Author Topic: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?  (Read 4385 times)

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Offline BasileusMaximos

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So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« on: May 06, 2016, 10:48:41 AM »
Now, I wanted to try this game because it was supposed to be ultra-realistic in every sense of the word, only to find out that the ships break physics thanks to some magic rocks humanity just now found in the ground after centuries of mining the earth.  I never really liked the Applied Phlebotinum trope in sci-fi, whether it be magic rocks or element zero from Mass Effect. 

Now this project looks interesting, but unfortunately it seems to have been put to the wayside in favor of the next iteration of Aurora.  But on the off hand that this version ever does get released is it worth me playing and learning the game or will too much change with the addition of true Newtonian physics?
 

Offline 83athom

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2016, 12:38:37 PM »
Yes it is worth playing and learning. The only thing that will change to Newtonian Aurora is acceleration based on mass and engine-power instead of a speed based on mass and engine power.
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Offline Barkhorn

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2016, 07:59:08 PM »
I thought Newtonian Aurora had been cancelled anyways, and that the current big project was porting the current version from VB6 to C#.
 

Offline Sheb

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2016, 03:13:29 AM »
Now, I wanted to try this game because it was supposed to be ultra-realistic in every sense of the word, only to find out that the ships break physics thanks to some magic rocks humanity just now found in the ground after centuries of mining the earth.  I never really liked the Applied Phlebotinum trope in sci-fi, whether it be magic rocks or element zero from Mass Effect. 


Now, I think you've been misled. This game isn't ultra-realistic, it's ultra-detailed. Even Newtonian Aurora would still have FTL communication, detection, and energy weapon that can work for more than five seconds.

Still, this game is fun. I think it's worth trying it, but you should try it for its own value, not as some kind of preparation for a Newtonian version that will likely never come.
 

Offline Vandermeer

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2016, 06:32:55 AM »
It is realistic in the regard that it notices all other scientific concepts which aren't touched by the 3 great breaks of non-newtonian sub-light travel, the completely mysterious FTL, and the FTL communication.
Otherwise it is really exact, for example with the rate at which lasers disperse over distance, and what wavelength would get you what range on a certain focal. Also it respects the Volume-to-SurfaceArea growth disparity when calculating armor thickness, so larger ships have it easier to gain thicker hulls. Many other values follow halfway arbitrary, but still much sense making formulas (the greenhouse formula, the fuel burning, or the sensor detection formula) that exist for the purpose of simulating realistic circumstance, and they totally succeed.
For planets you have details, yes, but accurate details that follow official records or predictions. The Lagrangian points may do something sci-fi, but their placement is accurate. You can also go look up those star classes and get educated if you want, because they are all right, and I think with that kind of scientific detail, it becomes indeed more realistic. ..It is just sci-fi placed into a realistic back-frame.
(Neill Degrasse Tyson once said that there are lesser and higher sci-fi's. You have to respect all the facts and knowledge we already understand, and only then you can place upon this some fantastic stuff, and that then is true sci-fi.)

So when somebody told Basileus that Aurora is realistic, I presume he meant something like this, that it is the most realistic(=science respecting) setting you can find, but not that it would actually be realistic, because if it actually was, then this would be like no sound in space during Star Trek: Boring
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Offline Felixg

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2016, 09:15:45 PM »
Technically you could play out a non-FTL communications game of Aurora by using courier boats (small civilian ships with jump drives that sit on the gateways) that you say jump back and forth to relay messages, then you just have to calculate speed of light delay from one jumpgate to another (not hard) and hold yourself back from issuing commands until the round trip time was elapsed.
 

Offline byron

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2016, 11:26:48 AM »
It is realistic in the regard that it notices all other scientific concepts which aren't touched by the 3 great breaks of non-newtonian sub-light travel, the completely mysterious FTL, and the FTL communication.
Otherwise it is really exact, for example with the rate at which lasers disperse over distance, and what wavelength would get you what range on a certain focal.
This is news to me.  The laser model isn't totally arbitrary, but I really doubt that Steve sat down and worked out where the steps on wavelength fell when he was setting up that.  The principle that lower wavelengths mean better range is true, but it's not implemented as it would need to be.  (If he was being really accurate, for instance, mirror size and laser generation equipment would be separated.)  I'd do math on this, but the wiki appears to be down, so I don't have all the data I'd need.

