Author Topic: Time's End comments thread  (Read 1290 times)

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Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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Time's End comments thread
« on: April 24, 2021, 08:14:14 PM »
Hi everyone,

1.13 is out, so what a lovely moment to start a new AAR. This one will be much shorter than my previous one and also the updates will be less frequent because I'm busy, but will try my best to make it good enough. In this post I'm going to briefly describe the rules and setting from the non-narrative perspecrive:

First of all, this AAR is supposed to act as a DLC to my previous one, so make sure you have read the previous one. Or at least skimmed through it. The DLC will follow the rise of Groaxians, an alien race discovered by humanity in my previous AAR in the NN 4079 system when it was still in tribal stage and gifted with a monolith containing human knowledge database once humanity ascended into five-dimensional space at the end of previous AAR. The starting system will be a faithful recreation of NN 4079 from my previous campaign..

    Rules:
    • 200% difficulty
    • random stars - aliens wouldn't use human-based charts and names, right? also that way I can set things in a way to hopefully allow for more local jump points to get many loops within galaxy map rather than separate branches that barely cross with each other
    • 50% terraforming (so it'll be a bit slower even if I'd push terraforming tech)
    • 100% research (I don't want to lower it because groaxians are very intelligent species, however for the sake of gameplay I won't increase it, even though lore-wise I actually should)
    • 10% survey, that way colonisation will be more meaningful while significantly slowing down my expansion so it won't get overhwelming too fast
    • Groaxians are rather pacifistic, so I'll tone down military development unless absolutely neccessary
    • Groaxians, as described in the intro, strive to maintain "inner peace" and thus need large living space with lots of nature around, so population density modifier is set to 0.3 - hopefully making colonising even more meaningful
    • maintenance is on (maybe this time gallicite will work... ::))
    • all jump points are stable - this is because I noticed nprs don't use jump drives at all and stabilise everything instead, which can make detecting and defending from them too easy, so I want to give them more "movememnt freedom" by pre-stabilising everything
    • as a house rule related to above, in order not to make jump drives obsolete, every ship I want to go FTL will need either its own jump drive or to dock within a jump-capable vessel. No jump tenders either, just a simple "if you want to go superluminal, you need to have an FTL drive"
    • just like in my previous AAR, no jump points would exist lore-wise. Gameplay-wise I'm still limited by them, but as far as narrative goes, if you have an FTL drive you can fly whenever you want from any point you want as long as you have supplies, time and navigation systems to make the journey

    Also note that in the intro I casually threw some terms that were not explained at all, for example what exactly is a "hibernation cycle". This is intentional, this AAR is written from Groaxians' POV, so for them it is quite obvious what a "hibernation cycle" is, so I want to keep it this way so it can be more immersive. All these terms will be gradually explained, though, so don't worry you don't understand something for now. Another reason is that since this is not human playthrough, I will attempt to create something unique and alien, so that hopefully Groaxians won't be too human-like. But inventing their entire biology, culture, societal sctucture, philosophy, economy and all that at once would be way too overwhelming for me (and probably for readers too), so I want to do it gradually.

    I think that's all, hope you'll enjoy.[/list]
    « Last Edit: April 24, 2021, 08:44:16 PM by Stormtrooper »
     
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    Offline nuclearslurpee

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #1 on: April 24, 2021, 10:14:45 PM »
    I look forward to following this one a bit more closely than the last! Already I can tell this will be very interesting, not only are you playing a nonhuman race in a non-Sol starting system, but humanity is present only as an ascended species so the whole lore will be unique I expect. Humanity as a guiding light si a new perspective to me.

    I look forward to seeing how 10% survey works for you. With the need for an extensive survey fleet you have a lot of creativity in how to accomplish it.

    FWIW, NPRs actually do use jump drives but usually prefer to stabilize everything anyways...I guess it is to make colonization and trade easier. Requiring a jump drive on every large ship that wants to travel by FTL will be interesting though.

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    And yet, if Dark Forest was real, how come that Humanity shared their knowledge with Groaxians instead of wiping them out? But if Dark Forest wasn't real, how come Humanity put such a great effort to explain it, and on top of that do so in a way that'd make Groaxians learn about it just as they began drawing sketches of pioneer space programs? Since both assumptions seemed to be false, a third one has been established: there's more to it, something yet undiscovered, buried deep within the encodings of Humanity's gift.

