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Messages - Detros

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1
The Academy / Re: Population vs Wealth
« on: April 19, 2017, 06:12:59 PM »
I wish financial centers were transportable like other installations are.  Then you could just fill up your terraformed but mineral-less worlds with financial centers built elsewhere, and plunk a wealth bonus leader on them.  Pretend the whole planet is a giant call center, cold call selling products made elsewhere to markets all over your empire. ;)

I can see it now...

"Sir! The invading aliens have scoured Telemarketing II to bedrock!"

"Well, they should have abided by the No Call List."
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2
Aurora / Three-way Race to Stars
« on: April 07, 2017, 11:24:20 PM »
PROLOGUE

On 4th of January, 2015, the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) sent its monthly update to Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Among the hundreds of IR shots that the spacecraft had taken, few were ruined by a bright streak. While initially dismissed as a glitch, its presence in multiple shots intrigued the Deputy Principal Investigator James Bauer, who placed a call to Washington. The head of the Science Division, John Grunsfeld, was just about to ride his beloved bicycle when his phone vibrated.

"Hey John, James here. I think NEOWISE might have caught something interesting but we need to retask it for confirmation and I wanted to run that by you first", Bauer explained. Two and half thousand miles away, Grunsfeld sighed as he dumped his bike and headed back to his office.

"Let me double check things but it should be fine. What do you think you got?" He asked while walking to the elevators. Bauer waited a moment, pondering whether he should share his suspicion or not. In the end, he decided to go for it:
"A new comet, never before seen one, that is coming in hot as hell", he said.

"Hot damn, that's exactly the kind of stuff that the director can take to the Hill to justify our budget. I'll give you my permission right now and will clear it with the rest of the Division right away", Grunsfeld responded. He hadn't felt this excited since 2012, when he rode to Low Earth Orbit aboard Space Shuttle Columbia.

"Gotcha boss, we'll get to work", Bauer acknowledged and terminated the call. He had a team to whip to action.

Two weeks later, NASA held a press conference to announce the tentative discovery of a new comet, one moving at a quadruple velocity compared to Hayley's Comet and with a trajectory bringing it relatively close to Earth. In scant hours, every telescope on Earth was aimed at the fresh visitor to the inner system.

***

Susan Mullally was going through her usual work - analyzing Kepler data to find binary systems - when her colleague and boss, Jeffrey Smith, called.

"Get your ass down here right now", he said, out-of-breath, before cutting the line. Intrigued, Susan rushed to the main conference room of the SETI Institute in California. By the time she got there, a handful of other night owls had been roused by Smith, who held a manic grin on his pudgy face.

"Argentina just sent this in, listen", he said and pressed a button with a flourish. The speakers came alive with the familiar sound of interstellar background noise that their radio telescopes constantly listened to - yet there was a beep that she didn't recognize. And there it was again. And again. And again. Despite not being a 'radio guy', she did understand the significance.

"Has this been confirmed?" She asked.

"No, Argentina has trouble tracking the source for some reason, they claim it is moving. They are adjusting but now that you've heard it too, ensuring that I didn't just go crazy five minutes ago, I'm going to call every radio telescope on the planet and get them in on the search". Smith was babbling but nobody cared - this could very well be the signal that the Institute had worked for.

***

General John Hyten, Commander USAF Space Command, stared at his desk. For variety, he briefly glanced out of his window but for once the beautiful view of Colorado did not soothe his mind. He had just gotten a call from NORAD that he never expected to receive.

"If this is some kind of a prank, it is not very funny. Are you absolutely certain?"

"Yes sir, we have double, triple and quadruple checked. The facts are as solid as humanely possible", the voice on the other end answered.

"And the network boys are certain that it's not some hotshot hacker playing with us?"

"Yes sir, we thought the same thing at first but it is genuine", the voice responded.

"Very well. Thank you, I will take it from here", Hyten said and ended the call. He always thought that he would never need to call the President - if WW3 started with a nuclear strike, others would take care of that end. But this! Sighing, he picked up the phone and dialled the White House, dreading the conversation to come.

"This is General Hyten, Space Command. I am calling to inform the President that we have confirmation of a message from a non-human intelligence, outside the Earth. Yes, I'll hold"

***

Comet 2015/P/Neowise-Bauer turned out to be something else altogether. A massive probe, continuously transmitting an electronic signal. Unfortunately humanity had no method of rendezvousing with it. Thousands of images of it were taken, on every part of the EM-spectrum available, as the artificial "comet" sailed through the Solar System. The scientific community worked as one to decipher the message and, once certain mathematical regularities were discovered, the rest was easy enough, with plentiful access to super computers and the best brains on the planet. Unlike our Voyager probes, its message was not of peace and harmony. It was a warning of impending doom - but also of possible salvation.

