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Messages - alex_brunius

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1
C# Aurora / Re: Replacing Teams?
« on: February 15, 2018, 05:51:06 AM »
Something on these lines is my current intention. I'll also change the land-based survey to points based instead of random.

Sounds great! Being able to visually see progress X/Y points should reduce frustration alot when ground surveying larger bodies, and could make surveying large planets a more epic undertaking.

2
C# Aurora / Re: Replacing Teams?
« on: February 15, 2018, 02:41:48 AM »
I disagree sorry. I believe the concept of future tech will be misled this way. It is already possible with our tech to identify minerals presence IF we know what and how to look. If you want to modify that aspect, which I agree, then you may consider developing a tech expanding the simple geo sensor survey and advanced. You could have a basic sensor that tells you if there are minerals on a planet/asteroid but then you need to land there a team to identify how many and what. Then develop a series of more advanced geo survey sensors. Level one with an accuracy of 10% or so till the latest level 5 or 10 or whatever with 100% accuracy for late games. This module scheme will increase a lot of exploration depth and resource management in terms of where to focus our efforts pretty much becoming a game in the game without involving too much micromanagement as well.

Maybe something in-between?

How about:
Basic Geo survey sensors can survey accurately bodies up to size X, but most moons and all planets need a ground survey to complete it.
Improved Geo survey sensors can also survey accurately most smaller moons but almost all planets need a ground survey to complete it.
Advanced Geo survey sensors can survey accurately all moons and most smaller planets as well, typically only the 1-2 largest planets (if they exist) need ground survey.
Phased Geo survey sensors are just a helluva lot faster, but otherwise like Advanced.

This way the amount of situations where you need to do multiple surveys is reduced to minimal and if you really dislike microing ground surveys you can put more weight to researching Geo sensors, but can also early on make up for lack of tech with more effort (into ground survey), or if you like that RP aspect of having to do extensive surveys simply don't research improved Geo sensors.


I also second it could be interesting to have bodies that are space surveyed which no minerals sometimes being classified as "no potential" so you don't need to ground survey all of them, or sometimes being classified as alot of potential which could mean a more extensive ground survey is required to reveal their true potential. This all brings depth and uniqueness to bodies which I am always for!

3
C# Aurora / Re: Replacing PDCs
« on: February 14, 2018, 12:10:53 PM »
Well, in current game rules you can't maintain fighters which was my primary question. I don't believe I've ever put anything other than 500 or 1000 ton ships in hangers. In my current game I have 80 FACs in hangers and isn't really saving me a whole lot in maintenance compared to the cost of building a PDC capable of holding them all. Though if someone instead built a 80,000 ton ship and put it in a hanger...

Maybe a new installation that allows only fighters (maybe FACs) to be hangered on planet.

C# Aurora will have different rules for fighter maintenance:
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8495.msg101959#msg101959

Specifically this part:

"Fighters can be maintained by Maintenance Locations and do not need to be stored in hangars (because now they use capacity whereas the VB6 rule was implemented to prevent unlimited fighters being maintained)."

4
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: February 13, 2018, 02:52:07 AM »
I don't want to provide too much control over civilians as the main point is that they are independent and not additional player shipping.

I think it wouldn't hurt to have a bit of indirect control like tax hard to prevent growth or tax low to promote it, and subsidize or tariff certain locations to promote shipping to certain destinations and discourage others. Or if they were a bit better connected with supply/demand (first delivery of a missing goods is worth alot, and colonists want to move where there are job opportunities).

5
C# Aurora / Re: Replacing Teams?
« on: February 12, 2018, 06:15:35 AM »
Tie it to the passive sensors mechanics instead; you need to close a certain amount of distance relative to the max range of the passive sensor for a (to be determined) amount of signal strength to meet thresholds for how good your data is and how fast you get it (very long range scanning gets you very rough estimates very slowly, while close in scanning gets you very good information very quickly).

Use thermal passive sensors for information on industrial outputs like mining and construction and maybe some estimate of population size, and electronic passive sensors for everything else.

Well SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) we need to separate between communications and non communications. COMINT entails listening in on the enemy communications to learn their secrets rather then simply scanning their ships or the analyzing emissions from ship systems (ELINT). This means you also need to have translated their language and (if sensitive information) also cracked their encryption/codes.


