Author Topic: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread  (Read 7756 times)

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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2020, 07:39:18 PM »
I suspect that the Japanese will be the next of the powers to collapse into nothingness at this rate. Unless there is some gallicite in Grand Bourg they are crippled, even Taino will not struggle to win the fight for Comet #2 because the Japanese ships will be stranded in their home ports or else crippled by the next maintenance failure.

Argentina is similarly in deep trouble but I think they will hang around until the next major military setback and then the Earth section of their government will also collapse.

That would seem to leave us with the PRL and Consortium as the two superpowers in the galaxy with ex-Russia struggling to claw its way closer to parity. I imagine some proxy wars in the future as both sides fight an influence war over the smaller independent factions as well as the remnants of collapsed factions. We may be heading towards a Galactic Cold War which should be very interesting to see especially as there are still plenty of aliens running around causing problems as well.
 

Offline StarshipCactus

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2020, 09:53:22 PM »
I agree, Japan is in a bad state. I foresee populations on Earth being used in a similar manner as the neutral factions you can create. Just pull colonists from the struggling states of Earth and send them to a new life elsewhere.

I think the PRL has a head start in the galactic cold war, but the Martian Consortium has allies they helped get independence, they might step in to help fight the PRL.

Thanks for adding another excellent instalment to this fiction. :) 
 

Offline Zap0

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2020, 01:20:40 PM »
Some comments on this installment:

I've been debating responding to the speculation about the future of the powers, especially as I may see things differently and am always afraid I don't communicate the state they are in accurately. For instance with the question of another empire emerging from the EU's ashes: There's still a lot of industry and minerals on Earth, and even Gallicite income from the Hambach asteroid mining complex in Bremen. Generally I decided I want the campaign updates do the talking in regards to what may happen in the future, but I wanted to clarify that one.

The image I have of Earth after the fall of the EU is a little like the chaos in central and eastern Europe after WW1, not necessarily all-out warfare between states with millions of soldiers, but more that of a lot of internal and external strife. Governments are weak and unstable, revolutions that last for weeks or months only, there's extremely punishing treaties enforced upon some nations, political and ethnic militias are causing troubles inside and outside of borders and there's a big, scary new ideology that some of the remaining powers desperately want to contain.

Life in the less turbulent areas of Earth, like North America, I imagine a bit like in the opening of Blade Runner: Crowded, with the impoverished masses trying to make a living, and often trying to make that living elsewhere.
"A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies! A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!"

Todays installment of #AuroraWoes:

When Japan abandoned the Russian occupation I moved the pop and remaining facilities from the Russian Earth pop into the pot of the Earth nations. Then I deleted their Earth colony, which was something that already caused issues when I did the same with the US/Mars a long time back. The problem is that each load of cargo in a civilian ship saves it's originating colony (the destinations got wiped just fine), causing the reference to break. This caused errors when those ships tried to unload their cargo, as the wealth for the shipping trip could not be calculated. As the function in question (2788 for cargo and 2790 for colonists) aborts, the cargo stays on the ship, which causes problems when the ship then goes and tries to load up something else. That was also the point at which I found the issue, there were scores of Russian civilian ships loaded with infrastructure from Earth, I presume, trying to load up facilities for a contract. The real issue here was that the game wouldn't save anymore with the broken references present, as the save function for the ship cargo table (1462) would also error out. Consequently I've not saved the game and just kept it running since I wrapped up the Venus War last week. Until I fixed the issue by deleting all the Russian civilian freighters with leftover loads of infrastructure, anyway.
 

Offline StarshipCactus

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2020, 07:50:56 PM »
You should send messages to Steve every post containing all your #aurorawoes. I imagine having a fix for this issue could be easy enough.
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2020, 10:48:34 PM »
I've been debating responding to the speculation about the future of the powers, especially as I may see things differently and am always afraid I don't communicate the state they are in accurately. For instance with the question of another empire emerging from the EU's ashes: There's still a lot of industry and minerals on Earth, and even Gallicite income from the Hambach asteroid mining complex in Bremen. Generally I decided I want the campaign updates do the talking in regards to what may happen in the future, but I wanted to clarify that one.

