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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Starfire Assistant Supply Rules
« on: September 11, 2007, 11:01:57 AM »
Background

I have been thinking for a while about coming up with a better way of looking at maintenance in Starfire. Currently the CFN is capable of supplying any quantity of ships in any location as long as it is not cut-off from friendly population centres. I wanted to create a more realistic, yet still fairly abstract system, to further reduce the overwhelming power of the CFN and prevent huge fleets operating far from production centres without concern over supply lines. There is no doubt that these rules will be impossible to use in a paper based game and will rely on computer support.

Supply Status

My primary assumption is that the maintenance production facilities of a planet will be relative to its overall production and that available commercial freighters will tend to congregate near major sources of production and trade. A secondary assumption is that it will require more of a system's attendant freighter population to provide maintenance supplies to fleets that are further away. The size of fleets which can be maintained in any given system will therefore be based on the aggregate potential maintenance provided by nearby systems. The aggregate potential maintenance value will be referred to as the system?s ?Supply Status?.  A system in a area with several heavily populated systems will have a high Supply Status and a system with no nearby populated systems will have a low, or even zero, Supply Status.

The basic principle involved in calculating the supply status is that every system with a production of at least 200 Mc can provide maintenance supplies equal to its production for all systems within two transits, 75% of that total at three transits and 50% at four transits. There is no supply beyond four transits (but see Supply Depots and Supply Ships below). For simplicity each system's Supply Status is treated independently of all others. For example, if a populated system provides 5000MC of maintenance supplies to adjacent systems and three of the adjacent systems have fleets, each fleet can make use of the maximum amount of maintenance without affecting the others.

While this means in extreme circumstances a system may be supplying far more maintenance than its production, it will often be supplying far less and this should average out over time. Besides, a system should also be viewed as a node in the Empire-wide supply network and larger populations also means more commerce and therefore more freighters bringing in supplies from other parts of the Empire.

The intention is provide restrictions on the current unlimited and instantly available supply of maintenance wherever you are in the Empire. A detailed process would involve assigning each fleet a home system but that would require far more ongoing player intervention. I believe the above is a good compromise between a high degree of player intervention and the completely abstract system which exists at the moment.

Supply Network

To facilitate these rules I have created a supply map view for the Galactic Map in SA that shows the supply status of every system. Each system is shown as a pie-chart with the user deciding what level of supply constitutes a full pie. Screenshots of this view are available on the Rigellian Diary Yahoo group.

The Empire wide supply status situation is known as the Supply Network. This network is automatically generated during the End Turn Sequence just before maintenance is calculated. If required, it can be manually regenerated during the turn by the user via the Galactic Map. When the network is being generated, SA checks every system with an production of at least 200 MC and finds all systems with four transits of that system. The Supply Status of each of those systems is incremented in line with the production of the checked system and the distance between the two systems. Many systems will be supplied by several other systems and the total Supply Status is an aggregate of that supply.

A racial Supply Network extends only into systems controlled by the race or into the territory of those races which have specifically permitted such supply. A race can specify which other races can trace supply into its territory by means of a checkbox on the Racial Relations Window. Be aware that if you send a task force into allied territory, you need to ensure that race has allowed your Supply Network to extend into its territory.

The Supply Network does not extend into systems which do not have a specified controlling race. On the Galactic Map view, SA shows a flag next to each system which is controlled by race other than the viewing race. No flag is shown if the system is controlled by the viewing race or if the system has no specified controlling race. This means uncontrolled systems are not immediately obvious from a visual inspection. In the current version of SA, when a race discovers a new system, that race is also set as the controlling race until the user specifies otherwise. In earlier versions of SA, a new system defaulted to uncontrolled. This means for upgraded campaigns, there may be a lot of uncontrolled systems. To remedy this problem I have added the Update Sys Control menu item to the Empires menu. Selecting this will convert all known uncontrolled systems to the control of the current default race.

The Supply Network includes production generated by occupied systems. This provides a reason to try and occupy populated planets rather than wiping out the hostile population, as the system will extend the supply network.

SA also provides a Fleet Supply view. This places two columns next to each fleet icon. A blue column showing the system Supply Status and a red column showing the maintenance cost for all fleets in the system. Whichever is greater has a column equal in height to the fleet icon. The height of the other column is proportionate to the difference in value. For example, if a system has a Supply Status of 10,000 and a fleet maintenance cost of 4,000, the blue column will be same height as the fleet icon and the red column will be 40% of the height of the blue column. This allows a quick visual check as to which fleet are in supply. In addition, a button on the Supply sidebar view will cycle through all fleets with insufficient maintenance.
Supply Depots

The total supply provided by populated systems is far more than is needed to supply all of a race?s fleets. However, that supply will not always be in the right place and some planning will be needed before a race can expand into areas always from their centres of population or launch an offensive into enemy territory. There are two method with which a race can extend its supply lines; Supply Depots and Supply Ships. This section covers the former.

