Author Topic: Time's End comments thread  (Read 1983 times)

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2021, 06:01:48 PM »
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It is nice for the dolphins, sure, but in the present what about our own race.

This is a statement of a representant of a primitive civilisation. More advanced ones do care about dolphins evolving and carrying the tradition of sentience forward, long after they will be gone. So that as they fall one by one they are sure the universe will thrive once again...

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Of course for you as an author this is a narrative success

Thanks... Always happy to see someone enjoy my aliens, because I feel like in space-related stuff is one of the easiest things to screw up by not making them alien enough or whatever.

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I would cry shame on them for simply accepting the premise at face value and not interrogating it thoroughly, "whether it was all a mystification or not".

Who said they "simply accepted it"? It just was terrifying enough for them to smeg their pants who said they react like humans when afraid. Their balance might be perfect, but is also fragile - throw too much stuff at them and it will affect them, even if later they figure out what you threw was not true. Definitely better outcome, but simply saying stuff like that to any Groaxian in a convincing tone is enough to already cause some harm. Especially with all the went through...

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the depths to which the Groaxians have sunk into Dark Forest nature, if indeed it was not in them all along as many seem to be afraid.

There's a reason universe is set up this way and not any other and why there's always an endless stream of things wanting to kill you out there.  ::)

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We do seem to be in the endgame now.

Timer is ticking... Dark Forest will hear, and once it hears, it purges.

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The slate of candidates certainly brings a wide range of perspectives to the table
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The range of visualizations for each candidate does a lot to show their background and personalities and is much appreciated.

Thanks, this is me opening the commanders window for the first time (except for the first manual assignments to the planet and academy at the very start of the game only to never see this window again), decided by telling a bit about different Groaxians I should avoid the "all aliens of one race are the same" cliche by a wider margin than by simply mentioning something about a special group of them or something.

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Clearly some balance will be needed but what that should be is complicated.

Looks like you've predicted the latest update, they do indeed need some balance and it is definitely complicated... ::)
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2021, 03:28:58 PM »
Thanks... Always happy to see someone enjoy my aliens, because I feel like in space-related stuff is one of the easiest things to screw up by not making them alien enough or whatever.

To your credit I think the big accomplishment you've had is being consistent in your presentation of your aliens. In many cases writers try to create "more alien" aliens by making them look weird and every so often giving them quirks or weird rituals to remind the reader that the aliens are weird, but otherwise they act in very human ways.  What you've done here is start from an alien race with a very distinctive cultural nature and drawn the narrative from that characterization rather than sticking "weird characters" into a predetermined plot arc.

I think Aurora is very strong in this regard, since it essentially generates the plot for us and gives a lot of natural cause-and-effect so the stories we tell make cohesive sense (unless there is a bug...). However much credit is due the writers who succeed in making the most out of what the game gives them.  :)

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Who said they "simply accepted it"? It just was terrifying enough for them to smeg their pants who said they react like humans when afraid. Their balance might be perfect, but is also fragile - throw too much stuff at them and it will affect them, even if later they figure out what you threw was not true. Definitely better outcome, but simply saying stuff like that to any Groaxian in a convincing tone is enough to already cause some harm. Especially with all the went through...

Really I think what I am getting at. The Groaxians are so fearful that in their reaction they struggle to keep to the ethical nature of their race. Of course this is good characterization to show how Dark Forest has affected the Groaxians.

And now for the updates...

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COVID-19 PANDEMIC

It's funny to recall how this universe of yours got started with a, shall we say cheeky COVID-19 plot hook, and now in some sense we have come in a full circle. Of course now the tone is very different...

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Zu'Zhuchuziv was the first one to come up with a plan. The middleman reminded about one of the experiments conducted in Qusmont labs. technology for rapid tissue expansion and cybersoul-based machines for shaping it into any organical form desired were widely used in medicine to heal wounds or replace corrupted organs, capable of even completely replacing all of them in case of advanced stages of most severe diseases. But that was just a mere entry point to more advanced cases. Bioengineers working with this technology predicted it was capable of doing much more, for example regenerating whatever part of a brain required replacement. The research on this part was mostly theoretical, though, with a few of experiments with animals here and there. Groaxian applications were strictly prohibited by Conglomerate. The plan of the candidate was nothing more but to continue the suspended project and replace damaged parts of the brain with a new tissue.

Already we see that the new Conglomerate is likely to take very different approaches from the old one, which is almost certainly necessary but at what cost?

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Once upon a time Humanity faced a deadly plague. Not for the first time, and apparently not for the last (though the pace of progress in medicine afterwards made that particular one the last truly devastating pandemic),

I really hope so...

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To further help the sleepless population, old Conglomerate agreed to increase the usage of cybersoul-based autonomous machines. So far it was hesitant of introducing too many of them into the industry as to not break the balance, but at that stage it was a necessity to compensate for the lowered productivity. It felt surrealistic: dead machines working solar and cosmic watch among deserted cities and factories while ice storms strike against them and with many Groaxians fighting in heated encampments to finally hibernate and sleep well till a new cycle begins.

