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Thread: Ad Astra! ... an Aurora Forum Game, run by blue emu

  1. #1
    GroFAZ Demi Moderator blue emu's Avatar
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    Ad Astra! ... an Aurora Forum Game, run by blue emu

    This will be a game-play focused AAR for the free indie Space 4x game currently under development by Stephen Walmsley. The game itself is still in alpha, so this AAR may be terminated at any time by an unrecoverable bug... not too likely, though, since this current 5.42 release seems pretty stable.

    Watch this space...

    EDIT: Actually... this did start out as "a game-play focused AAR"... but it gradually morphed into a Role-Playing Forum Game instead.

    Pick a character and join the fun!

    The Sign-up Thread is here : http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...-Ad-Astra-quot

    The Help Thread (for technical questions regarding the game) is here : http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...playing-Aurora

    EDIT:

    If you want to catch up on the AAR quickly, without reading through thousands of posts, there is a summary of the action in Post #2333:
    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...1#post12378215

    A more-or-less up-to-date map of Known Space, as of January 2050. (the game started on January 1st 2025)

    Last edited by blue emu; 20-06-2011 at 23:07.
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  2. #2
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  3. #3
    GroFAZ Demi Moderator blue emu's Avatar
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    Part one : Game Setup.

    This game is just incredibly complicated... so it will probably take us several updates just to set up our game and our civilization. We'll start by setting up the parameters for the game.



    All this is pretty straightforward. Since I'm a complete noob at this game, I've dropped the difficulty down to 80% and turned off the AI-controlled Invaders and Starswarm. These are NOT the game's non-player races... they are random hazards. I will still be facing several different races of alien opponents.

    I've also turned off orbital motion for Asteroids... there are hundreds of Asteroids per star system and hundreds of star systems, and I'm playing this AAR game on a seven-year-old junk computer, so I will spare the poor microprocessor the task of calculating new orbital positions for tens of thousands of Asteroids each turn.

    I've also turned off the Political Bonus for Officer promotion... I want my Officers to be promoted on merit, not on Political "connections"... but I've left on most of the other settings that add difficulty. I will still need to overhaul my ships, train the ships to work together as task forces, and will still need Jump Drives or constructed Jump Gates to travel from star to star.

    Next screen:



    Again, most of this is pretty self-explanatory. I've reduced the non-player races by 20% and given myself a bonus in most areas (Environmental Tolerances, Starting Population and Wealth, Research Facilities, Starting Tech Points, etc) amounting to between 10% and 20%. I'm a total noob, and it would be embarrassing to see the game end almost before it was properly started.

    With these settings chosen, we can create the game and then enter Space-Master mode (to allocate our starting tech points and construction points) and press <F3> to bring up the System Map.
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  4. #4
    GroFAZ Demi Moderator blue emu's Avatar
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    OK, time to start. When we first enter the Solar System, we are looking at it from a vantage point way out in the Oort Cloud.



    Let's zoom in a little... past the Oort Cloud, past the outer Gas Giants, until the Inner System becomes visible.



    There is Jupiter, the Asteroid belt and the Inner Planets. Let's zoom in a bit more:



    ... there we go. Good old Mother Earth.

    The first thing we'll do is check out the general situation on Earth, since this will influence a lot of our other decisions.



    Hmmm... we have a bit of a labor shortage, but nothing too serious. The main problem seems to be that no Planetary Governor has been appointed for Earth. The job requires an Administrator of at least Grade-5. We'll take care of that right away, but there's something we need to check first, since it will influence our choice of an appropriate Planetary Governor.

    In the last game that I played, we started the game in an immediate resource crisis... one of the minerals critical to manufacturing components for Space Craft was in very limited supply on Earth, and our un-mined reserves of it were due to run out in only 14 months! A second vital mineral was due to run out within two years. Naturally, in that situation, I had to appoint an Administrator who gave a bonus to mineral SUPPLY rather than one who boosted Factory output (and therefore mineral CONSUMPTION). So let's check our resource situation before we choose our Planetary Governor.



    Hmmmm.... not too bad. Our reserves of Mercassium (used to make new Research Facilities, Life Support Systems for space-craft, and Tractor Beams) will be running out in 5.8 years, and our reserves of Sorium (which gets refined into Fuel for space-ships and is also used to make Jump Drives and Jump Gates) will peter out shortly after that... but the resource crunch isn't nearly as serious as in my last game.