    Intriguing plot hook with philosophical implications to explore. How the Groaxians answer these questions will shape them as a race - and perhaps along the way they will discover how humanity answered these questions as well?

    I'm also curious about the methane vs oxygen breathing. I didn't know this was possible in C#, for one thing, but I also wonder how hard this will make finding new planets to colonize.

     
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    Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #2 on: April 25, 2021, 08:15:55 AM »
    Oh right, I forgot to mention methane thing. Metahne breathers are still not there in the C#, so I had to use oxygen instead. That third planet in NN 4079 from previous campaign had nitrogen-methane atmosphere so Groaxians are methane breathers lore-wise. Gameplay wise I'm going to treat their oxygen pressure as methane pressure and thus when terraforming I'll do so as if they were methane breathers gameplay-wise and later will simply use sm to swap methane for oxygen and add aesthusium since methane is a greenhosue gas and swapping it for oxygen affects temperature. This is as close as I can get without methane breathers being implemented in C#.

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    they will discover how humanity answered these questions as well?

    Well, my previous AAR already answered them all, here since it's a DLC I'll just expand upon it more I guess.
     

    Offline nuclearslurpee

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #3 on: April 25, 2021, 09:21:54 AM »
    Oh right, I forgot to mention methane thing. Metahne breathers are still not there in the C#, so I had to use oxygen instead. That third planet in NN 4079 from previous campaign had nitrogen-methane atmosphere so Groaxians are methane breathers lore-wise. Gameplay wise I'm going to treat their oxygen pressure as methane pressure and thus when terraforming I'll do so as if they were methane breathers gameplay-wise and later will simply use sm to swap methane for oxygen and add aesthusium since methane is a greenhosue gas and swapping it for oxygen affects temperature. This is as close as I can get without methane breathers being implemented in C#.

    For bonus immersion you can swap the gas names in the DB. The DIM_Gases table has all the gas names and if you can tolerate mild physical incongruities you can just change the name and symbol while leaving the physical properties alone.

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    they will discover how humanity answered these questions as well?

    Well, my previous AAR already answered them all, here since it's a DLC I'll just expand upon it more I guess.

    Of course, but in this AAR we have the perspective of the Groaxians.They will likely have very different answers to these paramount questions of existence compared to humanity, and will only discover humanity's history through limited means. There is potential for limited information to cause cultural misunderstanding as well as ideological conflicts.
     

    Offline nuclearslurpee

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #4 on: April 25, 2021, 11:54:40 PM »
    Fascinating developments in this one. On one hand, the determination of the Groaxians is clear in their willingness to seek adaptation to survive in space and on alien worlds. On the other hand the controversy over terraforming technology promises to remain a thorn for some time. The present solution for Yatune is a good one (not least because at this early stage terraforming will take a long time until the technology is improved is an unproven technology that cannot be relied on for a budding space program), but future planets will present similar exotic ecosystems - should they all be preserved? I suspect some will say so.

    Spoiler comment: I notice that the race picture looks like the one used for Rakhas by default. I wonder if this will tie in with some mysterious larger secret of the universe when the Groaxians discover their first Rakhas encampment?
     

    Offline nuclearslurpee

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #5 on: April 26, 2021, 10:50:21 PM »
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    Anthraxus class Exploration Ship
    [...]
    Ground Composition Analysis Lab    Environmental Control Module    Methane Recycling System    Extragenesian Material Containment    Medical Bay    Canteen    Equipment Repair Workshop    Onboard Telescope    Astronomical Observatory    Meditation Space    Hibernation Center    Flight Navigation System    Hets Autonomous Farm    Life Support System    Personal Storage    Recreation Space

    Very nice use of the misc. components! When the feature was announced I did not imagine such a detailed approach. I think this really captures the care and work going into the nascent space program.

    While the three-gender race concept is a bit of a trope in sci-fi, I do appreciate that the handling here is quite direct. Usually a three-gender alien race has an alien-sounding name for the gender role, here they are called "middlemen" in plain terms which I think reflects a more realistic culture. Interesting to see how this dynamic influences the developing space program as it continues.