For the other sensors currently we got for example the following Intelligence already in VB6:

Active GRAV: Target Size, Target Speed, Target Direction
Passive GRAV: Emissions from shields or Active GRAV. Emissions from population.
Passive TH: Emissions from engines. Emissions from population.


Perhaps this could be expanded by saying that if you get good enough sensors to be X times better then what you need for them to show up on sensors you learn more ( potentially in multiple tiers ), and this would naturally also require much longer observation times then 5 seconds.

For example something like this:

Active GRAV > 10 times: Target Type (Military/Civilian), Target mission ( main tonnage is Carrier/Sensor/Missile Warship/Beam Warship/Logistics/Colony/Terraform/Salvage )
Passive GRAV > 10 times: Shield Strength or Active GRAV sensor strength & resolution. More details from population.
Passive TH  > 10 times: Match signature from engines (can determine based on previous salvaged/detail scanned). More details from population.

Active GRAV > 100 times: External systems count & type ( X launchers, Y turrets, Z engines ... )
Passive GRAV > 100 times: Full shield design details or Full Active GRAV sensor design details. Most details from population.
Passive TH  > 100 times: Full Engine design details. Most details from population.

Active GRAV > 1000 times: Full Weapons design details

*With "Full design details" I mean the knowledge of the design, not the tech to produce it yourself.


This information would automatically be added to appropriate intelligence tabs.

6
Aurora Suggestions / Re: Semi-Official 7.x Suggestion Thread
« on: February 12, 2018, 04:14:18 AM »
In VB6, and in what C# currently looks like, Box launchers seem to be just better than regular launchers 90% of the time.

At the moment 100 Boxes takes up the same space as 20 0. 25 mod launchers and 170 missiles of magazine space roughly, giving you half as many missiles but 5x the alpha strike.  And those 0. 25 launchers still have a x100 reload.  In C# aurora 0. 25 size has been increased to 0. 3 so the ratio will be even more favourable to the boxes. 

Is this really true or am I missing something here? Box launches having 0.15 size vs 0.25 size should mean 100 Boxes take up the same space as 100*0.15/0.25 = 60 max reduced size launchers when I do the math. Changing it to 0.3 would mean 2:1 ratio or a 2x greater alpha strike, no more.

In VB6 and in C#, this means that the enemy will require 5x as many beam weapons to shoot down all of the missiles.
In VB6 due to the long range of AMMs, they could engage the single box launcher wave with many salvos, meaning that box launchers could often be worse against fast firing AMMs.  due to the lower amount of missiles.  However with the missile changes of C#, the range of AMMs has been decreased if I am not mistaken, which would favour one single large wave.

The range of AMMs has been decreased but I don't think it will result in that much less performance for a few reasons:

- VB6 AMMs only needed tiny % of size being fuel, like 1-5% so even if that increase by x4 you still won't need alot of AMM size % fuel to get more range then you need.
- Incoming missiles will be slower and larger overall, since they also get hit by the same fuel formula change, and probably get hit alot harder by it ( fuel in VB6 Aurora is a serious concern for ASM as is ).
- Sensors changes in C# also limit your ability to extend the AMM cover with a single huge res 1 sensor, so having alot of AMM range won't be very useful in practice.
- C# Changes to ECM/ECCM and missile sensors inherently favor ASM and quality over quantity.
- Box launchers hit while containing a missile will explode in C# Aurora, and their reload was increased by 6.7 times. (link)

7
C# Aurora / Re: Replacing Teams?
« on: February 12, 2018, 03:09:53 AM »
This is a repost from the main VB6 suggestions thread, which triggered an idea.

I could remove the concept of teams entirely and replace them with new ground force capabilities. Thinking out loud....

1) Espionage team replaced by a scout function for ground forces. Scout formations can land on alien worlds to learn about the alien population (size, industry, tech, ground forces). They are have (expensive) stealth capabilities boosted by the formation commander (stealth bonus replaces espionage). They can be hunted by hostile ground forces or have a chance of detection by any civilian population (much higher if not same species). Might even have sabotage capabilities. In fact, this could be the Aurora equivalent of Special Forces.

2) Geology team replaced by geological survey capability for ground forces and ground survey becomes a significantly larger task requiring more personnel - to prevent simply creating vast number of geo-survey formations. Geology bonus based on the formation commander

3) Xenology team replaced by Xenoarchaeology capability for ground forces. Surveying and deciphering alien ruins becomes a significantly larger task requiring more personnel. Xenology bonus based on the formation commander.

