Author Topic: This is the end of From the Ashes  (Read 1332 times)

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Offline Haji

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This is the end of From the Ashes
« on: November 22, 2017, 04:18:42 PM »
Edit: for those reading for the first time, originally I was on the fence about the issue. The final decision has been made later and is described in a later post, here in this topic

For those who don't read comments to the updates, I recently returned to Aurora and resumed my From the Ashes campaign. Unfortunately the current fire exchange (which consists of missiles targeted at ships and anti-missiles trying to stop them) has been computing for over thirty hours with no end in sight. Worse Aurora sometimes have troubles when turning it off and on, with hostile ships not being detected until the next increment and missiles loosing target lock. As such I'm afraid of stopping the game during missile flights - but I also don't want to leave my laptop running for days without any break. As such it may very well be literally impossible for me to continue the campaign.

Even if that was not the case playing out a single battle over a course of an entire month isn't exactly fun either. Last but not least the C# version of Aurora is coming. I intended to continue the campaign (I have at least a couple of years invested into it) but with this battle I'm more convinced than ever that I should start over once the faster version comes out.

This haven't been fully decided yet and I'll see what I can do about this battle, but to be honest, this is just too pointlessly slow.

For those who are interested in such things, I'll pot below what my hopes, and plans, for the campaign were. If you don't want to know, don't enter the spoiler section.

Initially there were supposed to be three battles against the Destroyers. The first one was against a single ship and played out more or less the way I planned. The major difference from what I wanted was that there were no large Commune colonies I could sacrifice without leaving them essentially defenceless against the Hegemony, so the death toll was quite low. The second battle was supposed to involve a proper alien battlefleet, against which the humanity would have to stand united. Unfortunately the technology was progressing far too fast. I did not want to halt the research completely, as that would be boring but I also didn't want humans to achieve the same level as their chief enemy. I did what I could to slow things down (I begun researching everything no matter how useful and I stopped expansion of the research sectors) but considering my other plans there was simply no time to set up this battle when it was supposed to happen - before the final showdown between the Commune and the Hegemony. The third battle was supposed to be the end of the campaign and it involved human attack against the enemy colony responsible for patrolling and pacifying this area of space. This would effectively neutralised the threat for hundreds of years, giving humanity time to build up war machine capable of easily resisting the enemy.

That however was something of a backdrop. The Destroyers were designed to drive events, but they weren't supposed to be large part of the campaign. The primary purpose of this particular game was to set up war of proper scale, scale I have not seen in any other write up so far (if I missed it please tell me, I haven't checked all the fiction on this forum). And no, I'm not talking about the number of ships, I'm talking about strategic scale - multiple points of contact involving very difficult decisions as to where, when and how to attack.

The truth is however I have failed. I didn't realise how fast technology would advance and the need to keep the campaign from becoming stale and boring meant events were happening faster, in relation to the expansion, than I wanted them to. In the end this campaign would still probably be the single largest one so far, but the Hegemony and the Commune would have only three or four points of contact, and while the latter had numerous systems, the inhabited area wasn't really that large. It would still be interesting, I think, just not to the level I wanted it to when I begun the campaign.

As for the future events, the next part was supposed to be a Hegemony stealth assault on the Commune, that would result in significant loses of automated mines and fuel harvesters - I think. Since I never done something like that something might have cropped out that would change the events. The Confederation was supposed to be taken over by the Hegemony and added to them. Eventually a proper attack on the Commune would commence. As this is still far in the future, in terms of real time and game years, it is next to impossible for me to formulate how this would go. I think however the Hegemony would not try to strike the capital directly and immediately - I think I would have them try to destroy outlying fleets with superior forces first, although I have no idea if that would have been even possible, considering the Commune superior speed and vast detection net.

I also don't think the Republic would fight in the war directly. Unless the Commune suffered much heavier initial loses than I anticipated, I intended to have Phoenix intervene indirectly, taking over the Commune defence against the Travellers, freeing the fleets to fight the Hegemony. However I also intended to have the Commune being hasty and allowing one of the Traveller fleets enter their space before Republican forces could arrive, leading to several planets being burned down. Ultimately I think the combined forces of the Commune and the Republic would be victorious. In the aftermath (if that happened) the two alien races would be liberated and most of the Hegemony worlds would secede, creating a new human power. New Earth would remain under Hegemony control, together with some other colonies, but they would be a shadow of their former selves. Some time later the final showdown with the Destroyers would happen.

