Author Topic: Aurora II  (Read 64712 times)

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Offline The Khan

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2010, 04:35:31 PM »
I don't think wildlife is worth modeling particularly closely, but generating some biosphere data could be interesting, especially how it could interact with terraforming. Biospheres do quite a bit to shape the atmosphere and albedo of the planet they're on, and interacting with the biosphere would make for an interesting addition to terraforming. Life-bearing worlds would have a couple extra steps in system generation to represent how the native life shaped the planet, generally doing good things like increased oxygen levels and moderated temperature - but on the flipside, sometimes the local biochemistry might release chlorine into the atmosphere.

Or alien beef. Nothing like the discovery of new biota,even ruins to stimulate other parts of human society like Archaelogists and Biologists. National Geographic sweeps would explode.
 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2010, 11:04:03 PM »
I would suggest moving one way or the other.  Either strategic or tactical.  If you want to control every facet of the game, then retain the current weapon/fire con/missile/target system for each ship and give the player greater control over the movement of the individual ships.  If you want more of a strategic focus, then make the base "unit" a squadron.  Individual ships would plug into the squadron, which could be given various formation, movement, and attack orders. 

This brings up a comment I made when crucis first started the long next-generation SF thread (about 6 months or a year ago?).  My observation was that the level-of-detail for a strategic, empire-building game is different from the LoD for a tactical game.  At the strategic level, you should be much more concerned with building bases, basing units at said bases, and setting up patrol patterns, to avoid getting bogged down in micro-management.  My proposal at the time was something very similar to what Red Storm Rising (which I just was able to start playing again, thanks to DosBox - yeah!!!!!) did in the campaign game - have a strategic level movement which would set the start conditions for a tactical game.

I realize that an awful lot of cleverness would need to go into the "boundary" that sets up the scenarios, but it's  thought about how to get the epic sweep without getting bogged down in tactical encounters.

John
 

Offline Beersatron

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2010, 12:19:43 AM »
So since Waresky is apparently MIA I shall post the obligatory 'Ground Combat' suggestion! :)

Off the top of my head:

- Hex based top-down combat grid
- PDCs visibly represented on the hex grid (probably have to be to designated a spot when constructed - which could then lead to designating spot were the industry is etc ..)
- fixed defenses which are not PDCs per-se but bunkers with fixed weapons overing a certain arc (maybe you can deploy then on the approaches to a PDC)
-- or, have new tech that you install into a PDC : 'Internal Security' or 'Integrated Weapons Systems' or some such which gives various bonuses to garrisoned units (instead of a flat 'im in a PDC' bonus) and also maybe gives an indirect-fire support capacity. Anything that shots 'out' can be targeted and destroyed without destroying the actual PDC since it isn't necessarily integrated into the armor.
- If you do go hex/tile based then need ranged units
- would terrain factor into a battle were they are using TN tech? Thinking of MI with grav packs and such so they do not need a bridge.
 

Offline UncleBob

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2010, 02:14:40 AM »
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- would terrain factor into a battle were they are using TN tech? Thinking of MI with grav packs and such so they do not need a bridge.

As long as there's anything in Orbit capable of firing on the surface, Terrain is THE supreme factor.  Anything that gets spotted from Orbit can be zapped more or less instantly, resulting in a kind of "secret war".  Stealth and camouflage might become dominating factors for ground units in such a scenario.  And one hell of a headache for the logistics corps!

Anyways, I'm usually all in for simulated ground combat in a 4x, but I don't know how well it would work in Aurora. . .  The game offers overwhelming complexity as it is, and to implement ground combat in a way worth playing in a game with such a grand scale will be tough at best.  To not talk about me handling two space battles, 10 colonies and an army on the ground all at once. . .   :P
 

Offline martinuzz

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2010, 05:23:04 AM »
Sounds very exciting, Steve!
I think it is a good idea. Aurora is, feature wise, a very complex and detailed game already. Only thing it needs is some more polishing and bugfixing, really.
So, a new project, a new game? Yay!

I, like others, would miss jumpgates though. I second the suggestin of keeping them in the game as an technologically advanced, expensive thing to build.

