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Offline Steve Walmsley

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V4.77 Tutorial
« on: December 30, 2009, 09:47:40 AM »
Finally, I am going to have a go at creating a tutorial. My style is probably going to be conversational rather than instructional and I will no doubt digress and zip off at tangents but I will do my best to stay focused.

Firstly, I need to address a couple of system requirements

If you are living in a country which uses the comma (,) for decimal separator, then while playing Aurora you have to switch the Regional Settings of your computer over to US or UK or another country that uses the period (.) as the decimal separator. In XP this is in the Control Panel.

The minimum resolution required is 1280x1024. A higher resolution or multiple monitors will allow you to see more windows at once. If your display doesn´t support this, there are ways around it, provided your video card supports a higher resolution than your monitor/display.

1. Scrolling desktop. A program that extends the desktop beyond your screen can be found at

2. In XP, something similar is already built in but it does carry a warning from Microsoft so you will have to decide if this is worth trying. Go to the screen where you set your resolution. Select the Advanced button and then select the Monitor tab. There is a checkbox which reads "Hide modes that this monitor cannot display". If you uncheck this box, you can set resolution to anything your graphics card can handle. If this resolution is higher than what your monitor can display, whenever your mouse pointer reaches the edge of your screen, the whole screen will scroll in that direction.

Part 1: New Game Creation

When you start Aurora, the first thing you should see is a small window with Game Details in the title bar. Across the bottom are four buttons: New, Save, Delete Game and Select. In a moment we are going to be pressing New but a quick word on Select first. Select will choose the currently selected game and take you to the main menu bar (which is really just a window title bar and a menu in the centre of the screen). If you accidentally press Select and get to this menu bar before setting up a game, you can go back to the Game Details window by pressing Ctrl-I or choosing Game Info from the Game menu.

To start a new game, press the New button on the Game Details window, This will open a much larger window with the title "Create New Game". This may seem a little overwhelming at first but most of the standard options are already selected. I'll run through most of them so you can set up the type of game you want.

Game Name is self-explanatory. Perhaps "My First Game", or maybe "My First Rampage Through the Galaxy", depending on your style. Leave the SpaceMaster Password blank as that is really for refereed multi-player games.

Starting Year: Any number you like. Aurora keeps track of time using years, months, days and seconds. You will start at 00:00 on January 1st of whatever year you select.

Maximum Number of Systems: This isn't really the max number of systems that you can have in your universe as it can be changed at any time during the game. In effect, it is the highest system number that will be generated by the program in a random (not 'Real Stars') universe. Small numbers of systems means more chance of races being close together. So if you want a knife fight in a phone booth you can choose a low number of systems and if you want a slow leisurely build up before the carnage begins you can choose a high number. 1000 is in the middle of the range and is a reasonable number for a starting game.

Local System Generation Chance and Local System Generation Spread determines how much 'clustering' there is in a random game. This is something you don't need to worry about yet so you can skip this paragraph if you like. Still here? Well here we go then. In a 1000 system game, the program will select a number from 1-1000 when generating a new system. If the Local System Generation Chance is 50% then there is a 50% chance that instead the program will pick a number close to that of the current system. Just how close depends on the Local System Generation Spread. If your current system is number 100 and the Local System Generation Spread is 15, then if a local system is selected it will be between 85 and 115. Why does this make a difference? Well, if you pick a system that already exists when entering a jump point, you will create a link to a new system. If every system was generated randomly from 1-1000, the galactic map will probably comprise a large number of independent chains of systems stretching out form your start point. If the number range selected is small then there is a lot more chance of encountering nearby systems so you generate a far more inter-connected universe with a lot of connections between chains and loops of systems.

Construction Cycle Time: 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. 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. 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 if you want it to happen more or less often but I would suggest leaving it alone until you have a lot more experience with the game. Just for interest, here is a list of some of the things that happen during a construction cycle (jump to the next paragraph when you get bored :). So back to the New Game window

The Non-player Race Generation Chance is the chance that an alien empire will be created if an eligible world is created during system generation. Eligible worlds are not that common but 30% is probably reasonable for your first game. A world may still be eligible even if it appears to be uninhabitable to your species.

The Non-player race Population Modifier is a difficulty modifier. The size of a new alien homeworld population is generated on a bell curve with the midpoint being equal to the average player race total population. If you change this value to less than 100 the midpoint of the bell curve will move below the average player race population. If you increase, the midpoint will be higher than the average player race population. This method of alien race generation also means that you can choose any starting population size and the game will scale appropriately

If you really like comets, you can set a minimum number per system. Comets are good in the sense that they usually have accessible mineral deposits, often in the ten of thousands of tons range, but bad in the sense they may disappear into the Oort cloud with your mining colony and come back in a few thousand years :)

The next section is Setting Empire Parameters. Empire Title, Species Name and Homeworld Name are just text entry fields so you can be as imaginative as you like, or just leave the standard 'Terran Federation', 'Human' and 'Earth' entries.

Government Type includes some modifiers for Empire characteristics, such as Xenophobia, Militancy, Determination, etc. and affects the amount of industry and how it is divided at game start. For now, just leave it as a player race.

Main Empire Theme adds flavour to your race. Your starting ranks, random system names and auto-generated names for ship classes will be based on the theme. So for example if you chose United States for the theme, the ranks would be US Naval and Army ranks, the system names would be US cities and the class names would be Essex, Lexington, Spruance, Ticonderoga, etc.. All names can be overridden during the games if you prefer something else and you can change theme mod-game. There are currently over sixty different themes including such varieties as Canadian, Deutschland, Demonic Realm, Ancient Egypt, Knights Templar, Welsh, Barsoom, Swedish, ASEAN, etc.

Commander Theme affects the naming of your Commanders. For the US theme I imported the latest US Census data into the Aurora database. When you generate a Commander it will pick a random first name from 2000 possibles and a random surname from over 50,000. That provides about one hundred million names for the US theme alone. Different name themes will vary in how the names are generated are displayed. For example, the Roman name theme uses praenomen (given name), nomen and cognomen. The German theme will put the occasional 'von' in for flavour, etc. There are currently thirty-four name themes, including Russian, Japanese, Ancient Greek, Polish, Jewish, Arabic, Hobbit, Zulu, Norse, Indian, etc. Any name theme you need should in there somewhere. If you want to see more themes, I am always open to players creating themes and sending them to me for the next version. Let me know if you want more details.

The final part of this section is an option between a Trans-Newtonian Empire and a Conventional Empire. Stick with Trans-Newtonian for now, which is a standard Aurora Empire. A Conventional Empire starts with no space-age tech and you have to pretty much start from scratch, converting your conventional industry and researching all of the normal basic starting tech. This would be frustrating for a new player and this tutorial will assume a standard start.

Next is the Species Tolerance section. Each species in Aurora has environmental tolerances with their midpoint being their homeworld. The habitability of planets will vary considerably depending on the species tolerances so a world that is ideal for humans may be uninhabitable for some other species and vice versa. Even humans can be set with varying tolerances that can affect the difficulty of the game. For now, set the maximum deviation in oxygen pressure to 50%, the max deviation in gravity to 70%, the max deviation in temperature to 22 and the max atmospheric pressure to 4.

These settings will mean that an ideal habitable world will have a temperature between 0 and 44C, an oxygen pressure between 0.1 and 0.3 atm, a gravity between 0.3G and 0.7G and a maximum atmospheric pressure of 4.0 atm. In addition to the individual species tolerances, the ideal habitable world will also need to have no dangerous gases such as Chlorine and will need the oxygen to be no more than 30% of the total atmospheric pressure. A planet that doesn't meet those criteria may be uninhabitable (if it falls outside the gravity range) or may require infrastructure to support the population. Note that you can put ground bases, troops, sensors etc. on any world except a gas giant, regardless of the habitability. If you want an actual population though, which you will need to run shipyards, factories, etc,, then the planet has to be habitable or at least have enough infrastructure for the inhabitants.

Next is Starting Population. This lays out the parameters for your initial population on Earth. Somewhere between 500m and 1000m is a good amount for a new player. Lets leave it at 500m for now. The other boxes can be left alone as they are mainly for specialized scenarios. For example, you might set the Wealth Creation Rate and Industrial Percentage fields to be very low (perhaps 15-20%) to simulate a country like China that has a lot of population but a much lower per capita industrial output and per capita income than the USA. In games that feature multiple starting Empires on Earth this can be an important balancing factor for the SpaceMaster.

Moving swiftly on to the Starting System section. Set the number of Sol Jump Points to 6. and leave the other boxes unchecked, This will give us plenty of avenues for exploration

In the Starting Tech system, uncheck the Assign Starting tech points box so we can allocate our own tech at the start of the game. If the box is left checked, the game will randomly assign our starting tech points to background technologies. That can be fun if you want to create a more challenging start where you have to cope with whatever tech you are given. As we are learning at the moment, it's much more educational to choose them ourselves :)

If you have any questions on the tutorial, please post them in a separate thread so I can maintain this one just for the tutorial text.


Offline James Patten

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2009, 11:12:10 AM »
It's hard to see your occupier in a good light when ... all the cows have two heads.

Unless they're supposed to have two heads!  :D

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2009, 12:32:02 PM »
Part 2: The Basics of the System Map

OK, lets take a look at the System Map window (F3 from main menu bar). When you open it for the first time we will be looking at the Sol system, possibly from a very zoomed-out view. The first time you look at a system the program will always try to include everything in the system within the frame of view, which means if Sol has some long period comets the system might be a green and blue blob in the middle. You can zoom in using either the + key on the your keyboard's keypad or the zoom icon near the top left. Each time you press Zoom the scale will double (you can check the current scale in the top left of the viewable area)

As you zoom in you will see two asteroid belts, the outer of which is the Kuiper Belt and the inner is the Mars-Jupiter Belt. You will also see about thirty small white circles with numbers scattered around the system. Those are jump point survey locations, which we will get back to later. Zoom in until you can see the inner system with Earth, Mars, etc. Click on Earth to centre the map and keep zooming. Eventually the Moon will appear in orbit. Small bodies are hidden at higher zoom levels so they don't obscure the map. Zoom out using - on the keypad and click on Jupiter to centre the map then zoom back in to see its system of moons. You can also use the numbers of the keypad to move around the system. When you leave a system the program will remember the zoom level and which part of the system you were looking at so you can easily jump back and forth between ongoing events in different systems.

On the left hand edge of the System Map there is a grey Sidebar with nine different tabs and above it is the current system dropdown. This system dropdown is one of the ways you can select different system maps, although at the moment there is only one - Sol. The Sidebar should have the Display tab selected, which gives you the option to toggle on/off some of the system map symbology. For example, if you click on the Comet Path checkbox, lines will be drawn from the Sun through each comet and out to the maximum distance to which the comet will travel. You may have to zoom out to see the ends of some of those lines.

