Aurora 4x Games

Aurora => Aurora Suggestions => Topic started by: Steve Walmsley on January 03, 2017, 02:14:17 PM

Title: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 03, 2017, 02:14:17 PM
I am considering some changes to terraforming for C# Aurora and I am opening those up for comments before I do anything. Bear in mind there is already a major change in terms of low gravity infrastructure that allows many more bodies to be colonised. For example, under the new rules there are ten asteroids in Sol with a colony of 2.00 LG (mainly NEOs), Phobos and Deimos are both colony cost 2.00 LG and Ceres is colony cost 3.78 LG. The Galilean moons are 5.62 but all the other Jovian moons are now 5.62 LG. In my current game, Alpha Centauri has 143 bodies (mostly asteroids) with colony costs of 2.00 or 2.00 LG.

1) Availability of Water. Probably at least 2.00 colony cost with no water, with this reducing to zero once a certain hydrosphere coverage is available (maybe 20%). Water would be created by adding water vapour to the atmosphere. Over time this would condense out of the atmosphere and create a hydrosphere. Exact mechanics TBD.

2) Too much CO2 is harmful. Essentially C02 above fairly minimal concentrations would be a dangerous gas.

3) Small planets are faster to terraform than large ones. The speed at which terraformers add atmospheric pressure would be modified by the surface area of the planet (this would also apply to the hydrosphere coverage), using Earth as the baseline.

4) As a corollary to 3), a planet's gravity would determine if any gases could be added. In real-world physics, small bodies cannot hold an atmosphere because it would drift off into space. The reason for applying this would be avoid asteroids being given an atmosphere in a very short period of time using the rules for 3). The issue here is that a body such as Luna would not retain oxygen or nitrogen in real-world terms due to the low gravity, so I would have to be more generous than reality to keep the game play interesting. Rather than calculate the exact situation, which would be based on escape velocity, temperature and the molecular weight of the specific gas, I would have a fixed boundary, perhaps 0.1G, as the lowest gravity that would retain an atmosphere. This would result in a lot of low gravity bodies that could be colonised at 2.00 LG (which can't currently be colonised) but which would never improve beyond that point because they would not retain the atmosphere required for terraforming.

The combination of 3) and 4) would mean a significant disparity in how fast worlds could be terraformed, but not to extremes. For example, compared to Earth, Mars would be terraformed 3.5x more quickly, Ganymede 5.9x more quickly and Luna 13.5x more quickly. In fact, it would probably make sense to slow down the base rate of terraforming to the middle of that range, aiming for perhaps 25% - 50% of current rates. In the case of 25%, the rate of terraforming vs current would be:

Earth: 25% of current speed
Mars: 88% of current speed
Ganymede: 147% of current speed
Luna: 337% of current speed.

Large planets would take a suitably long time to terraform, with small planets and moons (that are still large enough to retain atmosphere) being terraformed relatively quickly. Depending on how much effort is required for the hydrosphere element I could make the reduction 50% instead on the assumption that the additional water vapour would also act to slow down the process.

Thoughts?

Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Haji on January 03, 2017, 02:57:44 PM
1) Availability of Water. Probably at least 2.00 colony cost with no water, with this reducing to zero once a certain hydrosphere coverage is available (maybe 20%). Water would be created by adding water vapour to the atmosphere. Over time this would condense out of the atmosphere and create a hydrosphere. Exact mechanics TBD.

Lack of water is nowhere near as problematic for life as lack of an atmosphere, especially since recycling is available, so I think lack of water should require infrastructure, but nowhere near as much (0.5 or so for completely desert planet). At the same time if we can actually add water to the planet than the exact infrastructure cost is not really an issue.

2) Too much CO2 is harmful. Essentially C02 above fairly minimal concentrations would be a dangerous gas.

As long as we can still add safe greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, I don't really mind this change one way or the other.

4) As a corollary to 3), a planet's gravity would determine if any gases could be added. In real-world physics, small bodies cannot hold an atmosphere because it would drift off into space. The reason for applying this would be avoid asteroids being given an atmosphere in a very short period of time using the rules for 3). The issue here is that a body such as Luna would not retain oxygen or nitrogen in real-world terms due to the low gravity, so I would have to be more generous than reality to keep the game play interesting. Rather than calculate the exact situation, which would be based on escape velocity, temperature and the molecular weight of the specific gas, I would have a fixed boundary, perhaps 0.1G, as the lowest gravity that would retain an atmosphere. This would result in a lot of low gravity bodies that could be colonised at 2.00 LG (which can't currently be colonised) but which would never improve beyond that point because they would not retain the atmosphere required for terraforming.

This is a very interesting change. However I'd like to point something out - if my memory serves Luna could hold an atmosphere, but only for a short period of time, geologically speaking. Which translates to hundreds, potentially thousands of years  during which the atmosphere could be retained. As such I think bodies with reasonable gravity (0.1g or more) should be able to retain atmosphere over the typical gameplay session. Asteroids are another matter entirely and in this case I agree that they could not hold gases for any reasonable period of times.

I'd like to also add two things. First since a player can create atmosphere (and seemingly from nothing as well) there is no reason he couldn't keep replenishing it. As such if you really want to include atmosphere loss in a game, you can just program loss of gases that can be combated. In short on small bodies, like Luna, you would have to keep some terraforming installations on line, all the time, so they can keep replenishing the atmosphere, keeping the world habitable.

Second there exists an idea of paraterraforming. To put it simply by covering an entire planet in domes (or one superdome) you can effectively create a living breathing world, from which an atmosphere would not escape. Whether or not this is something you want to program in, I don't know. I would imagine this to be some sort of very expensive project that would result in significantly lower infrastructure cost or something similar.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 03, 2017, 03:06:01 PM
I think for the purposes of retaining gases, rather than tracking the loss of atmosphere, I would just have a boundary that was needed for terraforming to be effective. It would just be a rule (using gas retention as the reason) that you couldn't terraform anything with gravity lower than 0.1G.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on January 03, 2017, 03:16:46 PM
1.) Studying the system info panel, it seems to me this would primarily be a feature of terraforming moons and small worlds. Those are typically much smaller than current planets, so you'd end up with a planet that is much easier to terraform speed-wise (owing to 3) but has more steps to complete terraforming so it takes longer.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, just noting these aspects are at tension. :^)
 
Might be interesting stepping away from the 2.00 hard limit for water, since that's atmosphere's shtick. IE a world with a breathable atmosphere but no hydrosphere could have a 1.00 colony cost minimum. Or water could act like a modifier, lack of which adds +1 to colony cost- thus a planet with neither atmosphere nor water would have 3.00 colony cost, and you could add water first to bring it down to 2 or atmo to bring it down to 1.

3 - if large worlds are going to be more difficult to terraform, perhaps size should also play a component in severity of bombardment penalties and/or population growth curve?


I am a big fan of 4.

////

How does this play out in the intersection of <can retain atmosphere> but <LG colony>? Say I'm running a 70% gravity variance so all the Galilean moons are LG - then I terraform Ganymede to be a livable world with zero basic colony cost?
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 03, 2017, 03:42:32 PM
How does this play out in the intersection of <can retain atmosphere> but <LG colony>? Say I'm running a 70% gravity variance so all the Galilean moons are LG - then I terraform Ganymede to be a livable world with zero basic colony cost?

Good question. For a low gravity colony, I think there should be a minimum colony cost. Even if the air is breathable, some form of gravity assistance would still be needed. Perhaps LG worlds are always at least colony cost X, so (in the above situation) you could reduce the colony cost to X by improving the temperature, but the low gravity prevents any improvement beyond that.

X = 2.00 seems the obvious choice, but that would mean there was no point making the air breathable or adding water, so perhaps 1.00 is a more interesting option (essentially the low gravity element of the LG infrastructure without the life support requirement).

Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Nori on January 03, 2017, 04:04:46 PM
These changes sound good, though I feel like there should be a compelling reason to colonize a larger planet if they take longer to terraform. 
I don't recall seeing there being a population cap for a planet, but is something like that possible? Larger bodies can hold larger populations? Or as TheDeadlyShoe said, maybe larger planets just grow a lot faster?
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: 83athom on January 03, 2017, 05:02:17 PM
1) Availability of Water. Probably at least 2.00 colony cost with no water, with this reducing to zero once a certain hydrosphere coverage is available (maybe 20%). Water would be created by adding water vapour to the atmosphere. Over time this would condense out of the atmosphere and create a hydrosphere. Exact mechanics TBD.
This is a long awaited change that I think most would agree with. However, the point where the hydrosphere kicks in to "perfect" if really up for debate. On one hand, you only need as much water to survive. On the other, a massive surplus of usable water is best for agricultural needs. Maybe instead of the hydrosphere directly affecting suitability, maybe it could be a modifier to the percentage of population needed for agriculture (to simulate water miners, water transports, etc on a planetary scale).
2) Too much CO2 is harmful. Essentially C02 above fairly minimal concentrations would be a dangerous gas.
3) Small planets are faster to terraform than large ones. The speed at which terraformers add atmospheric pressure would be modified by the surface area of the planet (this would also apply to the hydrosphere coverage), using Earth as the baseline.
Agreed.
4) As a corollary to 3), a planet's gravity would determine if any gases could be added. In real-world physics, small bodies cannot hold an atmosphere because it would drift off into space. The reason for applying this would be avoid asteroids being given an atmosphere in a very short period of time using the rules for 3). The issue here is that a body such as Luna would not retain oxygen or nitrogen in real-world terms due to the low gravity, so I would have to be more generous than reality to keep the game play interesting. Rather than calculate the exact situation, which would be based on escape velocity, temperature and the molecular weight of the specific gas, I would have a fixed boundary, perhaps 0.1G, as the lowest gravity that would retain an atmosphere. This would result in a lot of low gravity bodies that could be colonised at 2.00 LG (which can't currently be colonised) but which would never improve beyond that point because they would not retain the atmosphere required for terraforming.
A limit on the gravity for terraforming makes sense. But how about a tech/installation fairly down the line, like a planetary shield, that could hold in an atmosphere on low gravity bodies.
The combination of 3) and 4) would mean a significant disparity in how fast worlds could be terraformed, but not to extremes. For example, compared to Earth, Mars would be terraformed 3.5x more quickly, Ganymede 5.9x more quickly and Luna 13.5x more quickly. In fact, it would probably make sense to slow down the base rate of terraforming to the middle of that range, aiming for perhaps 25% - 50% of current rates. In the case of 25%, the rate of terraforming vs current would be:

Earth: 25% of current speed
Mars: 88% of current speed
Ganymede: 147% of current speed
Luna: 337% of current speed.