It is almost like this pandemic could in the end have benefits for the Groaxians if they can discover how to defeat the actual disease. Introducing automation may contradict their social values but could also give them the elevated productivity they need to make a lot of progress on Project Ascension and other efforts to survive the Dark Forest. Of course this hinges on the Groaxians being able to find balance again if and when they can overcome the pandemic.

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Enough Groaxians became Watchers for a new concept to raise and circulate among them, something not possible to emerge with the amounts of Dark Forest Disease patients from before the pandemic. They were no longer centered around the idea of balance, but instead took the idea of adaptation as their main guiding light.

Oh dear, this has the potential to cause massive upheaval when the Groaxians who have remained on the surface to hibernate re-awaken. Two fundamentally different views of existence cannot be compatible...can they?

What I meant to say was, "viva la revolution "   :P

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A breakthrough on Yatune was announced shortly afterwards. Watchers not only were able to use the "spare brain parts" like evryone else, but it also turned out that after having genome sequence enriched with a tiny bit of small modifications to alleviate for missing hibernation, their mental condition was improving while doing so. Ironically, this was exactly what Watcher's ideals were about - as test subjects believed themselves, their adaptation allowed to pave the way towards ending the pandemic.

The intersection of scientific breakthrough and philosophy of existence is a wild and crazy frontier. Much can happen here.

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The results... They were... too good. After so much time after the discovery of this theory, to have someone question its validity sounded strange at best and worrying survival-wise at worst. Groaxians, put on extinction timer, could not afford to waste it wondering whether the universe really operated the way it operated. But at the same time the outcome was hopeful: it served as a proof that a total reset of Groaxian society was doable. The "lost generation stragety" proposed by Pa'Voxihik was examined in a new light and gained more support than ever. And in the latest version nobody would technically have to end up "lost". Do what needs to be done, evacuate the race to a new home far from Qi and cure the society only after the imminent danger is avoided were the new points raised by many.

It is good to see the diverse efforts of the new Conglomerate members come together in such a solution, even though much work remains to be done. It is truly a very Groaxian solution, making intuitive sense to them while us humans would still be arguing about Ship of Theseus theory or something like that.

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After more thoughts thrown at the issue, all sides involved managed to negotiate a new compromise: exactly half of the population would be cured and focus on Project Ascension, meeting Humanity and other tasks relating to overcome Dark Forest, the other half would be reprogrammed to take responsibility of preparing and later fighting the battles that were yet to come, and on top of that, a new Conglomerate alongside with its closest collaborators would remain how they were, without any genetic modification or mental overrides. Their task would be to carefully oversee the new status quo and intervene whenever they'd see it being skewed towards either side. And finally, when the time comes and either Qi and Mimung are evacuated or Project Ascension completed, they shall be the ones to pull the final switch and restore peace and bring the society to how it was before the interstellar era had begun.

In the end, both balance and adaptation are necessary. An interesting conclusion, yet one which certainly reconciles the nature of the universe. The Groaxians still face many challenges and must never become too comfortable with their place in the galaxy, but at least for now they can move forward into their Brave New World ;) with some measure of confidence I think.
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2021, 04:44:40 PM »
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To your credit I think the big accomplishment you've had is being consistent in your presentation of your aliens. In many cases writers try to create "more alien" aliens by making them look weird and every so often giving them quirks or weird rituals to remind the reader that the aliens are weird, but otherwise they act in very human ways.  What you've done here is start from an alien race with a very distinctive cultural nature and drawn the narrative from that characterization rather than sticking "weird characters" into a predetermined plot arc.

Ooops, I think I might have tried to do just that, make them "more alien" and whatnot, but if you say both I didn't do it and it's bad, then I guess... task failed successfully?

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The Groaxians are so fearful

They are not fearful, they just want to enjoy their little utopia at peace without something always screwing them up and destabilising them even with the mere thought of its existence many light hibernation cycles away...

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It's funny to recall how this universe of yours got started with

Well, you think why I wrote all this updates I wrote? I just wanted to reiterate through how it all started but in a different way because DLC...

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I really hope so...

Don't worry, World Government already has this under control. Expreiments with cybernetics and genetic modifications are picking up pace and we're only a few years left from nuclear engines and this little beast

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Scorpion class Geological Survey Vessel      3,178 tons       50 Crew       257.3 BP       TCS 64    TH 150    EM 0
2360 km/s      Armour 1-19       Shields 0-0       HTK 19      Sensors 0/0/0/1      DCR 1      PPV 0
Maint Life 1.58 Years     MSP 50    AFR 81%    IFR 1.1%    1YR 23    5YR 346    Max Repair 100 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Nuclear Thermal Engine  EP50.00 (3)    Power 150    Fuel Use 100%    Signature 50    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 250,000 Litres    Range 14.2 billion km (69 days at full power)

Geological Survey Sensors (1)   1 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

will take humans to Mars, Venus and overall across entire Solar System expect Nibiru and its two moons before the decade ends. We got this.  8)

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What I meant to say was, "viva la revolution "

Yep, this time it's a real revolution. Surviving extreme conditions does affect stuff...

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It is truly a very Groaxian solution, making intuitive sense to them while us humans would still be arguing about Ship of Theseus theory or something like that.