Personally I would say not to worry too much about how "accurately" the state of the nations/powers is communicated. For the commentators after all, the fog of war is what really fuels speculation. While a side note or correction like this one is occasionally advisable to clarify matters of fact, as the author you need not for example confirm which of the powers is likely to rise or fall next in line as we speculate, but you could even encourage such speculation with mysterious comments and things left unsaid.
 

Offline Zap0

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2020, 01:38:40 AM »
You should send messages to Steve every post containing all your #aurorawoes. I imagine having a fix for this issue could be easy enough.

I used to make a bunch of bug reports, but they only selectively get fixed. I'm not sure if it was because I said I modified the DB in some cases, but replicating issues isn't always easy and I'm still using 1.11, having managed to stave off the urge to upgrade to a newer version. Steve doesn't work to fix issues just for me, and I have accepted that playing Aurora in a longer or more complex game means running into issues and needing to work around them. Even if Steve wanted to give full attention to my issues, any fixes would still not apply to the current game.

Personally I would say not to worry too much about how "accurately" the state of the nations/powers is communicated. For the commentators after all, the fog of war is what really fuels speculation. While a side note or correction like this one is occasionally advisable to clarify matters of fact, as the author you need not for example confirm which of the powers is likely to rise or fall next in line as we speculate, but you could even encourage such speculation with mysterious comments and things left unsaid.

Thanks, seeing it that way lets me not worry too much :-)
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2020, 09:25:45 PM »
First, just as an aside given the time between updates I have a hard time remembering the acronyms for each power in some cases. Maybe the first time a power is mentioned in an update, the full name could be used, and then the abbreviated form thereafter?

A broad coalition to oppose the Terra Prime states has formed on Earth. The movement is amassing power at an unprecedented rate, winning many of the smaller conflicts that still rage on Earth and starting yet more. Offworld support for the new coalition is there, but largely limited to moral, not material, support.

I'm curious to see if this coalition or Terra Prime for that matter will actually have the ability to become major players, given their Earthboundedness and the rather declining state of mining capabilities on Earth and more generally in Sol.

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With it's navy back in shape and enough leftover supplies to restart the exploration program, the Japanese government launches a long-overdue expedition into the Grand Bourg JP. Two exploration cruisers are sent in with orders to make diplomatic contact and find out more about the aliens and the connecting system. Shortly after activating it's transponder the first ship in Wakayama, the system connected to Grand Bourg, receives a message from the Sukabumi aliens using the old code established during the Christmas Miracle. They quite politely suggest the Japanese ship leave the system as they consider it part of their territory - a fact substantiated by the message apparently originating from the Grand Bourg JP, suggesting they have surveillance in place there. The second explorer entering confirms a known Sukabumi jump ship on the JP.
Much unlike expected, the Taiyo was unable to find any evidence of alien colonization on the habitable worlds of the Wakayama system. The planets themselves are of only low mineral value, having low accessibility across the board, with the best find being 0.3 accessibility Gallicite on planet III. They would still be prime colonization targets, with very minor atmospheric adjustments both worlds are ideally habitable for Humans.

Japan may be poking a bear here, sending exploration ships into the system after being asked to leave. A risky play given the system is right next to their primary non-terran colony...

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Aside from a small-scale experiment in the Consortium, the two 500kt "Atmosphere Generator" terraforming stations now being towed into orbit are the first such stations built by Humanity and promise to finally make Shèng Yùe as pleasant a place to live as Callisto, and eventually Luna, within a reasonable timeframe.

Wow. Go big or go home! Those are some huge space stations by just about any standard, though candidly I wonder if the size is largely for bragging rights and building 3-5 smaller stations for reach big one might have been a better choice in the long run for strategic flexibility, given that once you're in the 100s kT range the tonnage impact of splitting a larger station into smaller ones is rather negligible. But bragging rights are good too!