Large planets would take a suitably long time to terraform, with small planets and moons (that are still large enough to retain atmosphere) being terraformed relatively quickly. Depending on how much effort is required for the hydrosphere element I could make the reduction 50% instead on the assumption that the additional water vapour would also act to slow down the process.
I like the thought of making terraforming in general slower while modified by gravity/size. It makes the perfect planets you come across more valuable while making close but not enough ones a project for the future. However the example given may be a bit too extreme with a change in size.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: MarcAFK on January 03, 2017, 05:51:48 PM
Oh boy, this is going to be one of those mega threads. Firstly I'm glad you've brought this up and support the changes proposed so far, perhaps with some minor quibbles. I don't want too much added complexity but obviously the current system is a little bit too much handwavium.
1) Good idea, perhaps frozen water should also be taken into account when a planet reaches a suitable temperature? It would require determining how much surface various bodies in the solar system has that would actually be liberated once thawed. I think the moon has a fairly large surface water deposit, but certainly not enough to reach 20%, perhaps low gravity bodies with the minimum 2 colony cost should actually have their cost increased higher than 2 by factors which on other worlds only raises cost to 2? For instance low water availibility causing a cost of 3 or 4 on the moon rather than 2. Simple addition of 1 extra colony cost on top of all other factors for these bodies is probably easiest.
2) The mechanics of this should be interesting, At around 0.5%-1%  side effects start to develop, causing symptoms of intoxication affecting memory, motor skills, critical thinking etc, above 5-7% for short periods can cause unconsciousness. Long term exposure to above 10% Co2 is generally fatal, though I suppose genetic modification might allow higher percentages. A reduction in wealth and industrial production at levels over 1% seems like a good idea to me, with population growth being affected when concentration gets high enough.
3) Makes sense, however there is another factor affecting small bodies mostly, and certain large bodies also. If a planet has never had an oxygen atmosphere then the surface will be covered in highly reactive compounds, like iron, which will oxidize as you add oxygen to the atmosphere. I read somewhere than you might need 3 times as much oxygen to be added to the moon before it will become breathable due to surface rust forming. Mars doesn't suffer this problem as It had significant oxygen as it's crust was forming causing surface iron to already be oxidized.
4) I can't find relevant numbers right now, but I've heard anywhere between 100-1000 years for a terraformed atmosphere to be stripped off the moon by solar wind. One interesting factor is that as gas escaped from a moon at least half of it will become part of a torus in orbit of the parent body, some will impact back into the satellite as it passes through, and a large proportion will fall back into the atmosphere of the parent.
Going by a depletion time of 100 years for the moon you might add a mechanic that 1% of gasses escape per year, so terraforming facilities would be needed to keep the atmosphere topped up. It would be frustrating to need to manually swap facilities around between adding nitrogen, oxygen, greenhouse gasses etc. So add a mechanic that allows existing facilitys to simply offset their production against lost gasses.
I'm in favor of slowing down terraforming, it really should be an insanely difficult process. We lucked out with mars being right next door though.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 03, 2017, 06:19:15 PM
I've been playing around with dangerous gases. At the moment, a gas counts as dangerous (for colony cost purposes) when it comprises 0.01% of the atmosphere (about 100 ppm).

For C# Aurora I have changed this so different gases require different concentrations before becoming 'dangerous'. This is based on information from the CDC and a couple of other sources. 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.

These gases are not lethal at those concentrations but are dangerous enough that infrastructure would be required to avoid sustained exposure.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on January 03, 2017, 06:25:41 PM
i was actually googling earlier to check if carbon dioxide was theoretically dangerous for methane breathers, but got surprisingly little information. Most of the scientific-ish items I skimmed skirted the topic, focusing more on methane-breathing organisms on earth (that also use oxygen so ?) or on more firmly grounded theoretically-possible biologies.  The fiction stuff hadn't considered the topic.  I gave it up since i wasnt sure different dangerous gases for different breathers sounds like it coulda been effort to do anyway~~

Did find some nifty hypothetical aliens that explode if you throw water on them.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Triato on January 03, 2017, 07:43:31 PM
Thanks for the update.  If we are to have several asteroid colonies with no armosphere,  please remove the 25 million minimum population necesary to flag the colony as stable (stop inmigrants)
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Garfunkel on January 03, 2017, 09:54:15 PM
Anything that makes terraforming more complex is a plus in my book.

1) Sounds good.

2) Yes.

3) Sensible.

4) Good change. I would put the limit little higher - it always struck me little odd that we could turn Luna into a tropical paradise pretty damn easily.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Maltay on January 04, 2017, 12:07:43 AM
This may be an uninformed question.  However, if small planetary bodies (e.g., moons of sufficient size) are faster to terraform than large planetary bodies (e.g., a planet like Mars), then why would the player bother terraforming large planetary bodies short of minerals?

Is there a correlation between the size of the planetary body and mineral generation or accessibility?  If there a maximum population that a planetary body can hold based on size?
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: alex_brunius on January 04, 2017, 03:35:08 AM
This may be an uninformed question.  However, if small planetary bodies (e.g., moons of sufficient size) are faster to terraform than large planetary bodies (e.g., a planet like Mars), then why would the player bother terraforming large planetary bodies short of minerals?

Is there a correlation between the size of the planetary body and mineral generation or accessibility?

Pretty sure larger body = higher chance of more minerals in 7.1 Aurora

If there a maximum population that a planetary body can hold based on size?

Not in 7.1 Aurora.

But I think you make an excellent point.

What if each body had a "population capacity" which is based on available surface area - hydrosphere coverage. Any population above this would basically count as requiring colony cost 1 infrastructure to not have population growth halt or turn negative.

This would make it worth it to terraform larger bodies I think.



Another related thing I posted previously in suggestions a few years ago is that it would make sense if the population capacity would not reach max until you reached optimal conditions. Right now there is no point in keeping terraforming temperature/oxygen once you crossed the absolute minimum required point, which kind of doesn't make sense... ( in reality each person have a different tolerance and some areas of the planet would be warmer/cooler higher/lower oxygen to suit your needs ).

What would be really cool is if when you reached the minimum tolerance, "population capacity" started growing from 0, linearly up towards the maximum which is achieved when oxygen, temperature and such reach the optimal value.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on January 04, 2017, 03:42:22 AM
Planetary attributes do have a significant impact on mineral rolls (larger - more likely, higher quantity, lower accessibility), but no there's no real particular reason to go for a New Earth over a Nice Moon.   If you get lucky in mineral rolls for the Solar System, the gameplay reason for extrasolar colonization is ruins and anomaly research bonuses - that and military basing, though you don't technically need real colonies for that.

The principal issue with population caps is that they would have to be very low to make a meaningful impact to Aurora gameplay. The normal starts is 500 million after all - a large nation, not planetary-scale. 

In current aurora, I play with the house-rules of not establishing a colony without a purpose (no 'wealth colonies') and 'hard terraforming' - no modules, no safe gases, terraforming stations must be built on site, and I pretend they cost 10x what they do.  It makes good worlds much more valuable.

Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: IanD on January 04, 2017, 06:18:18 AM
I like the changes, but is 0.1g too low? The other thing I would like is the inclusion of ice asteroids, which could be tractored and added to the planetary hydrosphere, making the addition of megatons of water in a very short time frame. Ice asteroids then become another valuable resource.
Ian
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: MarcAFK on January 04, 2017, 06:28:24 AM
Lack of water is nowhere near as problematic for life as lack of an atmosphere, especially since recycling is available, so I think lack of water should require infrastructure, but nowhere near as much (0.5 or so for completely desert planet). At the same time if we can actually add water to the planet than the exact infrastructure cost is not really an issue.

The large volume of water on earths surface has a massive effect with keeping the climate stable enough for human habitation. Even on earth looking at environments with little to no water cycle, such as deserts, you find daily swings between temperature extremes of 50% celcius in the sun and potentially icy temperatures during the hours immediately before dawn. Not just temperatures but also wind patterns, storms, etc would all be effected, it would be very hard to keep crops or even modern settlements safe in that sort of renviroment. Infrastructure would certainly help.
I think for the purposes of retaining gases, rather than tracking the loss of atmosphere, I would just have a boundary that was needed for terraforming to be effective. It would just be a rule (using gas retention as the reason) that you couldn't terraform anything with gravity lower than 0.1G.
Simplicity is best of course, with a potential 1000 year atmospheric depletion rate for the moon it's obviously something that's not really significant enoughto bother with. However I was thinking of the addittional oxygen depletion issue for oxide formation, which would be compounded upon if major mining operations were also conducted. If in future the added complexity was considered, these factors together might be significant, and in a similar vein conventional industries might be sources of significant co2 and other toxin production, along with oxygen depletion. But the effect would be minor except in major edge cases, any person running a campaign which would do something like that always has the option of using spacemaster and altering their atmosphere manually.

Good question. For a low gravity colony, I think there should be a minimum colony cost. Even if the air is breathable, some form of gravity assistance would still be needed. Perhaps LG worlds are always at least colony cost X, so (in the above situation) you could reduce the colony cost to X by improving the temperature, but the low gravity prevents any improvement beyond that.

X = 2.00 seems the obvious choice, but that would mean there was no point making the air breathable or adding water, so perhaps 1.00 is a more interesting option (essentially the low gravity element of the LG infrastructure without the life support requirement).
Seems reasonable, LG worlds have a minimum of 1 so infrastructure is still required, but at that point they'll be pretty cheap to keep topped up with.
I've been playing around with dangerous gases. At the moment, a gas counts as dangerous (for colony cost purposes) when it comprises 0.01% of the atmosphere (about 100 ppm).