In the centre of the Display tab is another dropdown entitled orbit comparison. This draws a circle around the system primary at the distances of various planets. Not much use in the Sol system but useful in other systems to give you an idea of scale. (just found an overflow bug here that will be fixed in v4.8 :)). In the lower half of the display tab are several other display options with which you can experiment as you play the game. For example, unchecking the Show JP Survey Locations will hide all the small white circles I mentioned earlier.

If you move to the Body Info tab and click on any body in the system, you will get some basic information, although there are other places in the program where you can see more detail if required. The All Bodies tab has a tree view of all system bodies, including moons if you click on the small + icons. Selecting one will centre the system map on the selected body. Sensors allows you to configure how you view details of your sensor capabilities and Contacts allows you to modify how contacts are displayed. We'll get back to those later.

Waypoints allows you to set waypoints for movement or missile launches. To create one click on Add and then click somewhere on the map. Click on the waypoints listed in the sidebar and click delete to get rid of them. Clicking the Last button will place a waypoint on the last system body you selected and that waypoint will move with it. Try selecting Mars and then click Last. A way point should appear on Mars. Select it on the sidebar and click Delete to remove it. This is useful for setting up a destination for a missile or perhaps a probe

The Military tab lists all the fleets and ships in the system. At the moment it will just list some empty fleets. Empty fleets don't appear on the map but they will appear in this Sidebar view. Minerals shows all mineral deposits in the system. We haven't surveyed anything yet so the only minerals displayed will be those on Earth. The Mineral Text button will show the minerals in text rather than a tree view, which is useful for copying and pasting into after action reports. Mineral text view also displays the number of planets, moons and asteroids in the system. While this view is useful for a quick check, the Geological Survey Report window is far more useful for detailed investigation of mineral deposits. I'll talk about this window later in the tutorial but if you want a quick look, it is about six icons from the right along the top of the window. The icon is a grey planet with a chart in front of it. Finally, the Display 2 window has a few more display options, including options to show weapon and fire control ranges. We'll use these later in the tutorial. If you discover any ancient ruins they will be listed in the Known Ruins section.

The icons along the top allow you to access all the other major windows in the program and the two rows of time buttons allow you to set increment and sub-pulse length. I'll explain those in more detail later. Next we will take a look at the Economics window. You can access this either by pressing F2 or by clicking the first icon on the left (which looks like a couple of office blocks). I'll cover that in part 3.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that if you hold shift and drag the mouse across the map, it draws a line with a distance and heading, Very useful for measuring distances.

EDIT 2: In v4.8, you will be able to zoom in/out using double-left click or double right-click. Clicking on a fleet or system body already centres the map in v4.77. In v4.8, shift-double-click will centre the map on a point in empty space.

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2009, 01:42:05 PM »
Part 3: Population and Production window: Summary View

This is by far the most complex and detailed screen in Aurora and is key to the strategic portion of the game. The empire dropdown in the top left allows you to select each empire, although you will need to be in SM mode if you wish to view multiple empires. To the right of the empire dropdown is a checkbox that allows you to switch between two views of your colony list. The default view has more detail while the basic view requires less space. Across the top of the window is the Time Control section, which contains several buttons, each with an amount of time. Pressing a button will advance time in the game by the specified amount. There is a more detailed Time Control section on the System Map. The colony list on the left shows all populations in the Empire. The largest part of the Economics View is a series of tabs showing different aspects of your colonies. As each tab has a lot of information I will tackle them one at once. This post will concentrate on the Summary view, which is the tab displayed when you first open this window

Summary View

The Summary view shows the Planetary and Sector Governors as well as a summary of the currently selected colony. The Planetary Governor applies his bonuses to all aspects of the selected colony. The Sector Governor applies one quarter of his bonus to all colonies within his sector. Both these positions can be assigned on the Officers Window (F4). The various lines on the summary view are as follows:

•   Political Status: The status of the colony in relation to the Empire as a whole. An Imperial Population is a fully fledged member of the Empire and follows all normal rules. A status such as Client State or Occupied will have different effects. These will be covered in the section on Politics
•   Species: The species of which the population is composed. Each empire may have populations from several different species, each with their own environmental tolerances and racial characteristics. Each population can only consist of one species so if there are two species from the same empire on the same planet, there will be two populations.
•   Planetary Suitability: The colony cost of the planet. If a planet has zero colony cost, the population is not restricted in any way other than the maximum growth rate. Otherwise, the maximum population in millions is equal to Infrastructure / (Colony Cost  x 100). For more details on colony cost, see the System View window (F9)
•   Administration Level Required: The minimum Administration Rating of the planetary governor. In other words, no Administrator can be assigned to the role of planetary governor unless he has  the specified rating or higher. If an Administrator is already assigned when the required rating changes he may remain within the role but any newly appointed governor must be at the new required rating level. Larger populations will require higher ratings.
•   Annual Wealth Creation: The total amount of wealth that this population will generate in one year. This is gradually added to the Empire’s current wealth every few days.
•   Total Population: Total population of the colony in millions.
•   Agriculture and Environmental (A&E). The percentage and actual amount of population working to feed the rest of the population and maintain any environmental infrastructure. The required percentage is based on the colony cost and is assigned automatically by Aurora. A colony cost zero world will only have 5% assigned to this sector.
•   Service Industries (SI): This is the percentage and amount of population working in service industries, which includes everything that is not related to A&E or Manufacturing. The percentage required for SI is based on the total size of the population and is assigned automatically by Aurora. As a population grows, the relative size of the SI sector increases.
•   Manufacturing: The available population after the size of the A&E and SI Sectors has been determined. All factories, mines, shipyards, etc must be manned by this sector of the population.
•   Annual Growth Rate: The rate at which populations increase in size. The rate of increase is based on the size of the population and small populations have a higher rate of increase than large ones (what else is there to do on a new colony?). Population growth is fairly realistic and will be around 2% or less per year for a large population. The rate is also modified by any Population Growth bonus provided by the planetary and sector governors.
•   Current Infrastructure: The amount of infrastructure on this colony. If the colony cost is zero, infrastructure is not required. Otherwise, the maximum population is equal to (Infrastructure * 10,000)/Colony Cost. For more details on colony cost, see the System View window
•   Supported Population: The maximum population allowed by the current level of infrastructure. For colony cost zero, there is no maximum population.
•   Manufacturing Sector Breakdown: This section lists all manufacturing workers that are employed in different parts of the Manufacturing Sector and shows how much population is available for additional industry
•   Requested Protection Level: This value shows how much protection this population demands from the Empire’s military forces. This is based on several factors including population size, political status and species militancy.
•   Actual Protection Level: This value shows how much protection this population is receiving from the Empire’s military forces and is based on the total PPV value of Empire forces within the same star system. If insufficient protection is being provided, it will cause unrest within the colony population
•   Radiation Level: The amount of background radiation present on the planet’s surface. If this is zero, there will be no radiation line on the summary. Each point of radiation decreases industrial production by 0.01%. The most likely cause of radiation is recent bombardment of the planet.
•   Atmospheric Dust Level: The amount of dust in the planetary atmosphere. The normal surface temperature of a planet is decreased by the Dust Level / 100
•   Sector Command HQ: Construction of a sector command headquarters creates a sector with the colony as the sector capital. Higher levels of sector command headquarters increase the radius of the sector.
•   Military Academy: The size of the colony’s military academy. Each level of an academy produces five commanders and 1000 crewmen per year, with the crewmen having 100 grade points. Changes to a empire’s Training Level (see the Empire window) will reduce the number of crewmen produced but increase their starting grade points.
•   Deep Space Tracking Station (DSTS): DSTS provide EM and Thermal sensor capability for a colony. The first DSTS has a sensor strength equal to the racial Planetary Sensor Strength. Each additional DSTS adds 25% to the colony’s sensor strength.
•   Maintenance Facility: A maintenance facility is able to maintain ships of a certain size in orbit. Each level of maintenance facility increases that size by 200 tons, so a Level 20 Maintenance Facility could handle ships of up to 4000 tons. If a ship of the maximum size or less is in orbit, it does not suffer maintenance failures and therefore does not use up spares.
•   Mass Driver Capacity: The tonnage of minerals that this population can launch per year. A single mass driver is sufficient to catch any amount of minerals.
•   Shipyards/Slipways: Shipyards give the colony the ability to construct ships (see the Manage Shipyards tab). Their annual construction rate is based on the racial Shipbuilding Rate (see Research) and modified by Shipbuilding bonuses provided by the planetary and sector governors. Each shipyard requires population in the manufacturing sector to support it based on a formula of: Number of Slipways x Capacity x 0.0001
•   Construction Factories: Construction Factories (CF) are used to build all other planetary installations, such as shipyards, mines, all factory types, fighter bases, etc. Their annual rate of construction is based on the racial Construction Rate (see Research) and modified by Factory Production bonuses provided by the planetary and sector governors. Each CF requires 50,000 supporting population.
•   Ordnance Factories (v4.8): Ordnance Factories (OF) are used to build missiles. Their annual rate of construction is based on the racial Ordnance Production Rate (see Research) and modified by Factory Production bonuses provided by the planetary and sector governors. Each OF requires 50,000 supporting population.
•   Fighter Factories (v4.8): Fighter Factories (FF) are used to construct all fighter types. Their annual construction rate is based on the racial Fighter Production Rate (see Research) and modified by Factory Production bonuses provided by the planetary and sector governors. As with other factories, they require 50,000 population to support them.
•   Fuel Refineries: Fuel Refineries convert mined Sorium into fuel for spacecraft. Each ton of Sorium produces 2000 litres of fuel. Their annual rate of production in terms of tons of Sorium processed is based on the racial Fuel Production Rate (see Research) and modified by Factory Production bonuses provided by the planetary and sector governors. Each Refinery requires supporting 50,000 population.
•   Mines: Mines extract Trans-Newtonian minerals from the core of the planet or moon on which the colony is based. Each mine extracts every available mineral at a annual rate based on the racial Mining Production Rate and modified by the accessibility of each mineral and the Mining Bonuses provided by the planetary and sector governors. Each mine requires 50,000 supporting population.
•   Automated Mines: Automated Mines function exactly like the mines except they do not require a supporting population. This makes them ideal for hostile worlds or small moons and asteroids that do not have enough gravity to support a population.
•   Terraforming Facilities (TF): Terraforming Facilities are used to change the composition of gases in the atmosphere. Each TF can add or remove an amount of gas equal to the racial Terraforming Rate, modified by the Terraforming bonuses of the planetary and sector governors.
•   Research Labs. The total number of Research Points (RP) produced by a colony is equal to the number of Research Labs multiplied by the racial Research Rate, modified by the Research bonuses provided by the planetary and sector governors. Each Research Lab require one million supporting population. See the Research tab for details on Research Projects
•   Ground Force Training Facilities (GFTF). Each GFTF can train one ground unit. Every GFTF produces 100 training points per year
•   Fuel Available: The total amount of fuel available at the colony. This stockpile is used to refuel orbiting spacecraft.
•   Maintenance Supplies Available: The total amount of maintenance supplies at the colony. This stockpile is used to resupply ships running low on maintenance supplies
•   Thermal Signature of Colony. This has the same function as the thermal signature of a spacecraft and determines the range at which the colony can be detected by thermal sensors. Industry such as shipyards, factories and mines has far more of an impact on the colony thermal signature than the size of the population
•   EM Signature of Colony. This has the same function as the EM signature of a spacecraft and determines the range at which the colony can be detected by EM sensors. The population size has a major impact on the colony EM signature.
•   Economic Production Modifier (EPM). If a race is using deficit spending (i.e. its wealth is lower than zero), then any installations that use resources operate at a lower output, based on the size of the deficit compared to an Empire’s annual wealth production. The EPM shows the percentage of normal output.
•   Manufacturing Efficiency. This figure represents the efficiency of the manufacturing sector. If sufficient workers are available to support all industrial installations, the efficiency will be 100%. If insufficient workers are available, this figure represents the percentage of required workers that are available. The production of all facilities such as shipyards, mines, factories, research labs, etc is reduced to this amount. The radiation level of the planet can also reduce this figure by 0.01% per point of radiation. If the radiation level is 10,000 the Manufacturing Efficiency will be 0%, regardless of worker availability, and nothing can be built on the planet.
•   Political Status Production/Wealth/Trade Modifiers. Some political statuses have an effect on the colony’s production. These modifiers show the effect as a percentage of normal output.
•   Political Stability Modifier. If a colony is suffering from unrest, its production will suffer.