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    Soon it was determined that Humanity most likely took an advantage of the fact that space itself wasn't just "pure vacuum", but rather it was a fabric that could be warped and distorted, manipulating with the way that needed to be travelled while leaving the limit of speed of light intact.

    [...] Countless experiments have proven that while in theory it's still doable, in practice maximum pace at which warping space can occur cannot cross the speed of light.

    These shocking discoveries had severe consequences for a way Groaxians viewed the universe. Not only was faster than light travel still a fantasy, but it was the first time information provided by Humanity didn't have a confirmation in reality. It was then when some Conglomerate officials reminded themselves about the Dark Forest Theory.

    Groaxians experienced a technological boom - their science exploded, pushing them further than anyone predicted within such short time frame. According to the theory, that was precisely the reason why even primitive civilisation shall still be considered a threat. And now Groaxians faced themselves still pretty much limited to one solar system.

    Almost as if someone didn't want them to escape.

    Ominous...is this just due to the difficulty of the science involved, that even with Humanity's help it will take the Groaxians many cycles to master? Or is there another race out there manipulating the fabric of their reality?
     

    Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #6 on: April 27, 2021, 06:45:14 AM »
    Hey, I just wanted to thank you for putting all this effort to read through it all and then comment on it. I really appreciate it.

    P.S.

    Fun fact: I was going to use SM to spawn ruins on Yatune since it was supposed to be a human colony, just like in the previous AAR, but ended up not having to since it already spawned naturally.
     

    Offline nuclearslurpee

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #7 on: April 27, 2021, 01:13:52 PM »
    It's no problem! I know that as an author audience engagement is always encouraging (unless it's engagement by mean trolls of course), so I aim to try and provide that as a reader. I hope others take the example in the future so the Aurora AAR section can be an engaging board also.

    I like the worldbuilding in the last update. The unique biology of the Mimung IV moon is quite creative, but I also like seeing that the pace of technology is quietly going along in the background as the Groaxians are up to ion engines. Not everything has to be explicitly talked about to become apparent in the story.

    I wonder if the Black Wall is some unnatural barrier placed to block the Groaxians, or just another strange phenomenon of the galaxy to be worked around? I can't remember if the 60-100 LY distance matches any system from the previous AAR storyline.
     
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    Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #8 on: April 27, 2021, 02:26:25 PM »
    Quote
    hope others take the example in the future so the Aurora AAR section can be an engaging board also.

    Thanks a lot, though I guess I'm guilty myself of not giving said engangement, will try to change this too so all aar board can become indeed more active (though it is actually your fault because you've posted five damn pages of your duranium legion and I only made it through page one so far and you don't have a separate comments thread so I can't comment for now because whatever I would say would probably be outdated after remaining pages so it's actually all on you  8))

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    I like the worldbuilding in the last update.

    Thanks, after my previous AAR I'm surprised I haven't burned out yet in trying to come up with descriptions of alien non-sentient life that'd feel like it is really alien rather than "grass but pink and trees but blue" thanks to the imagination limits coming from spending entire life on Earth. Please Steve, I don't care about commander traits, gimme a short procedurally generated descriptions of alien life on some planets instead  ;)

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    I can't remember if the 60-100 LY distance matches any system from the previous AAR storyline.

    Well, first it's 60-100 light hibernation cycles, not years. And secondly (I'll put it as a spoiler though it was mentioned at the very end of my aar as to what happened so it shouldn't be a spoiler for someone reading the DLC) I didn't mean the entire system, rather the general area - I checked it in the db, NN 4079 is 50 something light years away from Earth.
     
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    Offline nuclearslurpee

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #9 on: April 27, 2021, 03:06:15 PM »
    Quote
    hope others take the example in the future so the Aurora AAR section can be an engaging board also.

    Thanks a lot, though I guess I'm guilty myself of not giving said engangement, will try to change this too so all aar board can become indeed more active (though it is actually your fault because you've posted five damn pages of your duranium legion and I only made it through page one so far and you don't have a separate comments thread so I can't comment for now because whatever I would say would probably be outdated after remaining pages so it's actually all on you  8))

    Keeping only a single thread is a conscious choice of mine as I simply prefer the thread dynamic that way. In other AAR boards I've participated on, usually it is welcome for new readers to comment as they progress and the author may reply to their comment separately to avoid spoilers. However I don't know if that will work on the Aurora board since we don't have a system for username mentions/notifications to link you only to the non-spoiler posts. In any case I am fortunate to have several other readers engaging so you are welcome to take your time in the process, as an author your contribution is already substantial.  ;D

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    I like the worldbuilding in the last update.