For C# Aurora I have changed this so different gases require different concentrations before becoming 'dangerous'. This is based on information from the CDC and a couple of other sources. 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.

These gases are not lethal at those concentrations but are dangerous enough that infrastructure would be required to avoid sustained exposure.
This is something I've looked forward to. Perhaps an addittional thing to consider is population growth might be reduced on worlds requiring infrastructure for survival. Surely people would be deterred from having children if theres nothing between you and death but a few sheets of mylar and gold foil.
i was actually googling earlier to check if carbon dioxide was theoretically dangerous for methane breathers, but got surprisingly little information. Most of the scientific-ish items I skimmed skirted the topic, focusing more on methane-breathing organisms on earth (that also use oxygen so ?) or on more firmly grounded theoretically-possible biologies.  The fiction stuff hadn't considered the topic.  I gave it up since i wasnt sure different dangerous gases for different breathers sounds like it coulda been effort to do anyway~~

Did find some nifty hypothetical aliens that explode if you throw water on them.
An interesting addittion to this is that high oxygen levels are toxic for everyone, Co2 breathing plants, methane breathing organisms, even humans to a certain extent if you haven't reduced pressure accordingly. The international space station keeps it's enviroment at sea level pressure and nitrogen content, however EVA is conducted with pure oxygen and about a third atmospheric pressue, which gives a perfectly fine partial oxygen pressure but makes the suit much easier to move around in. Also the reduced pressure lowers how strong it needs to be to survive a vacuum. Pure oxygen is fairly corrosive though so systems which use it continiously might wear out fairly fast. Increased cancer risk might be possible too.
This may be an uninformed question.  However, if small planetary bodies (e.g., moons of sufficient size) are faster to terraform than large planetary bodies (e.g., a planet like Mars), then why would the player bother terraforming large planetary bodies short of minerals?

Is there a correlation between the size of the planetary body and mineral generation or accessibility?  If there a maximum population that a planetary body can hold based on size?
Earth sized bodies have a significantly higher chance of getting good mineral deposits. Maximum population limit is something many people have asked for but I'm not sure every player would agree to it, why go to the trouble of terraforming a planet like venus if it can only hold 10 billion people? Actually one problem is we have no idea how many people you can cram onto a planet, theoretically you could put 100 billion people onto earth, it would suck for them but hey in the grim future there is only coffin sized apartments for everyone, or whatever. One factor is that population growth does actually slow down as a planet gets bigger, I'm not sure at what point or if ever it hits zero though. Maybe small bodies should have a population level where suddely the growth curve starts to increase and hit that cap much sooner than large bodies?
I just ran some tests of population growth, the default start of 500 million gives you 2.52% population growth, 5 billion 1.17%, 10 billion 0.93%, 20 billion 0.74%, 40 billion 0.58%, 80 billion 0.46% 160 billion 0.37 % etc, by 2500 trillion it finally drops down to 1% however attempting to run a full production turn with anywhere over a trillion population causes an overflow and crash, and after 200 billion people population growth actually completely stops. So theres your hard population cap.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 04, 2017, 07:17:01 AM
I've been considering the questions raised regarding planetary capacity. Given the proposed changes in terraforming, some rules regarding planetary capacity would provide a reason to colonise larger worlds.

The Earth's population is currently seven billion. However, the rate of population growth peaked at 2.1% at four billion, has been dropping since then (now 1.2%) and is projected to reach close to zero around eleven billion

https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-growth/

So if we use that as a basis, we could use the surface area of Earth and four billion people as a baseline for the point beyond which growth rates suffer an increasing penalty. At triple that amount (12 billion for Earth-sized) we have zero growth and start to see overcrowding penalties. I know 70% of the Earth's surface is water but we could hand-wave that away on the basis that planets with a lot of water allow greater population density and it evens itself out.

So using that as a base, we get the following growth rate penalties and max populations:

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/PopCapacity.PNG)

That doesn't look too bad, with Mars still worthwhile at 3.4 billion max pop, the Moon less than one billion, dwarf planets or medium moons ten of millions, small moons single millions and small asteroid less than one million. That should provide some flavour and give a good reason to terraform larger bodies.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on January 04, 2017, 07:20:15 AM
I like that, especially if its per-body and not per-population;  a neutral pop occupying most of earth would drastically limit population growth, and really provide colonial impetus.

Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: alex_brunius on January 04, 2017, 07:28:25 AM
So if we use that as a basis, we could use the surface area of Earth and four billion people as a baseline for the point beyond which growth rates suffer an increasing penalty. At triple that amount (12 billion for Earth-sized) we have zero growth and start to see overcrowding penalties. I know 70% of the Earth's surface is water but we could hand-wave that away on the basis that planets with a lot of water allow greater population density and it evens itself out.

I would prefer if water area also was taken into account to be honest.

There are way too few of the interesting stats from the system information that have any practical ingame / mechanics use at all already as it is!
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: MarcAFK on January 04, 2017, 07:40:19 AM
Seems good, however considering the 1.1% global population growth also takes into account a mortality rate of .8%, who knows what medical advances might do to population growth. Average life expectency is around 70 in wealthy countries, but people do seem to have a limit of about 120, theres genetic modifications possible in the near future. Longer alleles at minimum which is probably the single most important factor causing certain people to live so much longer than the average.
A reduction of pandemic disease, malaria in particular still kills more people then anything else. And then theres war to consider, since Aurora is a war simulator surely that shouldn't be merely taken into account by population growth, rather it should be affected based on what your empire is actually doing. I believe the Earth is technically capable of holding 100 billion, While I'm not sure people would want to keep breeding up to that point but they could sure as hell be crammed into the place.
Would you consider a negative population growth if a body gets overcrowded? Perhaps infrastructure could be used to offset the overcrowding in some way, or perhaps a few research projects could be added which increase maximum population level. I don't think your numbers are a problem though, has anyone played a game where earth ended up with more than 10 billion people, or where you actually needed that many on one body?
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: byron on January 04, 2017, 10:43:33 AM
I like 1, 2, and 4.  3 is OK, but your formula is off.  While the required atmosphere mass will scale with the surface area, it will be inversely proportional to the surface gravity of the planet.  On a lower-gravity world, you need more stuff above you to get a given pressure.  The surface gravity is proportional to both density and radius, so if each terraformer produces a constant mass of atmosphere, you'll see the yearly atmosphere production proportional to density and inversely proportional to radius. 
The gory math behind this can be found at http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8107.msg91559#msg91559 (http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8107.msg91559#msg91559)
On the carrying capacity thing, I should point out that technology might well affect that quite a lot, as will other sociological factors.  I suspect that with improved agriculture, you could go quite a bit higher than 12 billion.  The controlling factor there is probably the demographic transition, and it's hard to figure out how that would work in an Aurora-type scenario.  You'd generally want to fight against it in new colonies, but the best social engineering has been pretty much unable to do that on Earth. 
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Haji on January 04, 2017, 02:53:35 PM
Judging by the responses I seem to be in minority of people who don't like population cap on bodies. This may be because I love creating atypical nations, like an asteroid belt one, where a dozen or so bodies are quite heavily colonized (more than fifty million people each). With the proposed changes making those will be essentially impossible. It also calls into question the very ability to colonize such bodies. What would be the point of settling Vesta or Pallas in the Sol system if each of those can house less than five million people, insufficient to man a mere hundred factories?

Having said that, if the population cap change gets through there are several things to consider. First I'd like this to be a game option that can be turned off. Second since we're talking about habitability, shouldn't tidal lock be included as well, further reducing possible population? The truth is in many campaigns half or even more potential colonies were tidally locked. In addition, what about bodies with infrastructure? Those are, in theory, completely closed and customizable systems, which would imply they can house a lot more people than open air planets. This is especially important in case of underground infrastructure. Also I'd like to point out that small bodies, which could house less than twenty five million, would create some problems for shipping lines, as they would be perpetually locked as destination for colonists, so some changes to that would be needed as well.

Last but not least a change like that just asks for some new technologies. One tree (agriculture maybe?) would serve to increase the planetary capacity for population. Another one (longevity treatments maybe? advanced medicine?) would increase population growth. This may also be a good possibility to add some new installations that result in similar things.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on January 04, 2017, 02:59:42 PM
You could still extend the size of those populations using (newly cheaper) orbital habitats, as well as construction or slave brigades to bolster production.  One multi-faction game I played featured a low-pop faction that relied heavily on construction brigades to make up the difference.   Good point about the shipping lines, although I think VB6 aurora might already even have that capability - shipping lines won't ship pop to colonies hard-capped because of OHs, after all.

Honestly, if you're cramming 50 million people and all the resources you need to support them into rocks that are not Ceres, they're basically Orbital Habitats anyway... :p
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Tree on January 04, 2017, 03:50:21 PM
Honestly, if you're cramming 50 million people and all the resources you need to support them into rocks that are not Ceres, they're basically Orbital Habitats anyway... :p
If only we could tow small asteroids places and actually turn them into orbital habitats.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: lennson on January 04, 2017, 10:13:46 PM
Perhaps it would make sense to have technology in the Biology/Genetics tech line that increases maximum population density.

It probably has been mentioned before that this tech category is rather empty and this seems like a reasonable way to expand on it.

edit: Just noticed that Haji has already suggested such technology.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: bitbucket on January 04, 2017, 11:50:18 PM
Quote
1) Availability of Water. Probably at least 2.00 colony cost with no water, with this reducing to zero once a certain hydrosphere coverage is available (maybe 20%). Water would be created by adding water vapour to the atmosphere. Over time this would condense out of the atmosphere and create a hydrosphere. Exact mechanics TBD.

Being able to modify hydrosphere? Absolutely yes, but if we're going to tie it to habitability we need to think about this carefully. How much water is enough? How much is too much? Those are some fast and loose questions there, and frankly you can go wrong either way.