I have one big worry.. You sound optimistic about implementing a real-time galaxy. As a long time-Dwarf Fortress player, having seen most of my forts eventually die the FPS-death, I'm kinda worried that later in game, with a lot of races, all having a lot of assets, the game will slow down to a crawl. Also, for 4X games, I kinda like it turn based personally.

Here's a few suggestions that spring to my mind:

- allow fleet construction in space. Think, Homeworld (I loved that game. Turn off unit capping, and build fleet formations until the CPU overheats  :) )
Basically, I would like to have motherships / space bases, with onboard production capabilities.

- A new special NPC race, that is not hostile, but trades. Can sell any ship/component/missile that is currently in play. (Not nescessarily all of it at the same time. Their inventory could be randomized each visit)
Ambush your enemy with their own designs! Not cheap, ofcourse. Prices could be calculated by using the research costs of components. Also sells minerals and fuel. Discovering ruins made by this trading race establishes initial contact. After that, any planet with a Trading Centre can call in the traders, which will then arrive after a set amount of time. This would provide more use for currency, and more reason to establish colonies on mineral-poor planets for their population, and income.

regards, martinuzz
 

Offline UnLimiTeD

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2010, 08:58:33 AM »
wee, my third post inhere.

Regarding Modability, this should be an easy task;
Put in some extra variables that aren't necessary. Like a second Hyperlimit, subclasses for weapons (So players could build themselves pulse Lasers and continuous beams, etc), and possibility to add to the interface (like more missily warhead types or the like), so that players can mod their games for RP campaigns without you having to hear demands that would cater to a minority of players only. (Like feces in DF).
 

Offline Caplin

Re: Aurora II
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2010, 05:09:33 PM »
Hi,
I have to throw in my two cents here.  I like a lot of the changes being proposed, from a game play perspective, and appreciate that this is a long term project which won't be coming out in the foreseeable future. 
That being said, I'd love to see this game be made accessible to the blind.  The only reason Aurora is at all has a lot to do with its idiosyncrasies: being written in VB6 with mostly standard controls and all information being represented textually.  I'm a bit unsure of the realtime pausable format.  Logistically, realtime games have always been a bit harder to make accessible than turn-based ones, though it has been done: see SoundRTS, (http://jlpo.free.fr/soundrts), for an example.  One feature which would help a great deal would be integration of Microsoft SAPI into the game interface to provide audio feedback.
So I'm glad that we're looking at moving forward with a new game, but I'm also glad that Aurora itself will still be developed in the foreseeable future.  I hope the blind community doesn't get left behind.
Thanks for listening,
Zack.
 

Offline On_Target

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2010, 09:10:09 AM »
7) Area damage from nuclear explosions. Missiles would detonate based on proximity and damage would be based on warhead yield and distance from detonation. This would obviously create some disadvantages to ships travelling in close formation, as multiple ships would be damaged by the same explosion, and give the player some significant decisions with regard to escort deployment. No more 'Empire State' formations. With no jump points to consider, formations would no longer have some of their current disadvantages and I would add extra functionality to make them easier to manage. It will also reduce the need to build missiles on a 4/9/16 warhead basis as only a proportion of warhead strength will be applied against a particular target. Arriving in a new star system could result in a scattered formation so ship design would have to consider whether specialised units that could be separated for some time are better than multi-purpose units than could fight more effectively in isolation. Ships on the offensive would be more likely to be isolated than ships on the defensive so grand strategy may also influence ship design.

If we're moving to a more realistic game style, then explosions causing area damage isn't something that should be brought aboard.  Per http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3x1.html#nuke,
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Nuclear weapons will destroy a ship if they detonate exceedingly close to it. But if it is further away than about a kilometer, it won't do much more than singe the paint job and blind a few sensors. And in space a kilometer is pretty close range.

Please understand: I am NOT saying that nuclear warheads are ineffective. I am saying that the amount of damage they inflict falls off very rapidly with increasing range. At least much more rapidly than with the same sized warhead detonated in an atmosphere.

But if the nuke goes off one meter from your ship, your ship will probably be vaporized. Atmosphere or no.