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A Callistoan explorer makes first contact with a new alien species. Ten ships are detected via their shield signatures holding position on an outbound JP towards a partially explored system. Not carrying active sensors, the ship's captain turns around without investigating further. Ten ships with active shields suggests a military operation is underway.

Not sure from the maps, but this seems rather far from the Grand Bourg/Wakayama systems. Suggesting a JP link hidden just behind the frontiers...

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Having seen large-scale alien warfare it is their ambition to be Humanity's shield against the alien forces, knowing their strength can't be matched by scattered Human national flotillas.

This sounds like a good way to get into an all-out galactic war with some NPR and then get sucker-punched from behind by some upstart ex-Terran nations while their navy is tied up.

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Control over a large civilian population on Earth is being maintained, although deliberately without any important infrastructure on the surface. The PRL has been, perhaps rightfully, accused of maintaining it's control over the Earth population only as a political tool to justify stationing ships, weapons and troops on Earth to threaten the other powers.
The PRL maintains a presence in Santa María, the INL's home system. The moon colony of Shèng Yùe orbits the fifth planet, a Sorium source, and itself is a long-term source of several minerals. Exploitation rates have been relatively low, especially as the terraforming project has gotten nowhere to date. That is being corrected, and the mines on Shèng Yùe should prove to be one of the pillars of the PRL economy in the future. It is no secret that the INL would prefer it's home system to be free of influence from other powers, but the minor power would not dare challenge the PRL. Several asteroids in the system, most importantly Número Ocho, are home to mining operations of both the INL and PRL, with the former often griping about the greater mining capacities of the latter depleting bodies fast and leaving them little leftover.

And there's a couple of potential conflict points right there. Also worth noting the ominous potential for the rise of the Terra Prime or anti-TP coalition which might take offense at the PRL maintaining a presence on and around "their" planet.

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The exploitation of the Quanzhou system. Also known as Petropavlovsk by it's Russian name, the system is the site of the first encounter between Humanity and the Qian. In 2103 a large PRL fleet failed in destroying the Qian base in the system. What is not known to the other powers sans the Callistoan Regime is the rich mineral wealth on outlying bodies that initial scouts reported from the system. The main problem during the fighting were heavy emplaced weapons on the surface of Quanzhou VI, to which no counter has been found as of yet. As such, the plan is to neutralize the mobile Qian vessels in the system but leaving the static emplacements intact, allowing exploitation of the rest of the system. There is some risk involved in leaving some Qian forces operational or the system may turn out to be less valuable than expected, but these risks are considered acceptable.

If a distance from the planet needs to be maintained, this sounds like a good job for a missile doctrine fleet such as the PRL has built up. A ripe opportunity here.
 
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Offline Zap0

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2020, 07:30:31 AM »
Ohh, thanks for the detailed comments! I'll respond to a selection.

First, just as an aside given the time between updates I have a hard time remembering the acronyms for each power in some cases. Maybe the first time a power is mentioned in an update, the full name could be used, and then the abbreviated form thereafter?

Fair enough, I'll make an effort to include the proper names more often. I already try to make a point to mention, for example, that Shèng Yùe is the PRL's moon colony in Santa María, instead of just using the name, I can't expect people to remember every minor colony/system/class I've named.

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Japan may be poking a bear here, sending exploration ships into the system after being asked to leave. A risky play given the system is right next to their primary non-terran colony...

They might be! But the aliens are only asking quite politely, and as far as we can tell, they don't even have any colonies on those planets... Mouths may be watering at the prospect of such colonization targets, especially if the rest of the empires don't know the location of the JP leading there.

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Aside from a small-scale experiment in the Consortium, the two 500kt "Atmosphere Generator" terraforming stations now being towed into orbit are the first such stations built by Humanity and promise to finally make Shèng Yùe as pleasant a place to live as Callisto, and eventually Luna, within a reasonable timeframe.

Wow. Go big or go home! Those are some huge space stations by just about any standard, though candidly I wonder if the size is largely for bragging rights and building 3-5 smaller stations for reach big one might have been a better choice in the long run for strategic flexibility, given that once you're in the 100s kT range the tonnage impact of splitting a larger station into smaller ones is rather negligible. But bragging rights are good too!