The message clearly stated that some sort of collective intelligence, possibly of extragalactic origin, that is methodically wiping out life in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Unknown number of species had already been wiped out by them and the creators of the probe were currently fighting them - and losing. The news sent most of humanity reeling. Here was definite proof of life outside planet Earth but the worst fears of the pessimists seemed to be coming true - space was truly hostile.

Yet the probe included a glimmer of hope: knowledge of exotic materials, quickly dubbed the Trans-Newtonian minerals for their near-magical properties, that seemed to offer possibilities flying directly in opposition to the Laws of Physics as currently understood. These materials could be find on planets, moons, asteroids and comets, and when subjected to an carefully modulated electric current, could be harvested from the 'regular' minerals. With them and the information that the probe transmitted, space exploration would not only be possible but affordable and vastly more efficient than before. Even faster than light travel between the stars could be possible!

Yet humans are nothing if not set in their ways. Large portion of the population soon moved on, concerned more with their daily survival than with a possible existential crisis, and some nations preferred to go at it alone - but not all. By the end of 2015, the leading politicians of NATO, EU and the former SEATO members had gathered to announce the formation of a new supra-national organization to spearhead humanity's efforts to safeguard the planet and to spread mankind to the stars. Since both Russia and China refused to join, and none of the African, South-American or Middle-Eastern countries were interested, and out of Asia, only Japan, South-Korea, and Singapore joined, this new organization was named the Pan Oceanic Treaty Organization or PATO for short. Despite protests from both Russia and China that this new organization was a militaristic one directly aimed at them, the international reaction was subdued and, for once, the diplomatic wrangling was completed surprisingly quickly. Technocrats, taking advantage of frightened politicians and the public support, managed to iron out the startup issues in short order by the end of 2015.

In short, while the countries making up PATO retained full control of their domestic, economical and foreign policies (inside the framework of their respective other groupings and alliances, like NATO or the European Union), they all pledged to work together and to devote significant portion of their industrial, economical, scientific and military capability to further the aims of PATO. Similar to how NATO was governed, each member state appointed a delegate to the PATO council, the executive chair rotating between members (by quirk of the alphabet, Albania was the first) and all decisions having to be accepted unanimously. However, the technocrats responsible for drafting the actual treaty were clever enough to shift most responsibility below the actual council, which would only be required to decide on the most grave matters. Day-to-day business would be administered by a join executive administration that combined both civilian and military leadership.

Joe Hanson, a veteran American diplomat, was tapped to become the first PATO Administrator. Experienced at overseeing massive projects in both the US Federal government and in the UN, he had solid contacts and knowledge of both industrial and economic sectors and this experience propelled him past the Canadian-born Isaac Knowles and British-born Gemma Mitchell, who were appointed as his vice administrators and potential successors.

Admiral John Richardson, the current Chief of Naval Operations for US Navy, snatched the appointment to be the top military commander of PATO. Despite heavy competition from the air forces of several PATO countries, the navy side managed to convince the politicians and the civil servants that they had the proper experience, know-how and mind set to wage war in deep space. The crucial difference was that, despite the flyboys having monopoly for aerospace operations, the miracle of TN-assets implied that future space operations would far more likely resemble naval operations of 17th to 20th centuries - not the easily micro-managed air strikes lasting few hours of the 21st century. Despite having no existing assets under him, Richardson wisely saw the writing on the wall and left his beloved wet Navy behind.

The mission of PATO was simple - to eXplore space, to eXpand humanity's hold of the galaxy, to eXploit the resources thus found and to eXterminate any threats to the human race and planet Earth.

***

Despite their refusal to join PATO, neither the Russian Federation nor the People's Republic of China were going to turn a blind eye to what was going to happen. Quietly, both countries took steps to start their own TN-programs. Russia was keen to regain her lost glory, while China was merely being pragmatic. They had no lofty ideals to safeguard.

Rest of the planet would thereafter be know as the neutral UN, playing no significant part.
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3
The Academy / Re: How to learn the design of captured missiles
« on: April 03, 2017, 08:26:45 AM »
Try the Technology window.
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4
The Academy / Re: How to learn the design of captured missiles
« on: April 01, 2017, 09:45:32 PM »
Can you assign them as ordinance in the ship design screen?  that should give you the basic stats in the ship summary.
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5
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: March 27, 2017, 02:03:33 PM »
And here was the numbers for ship engines (earlier in same thread):

http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=7448.msg75697#msg75697

I have run the numbers, joined up the missile and engine modifier suggestions and compared to the current version. FCM is Fuel Consumption Modifier. TBH I like your version a lot better than mine :)

it creates a smooth transition for both engine types, which is more realistic and consistent, provides a bonus to larger ships, makes the fuel portion of missile design more interesting (as fuel is not a major concern at the moment) and allows larger engines to be designed beyond the current 50 HS limit. I could also add a tech line to allow the larger engines.