    Thanks, after my previous AAR I'm surprised I haven't burned out yet in trying to come up with descriptions of alien non-sentient life that'd feel like it is really alien rather than "grass but pink and trees but blue" thanks to the imagination limits coming from spending entire life on Earth. Please Steve, I don't care about commander traits, gimme a short procedurally generated descriptions of alien life on some planets instead  ;)

    "The Gliese 420 Aliens are aggressive, do not listen to others, and have substance abuse problems." Actually having written this out, I meant it as a joke poking fun at commander traits but I would actually like such a flavor even if it is a bit Planet of Hats-y.
     
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    Offline nuclearslurpee

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #10 on: April 30, 2021, 11:59:43 AM »
    Time to catch up on the last couple of days of posting action!

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    As the battle raged in the outer layers of Qusmont habitat, a small team of technicians hiding in one of the laboratories in a skygazer built by Humanity used latest cybersoul mainframes to simulate the penetrating properties of enemy weaponry against various materials. While with only so much time at hand all they had to work with were industrial programs for estimating mining efficiency so the errors were expected to be of huge proportions, but it had to do. With what little data they had available best they could do is to claim that vehicles used in construction and geological research should be able to sustain a direct hit from small arms, possibly even a couple of them before facing complete meltdown.

    With not enough time to ask all the questions that should be asked, leader of Qusmont called for deployment of all the heavy civilian equipment the colony could allow and establish lines of barricades for the fighting mental cooling squadmembers. Entire Yatune society dreaded upon hearing of sending civilians into battle, but it was the last hope.

    An interesting and desperate tactic. The heavy civilian equipment will certainly absorb a lot of fire that would otherwise strike the light infantry units, so it is objectively the correct tactical decision, but certainly a tough decision to make.

    Excellent work for the defense fleet as they finish the defeat of their first enemy fleet. Hopefully the wrecks can be salvaged for some clue about who these invaders might be, and where they have come from...

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    However, a brilliant idea resurfaced: if the attackers were capable of spotting squads of Groaxians based on their form of communication, then they must have already have an idea about how much of a gas correspond to how many targets. An insane yet simple plan assumed that the population hiding among the ruins was to start talking extensively to produce so much pink and purple gasses that it'd form a giant cloud that would direct the attention of enemy.

    Brilliant. The Groaxian version of generating fake radio traffic to simulate a large force and deceive an enemy.

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    At first the priority seemed to be to find a way to communicate with the prisoners, but it quickly faded away when all of them suffocated to death.

    The universe may be a dark forest, but it is also occasionally a black comedy as well.

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    The soulseeker behind it one solar watch walked across the Thoania rift. He observed the two popular animals inhabiting the area: qhaavets and daelmi. Both were known for their aggressive attitude and violent behaviour, but they never attacked each other. Daelmi flew high above the ground, hunting other flying creatures or sometimes skydiving and piercing through ice to extract tasty shezes, meanwhile qhaavets, glued to the ground and were feeding off organic material extracted directly from ice after being left there by many species awakening from hibernation. Both species used ice as their hunting ground, at least to some extent, and yet they never interrupted each other. Even biologists once determined that qhaavets were poisonous for daelmi which is why probably they were never observed eating them.

    This observation inspired the researcher to extrapolate this phenomena into entire civilisations. Two hypothetical races would share the same universe, as the two species from Genesis shared ice sheets as hunting ground, but at the same time both would consume different type of resources. That way they would not benefit from war at all - starting one always posed them at risk of extinction, even if only so small, while providing no gain as the resources used by the other race would be useless to them. Because of the latter, no matter the expansion of the second civilisation, it wouldn't limit their pool of potential supplies. However, in order for such model to work, all resources would have to be separated - for example aliens that landed on Yatune were breathing a different gas than Groaxians, but still using similar raw minerals to build their ships. While this theory had little implications in real life since if peace was to be made that'd require a hypothetical civilisation to exist that doesn't consume any grain of matter from which every material used by Groaxians is made, but it was a good thought experiment and somewhat a start. A tiny step into the darkness of the universe, made in parallel to the step that included sending colonisation fleet for their first trip into Mimung.