They're definitely big for bragging rights. Gotta show the others what the might of Lunar industry is capable of! Gameplay-wise it makes sense to have fewer, larger stations to make better use of commander terraforming modifiers. At the end of the day they're only twice as big as the old EU asteroid mining stations and carry 20 terraforming modules each, so it's not an overkill amount of terraforming power.

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Having seen large-scale alien warfare it is their ambition to be Humanity's shield against the alien forces, knowing their strength can't be matched by scattered Human national flotillas.

This sounds like a good way to get into an all-out galactic war with some NPR and then get sucker-punched from behind by some upstart ex-Terran nations while their navy is tied up.

Hubris and arrogance may well be in their personality as well :D
 
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Offline StarshipCactus

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2020, 08:35:19 PM »
That summary for the PRL was very good. Are you going to be doing something similar for the other powers?
 

Offline Zap0

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2020, 09:34:24 PM »
I'm planning on doing all of them, just not all at once. In fact, I just posted the Japanese one! All at once would be a bit much to read and a bit much for me to write, I figure.
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #40 on: December 24, 2020, 02:40:52 AM »
It's probably easier to do the updates when a nation comes somewhat to the fore of the story than to try and force a regular cycle. For example the Consortium has been quiet lately, so maybe when events begin to transpire in their corner of the galaxy a faction profile is a useful way to remember and get an update about the faction's status.

Speaking of updates...

Ignoring support ships, the task force sent is just two cruisers - the Agate and Amber Rabbit. Both of the Jade Rabbit class, designed and built partially in response to the experiences of the First Contact Battle in 2103, where ten destroyers were lost in a failed assault onto the Qian base there. The two ships being sent are not intended to destroy the whole Qian base - just the mobile warships that remain in the system. If they are destroyed, the static emplacements on the surface of the Qian's planet should prove no threat to mining and shipping operations elsewhere in the system anymore. As the Jade Rabbit class was built as a direct counter to the Qian forces encountered here, and in order to not weaken the military presence in Sol too much, the two ships are considered sufficient in light of the expected effective enemy tonnage being barely above that of one of the cruisers.

I might be a bit hazy on exactly how advanced Terran tech is relative to the Qian, but this seems like a Bad Idea™. Even if you do actually outmatch the enemy, why give them the chance to fight at closer to even odds? Surely the mighty PRL can spare a few escorts at least.

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The Qian ships are in orbit of their base. That means one of the gambits has already failed, it was hoped that the Qian would meet the warships in open space like they did the explorers they destroyed. Part of the reasoning behind not sending an overwhelming force was to provoke such behavior. Now, the targets are sitting under the umbrella of their powerful surface batteries. The operation is still a go, in light of the Jade Rabbit's heavy defenses, orders are to dive into range of the batteries and drive the warships out. An unlucky engine hit here could mean a ship stranded in hostile weapon range, however.

Clearly hubris is not lacking amongst the PRL captains. Already the plan is not working as hoped, and the forces committed are the worst combination of too light and too valuable. What 's the Chinese phrase for "Force Z" again?

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Near the planet close-in fire from the surface engulfs the Amber Rabbit, penetrating the armor together with the fire from the fleeing Qian warships. An engine, two engines fail. The captain makes the split-second decision to abort the charge across the planet and extract backwards, trying to put as much distance between the planet and the ship as possible. If he's to weather the next volley of the main surface batteries, he'll need it.

There it is.

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The next surface volley targets the Agate Rabbit, but it is too far to do much damage. At this point, the Agate Rabbit is free to chase the Qian ships down and further away from their protective umbrella, their own lasers not enough to bring down the strike cruiser. And so it is done, the Qian ships are defeated with the Agate Rabbit down to 78% armor.

A lucky finish. I'm not sure the Amber Rabbit would have survived the next volley, but the Qian split their attention trying to save their ships. The time to shoot at the Agate Rabbit was in the previous volley, hoping to hit the engines like they did the Amber Rabbit.