This would probably complement the sensor changes as they would reduce missile ranges anyway.



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6
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: March 25, 2017, 05:39:50 PM »
I have some thoughts on beam range and the balance between beams and missiles, but I don't think they're really relevant to C# changes. I could start a thread to discuss ideas in the suggestions forum if people want.

I will also try to make the automated design of NPR ships more intelligent, plus I will be adding some more spoiler races to the existing three.

A bit of a wild idea, but... I gather the NPRs use a sort of template system for designing ships, with spoilers either also using templates or just preset designs. Any chance that could be opened up to the players? We have a pretty thriving community of ship designers, after all.

I don't necessarily mean full "mod" support or anything, but if just the syntax of the templates were available and not too complex I bet there'd be lots of players willing to make doctrines/themes/what have you for NPRs that you could decide to include. Might be interesting if any NPR you encountered might have conventional ships, or might use some other player's box launcher/railgun barge designs, or some sort of missile pod carrier. Variety is the spice of life, after all :)
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7
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: March 25, 2017, 05:02:31 PM »
Missiles aren't overpowered. The only "unfair" advantage they have is when launched inside the 5-second window, which can even at med tech levels be pretty long distance. CIWS still works even under that situation. As Steve said, unless you've been stockpiling massively and have built the collier ships to support your battle fleet, you'll run out of missiles pretty quickly. Furthermore, they require a significant infrastructure investment.

As for balance, I personally hate it. Balance should only worry designers of competitive multiplayer games, it doesn't belong to single-player games. Aurora has good amount of detail and options, these shouldn't be neutered for the purpose of balance. You can overwhelm the AI easily enough as it is.

Thirdly, as pointed out, any mobile unit can easily dodge any non-powered projectile or beam. And for planetary or base bombardment, their purpose would practically be same as missiles, except smaller and the attacker would never run out of ammunition. The game would need to track their path during their "flight", which adds an extra layer of computing - whether that would be an issue on C# Aurora I don't know - and it would also require a defensive system of sorts. So then we need special sensors to track kinetic projectiles and beam weapons to destroy them. In the end, the game would recreate the current missile vs beam combat scenario but in a situation that is infinitely more advantageous for the attacker because they don't have to worry about missile supply.
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8
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: March 25, 2017, 02:02:49 PM »
I understand how this might cause problems. However it is a fact that non-missile weapons are severely penalized by how the game calculates things. The two main causes are in my opinion the 5-second increment and the hard range cap of 1.5 million km on all "beam weapons".

Because of these two things, if we look at things strictly from an efficiency-related point of view, missiles are better against the AI. Simply because you can build ships that the AI cannot deal with, either because of PD saturation or range or speed or whatever. You can do that with "beam weapons " as well, but it requires a lot more effort.

Of course it is different with roleplay, and I do roleplay. I just wish that "beam weapons" would be more generically useful (as they would be in reality) without me having to resort to self-imposed rules and RP.


EDIT: if range is out of the question, then perhaps an acceptable solution could be to make "beam weapons" cheaper, either in build cost or preferrably in size (more miniaturization). Which would allow to cram more firepower on a "beam warship". I don't know, just trying to think about how more balance might be achieved.

I'm not convinced that missiles are overpowered :)

They are tactically strong but strategically weak and you soon run through missile supplies in any prolonged conflict. Also, you can build some fairly missile-proof ships already so making beam weapons more effective would tilt the balance too much the other way.

The main issue I have with missiles is that they can take advantage of the 5 second increment to launch and hit without being detected, if the launching ship is close enough to the target. I will fix that in C# Aurora by detecting missiles at the point of launch (outside of the normal detection sequence). I will also try to make the automated design of NPR ships more intelligent, plus I will be adding some more spoiler races to the existing three.
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9
C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes List
« on: March 25, 2017, 01:47:00 PM »
Colony Cost

The colony cost algorithm has been updated for C# Aurora to include hydrosphere extent, low gravity and tide-locked worlds and to change the rules for dangerous gases and max pressure. The new calculation is as follows:

Gas Giants, Super Jovians and worlds with a gravity higher than species tolerance cannot be colonised and therefore have no colony cost. Every other body has a colony cost that is equal to the highest colony cost factor from the following list:

Temperature: If the temperature is outside of the species tolerance, the colony cost factor for temperature is equal to the number of degrees above or below the species tolerance divided by half the total species range. For example, if the species range is from 0C to 30C and the temperature is 75C, the colony cost factor would be 45 / 15 = 3.00. The colony cost factor for tide-locked planets is 20% of normal, so in the example given the colony cost factor would be reduced to 0.60.

