The Time Increment System
This a a very short tutorial section that provides a brief overview of how advancing time is handled in Aurora. Aurora doesn't easily fit into a description of turn-based or real-time as it is a little of both. Aurora has a choice of time increments ranging from 5 seconds to 30 days and you choose which increment to use, usually by selecting from the top row of time buttons on the System Map. Once you select an increment, events in the game will advance by that amount of time, unless there is an interrupt (which I will cover in a moment). Early in a campaign when not much is happening you may be using 5-day or even 30-day increments. During the approach phase of a battle you might select 1 hour or 20 minute increments and when you are under missile attack you will probably select 5 second increments to give your point defence systems the best chance of detecting and engaging incoming missiles.
As an increment play out, various events may occur. These are divided into two types:
1) Interrupt Events. These are the events to which you might want to react, such as detecting a new ship from an alien race, having one of your task groups finish its orders or detecting a missile coming at you
. However, you do have an option called Automated Turns. If you click the automated turns checkbox before clicking an increment size, the program will keep running increments of that size until an interrupt event affecting you. So if two NPRs decide to have a long battle, set automated turns and go and have a cup of tea The 5-Day Construction Cycle
You get to build a lot of things in different things in Aurora and the actual construction takes place in what is commonly referred to as the 5-day increment, or 5-day construction cycle. It would affect performance if Aurora updated construction times in every 5 second increment or sub-pulse so instead the game waits until an number of increments have passed that add up to about five days and then runs all the construction code after the normal movement/detection/combat phases for that increment. Because Aurora increments rarely add up to exactly five days between construction cycles, the program uses the actual amount of time that has passed, whether it is 5 days, 12 days or 6 days, 14 hours, 12 minutes and 45 seconds. This means that the amount of 'construction' carried out in each construction cycle may vary a little between cycles. You can choose to change the trigger time for a construction cycle from the standard 400,000 seconds in the game setup if you want it to happen more or less often.