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2010, 09:47:11 AM »
Happy New Year!

Thanks for doing this...please keep 'em coming!

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2010, 10:27:33 AM »
I wanted to some point, a glossary of abbreviations would be extremely useful, as the UI, menus and even the tutorials refer to them frequently, often times, without explanation.

Offline Erik Luken

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2010, 09:10:39 PM »
Updated the wiki with the info here. Pretty much a copy/paste with some minimal formatting changes from bbcode to wiki markup.

edit -- Added screenshots of the screens in the tutorial. The wiki probably could use more format editing, but the content is there now.

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2010, 11:02:03 AM »
Part 4: Basic Class Design

Looking at recent posts on the forums I can see there is a demand for advice on designing ship classes so I will veer off in that direction and come back to economics later. Open the Class Design Window (F5). You should see a window that is mostly a huge blank space. The first step is to create a new class. Press New in the bottom left hand corner. If you can't see any buttons at the bottom then check you are running in a resolution of at least 1280x1024. Some text will appear in the white expanse as the program adds a few basic systems to this class. This is just the summary view though so switch to the Design View tab. You will now see the list of available components. Bridge, Crew Quarters, Engineering Spaces, etc. There aren't many because in Aurora you not only have to design the ships, you have to design most of the components as well. Before we get into how to do that, lets take a quick look around the class window. Across the top, starting from the left, are the name of the Empire, the Class Name, the Type, the Hull, the Build Points (Cost to build) and a set of checkboxes.

The Class Name will have been generated automatically based on whatever theme you selected during game creation. if you want to change it you can either press the Rename button and type a name or press Auto Rename, which will pick another name from the current theme.

The Type is either a Ship or a Planetary Defence Centre (PDCs). There are some difference between the two, such as no engines or shields on a PDC, but for the moment we will only be designing ships so leave that dropdown alone.

Hull contains a huge list of hull descriptions. This is purely cosmetic and you can choose whatever you like. So you can have a 1000 ton dreadnought or a 50,000 ton frigate if you wish. The actual size of the ship will depend entirely on what systems you add. This is because as time advances, ship sizes will generally increase so I saw no point in assigned fixed hull names to particular ranges of hull sizes. For example, modern destroyers are larger than battleships from the mid-19th century. You can also reclassify a class at any time so you may create an early cruiser which you re-designate as a destroyer as your technology advances. If you want a new hull name, click New Hull and type in a new name. Your design will change to that hull type.

Build Points is the total cost of all the systems on the ship plus the cost of the armour and is the amount of wealth that will be required to pay for the ship. The raw materials that will be required can be found in a list in the bottom left and should add up to the build points. We'll leave the checkboxes for now and come back to them later.

In the Components section on the far right, which lists every component added to the design, some basic systems have already been allocated to the design, including some armour, crew quarters, fuel storage, engineering and a bridge.

Down the left hand edge in the Primary Information section are details on armour, shields, the total number of Hits to Kill (HTK) and the build time for the ship.

The Exact Class Size is the size of the ship in Hull Spaces. This will also be the size of the ship for the purposes of active sensor detection.

Armour Rating is the thickness of the armour and can be increased or decreased by clicking the small arrows to the right of this box.

Armour Area is the surface area of the ship based on the assumption it is spherical in shape

The Armour Strength Required is equal to (Surface Area / 4) rounded up. Armour sufficient to meet this requirement is automatically added to the design as it gets larger.  If you increase the thickness of the armour then each extra 'layer' is added to the previous one. As the total size of the ship and therefore the total surface area increases with each layer of armour, each additional layer will be cover a greater area and therefore require greater strength than the previous one. Each type of armour in Aurora has a different strength rating per hull space (HS) so as tech increases you will need less hull space dedicated to armour to meet the Armour Strength Required. As less armour also means a smaller ship, extra layers of armour will also be smaller.

For example, at the moment you have the technology for Duranium Armour, which has a strength per HS of 5. The armour area is 14.1. Dividing by 4 gives us a Required Armour Strength of 3.525. As Duranium has a strength per HS of 5, we need 3.525/5 HS of armour, which is 0.705, rounded to 0.7. As you can see on the design, 0.7 HS of Duranium Armour has automatically been allocated. If you had High Density Duranium Armour, which has a strength of 6 per HS, you would only need 3.525/6 = 0.6 HS of armour. Obviously this make little difference at the moment but as ships get larger and armour gets stronger, it can make a significant difference. Try increasing the Armour Rating to 2. The ship is now slightly larger and there are two layers of armour so the surface area has increased to 16 and the armour strength to 8. Duranium Armour is armour strength 5 so we need 8/5 = 1.6 HS of armour. Put the Armour Rating back to 1 for now. You don't really need to remember any of the details. Just remember that increasing the armour thickness or increasing the size of the ship will increase the amount of armour required and researching new armour tech will reduce the amount of armour required for future designs.

Armour Columns is the 'width' of the armour. The armour system in Aurora combat is similar to that of an old FASA game called Interceptor. The armour is represented by a block of 'boxes' with the width based on the size of the ship and the depth based on the thickness of the armour. Each weapon type has a damage template which determines which armour 'boxes' are damaged. Missiles tend to crater the armour while lasers cause narrower but deeper damage. Some weapons, such as railguns, have a high rate of fire and cause more overall damage than lasers but because that damage is split among many small hits, they tend to sandpaper armour rather than penetrating as a laser does. Any damage hitting in a location where all the armour has been destroyed will penetrate and cause internal damage. It is possible even for a well armoured ship to get unlucky and receive several hits in the same location, which will result in armour penetration and internal damage. That internal damage could even set off a string of secondary explosions, so a Hood style catastrophe is possible. Equally, if a ship has hits distributed all over the armour and doesn't lose any key system or suffer secondary explosion, it can withstand quite a lot of punishment

We'll come back to Shield Strength and Recharge a little later

Internal HTK (Hits to Kill) is the total HTK rating for all of the ship's internal systems. More on this later

Build Time (yrs) is the estimated build time for the ship in years. This may be decreased if the Planetary Governor of the colony where the ship is built has a bonus to Shipbuilding.

I'll come back to Power Systems later.

In the Life Support section, the Required Crew is the total crew required for all the various systems. Only 23 at the moment because we haven't added anything to the design. Life Support is the total crew possible based on the number and type of crew quarters. A standard Crew Quarters system provides accommodation for 250 crew. If you have too little life support, a message will appear in the Design Errors box in the bottom right.

Load Time is the estimated time to load a freighter, colony ship or troop transport design.

Right, lets get back to actually designing something. As we are going to need a lot more minerals than are present on the Earth, a good first design choice is a geological survey ship. Lets change the hull to Geological Survey Vessel. This is only cosmetic but it tells us the intended role of the ship with a glance at the summary display. We already know how to build Geological Survey Sensors so add one to the design by double-clicking on the appropriate line in the available components section.

The Geological Survey Sensors will appear in the component list on the right and also will change the Brief Summary Display under the Available Components section. Before we go any further, lets take a look at this Summary section. It should appear the same as the example below, with the possible exception of the class name

Code: [Select]
Tribal class Geological Survey Vessel    550 tons     48 Crew     151 BP      TCS 11  TH 0  EM 0
1 km/s     Armour 1-5     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/1     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Maintenance Capacity 172 MSP    Max Repair 100 MSP

Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range N/A

Geological Survey Sensors (1)   1 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a commercial vessel for maintenance purposes
The first line is the name of the ship plus its hull type, the size in tons, the total crew, the number of build points, the TCS or Target Cross Section, which is the exact class size rounded up to the next whole number and is the value used to detect the ship with active sensors, the Thermal Signature (TH) and the Electromagnetic Signature (EM). I'll get back to the last two later.

The first item on the second line shows the speed in km/s (only 1 at the moment as the ship doesn't have any engines yet). Next is the armour, shown by thickness and then width. So at the moment the ship is protected by a belt of armour that is represented by a line of 5 boxes. If you increase the armour rating to 2, the armour on the summary display will change to 2-6, which means the armour is now represented by a set of boxes that is two high and 6 wide. Change it back to Armour Rating 1 for now. These armour boxes can be viewed on the Ship Window, including any that are lost to damage. We'll get to that when we discuss combat.

Next is Shields, which are shown as Strength and Recharge Time in Seconds. The four Sensor values are Thermal / EM / Gravitational / Geological. Every ship has default thermal and EM ratings of 1, which can be increased by the addition of dedicated thermal and EM sensors. The Geological Sensor Rating of 1 is provided by the newly added Geological Survey Sensors. The Damage Control Rating of 1 is provided by the 1x Engineering Spaces. Damage Control determines the speed at which repairs can be made and can be increased by adding damage control systems or additional engineering systems. Finally the PPV rating is the Planetary Protection Value and is based on the ship's weapons. This is used to determine how much protection the ship provides to nearby colonies.