4) Diplomacy team replaced by small but expensive ship module that can only function when in the same system as an alien population. I also change NPR responses so that their reaction to alien ships in the system is based on ship size and reduced if the ship has a diplomatic function. Diplomacy skill is based on the ship commander.

Spontaneously the only reason against doing it I can think of is that it was a pretty neat story tool to group together teams of your key characters and have things happen to them as they brave alien or hostile worlds.


For Geology and Xenology it makes alot of sense to expand it to bigger efforts, and this can be really cool as well as they get better integrated with built in defense attachments ( ground forces rework ).


For Diplomacy and Espionage I agree that it doesn't make sense to have a big effort, a small team of individuals or led by a single commander could work equally well.

Does Espionage even need to land on the ground though? Wouldn't most intelligence/espionage be done through signal intelligence realistically, and isn't this something your survey ships (equipped with powerful sensors and scanners) should be pretty well geared to do already? Sticking with a ground team we run into a boatload of issues how to sneak in a ground unit transport past size 1 senors (basically impossible), and what good is spending time developing a feature that never will be possible to put to use?

I also love the Sci-Fi Startrek vision of having diplomatic envoys / meetings onboard large warships.


Maybe both Diplomacy and Espionage could be ship modules used in-system instead? And depending on the size of sensors Espionage ships would need to sneak close enough to the enemy world to start gathering information. I think this role of focusing Espionage on signal intelligence gathering ( both from enemy populations and their warships/stations ) would be much better suited for Aurora 4X gameplay then teams of James Bond style alien agents operating on the ground with no way of getting there in the first place, no way of communicating and no way of getting out.

Maybe there is some way to make this work neatly with the new command and control modules? ( Add a SIGINT/Espionage module and one for Diplomacy which enables the ship to conduct respective missions at the efficiency of assigned commanders ).

8
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: January 30, 2018, 06:04:16 AM »
None of which is really in scope for a space naval warfare game.

I disagree entirely with your idea that Aurora is a game only about Space Naval warfare!


Maybe the parts I enjoy about Aurora have about as much to do with Warfare as the Star Trek episodes that inspired my interest in Space? Perhaps my Aurora is a Story based game about Leadership/Character development, Terraforming, Research, Colony development, Exploration, Roleplaying/Diplomacy mainly.

9
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: January 28, 2018, 06:34:55 PM »
Economics is complicated :)

It is isn't as simple as more tax = more money, because high tax can limit growth, increase tax avoidance or remove incentives for investment. I am fortunate to live in a low tax economy (some might say tax haven), with maximum 20% personal tax, no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, 0% corporation tax (except banks - 10%), yet there is no state debt and we have the same public services as most European countries. Good quality free Health Care, Education, etc.

...

Aurora 'economics' is about balancing various industrial capacities, availability of workforce, mineral supplies, fuel, maintenance and wealth. Each of those can be affected by the player in some way to maintain the balance. Wealth for example is helped by building financial centres, investing in civilian shipping, creating lots of small colonies to boost trade, pop growth (which is wealth growth) and civilian mining (which requires pop of 10m in system). Tax rates are assumed to be generating optimum revenue as per the Laffer Curve).

I agree about the basic problem but it sounds like there are ways to give you some control over tax without destroying balance. If Civilian economy is given a bigger role then higher tax levels slowing down long term growth does make sense.

Basically the Economy works like a big basket of wealth ( much like Shipping lines currently do ), the more you drain out of it, the less can get re-invested and the less future growth and tax is possible.

A Short term profits vs long term growth trade-off.

10
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: January 28, 2018, 03:47:14 AM »
For most games with tax rates, there's usually a no-brainer best tax rate for any given situation: as much as you can get away with without causing revolts or some other not-worth-it penalty.  So there's never any decision making. 

I don't really see how that can be used as an argument against something since exactly the same can be said for any other game element in Aurora 4x.

How much weapons should you have on your ship? As much as you can get away with...
How much research should you put into engines? As much as you can get away with...

If there is never any decision making in setting taxes and it's all no-brainer, then there isn't any in the rest of the game either IMO. It all depends on your viewpoint and goals with the game. All games will always have one "optimal" best / most efficient way to play them, but I don't think many of us enjoy playing Aurora 4X that way, so I don't think it would be a big risk.