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Many other values follow halfway arbitrary, but still much sense making formulas (the greenhouse formula, the fuel burning, or the sensor detection formula) that exist for the purpose of simulating realistic circumstance, and they totally succeed.
The sensor formulas are ridiculously arbitrary.  In reality, radar should follow an inverse fourth-power law, and passive sensors an inverse square law (if stealth in space was an actual thing, which it isn't).  I believe they both work linearly. 

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(Neill Degrasse Tyson once said that there are lesser and higher sci-fi's. You have to respect all the facts and knowledge we already understand, and only then you can place upon this some fantastic stuff, and that then is true sci-fi.)
Usually, it's divided into 'soft' and 'hard'.  Aurora is very definitely soft, but it's well-done, consistent, and enough fun that I forgive it any failings.

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So when somebody told Basileus that Aurora is realistic, I presume he meant something like this, that it is the most realistic(=science respecting) setting you can find, but not that it would actually be realistic, because if it actually was, then this would be like no sound in space during Star Trek: Boring
The most realistic setting you can find?  That's going way, way too far.  It's consistent (which is rare and wonderful), but just about everything breaks actual physics.  The planet model is sort of an exception, although there are serious problems there.
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Offline Vandermeer

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2016, 02:35:06 PM »
Geese, byron, you break discussions out of nowhere from oldish comments like that. ;)

Well, let me defend:
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This is news to me.  The laser model isn't totally arbitrary, but I really doubt that Steve sat down and worked out where the steps on wavelength fell when he was setting up that.  The principle that lower wavelengths mean better range is true, but it's not implemented as it would need to be.  (If he was being really accurate, for instance, mirror size and laser generation equipment would be separated.)  I'd do math on this, but the wiki appears to be down, so I don't have all the data I'd need.
Yeah, I remember having looked into the math during some thread with Theodidactus somewhere in the past.(..I think there was some question of realism in radiation penetration in general, so lasers were cited as reference for "when space radiation would be too much for Aurora ABC protected hulls")
It was clear that Aurora overestimated laser ranges a lot, which I absolutely know (for example, pointing just a casual laser pointer at the moon, would smear out that tiny dot over some dozens of meters on its surface already), but I didn't mean it does that exactly, just that it even considers this is amazing for a sci-fi game.
You simply don't find any other games that recognize both, laser dispersion, and a reduced rate at such with lower wavelengths. (albeit Aurora's official tech description is still reversed and wrong in this regard)

Nothing more, and that should also give answer to some other points. ->
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The most realistic setting you can find?  That's going way, way too far.  It's consistent (which is rare and wonderful), but just about everything breaks actual physics.  The planet model is sort of an exception, although there are serious problems there.
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Usually, it's divided into 'soft' and 'hard'.  Aurora is very definitely soft, but it's well-done, consistent, and enough fun that I forgive it any failings.
Emphasis on "most realistic you can find" not "that can be". It is defacto the best I know actually (it has to be a game too after all, right), but do you actually know games that take it even more seriously? (..and are they still fun though?)

It is the "hardest" I know by that comparison. But, I don't know, I guess I would also judge it as 'hard sci-fi' if I tried to look at it objectively. I mean, Star Trek often goes as hard sci-fi, and we all know how many squishy lines of thought there were still in it. :P

So maybe we can sum this, and also the laser thing up as such: My "hard" is softer than your "hard". I don't need exactly precise formulas (though sure would be awesome to have if possible), but just having many realistic relations in a game makes it "hard" for me, because of how rare this is done anyway.

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The sensor formulas are ridiculously arbitrary.  In reality, radar should follow an inverse fourth-power law, and passive sensors an inverse square law (if stealth in space was an actual thing, which it isn't).  I believe they both work linearly. 
Passive sensors, granted. Stealth could theoretically exist through some fiction grade heat-tanks, but not infinitely sustainable.
The radar here works with FTL communication, so we can assume different laws, and it not being like classical ship radar. Active radar thus makes sense to me, because inverse square is just the surface of the all knowing timeless FTL detection sphere to that point in the distance you want to scan; - your resolution "net" spreading out.
(can you explain why classical  radar would work with inverse fourth-power law? I didn't know, and am kind of interested. I guess it is because the ping flies back right, so it is ^2^2 double sphere?)
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Offline boggo2300