Line three shows the current Maintenance Capacity, which is based on the size of the ship and the number of Engineering Spaces. Max Repair is the cost of the ship's most expensive system, in this case the Geological Survey Sensors. It is a very good idea to have maintenance supplies (MSP) greater than the Max Repair. When a ship suffers a maintenance failure, it will use up MSP equal to the cost of the affected system in order to prevent the failure. If insufficient MSP are available the affected system will be damaged and cease operation. If this is something vital such as a jump engine, the ship could be stuck a long way from home. Once damaged, a system can be fixed by damage control but the cost in MSP is doubled. Damaged systems can also be repaired by a shipyard.

The 4th line shows the fuel capacity and the range. The range is not shown yet because of the lack of engines. The 5th line shows the Geological Survey Sensors and the fact they generate 1 survey point. This is generated every hour. The 6th line shows this is currently classed as a commercial vessel, which means it doesn't suffer maintenance failures. That will soon change.

If we want to go anywhere we are going to need some engines so its time to design our first component. Open up the F2 Economics window and press the Design button (in the middle of the line of buttons along the bottom). This will open the Create Research Project window. This is only a small and relatively simple window but very important. In the top right is the Research Project Type dropdown menu. At the moment it should be showing Active Sensors / Missile Fire Control. Change it to Engines. This should change the upper half of the window to show seven dropdown menus. Choosing different options on these menus will result in different engine designs. We know very little tech at the moment so we don't have any decisions to make, In fact the only dropdown with more than one option is the bottom one, which allows military or commercial engines. Leave it as military.

The lower half shows the stats for the engine design that will be generated by the selected options. Power Output is the power generated by the engine. The total power output from a ship's engines will determine the speed of the ship based on the following formula:

(Total Engine Output / Class Size) * 1000. So a ship of size 250 with a total engine power of 800 would move at (800/250)*1000 = 3200 km/s

Explosion Chance is the percentage the engine will blow up if damaged, causing a secondary explosion. Efficiency is the fuel efficiency of the engine. As you research fuel efficiency tech, you can design engines that will use less fuel for the same power output. The Thermal Signature is how much heat is generated by the engine. A ship's thermal signature at full speed is the total thermal signature from its engines and this is the value used to detect the ship on thermal sensors. You can design engines with lower thermal signatures by researching Thermal Reduction technology, although they will cost more to build. The Engine Size is 5HS, which is fixed for military engines. You can put as many military engines on a design as you want though. The Engine HTK is the Hit to Kill value for the engine. HTK is the amount of damage that would automatically destroy the engine, 2 in this case. If hit by 1 point of damage there is a 50% chance the engine will be destroyed and a 50% chance it will remain intact. Internal armour can be added to engines to reduce the chance of damage. The Cost and Crew are the Build Point Cost and amount of crew members that will be added to the ship by the addition of one engine. Materials Required is the type of raw materials required for the engine. In this case 3x Duranium and 9x Gallicite. The Development Cost is the research cost required for this design before it can be put into production, in this case 120 Research Points.

The name given to this engine is the Nuclear Thermal Engine E10. You could change this name if you wish before creating the design but leave it for now and press Create. Press Close to shut the Create Research Project window. If the F2 Economics window is still open, close that as well

We are now going to enter SpaceMaster mode so we can give ourselves the new engine without having to research it. Make sure the F2 Economics window is definitely closed, move to the main menu bar and press Ctrl-S. This opens a small box for the SpaceMaster password. We didn't set one so just press Enter and you will be in SM (SpaceMaster) Mode. This means that certain windows, such as Economics, will have a few extra buttons that are only available in SM Mode. Now open the Economics window and go to the Research tab.

In the centre of this tab is the Create New Research project section. Just below the section heading there us a dropdown that should have Construction / Production selected. Change this to Power and Propulsion. In the list of systems tech available for research should be our new engine. If you select it, it should turn red. If we were going to research this project, we would also select a suitable scientist and press Create. Instead, thanks to the usefulness of SM Mode, press Instant. A popup box will appear asking for confirmation so press Yes. The new engine should immediately appear on the list of Available Components in the Class Design window. Double-click the engine to add one to the design. It should appear in the component list on the right and it should make some significant changes to the summary view, as shown below

Code: [Select]
Tribal class Geological Survey Vessel    800 tons     73 Crew     164.5 BP      TCS 16  TH 25  EM 0
1562 km/s     Armour 1-7     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/1     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 5%    IFR: 0.1%    Maintenance Capacity 129 MSP    Max Repair 100 MSP

Nuclear Thermal Engine E10 (1)    Power 25    Fuel Use 100%    Signature 25    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 112.5 billion km   (833 days at full power)

Geological Survey Sensors (1)   1 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a military vessel for maintenance purposes
Firstly, note that it is now classed as a military vessel so it will suffer from maintenance failures. This is reflected in the 3rd line of the summary, which now shows the Annual Failure Rate, which is the annual chance of a system failure, and the Incremental Failure Rate, which is the chance of a system failure in any given 5-day increment (which is when maintenance checks take place). These values shown on a class summary assume a ship has one year on its maintenance clock. On individual Ship Summaries, the Annual Failure Rate and IFR will be based on the ship's actual maintenance clock. The Thermal Signature value in the top right has changed to 25 to reflect the thermal signature of the engine, the fuel capacity line shows the range of the ship in both kilometers and time and the speed of the ship is now 1562 km/s. Remember the formula from the engine section. (Total Engine Output / Class Size) * 1000. So in this case, (25/16) x 1000 = 1562 km/s.

Lets add a second engine and a second geological survey sensor. The speed increases a little and the thermal signature doubles. The armour is now up to 1-10 as the ship is larger and the failure rate has increased to 14% per annum, because the proportion of engineering spaces in comparison to hull size is lower than before.

Code: [Select]
Tribal class Geological Survey Vessel    1350 tons     123 Crew     280 BP      TCS 27  TH 50  EM 0
1851 km/s     Armour 1-10     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/2     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 14%    IFR: 0.2%    Maintenance Capacity 130 MSP    Max Repair 100 MSP

Nuclear Thermal Engine E10 (2)    Power 25    Fuel Use 100%    Signature 25    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 66.6 billion km   (416 days at full power)

Geological Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a military vessel for maintenance purposes
Now its time to add an active sensor. Open the Create Research Project window again, using either the Design button on the Economics window or Ctrl-F6 from the main menu. The first item in the Research Project Type list is active sensors, which is useful as that is what we need. There are five dropdowns this time. Lets make the size of the Antenna 2 HS. This increases the Sensor Strength of the component to 20, which our current Active Grav Sensor Strength of 10 multiplied by the 2 HS. In the text area that shows the details of the new active sensor, several of the fields are the same as the engines so I won't bother describing them again. New information includes the chance of destruction by electronic damage (from microwave weapons), the Resolution and the Range. Resolution Zero is actually resolution 1 but it is described as zero because it treats anything less than 1 as equal to 1.  

The Range of an active sensor is equal to Resolution x Sensor Strength x 10,000. So by increasing the resolution you can dramatically increase the range. At the moment, the range is 1 (resolution) x 20 (strength) x 10,000 = 200,000 km. Try changing the resolution to 100 (or 5000 tons). Now the range is 20,000,000 km. So why, you are no doubt asking, wouldn't you have the highest resolution possible? Good question!

An active sensor is able to detect any ship of a size that is equal to or greater than its resolution at its maximum range. So this sensor could detect a ship of 5000 tons or greater (size 100) at 20m km. If the target is smaller than the resolution, the maximum detection range is equal to Max Range x (Target Size / Resolution) ^2. So using this sensor against a target that was size 80, the formula would be:

20m km x (80/100)^2 or 20m x 0.8 x 0.8, which equals 12.8 million kilometers

Against a target of size 20 (1000 tons), the max detection range would be 20m x 0.2 x 0.2 or 0.8 million kilometers

Against a missile (size 1 unless it's huge), 20m x 0.01 x 0.01 = 0.002m, or just 2000 km.

So you need to design active sensors based on the role intended for that sensor. An area search sensor might be designed with a large resolution to find large enemy ships while a sensor designed to detect fast attack craft, which are 1000 tons or less would need a resolution of approximately 20. Missile detection sensors are usually resolution zero. In this case, we want a general search sensor so lets stick with resolution 100. If we encounter an enemy that likes to design ships of 4000 tons or 6000 tons we can modify future sensor designs to take the best advantage of an appropriate resolution (80 or 120).

You can give the sensor a different name if you like, then press Create. Go to the Research tab of the Economics window and select Sensors and Fire Control. Find the new sensor and use Instant. While we are here, lets give ourselves a couple of other useful technologies. Change to the Power and Propulsion tab and use Instant on the Jump Point Theory tech. This opens up a few new technologies. Go back to Sensors and Fire Control and use Instant on the newly appeared Gravitational Survey Sensors.

Move back to the Class window where our new active sensor should have appeared. Add one of this sensor to the design, which should now appear as below. The GPS value for the sensor is its emissions signature. This can be detected by EM sensors while the active sensor is in operation. So use active sensors carefully as they can give away your position to ships or populations with passive EM sensors. Equally you can use your own EM sensors (when we create them), to watch for the active sensors of alien vessels. Note the ship is slightly slower now because it is larger and only has the same engine power as before. The failure rate has also increased a little and the max range has fallen slightly because the engines will burn the same fuel as before but because of the lower max speed you won't travel as far before it runs out.

Code: [Select]
Tribal class Geological Survey Vessel    1450 tons     133 Crew     300.5 BP      TCS 29  TH 50  EM 0
1724 km/s     Armour 1-11     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/2     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 16%    IFR: 0.2%    Maintenance Capacity 130 MSP    Max Repair 100 MSP

Nuclear Thermal Engine E10 (2)    Power 25    Fuel Use 100%    Signature 25    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 62.1 billion km   (416 days at full power)

Active Search Sensor S20-R100 (1)     GPS 2000     Range 20.0m km    Resolution 100
Geological Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a military vessel for maintenance purposes
While we could continue to play about with the design, it is adequate to show you the basics of a simple survey class. Now we will quickly create a gravitational survey design using the above design as a foundation. Press the Copy Design button. You now have a second design that is exactly the same as the first one, except the name has a " - Copy" suffix. Use Rename or Auto Rename to give this class a new name and change the hull to Gravitational Survey Vessel. You should have Gravitational Survey Sensors in the list of available components so double-click on the Geological Survey Sensors in the Components list to remove them one at a time and replace them with a pair of Gravitational Survey Sensors. You now have two survey designs, one for each survey role.