Also keep in mind that the wealth is not going to have the same value for you in all situations. In some situations where your going negative it might be worth some temporary unrest that some extra soldiers moved home can handle, to break even until things stabilize, but if your running a big surplus and your soldiers are badly needed elsewhere the reverse might be true.

11
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: January 27, 2018, 05:42:05 PM »
Unrest should rather be tied into what taxes are spent on rather than the amount that is taxed while the amount of tax is affecting the purchasing power of the population (or in this case its economic growth). Part of the world who pay the highest taxes are the most content on them while those that pay much less are more up in the blue because they feel the money they do pay is wasted on stupid stuff or simply eroded by bureaucracy and/or corruption.

When I play Aurora I usually take these things into account and every bit of military spending (resources not going back into providing job for citizens) must be carefully planed for or people will try to replace the ruling government. Depending on the type of government some will have more of a leeway than others doing that. But this is only RP and have nothing to do with the actual mechanics as they are now.

Yeah, and that might be fine for something to be added 2-3 years down the line together with a complete overhaul and complex supply-demand, civilian market and politics.

My suggestion was for a very very basic model that could be completed either now or quickly after first release of C# Aurora, and still be a decent improvement compared to the current nothing situation.

12
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: January 27, 2018, 03:19:01 PM »
Some basics could probably be fairly easy to add and not require a massive amount of balancing? Stuff like:

- 3 different tax levels on population ( trade-off vs unrest )
- 3 different tax levels on civilian shipping lines ( trade-off built in already since if you take more they grow less, for example 25/50/75% income taxed )
- Unemployment vs unrest ( large percentage unemployed = a bit more unrest )
- Shipping lines colony ships prioritize destinations based on job opportunities/space available/population tax levels

I think this would give you a bit more indirect control over flows of people and growth of shipping lines, and feel like your running an empire.

13
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: January 26, 2018, 09:57:52 AM »
So the criteria for this to be relevant would be custom difficulty setting for terraforming speed? Sounds good and I agree.

14
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: January 26, 2018, 09:11:47 AM »
Current carbon dioxide content of Earth's atmosphere is, after more than a century of burning fossil fuels, 0.0000407 atmosphere.

Pretty much negligible for the purposes of the game.

Not really. Since the game considers it harmful at 0.005 atmospheres (or 5000ppm), and that 407 ppm represents 0.000407 atmospheres, not 0.0000407.

It is true that right now we are in reality adding about 3 ppm / year meaning we would reach Aurora harmful levels after 1531 years, but I'm not sure how realistic the Aurora 4x model of CO2 as a greenhouse gas is, and the temperature increase is another thing to consider (melting of ice caps). If current addition rate was negligible I doubt it would be such a debate as seen currently.

Even given the current model it's not unimaginable to have an Aurora 4X fossil fuel based conventional industry 10-20 times larger then that which we have on Earth now, which would reach it in 150 or 75 years.

Something else to consider is that the rate of CO2 addition is speeding up, a 100 years ago we were adding about 10% per year compared to now, and it shows no sign of stopping, so if the exponential increase continues we are looking at a rate of 30 ppm / year not to far away into the future.


It seems like it wouldn't be such a hard thing to add, and would add a few interesting stories or scenarios you can play out.



15
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: January 26, 2018, 03:47:42 AM »
Quote
Dangerous Gas: If a dangerous gas is present in the atmosphere and the concentration is above the danger level, the colony cost factor for dangerous gases will either be 2.00 or 3.00, depending on the gas. Different gases require different concentrations before becoming 'dangerous'. Halogens such as Chlorine, Bromine or Flourine are the most dangerous at 1 ppm, followed by Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulphur Dioxide at 5 ppm. Hydrogen Sulphide is 20 ppm, Carbon Monoxide and Ammonia are 50 ppm, Hydrogen, Methane (if an oxygen breather) and Oxygen (if a Methane breather) are at 500 ppm and Carbon Dioxide is at 5000 ppm (0.5% of atmosphere). Note that Carbon Dioxide was not classed as a dangerous gas in VB6 Aurora. These gases are not lethal at those concentrations but are dangerous enough that infrastructure would be required to avoid sustained exposure.

Has the thought been considered to have Conventional Industry also work as a weak terraformer locked into producing Carbon Dioxide?

Id love to have better early gameplay and fleshed out transition between conventional - TN tech level ( with things like struggling with climate change and early conventional rockets struggling to reach beyond moon-mars or only being able to make the trip when mars is close and have to be loaded with mostly fuel )

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