Well, seems like you finally start to understand how this civilisation works. It has different problems than humans and certain things that would be a problem for humans are no big deal here. Except here it actually is a big deal because balance yadda yadda, but it's a Brave New World for a reason...

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they can move forward into their Brave New World ;) with some measure of confidence I think.

Well... Don't say "I survived Dark Forest Strike" before Dark Forest strikes, that's all I can tell for now... ::)

P.S. Damn I've really pushed as far as I could, time to play aurora again to get more stuff to work with.
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2021, 05:11:55 PM »
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To your credit I think the big accomplishment you've had is being consistent in your presentation of your aliens. In many cases writers try to create "more alien" aliens by making them look weird and every so often giving them quirks or weird rituals to remind the reader that the aliens are weird, but otherwise they act in very human ways.  What you've done here is start from an alien race with a very distinctive cultural nature and drawn the narrative from that characterization rather than sticking "weird characters" into a predetermined plot arc.

Ooops, I think I might have tried to do just that, make them "more alien" and whatnot, but if you say both I didn't do it and it's bad, then I guess... task failed successfully?

Haha, nothing wrong with intentionally making your aliens "more alien" - I'm more talking about the kind of writing where the "aliens" are basically humans with weird quirks and extra appendages, but they still speak, act, and think in fairly human ways beneath the superficial differences. If you could tell the same story with humans instead of aliens...well, why do you have aliens?

The Groaxians are of course very alien as a race, but what you've done here is I think to have a unique and alien culture which is not just "humanity with a weird trait" (like: Vulcans = logical humans, Klingons = aggressive humans, etc.) and explored how such a different culture would live in this Dark Forest universe. I could not describe the Groaxians as "collectivist humans" or "humans with telepathy" based on how the actual story has unfolded.

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It's funny to recall how this universe of yours got started with

Well, you think why I wrote all this updates I wrote? I just wanted to reiterate through how it all started but in a different way because DLC...

Wait I thought this AAR was an excuse for self-indulgent philosophizing about the nature of life, the universe and everything?

Oh no, wait, my bad, that's what the comment thread is for.  ;)

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Well... Don't say "I survived Dark Forest Strike" before Dark Forest strikes, that's all I can tell for now... ::)

Call me an optimist.

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P.S. Damn I've really pushed as far as I could, time to play aurora again to get more stuff to work with.

Oh no, however will you survive?  ;)
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2021, 12:30:38 PM »
Hey, I'm finally back, still alive and still writing these updates, this is not dead, just like Groaxians are not dead... yet. ::)

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I could not describe the Groaxians as "collectivist humans" or "humans with telepathy" based on how the actual story has unfolded.

Thanks a lot, that was precisely the goal.  8)

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Wait I thought this AAR was an excuse for self-indulgent philosophizing about the nature of life, the universe and everything?

That too... Just not in that particluar fragment.  ::)

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Call me an optimist.

You are aware that optimists are the first ones to get wiped out from the Dark Forest, right?...

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Oh no, however will you survive?

Maybe...
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2021, 09:30:37 PM »
Hey, I'm finally back, still alive and still writing these updates, this is not dead, just like Groaxians are not dead... yet. ::)

And just when I was starting to get worried...

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Taking advantage of the brain's anatomy being spread all across the body beneath the protective layer of thick skin and each region easily replacing others if needed without much brainpower loss unless a large chunk was already non-functional, leveraging the achievements from fighting the pandemic, scientists found out that there were no constraints preventing to cut out part of the brain, move it somewhere else and the patient would still be able to use it for as long as the separated part was plugged to life support system. With the next-gen soulgrain-based Transcended Speech amplifiers the communication between brain parts was easier even across the entire planet, allowing one to essentially exist in many places at the same time while not suffering from losing parts of a brain.

The natural conclusion of this would be to see if such communication can break whatever speed barrier exists between multiple planets or even systems. Depending on the outcome of such an experiment this could have remarkable results.

The ground units are all highly flavorful, and the technology descriptions not only rich with detail but intimidating to behold the destructive power of each weapon. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but surely the pen trembles when faced with the Phased Surface Gravitational Destabilisator!

However I do believe the Raven-class carrier steals the show, for it is clearly designed with a singular purpose in mind and - aside from the necessary concessions to curvature drives - ruthlessly accomplishes that purpose at the expense of any other. Notably it certainly takes a certain kind of guts to build a ship which is only 10% engine mass but here it is a mission accomplished.

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Tensions were high, but the precise goal of this entire undertaking was that no Groaxian would ever have to pay such a price for preserving the existence and balance or repeat these steps ever again.

A very optimistic goal. What was that said about optimists in the Dark Forest, again?

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Right where the city should have been located, there was only a patch of yellow roots steadily consuming their purple versions. A few of them had already matured to the full size, surviving the brutal cycle of their life barely any young organisms went through without being eaten. Ground excavations did not help find anything either. The fleet spend quite a long time orbiting the planet, with scientists running multiple scans per solar watch and still coming up with new unconventional measurement methods to detect the hidden Umbara force, but to no avail. Eckesachs III looked as if Umbara never set feet on it.