How do you actually build them? I'll cover that in the next section, as well as some other useful designs


Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2010, 01:43:27 PM »
Part 5: Shipyards and Shipbuilding

Before getting into more detailed classes and the specifics of getting a particular class designed and built. I thought it would be a good idea to cover shipyards and shipbuilding in general terms.

Shipyard Complexes
All ships greater than 500 tons have to be built in Shipyard Complexes. The cost of a Shipyard Complex is 2400 BP and it is built using industrial capacity (construction factories in v4.8). When completed, the Shipyard Complex has a single Slipway with a capacity of 1000 tons. Additional Slipways and extra capacity for existing Slipways are built by the Shipyard Complex itself (without affecting the building of ships). Each Shipyard Complex is dedicated to building a specific class of ship and may build one of that class in each Slipway. The Shipyard may be retooled (see below) to build a different class of ship and this does not affect any ships currently under construction but once retooling is underway, no new tasks can be started. This simulates a shipyard getting ready for future construction while completing work on existing shipyard tasks. In effect, a Shipyard Complex has two distinct levels. The Slipway level, where ships are built, refitted, repaired and scrapped at the Racial Shipbuilding Rate, and the Shipyard level, where extra slipways are constructed, extra capacity is added and retooling is carried out, also at the Racial Shipbuilding Rate. The manning requirement for a Shipyard Complex is equal to one million for each shipyard complex plus 100 per ton of total capacity. For example, a Shipyard with two 5000 ton slipways would be 1m + (10,000 x 100) = 2m.

The Manage Shipyard tab of the Economics window lists the Shipyard Complexes (hereafter referred to as Shipyards) in orbit of each colony. The columns provide the following information for each shipyard.

Name: A name for the Shipyard. You can change this by using the Rename SY button and typing in a new name or you can keep pressing the Auto Rename button until you see a name you like.

Ty (short for Type): Whether the Shipyard is Commercial (C) or Naval (N). A commercial shipyard can only build classes that are specified as Commercial Vessels in their class summary.  

Total Slipways. Each shipyard has one or more slipways. Each slipway can be used to build one ship of the class(es) that the parent shipyard is tooled to build.

Capacity per Slipway. The maximum size ship that can be built in each slipway

Available Slipways. The total number of slipways minus the total number of ships that the shipyard is currently building. If this is zero, the Add Task button is greyed out when selecting this shipyard.

Assigned Class: The primary ship class that can be built in the slipways of this shipyard complex. It is possible that other ship classes can be built in the same shipyard without retooling. For a second class to qualify as eligible for construction, it must be possible to refit a ship of the primary class to that class for less than 20% of the primary ship class cost.

Current Complex Activity: The activity in which this complex is currently engaged. This includes no activity, adding a slipway, adding extra capacity to all slipways or retooling for a different class. Shipbuilding by the Shipyard is not included as a current activity as it can take place concurrently with the above activities, with the exception that no new ship of the existing primary class can be laid down once retooling begins.

Progress: Percentage of the current complex activity that has been completed

Completion Date: When the current complex activity is estimated to be complete.

Mod Rate: The rate at which this shipyard can be modified. This is dependent on the racial Shipbuilding Rate, the size of the Shipyard (you can work faster on a large shipyard than a small one), any racial Shipyard Operations Time/Cost Saving and the Shipbuilding Bonus of the Planetary Governor.

Modifying Shipyards
Below the grid control is a section entitled Shipyard Complex Activity. This is where the expansion or retooling of the shipyard is set in motion. The player selects a Shipyard and can then choose can choose from a number of different activities. All the following rules apply to Military Shipyards. Commercial Shipyards are similar and the differences are covered later in this section

Add Extra Slipway: This costs 120 BP for every 500 tons of capacity per slipway at this shipyard complex. For example, if a shipyard had a capacity of 5000 tons per slipway then adding an extra slipway would cost 1200 BP. Mineral use is split between Duranium and Neutronium.

Add 500 ton Capacity per Slipway: This task adds 500 tons to the capacity of every slipway in the complex and costs 120 BP per slipway. So setting this activity for a shipyard complex with four slipways would cost 480 BP. Mineral use is split between Duranium and Neutronium.

Add 1000 ton Capacity per Slipway: As above except it costs 240 BP per slipway and adds 1000 tons instead of 500 tons

Add 2000 ton Capacity per Slipway: As above except it costs 480 BP per slipway and adds 2000 tons of capacity

Add 5000 ton Capacity per Slipway: As above except it costs 1200 BP per slipway and adds 5000 tons instead of 500 tons

Add 10000 ton Capacity per Slipway: As above except it costs 2400 BP per slipway and adds 10000 tons of capacity

Retool for Selected Class: The class selected for retooling is chosen from the adjacent ship class dropdown. Only classes that are small enough to fit within the shipyard's capacity can be selected. This task costs 0.5x of the ship class build cost plus 0.25x ship class build cost per slipway. So if a shipyard with two slipways wanted to start building a class that cost 800 BP, the cost to retool would be 800 x (0.5+0.25+0.25) = 800 BP. If there were four slipways, the cost would be 800 x (0.5+(0.25x4)) = 1200 BP. Mineral use is based on the minerals used in the class.

Continual Capacity Expansion. This is similar to the Add x tons Capacity per Slipway tasks, except that each 5-day increment an amount of capacity is added to the shipyard equal to the amount that can be built in that 5-day increment. This adds continual small amounts of capacity rather than an occasional large amount.

Shipyard Activity can be paused, to conserve wealth and minerals, or abandoned. If an Add Extra Slipway or Retool activity is abandoned then all work is lost. If an Add Extra Capacity activity is ended then the percentage of work done on the task will be added to the shipyard, rounded down to the nearest hundred tons. For example, if a shipyard has done 75% of an Add Extra 500 Capacity activity when it is abandoned, then the shipyard gains 300 capacity (500 x 0.75 = 375).

While all the above is happening, the shipyard can still build ships. A third section called Create Task is at the bottom of this tab. This includes the following controls:

Task Type dropdown: Tasks available are Construction, Refit, Repair and Scrap

New Class dropdown: Shows the class(es) that can be built in the currently selected complex

Refit From dropdown. Appears when a refit task is selected. Each Shipyard can refit any other class to their dedicated class(es). This dropdown and accompanying Ship Name dropdowns allow the user to select a ship to be refitted to the new class. This dropdown is also used (with a different label) for Repair and Scrap. Any Slipway can repair or scrap any ship of any class as long as the ship's size is within its capacity.

Ship Name box: Name of a new ship you are planning to build

Build Cost: Cost of the construction, refit, repair or scrap task.

Task Group: The fleet in which new construction will be placed. If you select a Task Group and then press Default Fleet, this Task Group will always be selected for this Shipyard.

Completion Date: Estimated date on which the task will be finished.

Required Materials: Shows list of minerals that will be consumed by this task.

Commercial Shipyards
Commercial Shipyards differ from the above in the following respects.
1) They can only build classes that are specified as Commercial Vessels in their class summary.  
2) Expansion of Commercial Shipyards costs only one tenth that of Military Shipyards. For example, adding 2000 tons of capacity to a Military Shipyard would cost 480 BP. For a Commercial Shipyard it would only cost 48 BP (and use 24 Duranium and 24 Neutronium). Retooling costs are the same as before.
3) Commercial Shipyards require only one tenth of the manpower of Military Shipyards for their size. Note that as commercial ships will generally not be ten times larger than before, this actually makes building Commercial Shipyards easier in relative terms than Military Shipyards.
4) The modification rate of commercial shipyards is based on one tenth their capacity, although as the cost of increase is also one tenth of normal, this will work out to a similar expansion rate in percentage terms as Military Shipyards. Without this restriction Commercial Shipyards would grow amazingly quickly due to the faster growth rates for larger shipyards.
5) The Build Rate of Commercial Vessels is based on one quarter of their size (see Ship Construction Rates below)

Shipyards in Combat
Shipyards show up as a separate contact type for active sensors and can be targeted and fired upon. All the shipyards for one Empire in one location show up as a single contact. The size of the contact is based on the total capacity of all the shipyards with the assumption that a single slipway is twice the size of the largest ship it can build. So a single slipway of 4000 ton capacity would have the same sensor signature as an 8000 ton ship. Two shipyards at the same population, one of which had two slipways of 10,000 tons and the second with four slipways of 6000 tons (total capacity 44,000 tons) would appear as a single contact of 88,000 tons.

With regard to damage, rather than get into slipways being reduced in size, with the complexity involved if it is trying to build a ship larger than the reduced size, I have stayed with a similar model to planetary bombardment where slipways are either destroyed or unharmed by a hit. Each time a shipyard is hit, there is a chance the hit will destroy a slipway. The percentage chance of destroying a slipway is equal to:
(Damage / Capacity ) * 10000

In other words, if a shipyard with slipways of 5000 ton capacity is hit by a missile with a ten point warhead then the chance of one slipway being destroyed is: (10 / 5000) x 10000 = 20%

If the last slipway of a shipyard is destroyed, then the shipyard itself is also destroyed.

Towing Shipyards
If you have a vessel equipped with a Ship to Ship Tractor, commonly referred to as a Tug, you can tow shipyards. On the Miscellaneous tab of the Ship window where you connect tractors, there will be a list of shipyards if you are in orbit of a planet (assuming you have a tractor beam of course). Once you connect to a shipyard it is removed from its current pop and is detected (and can be attacked) separately. It also shows up in the Fleet window on the list of ships. Connecting a tractor will stop any tasks or shipyard improvements. For the purposes of movement (and detection) a shipyard is twice the size of its capacity. So a shipyard with two 6000 ton capacity slipways will be 24,000 tons. If you break the tractor link while in orbit of a pop, the shipyard will then be added to the shipyard list for that population.

Ship Construction Rates
The length of time is takes to build a ship depends on several factors. The primary one is the cost in build points. If there are two ships of the same size and the first costs fifty percent more than the second, it will also take fifty percent longer to build. The rate of ship construction is also affected by the actual size of a ship. The basis of this is that while a supertanker costs perhaps 1000x more than a fishing boat, it doesn't take 1000x as long to build. The larger shipyard needed for the supertanker can work on many more things at once than the small shipyard needed for the fishing boat. However, the reason the change in construction rate is based on ship size and not shipyard size is that it would hardly be efficient to build fishing boats in the shipyard intended for the supertanker.

The base racial Shipbuilding Rate apples to ships of size 100 (5000 tons). If a ship is a different size, the rate of shipbuilding will be:

Normal shipbuilding rate x (1+(((Class Size / 100) - 1)/2))

This is less complex than it looks. What it means is that the class size is divided by 100 to get a multiple of the base class size of 100. So a class of size 150 (7500 tons) would have a multiple of 1.5. This multiple is then reduced (or increased if less than 1) to half the distance between the multiple and 1. So for the size 150 ship, the final multiple would be 1.25.