The Supply Status of a system represents the maximum maintenance supply that nearby systems can provide. Therefore, if a Race needs additional supplies in a particular part of its Empire, those supplies must come from further away. Given the limitation of freighter speeds and existing orders in the supply pipeline, this is not an instant solution.

A Supply Depot is placed in a specific system and represents a strategic decision by a race to send additional supplies to a particular area of its Empire. This involves a gradual shift in its shipping lanes to meet the new supply need. A Supply Depot is not a large physical stockpile of maintenance supplies but more a concentration of freighters and the designated end point of newly created supply lines.

Each Race receives one free depot plus one more for every 25,000Mc of planetary income. For example an Race with an income of 60,000 would have three depots. During the End Turn sequence a Race?s total income is checked and any newly gained Supply Depots are placed in the Race home system. Depots are always active and require no maintenance.

For the purposes of the supply network only, each depot acts like a planetary population with an income of 5000Mc. When you place a depot it generates no supply but over the next five turns it increases by 20% of its maximum capacity per turn. So if you placed a depot on Turn 20, it would generate 1000Mc of supply on Turn 21, 2000Mc on turn 22, etc. This is to simulate a gradual change of supply priorities as freighters are reassigned and logistical routes are redesigned to cope with the new requirement. Just like a planetary population, the supply depot extends that supply into nearby systems, providing a maximum of 5000Mc up to two transits away, 3750Mc at three transits and 2500Mc at four transits. Multiple Depots can be placed in the same system.

Depots are moved using the right-click menu on the galactic map. Select the system you are moving from and then select where it is going. A Supply Network cannot be built without a foundation so a Supply Depot can only be placed in a system with Supply Status of at least 1000. Supply Depots can be placed in the territory of other races but only if those races have allowed the placing races to use its Supply Network in their territory.

In the Supply View on the galactic map, each system with one or more Supply Depots is shown with ?SD? in the centre of the system circle. There is also a new Supply sidebar view which shows, among other things, a list of the Supply Depots in the selected system, the turn of placement for each Depot and the supply generated.

A Supply Depot is not something an enemy can shoot at. However, if they occupy the system in which the Supply Depot is located, it will be useless until relocated to a controlled system and even then will require five turns to reach full capacity. The reasoning behind this is that as enemy forces advance, the freighters represented by the Depot will retreat in disorder and will be useless until given new orders.

The amount of supply provided by a depot, the number of turns required to reach full capacity and the amount of racial income required per depot are all in the App table. v7.00 does not have a screen to configure these values but I will try to add that in future versions.

Readiness States

Under the 3rdR rules, fleets can have Readiness States of either Normal or Mothballed. A mothballed fleet requires no maintenance and therefore incurs no cost and does not check for Maintenance Failure. SA also allows a Readiness State of ?Out of Supply?. This does not incur any cost but a fleet suffers the effect of a full turn of no maintenance, requiring Maintenance Failure checks for all ships. This state may be set by the player because an Empire cannot afford to maintain all its fleets or because a fleet is in an isolated sector (see below).

Note on Isolated Sectors.
The presence of Supply Depots does not allow more money to be spent on maintenance than is available in the Empire as a whole. This is not normally a consideration as the Economics Window makes clear if an Empire is running out of money. However, it is possible that a Supply Depot could located in a area cut-off from the rest of the Empire. As with the current rules, an isolated section of the Empire cannot spend more money than that isolated section can produce. In v7.00 this restriction is not enforced by the program, although it may be in later versions. However, the systems in a isolated area can be designated as a sector so that production and spending can be tracked within that sector. If it is obvious an isolated sector is going to overspend, one or more fleets can be set to a readiness state of ?Out of Supply? (see Readiness States above).

Supply Ships

If the Supply Network is insufficient to support a fleet and not enough Supply Depots are available, or would be too slow to deploy, a Race can make use of Supply Ships. Any class can be designated as a Supply Ship, using a checkbox on the Ship Class Window, but it makes sense to only designate those classes with a reasonable cargo carrying capacity.

Once a class is set as a Supply Ship, the Race needs to specify the maximum supply that individual members of that class will carry. This is done on the Ship window using a field that only appears for Supply Ships and is set individually for each ship.

During the Maintenance Phase of the End Turn Sequence, if a fleet cannot draw enough supply from the Supply Network (i.e. its total maintenance requirement is greater than the Supply Status of its current system), it will try to draw additional supply from any Supply Ships in the same system (see Maintenance Phase below).