Nevertheless, a close-run thing and the damage should serve as a lesson...will the PRL learn from it?

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One of the Japanese explorers sent into Wakayama to investigate the Sukabumi aliens finds a jump point, and transits. There is no presence immediately on the other side of the JP, but what the initial system scan reveals is shocking: dozens, hundreds of wrecks, most of them with enough volume to have come from a destroyer or cruiser sized ship. Most of the debris is accumulated in orbit of the fourth planet, a marginally habitable terrestrial world. Evidently the site of a great battle. Some of the wreckage can be identified as belonging to the same types of ships encountered in Grand Bourg. Could this be the Sukabumi homeworld? The crew of the SRV Chiyoda transmits it's findings, steels itself, and heads for the lagrange point leading to the inner system.

Japan may be close to making the connection with a distant part of the galaxy here, at last.

Always fun to see the results of NPR v. NPR wars. Those really make the galaxy feel a little more alive and dangerous.

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The ship closes to 5m km, the maximum range of it's weak sensors, and indeed a population signature is detected, complete with industrial shipyards in orbit. No ships are in orbit, they might have left - fled - in the face of an approaching alien vessel with active sensors. Deciding not to overstay their welcome any longer, the Chiyoda begins it's trek back into Wakayama.

It's also possible that there are ships in orbit, with thermal signatures too low to be spotted at 5m km.

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The bright side is that the Sukabumi don't seem immediately threatening, but more reconnaissance to get a more accurate picture of their interstellar empire is necessary.

On one hand, the Sukabumi likely lack many ships to enforce any kind of threats they'd like to make. On the other hand, they could be technologically well ahead of the human nations and make up for a lack of quantity with high quality.

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Terra Prime already has the loyalty of the extant EU cruisers Kerberos and Pluto in orbit, which are still called upon occasionally to deliver orbital bombardment support during conflicts, so this new union may herald the rise of a new interstellar power.

This has the potential to be a game changer. The EU ships were never the worst, and all it takes is one nation struggling with a mineral shortage to be vulnerable in the moment.

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Japanese warships are high-tech miracles bristling with energy weapons and force fields. Kinetic weapons are looked upon with some disdain. Ships are constantly being upgraded and retrofitted to wield the most modern equipment, keeping outdated ships on the roster is not tolerated for long in the navy.
The backbone of the navy are 7 Tama-class attack destroyers, armed with long-range particle weapons and built with a speed slightly above that of other navies, particularly the PRL navy during it's inception.

Is Japan anywhere near to mounting Particle Lances at this stage? Combined with a speed advantage these would be devastating as long as a strong point defense/AMM capability is also maintained.

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Venus no longer has a Japanese presence, but was home to a population living in surface infrastructure and received several suborbital habitats, representing heavy investment. For the sake of recovering that investment, the civil population and the body's important deposits of Duranium and Gallicite, efforts are being made to reconquer the planet.

Oooh, plot hook...

Nice to see that Japan is able to recover from their critical maintenance problems and take an active role in the galactic dance. I still doubt they can stand up to the PRL, but they seem to have done a good job of getting out of everyone else's way, hopefully that will work out well for them in the long term. Let the PRL and Consortium whale on each other, maybe sneak in and take back Venus, but otherwise lay low and build a tech lead.

And then, Particle Lances for everybody!!  ;D
 
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Offline Zap0

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #41 on: December 24, 2020, 09:19:06 AM »
It's probably easier to do the updates when a nation comes somewhat to the fore of the story than to try and force a regular cycle.

That's the plan :D

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I might be a bit hazy on exactly how advanced Terran tech is relative to the Qian, but this seems like a Bad Idea™. Even if you do actually outmatch the enemy, why give them the chance to fight at closer to even odds? Surely the mighty PRL can spare a few escorts at least.