George William Herbert says a nuke going off on Terra has most of the x-ray emission is absorbed by the atmosphere, and is transformed into the first fireball and the blast wave. There ain't no atmosphere in space so the nuclear explosion there is light on blast and heavy on x-rays. In fact, almost 90% of the bomb energy will appear as x-rays behaving as if they are from a point source (specifically 80% soft X-rays and 10% gamma), and subject to the good old inverse square law (i.e., the intensity will fall off very quickly with range). The remaining 10% will be neutrons.

For an enhanced radiation weapon (AKA "Neutron Bomb") figures are harder to come by. The best guess figure I've managed to find was up to a maximum of 80% neutrons and 20% x-rays.

The fireball and blast wave is why nuclear warheads detonating in the atmosphere will flatten buildings for tens of kilometers, but detonations in space have a damage range under one kilometer.

Also, if all sorts of things are getting a rework, these links might prove handy--calculators for simulating CIWS and PD-missile to-hit chances based on real-world systems, courtesy of Eric Rozier:
http://www.5596.org/cgi-bin/pointdefense.php
http://www.5596.org/cgi-bin/pointmissile.php
I don't know what math the current calculations for point-defense were based off of, but I figured this was worth passing along.

Finally, a suggestion for yet another factor in ship design: heat.  Radiators would be an integral ship component, keeping the ship from cooking the crew alive with heat buildup due to engines and weapons.  Easily damaged in combat though--and giving the ship a higher active scan signature (likely, a higher thermal signature as well) when deployed.  You could have the option to retract them (to cut signature output and avoid losing them easily in combat), but too long and you'll start facing dangerous heat levels.  Radiating armor could be a research option along the way; in the meantime, ensuring your ships have enough radiators or heat sinks to weather the loss of a few and/or be able to rapidly disperse the heat buildup from retracting them (so as to retract them again quickly and minimize detection), would be an important consideration.
 

Offline James Patten

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2010, 09:26:13 AM »
Planets should at least shield one from thermal sensors, and probably from EM sensors.  I can see the gravity-based sensors being sensitive enough to "see through" the planet to detect a ship on the other side.  Although bodies of high enough gravity should mask or washout the gravity emissions of puny engines.
 

Offline UnLimiTeD

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2010, 09:27:31 AM »
@ On-Target;
On that note,

A) Why does an X-Ray Laser actual damage? In that sense, a Neutron Bomb would probably indeed deal damage over long ranges, must be some TN technobabble  ::)
B) If the Materials are Heatresistant enough, good heat shielding could provide several days at full power, and directed radiation, away from potential enemies, could also be an option.
And, on higher techlevels, engines should become more efficient, meaning, produce less heat per speed.
Em weapons overcharging enemy engines to result in crew damage and internal explosions would also be a possibility.
But that could go on for years.^^
 

Offline UncleBob

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2010, 09:43:13 AM »
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Finally, a suggestion for yet another factor in ship design: heat.   Radiators would be an integral ship component

The problem is, if you integrate radiators into a game you pretty much have to take realism to the limit, because radiators won't be able to get rid of the heat from a decent scifi-drive unless you measure their area in sqare kilometers. . .  And if you enhance the radative capabilities above the theoretical max (black body), you might as well invent a McGuffin that suits your scenario better.  A shield that can deflect a laser beam on different wavelengths for example should be perfectly capable of shielding a fusion core and never even let the heat get into the ship (directing it into space straight away), so there wouldn't really be a need for radiators.

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A) Why does an X-Ray Laser actual damage?

Because X-Rays are a form of energy just like everything else.  focus them on a target, and that energy will be transfered.  X-ray lasers are also an argument against nukes: If you already detonate a nuke, you might as well do it to drive an X-ray laser which can focus ALL the energy of the nuke to one point, i. e.  no inverse square law, only dispersion.  A nuke-powered X-ray laser would be a one-use weapon, missile or drone mounted, but the effects of a hit would be absolutely devastating even on ranges beyond one light minute!

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a Neutron Bomb would probably indeed deal damage over long ranges,

Nope.  The reaction still spreads spherically, so you loose most of the energy in empty space.  Anything that isn't concentrated on a specific point is a waste of energy, really.