I was also considering two more events. First I wanted the Republic to fight a Traveller invasion force which arrived in a previously unscouted system and had time to entrench. However in the end it would be more of the same of what the Hegemony and the Commune were doing so it's unlikely to have happened. The second thing was for the Kinharans to perform an exodus similar to that of the Republic, but ending in an area of space close to the Commune. This almost certainly would have happened, and I already prepared ships to perform the exodus (as in they were designed and built by a government who was considering that as an action of the last resort in case of a defeat, so they weren't SMed in).


Hope you enjoyed the series. As I said, I'll try to get through this latest battle, but if I can't I'll post the last update (I have some new material) before confirming the end of the series.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 08:41:09 PM by Haji »
 

Offline Rewstyr

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Re: This may be a good bye
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 09:08:46 PM »
That's too bad to hear, though I understand.   Can I suggest you start with a new campaign using the current read?  Your stories are fun to read and would be nice to have more before c# comes out.

Rewstyr
 
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Offline Haji

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Re: This may be a good bye
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2017, 01:30:06 PM »
The end of the campaign is not yet certain, especially as it is something of an emotional rollercoster for me. I begun determined to see this through, then I was disillusioned due to the endless increments and now that the first part of the battle is over I'm cautiously hopeful again. Even so I'm not sure I'll ever have the strength to see this game to the proper conclusion as even if I can get past this part, the same endless battle will just await me later.
As for starting a new campaign with the current build it's unlikely to happen. It truth I had many more campaigns played - and written - than what is here, but I see no reason to waste time, mine and yours, if this will result in just another 4-8 episode write up. There are dozens of interesting games written here on the fiction forum, but most of them aren't even worth reading, not because the author was bad, but because they ended so early, they couldn't reach their own potential. As such even if I begun playing now, I would not begin posting until I knew I would continue the game for a reasonable amount of time, so the first posts would be months in the future. Not only that but I'm pretty certain now I will be starting anew when C# is coming so any game I start will be temporary and unfinished by design. As such I'm not sure there would be a point to posting it.
If you really want to read some more of my play however, I'll post below some other campaigns in Open Office format. Please note those have not been double checked which means there will be many mistakes, some content I may have cut out due to it being boring and no screenshots. And of course they are by their very nature, unfinished.

A quick note on the four I attached.

Bloated Sun - One of the longer and more interesting of my campaigns, but I lost the save so I can't hope to continue it.
New Cold War - my current campaign I played as a break from this one. I like the base premise but it ended up progressing somewhat different than I wanted it to so I'm not sure I'll continue
Low Economy Game - it is rather short but quite different from most of my games as it has large number of powers. The writing style is also different, aping the one used by Steve in his colonial wars campaign.
The Hegemony - a very short campaign, that is probably equivalent to two updates. However by using house rules I changed the way battles are fought and I think it's quite interesting. It's added here more for novelty than anything else.
 

Offline Rewstyr

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Re: This may be a good bye
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2017, 08:18:20 AM »
Cool thanks.

Rewstyr
 

Offline Michael Sandy

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Re: This may be a good bye
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2017, 11:12:48 PM »
Reading the Hegemony write up, I really enjoyed the Big Battleship battles.  Something occurred to me about the Unicorn missile ships.

If you are firing missiles exclusively at point blank range, you can use very small missile fire controls.  Antimissile defenses based on long ranged missile fire presume also that the missile fire controls are larger and more expensive.

But if you can hit your target with a .1 HS missile fire control, you could have a fire control for each launcher.  Conceivably, you could overwhelm the defensive fire controls at a slightly longer range.

Of course, a missile heavier strategy runs into even greater logistical limitations for the Kingdom.

While it is possible to set initial conditions, especially in terms of existing shipyard sizes, to favor big battleship vs big battleship fights, in the longer term I do not think that it is stable.
 

Offline Person012345

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Re: This may be a good bye
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2017, 04:24:39 PM »
It's an unfortunate property of the VB6 version of aurora. Steve has indicated that there are massive performance gains for C#, so maybe you could roughly recreate the scenario when that comes out using SM and continue on from there, detailing any significant changes? Otherwise, starting a new campaign in C# would be the way to go.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2017, 04:28:13 PM by Person012345 »
 

Offline Haji

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Re: This may be a good bye
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2017, 08:39:59 PM »
My apologies for the lack of updates but the pre-Christmas rush was a little worse than I expected. Unfortunately I do not bring good news, as I decided to abandon the campaign. While I think I could technically finish it the sheer amount of time and effort needed for that could be much better spend elsewhere. I will likely be posting one last update, as I have some new material, but that will be it. I'm also attaching the Commune map to this post for those interested. The Republican map is largely irrelevant (as they haven't expanded) and the Hegemony map is mostly up to date, not counting some systems in the Commune space they have found recently. If you have any questions about the campaign, what was going behind the scenes or something like that, ask away. Please note in such situations I won't be using spoiler tags any more.