    There's some potential here...even if two races share a need for TNEs, they can live on different planets, so it may be that TNEs which are difficult for one race to access to the point of ignoring them entirely may be accessible to another race. This can form the basis of mutual defense pacts or even an alliance.

    Perhaps even better if two races rely on different TNEs more critically than others, such as one race needing tritanium for missiles and another corundium for beam weapons. THis can form the basis of a trade relationship as well.

    Now we have to hope some other race in the galaxy has made a similar realization and will work peacefully with the Groaxians.

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    As soulseekers kept wondering about Dark Forest and engineers struggled to reverse-engineer plasma guns that'd fire missiles precisely following laser trail, astronomers had another riddle to think about: after spotting the cluster of black holes that gave the name for problems with omitting light speed barrier, they focused on searching for new black holes to compare them with this strange region of space, only to discover that in the entire galaxy black holes were pretty common. This didn't match theoretical predictions in the slightest. Also it was concluded that within a relatively short timeframe cosmic scale-wise that many black holes will destabilise the entire galaxy and swallow all of the stars. No physicist or astronomer could find any at least half-reasonable explanation for these observations.

    This is ominous... a long term solution is needed, hopefully one that involves re-stabilizing the galaxy rather than having to flee the entire galaxy.
     

    Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #11 on: April 30, 2021, 03:36:48 PM »
    Hey, thanks again for putting all this effort to writing these comments! Just as I turned aurora on, wondering what will happen next, I saw this post and it's really motivating to keep going, even though trying to write down entire universe including the basic philosophy of existence, non-sentient biology as well as alien civilisations is not easy and can get owerwhelming for me at times.

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    An interesting and desperate tactic.

    Had some geological and construction units left on the planet because it had both geosurvey potential and alien ruins and it's the first time reports of ground combat were of any use for me. After last AAR when they were irrelevant as I had to come up with my own battle descriptions based on nothing because the game didn't tell me what happened besides pure killfeeds it was a nice surprise to see those casualties among civilian vessels be of any inspiration.

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    There's some potential here...even if two races share a need for TNEs, they can live on different planets, so it may be that TNEs which are difficult for one race to access to the point of ignoring them entirely may be accessible to another race. This can form the basis of mutual defense pacts or even an alliance.

    Small comment: according to this lore (though I guess it's partially my fault for not stating it explicitly in the rules) the whole TN business does not exist at all (I even try to describe battles as if they happened with realistic space physics turned on 8)), so it's back to good old iron, aluminium and uranium.

    But this small clarification aside, I don't think you got it right. Consuming different resources does not mean "one race relying more on A and the other relying more on B" or "A is difficult to extract so the race will ignore it and thus not go to war with someone who based core of the economy on A". If two races use resource A, then no matter how insignificant it is for one race, as long as it uses some of it at all, it will have a reason to go for war with all the aliens who use A as well. Even if A is hard to extract for now, what if it'll be needed in the future as technology will allow to deal with the problem? And even if not, what if the other race might use A to build war machine capable of destroying them in a war over resource B or just as a prevention so they don't get destroyed first? See where this is going? It's chain of suspicion all over again.

    For this to work properly, it can't operate based on such primitive concept as the accessibility of some basic minerals - dark forest goes far beyond simple politics and primitive civilisations like that. It requires the two civilisations to use a mutually exclusive pool of resources: that means if one race uses resources numbered 1-1000, then the other race cannot use any of these and must use ONLY resources numbered 1001 and above, so that even if the former race was to conquer the entire universe, their expansion and survival capabilities wouldn't be harmed at all. Meanwhile if it uses at least a tiny trace of resource no 456, then the other race conquering entire universe screws them over because suddenly they don't have 456 sources at all.

    And one more thing: "resource" here does not mean what it means in terms of economy, strategy etc. It means literally every atom consumed or used by civilisation at all: so resources are metals which make for spaceship hulls, but also every atom of breathable air, every atom present within one's body or the body of organisms that serve as food etc etc. It's literally all the matter that surrounds particular species and is used by them in one way or another.