That's...confusing. It is not exactly usual in the universe for an entire ruined city and its occupiers to just...disappear?

Or is it?

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Before Groaxians left, a single Achernar starship was detected quite far away, in between Eckesachs III and II. It must had detected Groaxian fleet too, because as soon as the logs came in, it warped out of the system.

Perhaps the answer lies with the Archernar. They may have some kind of world-erasure technology they are using to prevent the Groaxians from ascending, though I have to admit that I cannot determine why they would do this. They only want to wipe out the Groaxians to prevent them from disrupting the Dark Forest, but if the Groaxians ascend they are out of the picture without any trouble.

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Conglomerate immediately scheduled an emergency meeting. News brought by both explorers and soldiers were determined crucial and dangerous. First of all, from what was known about the history of Bootes Wars waged by Humanity against the menace of Invaders (or rather waged by Invaders against Humanity), the pattern of all traces of intelligence suddenly disappearing from a planet but other lifeforms being left unharmed to thrive was very characteristics to how Invaders dealt with their prey in a Dark Forest. Of course there was no proof, but if Invaders were already wiping out life so close to Qi then the Dark Forest Strike might arrive even faster than expected and on top of that likely having nothing to do with the Achernar broadcast in spite of the fact that from Humans knew Invaders rarely responded to such calls, preferring to methodically clean star after star in a predefined pattern rather than bother with wiping out civilisations at random.

This is another possibility but as mentioned it does not fit the pattern of the Invaders, plus they have not yet been encountered anywhere else.

As far as the Kusunagi-no-Tsurugi encounter, my money is on a parallel universe shenanigan of some sort.

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The ecosystem looked very inspiring, though, for one simple reason: during the time spent on the surface no predator-prey iterations were observed between various species. They did not need to eat, so they did not need to hunt. They appeared to coexist in a harmony, their own version of balance, eating the same air. This picture of harmony clashed with the high volcanism, though, from which most of the carbon dioxide supply in the atmosphere came from.

Interesting...a world which seems so violent and chaotic, i.e. volcanic, is actually in perfect balance. Clearly there are no resounding philosophical implications from this of course.  ;)

And of course no adventure in this universe is complete without a bunch of Umbara showing up to shoot everybody. A tale as old as time by now.

Hopefully the battle of Blutgang goes well, and more importantly in its aftermath some real clues to these many mysteries can be revealed.

 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2021, 03:24:14 PM »
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And just when I was starting to get worried...

Hey, no need to, I always finish my AARs. Can you point at least one from the past that got abandoned and never received a proper ending?  8)

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The natural conclusion of this would be to see if such communication can break whatever speed barrier exists between multiple planets or even systems.

Doubt. This is just sending brain electrical signals through the conventional communication methods so that different parts of brain can communicate across distances... But no breaking speed of light arcana. Implementation-wise forwarding communication between these parts is same as forwarding communication between two different Groaxians... Just like internet won't make humanity go FTL, we need Alcubierre drives instead.

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The ground units are all highly flavorful, and the technology descriptions not only rich with detail but intimidating to behold the destructive power of each weapon. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but surely the pen trembles when faced with the Phased Surface Gravitational Destabilisator!

Thanks, tried my best to get a proper ground army setup as these are always one of the most demanding aspects to get right and glad yo like my Phased Surface Gravitational Destabilisators! Though I made them sound way more op than I should, because gameplay wise they're just long range bombardment, I like these units a lot because dealing damage from the safety of rear echelon is awesome and indeed powerful, but nowhere near powerful enough as Phased Surface Gravitational Destabilisators! are described. Still, wanted some more exotic weapons than aurora offers by default and figured out the gravitational weapon tech tree, while non-existent in the game (Steve gravitational weapons when), will be a fine addition.

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However I do believe the Raven-class carrier steals the show, for it is clearly designed with a singular purpose in mind and - aside from the necessary concessions to curvature drives - ruthlessly accomplishes that purpose at the expense of any other. Notably it certainly takes a certain kind of guts to build a ship which is only 10% engine mass but here it is a mission accomplished.

Oh well, it's just a simple carrier for transporting air fighters, it doesn't have much engines and thus is slow, but what would the additonal speed gain me besides being able to carry less fighters if they are always combined with troop transports because just like troop transports they are for ground invasions only? Didn't expect you'd like it, it's just a simple ship for some occassional task, not something you'd regularly see on the frontlines like Pikes and Strikers.

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What was that said about optimists in the Dark Forest, again?

That optimists are the first to die in a Dark Forest. My point still stands. ::)

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Interesting...a world which seems so violent and chaotic, i.e. volcanic, is actually in perfect balance. Clearly there are no resounding philosophical implications from this of course

Of course there are not, just like Groaxians have absolutley never let the nature of whatever worlds, their own or alien, they came across, to influence their philosophy. And it's obviously not like the biological interactions between them and the environment had any philosophical, cultural and ethical consequences for them before.  :D

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Hopefully the battle of Blutgang goes well, and more importantly in its aftermath some real clues to these many mysteries can be revealed.