Once the Maintenance Phase is complete, each Supply Ship will check the Available Supply in the system in which it is located. Available Supply is equal to the Supply Status for the system minus any maintenance paid that turn. If the Available Supply is greater than zero, the Supply Ship will fill its holds with an amount equal to either the Supply Available or the maximum supply allowed for the Supply Ship in question if that is less than the Supply Available. Whatever Supply is loaded into the Supply Ship?s hold is paid for at that point and appears in the maintenance cost for the following turn. A Supply Ship may be a PDC or SS.
Maintenance Failure

Under the current rules, a ship which doesn't receive maintenance supplies loses 10% of its original systems every month (and 1 in 6 of its fighters). The owning player chooses which systems to lose. The existing rules are fine for pen and paper and represent a compromise between playability and paperwork. However, with the program doing all the work anyway, I have tried to come up with something a little more realistic. I am going to assume that initial problems will be slight but that things will snowball over time. I am also going to assume that maintenance failures will not necessarily proceed at the same rate on every ship and also that crew quality has an effect on the chance of failure.
 
Every month when a ship receives less than full maintenance, each non-armour, non life support system will have a (Turns+1)^2 chance of failure, where ?Turns? is the total number of turns without full maintenance.

The basic chance of failure for a ship receiving no supply is therefore 4% in the first month, 9% in the second month, 16% in the third, 25% in the fourth, 36% in the fifth, etc. Systems that provide life support will no doubt be priority for whatever limited maintenance supplies are available so they will only have half the normal chance to fail. Armour systems are assumed to require no maintenance. SA will perform the check automatically and apply the necessary damage.
 
A non-armour, non life support system on a ship with an average crew will have the following chance to remain operational over the first six months with no maintenance: 96%, 87%, 73%, 55%, 35%, 18%. This is less harsh than the current system over the first three months but gets progressively more harsh thereafter.
 
Failure chance will be modified by crew grade as follows. Ultra-Elite -50%, Elite -30%, Crack -15%, Green +15%, Poor +30%, Inept +50%.

If a ship receives partial maintenance during a turn, the ?Turns? value used in the (Turns+1)^2 maintenance failure algorithm is set to a percentage equal to the amount of outstanding maintenance.  

For example, a Ship with an average crew which has been fully supplied in the past receives only 30% of the required maintenance. Therefore instead of being 1, the ?Turns? value is set to 0.7. The algorithm is therefore set to (0.7+1)^2, which equals 2.89 %. If it had received no maintenance at all the chance of each system failing would be 4%.

For ships which receive insufficient supply over multiple turns, the partial turn values are added together, which can get a little complex. Don?t worry though as the program handles all of this in the background.

For example. A ship with average crew receives 70%, 60% and 40% of its supply requirement on three consecutive turns. The turn values used are 0.3, 0.4 and 0.6.

Turn 1:  (0.3+1)^2, which is a 1.69% failure rate.
Turn 2:  (0.7+1)^2, which is a 2.89% failure rate.
Turn 3:  (1.3+1)^2, which is a 5.29% failure rate.
 
The existing rules specify that systems lost to lack of maintenance are classed as destroyed and must be repaired at normal cost yet still absorb hits. This seems a little strange as the identical repair cost would suggest combat and maintenance damage are of equal severity. This would be tricky to program for very little gain so SA will just treat systems damaged by maintenance failure the same as any other damaged system.

Maintenance Phase

During the Maintenance Phase of the End Turn Sequence, SA carries out the following actions:

    1)   Supply Networks are calculated for each race, taking into account System Production and Supply Depots, and each system is given a Supply Status.
    2)   The maintenance requirement of each fleet is checked against the Available Supply of the system in which it is located. The Available Supply is equal to the Supply Status minus any maintenance already paid during that End Turn Sequence.
      a.   If the fleet maintenance requirement is less than the Available Supply then every ship in the fleet is marked as in full supply and the ?turns out of supply? value for that ship is set to zero. The fleet maintenance cost is added to the total for the turn and the Available Supply is reduced by the same amount.
      b.   If the fleet maintenance requirement is greater than the Available Supply then the Available Supply is set to zero for the system and SA calculates the outstanding supply requirement.
        i.   If there are Supply Ships in the system with enough Supply to cover the outstanding requirement, the necessary supply is deducted from their holds. Every ship in the fleet is marked as in full supply and the ?turns out of supply? value for that ship is set to zero. The amount of maintenance provided by the supply network is added to the total maintenance cost for the turn. The maintenance provided by Supply Ships costs nothing as it was paid for at the point of loading on to the Supply Ships
        ii.   If there are Supply Ships in the system but they have insufficient Supply to cover what is required, whatever they are able to supply is deducted from their holds and the outstanding supply requirement is reduced accordingly. The amount of maintenance provided by the supply network is added to the total maintenance cost for the turn. The maintenance provided by Supply Ships costs nothing as it was paid for at the point of loading on to the Supply Ships. As the fleet has not received sufficient supply there is a chance that ships will suffer damage due to lack of maintenance.
        iii.   If there are no Supply Ships in the system, the amount of maintenance provided by the supply network is added to the total maintenance cost for the turn. As the fleet has not received sufficient supply there is a chance that ships will suffer damage due to lack of maintenance.
    3)   If a fleet has not received full supply, all ships are checked for Maintenance Failures. As described above in the section on Maintenance Failure, the base chance of a failure is modified by the percentage of supply that was unavailable.
    4)   Each Supply Ship checks the Available Supply in the system in which it is located. If the Available Supply is greater than zero, the Supply Ship will fill its holds with an amount equal to either the Supply Available or the maximum supply allowed for the Supply Ship in question if that is less than the Supply Available. Whatever Supply is loaded into the Supply Ship?s hold is paid for at that point and appears in the maintenance cost for the following turn.