Take, for example, some of the fictional worlds portrayed at http://www.worlddreambank.org/P/PLANETS.HTM (http://www.worlddreambank.org/P/PLANETS.HTM); it's probable you can have enough water to sustain a biosphere with just a few percent of Earth's oceans. Maybe a 10% hydrosphere coverage would be a better minimum.

On the other hand, how about too much water? I've encountered a number of planets in the game that were 100% covered by an ocean that must've been tens if not hundreds of miles deep, given their large size but low density. If we can add hydrosphere by adding water vapor, then we also need to be able to take it away.

Speaking of biosphere, I'd like to see some consideration of biospheres in habitability. It takes more than air to make a planet come to life. A barren lifeless rock with no atmosphere and the same barren lifeless rock with a breathable atmosphere are both unlivable outside an artificial environment, just that your expected survival time is a minute or two on the former and several days on the latter. I would like to see some indicator of the state of the biosphere as terraforming efforts proceed, even if it's just fluff. What is the aim of terraforming in Aurora? To create new thriving garden worlds, teeming with life? Or are we settling for "just good enough to not need pressure domes," with mostly self-contained cities in barren wastelands, sustained by massive hydroponic farms?

Quote
2) Too much CO2 is harmful. Essentially CO2 above fairly minimal concentrations would be a dangerous gas.
This is true, but generally, long-term detrimental effects only start with concentrations over 5000 ppm. Again, this is an issue where you can go wrong with either too little or too much. The current hysteria over climate change has overstated CO2's dangers; current research outside the Cult of Globowarmothinkery shows that our current biosphere is starving for CO2; most plants thrive with CO2 concentrations around 1000-1200 ppm, and the Earth is 20% greener now than back in the 1970s. If CO2 concentrations were to drop below 180 ppm, most plant life on Earth would die and our biosphere would collapse. Food for thought there.

Quote
3) Small planets are faster to terraform than large ones. The speed at which terraformers add atmospheric pressure would be modified by the surface area of the planet (this would also apply to the hydrosphere coverage), using Earth as the baseline.
Gravity would be a factor, too, as we're basing habitability on partial pressures, and pressure is just a measure of how hard gravity is pulling the gas down on you.

Quote
4) As a corollary to 3), a planet's gravity would determine if any gases could be added. In real-world physics, small bodies cannot hold an atmosphere because it would drift off into space. The reason for applying this would be avoid asteroids being given an atmosphere in a very short period of time using the rules for 3). The issue here is that a body such as Luna would not retain oxygen or nitrogen in real-world terms due to the low gravity, so I would have to be more generous than reality to keep the game play interesting.
Atmospheric loss is affected by more than just gravity, but solar activity, geological processes, and the planet's magnetic field (or lack of one).

Mars originally had an atmosphere similar to Earth at the dawn of the solar system. Clearly it doesn't now, but how long did it take to get that way? Current evidence suggests it took over a billion years. Venus has probably lost 10 bars of atmosphere to solar wind over 4.5 billion years, for lack of a magnetic field (but it still has 90 bars left). Earth's initial atmosphere was much more Venus-like, but most of that early CO2 got locked into rocks and buried by tectonic activity.

On anything but a sub-lunar-mass object, atmosphere loss works on longer timescales than your average campaign is going to be concerned about. For the sake of simplicity, just pick a limit like 0.1g and handwave it that civilian low-level background terraforming is maintaining the atmosphere if it wouldn't be stable.

Quote
I've been considering the questions raised regarding planetary capacity. Given the proposed changes in terraforming, some rules regarding planetary capacity would provide a reason to colonise larger worlds.

The Earth's population is currently seven billion. However, the rate of population growth peaked at 2.1% at four billion, has been dropping since then (now 1.2%) and is projected to reach close to zero around eleven billion

https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-growth/

So if we use that as a basis, we could use the surface area of Earth and four billion people as a baseline for the point beyond which growth rates suffer an increasing penalty. At triple that amount (12 billion for Earth-sized) we have zero growth and start to see overcrowding penalties. I know 70% of the Earth's surface is water but we could hand-wave that away on the basis that planets with a lot of water allow greater population density and it evens itself out.

Other factors than surface area need to be considered if you're going to impose population caps on planets, regardless of how hard the cap is. For example, how many people would a planet like Earth support if it were, say, covered in an ocean 100 miles deep? Or a tidally locked planet where a third of the surface is a boiling-hot desert and another third is an ice cap with permanent -180° C conditions? (Happens more than you think, probably 97% of rocky planets around red dwarf stars are tidelocked.)
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Zincat on January 05, 2017, 03:14:30 AM
1) Availability of Water. Probably at least 2.00 colony cost with no water, with this reducing to zero once a certain hydrosphere coverage is available (maybe 20%). Water would be created by adding water vapour to the atmosphere. Over time this would condense out of the atmosphere and create a hydrosphere. Exact mechanics TBD.

Absolutely yes. People underestimate how important water is to life on earth. The entire water->water vapor->rain cycle is the very basis of life on earth. Not to mention the effect humidity has on temperature excursion in the day-night cycle. I'll also say, finally at long last. Wanted this for ages :)

2) Too much CO2 is harmful. Essentially C02 above fairly minimal concentrations would be a dangerous gas.

Agreed, and another thing I've wanted forever.

3) Small planets are faster to terraform than large ones. The speed at which terraformers add atmospheric pressure would be modified by the surface area of the planet (this would also apply to the hydrosphere coverage), using Earth as the baseline.

Yes, yes, yes. Another thing I've wanted forever because it makes sense.

4) As a corollary to 3), a planet's gravity would determine if any gases could be added.
Rather than calculate the exact situation, which would be based on escape velocity, temperature and the molecular weight of the specific gas, I would have a fixed boundary, perhaps 0.1G, as the lowest gravity that would retain an atmosphere. This would result in a lot of low gravity bodies that could be colonised at 2.00 LG (which can't currently be colonised) but which would never improve beyond that point because they would not retain the atmosphere required for terraforming.

Putting a 0.1G limit sounds a good compromise to me. Anything lower belongs to the planetoid-class really. And for the sake of actually playing the game, some sort of simplification has to be used.

The combination of 3) and 4) would mean a significant disparity in how fast worlds could be terraformed, but not to extremes. For example, compared to Earth, Mars would be terraformed 3.5x more quickly, Ganymede 5.9x more quickly and Luna 13.5x more quickly. In fact, it would probably make sense to slow down the base rate of terraforming to the middle of that range, aiming for perhaps 25% - 50% of current rates. In the case of 25%, the rate of terraforming vs current would be:

Earth: 25% of current speed
Mars: 88% of current speed
Ganymede: 147% of current speed
Luna: 337% of current speed.

Large planets would take a suitably long time to terraform, with small planets and moons (that are still large enough to retain atmosphere) being terraformed relatively quickly. Depending on how much effort is required for the hydrosphere element I could make the reduction 50% instead on the assumption that the additional water vapour would also act to slow down the process.

50% base terraforming reduction sounds a good compromise to me. Maybe it is even too much. Slowing down the base rate of terraforming to  25% would make colonize larger planet wayyy to slow. Not really feasible in the length of a normal Aurora game.

For a low gravity colony, I think there should be a minimum colony cost. Even if the air is breathable, some form of gravity assistance would still be needed. Perhaps LG worlds are always at least colony cost X, so (in the above situation) you could reduce the colony cost to X by improving the temperature, but the low gravity prevents any improvement beyond that.

X = 2.00 seems the obvious choice, but that would mean there was no point making the air breathable or adding water, so perhaps 1.00 is a more interesting option (essentially the low gravity element of the LG infrastructure without the life support requirement).

I agree that low gravity should pose some problems even if a planet is terraformed. But I think colony cost 1.0 is too much. My suggestion would be that the colony cost, in case of a terraformed planet with low gravity, be set at 0.5.

I think it's a good, realistic compromise: a planet which IS low gravity, but with a perfectly breathable atmosphere  is four times less "costly to live in" than, basically, a space base on mars. That is what colony cost 2.0 is at the moment.
 
It makes sense to me, considering all the things you don't NEED compared to a pressurized, self reliant space base. Which does not have the luxury of having structural faults, because in cause of a structural problem most of the inhabitants would die. So there has to be so much more redundancy, safety measures and the like. On a terraformed, low gravity world you don't die horribly if something breaks. Hence, 4 times less costs than a pressurized base.

I've been considering the questions raised regarding planetary capacity. Given the proposed changes in terraforming, some rules regarding planetary capacity would provide a reason to colonise larger worlds.

....

So using that as a base, we get the following growth rate penalties and max populations:

(http://www.pentarch.org/steve/Screenshots/PopCapacity.PNG)

That doesn't look too bad, with Mars still worthwhile at 3.4 billion max pop, the Moon less than one billion, dwarf planets or medium moons ten of millions, small moons single millions and small asteroid less than one million. That should provide some flavour and give a good reason to terraform larger bodies.

This is perfect and another change I've waited for a long, long time. Those numbers also seem good for a self-reliant, normal world. They should really be visible before you colonize a planet however. Add another couple of fields to the system and planet view so we know those numbers and can more easily choose what to colonize.
However I have two other proposals to integrate in this.

1) I think that there should be a bonus/malus to population-generated wealth (not to financial centers generated wealth) based on planet size. The reasoning for this is: a larger planet has a lot more "resources" and a lot more "real estate" than a small planet. I'm not talking of minerals here.
A lot of Earth's "riches" come from the impossibly complex ecosystem we have, with all its different environments and biomes. Just think of chemistry, biology, biotechnologies and the like. So, since a terraformed planet is basically a planet where the atmosphere was added and an ecosystem has been imported/developed, it would make sense that a terraformed planet has a bonus/malus to wealth generation based on size, compared to baseline wealth generation on Earth.
This would also imply that any planet which is not terraformed, and so has no ecosystem, would have a malus. And it does make sense, what do these people sell anyway? Space dust? A lot of the normal activities we have on earth are not possible or more costly in a pressurized, relatively cramped environment. So a malus to wealth generation seems logical.