 

Offline UnLimiTeD

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2010, 10:04:40 AM »
Well, given the possibility of above light speed travel, I figured those energies should also be able to produce a solar storm or the like.
As for X-Ray Lasers, direct a strong X-Ray laser at a Meter of, say, steel. No need for futuristic materials that can bend the laws of space and time.
After several hours, the piece of steel might have wear on it, but it will essentially still be a piece of metal well capable of surviving a hit with high explosives.
How high would the energy need to be to have a measurable effect on a several meters thick armor of superdense futuristic metal within a few seconds? And is that really worth the effort?
I think we shouldn't start the calculations here and just accept that some stuff is abstracted a little, though I agree that heat shielding shouldn't be too much of a hassle.
Given todays materials are quite able to produce isolation that can keep a difference of over 200 degrees within a few milimeters, and it doesn't even reflect the radiation, with whatever you need to jump between systems, it shouldn't be any harder.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2010, 10:45:32 AM »
In that sense, a Neutron Bomb would probably indeed deal damage over long ranges, must be some TN technobabble  ::)

Neutron bombs are probably the ideal nuclear weapon for space combat. I looked into nuclear weapon effects in space several years ago and found out the available information is classified. However, I did some research based on the effects of low and high atmospheric detonations as the effects of nuclear detonations change considerably depending on atmospheric density. In space there would be no blast effect because there is no atmosphere to propagate the shock wave and little thermal effect for the same reason. There would be a lot of radiation however and unlike an atmospheric detonation there would be no physical attenuation of its effects. Which means damage radii in the order of hundreds or miles or more. So while they wouldn't look like a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere (no mushroom cloud, not much visible death and destruction), they would cause significant radiation effects over a wide area.

Much more fun though to take the Aurora route and pretend there would be spectactular explosions and lots of physical damage :)

Steve
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2010, 10:58:39 AM »
I kind of like the evolving nature of Aurora.   A direct travel system wouldn't neccessarily mean to abandon that.   We see stars based on their luminosity, and there's quite a well possibility taht we haven't discovered some red dwarfs in our near neighbourhood yet because them tricksters just don't shine enough. 

So, a pre generated game-map where you see everything that has a certain apearant magnitude from the start, with the possibility of lower luminosity stars becoming visible when your ships are close enough (might also involve specialised observation ships or observatories in new colonies) might be pretty fun.   The game map at the start would look pretty dense in the closer vicinity to the starting point, with less and less stars being visible the further you go, until you get a ship there to uncover the dimmer stars you couldn't see from earth. 

The initial map will likely be based on the real stars data already in Aurora, which maps out a couple of thousand stars near Earth. Their planetary systems won't be visible, with the potential exception of large gas giants, until you reach the vicinity of the star. I will also allow hyperspace travel to individual stars within a multiple-star system, which eliminates the current problem of useless systems around stars you can't really access. I'll also do some reading and see if there are things in nearby space that we wouldn't be able to detect from Earth and add those as well.

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And at this point I really wonder if it wouldn't be easier to go C++ and use a graphics engine like Irrlicht.   That doesn't mean that you have to do fancy graphics, but such an engine will do half the work for you even in a 2-d environment, and Irrlicht is open source and has quite a good GUI that isn't harder to program than the Microsoft GUI.   It's a lot faster and would provide you with a lot more freedom.   But since you already started coding in C# you probably won't change your mind about it.   I know that I wouldn't. 

Part of the fun for me is learning a new language and I used to be a C++ programmer :). Besides, Aurora is really a Windows Application rather than a traditional game. It is a lot closer to Excel than to Modern Warfare and I really would prefer to have functional graphics and a lot of detail rather than spending a lot of time on the graphical side. Although one of the reasons I have gone with WPF rather than Windows Forms is that is lends itself a lot better to the type of graphical functionality I would need for the system map. So I hope the graphics and UI will be a lot nicer than Aurora but to be honest the graphics are not my priority.

Steve
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Aurora II
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2010, 11:00:32 AM »
I would suggest moving one way or the other.  Either strategic or tactical.  If you want to control every facet of the game, then retain the current weapon/fire con/missile/target system for each ship and give the player greater control over the movement of the individual ships.  If you want more of a strategic focus, then make the base "unit" a squadron.  Individual ships would plug into the squadron, which could be given various formation, movement, and attack orders. 
By more control do you mean being able to give them a heading rather than a destination, or do you mean detail down to the level of turn rates and facing?

Steve
 

 

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