Whitecold wrote:The idea that encryption is the limiting factor makes it rather less plausible to me. For one I don't know of information theory hints that bloated files should offer more security, and all current trouble with encryption are usually related to incorrect implementation and user error than fundamental problems with theory.
Second someone might try to load data unecrypted if that is the only way to get it out, taking the risk of interception, especially as drones have a self-destruct in case of capture.
Bloated files is an odd way to look at it. Especially when we start using quantum encryption, which so far has suggested that even so much as a bit out of order can render the entire message unreadable. So for gameplay reasons we've used this as one of our scientific assumptions.
My point is that for me I get a 'frontier feeling' if I don't have light speed communication for basic messages to someplace. So my point was that for a frontier feeling, you would have to somehow prevent building a relay system at all, not simply restrict certain the more complex communications.
There are several ways we can look at it, from a complete lack of communications (what you suggest), to a limited amount of communications (restricted access), to a limited bandwidth of communications (restricted size).
At EL1 you effectively have nothing but the CFN and/or any ships you design as courier ships. At SL2 you get cm. At SL3 you get (CC). Finally, at SL 4 you can get -c and make comm buoys. After that nothing changes because (CC) covers everything.
So we start with what you suggest: no relay system. At SL2 the courier drone makes it a little easier for messages to get around, not requiring an entire ship to carry them. At SL3 the game is basically over because CC relays at each WP can carry any message you want. And that's the point.
By limiting CD size we create an extended version of what you are talking about. We interrupt that relay system for certain types of messages so that they have to be carried by slower methods of communications. And that's what gives the frontier feel -- the fact that certain types of large messages contain information needed to expand your empire means that the longer it takes for them to reach your nearest ICC, the longer it takes for you to act upon it. That's is the de facto definition of being on the frontier.
While some people might like it complex, I'd still suggest that the basic rules should have CD being able to carry any type of message, exactly to make it simple. This also resolves some conflict with CC, and also resolves and conflicts with Recon drones, which are able to acquire and store way more than basic data on their run.
As part of the communications and sensor overhaul, RD are going to be tiered as well, restricting what they can detect by generation. We have delved even further into examining RD, to balance them against what small craft and drones with other sensors (Y, X, etc.) can detect. The issues with drones, detection, and communications have more complex interactions with other elements of the game than you make it sound.
But the point being that arguments about the current state of RD are going to be stale and irrelevant.