2)
A planet should be allowed to go "beyond maximum". At a cost. Sci-fi is full of examples of such "hive worlds", which a population far beyond its normal limit. The cost of that is that the planet is no longer self-reliant. And that there is so much population that the average wealth generated goes down compared to what it could be on a normally populated, self-reliant world.

My suggestion to model this is that the population limit can be increased by adding infrastructure. I'm not really sure how much would be appropriate though. And that a wealth generation malus should be put in place, progressively increasing as population grows beyond the normal planet limit, because more people have to do with less. Less resources, less space.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Tanj on January 05, 2017, 06:01:31 AM
2)
A planet should be allowed to go "beyond maximum". At a cost. Sci-fi is full of examples of such "hive worlds", which a population far beyond its normal limit. The cost of that is that the planet is no longer self-reliant. And that there is so much population that the average wealth generated goes down compared to what it could be on a normally populated, self-reliant world.

My suggestion to model this is that the population limit can be increased by adding infrastructure. I'm not really sure how much would be appropriate though. And that a wealth generation malus should be put in place, progressively increasing as population grows beyond the normal planet limit, because more people have to do with less. Less resources, less space.

Yes, this is what I came here to say. A lot of sci-fi includes heavily over-populated planets that are important for production or resources etc and I would hate to see Aurora lose that as a possibility, both for gameplay and story lore.

Of course, living on an over-populated, industrialised world wouldn't be very pleasant so moral or happiness would likely be affected - in the current Aurora mechanics, falling wealth production would seem a good way of representing this.

I like the idea of adding infrastructure to allow you to go over the planet cap (but not affecting the falling wealth production) AND adding in some new Tech options to artificially increase the planet's total  population cap - advanced farming techniques, improved high-rise infrastructure etc. There could even be new planet buildings to affect this somehow - entertainment centers to keep the populations mind off living in a hell hole, or police-state style buildings for crack downs on dissident populations...
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: sloanjh on January 05, 2017, 06:20:00 AM
3 is OK, but your formula is off.  While the required atmosphere mass will scale with the surface area, it will be inversely proportional to the surface gravity of the planet.  On a lower-gravity world, you need more stuff above you to get a given pressure.  The surface gravity is proportional to both density and radius, so if each terraformer produces a constant mass of atmosphere, you'll see the yearly atmosphere production proportional to density and inversely proportional to radius. 
The gory math behind this can be found at http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8107.msg91559#msg91559 (http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=8107.msg91559#msg91559)

Agreed on the rate formula being more subtle than simply the surface area (due to weaker pull at surface for lower density planets of the same mass).  But as I tried to say in reply to the post you're citing (although not nearly as clearly as I remember having been :) ), while the formula you're citing is correct density is not a good parameter to base the formula on because it's not directly tracked by Aurora.  A better formula to use is to stop at the observation that the rate is proportional to surface area and inversely proportional to gravity (the first thing you said above).  So the best formula for Steve to use would be:

time = timeForEarth*(AreaOfBody/AreaOfEarth)*(gravOfEarth/gravOfBody).

John
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: sloanjh on January 05, 2017, 06:27:10 AM
Yes, this is what I came here to say. A lot of sci-fi includes heavily over-populated planets that are important for production or resources etc and I would hate to see Aurora lose that as a possibility, both for gameplay and story lore.

Of course, living on an over-populated, industrialised world wouldn't be very pleasant so moral or happiness would likely be affected - in the current Aurora mechanics, falling wealth production would seem a good way of representing this.
[snip]

LOL - I was just getting ready to post that back in the very first days of Aurora, I really wanted overpopulation to result in "moral" penalties that eventually would lead to unrest and rebellion.  I still like that idea :)

Part of this was the idea that the colony cost shouldn't drop from 2.0 to 0.0 the moment some hard threshold is crossed; instead it should smoothly go down to 0.0.  Maybe carrying capacity could/should also be suppressed by how far your world is from "perfect" (dropping to zero at the colony cost=2.0 threshold), with moral/unrest/productivity impact if exceeded.

John
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Zincat on January 05, 2017, 07:09:03 AM
By the way, I wanted to specify one thing. The reason I also suggest a bonus/malus to wealth generation based on planets, and the reason I suggest a malus to wealth generation in case a planet going beyond the normal population limit, is that it is the only real way to model these kind of things in Aurora.

Right now, colony costs revolves entirely around infrastructure. But infrastructure is a "shoot and forget" thing. Once you have built it, then there is no other penalty. It does not have a maintenance cost, it does not give any other sort of penalty. While I can understand the simplification, because Aurora is still a game, there has to be a difference between different type of worlds.

Consider the following hypothetical example. We have 3 candidates for colonies, all without TN minerals:
- Luna, as portrayed in Aurora
- Planet X, a small barren planet in the nearby system with breathable atmosphere but nothing else. Not even water.
- Planet Y, a paradise world with in the next system, with perfect atmosphere, bigger than the Earth and native flora.

Right now, besides the infrastructure cost for Luna, there is zero difference between colonizing the 3 planets. And in fact, infrastracture is a one-time cost. Once set down, you will never have to worry about it. And even worse, it's actually automatically produced by civilians.

I do not think this is enough. Most people roleplay on Aurora, there has to be something else. Realistically, which planet would you choose really? I don't think anyone would have doubts. I don't think any governemnt would have doubts about which planet to choose.

And how can you possible justify the same wealth production? Considering that wealth production is basically taxation, on the paradise planet you would have tourism, biological and chemical endeavours, art and many other things the other planets don't have. I think we can safely agree there are more opportunities to make money for the people who live on Planet Y, and so more taxes.


I do understand however that since Aurora is a game there has to be a simple way to handle things, else the game would be unplayable. Hence I propose a flat bonus/malus % to wealth generation depending on the situation. This is on top of the need of infrastructure, since I think that's not nearly enough of a problem in Aurora. To sum it up you'd have:
- A % malus to wealth generation of colonies with colony cost=> 2. Because that means a pressurized environment, and that means less opportunities, less chances to use the outside area, no ecosystem, no native biomes on the planet etc.
- A % malus/bonus to wealth generation of colonies that are terraformed, based on size of the planet compared to earth. Earth is the baseline, a smaller planet would have less opportunities/unique environments and so on, a bigger one more.
- A % malus to wealth generation of colonies who go beyond their maximum normal population, as the planet is "stretched thin" with both space and resources compared to population.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: byron on January 05, 2017, 09:57:46 AM
Agreed on the rate formula being more subtle than simply the surface area (due to weaker pull at surface for lower density planets of the same mass).  But as I tried to say in reply to the post you're citing (although not nearly as clearly as I remember having been :) ), while the formula you're citing is correct density is not a good parameter to base the formula on because it's not directly tracked by Aurora.  A better formula to use is to stop at the observation that the rate is proportional to surface area and inversely proportional to gravity (the first thing you said above).  So the best formula for Steve to use would be:

time = timeForEarth*(AreaOfBody/AreaOfEarth)*(gravOfEarth/gravOfBody).

John
Good point.  I think in terms of radius and density because that's what most of my worldbuilding tools take, and I didn't bother to read that whole thread.  Use this one instead.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 05, 2017, 01:46:35 PM
Judging by the responses I seem to be in minority of people who don't like population cap on bodies. This may be because I love creating atypical nations, like an asteroid belt one, where a dozen or so bodies are quite heavily colonized (more than fifty million people each). With the proposed changes making those will be essentially impossible. It also calls into question the very ability to colonize such bodies. What would be the point of settling Vesta or Pallas in the Sol system if each of those can house less than five million people, insufficient to man a mere hundred factories?

Having said that, if the population cap change gets through there are several things to consider. First I'd like this to be a game option that can be turned off. Second since we're talking about habitability, shouldn't tidal lock be included as well, further reducing possible population? The truth is in many campaigns half or even more potential colonies were tidally locked. In addition, what about bodies with infrastructure? Those are, in theory, completely closed and customizable systems, which would imply they can house a lot more people than open air planets. This is especially important in case of underground infrastructure. Also I'd like to point out that small bodies, which could house less than twenty five million, would create some problems for shipping lines, as they would be perpetually locked as destination for colonists, so some changes to that would be needed as well.

Last but not least a change like that just asks for some new technologies. One tree (agriculture maybe?) would serve to increase the planetary capacity for population. Another one (longevity treatments maybe? advanced medicine?) would increase population growth. This may also be a good possibility to add some new installations that result in similar things.

Making population caps optional would be straight forward.

I've been considering options for expanding beyond the population limits but I think this should be something related to a new tech line rather than just having extra infrastructure. It shouldn't just be a case of just crowing more people into a given space as a planet also needs room to grow food, etc, so perhaps tech that allow higher density farming methods (as you suggested) would create more living space. Another option is technology for utilising subsurface volume on small bodies to allow more living space.

The point regarding tide-locked worlds is a good one. Their capacity should be reduced significantly and it would actually mean the tide-locked status had some relevance.

The 25m limit for shipping lines would be adjusted for smaller worlds - perhaps shipping lines would only ship up to a specific portion of the max capacity.



Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Haji on January 05, 2017, 03:08:52 PM
Honestly, if you're cramming 50 million people and all the resources you need to support them into rocks that are not Ceres, they're basically Orbital Habitats anyway... :p

Well... yes. The way I would explain it, a typical orbital habitat has to be built from the ground up, so it's quite expensive. But if you're just modifying an asteroid, then you have a lot of materials on site, which you just have to turn into air filters and so on. So asteroids like that are in fact, in my campaigns at least, a ginormous habitats in all but name. Which is why they could house and support tens of millions of people (in one game Vesta and Pallas had over a hundred people if my memory serves).

Making population caps optional would be straight forward.

I've been considering options for expanding beyond the population limits but I think this should be something related to a new tech line rather than just having extra infrastructure. It shouldn't just be a case of just crowing more people into a given space as a planet also needs room to grow food, etc, so perhaps tech that allow higher density farming methods (as you suggested) would create more living space. Another option is technology for utilising subsurface volume on small bodies to allow more living space.

The point regarding tide-locked worlds is a good one. Their capacity should be reduced significantly and it would actually mean the tide-locked status had some relevance.