    Hope I explained it better here, maybe I wasn't clear enough in the AAR, sorry about that. But in general one useful rule to remember when thinking about dark forest would be: always operate on the most basic principles of existence: amount of matter, need to consume matter in order to survive and expand, etc. Dark forest theory does not go into such details as the exact amount of particular type of matter you need or how easy it is for you or others to get it etc etc.
    « Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 03:40:44 PM by Stormtrooper »
     

    Offline nuclearslurpee

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #12 on: May 06, 2021, 12:47:03 PM »
    About to catch up on this one, but first I do want to clarify about the previous post: my intention was not to argue against Dark Forest Theory or to misrepresent it, though the clarifications are appreciated. Rather my comment came from trying to look at things from the perspective of the Groaxians, particularly the ones who do not want to follow Dark Forest or find it unpalatable and are seeking a more optimistic alternative philosophy and way to approach the universe. In the end Dark Forest may prove an unstoppable force, but in the moment the Groaxians do not know this and may have to learn the truth by failing in another approach. After all it is not impossible that another race exists among the stars which has a similar philosophy, which may be amenable to some sort of peaceful alliance - but can such races even in alliance stand against others which have accepted Dark Forest Theory and follow it unerringly? That would remain to be seen.

    So this is where my comments come from, not to misunderstand or misrepresent but rather to explore as thought experiments what alternatives the protagonists might consider.

    Anyways, as far as catching up goes...

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    Conglomerate Guardian
    Transport Size (tons) 6     Cost 0.18     Armour 15.0     Hit Points 10
    Annual Maintenance Cost 0.023     Resupply Cost 1.3
    X-5000A1 Laser-Guided Plasma Rifle:      Shots 1      Penetration 12      Damage 10
    Reactive Cybersoul Combat Suit
    Emergency Hibernation Kit
    Infrared Vision System
    Distributed Communication Array Endpoint

    Vendarite  0.18   
    Development Cost  67

    An interesting unit, because usually the PWI component is largely a waste of tonnage. However in this case the Groaxians are fighting a seemingly very asymmetrical war and the added penetration is needed to fight against their enemies in power armor. A good adaptive design I think.

    I wonder if the heavy variant would turn out to be more effective with HCAP but I guess the Groaxians have not yet developed such a thing. We shall see how the effectiveness on the battlefield translates into the assessment of the military minds.

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    One part of the ship remained intact after the encounter was over. From it, a few bodies could have been recovered. The ship was marked with the same symbol as the invaders of Qusmont have worn, so it was very surprising when the bodies discovered were something totally different than the aliens classified so far. They were of a slim, seven-legged figure that was very nimble and gave an impression of being fragile, however stress tests conducted by the destruction of their ship itself showed that ripping their bodies apart was a tough task - one could stretch, rotate and warp them around, but they just insisted on staying in one piece. Later in the laboratories detailed experiments have determined their environmental tolerances:

    Intriguing. This would suggest that the invader species are a very hostile alien empire which has subjugated other species in history and now presses them into military service.

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    What if these two races somehow figured out how to not kill each other in a Dark Forest and signed an alliance? Even if they were hostile to every other life form, that was still a start. More enthusiastic citizens started dreaming of this discovery serving as a path towards peace.

    I see I accidentally anticipated certain developments in the story. So there is perhaps some hope for a "Beyond Dark Forest" Theory?

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    Physicists were surprised when they noticed the first stub of a mathematical model describing such rifts looked oddly similar to a previously unclassified section of the monolith. Rifts were named strangely, possibly it was a reference to some kind of organisms living on a homeworld of Humanity and the way they carved tunnels in their food, but apart from that the theory looked similar enough.

    The problem is, even after many attempts the theory just refused to work in practice. Black Wall reminded about itself in the worst manner possible once again. Why did Humanity tried to contain Groaxians within a few nearest stars while not wiping them out instead? However, this time the situation was looking different: the idea of using interstellar rifts was an independent Groaxian research project that had nothing to do with Humanity until another section of the monolith has been understood. This helped to restore faith in Humanity among some sceptics that gained some popularity ever since first supposedly superluminal objects engineered failed to cross the speed of light, at least, but the troubles with interstellar travel persisted.