So if the shipbuilding rate for a size 100 ship was 1000 BP per annum, the annual shipbuilding rate for a size 150 ship (7500 tons) would be 1250, for a 10,000 ton ship it would be 1500 and for a 15,000 ton ship it will be double (2000 BP per annum). A 25,000 ton ship will be built at triple the normal rate and a huge 125,000 ton Star Destroyer will be built at 12.5x the normal rate. Bear in mind that these ships will still cost the same as before and require the same resources. The shipyard will just use up wealth and resources at a faster rate.

Smaller ships will take longer than the racial shipbuilding rate would suggest. Still assuming a Racial Shipbuilding Rate of 1000 BP, a 2000 ton ship is 0.4x the size of a 5000 ton ship. Half the difference takes it to 0.7, so its annual construction rate will be 700 BP. A 1000 ton ship will be built at 600 BP per annum.

The rate at which each ship is being constructed is shown on the list of shipyard tasks and the estimated completion dates reflect the build rates. This enables large ships and very large ships to be constructed in a reasonable time while still taking longer than small ships. Of course you still need to build the shipyards capable of constructing monster ships.

The same general principles apply to shipyard modifications so you can increase the size of large shipyards more quickly. So if you want to add extra capacity to a 10,000 ton shipyard, you can do it 50% faster than adding extra capacity to a 5000 ton shipyard. Adding extra capacity to a 15,000 ton shipyard can be done at twice the rate of a 5000 ton shipyard. This applies to adding capacity, adding slipways or retooling. This means that very large shipyards become possible as their rate of size increase will escalate. Modification costs remain the same, you can just make the modification more quickly

Note that this is different from the Shipyard Operations tech, which reduces the overall cost of modifying Shipyards. A combination of the two, reducing cost and increasing modification rates, will allow very large shipyard complexes to be built in a reasonable amount of time.


Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2010, 09:43:04 AM »
Part 6: Commercial Shipping

Right, lets get back to class design. Two important early classes are freighters and colony ships, so let's look at those next. The first thing we need to do is create a design for a commercial engine so open up the Create Research Project window and select Engines. Select the last option, Engine Platform, and switch it back and forth between the options for Military Engine and Commercial Engine while checking the difference this makes to the engine design. The Commercial Engine has a higher power output, 62 instead of 25, and is much more fuel efficient, using only 10% of the fuel of a military engine of the same power. It is also classed as a commercial system, which means it will not cause a ship design on which it is mounted to become a military vessel. However, it is five times more massive which means it has a lower power-to-weight ratio of 2.48-1 compared to 5-1 for the military engine. More advanced engine tech will provide improved power to weight ratio for both military and commercial. The commercial engine is slightly more expensive in overall terms but much cheaper on a per HS basis. Make sure you have the Commercial Engine platform selected, change the name if you wish and press Create. Make sure you are in SM mode, open up the Research tab of the Economics window, change to Power and Propulsion and use Instant on the new engine.

Change back to the Class Window (F5) and press New to begin a new class design. Change the name if you wish using Rename or Auto Rename and change the hull name to Freighter. Change to the Design View tab. As with the survey ship, a few basic systems will already be included in the design. This is a cargo ship so the first thing to add is cargo holds. We'll add five holds, for a reason I'll explain in a moment. Rather than double-clicking five times, select the option for 5 just under the Available Components list and double-click Cargo Hold once (it is in the Transport & Industry section). You should now have five cargo holds in the components list and the summary display should appear as below. If you were to double-click on the components list it would remove 5 as well.

Code: [Select]
Atlas class Freighter    26000 tons     48 Crew     173 BP      TCS 520  TH 0  EM 0
1 km/s     Armour 1-78     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Maintenance Capacity 4 MSP    Max Repair 5 MSP
Cargo 25000    

Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range N/A

This design is classed as a commercial vessel for maintenance purposes
As you can see, this is a much larger vessel than the survey ships we previously designed. It has to be in order to transport factories, mines, minerals, etc.. The reason for choosing five holds is that each hold can carry 5000 cargo points and 25,000 cargo points is the exact amount needed to transport a single mine, automated mine or industrial capacity (factory in v4.8 ). You could have a freighter with three holds or seven holds and it would move 0.6 or 1.4 mines or factories but moving them in whole numbers is easier to handle. Some installations, such as Research Facilities, are so large that you little option but to move them in sections. Each cargo hold can carry just 0.01 Research Facilities so even our new freighter with five cargo holds can carry only 0.05 Research Facilities. It would take twenty freighters of this type to move a Research Facility, or twenty trips by one freighter. Here is a list of some of the transport requirements for various installations.

Industrial Capacity (Construction, Ordnance and Fighter Factories in v4.8 ): 5 Cargo Holds
Mine, Automated Mine, Fuel Refinery, Tracking Station, Mass Driver, Maintenance Facility: 5 Cargo Holds
Terraforming Installation: 25 Cargo Holds
Research Facility: 100 Cargo Holds
PDC Component: 1 Cargo Hold
Trade Goods: 0.5 Cargo Holds
Infrastructure: 0.5 Cargo Holds
Minerals: 2500 tons of minerals per cargo hold

On the left-hand side of the Class Design window. just above the list of Materials Required, is a section entitled Load Time. This should show a value of 10:10:00 and is the time in days, hours and minutes to load the current design at a planet with no spaceport. Ten days and ten hours is far too long so we need to reduce that substantially. You can do this with cargo handling systems. Make sure the number option is set back to 1 and add one cargo handling system to the design (it is just above Cargo Hold on the Available Components list). The design should now have a Cargo Handling Multiplier of 5, which  means the load time is reduced by a factor of five and should now read 2:02:00. Add a second cargo handling system and the multiplier will change to 10 and the load time to 01:01:00. The summary display should now appear as below.

Code: [Select]
Atlas class Freighter    26200 tons     68 Crew     193.5 BP      TCS 524  TH 0  EM 0
1 km/s     Armour 1-78     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Maintenance Capacity 5 MSP    Max Repair 10 MSP
Cargo 25000    Cargo Handling Multiplier 10    

Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range N/A

This design is classed as a commercial vessel for maintenance purposes
If a colony has a Commercial Spaceport then the load time for a freighter (or colony ship) will be divided by the level of that spaceport plus one. So a Level 2 spaceport would divide the load time by 3. A Level 4 Spaceport would divide the load time by 5. After you build your first Spaceport on a colony, using Industrial Capacity to do so, every additional spaceport you build increases the level by 1. If the freighter is part of a Task Force (more on those later) and the Task Force HQ is in the same system, the load time is reduced by the Task Force Logistic Rating. The Logistics Rating for the task force is a combination of the Logistic bonus of the Logistics Staff Officer plus one-third the Logistics bonus of the Task Force Commander. The Task Force window is Ctrl-F4 if you want to peek, although at this point no one will be assigned as commander or to any of the staff positions.

Time for some engines. Begin adding commercial engines one at a time until the speed moves above 500 km/s. You should have six engines at this point. Because of the lower power to weight ratio of commercial engines, commercial-engined ships tend to be slower than their military engined counterparts. This is offset by a much better fuel efficiency and no maintenance failures. In effect, commercial engines are trading a high maximum speed for fuel economy and low running costs. The summary display should now appear as below.

Code: [Select]
Atlas class Freighter    33850 tons     218 Crew     304 BP      TCS 677  TH 372  EM 0
549 km/s     Armour 1-93     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Maintenance Capacity 6 MSP    Max Repair 16 MSP
Cargo 25000    Cargo Handling Multiplier 10    

Commercial Nuclear Thermal Engine (6)    Power 62    Fuel Use 10%    Signature 62    Armour 0    Exp 1%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 26.6 billion km   (560 days at full power)

This design is classed as a commercial vessel for maintenance purposes
There is another school of thought on freighter design where you create a more expensive but faster ship. Below is the same freighter but with fifteen engines and an extra crew quarters. It is 59% more expensive and has a shorter range (although you can add more fuel storage to offset that) but it is 87% faster, which means cargo will get to its destination more quickly. Fewer of these ships could be built for the same money but they will transport more cargo over time due to their speed. Load time would be the same though so the most efficient design often will depend on how what proportion of the total travel time time the freighter will spend loading and unloading. Don't be concerned that the Max Repair cost is higher than the Maintenance Capacity as commercial vessels don't suffer maintenance failures. They can use the maintenance supplies for damage control but if this vessel is under attack then lack of maintenance supplies will be the least of its problems.

Code: [Select]
Atlas class Freighter    45350 tons     448 Crew     483.5 BP      TCS 907  TH 930  EM 0
1025 km/s     Armour 1-113     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Maintenance Capacity 7 MSP    Max Repair 16 MSP
Cargo 25000    Cargo Handling Multiplier 10    

Commercial Nuclear Thermal Engine (15)    Power 62    Fuel Use 10%    Signature 62    Armour 0    Exp 1%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 19.8 billion km   (224 days at full power)

This design is classed as a commercial vessel for maintenance purposes
Let's move on to a colony ship. Copy the Freighter Design, rename the new class and select Colony Ship for the hull name. Remove the five cargo holds but leave the two cargo handling systems. The design should appear as below

Code: [Select]
Mayflower class Colony Ship    8300 tons     193 Crew     197.5 BP      TCS 166  TH 372  EM 0
2240 km/s     Armour 1-36     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Maintenance Capacity 15 MSP    Max Repair 16 MSP
Cargo Handling Multiplier 10    

Commercial Nuclear Thermal Engine (6)    Power 62    Fuel Use 10%    Signature 62    Armour 0    Exp 1%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 108.4 billion km   (560 days at full power)

This design is classed as a commercial vessel for maintenance purposes
Start adding Cryogenic Transport Modules and watch as each one gradually reduces overall speed. Lets stick with four as that will keep the speed above the 1000 km/s level. You can play around with colony ships by changing the number of engines and number of modules to find something you like or perhaps create different types, such as small, fast ships or large ponderous ones. Here is the design with four modules.