Atmospheric Pressure: If the atmospheric pressure is above species tolerance, the colony cost factor for pressure is equal to pressure / species max pressure; with a minimum of 2.00. For example, if a species has a pressure tolerance of 4 atm and the pressure is 10 atm, the colony cost factor would be 2.50. If the pressure was 6 atm, the colony cost factor would be 2.00, as that is the minimum.

Breathable Gas: If the atmosphere does not have a sufficient amount of breathable gas, the colony cost factor for breathable gas is 2.00. If the gas is available in sufficient quantities but exceeds 30% of atmospheric pressure, the colony cost factor is also 2.00.

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

Hydrosphere Extent: If less than twenty percent of a body is covered with water (less than 20% Hydro Extent), the colony cost factor for hydro extent is (20 – Hydro Extent) / 10, which is a range from zero to 2.00.

Low Gravity: If the gravity of the body is lower than the species tolerance, the colony cost factor for gravity is 1.00. In addition, the overall colony cost for the body will be suffixed by 'LG', for example 2.00 LG, which indicates that low gravity infrastructure is required for any population on that body. Normal infrastructure will not count toward the supported population.
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10
Advanced Tactical Command Academy / Re: Forward jump point defense
« on: March 19, 2017, 04:22:17 PM »
I suppose it really is affected by the tech level.  Things like sensor ranges, the relative effectiveness of point defense, whether box launchers are available.  And whether the target is (spoilers) or another race.

Actually, Detros has a point.  If the defenders have enough point defense to withstand long ranged fire, even AMM fire, everything but point blank, within 5-second travel time fire, then a forward defense would force the attacker to close to effectively zero range to transit past them. Unlike a conventional defense, where the defenders would expect to be at some range from the attacker (depending on tech level), but certainly not 10,000 km where they could shred them in seconds.

The conventional jump point defense, a slow beam defense fleet might just not do enough defense before the attacker got out of range.  But a forward defense, as long as they can win the beam duel at any range, they have enough firepower to prevent a transit.
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11
Aurora Suggestions / Re: Semi-Official 7.x Suggestion Thread
« on: March 19, 2017, 01:08:33 PM »
Could closing pop-ups via X in the corner mean "NO" instead of "YES"?
Multiple times I misclicked and ordered refitting of my tanker (because his name is from A) to some other class. I am then asked if really want it with 400%+ refit price. I close the window via X, meaning "don't do it" but game takes it as "do it".

"X" treated as a default answer and default answer being "do nothing" would make more sense to me. See behaviour of "are you sure you want ot delete this file?".

Good point. I have just been through the C# code and replaced all instances of "If Dialog Result = No, then Abort" to "If Dialog Result != Yes, then Abort".

I've also written my own text entry popup, so that will not change the text unless press OK. Cancel or X will abort.
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12
C# Aurora / Re: Aurora C# Screenshots
« on: March 17, 2017, 11:41:19 PM »
Will the rank abbreviations be editable?
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13
The Academy / Re: Different views of Event updates log
« on: March 14, 2017, 08:28:14 PM »
EDIT: It worked during combat and now, after it ended, those views don't show anything again.
Do they show only "current interval" range of time or what?
Correct sort of.  It only shows the combat that happened when the window was open. People usually play combat with the event log on top so they can easily see what is happening during combat. Using color coordination and those options, it really helps when you set an auto-turn.
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14
The Academy / Re: Synchronous fire usable only during JP attacks?
« on: March 14, 2017, 05:40:33 PM »
If you're at 100% training and 100% morale then synch fire won't do anything. It is only for compensating for crew delays.
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15
Mechanics / Re: Bridge Officers
« on: March 12, 2017, 11:24:02 AM »
What if the bridge would become an automaticly scaling component like armor, changing size dependent on size of the vessel or the amount of crew members onboard?

Or the other way around, bonuses provided by officers are divided by vessel size or number of crew members. To compensate, one could install more bridge space, therefore providing space for more officers, whose bonuses add up? That way, huge battleships would house dozens of officers, and tiny ships just one, but on average, one officers gives bonusses to the same mass of ship.
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