Having spent so many hours on this I can say describing ground battles is as hard, and in certain cases might even be harder, than coming up with alien aliens. Both of these are always the most demanding, exhausting and challenging things to write about because gameplay doesn't provide me with any inputs to build upon (well, maybe besides alien portraits being something), I always have to make these completely from scratch. I fear one day my aliens won't be alien anymore, but for now I just keep going.

as always, thanks a lot and hope you'll like what I have planned for this before I can write an ending...
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2021, 10:49:43 PM »
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The natural conclusion of this would be to see if such communication can break whatever speed barrier exists between multiple planets or even systems.

Doubt.

Well you're no fun.  ;)

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Oh well, it's just a simple carrier for transporting air fighters, it doesn't have much engines and thus is slow, but what would the additonal speed gain me besides being able to carry less fighters if they are always combined with troop transports because just like troop transports they are for ground invasions only? Didn't expect you'd like it, it's just a simple ship for some occassional task, not something you'd regularly see on the frontlines like Pikes and Strikers.

I have a bit of a thing for simple, brutally efficient builds outside of the ordinary things everyone does like 250,000-ton armored drop transports and the like. Usually when people build carriers they keep trying to fit in all these optional extras like secondary batteries, cryo modules, oversized radars, and the like. Granted, such designs can be effective, and frankly realistic if you look at what something like a Nimitz CV is loaded with, but a refreshingly simple design has its own beauty I think.

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Having spent so many hours on this I can say describing ground battles is as hard, and in certain cases might even be harder, than coming up with alien aliens. Both of these are always the most demanding, exhausting and challenging things to write about because gameplay doesn't provide me with any inputs to build upon (well, maybe besides alien portraits being something), I always have to make these completely from scratch. I fear one day my aliens won't be alien anymore, but for now I just keep going.

It's definitely a different challenge especially with the game being so abstracted. Still the results can be fun to write if you hit on the right narrative tact.

----

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Eventually the sensors picked up all kinds of signals originating from Blutgang-A I. A quick comparison with data brought by 3410-3416 AM Blutgang Expedition was made, because something didn't feel right about them. And for a good reason: they were much weaker.

The description seems eerily similar to what one would expect from an orbital bombardment. Seems the Groaxians are not the first people to think of invading this world, thought they may soon be the most successful ones.

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Such large formations are a joy to see given how many ill-conceived attempts at company-level OOB hackery there are floating around the forums.

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But then one of the officers leading Shadows to battle came up with something crazy, but effective if done right: since infantry leadership was given to the combat-trained Tempestsaurs, they could unite to create a Mental Synergy among all troops that'd serve as an early warning system: for every individual predicting the trajectory of a missile was impossible until too late, but if they could focus only on a two-three missiles each at most at one time and run their internal systems to calculate predicted impact spot and then use Transcendent Speech to tell this to the ones within explosion range, survivability would increase. Such system required a precise, fast-paced collective information processing, but a Mental Synergy entangling minds of all soldiers at once should be enough to maintain it.

The next step in the Groaxian evolution is...distributed computing? I suppose this is one way to avoid the inevitable robot revolution, if we are all robots ourselves. Very ingenious.

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The labyrinth of fortifications on the one hand lacked a key defense line, allowing Groaxians for more mobility across the perimeter, but on the other hand with such structure it was a nightmare to locate next targets for elimination.

The Umbara have been quite militarily clever here, urban warfare is always the hardest and bloodiest kind of combat zone and this will exact the highest price from the attackers, since the defenders have nowhere to retreat and will fight to the last man...erm, alien.

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While nobody could tell for sure whether they're aggressive or not, everybody was certain that a pack of animals won't threaten an army easily handling the intelligent occupants of this strange world. First Shadows which were jumped at by the biological gliders did not do much besides using their rifles as maces to throw the animals off themselves. But that quickly changed when these things were observed to spit acid and then bite right through it, penetrating the armors and killing the soldiers. Concentrated plasma fire burned through the rest of the pack, but it was only one of the first to appear. Suddenly new packs poured from the ground, right in between of moving units. Gravitational pulses were out of the question and particle beams or fusion missiles were ineffective at dealing with these targets. Small arms fire was the best solution, but best did not mean good. Kinetic support providers and Avengers tried to help with the larger packs of the unexpected enemies, but they literally rose from the ground everywhere at once, chewing through infantry units, obviously separated from each other because they expected to be shot at rather than to experience being swarmed by an angry mob of local fauna representatives.

This reminds me of fighting Seekers in XCOM:EW, with the sudden appearance from CLOSE RANGE?! and trying ineffectually to hit them with reaction fire before they killed someone. Except that these blobs are far more lethal...

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A robotic skeleton in a biological shell, that's what these "animals" really were. It was not local fauna, but another Umbara weapon.

...okay, now it reminds me even more of Seekers. That's a damn nasty weapon there.

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And most intriguing, their cities were deserted. Most buildings and rooms stood empty and there was no civilian population anywhere to be seen.

Almost as if the Umbara were not the population, only the previous conquerors of the cities. Yet it sounds like these are not Precursor buildings, so the question of who exactly once lived here remains...