Code: [Select]
Mayflower class Colony Ship    18550 tons     233 Crew     623.5 BP      TCS 371  TH 372  EM 0
1002 km/s     Armour 1-62     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Maintenance Capacity 21 MSP    Max Repair 16 MSP
Colonists 40000    Cargo Handling Multiplier 10    

Commercial Nuclear Thermal Engine (6)    Power 62    Fuel Use 10%    Signature 62    Armour 0    Exp 1%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 48.5 billion km   (560 days at full power)

This design is classed as a commercial vessel for maintenance purposes
The civilian sector will use your current designs when building their own ships so over time you will probably see a few of these designs belonging to civilian shipping lines. With the civilian sector in mind, lets design a third ship type. Copy the Colony Ship, rename the new class and select Luxury Liner as the hull type. Remove the four cryogenic transport modules and replace them with four Luxury Passenger Accommodation. Note that the Required Crew is now a lot higher so you will have to add two more crew quarters as well to get rid of a design error that has appeared in the bottom right. The resulting design should look like this.

Code: [Select]
Mauretania class Luxury Liner    18650 tons     603 Crew     653.5 BP      TCS 373  TH 372  EM 0
997 km/s     Armour 1-62     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Maintenance Capacity 22 MSP    Max Repair 16 MSP
Passengers 1000    Cargo Handling Multiplier 10    

Commercial Nuclear Thermal Engine (6)    Power 62    Fuel Use 10%    Signature 62    Armour 0    Exp 1%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 48.2 billion km   (560 days at full power)

This design is classed as a commercial vessel for maintenance purposes
Although there is no reason to build this design yourself, except perhaps for role-playing reasons, the shipping lines will occasionally decide to build passenger liners to transport people between established colonies or take a small amount of colonists to a new world. These trips generate as much income for the shipping lines (and tax money for you) as a colony ship of similar size and they are usually earning money in both directions. The civilians will use this design as the basis for those liners. You can play about with different liner designs (and colony ships/freighters) if you want to see more variety among the civilian ships, although as tech improves over time and you build new designs the civilians will pick up on those too.


Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2010, 12:59:07 PM »
Part 7: Fast OB Creation window and Basic Fleet Orders

The Fast OB Creation window allows you to quickly set up your starting forces without having to build them. Go to the main menu bar and select the Fast OB Creation menu item. This opens the a small window with the title Create Racial Order of Battle. The top left section will show your Empire and Species, a dropdown with available task groups, a dropdown of available classes, a text entry box for Number and a read-only field for Total Cost. Below that is the Remaining Build Points section with a suggested amount of build points with which to create your starting forces. As you add starting forces, the amount of BPs will be deducted from these values. If you have been following the tutorial, these values will be 5000 for ships and 2500 for PDCs. Lets start by creating a couple of geological survey ships. Select the Survey Task Group and the whatever class name you used for the geosurvey ship. If you can't remember which one that is, select each class in turn and look at the right-hand panel, which displays the class summary. Type 2 in the Number field and press the Add button. The Remaining Build Points for ships will be reduced, probably to 4399.


Leave that window for now and open up the Task Groups window (F12). In Aurora, most players use the terms 'task group' and 'fleet' interchangeably so this is often called the Fleet window. You will use this window a lot and it contains many different functions. I am only going to cover a few of them right now but we will revisit this window as the tutorial progresses. In the top left is the Empire dropdown with your Empire selected. The second dropdown is a list of task groups. Select the Survey Task Group. You should now see the two survey ships listed in the grid control in the top right of the window. Several useful pieces of information are shown including the fuel and maintenance situation, their ammo and shields (if they had any), how much time they have accumulated on their maintenance clocks since their last overhaul, their thermal signature, their grade bonus and their task force training points. I'll cover the last two columns later in the tutorial

There are three list boxes in the left centre of the window entitled System Locations Available, Actions Available and Plotted Move. System Locations contains a list of the all the places in the system where you can set an order. At the moment there will only be the nine planets listed (Aurora hasn't caught up to dwarf planets yet). There is a section called System Location Display Options above this listbox, which contains a series of twelve checkboxes. These can be toggled on and off to show addition system locations. Try clicking on Moons for example and you will see all the moons in the solar system have been added to the list. Uncheck the Moons checkbox to get rid of them. Now click on Mars in the System Locations list. A list of possible actions for the two survey ships will be shown in the Actions Available list. As an example, select Geological Survey and press Add Move. An order for Geological Survey Mars appears in the Plotted Move list. Now click on Venus. This time, instead of using Add Move, just double-click on Geological Survey. A second order now appear for Geological Survey Venus.

If we advanced time at this point, the small fleet of two ships would begin following those orders. However, there are a lot easier ways to survey the Sol system then selecting every planet in turn. Press Remove twice to delete the orders. Now change to the Special Orders / Organization tab. Down the left hand side of this tab are several options for setting up automated orders for fleets. The first section, Protect Threat Axis, is used to create formations for battle fleets and we will look at in detail later. Essentially though, it means you can select one fleet as the main body of a larger formation and set other fleets to maintain positions relative to that fleet's course or relative to both the fleet and a hostile contact. It could be as simple as telling an escort to maintain a position 200,000 kilometers from the fleet in the direction of contact xyz, extending the point defence coverage of the fleet in that direction. You might set two escorts at 500,000 kilometers twenty degrees either side of the line of movement, or perhaps two scouts out at 10 million kilometers, forty degrees wither side of the line of movement, to act as sensor pickets, etc.. A supply ship with the battle fleet might be set 2 million kilometers away at a bearing of 180 degrees from a specified threat so it will always remain at the far side of the fleet. As the main body moves, all those fleets with formation orders will change their positions accordingly, although ships without fleet training will be shaky when it comes to holding exact formations. Each escort can be set with a different threat direction so you can create quite complex formations.

The next section, Default Orders, is the first one we are really interested in. If a fleet has no orders, it will attempt to carry out its primary default order. If that isn't possible, it will attempt to carry out its secondary default order. Look down the list of possible primary orders and select Survey Next Five System Bodies. This means that if the fleet has nothing else to do, it will choose five system unsurveyed bodies, starting with the closest to its current position, then whichever is closest to that system body and so on, until it has selected five. Then it will work its way down the list.

While we are in this section, lets set up some conditional orders as well. In the Conditional Order A section, select the Condition "Fuel less than 30%" and the Order "Refuel at Colony within 4 Jumps". Conditional Orders are checked every increment and will override any existing orders. As soon as this ship's fuel is less than 30% it will stop whatever it is doing and head for the nearest source of fuel. Once refuelled, it will have no orders so it will fall back on its default orders again.

Survey ships work best independently so lets split the fleet into two. Select one of the ships in the grid control and press the Detach button (bottom right). This is now a separate fleet. Set up the same default and conditional orders for this fleet too and then reselect the original Survey Task Group. As this is a single ship as well, press Rename TG (bottom left) and give it the same name as the ship so the two geo survey fleets have similar names. Now swap back to the Task Group Orders view. In a text box at the centre right you should see a summary of the default and conditional orders you created.

Moment of truth time. Open up the F3 System Map and press the 5 second button under Increment Time, on the far left of the upper of the two time bars. This will advance time by 5 seconds and give the two survey fleets an opportunity to work out their orders. If you check the order list for each of the two fleets, they should have selected some destinations for geological surveys. Notice that they have picked different destinations. This is because the two fleets are aware of what each other is doing and they will avoid duplication. Even if you had six fleets, they would still all work as a team. Later in the game you may meet alien races and set up geological survey treaties that mean the two Empires will share new geological survey data with each other. If survey fleets from two Empires with such a treaty are in the same system, they will also work as a team as if they were all from the same Empire. Essentially, you have setup all the orders you need for a geosurvey of the Sol system. The two ships will get on with their task, notifying you of any mineral deposits and returning to Earth to refuel as necessary. Eventually, you may receive a message that they cannot find anything else to survey, at which point you will need to decide where to send them next.

Lets now set up their gravitational survey cousins. Go back to the Fast OB Creation window and find the Gravitational Survey Design. Add two of them to the Shipyard TG task group. Now go back to the F12 task group window and open the Shipyard TG Window. Select one of the gravitational survey ships and press Detach. Set up a default order for Survey Nearest Survey Location and select the same conditional orders as the geo survey ship. Go back to Shipyard TG and Detach the second gravitational survey ship. Set up the same default and conditional orders. Advance time 5 seconds and let them pick their first destinations. These two ships will now carry out a gravitational survey of the Sol system, searching for jump points. As with the geo ships they will work as a team. Your system map view should now look something like this:


Once you start advancing time, it is a good idea to have the events window open (Ctrl-F3) so you are kept up to date about events in your Empire.


Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2010, 03:15:11 PM »
Part 8: Economics Window: Mining and Maintenance Tab

A quick zip through this tab as it is relatively straightforward.

There are two sections on this tab. The Mining Report shows the mineral production for the colony while the second section shows an estimate of the minerals that will be consumed by maintenance facilities, based on ships currently in orbit. The number of mines and the annual production is shown above the grid control. Moving your mouse over this area will show how the production is calculated. The columns on the Mining Report are as follows:

•   Mineral: Name of the mineral
•   Quantity: Amount of raw mineral remaining within the planet’s core
•   Accessibility: The ease of mining for that particular mineral, ranging from 0.1 to 1.0. A mineral with an accessibility of 1.0 will be mined at the same rate as the annual production shown above. Lower accessibility minerals will be mined at a lower production rate based. For example, if a colony has an annual production of 5000 tons, then 5000 tons of each accessibility 1.0 mineral will be produced but only 3500 tons of an accessibility 0.7 mineral and only 500 tons of an accessibility 0.1 mineral. For planets and moons, if a mineral's accessibility is greater than 0.1 it will begin to fall once you have mined out half the mineral. The accessibility will reach 0.1 shortly before the mineral deposit is exhausted
•   Annual Production: The amount in tons of the mineral produced per year, based on the total production of the colony’s mines multiplied by the accessibility of the mineral
•   Years to depletion: How long it will be before this planet runs out of this type of mineral, based on the number of mines for this population only. Note if that if other races also have populations on this planet, the mineral deposit may be exhausted more quickly.
•   Stockpile: The total amount of refined minerals available at this population
•   Recent Stockpile: The change in stockpile since the last 5-day increment. This shows whether the stockpile is rising or falling, based on mining production and the use of minerals by factories, shipyards, etc.
•   Mass Driver: The total amount of minerals delivered or dispatched by mass drivers since the last 5-day increment.
•   Stockpile plus Production: An estimate of the stockpile in one year’s time, based on the current stockpile plus one year’s production
•   Projected Usage. The projected use of this mineral based on the queues for ordnance, fighters, construction, shipyard tasks, etc

The second section on this tab shows a list of all ship classes currently using the population’s maintenance facilities (if any exist) and what minerals will be used over the course of a year in supporting these ships.


Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2010, 04:37:54 PM »
These tutorials are superb Steve...keep 'em coming.  I'm glad you're snowed in!

Offline Elmo

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2010, 06:10:14 PM »
I agree.  Great stuff.  Thank you.