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2016, 04:26:47 PM »
what do geese have to do with it?   :o
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Offline Vandermeer

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2016, 03:14:26 AM »
They went south so fast.
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Offline byron

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2016, 09:57:13 AM »
Geese, byron, you break discussions out of nowhere from oldish comments like that. ;)
I've been away.  Sorry.
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Well, let me defend:Yeah, I remember having looked into the math during some thread with Theodidactus somewhere in the past.(..I think there was some question of realism in radiation penetration in general, so lasers were cited as reference for "when space radiation would be too much for Aurora ABC protected hulls")
It was clear that Aurora overestimated laser ranges a lot, which I absolutely know (for example, pointing just a casual laser pointer at the moon, would smear out that tiny dot over some dozens of meters on its surface already), but I didn't mean it does that exactly, just that it even considers this is amazing for a sci-fi game.
Actually, the laser pointer would smear itself across half the moon.  The overestimate is several orders of magnitude.  Actual weapons-grade lasers would have optics that are at least meters in diameter. 

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You simply don't find any other games that recognize both, laser dispersion, and a reduced rate at such with lower wavelengths. (albeit Aurora's official tech description is still reversed and wrong in this regard)
Well, I know of at least one, although it's a board game, not a video game. 

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Nothing more, and that should also give answer to some other points. ->Emphasis on "most realistic you can find" not "that can be". It is defacto the best I know actually (it has to be a game too after all, right), but do you actually know games that take it even more seriously? (..and are they still fun though?)
Yes (see above link) and I'd say that it's roughly comparable to Aurora in playability.  It's not something I do every day, but it works very well for what it is.

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It is the "hardest" I know by that comparison. But, I don't know, I guess I would also judge it as 'hard sci-fi' if I tried to look at it objectively. I mean, Star Trek often goes as hard sci-fi, and we all know how many squishy lines of thought there were still in it. :P
My definition puts Trek way in the soft camp.

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So maybe we can sum this, and also the laser thing up as such: My "hard" is softer than your "hard". I don't need exactly precise formulas (though sure would be awesome to have if possible), but just having many realistic relations in a game makes it "hard" for me, because of how rare this is done anyway.
Understandable.  I've been a specialist in really hard SF for quite a while, and that ended up leading both to my current career and to me finding Aurora.  I agree that Aurora is much better than a lot of the stuff out there, but there's a big gap between that and it being actually hard.  For that, look at Atomic Rockets.

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Passive sensors, granted. Stealth could theoretically exist through some fiction grade heat-tanks, but not infinitely sustainable.
I've done the math, and that doesn't work very well in the real world.  I'm sure there's handwavium to justify it, and I don't really care that much.

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The radar here works with FTL communication, so we can assume different laws, and it not being like classical ship radar. Active radar thus makes sense to me, because inverse square is just the surface of the all knowing timeless FTL detection sphere to that point in the distance you want to scan; - your resolution "net" spreading out.
The 1/r^4 nature of radar is a physical consequence of the nature of radar.  Other configurations would violate conservation of energy.  There's certainly handwavium that could be deployed to save it, but I'd just as soon not bother.
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(can you explain why classical  radar would work with inverse fourth-power law? I didn't know, and am kind of interested. I guess it is because the ping flies back right, so it is ^2^2 double sphere?)
That's exactly it.  The amount of energy hitting the target is proportional to the inverse square of the distance between the sensor and the target.  Then, you can think of the return signal as the target emitting the radar signal and the sensor picking it up, with another inverse square loss.
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Offline Vandermeer

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2016, 01:04:33 PM »
Actually, the laser pointer would smear itself across half the moon.  The overestimate is several orders of magnitude.  Actual weapons-grade lasers would have optics that are at least meters in diameter. 
Hmm, so I found the old thread again, and also got out the laser divergence equation. I got 63600 meters on the moon for the casual (I looked up) 650nm red laser pointer on a 2.5mm focal. Thought it was less, because of some vague memory that the earth moon distance is measured by laser, which, after completing twice the distance even comes to earth back with over 300m spread. "Dozens" seemed like a good estimate for the single tour, but I guess they either use much higher frequencies and large focals for this measurement, or/and I just misremembered after the years.