    OK... let's look at the candidates for Planetary Governor. We have three people available with the necessary A5 (or higher) rating:



    James Phillips has the highest rank (Admin 6), an awesome Factory Production bonus of +25%, a Mining bonus of +5%, and both Terraforming and Logistics bonus of +10%. The Terraforming bonus would be wasted on Earth, since it's already fully habitable.



    Anna Haynes is Admin 5, and offers a bonus of +5% to Shipbuilding, Factory Production and Population Growth, a +10% bonus to Mining and a +30% bonus (!) to Wealth Creation.



    Ross Chan is Admin 5 and gives a +10% bonus to Shipbuilding, Factory Production and Ground Unit Construction.

    A tough choice... they're all pretty decent. I think we'll go with the lady, Anna Haynes. That Mining bonus will help stretch our reserves, and the Pop Growth bonus will help us recover from the current labor shortage.



    There we go... Anna is now Governor of Earth.

    Our next task will be to take a quick look at our Shipyards, to see how many Shipyards we have, how many Slips each one has, and what tonnage of ship can be built in each, since this info will influence what sort of ships we can (and should) design and which starting techs we should pick. There's no point in designing a ship that we don't have the dock-space to build, or in researching a tech that can only benefit a ship which is too large to fit in any existing slip-way.

    We'll do that in the next update. Stay tuned.
    Last edited by blue emu; 27-04-2011 at 11:08.
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  5. #5
    OT's own Sgt. Schultz telesien's Avatar
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    What? No Unobtainium? This game is a joke and can't be taken seriously!!
    "'Religious faith. Belief in daemons, belief in spirits, belief in an afterlife and all the other trappings of a preternatural existence, simply existed to make us all more comfortable and content in the face of a measureless cosmos. They were sops, bolsters for the soul, crutches for the intellect, prayers and lucky charms to help us through the darkness. But we have witnessed the cosmos now, my friends. We have passed amongst it. We have learned and understood the fabric of reality. We have seen the stars from behind, and found they have no clockwork mechanisms, no golden chariots carrying them abroad. We have realized there is no need for god, or any gods, and by extension no use any longer for daemons or devils or spirits."


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  6. #6
    GroFAZ Demi Moderator blue emu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telesien View Post
    What? No Unobtainium? This game is a joke and can't be taken seriously!!
    In my last game, one of the minerals turned out to be VirtuallyUnobtainium... I had to quickly mine a comet that was passing through the inner system, then yank my automated mines off it again before it receded back into the Oort Cloud, carrying my valuable robot mines with it!

    EDIT:

    A few points to ponder.

    This game has no graphics. None. It is played by examining maps, tables and reports, analyzing the information, making decisions, and implementing them. So... I've examined the information that I've already shared with you in the above table, and reached a decision.

    While we seem to have reasonable reserves of all other Trans-Neutonian Elements, the Sorium situation is CRITICAL. We will be running out of Sorium in less than seven years. Sorium is used to make space-fuel. It is also the ONLY known source of space-fuel. When we run out... we are grounded!

    Our #1 priority will be to locate new reserves of Sorium. Our #2 priority will be to bring those reserves on-line and start exploiting them. If we fail to do this before Earth's Sorium reserves run out, the Space Age will be over before it's properly begun.

    We must keep this goal in mind while we select our starting techs and design our starting ships.
    Last edited by blue emu; 27-04-2011 at 11:26.
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  7. #7
    Natalia Poklonskaya fanboy Stuckenschmidt's Avatar
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    I`ve changed my mind. This game is not for next winter, but for retirement (along with WitP).

    Nice read, Emu, keep it coming.
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  8. #8
    ̃eoden Woody Man's Avatar
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    This looks pretty damn interesting.
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  9. #9
    Beautiful and Unique Snowflake Raczynski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuckenschmidt View Post
    I`ve changed my mind. This game is not for next winter, but for retirement (along with WitP).
    Yep, when I looked it up I've realized it's more of a full time job that takes years to master than a game
    But if there's one person who can play it it's Blue Emu.
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  10. #10
    GroFAZ Demi Moderator blue emu's Avatar
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    We'll continue setting up the game.