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: V4.77 Tutorial
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2010, 11:45:35 AM »
Part 9: Colony Cost and Terraforming

I recently answered a question on terraforming so I am going to convert that answer into the next section of the tutorial.

Firstly, lets talk atmospheres. Our own atmosphere has a variety of gases but only Nitrogen, Oxygen and Argon are 1% or above. Everything else is in tiny amounts. Aurora only bothers with the major gases in a planetary atmosphere so planets will generally start with no more than three gases in their atmosphere. Open up the Economics window and take a look at the Environment tab for Earth. The list of gases in the Atmospheric Data section shows the following information:

Nitrogen 79% 0.79 atm
Oxygen 20%  0.2 atm
Argon 1% 0.01 atm
Total Atmospheric Pressure: 1

This shows both the percentage of each gas in the atmosphere and the atmospheric pressure (atm) of each gas. As the atm amount is based on Earth's atmospheric pressure of 1, the atm figures match the percentages. Lets create a colony on Mars and compare this to its atmosphere. Open up the F9 System View window, which provides detailed information on every body in a star system (you can open this by pressing the orange sun icon at the middle top of the system map). It is useful to check this view every time you find a new system, just to see what types of planets you have found and their colony cost (more on colony cost later). If there is more than one star in the system, each star and any associated planets will be on a separate tab. If the System View is slow to load, switch to the options tab and select Hide Asteroids then switch back to the Sol-A tab. Select Mars and press the Add Colony button. Open the Economics window, or press Refresh All (middle bottom) if it is already open. You should see a new colony for Mars. Select it and take a look at the Environment tab. The atmospheric data shows:

Nitrogen 70% 0.007 atm
Carbon Dioxide 30%  0.003 atm
Total Atmospheric Pressure: 0.01

The atmospheric pressure on Mars is only about 1% of that on Earth so the atm figures are tiny. In effect, Mars has almost no atmosphere at all. The atmospheric pressure on Venus is about 100x greater than on Earth and 10,000x greater than Mars.

The principle of Terraforming in Aurora is based on changing the atmosphere in order to alter the environment of the planet so it is suitable for your species. Before getting into how that works, we should probably discuss how you know what is suitable for your species. Each species in Aurora has environmental tolerances with their midpoint being their homeworld. The habitability of planets will vary considerably depending on the species tolerances so a world that is ideal for humans may be uninhabitable for some other species and vice versa. Way back in Part 1 of the tutorial, covering game creation, we entered some values in the Species Tolerance section of the New Game window to set these values for human. As a reminder, those were a maximum deviation in oxygen pressure of 50%, a max deviation in gravity of 70%, a max deviation in temperature of 22 and a max atmospheric pressure to 4.

Fortunately you don't have to remember those as you can find them in the top right of the F9 System View Window. Open it up and take a look. The section is called Environmental Tolerances. The first item is a dropdown showing the selected species while the second shows which gas that species can breathe. You can have methane breathers in Aurora in which case every reference to oxygen in this tutorial would read as methane. There are four rows below this showing the min/max for gravity, oxygen and temperature and the max for pressure. If you are playing through this tutorial from the start, those values should show that an ideal habitable world for humans will have a temperature between 0 and 44C, an oxygen pressure between 0.1 and 0.3 atm, a gravity between 0.3G and 1.7G and a maximum atmospheric pressure of 4.0 atm.

In addition to the individual species tolerances, the requirements for an ideal habitable world are no dangerous gases such as Chlorine or Hydrogen Sulphide and a maximum oxygen percentage of 30%. A planet that doesn't meet the gravity criterion is uninhabitable and there is nothing you can do about that. Falling outside one or more of the other criteria means the planet will have a colony cost above zero. The colony cost measures the amount of infrastructure required to support the population. The formula for required infrastructure is Population in millions x Colony Cost x 100. So a population of one million on a planet with a colony cost of 2 would need 200 infrastructure. A population of 15 million on a population with a colony cost of 0.8 would need 15 x 0.8 x 100 = 1200 infrastructure. If there is insufficient infrastructure for the population there will be negative growth, with the percentage based on how bad the shortage is, as well as unrest. You don't need to remember the formula as each population will show the max population for the available infrastructure.

Note that you can put ground bases, troops, sensors etc. on any world except a gas giant, regardless of the habitability. If you want an actual population though, which you will need to run shipyards, factories, etc,, then the planet has to be habitable or at least have enough infrastructure for the inhabitants.

The colony cost is calculated in the following way. The five checks below this paragraph are made. Whichever results in the highest colony cost, that will be the colony cost for the planet. You can see these factors in the Colony Cost Factors section in the lower left of the F9 view for the currently selected planet.

1) If the atmosphere is not breathable, the colony cost is 2.0.

2) If there are toxic gases in the atmosphere then the colony cost will be 2.0 for some gases and 3.0 for others.

3) If the pressure is too high, the colony cost will be equal to the Atmospheric Pressure  divided by the species maximum pressure with a minimum of 2.0

4) If the oxygen percentage is above 30%, the colony cost will be 2.0

5) The colony cost for a temperature outside the range is Temperature Difference / Temperature Deviation. So if the deviation was 22 and the temperature was 48 degrees below the minimum, the colony cost would be 48/22 = 2.18

In the case of Mars, the gravity is OK, the atmosphere is not breathable, there are no toxic gases, the pressure is not too high, there is no oxygen and the temperature is too low. Therefore the colony cost will either be 2.0 for the lack of a breathable atmosphere or the colony cost for the temperature differential, whichever is higher. Assuming the temperature colony cost was 2.18, which would also be the colony cost for Mars, the best way to start terraforming would be to warm up the planet until the temperature colony cost was less than 2.0, at which point the lack of a breathable atmosphere would became the main issue and you could start adding oxygen. Once the atmosphere was breathable, you would go back to worrying about temperature.

Terraformers can add or remove a small amount of a selected gas over time. The amount added is measured in atmospheric pressure (atm). Note that as you add atm for one gas, the percentages of the different gases in the atmosphere will change. A single terraforming module or single terraforming installation with basic tech can add 0.001 atm per year. In other words, it could generate Earth's atmosphere in about 1000 years. That can be improved by researching the racial terraforming rate and by building more terraformers. Mars and Venus are both hard to terraform because their atmospheric pressure is so different to Earth's. Mars essentially has no atmosphere and you have to start almost from scratch. The first thing you need to do to make an atmosphere breathable is to ensure the atm of oxygen in the atmosphere falls within your species' tolerance for Oxygen. Assuming the tutorial values for human tolerances, on Mars you would need to create enough oxygen to get the oxygen atm to 0.1, which for one terraformer at the basic tech level of 0.001 per annum will take 100 years. If you had twenty terraformers though, it would only take five years. Increasing the Terraforming rate to 0.002 would halve the time. As you may have guessed, terraforming requires a considerable investment of time and resources.

So you get the 0.1 atm of oxygen into the Martian atmosphere. Is it breathable? Unfortunately not because pure oxygen atmospheres are a bad idea. Apart from the unfortunate consequences of striking a match, breathing pure oxygen over long periods causes lung damage. So an atmosphere in Aurora is not breathable unless the oxygen content is 30% or less. So if we need at least 0.1 atm of oxygen and that can't be more than 30% of the total atmospheric pressure, what does that total atmospheric pressure need to be? 0.1 * 100/30 = 0.333, so we need a total atm of 0.334 or another 0.234 atm, which will take another 234 years for the lonely terraformer. This can be any non-Toxic gas. Nitrogen is a reasonable choice or if you also need to change the temperature too, either up or down, you can use a greenhouse gas or an anti-greenhouse gas. For Mars, Carbon Dioxide would be ideal, although you could also use the abstract Safe Greenhouse Gas.

As you add or subtract any type of gas to/from the atmosphere, the atmosphere will be updated and that will also affect the temperature. Every system body has a base temperature and a surface temperature. The base temperature is based on the solar infall from the star (or stars in binary systems) while the surface temperature includes adjustments for atmosphere and planetary albedo (which is the reflectivity of the surface). The formulas used are shown on the Environment tab of the Economics window

Surface Temperature in Kelvin = Base Temperature in Kelvin x Greenhouse Factor x Albedo

Greenhouse Factor = 1 + (Atmospheric Pressure /10) + Greenhouse Pressure (Maximum = 3.0)

So every gas adds a little to the greenhouse factor but greenhouse gases add 10x as much. You get other benefits from warming as well. If the hydrosphere for a planet is Ice Sheet rather than Liquid Water (check the F9 view again), then at a certain point the ice will melt and form oceans. This will change the albedo because the ice that was reflecting heat back into space just melted and you will see a jump in temperature. The amount of albedo change is based on the extent of the ice sheet (F9 again) plus a random factor.

As the pressure increases, you will see the percentages of different gases changing. If there is enough oxygen in terms of atm then once the oxygen percentage drops below 30%, the atmosphere will be breathable

Venus is almost impossible to terraform in Aurora. Each species has a maximum atmospheric pressure (Check F9 again to see yours). Before anything else, you would need to reduce Venus below that point. Assuming your species tolerance is about 4 atm then reducing the Venusian atmosphere, which has a pressure for 100, to that level would take our solo terraformer 96,000 years  

You best bet for terraforming is to find a planet where the conditions are much closer to those on Earth. For example, you might find one with the right temperature and sufficient atmospheric pressure but the oxygen atm is 0.08 instead of the required 0.1 (or whatever your min oxygen atm tolerance is). Making this atmosphere breathable would involve adding just 0.02 atm of oxygen, which would take the solo terraformer 20 years, or 1 year for 20 terraformers. Equally, a planet with an already breathable atmosphere that is a little too hot or too cold can be made ideal by adding/subtracting greenhouse gases or adding anti-greenhouse gas.

Another consideration is Dangerous gases. An atmosphere will never be breathable if it contains gases such as Bromine, Chlorine, Sulphur Dioxide, Methane, Ammonia, Flourine, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Sulphide, etc. All these will have to be extracted from the atmosphere by your terraformers

Terraformers can even be used as weapons. If you found a planet where you wanted to loot the industry but you didn't want to bombard or invade, you could slowly extract the oxygen from the atmosphere.

The actual mechanics of using terraforming in the game interface are relatively straightforward. If you have any terraforming installations on a planet or any ships with terraforming modules in orbit, go to the Environment tab, select the gas you want and check the Add Gas checkbox if you want to add the gas rather than remove it. Terraforming installations can be built by industrial capacity and transported to a different planet with freighters. A Terraforming Ship is easy to design. Copy your freighter design, remove the cargo holds and cargo handling systems and add a Terraforming Module (or perhaps two). If you don't yet have Terraforming module tech, you can Instant it or research it using the Research tab of the Economics window. It is under Construction / Production



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