Not sure why the site there has such different results to the ~64km though. Is that with atmosphere? If so: Illegal measurement, because we want to know the battleships laser range in vacuum.

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I agree that Aurora is much better than a lot of the stuff out there, but there's a big gap between that and it being actually hard.  For that, look at Atomic Rockets.
I literally find nothing better than Aurora, so "hardest" is definitely a medal we can probably both give out for a computer game.
The site is impressive though. I browsed through the engine equations, however, it seems they do not add the "fi" of sci-fi much, because no new physics appear that make greater ranges possible it seems. The best I saw was the antimatter propellant calculation, but even that would not be enough for reasonable travel, hence it falls into the "too real to be fun" category of games for me. ...At least from what I saw, because I only browsed the engine and torch ship pages.

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Stealth could theoretically exist through some fiction grade heat-tanks, but not infinitely sustainable.
I've done the math, and that doesn't work very well in the real world.  I'm sure there's handwavium to justify it, and I don't really care that much.
You mean without sci-fi elements its impossible (of course), or that there is actually something preventing this even if I hand you a strange and frosted ooze with ridiculous specific heat capacity?

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The 1/r^4 nature of radar is a physical consequence of the nature of radar.  Other configurations would violate conservation of energy.  There's certainly handwavium that could be deployed to save it, but I'd just as soon not bother.
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(can you explain why classical  radar would work with inverse fourth-power law? I didn't know, and am kind of interested. I guess it is because the ping flies back right, so it is ^2^2 double sphere?)
That's exactly it.  The amount of energy hitting the target is proportional to the inverse square of the distance between the sensor and the target.  Then, you can think of the return signal as the target emitting the radar signal and the sensor picking it up, with another inverse square loss.
Oh, good. But in that case the Aurora active radar also doesn't have to abide the ^4 relation. The thing works on FTL communication, because what happens when something of sufficient size enters the awareness globe? Instant readout, so there is no signal traveling back and forth, and the underlying principle is something different not closer defined. This is why I have been choosing names like "awareness sphere" for my Aurora fluff on the Actives for years. It kind of really is an all knowing permanent scan field, where you just know. The actives stand beyond time somehow.
..How they do that? One of the 3 big breaks/fiction-inventions of Aurora, so no explanation. That is part of why it is sci-fi still.
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Offline byron

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2016, 01:44:50 PM »
Hmm, so I found the old thread again, and also got out the laser divergence equation. I got 63600 meters on the moon for the casual (I looked up) 650nm red laser pointer on a 2.5mm focal. Thought it was less, because of some vague memory that the earth moon distance is measured by laser, which, after completing twice the distance even comes to earth back with over 300m spread. "Dozens" seemed like a good estimate for the single tour, but I guess they either use much higher frequencies and large focals for this measurement, or/and I just misremembered after the years.
They use much larger optics.  I think the laser itself is also green, but that only gives you maybe a factor of two. 

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Not sure why the site there has such different results to the ~64km though. Is that with atmosphere? If so: Illegal measurement, because we want to know the battleships laser range in vacuum.
I have lots of information on the subject.  The answer is that it's really complicated, and depends on several factors.

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I literally find nothing better than Aurora, so "hardest" is definitely a medal we can probably both give out for a computer game.
Well, if we don't restrict it to warfare, then Orbiter wins.  Or KSP, if you're stingy with the definition of 'game'.

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The site is impressive though. I browsed through the engine equations, however, it seems they do not add the "fi" of sci-fi much, because no new physics appear that make greater ranges possible it seems.
Range?  What's that?  You appear to be confusing rockets with vehicles that are not rockets.
The purpose of Atomic Rockets is not to add to the "fi" but to the "sci".  I'm entirely in agreement with the 'respecting science' page on basically everything, and have argued here a number of times for things that would bring Aurora closer to that.  (Or, more accurately, usually argued against things that would move us away from that.)  If you're interested in going that way, it's the only place to start.  (Pretty much literally.)  If you're not interested in that field, that's fine, but at least recalibrate your 'hardness' scale.  You seem to be using 'realistic' interchangeably with 'good', which is a bad idea on several levels.  Besides closing off certain things which are in the broad SF category (I enjoy Doctor Who (except for that one episode about the moon) even though it's completely absurd from a scientific and often logical standpoint), it also can put you in the place of having to defend the realism of things to preserve it as 'good'. 