    Before designing our starting ships... and for that matter, before picking our starting techs which will be used to design them... we will first check out our dockyards, so that we can get an idea of just how large (or how small) our ships are going to be. This brings both good news and bad.



    Good news: we have lots of shipyards, with plenty of slip-ways. Some of the Military yards are surprisingly large... I've actually never started a game with three 12,000-ton Military slip-ways before. We will be able to build multiple Cruiser-sized ships simultaneously, right from the beginning of the game.

    Bad news: those three 16,000-ton Commercial slip-ways are nearly worthless. While it's true that 12,000 tons is quite large for an early-game Military ship, it's also true that 16,000 tons is disappointingly puny for a Civilian ship. I'm not sure it will even be possible to build a FUNCTIONAL Civilian ship on that displacement. Certainly it won't be possible to build a really USEFUL one that small. Shipyard #1 (3C-16000) will need to be upgraded at the earliest possible moment... and there goes nearly HALF of our Commercial slips; three out of seven.

    OK, let's move on to the Research screen... and immediately we get more bad news. This time it's REALLY serious.



    Out of our eleven available Scientists, NONE of them... not one... is a specialist in Construction/Production techs. This is really bad news, because the key techs for solving our resource problems (in particular, the module needed for scoop-mining the atmosphere of Gas Giants for Sorium) are ALL Construction/Production techs, and a Scientist's research bonus is quadrupled within his own field of specialty. This means that we aren't going to get that 4x bonus on any of the techs that we really NEED.

    It also means that we must spend a whole crap-load of our starting research points on Construction/Production techs, instead of spending it in a more balanced manner... since our Scientists can catch up reasonably quickly in other fields, but not in that one.
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  11. #11
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    WOW, interesting game

    Will you expand past the Sol System (is it possible) and interact with alien empires also? That'd be an awesome game. Where can i get it, per chance?
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  12. #12
    GroFAZ Demi Moderator blue emu's Avatar
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    Another mini-update for our game set-up... I'm typing them up and posting them while I'm playing.

    Given the total lack of Scientists who can research Construction/Production techs effectively, I've decided to spend nearly one-third of our starting research points on those particular techs... and we'll be spending a crap-load more points on Missile/Kinetic Weapon techs as well, since I've just now noticed that we don't have a single qualified researcher in THAT field, either! Rat-boogers! The other six fields all have appropriate specialists, so for those other six fields we'll only pick the techs that we absolutely NEED in order to build a starting Navy, and we'll research the rest to catch up.

    For Construction/Production, I've picked :

    Sorium Harvester (a ship module that lets you scoop-mine the atmospheres of Gas Giants for Sorium), 5000 points
    Mine Production +20%, 3000 points
    Mine Production another +20%, 5000 points
    Fuel Production +20%, 3000 points
    Fuel Production another +20%, 5000 points
    Asteroid Mining Module (a ship component), 5000 points
    Construction Rate +20%, 3000 points
    Construction Rate another +20%, 5000 points
    Research Rate +20%, 5000 points
    Shipbuilding Rate +20%, 5000 points
    Shipyard Operations +5%, 2500 points
    Fighter Production Rate +20%, 3000 points
    Fighter Production Rate another +20%, 5000 points
    Terraforming Module (a ship component), 5000 points
    Terraforming Rate +20%, 3000 points

    ... that's nearly a third of our starting points, spent in ONE of the eight tech fields. With no qualified researcher in that field and a looming resource crisis, I don't see any way to avoid it, though.

    We don't have a researcher for Missiles, either... so we'll need to buy (rather than research) most of the techs we need there, too.

    ... to be continued...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen.Schuermann View Post
    WOW, interesting game

    Will you expand past the Sol System (is it possible) and interact with alien empires also? That'd be an awesome game. Where can i get it, per chance?
    Yes, I'll be expanding outside the Solar System pretty early... within the first year, I hope.