    The obvious answer is that this section of the monolith was written by a physics professor who hated writing and wrote incomprehensible papers yet somehow got tenure anyways.

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    The combined kinetic fire and curvature disruption gave the enemy no chance. Trapped within artificial gravity well, struggling to reach escape velocity while dodging missiles that only accelerated further as they entered the gravitational sphere of influence themselves, two of them were quickly reduced to ashes. However, as Qi Defenders prepared the final volley, something very unusual occurred. Onboard cybersoul mainframes picked up an unintelligible signal originating from the third spacecraft. Initial analysis determined it was of an artificial origin and bore marks of sentient communication attempts.

    snip

    Very interesting depiction of an in-game surrender. This could prove to be a big deal in revealing the mysteries of the universe, and could not have been planned on by anyone involved. Potentially a huge twist.

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    In the meantime explorers visited another system - Eckesachs. It consisted of several gas giants ...

    Popularly known by Groaxian schoolchildren as "icky-sacks".  :P

    Quote
    A debate rose publicly, revolving around a topic that troubled a lot of Groaxians: in their monolith, humans mentioned that they will "keep Groaxians safe until they join them across the stars". "Across the stars" part facing some unexpected problems and delays because of light speed issue and cosmic war happening aside, what exactly "joining" was supposed to mean, to this solar watch nobody really knew. Most pending issue was about "keeping safe" promise, though. It seemed like so far Humanity failed miserably. Well, Genesis was still habitable and the civilisation thrived, but casualties were already taken and so far no rescue could have been detected. Why all this effort if later Humanity was to leave Groaxians to their own devices?

    Some might suggest that the definition of "safety" is flexible. There is some difference between humanity keeping the Groaxian civilization alive and intact, but still allowing for them to suffer casualties and losses to learn the lessons of space war, versus humanity keeping the Groaxians completely protected from other aliens in the galaxy. The former approach may no feel safe, but may be necessary for learning valuable lessons.

    Quote
    BATTLE OF MIMUNG

    I continue to be confused by how slow the alien battle fleets seem to move, that seems a strange tactical decision. Then again...

    Quote
    Groaxians have learnt to keep their distance from hostile ships so that their targeting cybersouls had trouble locking onto them, giving an opportunity to fire away without consequences. However, this all changed when the enemy, succeeding at making Groaxians let down their guard a bit, suddenly fired their thrusters with full force, using next gravitational disturbance as a slingshot, rapidly changing speed vector making a full U-turn around gravitational well and coming right on top of three Lensias greeting them with hail of kinetic gunfire, flying past them towards Syzygies while turning around and continuing to score hits as the distance started to increase again.

    For the hull of one of the three ships it was too much.

    Maybe there is something to this strange alien tactic after all?

    These new Eckesachs aliens are interesting. Are they at war with the Umbara? Or are they a relatively new civilization which just happens to also be in this area of space? Maybe they have not heard of Dark Forest and could be open to working together to forge a different path? Lots of questions to be answered.

    I'm generally starting to appreciate the philosophical bent of this story. It's nice to examine Dark Forest Theory from a new perspective and see how an alien race of thinkers grapples with the meaning and implications of it. I think there is much yet to be written on the subject...
     

    Offline Stormtrooper (OP)

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #13 on: May 06, 2021, 03:51:39 PM »
    Quote
    So this is where my comments come from, not to misunderstand or misrepresent but rather to explore as thought experiments what alternatives the protagonists might consider.

    Fair enough, it's also interesting to see your take on this, even if it doesn't align with my ideas at all. Well, preciesly because it doesn't align.

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    because usually the PWI component is largely a waste of tonnage

    after my previous campaign with epic homeworld conquest ending up a massive overkill in-game, I decided to skip them. But as you noticed, after having to bombard my own planet I just wanted to make sure they will get kills. Especially that it's only 1t per unit, the smallest increase possible basically.

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    I wonder if the heavy variant would turn out to be more effective with HCAP

    Maybe it would, but with machine guns it's just that even if they struggle to penetrate more, they have 6 shots compared to 1 so on average will be more devastating regardless. And unlike with improved and standard weapons, difference between heavy and regular in terms of tons here was significant so wanted to avoid too bulky troops. Also come on, min-maxed aurora would be so boring to play ;)

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    I see I accidentally anticipated certain developments in the story

    I'm not sure whether it'd live up to your expectations then, since actually not sure where do you anticpiate this will go from there, honestly. ??? ::)

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    Some might suggest that the definition of "safety" is flexible.