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The best I saw was the antimatter propellant calculation, but even that would not be enough for reasonable travel, hence it falls into the "too real to be fun" category of games for me. ...At least from what I saw, because I only browsed the engine and torch ship pages.
That's between you and Newton (and various other scientists). 

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You mean without sci-fi elements its impossible (of course), or that there is actually something preventing this even if I hand you a strange and frosted ooze with ridiculous specific heat capacity?
The ooze is going to be handwavium.  There's a bunch of physics tied up in this, but you're not going to beat hydrogen for specific heat capacity without throwing physics out.  And there's the problem of thrust having big signatures.

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Oh, good. But in that case the Aurora active radar also doesn't have to abide the ^4 relation. The thing works on FTL communication, because what happens when something of sufficient size enters the awareness globe? Instant readout, so there is no signal traveling back and forth, and the underlying principle is something different not closer defined. This is why I have been choosing names like "awareness sphere" for my Aurora fluff on the Actives for years. It kind of really is an all knowing permanent scan field, where you just know. The actives stand beyond time somehow.
..How they do that? One of the 3 big breaks/fiction-inventions of Aurora, so no explanation. That is part of why it is sci-fi still.
I'm an engineer, so I tend to work on the theory that the trans-Newtonian universe is like ours, but with different properties of free space, and a higher speed of light.  (The actives are clearly EM-based.)  It's not important, and the game is enjoyable enough that I don't look too closely at the fluff, but 'other physics' is really hard to do.  There are ways to make the current model work logically, but they're pretty heavy on assumptions and I'm just not going to worry about it.  As I said earlier, I don't really want changes made to the sensor model.  The game is good the way it is.
Edit:
Actually, I figured it out, although it only works in 2-D space.  The linear range for passives is now correct.  The radar system projects a beam which is equal in width to the target size at the maximum range of the radar.  It's swept so that it covers all points on the horizon basically instantly (or within 5 seconds).  The fact that it's the same size as the target means that there are no losses between ship and target, eliminating one side of the losses.  Smaller ships than the target size don't get the full beam, and thus produce smaller signals.  As they move in closer, some combination of being hit by more of the beam and the signal source being closer eventually cause them to be picked up.  The math there doesn't work very well (your detection range for sub-resolution targets would scale with the square root of size, and I believe it's instead with the square of size), but it's at least quasi-believable.  Maybe something to do with hull shaping...
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 02:03:30 PM by byron »
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Offline Vandermeer

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2016, 03:15:20 PM »
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Range?  What's that?  You appear to be confusing rockets with vehicles that are not rockets.
If you have any reasonable time plan in space, rockets have range. Fastest mode is half tank thrust and half tank break if possible, and other options being more economic, but also taking longer.
Nothing that takes you to other stars fast enough though, be it antimatter or not, so "not fun".

What is up with the aggressive tone again? The last time time with the mechs and athom too. You strike discussion out of nothing with people you don't know and switch to knife speech mode ridiculously fast, even if they just speak normally and rationally. What have I done to you, lord byron? :(

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If you're interested in going that way, it's the only place to start.  (Pretty much literally.) If you're not interested in that field, that's fine, but at least recalibrate your 'hardness' scale.
Aha, well, I would say, since objects for the hardness scale you pursue are such hypothetical "hypersolids" that we both cannot find any, I doubt the majority would share this perspective. I will not demonstrate the same haughtiness just because I think so though, and demand you change because I think differently. "Recalibrate"?, please, read your writing. Don't you get how this comes across? And because of what?

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You seem to be using 'realistic' interchangeably with 'good', which is a bad idea on several levels.
...