The PRL at least is actually close to matching Qian tech levels, usually just one tech level below. MP-drives are around the corner, too. Of course, the cruisers are the only ships that actually encorporate that near-matching technology right now and after the action I discovered that their fire controls were a generation out of date. Stuff like "I have the tech for new fire controls" is the kind of detail that eludes me when I put the game down for a few weeks... I keep notes, but they're not always that detailed.

As for the escorts: They considered it! Who knows, maybe there are different forces than expected and some missile defense ships would have been a good idea. The reason they didn't take any along was A) To present a force small enough that the Qian ships might come out and meet it in open space and B) Because the Qian ships have a higher speed than any other PRL warship. They would have to be left behind to chase the ships down, and if they're alone and the battle goes bad or a seperated Qian ship finds them they'll have a bad day. More cruisers could have covered them, I suppose.

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A lucky finish. I'm not sure the Amber Rabbit would have survived the next volley, but the Qian split their attention trying to save their ships. The time to shoot at the Agate Rabbit was in the previous volley, hoping to hit the engines like they did the Amber Rabbit.

Nevertheless, a close-run thing and the damage should serve as a lesson...will the PRL learn from it?

They also regretted not bringing more ships. In hindsight I'm not sure it'd have made a difference: if the ground batteries just kept shooting the same ship, the potential for loss would be the same. The small Qian ships popped easily enough under the fire of just one cruiser.

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Always fun to see the results of NPR v. NPR wars. Those really make the galaxy feel a little more alive and dangerous.

Agreed! Nothing quite like running across a massive alien graveyard. A few installments ago I complained about a few years being hard to play due to interrupts, this was the main cause of that.

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The ship closes to 5m km, the maximum range of it's weak sensors, and indeed a population signature is detected, complete with industrial shipyards in orbit. No ships are in orbit, they might have left - fled - in the face of an approaching alien vessel with active sensors. Deciding not to overstay their welcome any longer, the Chiyoda begins it's trek back into Wakayama.

It's also possible that there are ships in orbit, with thermal signatures too low to be spotted at 5m km.

Well, the orbit was in active sensor range, so there really wasn't anything there. The ship, uh, doesn't have thermal sensors...

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Is Japan anywhere near to mounting Particle Lances at this stage? Combined with a speed advantage these would be devastating as long as a strong point defense/AMM capability is also maintained.

I just looked it up, they're 45k RP away from unlocking them, so probably not in the 2140s yet :-( I'm also very excited for them to get to that point and getting to play around with the lances for the first time.
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #42 on: December 24, 2020, 02:04:33 PM »
They also regretted not bringing more ships. In hindsight I'm not sure it'd have made a difference: if the ground batteries just kept shooting the same ship, the potential for loss would be the same. The small Qian ships popped easily enough under the fire of just one cruiser.

With a few more ships the PRL would have the option of pulling the first ship or two that take hits away from the planet forcing the ground batteries to divide their fire, plus they could send two ships after the Qian cruisers instead of just one ensuring that a lucky engine hit doesn't end their pursuit. More force is always better as long as the logistics can support it.

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Well, the orbit was in active sensor range, so there really wasn't anything there. The ship, uh, doesn't have thermal sensors...

One of those design decisions I never really understand...every one of my ships has at least small passives just to ensure they won't be blind if I send them out alone for some reason.

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I just looked it up, they're 45k RP away from unlocking them, so probably not in the 2140s yet :-( I'm also very excited for them to get to that point and getting to play around with the lances for the first time.

Man I hate waiting...  :P
 

Offline Zap0

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #43 on: December 24, 2020, 02:17:41 PM »
One of those design decisions I never really understand...every one of my ships has at least small passives just to ensure they won't be blind if I send them out alone for some reason.

It was the 2070s, it was wild! They didn't know what was going to be needed yet! And I think they were trying really hard to squeeze 10 years of endurance out of the ship. I do miss the built-in minimum strength passives...
 

Offline MinuteMan

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Re: Race to the Stars - Comments Thread
« Reply #44 on: December 26, 2020, 08:15:45 AM »
@Zap0

Thanks for the awesome story so far.
I really enjoyed reading it in one go!