign, since the area of Shivan space that the expeditionary force was penetrating (A.K.A. "Known Shivan Grid 1") is where most of the campaign would take place. I never got around to designing Shivan Grid 1, but suffice it to say, it would have been a lot
of red. Shivan Grid 1 could be millions
of light-years away from GTVA space for all anyone knows. That means there's every possibility that DatDB could/would take place in an entirely different galaxy from the Milky Way. ("Admiral Petrarch, sir, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...Hell, we're not even in Delaware
....") One idea I had was to have the expeditionary force (and the player in a command briefing) have an Oh Crap moment when they realize just how far from home they were. They'd be way
past the Andromeda Galaxy for sure and could even have left the Local Group
I'm pretty sure there's some mechanism behind subspace node formation, but they don't necessarily link to the most nearby star. Perhaps GTVA has figure out the basics behind that and sends Faustus ships to the area to scan them. I think near the end of FS2 it is stated that even though the Shivans are capable of using unstable nodes or ones unknown to the GTVA, they can't just make them. My guess would be that the Lucifer just used one of the unknown ones; and rather than being strategically brilliant just use their superior knowledge to take the straight way (apparently the nodes weren't found afterwards though).
That makes sense; I do recall Admiral Petrarch saying in one of his briefings that "the Shivans are just as dependent on jump nodes as we are." And while the Shivans might not be able to create jump nodes, they're not beneath using the Knossos Gates the Ancients left behind. It seems just as likely that the Shivans don't even need
to build their own equivalents of Knossos Gates since they can traverse unstable jump nodes that neither the Terrans, nor the Vasudans, nor even the Ancients could use. Building their own Knossos Gates would just have been a humongous waste of effort and resources for the Shivans when there are plenty of unstable (for everyone else but the Shivans) jump nodes.
Hmmm, does that mean the Shivans have the ability to predict where and when jump nodes will appear? Imagine the expeditionary force, while behind enemy lines in Shivan Grid 1, conducting operations to raid a Shivan installation simply to capture just one
of these subspace node maps. Or even better, conducting raids to steal the Shivan capability of tracking and using unstable nodes. That sort of ability would be a godsend for the life expectancy of the expeditionary force, allowing them to stay just one step ahead of the Shivans even while trapped behind enemy lines.
I wouldn't think too much about GTVA exploring unknown jump nodes, bumping into Shivans and causing an invasion; I'm pretty sure the Shivans know pretty much anything about subspace and nodes - if they wanted to invade GTVA, they'd find their way in anyway. I sometimes see the sealing of Capella as a mistake by GTVA- for example if Capella has been turned into some long-range node to Shivan central systems, GTVA would not know what is going on there, while the Shivans could go to Gamma Draconis, the Nebula and further until they find one that links to GTVA space. So in the end, GTVA would have a couple more pleasant nights of sleep before the Shivans roll over the unprepared ones; with the only change between Capella sealed/unsealed being that the GTVA has no clue what is going on there.
Yeah, I agree with this idea that Capella was at most a reprieve for the GTVA. Then again, with an enemy as persistent and inscrutable as the Shivans, that's to be expected.
Tangental, but related topic: There's a sci-fi novel series I read a couple of years ago that is highly relevant to DatDB's idea of a space fleet operating behind enemy lines. It's called The Lost Fleet
by John Campbell. The story takes place at least 1,000 years in the future and Humanity has settled several hundred colony worlds that are divided into 2 stellar empires: The Alliance (the good guys) and the Syndicate (the bad guys). The Syndicate start an unprovoked attack on the Alliance and a young Alliance captain, Jack Geary, loses his ship in the first skirmish of the war but manages to save his crew by staying behind on the bridge until the last moment while they get to the escape pods. Once his crew is safely away, Geary gets into the last escape pod, which puts him in suspended animation until he can be rescued. Unfortunately, the beacon on Geary's pod is damaged so his pod is never found and he remains in suspended animation for days, then weeks, then months, then years....
100 years later, the war between the Alliance and the Syndicate is still
going on, which means that the economic base of both the Alliance and Syndicate are near collapse and attrition has so thoroughly depleted the officer ranks in both the Alliance and the Syndicate of people who understand space naval tactics because of the dire need to get people fighting on the front lines as quickly as possible. The Alliance launches the majority of their fleet as an expeditionary force (with the aid of a Syndicate traitor) in a desperate attempt to attack the Syndicate homeworld and win the war. On their way to Syndicate space, the expeditionary force finds Geary's pod by sheer chance and revive him. While Geary is recovering in the flagship's sick bay, the expeditionary force falls into a Syndicate trap (the Syndicate traitor turned out to be a double agent) and all the Alliance flag officers are captured during a parley and executed. Geary, despite being out of action for a century, nonetheless winds up becoming the most senior captain left in the Alliance fleet precisely because
his date of commission in the Alliance fleet was 100 years ago. While he was asleep, the story of Geary's battle at the start of the war was made into a legend that continued to grow over the decades. Even though Geary was a bright officer, he never thought of himself as anything special (and he personally considered his battle a defeat
because he lost his ship), but the people of the Alliance made him into a superhero.
So after a hundred year cryosleep, Geary wakes up to find that everyone he ever knew is long dead, he now has to deal with the hero worship from thousands of his fellow sailors which makes him extremely
uncomfortable, he now finds himself in charge of a fleet that is trapped far behind enemy lines when his only previous command experience was captaining a single ship, and, oh yes, he has to rescue the entire Alliance from certain defeat in a century-long war when his only combat experience of the war resulted in the loss of his ship.
But Geary does have one advantage: he's expertly trained in space naval tactics in an interstellar war where everyone else only knows how to Zerg Rush.
There aren't any fightercraft in The Lost Fleet
but they do use a faster-than-light system that basically mirrors the jump nodes in the Freespace universe. I highly recommend reading this series and the other spinoff series and media in the Gearyverse. There's lots of inspiration to be found for Freespace modders since The Lost Fleet
parallels Freespace in many respects. Just for the record, though, I read The Lost Fleet
years after I came up with DatDB, so the former did not
inspire the latter.