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Besides closing off certain things which are in the broad SF category (I enjoy Doctor Who (except for that one episode about the moon) even though it's completely absurd from a scientific and often logical standpoint), it also can put you in the place of having to defend the realism of things to preserve it as 'good'.
That is really curious in this situation, because I myself can absolutely not stand Dr. Who, and I really gave it chance up into season 3 or so. The reason being what you don't seem to like on much harder games it seems: The science is ridiculous and just screams at me in ways in hurts. It looks to me as a show for people who just want to see "weird scientist stereotypes", just like Big Bang Theory series later on, and this constantly reminds me that people hear exactly the nonsensical mambo-jumbo they speak there, even when other-place listening to real science, and that makes me sad. To them I, or some better lines in Star Trek sound like that, because they don't see the difference. I would like to un-know this, and Dr. Who is sacrilege for spreading/validating this type of ignorance from my point.

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That's between you and Newton (and various other scientists).
Lofty. The way you say it really sounds like you think of them as your brothers in arms in this matter? But that would be awkward, because...

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I'm an engineer, so I tend to work on the theory that the trans-Newtonian universe is like ours, but with different properties of free space, and a higher speed of light.  (The actives are clearly EM-based.)  It's not important, and the game is enjoyable enough that I don't look too closely at the fluff, but 'other physics' is really hard to do.  There are ways to make the current model work logically, but they're pretty heavy on assumptions and I'm just not going to worry about it.
I'm a physicist *(well, give it 3 more months for serious degree, and no Dr. too), so like many of my craft I tend to not assume to know all that has ever been invented. (and this is what we call a straw-man argument folks. ...I know you don't mean it like that.)
Being serious though, your definition of hard sci-fi appears to me like this:
"- only science we know, and correct at that.
- nothing else projected.
- 'Fiction' in sci-fi stands for the stories you make with the science base, like adventures, but applying fiction to science in actuality is tabu."


Is that correct? I doubt that is agreeable to most, and seems exotic, because again, there are basically no representatives who do it this way. So I understand it more like this:
- Soft sci-fi is story writing and no regard for current science, so series like Andromeda, or Battlestar Galactica.
- Hard sci-fi attempts to get most things right, and then starts imagining what other possibilities there could be at the fringe of our understanding, while trying to go the fewest off road they can.(this is how theorists come to hypothesis on first stage anyway)
Doesn't have to be 100% right every time, but notable trying is close enough already, as it is so much more than most writers do.
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Offline byron

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Re: So No Reason to Hold My Breath?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2016, 04:11:05 PM »
If you have any reasonable time plan in space, rockets have range. Fastest mode is half tank thrust and half tank break if possible, and other options being more economic, but also taking longer.
Nothing that takes you to other stars fast enough though, be it antimatter or not, so "not fun".
I'm aware of that.  That was an attempt at rocket scientist humor.

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What is up with the aggressive tone again? The last time time with the mechs and athom too. You strike discussion out of nothing with people you don't know and switch to knife speech mode ridiculously fast, even if they just speak normally and rationally. What have I done to you, lord byron? :(
No aggression meant.  As I said, that was an attempt at humor.  I genuinely bear you no malice. 

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Aha, well, I would say, since objects for the hardness scale you pursue are such hypothetical "hypersolids" that we both cannot find any, I doubt the majority would share this perspective. I will not demonstrate the same haughtiness just because I think so though, and demand you change because I think differently. "Recalibrate"?, please, read your writing. Don't you get how this comes across? And because of what?
Nobody has done a real, released newtonian space-combat simulator (there have been a couple attempts, at various levels, including my attempt to build one in Excel).  I guess that Aurora would come first among space combat sims, but it's first only because there's almost no competition.  But it's no more realistic at core than Star Trek or Star Wars, just more consistent (not hard to do) and with better technobabble (the lasers, for instance, are well-executed technobabble and not math-based).  If we expand our search to include board games, I've already given one example of a much, much harder game, with Newtonian movement and math-derived lasers.  If we allow all computer space simulators, I've given two others.  My point about recalibration was that you're taking a tiny fragment of the field of Sci-Fi, and that Aurora should not really be judged by normalizing just that fragment.

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That is really curious in this situation, because I myself can absolutely not stand Dr. Who, and I really gave it chance up into season 3 or so. The reason being what you don't seem to like on much harder games it seems: The science is ridiculous and just screams at me in ways in hurts.
Who gets a pass on that for a couple of reasons.  First, it doesn't take itself seriously.  If it tried to do that, I'd tear it to shreds in a heartbeat.  Second, it's enough fun that I usually don't care, and there's a vague veil of plausibility that I can sustain.  The one episode that stretched said veil too far (Kill the Moon) I loathed. 