Once again you torture the readers with a cliffhanger! All told a vivid description of the ground assault across an alien terrain, with I think a good balance between reflecting the confusion of battle and having a coherent line of advance and narrative to the engagement. Looking forward to the exciting conclusion!
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2021, 09:03:50 AM »
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Well you're no fun.

Sorry to disappoint you, but there's only so much stuff my brain can process and think about when writing an AAR, I'm not a Groaxian and besides not everything can be a grand mystery and a lead to scientific breakthrough, life is also about these simple, daily activities like long-distance communication by sending electrical signals back and forth...

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I have a bit of a thing for simple, brutally efficient builds outside of the ordinary things everyone does like 250,000-ton armored drop transports and the like.

Well, mine are 150k and I still thought that was way too big, but I wanted armor since I expected STOs just like the last time and was surprised they were no longer there and most importantly, jump drive took a good chunk of weight. And I still fit something extra on my carriers, because I wanted to see those ground troops so I needed an active sensor.

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The description seems eerily similar to what one would expect from an orbital bombardment.

Probably, got surprised when I saw their signatures much lower than expected and nobody was shooting at my ships.

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Such large formations are a joy to see given how many ill-conceived attempts at company-level OOB hackery there are floating around the forums.

Two-level chain of command is most I can handle before my brain melts by trying to remember how many units should go where. Still believe infantry should be twice as big since I used 20 of them instead of 10 under one hq, but this was the first unit and I was afraid I'll lack gallicite to build ships to transport them all with heavier stuff like vehicles and all that. Also lacked patience to have to wait for so many ships to build, but in the end could've made them twice as big and it'd be fine.

Still, would love to do proper xcom squads. Too bad aurora does everything ui- and gameplay-wise (mmostly the former) to punish such approach. Love tactical small-scale combat.

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The next step in the Groaxian evolution is...distributed computing?

And you accuse me of being no fun.  :D One solar watch you except me to try to describe remote communication as something unbelievably mysterious and ground-breaking and the other as I describe another application of distributed computing done on the brains instead of machines you call it simply distributed computing. I guess I can't win.  :P

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...okay, now it reminds me even more of Seekers.

Seekers didn't swarm... And had no biological parts. Though I guess the only reason they didn't swarm was gameplay balance. Because they absolutely should appear in large numbers.

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Yet it sounds like these are not Precursor buildings

Because these are not. 8) Obviously not build Precursor-style if your average infantry squad can blow up the opening at their leisure.  :P Plus if these were Precursor ruins, I'd do them more justice. They'll still get some more love though, it's an alien city after all.

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Once again you torture the readers with a cliffhanger!

Again, it was an accident, I sat for a few hours straight to write this and even the last part about the cities felt a bit rushed for my taste because I was tired, so I had to stop. I mean, little Umbara resistance and lack of civilian population were planned, but still wanted to give them more love. Hopefully I can fix that in the next update.

Also big respect for what you're doing, you seem to be active in so many aars at once while also discussing the game itself on the forum and I don't know how do you get time for all this, I can only write mine and barely catch up with Duranium Legion for now and saw one particular aar recently that might be very fitting with my taste and what I focus on most when it comes to space sci-fi, but damn time ends always too quickly...
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2021, 12:02:36 PM »
Still, would love to do proper xcom squads. Too bad aurora does everything ui- and gameplay-wise (mmostly the former) to punish such approach. Love tactical small-scale combat.

I've toyed with the idea of doing XCOM squad style combat, but it would have to be heavily scripted between player-controlled races. I do think the ground units system works for what Aurora is as a game but it sadly cannot do everything we want it to.

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The next step in the Groaxian evolution is...distributed computing?

And you accuse me of being no fun.  :D

Okay, you're a little bit of fun.  ;)

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Again, it was an accident, I sat for a few hours straight to write this and even the last part about the cities felt a bit rushed for my taste because I was tired, so I had to stop. I mean, little Umbara resistance and lack of civilian population were planned, but still wanted to give them more love. Hopefully I can fix that in the next update.

Don't let me get under you skin. Cliffhangers are a time-honored AAR writing tradition. But so is yelling at the author for such torture.  ;)

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Also big respect for what you're doing, you seem to be active in so many aars at once while also discussing the game itself on the forum and I don't know how do you get time for all this, I can only write mine and barely catch up with Duranium Legion for now and saw one particular aar recently that might be very fitting with my taste and what I focus on most when it comes to space sci-fi, but damn time ends always too quickly...

When I started out on the forum I made it a goal to do what I could to support the AAR section, since it's such a big part of what Aurora is about as anyone can tell from how many stories Steve has written from his campaigns, but a thriving AAR board needs commenters as well as authors in my experience, to provide love and encouragement.  :)

As for how I find the time, it turns out Aurora is a great procrastination subject...  :P
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2021, 06:56:47 PM »
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When I started out on the forum I made it a goal to do what I could to support the AAR section, since it's such a big part of what Aurora is about as anyone can tell from how many stories Steve has written from his campaigns, but a thriving AAR board needs commenters as well as authors in my experience, to provide love and encouragement.