    And that's how humanity has seen the Arilou overwatch. But Groaxians are of different nature, so they might have a bit of a problem of understanding the "flexible" approach given even loss of one ship was far bigger deal for them than for war-hardened and combat-seeking humans.

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    I continue to be confused by how slow the alien battle fleets seem to move, that seems a strange tactical decision. Then again..

    Well... I thought there were only beam npr fleets, missile npr fleets and "beamsille" npr fleets, but the "ground assault npr" surprised me. Sadly it seems like they don't have much else going for them, so while their ships are actually faster than mine (hence why part of the fleet escaped from that battle), they travel together with commercial-engined ground assault ships which are big and slow, making the entire fleet slow. In the long run battles with it won't be interesting, so for now I upped generation chance for other nprs to insane levels and can start praying I'll encounter different ships of theirs. And if not, both for the sake of this aar and me not getting bored with too easy battles, I can always spawn an npr via sm like I did near the end of my previous one.

    Quote
    I'm generally starting to appreciate the philosophical bent of this story. It's nice to examine Dark Forest Theory from a new perspective

    Thanks a lot for liking this and glad you noticed this! After I was done with my previous aar I was like "naaah, I'm not done with it yet" and you nailed what this DLC is all about - further exploration of a Dark Forest, previously from the human perspective, now seen by the eyes of beings of a different nature and instincts.
     
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    Offline nuclearslurpee

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    Re: Time's End comments thread
    « Reply #14 on: May 06, 2021, 04:01:06 PM »
    Quote
    Despite atmosphere composed of similar elements as the one on Yatune, the planet looked vastly different - while the water and air still gave it a blue appearance, the landmasses weren't mostly with some shades of yellow indicating desert regions like on the former Humanity's world, but rather had a purple-ish appearance, with distinct yellow patches, but these were much brighter than Yatune's deserts.
    Quote
    picture

    Ooh pretty... and with an interesting ecosystem to boot.

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    Eventually the probe tasked with investigating the signal has reached what appeared to be a labyrinth of metallic tubes going in every possible direction at once, with orbital pictures not penetrating through the structure deep enough to notice this. It instantly brought associations with the installation discovered on Umbara dropship, and it was the right track as multiple patrol of Umbara forces have been detected walking around tubes and platforms. Nothing more could have been said, though, because soon some soldiers spotted the probe and blasted it with high enegry beams before it could even came closer to the first installations.

    So it seems that among the Umbara there is not a uniform consensus about blowing up spy probes. Perhaps there are deeper racial divisions the Groaxians have yet to become aware of?

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    gas lore

    Seems like the gas is a drug used to control the military troops. That might explain the diversity of species encountered from the Umbara ships as well, if they use this gas to entice and make dependent members of many species for military service.

    ---

    Above:

    Quote
    Maybe it would, but with machine guns it's just that even if they struggle to penetrate more, they have 6 shots compared to 1 so on average will be more devastating regardless. And unlike with improved and standard weapons, difference between heavy and regular in terms of tons here was significant so wanted to avoid too bulky troops. Also come on, min-maxed aurora would be so boring to play ;)

    Definitely agreed. I usually consider HCAP less than optimal though, but in this case it will be interesting to see if the Groaxians decide it is necessary despite its impracticality. Perhaps not, though, as I did notice other elements mounting autocannons.

    Quote
    I'm not sure whether it'd live up to your expectations then, since actually not sure where do you anticpiate this will go from there, honestly. ??? ::)

    I appreciate being surprised and being vindicated in equal measure.  ;)

    Quote
    Thanks a lot for liking this and glad you noticed this! After I was done with my previous aar I was like "naaah, I'm not done with it yet" and you nailed what this DLC is all about - further exploration of a Dark Forest, previously from the human perspective, now seen by the eyes of beings of a different nature and instincts.

    The small galaxy and proliferation of NPRs really works for this concept. The story of humanity was a sprawling epic dominated by great battles, whereas this story feels much more personal in nature. It's a great contrast between two stories with the same core themes.
     

     

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