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It looks to me as a show for people who just want to see "weird scientist stereotypes", just like Big Bang Theory series later on, and this constantly reminds me that people hear exactly the nonsensical mambo-jumbo they speak there, even when other-place listening to real science, and that makes me sad. To them I, or some better lines in Star Trek sound like that, because they don't see the difference. I would like to un-know this, and Dr. Who is sacrilege for spreading/validating this type of ignorance from my point.
Anyone who watches Doctor Who with the expectation that he's a scientist is going to be sorely disappointed.  He's a wizard.  Someone who enjoys it and continues to think that he's a scientist is clearly just dumb.  Trek, on the other hand, at least pretends to be serious.

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Lofty. The way you say it really sounds like you think of them as your brothers in arms in this matter? But that would be awkward, because...
I'm an aerospace engineer, specializing in orbits and propulsion.  I was trying to point out that there comes a time when you have to stop looking to reality to justify your setting, and either throw reality out the window or change your setting to match reality.

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Being serious though, your definition of hard sci-fi appears to me like this:
"- only science we know, and correct at that.
- nothing else projected.
- 'Fiction' in sci-fi stands for the stories you make with the science base, like adventures, but applying fiction to science in actuality is tabu."
I'd point you to the 'Respecting Science' section of Atomic Rockets, but I'll steal a quote from there, particularly relevant to your last point:
"This silly opinion implies that the word "fiction" nullifies the word "science." Since it is "fiction", and fiction is by definition "not true", then we can make "not true" any and all science that gets in the way, right?

Hogwash. By the same logic, the term "detective fiction" gives the author license to totally ignore standard procedures and techniques used by detectives, the term "military fiction" allows the author to totally ignore military tactics and strategy, and the term "historical fiction" allows the author to totally ignore the relevant history."
So it's permissible to apply fiction to the science, but it has to be done with the same care you'd apply it to a military or to history.

With regards to the first two, not exactly.  I'd say that my metric is that the minimum amount of handwavium (sheer impossibility) needed to maintain the story is used, and that which is used is done well.  FTL is where this exception is most often used, and it's OK, so long as it's consistent, parsimonious, and well thought-out.  An FTL drive which logically allows anyone with a spaceship to destroy planets, but isn't ever used that way, is a major example of this.  Any plugs to prevent this need to be good, too.  Just saying 'it doesn't work that way' isn't good enough.  Unobtanium (things we theoretically are able to do, but can't do today for engineering reasons) is pretty much OK.  A fusion torch is a good example of this.

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Is that correct? I doubt that is agreeable to most, and seems exotic, because again, there are basically no representatives who do it this way. So I understand it more like this:
- Soft sci-fi is story writing and no regard for current science, so series like Andromeda, or Battlestar Galactica.
- Hard sci-fi attempts to get most things right, and then starts imagining what other possibilities there could be at the fringe of our understanding, while trying to go the fewest off road they can.(this is how theorists come to hypothesis on first stage anyway)
Doesn't have to be 100% right every time, but notable trying is close enough already, as it is so much more than most writers do.
You're drawing a dichotomy between story and science, which isn't necessary.  Any claims to the contrary were conclusively disproven by The Martian, which had very high levels of both.  But to some extent, this is the definition I use.  If I had to make a one-line summary, I'd say that we can based our definition on what happens when the author discovers that something they want to do contradicts science.  In Soft SF, the author simply shrugs and says 'too bad for science' (if they stopped to consider what science allows, as opposed to what they can use scientific terminology to justify).  In Hard SF, the author pays attention to science, thinks long and hard before deciding to ignore it, and takes steps to make sure that the damage they do to science is limited.  (This isn't a binary choice, nor is it entirely one-sided.  Usually, you go into building a setting knowing that you're going to have to make some compromises, and you carefully tailor them to the needs of your story beforehand, instead of making them up ad-hoc.)
By that metric, Aurora is very clearly Soft.  The names of the various technologies come from science, but that's about all.  This isn't bad in and of itself, and Steve did a really good job of building the framework he draped science on, but we should be clear as to what he did and didn't do.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 04:27:14 PM by byron »
This is Excel-in-Space, not Wing Commander - Rastaman
 

 

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