It's an unfortunate property of the VB6 version of aurora. Steve has indicated that there are massive performance gains for C#, so maybe you could roughly recreate the scenario when that comes out using SM and continue on from there, detailing any significant changes? Otherwise, starting a new campaign in C# would be the way to go.

Unfortunately I won't be trying to recreate the campaign in the new Aurora. I'm sure some reasons are obvious (technology will be changing significantly and I can't custom-build systems so there would be significant differences) but the biggest issue is that it's too much work.

Truth be told I tried to create a large scale campaign many times before but the amount of work required to set it up was simply too great. The closest I ever got was a two hundred system map that was about half done and the front was only five jumps from Sol on it's shallowest point, so it wasn't really that large scale. It took me a couple of weeks to get that far and the initial setup information (and notes to myself) were eighty pages long, or about one fifth as long as the entire From the Ashes write-up. Even so and despite sinking so much time and effort I just couldn't force myself to continue, as setting up the game is in many ways the most boring and frustrating part of the game.

Having said that I will almost certainly start a new campaign when the new Aurora comes, although it's very likely any write ups won't come out immediately. I'm very much looking forward to the changes to colonisation, such as much cheaper space habitats, low-grav infrastructure and population caps. Even more importantly, From the Ashes and other campaigns have given me a lot of experience with long (100 years+) games and I'm eager to put that into practice.

At the same time it will be some time before the new version comes out and I won't post anything until I'm sure the campaign is interesting and properly set up, which is usually something not readily apparent and becomes evident only after certain amount of play, at least for me.

Reading the Hegemony write up, I really enjoyed the Big Battleship battles.  Something occurred to me about the Unicorn missile ships.

If you are firing missiles exclusively at point blank range, you can use very small missile fire controls.  Antimissile defenses based on long ranged missile fire presume also that the missile fire controls are larger and more expensive.

But if you can hit your target with a .1 HS missile fire control, you could have a fire control for each launcher.  Conceivably, you could overwhelm the defensive fire controls at a slightly longer range.

Of course, a missile heavier strategy runs into even greater logistical limitations for the Kingdom.

While it is possible to set initial conditions, especially in terms of existing shipyard sizes, to favor big battleship vs big battleship fights, in the longer term I do not think that it is stable.

As for the fire control things it wouldn't have happened for two reasons. First setting up two hundred fire controls would be too much of a pain. Second I'm trying to role-play my campaigns rather than play them, not only to make it more fit for my tastes, but also because, frankly, Aurora sucks as a game and can be easily exploited. As such using single-missile salvoes wouldn't happen because it's too gamey for my taste

As for sustainability of large ships in purely technical terms you are correct, but I would try very hard to make it work - by setting up new house rules or RP reasons for them to exist. The purpose of this was less due to interesting battles (it was a nice bonus) but more because I wanted for every single ship to matter. Much as I love From the Ashes, the battles are usually so large I can't even afford to post the names of dead ships as it would take too much time. This is especially annoying when I've spent hours upon hours trying to come up for a thousand ship names. But in the Hegemony campaign I would be able to describe what happened to each and every ship while having large scale, interstellar campaign. It also meant building a single capital ship was an important event as it required me to stockpile tens of thousands of TN elements - which takes time and effort to mine. This made every single ship a very precious resource, which was the whole point of the campaign in the first place.

Of course it's possible I would fail to properly justify existence of such large ships, but we'll never know, unless I try to resurrect the campaign, which I currently have no intention of doing.
 

Offline QuakeIV

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Re: This is the end of From the Ashes
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2017, 10:07:08 PM »
I can say this was quite a nice campaign to keep up with ever since I ran across it.  Out of all of them, by far the best quality attempt at a super large scale scenario.

How do you reckon the glorious carrier battle between the xenos and hegemony would have went?  It kinda sounds like they got frakked and all of their bombers got munched (all those years of industry time NoOoOoOoooo), but I cant really tell where it would have gone from there.
 
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Offline Haji

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Re: This is the end of From the Ashes
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2017, 06:14:46 PM »
Neither can I to be honest, as most of my predictions end up being wrong. Having said that there are few possibilities.

First I should probably mention that while I couldn't be bothered to write it up, I actually did finish this initial missile exchange (after two whole days of non-stop computing with seventh gen i7). There was no damage to the Kinharans but the missiles got all the way to the energy weapon range. That however does not mean that much. As the Confederation knew more missile waves will be coming they were not firing at their maximum possible speed, instead trying to limit ammunition expenditure. Once that was done the Hegemony bombers would die, as the enemy interceptors were equipped with a single 100m railgun. That would also make them respectable point defence weapons.