That's an amazing goal to have and a very inspiring one, I wish I only had time to make something useful of this inspiration, because they say a follower is more important than an initiator and a crucial part when it comes to starting a trend... I dunno, if I could, for example, not sleep...  ::) Would be useful for many other occassions as well.

And thanks, certainly feel loved and encouraged by your constant comment spam engaging discussion. ;) It is indeed a strong motivation and serves as a pretty efficient warranty for me have enough motivation to go with this all the way till I'll be able to write "THE END".
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2021, 06:59:56 PM »
I really need to catch up on this AAR (and the COVID one!) Love a good read.
Arrakis -- Dune -- Desert Planet
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2021, 08:03:44 PM »
Hey, thanks! But yeah, be sure to read the one about Covid first as this one is a DLC and reading it would make you maybe not as confused as I initially thought when starting writing this one, but certainly this will ruin the previous one for you, for same reason I advise you to not read too much from this thread as it's obviously the perfect way to spoil both. Depending on where you are it may take a bit of time for you to catch up, but I hope you'll feel satisfied and that it was worth it to waste invest the time. Eagerly awaitng whatever comments you might have! ;D
 

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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #43 on: July 05, 2021, 11:36:53 PM »
I've now got quite a lot of episodes to catch up on, and not a lot of time lately, but I will at least endeavor to make a start here...

OPERATION HELLSPAWN

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Besides an obvious supply of Umbara combat gas there were also barrels with radioactive wastes found to be stored deep in the underground sections. Oddly enough, they were dropped disregarding any safety procedures. According to known research their bodies weren't resistant to radiation which would be the only reasonable explanation for such disinterest in proper handling of the dangerous materials. Again, another question left open for the scientists.

If I recall correctly - always questionable - the Umbara have a shortened life span due to the combat gas they inhale, so they may not care much about the effects of radiation knowing they won't live long anyways. A callous attitude to be sure. Reminds me of the Farscape episode about those thrill-seekers on the deserted rock with the sonic trampoline shaft.

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The temporary status qo was given a very short life expectancy and thus another unconventional solution had been brought to the table. Avengers were to withdraw and let go of Umbaras in the air, giving a short window of oportunity for a few gravitational strikes. It was expected that a local space warp around them would simply force Umbaras to fall down and crash due to overwhelming gravity.

A clever and unorthodox solution!

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Groaxians watching this could only imagine the entire planet being ripped apart if a standard starship-sized Curvature Propulsion System was used instead of a carefully prepared, underpowered versions meant to destroy only a small area rather than smash the entire world with just one pulse.

Someone should build one of these. Just, you know, in case of emergency...  ;)

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Multiple scouting missions were launched across all planet and all the best gear had been employed for survey tasks, but no large concentrations of hostile military forces were discovered, with only a small, easy to deal with squads protecting some small communities here and there. Shockingly, a total population of the planet was estimated to not even cross ten million. With their army basically non-existent, they were harmless.

Interesting. This is I think the first Groaxian interaction with the Umbara "civilian" population, I think. This could prove enlightening, they may not be the military minded types and may be more willing to at least talk to the Groaxians and give some clues about the Umbara military.

END OF A CYCLE

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To further add to this, their sight was described as, due to lack of better words, "mathematical". They perceived world around them in as a complex vector space. Where Groaxians saw a rock, Umbaras saw a cluster of different vectors pointing towars various points of this rock, somewhat similar to the methods used for graphic rendering in early designs of cybersoul mainframes.

I'd like to be the scientist who figures out how a species evolved that capability!

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However, with the truth revealed from interrogated survivors from Zenn who crashed their evacuation pods into the planet, they no longer wanted to inhale the gas. Their biologists found a workaround to sustain their life functions with intaking regular doses of radiation instead. It was still killing them, but much slower than the addiction from the gas which effects on the body had been nullified by expousure to nuclear wastes or certain species of surviving flora.

Somehow, the truth is even worse than my original guess. The universe according to the Umbara is truly bleak.

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As soon as they were part of the same civilisation, Dark Forest rules no longer applied. Despite some small opposition from the ones Bound by Dark Forest, Conglomerate instantly agreed to start a unification project.

I must be skeptical of this idea. There is a clear counterexample here, Zenn and La were part of the same civilization and ended up in another civil war. I may be a small, relatively unintelligent human next to the super smart Groaxians, but I think they are letting optimism get the best of them. Then again, maybe optimism is the only way forward, if it worked for humanity after all it may work for Groaxians too...

SYNERGY OF TWO NATURES

Something something ying and yang...

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With these two major centers in place, Mimung was expected to become fully independent and capable of supporting space industry and research in Qi.

I have to say that compared to the last AAR, the very little and slow pace of colonization in this one is very flavorful. Every move like this feels meaningful, not just interstellar sprawl but a deliberate advance to bring hope and life to the Groaxian race.

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With regards to how much time was still left, astronomers focused their observations on the black holes and supernovae, trying to build an algorithm which could provide some rough hints as to where the closest Dark Forest Lord was located.

This AAR suddenly needs boss battle music.