The 25m limit for shipping lines would be adjusted for smaller worlds - perhaps shipping lines would only ship up to a specific portion of the max capacity.


I'm glad to hear all of this. One note however - when talking about infrastructure, I was thinking more about whether or not the population limit will apply to bodies that haven't been terraformed yet. Or if the limit should even apply in such case.

One last mechanical question - what about alien races? Will they have the same population limit? In my opinion there should be a numeric value for this that can be modified in game, like gravity tolerance, which would allow us to customize density for humans or aliens.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 05, 2017, 03:37:58 PM
Well... yes. The way I would explain it, a typical orbital habitat has to be built from the ground up, so it's quite expensive. But if you're just modifying an asteroid, then you have a lot of materials on site, which you just have to turn into air filters and so on. So asteroids like that are in fact, in my campaigns at least, a ginormous habitats in all but name. Which is why they could house and support tens of millions of people (in one game Vesta and Pallas had over a hundred people if my memory serves).

I'm glad to hear all of this. One note however - when talking about infrastructure, I was thinking more about whether or not the population limit will apply to bodies that haven't been terraformed yet. Or if the limit should even apply in such case.

One last mechanical question - what about alien races? Will they have the same population limit? In my opinion there should be a numeric value for this that can be modified in game, like gravity tolerance, which would allow us to customize density for humans or aliens.

I think the limit should apply regardless of colony cost. That is simpler and for larger worlds, running into the limit will be unusual anyway. For small bodies (sub 0.1G), they won't be terraformed anyway.

Good suggestion about the racial tolerance for crowding. I think it should vary by race (allowing Starfire-style Arachnids for example).
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 05, 2017, 04:09:36 PM
I've been thinking further about tidally locked worlds. I agree they should have much less available living space. However, the major issue with tidally locked worlds is that they have one side very hot as it faces the sun and one side very cold and always dark as it faces away.

That raises a few questions. For example, if one side is very hot and the other very cold, does that mean there is always a narrow, 'Goldilocks' zone which has liveable temperatures even if it is close to the star. In other words, should tidally-locked worlds actually have perhaps 10% normal capacity and no colony cost penalty for temperature? The colonists would live in that narrow band between light and dark.

Another consideration is that a tidally-locked planet that is normally too cold, might actually become more habitable by being tidal-locked because one side is heated up into the habitable zone.

Interested to hear opinions in this area. I want to keep it relatively simple though :)

Tidally-locked moons are a different issue as they always face their parent planet but effectively rotate with respect to the star so are treated as a normal world. Also, in VB6 Aurora all moons are tidal-locked for simplicity. In C# Aurora, there is a calculation and some of the outer moons are not tidal-locked. All the major moons in Sol are tidal-locked, but with my current formula a few of the small outer moons around the gas giants are not tidal-locked.

Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: 83athom on January 05, 2017, 04:42:02 PM
~snip~
Interested to hear opinions in this area. I want to keep it relatively simple though :)
I think the idea is interesting. I think that when calculating the livable area of said planets, you would need to consider the hottest extremes, the coldest extremes, the average temperature, and the temperature of the "narrow band" of land when figuring the percentage of area that may be habitable. Like you said, in an orbit zone similar to Earth one side would be too hot and the other too cold with ~10% area that might be habitable (albeit somewhat uncomfortable to be in either constant twilight). However, a planet farther out may have the entire half facing the sun in the habitable range of a species.


Tidally-locked moons are a different issue as they always face their parent planet but effectively rotate with respect to the star so are treated as a normal world. Also, in VB6 Aurora all moons are tidal-locked for simplicity. In C# Aurora, there is a calculation and some of the outer moons are not tidal-locked. All the major moons in Sol are tidal-locked, but with my current formula a few of the small outer moons around the gas giants are not tidal-locked.
While on this subject, is there a calculation for tidal stresses when dealing with moons and planets (for the sake of temperature)?
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: bitbucket on January 05, 2017, 06:57:36 PM
That raises a few questions. For example, if one side is very hot and the other very cold, does that mean there is always a narrow, 'Goldilocks' zone which has liveable temperatures even if it is close to the star. In other words, should tidally-locked worlds actually have perhaps 10% normal capacity and no colony cost penalty for temperature? The colonists would live in that narrow band between light and dark.

The area of habitability of a tidally locked planet would depend on a lot of circumstances. There are ways a dim star can have a habitable world despite tidelocking.

(https://s30.postimg.org/g94kgtb41/lock3.png)

One, a moderately dense atmosphere that can circulate heat and thick clouds to block the worst of the sunlight (like a permanent subsolar storm) can even out the temperature somewhat, so all the light side and even possibly the dark side are tolerable; though without sunlight to power it, life on the night side will be problematic.  Venus, while an admittedly poor example, rotates slower than it revolves and yet the night temperatures are only a few degrees cooler than the day side.

(https://s30.postimg.org/6pr2jfyvl/lock2.png)

Two, if the planet has an elliptical orbit it would induce libration (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libration) in the visible position of the star. For modestly elliptical orbits (e = 0.2 or so) up to a third of the planet would experience both day and night. Significant axial tilt can have a similar effect with areas around the poles.

(https://s30.postimg.org/fuzfdb2a9/lock3.png)

Three, if a planet is distant enough from its star, the permanently lit side just might not be hot enough to preclude habitation (though the night half is then certainly a lost cause). This is probably a more likely case for worlds around K and G class stars.

On the topic of tidelocked moons, I've seen some instances of randomly generated literal double planets where the "moon" is over 90% of the mass of the "planet." In instances like this, both objects should be mutually tidelocked to one another, though...this is often not the case. I recall one instance where I found an Earth-like planet with a Venus-like moon barely outside each other's Roche limits (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roche_limit), and yet the planet still wasn't tidelocked. A sufficiently large moon can prevent tidelocking to the star, though this does seem to be the case in version 7.x already, just not to the degree one might expect.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: MarcAFK on January 05, 2017, 11:23:35 PM
I have a suggestion related to genetic modification centers. Could they be retooled in the next version to raise population growth if desired? Maybe your population doesn't want to breed anymore but if the government wants clones to fill its hive worlds then the government will get clones to fill its hive worlds dammit.
Perhaps they are a little cheap for this however, maybe the added growth should be less than the 250k per center that can be modified.
A default start gives population growth of 12.5 million per year, this could be doubled with only 50 modification centers if they produced 250'000 per year. Maybe in cloning mode reduce that to 100,000? Then 125 centers would be needed, requiring the same population level as the same number of ordnence factories. Though I still think maybe the population required to run the centers should be doubled.
Who actually uses gene modification centers? I've only seen a few examples mentioned and would like peoples thoughts on the suggestion.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Haji on January 06, 2017, 12:43:19 PM
Interested to hear opinions in this area. I want to keep it relatively simple though :)

For simplicity sake I'd use what I've seen most often in SF books - tidally locked worlds located in the water zone of the parent star have habitable zone on the terminus (the twilight zone) with the ever sunny side being too hot and the ever dark side being too cold.

For a more detailed answer I'd say bitbucket covered all the angles although from what I understand the giant, never ending storm on the sun side is pretty much given for any planet with sufficient amount of water and sufficiently dense atmosphere, which may make sun side unsuitable for colonization in any case. For more information you may want to read http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/4922e224a740d which is an article in a world building site dedicated to very, very hard SF.

In addition you could go ahead and create a new technology tree dedicated to increasing habitable range of tidally locked planets (they are fairly common in Aurora after all) such as artificial agriculture on the night side or something similar. Unlike the technologies which rise total population cap on all planets, those would merely help the nation to use larger part of a specific type of a planet.

I have a suggestion related to genetic modification centers. Could they be retooled in the next version to raise population growth if desired?

I'm always looking for new ways to increase population growth, so I'm all for it.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: ryuga81 on January 06, 2017, 06:14:14 PM

And how can you possible justify the same wealth production? Considering that wealth production is basically taxation, on the paradise planet you would have tourism, biological and chemical endeavours, art and many other things the other planets don't have. I think we can safely agree there are more opportunities to make money for the people who live on Planet Y, and so more taxes.


I'd also like to see "anomalies" expanded in that sense. Most barren planets would be simply barren and unprofitable, but I'd like to see the occasional exception, a barren world that has a unique natural resource (some kind of weird beneficial radiation, good soil composition for agriculture once water is provided, large amounts of non-TN mineral resources or simply amazing views for tourism) that kinda offsets the "barrenness malus" and makes for a perfect candidate for advanced terraforming (turning the reduced malus into an actual bonus). Of course the concept could be further expanded (not only to wealth but also pop growth, production, terraforming speed etc.), but it would deserve its own thread.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 07, 2017, 06:09:20 AM
Thanks for the responses on tide locked planets and the link to Orion's Arm.

I've been considering how to represent the various tide locked scenarios in a simple way. Essentially, the scenarios all involve more limited habitability than normal and a way to avoid the worst extremes of temperature, either through avoiding heat by living in the twilight area or through avoiding cold by living on the permanently sun-facing side. Therefore, for tide locked worlds (not moons) I am going to reduce both the temperature factor for colony cost and the max population capacity by a factor of 5. This gives these worlds a unique flavour that captures the essential differences without any complex rules.

For example, Mercury is normally colony cost 16.94 with a population capacity of 1,756m. With the new tide-locked rule this would change to colony cost 3.39 with a population capacity of 351m. Any colonists would be living in the twilight area of the planet. BTW I know Mercury isn't truly tide-locked but I am definitely not getting into rules for 3:2 resonance worlds so they will be treated as tide-locked. Bear in mind, it will be much harder to reduce this colony cost than normal because you would need to reduce the temperature five times more than a normal planet to achieve the same colony cost factor reduction.

On the subject of colony cost, I am also changing the cost of atmospheric pressure. At the moment it is a simple 2.0 if greater than species maximum. For C# Aurora if the pressure is greater than species maximum the colony cost will be (Pressure / Species Max Pressure) with a minimum of 2.0. For example, if species max pressure is 4, a world with 5 atm would be colony cost 2.0, a world with 12 atm would be colony cost 3.0 and a world with 50 atm would be colony cost 12.5.