Shipyard Supply

A further optional rule is Shipyard Supply but the full Supply rules must be being used before Shipyard Supply can be used. This rule is designed to end the current situation where any number of shipyards, located anywhere in the Empire, can use all the available production from the whole Empire in one turn. In the same way as fleet maintenance, this provides a more realistic situation where the best locations for shipyards are near centres of population and production. Mobile Shipyards will need to operate within the Supply Network, although setting up Supply Depots will enable more Mobile Shipyards to work on the frontiers.

The Shipyard window now shows two new fields, Supply Status and Available Supply. Supply Status obviously shows the current Supply Status for the system. The value in the Available Supply field is equal to the Supply Status minus any Supply used during the previous End Turn Sequence for maintenance. The Available Supply is therefore the amount that can be used for construction in the current turn by the selected shipyard (or by a combination of shipyards in the same system). As new Shipyard tasks are added, the Available Supply is reduced accordingly. No construction is allowed in the system during the current turn once the Available Supply has been exhausted.

Note
When the optional Supply Rules are not in effect, SA provides a field on the Fleet window that allows the fleet to buy and store maintenance. This Fleet OB Maintenance field is not used under the Supply Rules and the field is not shown on the Fleet window.

Future Additions
I look forward to comments and suggestions regarding the Supply Rules and I hope to add related features in future versions. One area I will be examining is the possibility of a whole new area of research called Logistics. This will affect the efficiency and distance of planetary distribution, the number of supply depots available and the speed with which depots can be brought up to maximum capacity (plus any other areas that users suggest).

Steve
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 06:04:24 AM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline welchbloke

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Truncated Post for supply rules
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2008, 04:54:11 AM »
My laptop won't handle the display resolution required for Aurora so I've decided to revist Starfire/SA while I work away from home.
Anyone still got the supply rules that accompanied the v7.00 release?
This post seems to be truncated  :cry:
Grateful for any help.

Welchbloke
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by welchbloke »
Welchbloke
 

Offline MWadwell

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Re: Starfire Assistant Supply Rules
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2008, 06:01:10 AM »
Quote from: "Steve Walmsley"
Theses are the Starfire supply rules I released along with SA v7.00 in January 2006

Background
I have been thinking for a while about coming up with a better way of looking at maintenance in Starfire. Currently the CFN is capable of supplying any quantity of ships in any location as long as it is not cut-off from friendly population centres. I wanted to create a more realistic, yet still fairly abstract system, to further reduce the overwhelming power of the CFN and prevent huge fleets operating far from production centres without concern over supply lines. There is no doubt that these rules will be impossible to use in a paper based game and will rely on computer support.

Supply Status
My primary assumption is that the maintenance production facilities of a planet will be relative to its overall production and that available commercial freighters will tend to congregate near major sources of production and trade. A secondary assumption is that it will require more of a system's attendant freighter population to provide maintenance supplies to fleets that are further away. The size of fleets which can be maintained in any given system will therefore be based on the aggregate potential maintenance provided by nearby systems. The aggregate potential maintenance value will be referred to as the system


I think that this post was truncated, as it seems to stop too suddenly.....
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by MWadwell »
Later,
Matt
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Truncated Post for supply rules
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2008, 06:05:38 AM »
Quote from: "welchbloke"
My laptop won't handle the display resolution required for Aurora so I've decided to revist Starfire/SA while I work away from home.
Anyone still got the supply rules that accompanied the v7.00 release?
This post seems to be truncated  :cry:
Grateful for any help.

I've found the word doc with the supply rules so I have updated the original post.

Steve
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline welchbloke

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Thanks!
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2008, 06:33:03 AM »
Steve,
Thanks very much

Welchbloke :D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by welchbloke »
Welchbloke
 

 

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