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Initial optimism of Umbara assimilation had quickly withered away when numerous works indeed confirmed they were not representants of civilisation of a good will. They even were surprised by the fact Groaxians kept them alive so far and even shamed them for being weak, predicting the end was nigh for a species that cannot abide the rules of a Dark Forest.

Well, darn. It was a nice hope while it lasted I suppose.

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For the time being, there was no harm in keeping leftovers from Umbara society alive, but soulseekers surely had a lot of work to do to prepare a satisfying resolution of this dilemma.

I suspect, personally, that the satisfying resolution to this dilemma will somehow be related to the process of Ascension. It would definitely fit together this way.

----

I will have to leave the rest for another reading session, this is the bottom of the page so is a good stopping point for now. I look forward to the next remaining installments as the Groaxians continue to unravel the secrets of the universe, the Dark Forest, and hopefully Ascension...
 
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Re: Time's End comments thread
« Reply #44 on: July 06, 2021, 03:02:02 PM »
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I've now got quite a lot of episodes to catch up on, and not a lot of time lately, but I will at least endeavor to make a start here...

And so the lack of time I was mentioning earlier on my side had finally caught up to you... Now please tell the truth, you did it on purpose as a revenge for me not posting for two weeks straight.  You even decreased your activity on the forums to make it more believable. :P

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Reminds me of the Farscape episode about those thrill-seekers on the deserted rock with the sonic trampoline shaft.

Reminds you of... what???  ???

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Someone should build one of these. Just, you know, in case of emergency...

They're on every starship... Alcubierre Drives are deep space only or say bye bye to whatever chunk of matter is within range. Groaxians can consider themselves lucky Umbara is a primitive civilisation that believed it can conquer Yatune with conventional means and decided trying to get resources from the world is more beneficial than destroying it, or their ships would just fire their FTL drives instead of unloading troops and Yatune would be no more.

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This could prove enlightening

Rumors circulating among explorers, so ancient that they are predating both Groaxians and Humanity, tell tales about civilisations of a good will leaving beacons with epitaphs like this one citing famous last words of countless civilisations to serve as a warning against interacting with Dark Forest Lords... Most civilisations agree they must had been weak Dark Forest players since extinction of one race is the survival of the other. Creators of these space cemeteries are long gone now and nobody has any doubts left as to why.

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I'd like to be the scientist who figures out how a species evolved that capability!

Well, looks like human hibernation will be a thing relatively soon. According to the timeline from previous AAR, that's hibernating for 200 years before Dark Forest Strike comes and our region of space is swallowed by black holes, evacuating to NN 4079 before that happens and at that point genetic engineering would be advanced enough to make you survive frozen hell on the third planet from the sun. And with modifying your body you won't need a heating source and thus won't look on their homeworld like a weirdo who needs heaters even when a -30 Celsius heatwave strikes. Pretty easy, isn't it?  ;D

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There is a clear counterexample here, Zenn and La were part of the same civilization

Except they were not. They just happened to evolve both on the same planet and La simply had their local version of Terror from the Deep when the contact was made, that's all.  ;)

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maybe optimism is the only way forward

One of the beacons I mentioned earlier had exactly this thing written on it!  :D

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if it worked for humanity after all it may work for Groaxians too...

Humanity had it much easier, because they dealt with the civilisation of a good will...

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the very little and slow pace of colonization in this one is very flavorful.

That's how it ends when you want to squeeze any tiny bit of performance right from the go and start without civilians which at the start are your only reasonable shipping force and the gallicite hates you so much even freighters cost a fortune. In the previous one I had not enough gallicite for any reasonable military force, but still enough for the freighters + a hundred years of development before leaving Sol + tons of civilians + huge gallicite deposits on the first two systems, so while it was still slow in the early years of interstellar conquest, it could easily blossom later on, to the point I could casually smash a colony wherever I want in no time. Not to mention in the previous campaign I could spread quite a lot before meeting my first aliens while still being fairly separated from them, meanwhile here with multiple routes and nprs right on top of me from the start their presence hinders my already small expansion potential.

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This AAR suddenly needs boss battle music.

Well, near the end of my previous one I posted some youtube links I liked, so I guess i could do this once again, I think?

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It was a nice hope while it lasted I suppose.

"It was a nice civilisation while it lasted I suppose" - Ix'iks, commander of last surviving starship leaving into the unknown after Ulpha exploded in a supernova after photonic missile strike, 7890 Galactic Rotation.

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I will have to leave the rest for another reading session, this is the bottom of the page so is a good stopping point for now.

Damn, should've squeezed these replies to fit on three pages...

Anyways, good to see you again here! :D I caught up with gameplay once again, so it's time to play again, although I'm not sure what to do next in the game as now after securing Blutgang I have quite a few options opened. But I've got other games to play and stuff I'd like to do in general, so I guess I can afford to make a longer break than initially expected to let you catch up in peace (even though as I got to that sweet gallicite in Mimung playthrough should become that much more engaging now...) and not overwhelm you with more updates if you've got less time now, other AARs you read, your own AAR and all that. That's all I can (not) do for my beloved reader at the moment, so enjoy the fourth page at your own leisure.  8) (unless for whatever reason you want me to write more NOW, then I can always revert this longer break and get back to work).
 
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