In most cases, this type of pressure will also be accompanied by very high temperatures with similar or greater colony cost and the change will make little practical difference. However, with the new tide-lock rules I want to avoid a tide-locked Venusian world having a much lower colony cost than would be realistic.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: bitbucket on January 07, 2017, 11:56:34 AM
For all the talk of terraforming, I still feel some consideration needs to be given to biospheres. Even with a breathable atmosphere, a planet that's nothing but a ball of barren regolith is going to be far less valuable than one covered in a self-sustaining ecology. Since this topic has come to the forefront I'm going to dig up an old post of mine from the suggestion thread and tweak it a bit:

You can give a Mars-like planet an Earth-like atmosphere, but you're still going to have a planet of nothing but dead regolith and barren rock unless you gradually introduce life to it.  Building an ecosystem from scratch would have to start with basic pioneer plants that can grow on bare rock; like algae, mosses, and lichens; to build up soil for more complex plants to grow in. Once plants are established, the way is open for animals.

To keep a biosphere simulation fairly abstract and not become another SimEarth, we can break planetary biospheres down into a few basic categories:

Lifeless - The system body has never had life.  If left as is, it never will.
Microbial - Only single-celled lifeforms exist, either because conditions are too hostile for more complex forms, or there hasn't been enough time for it to develop further.
Simple - A limited biosphere of simple pioneer plants and small hardy animals exists.
Complex - A diverse, fully developed, self-sustaining biosphere exists.

And some special cases for when things go wrong:

Degraded - The system body's biosphere has been significantly disrupted, perhaps from a natural disaster, minor xenoforming, or bombardment.  The biosphere may adapt and recover with time.
Dying - The system body's surface environment can no longer sustain its former biosphere, either due to stellar evolution shifting the habitable zone away, or because significant xenoforming has occurred.
Extinct - The system body once had life, but it has been extinguished.

On a lifeless world, once terraforming reduces the colony cost to, say, below 1, have the biosphere category change to Simple as organisms genetically adapted to the colonists' preferred environment and the planet's unique conditions are introduced.  After enough time at zero colony cost, further increase the biosphere category to Complex, simulating the colonists adding more advanced lifeforms to bring about an ecological succession. This would take centuries on its own, but TN technology has ways of making the impossible probable. Humans are an impatient and woefully short-lived species that like to see the things they start get finished within their lifetimes, so certainly ways of speeding along natural processes would be developed as part of the methodology of terraforming processes.

Handling alien ecosystems would be...somewhat less simple, if we're even up to the task. One species' ideal environment is another's horrible gasping death. We can see just from the examples our own Earth provides that life can take hold almost anywhere with an energy source and a fluid medium.  Perhaps the planet's native biosphere could have tolerances and ideal conditions in the same way randomly generated NPR races do, tuned to the planet's unique conditions. If the environment is changed too much, the native life dies off, going through Degraded > Dying > Extinct as you terraform the planet away from its original state. It would make for some delightful ethical dilemmas such as "that vital strategic planet full of minerals with the methane/ammonia atmosphere is full of exotic life, would you go ahead with terraforming and kill everything on it?" Conversely, finding a rare natural zero-colony-cost world would be all the more special if it also had a Complex biosphere on it, a true Earth analog garden world (though it would likely also be an alien homeworld). A native biosphere might even give a research bonus for Biology/Genetics.

We might also consider Degraded, Dying, or Extinct worlds occurring naturally too, with Dying/Extinct particularly around B/A/G-class stars nearing the end of their time on the main sequence, and Extinct worlds around post-hydrogen-fusing red giants and white dwarfs.

Again, whether or not this is even worth bothering with this depends on how far the terraforming process is intended to go. If the intent of terraforming is literally to create new Earth-like worlds, this is relevant. If all we're after is just eliminating the need for closed-cycle life support, and having colonies become open-air arcology complexes surrounded by lifeless barren wilderness, instead of completely sealed self-contained bases, this is all moot.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Zincat on January 07, 2017, 12:07:03 PM
For all the talk of terraforming, I still feel some consideration needs to be given to biospheres. Even with a breathable atmosphere, a planet that's nothing but a ball of barren regolith is going to be far less valuable than one covered in a self-sustaining ecology. Since this topic has come to the forefront I'm going to dig up an old post of mine from the suggestion thread and tweak it a bit:

... <snipped for legibility>

Again, whether or not this is even worth bothering with this depends on how far the terraforming process is intended to go. If the intent of terraforming is literally to create new Earth-like worlds, this is relevant. If all we're after is just eliminating the need for closed-cycle life support, and having colonies become open-air arcology complexes surrounded by lifeless barren wilderness, instead of completely sealed self-contained bases, this is all moot.

Personally, I rather like this suggestion. I'm not sure on the exact implementation, that could be discussed. It would tie to my suggestion of different wealth generation per unit of population based on planet type and atmosphere. I don't know if Steve likes the idea though.

I do feel however that the process should be rather simple to handle for the players. Which is why I feel that flat bonuses/maluses to basic characteristics, like wealth generation, or morale, work best rather than too complex systems.
The entire thing could be visualized as simple planetary "traits", like anomalies are now. These traits could be innate, or they could possibly change or be added  if you do something specific, like terraforming.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 07, 2017, 02:05:48 PM
Personally, I rather like this suggestion. I'm not sure on the exact implementation, that could be discussed. It would tie to my suggestion of different wealth generation per unit of population based on planet type and atmosphere. I don't know if Steve likes the idea though.

I do feel however that the process should be rather simple to handle for the players. Which is why I feel that flat bonuses/maluses to basic characteristics, like wealth generation, or morale, work best rather than too complex systems.
The entire thing could be visualized as simple planetary "traits", like anomalies are now. These traits could be innate, or they could possibly change or be added  if you do something specific, like terraforming.

I do like the idea of biospheres and some type of descriptive element to planets. It could be affected by atmosphere, tectonics, water, axial tilt, perhaps even the magnetic field. If I implement this (probably not immediately but a definite possibility for the future) it would also make sense for those different biospheres to have an impact on the population, such as the suggested bonus or penalty for wealth generation.

Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Black on January 08, 2017, 02:07:09 PM
Would it be possible to use infrastructure to increase maximum population on 100% water worlds? Something like floating or underwater cities (Atlantis in Stargate or Mon Calamari and Selkath cities in Star Wars)?
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 08, 2017, 02:44:50 PM
Would it be possible to use infrastructure to increase maximum population on 100% water worlds? Something like floating or underwater cities (Atlantis in Stargate or Mon Calamari and Selkath cities in Star Wars)?

1% is still quite a lot for terrestrial worlds. For a 100% water planet the size of Earth that would be 120 million inhabitants. I will add some tech lines though to increase pop and water planets could be included.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Person012345 on January 12, 2017, 03:57:50 AM
I've been thinking further about tidally locked worlds. I agree they should have much less available living space. However, the major issue with tidally locked worlds is that they have one side very hot as it faces the sun and one side very cold and always dark as it faces away.

That raises a few questions. For example, if one side is very hot and the other very cold, does that mean there is always a narrow, 'Goldilocks' zone which has liveable temperatures even if it is close to the star. In other words, should tidally-locked worlds actually have perhaps 10% normal capacity and no colony cost penalty for temperature? The colonists would live in that narrow band between light and dark.

Another consideration is that a tidally-locked planet that is normally too cold, might actually become more habitable by being tidal-locked because one side is heated up into the habitable zone.

Interested to hear opinions in this area. I want to keep it relatively simple though :)

Tidally-locked moons are a different issue as they always face their parent planet but effectively rotate with respect to the star so are treated as a normal world. Also, in VB6 Aurora all moons are tidal-locked for simplicity. In C# Aurora, there is a calculation and some of the outer moons are not tidal-locked. All the major moons in Sol are tidal-locked, but with my current formula a few of the small outer moons around the gas giants are not tidal-locked.

I like this idea. There could also be tidally-locked-planet-specific techs that increase the pop cap on them (geothermal techs for example, any life existing on the dark side would likely utilise energy from volcanic vents, much like in the very deep sea).
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: hubgbf on January 20, 2017, 10:42:02 AM
Hi,

What about radiation ?
Depending on the star's type and distance (and presence of a planetary magnetic field), a planet can be as deadly as a microwave oven, isn't it?

Gravity is a problem to long-term survivability on an asteroid, radiation is a short term problem.
The more radiation, the more protection needed (additionnal infrastructure? Shield technology and perhaps a new shielded infrastructure?)

As ships do not need radiation shielding in aurora, surely due to transnewtonian technology, it shouldn't be a huge problem. Yet I wonder how a ship in aurora can stay without a sweat near a big and active sun, or neutron star, or black hole.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: 83athom on January 20, 2017, 12:13:36 PM
As ships do not need radiation shielding in aurora, surely due to transnewtonian technology, it shouldn't be a huge problem. Yet I wonder how a ship in aurora can stay without a sweat near a big and active sun, or neutron star, or black hole.
Duranium (what all hull and infrastructure is made of in game) is a radiation shielding material (like lead but better).
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: iceball3 on January 22, 2017, 02:36:34 PM
Duranium (what all hull and infrastructure is made of in game) is a radiation shielding material (like lead but better).
However, miraculously is completely bypassed by mesons (damaging radiation) and microwaves (tentative, might just be conducting via outer-surface electronics, antennas, etc inwards).

Hey Steve, with the new population limits, could the population cap of a world (with or without infrastructure, pending the endurance of inhabitants) be pushed upwards by freezing it's oceans?

Also, about tidally locked worlds, couldn't there be, with heavy terraforming, worlds where the bright side or the dark side are either suitable for being lived on?
Also also, wouldn't tidally locked worlds have no bearing on population hard caps for concerning infrastructure, given that infrastructure can allow people to live within the extreme caustic heat of venus and on the frigid coldness of pluto?
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 23, 2017, 03:50:37 PM
However, miraculously is completely bypassed by mesons (damaging radiation) and microwaves (tentative, might just be conducting via outer-surface electronics, antennas, etc inwards).