Once that was done the next step of the battle would be short range missile exchange. The Kinharans know they cannot hope to penetrate human defences well enough from long range, so even though they have superior missile ranges they would not fire. More importantly, they cannot know whether or not they have equivalent energy weapon reach and if they don't, missiles would be their only hope of surviving, making it even more important for them to fire for maximum effect - which means minimum range.

This would open some options for the Hegemony, but there wouldn't be much they could do with that. Obviously they could fire from long range, retreat and repeat, grinding the enemy down with multiple strikes. Unfortunately there are two problems with that. First the attack through a jump point succeeds because the defending side cannot hope to picket it at full strength at all times, due to maintenance and morale issues. But they can do so for a limited time, so if the human fleet withdraw from the system, they could not hope to return any time soon without fighting a full scale battle at the jump point, which would be equivalent to short range exchange but worse for humans, as their forces would be dispersed and suffering transit effects for a short time. So since a short range battle would happen anyway, doing so in deep space, as a concentrated force would be preferable.

Second the Hegemony simply doesn't have enough missiles. They had large enough industry to support new construction but until now they never fought a proper long war and they were simply unprepared for how much ammunition it demanded. They are expanding their industry and by now they have over five thousand ordnance factories, but their stockpiles are rather low and it will take time for them to build them up. Plus truth be told five thousand factories isn't that much.

So as a result I intended the Hegemony force to close to one million kilometres and fire, with the Confederation firing as well in response. One important thing to remember - the fire controls in Aurora are very basic, which means the anti-missiles would be fired at the nearest threat and interceptors are faster. So it is very likely that most anti-missiles fired in this situation would be fired against enemy anti-missiles, making them next to useless, especially if both sides fire anti-missiles just before firing their shipkilelrs as decoys. I could assign targets by hand.... but that just wouldn't happen, not with several hundred ships, even if Aurora was properly responsive. As an additional note, the Kinharans suspect the larger ships are carriers, so they wouldn't be targeted, as their bombers are destroyed. I'm not even sure I would brought them into range anyway, but by the same token their very large size, and CIWS make them very resilient to fire, making them reasonable missile soaks, so I probably would bring them in.

And this is where my ability to predict things is at an end, as I simply can't even hope to guess the results of this exchange. As eleven largest Hegemony warships are either carriers or jump battleships, and they have all those other jump ships with no armament, they have effectively only about six million tonnes of shipping against thirteen million tonnes of Kinharan shipping, but they also have superior technology, they have many assault destroyers which have heavy missile armament and their jump battleships have not only very heavy gauss cannon armament, but also anti-missiles in single shot box launchers, theoretically ideal for this kind of combat. In addition while both sides have the same energy weapon range, those ranges are greater than they were at the start of the war and the Kinharans were unable to upgrade their ships. As such the Hegemony may actually have an edge in beam ranges.

Of course the Kinharans had a surprise for humans - microwave beams, which would disable sensors and fire controls. But I'm not sure what kind of impact they would have.

In the end, unless the Hegemony have achieved crushing victory (which seems unlikely) the war would have moved to another stalemate.

If the Kinharans won, they would not even dream of attacking, as they simply do not have enough strategic depth to risk it, especially with their technological inferiority. If they were turning to be too tough a nut to crack for the Hegemony, I might have make the Confederation attack due to popular pressure, demanding liberation of those left in the Albuquerque system, but even if I did this it would not have happened for years to come.

If the Hegemony won, but sustained heavy loses, that would be that. The government would be unwilling to further uncover their core systems, so any reinforcements would have to be a a new construction, and more fighters would be needed. I should also probably point out that a couple of carrier groups were formed without any larger escorts (frigates only) to support the war and at least one other group was further stripped of destroyers and cruisers to support the newest offensive. As a result, while the capital is protected by several carriers with full fighter groups and large number of frigates, the number of larger escorts is very, very limited.

In addition the Confederation was planning on establishing proper jump point defences, consisting of barely mobile bases (just a single engine for redeployment) with very long endurance. So far those haven't been deployed because there aren't enough of them to survive the kind of attack the Hegemony could launch, but they could halt further human offensive if the loses of this battle were heavy enough. In addition, while I haven't specifically checked that, there should be more ships in training and I know there are many picket ships (deployed because of Auroran degradation of stability without enough forces) that could be called forward. Even if that wasn't the case, if the Hegemony was victorious, but left with only a couple of dozen ships and empty carriers, they simply could not risk attacking anyway. Which is why unless the battle ended up being very one sided and in favour of the humans, a new, possibly even longer stalemate would happen.
 

 

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