Hey Steve, with the new population limits, could the population cap of a world (with or without infrastructure, pending the endurance of inhabitants) be pushed upwards by freezing it's oceans?

Also, about tidally locked worlds, couldn't there be, with heavy terraforming, worlds where the bright side or the dark side are either suitable for being lived on?
Also also, wouldn't tidally locked worlds have no bearing on population hard caps for concerning infrastructure, given that infrastructure can allow people to live within the extreme caustic heat of venus and on the frigid coldness of pluto?

Freezing Oceans is a possibility.

Tidelocked assumes that in some cases it is the twilight area and sometimes the sun-facing side. In both cases, the reduced colony cost for temperature and the reduced pop cap would apply. If you use infrastructure, it would have to be at the full colony cost, not the reduced one, so it probably wouldn't be worth it.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: iceball3 on January 25, 2017, 04:41:11 PM
Tidelocked assumes that in some cases it is the twilight area and sometimes the sun-facing side. In both cases, the reduced colony cost for temperature and the reduced pop cap would apply. If you use infrastructure, it would have to be at the full colony cost, not the reduced one, so it probably wouldn't be worth it.
How about using infrastructure to extend the twilight zones, instead?
The idea being that if you get a twilit zone to colony cost 0, just outside of the habitable zone is probably not going to be too expensive to keep hospitibal, yeah?
Maybe have it so tidally locked planets have a static colony cost until you hit the tidal-lock cap, in which case, infrastructure has diminishing returns, with lowest efficiency capped down from the coldest/hottest places on the planet?
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Shipright on January 28, 2017, 10:19:41 AM
Since we are talking about biospheres again, I will dredge my ideas on that up from the dead!

Something that always bothers me about planet management is that there is lots of detail in terraforming regarding atmosphere and temperature and other base factors but no attention to the biosphere. Or in other words while its nice to have a planet modified to exactly what I need for an atmosphere to be breathable, what I am basically left with is a dead desert that the game treats as a paradise as far as game play goes. So I propose adding another metric to terraforming that reflects the size, complexity and health of the biosphere.

So that's the basic idea, here are some detailed thoughts.

1.) I propose three metrics for biosphere; mass, health and complexity. Size is a measure of the organic mass of the biosphere. Health is simply a measurement of the abstract condition of whatever biosphere there is. Complexity is a measure of the abstract maturity and value of that biosphere (say in diversity and number of species). So for instance a newly terraformed Mars could have a very healthy biosphere but it might only be fields of simple algae brought by human colonists after only 25 years of settlement so have a very low mass and complexity. On the other hand you discover a new unsettled paradise planet that has a healthy biosphere but also a very large and complex one after billions of years of life developing. Then you might find an ancient desert world that has a very complex biosphere but because it has a small hydrosphere/low temperature/low gravity/active tectonics it has little mass or heath. Each metric affects the same gameplay mechanisms, but you can only get so much benefit from any one while multiple together make for a larger benefit. I believe the obvious current game mechanic that a biosphere would affect is planet morale and population growth rate but an agriculture resource would also be great.

2.) Right now there are no consequences to any industrial activity on a planet. You can mine Earth hollow and nobody will bat an eye. If we gave industrial facilities a pollution value that would provide a very interesting planet management game play device. I have contemplated two ways to work this:

-We can have each industrial facility provide a very slight atmospheric modification and conversely biosphere health and complexity would be affected negatively by the rate of change in atmosphere. You could counteract this using the current in game terraforming facilities or via new research options providing for cleaner industry in several tech levels (giving our Biology/Genetics scientists something useful to do) This would have the added benefit that if you discover an alien world with a very healthy and complex biosphere based on methane you would destroy it if you changed it over to oxygen based in the space of 20 years very much like real life. Environmentalists beware.

-Use a generic pollution metric based on values for each facility and that in turn affects the biosphere. Add a new facility that can counteract these effects on top of the mentioned research.

3.) Biosphere mass is added to a planet via terraforming facilities. We can measure this in weight of biomass and have an optimal mass based on the size of the body and the hydrosphere or whatever other factors we decide are "good" or "bad" for the biosphere. We can restrict this to certain types of atmospheres (Methane over 20% does won't support a biosphere for example), gravity conditions, temperatures, etc. which would let us make sure native biospheres only show up in the real world "habitable zone" of systems or heavily terraformed ones outside of it. Or we could let them develop anywhere making for some truly alien environments. Once biosphere mass is introduced to a planet it has a natural growth rate up to whatever the optimal mass for that planet is. You can rely on that alone or continue to augment it with terraforming facilities, but if you go over the optimal mass you will will negatively affect health and complexity (basically you are over farming). You lose mass through planetary conflict or bombardment or by having a health rate below whatever value chosen (say lose a certain rate at health value 75%, and lose it at a much greater rate at health value under 50%).

4.) Biosphere health is a measure of the whatever biosphere there is based on original planetary conditions in comparison to current ones. The original baseline conditions will gradually shift to current conditions over time. You can rapidly terraform a planet with a native biosphere and cause great degradation, or slowly change it over a century and lose some biosphere but let it adapt to the new conditions over time for the most part. If we are using the atmospheric change mechanism for industrial pollution it will affect biosphere health as above. If we use a generic "pollution" metric it will just degrade the health by the level of pollution combined with whatever terraforming changes are happening.

5.) Biosphere complexity is both naturally occurring and player controlled. It increases naturally at a rate determined by the relationship between mass and health but very slowly (this is naturally a billion year process after all). The player can artificially increase the complexity via a new team mission "environmental seeding" or "species introduction" or whatever which simulates scientists introducing species from other worlds to this one or creating new one is labs specifically for this world (which also gives your biology/genetics scientists something useful to do).

6.) My intended result of this is to make adding biosphere mass and maintaining biosphere health relatively easy to do within the scope of a normal game, while complexity being something you can only affect so much during that same game span. This would mean barring playing through thousands of years Mars will never be as diverse as a an unspoiled Earth and when you discover an alien world with a billion year old biosphere with very high complexity this is something extremely valuable that is to be coveted and protected. Earth of course being one of those. Once you let a world like that be destroyed through conflict or mismanagement there is no getting it back to that level again. I think that all player homeworlds would have such biospheres meaning instead of glassing every NPR world you meet it would be worth it to use ground force invasions (right now there is little reason beyond RP to use ground invasions).

7.) This would provide another reason to colonize less than optimal worlds. Earth might become a planet of low impact facilities like research labs, academies, and financial centers while you move all dirty construction facilities and the like to Luna or Titan.

8.) It adds an environmental aspect to the game beyond the usual 4x slash and burn/grow like a tumor game play. Do I get more value out of maintaining a nursery world with an awesome moral and population growth or by mining every spec of Corundium out of the core? It might be the former or the later.

http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?topic=6383.msg65152#msg65152
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: DIT_grue on January 29, 2017, 12:16:27 AM
5.) Biosphere complexity is both naturally occurring and player controlled. It increases naturally at a rate determined by the relationship between mass and health but very slowly (this is naturally a billion year process after all). The player can artificially increase the complexity via a new team mission "environmental seeding" or "species introduction" or whatever which simulates scientists introducing species from other worlds to this one or creating new one is labs specifically for this world (which also gives your biology/genetics scientists something useful to do).

6.) My intended result of this is to make adding biosphere mass and maintaining biosphere health relatively easy to do within the scope of a normal game, while complexity being something you can only affect so much during that same game span. This would mean barring playing through thousands of years Mars will never be as diverse as a an unspoiled Earth and when you discover an alien world with a billion year old biosphere with very high complexity this is something extremely valuable that is to be coveted and protected. Earth of course being one of those. Once you let a world like that be destroyed through conflict or mismanagement there is no getting it back to that level again. I think that all player homeworlds would have such biospheres meaning instead of glassing every NPR world you meet it would be worth it to use ground force invasions (right now there is little reason beyond RP to use ground invasions).

Speaking of longer-than-gameplay processes... I've always had a (very minor) wish to include an alternative terraforming process that uses seeded organisms. It would be very cheap, but take far longer than most of us are willing to wait, with no real way of accelerating it.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: bitbucket on January 29, 2017, 03:21:29 PM
How long the ecological succession to a climax community takes really depends on what the final biome is. A simple grassland can develop in 20-30 years, a tropical forest might take a century, and an old-growth primeval forest the likes of which once covered Europe and eastern North America can take up to 500 years. Across the span of an entire planet you'll have dozens of biomes, all going at their own pace.

For the sake of simplicity we'll have to abstract it down to a few generic metrics. On the one hand, it's nice to see things you start finish in your lifetime; on the other hand, sometimes nature can't be rushed.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: iceball3 on January 31, 2017, 03:38:37 AM
sometimes nature can't be rushed.
You say that, in light of genetics modification that can (potentially) dramatically change the comfortable living temperatures and breathing composition of our colonists.
Title: Re: Considering Changes to Terraforming
Post by: Hazard on January 31, 2017, 09:41:24 PM
It's important to recognise some of the critical components of biosphere health; it's complexity and resilience of the food web across the entire planet from the biggest down to the bacterial layers. Even with GMCs capable of performing the mutagenics necessary to transform thousands of individuals a day the actual size by sheer mass of the Earth's biosphere is mind boggling. Certainly, it's possible to spray mists across fresh and salt bodies of water with specially tailored microorganisms to prepare the planet for more complex life forms, but it will take time for that to develop into something that can actually do so, and more time still to seed the plants, fungi and animals that are needed to properly create a self sustaining biome.

I mean, you could toss a few metric tons of soil bacteria and the like out of spray nozzles onto an area with similar weather and soil patterns as the savannah, then seed the vast oceans of grass and other plants before you let that rest for a bit and establish itself. Then you drop off the herbivorous prey species, leave them alone for a bit, and then, finally, do you drop off the predators. It'll take a long while. And you just did only part of a a single biome.

Sure, that biome will expand as far as it can, but there are limits due to temperature, weather patterns and soil conditions. But you've still got quite a few biomes to go, and it will take time for that biome to expand.