    Links to the game are in the other thread, "Anyone play Aurora?".
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  13. #13
    OT's own Sgt. Schultz telesien's Avatar
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    How did you get so many projects so fast? All I see is conventional research that would take several years to complete and each needs one scientist and research lab capacity...
    "'Religious faith. Belief in daemons, belief in spirits, belief in an afterlife and all the other trappings of a preternatural existence, simply existed to make us all more comfortable and content in the face of a measureless cosmos. They were sops, bolsters for the soul, crutches for the intellect, prayers and lucky charms to help us through the darkness. But we have witnessed the cosmos now, my friends. We have passed amongst it. We have learned and understood the fabric of reality. We have seen the stars from behind, and found they have no clockwork mechanisms, no golden chariots carrying them abroad. We have realized there is no need for god, or any gods, and by extension no use any longer for daemons or devils or spirits."


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  14. #14
    Lost... the_hdk's Avatar
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    this looks interesting. will follow

  15. #15
    GroFAZ Demi Moderator blue emu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telesien View Post
    How did you get so many projects so fast? All I see is conventional research that would take several years to complete and each needs one scientist and research lab capacity...
    You start the game with a certain number of research points (in this case, 240,000) to spend on starting techs; and with a certain number of Ship and Installation points (in this case, 17,000 and 8,500 respectively) to spend on starting Spaceships and Installations such as Missile Bases. After those points are spent, you must research any new techs that you want, and build your own ships in the shipyards.

    EDIT: actually, that's only true if you UN-TICK one of the boxes in the start-up menu (as I did). If you leave that box ticked, the game will decide for itself which starting techs, ships and installations to buy for you, using up all of your starting points. I wanted to make those decisions myself, rather than letting the computer decide.
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  16. #16
    Back from moderation hell midget_roxx's Avatar
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    I think I just got punched in the face with a wall of text :/

  17. #17
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    This looks awesome. Yet since I have some uni exams over the next month, I think I'm going to have to resist trying to give it a bash myself

  18. #18
    GroFAZ Demi Moderator blue emu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coinneach View Post
    This looks awesome.
    Wait until the game actually STARTS... about two dozen updates from now...

    EDIT: More setup:

    OK, now that we've bought a bunch of Construction/Production techs to make up for our total lack of a Research Scientist in that field... it's time to buy a bunch of Missile/Kinetic Energy Weapon techs to make up for our total lack of a Research Scientist in THAT field, too.

    Boat Bay (a prerequisite tech to Hangar Deck), 1000 points
    Hangar Deck (so that we can build Carriers), 4000 points
    Implosion Fission Warhead, 2000 points
    Levitated Pit Implosion Fission Warhead, 4000 points
    Missile Agility 32, 2000 points
    Missile Agility 48, 4000 points
    Missile Launcher Reload Rate 2, 2000 points
    Missile Launcher Reload Rate 3, 4000 points
    Reduced Size Launcher .75 (so that we can fit Missiles to Fighters), 1000 points
    Reduced Size Launcher .5 (these miniaturization totally screw your reload rate, by the way), 2000 points
    Reduced Size Launcher .333 (by this point, the launcher takes hours to reload instead of seconds), 3000 points
    Ordinance Production Rate +20%, 3000 points
    Magazine Ejection System 80% effective, 1000 points
    Magazine Ejection System 85% effective, 2000 points
    Magazine Feed Efficiency 80%, 2000 points

    That's half of our points spent, on only two of the eight tech fields. I hope to Armok that we receive qualified Researchers for those two fields at some point during play... or we are going to fall WAY, WAY behind the Aliens in those two fields.

    More to come.
    Last edited by blue emu; 27-04-2011 at 13:12.
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  19. #19
    OT's own Sgt. Schultz telesien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue emu View Post
    You start the game with a certain number of research points (in this case, 240,000) to spend on starting techs; and with a certain number of Ship and Installation points (in this case, 17,000 and 8,500 respectively) to spend on starting Spaceships and Installations such as Missile Bases. After those points are spent, you must research any new techs that you want, and build your own ships in the shipyards.

    EDIT: actually, that's only true if you UN-TICK one of the boxes in the start-up menu (as I did). If you leave that box ticked, the game will decide for itself which starting techs, ships and installations to buy for you, using up all of your starting points. I wanted to make those decisions myself, rather than letting the computer decide.
    I simply followed what you did. The problem is I don't know where to select the ones I want to have instead just researching them. I tried the research screen (obviously) but all I found there was conventional research that would take a lot of time and use scientists and labs.
    "'Religious faith. Belief in daemons, belief in spirits, belief in an afterlife and all the other trappings of a preternatural existence, simply existed to make us all more comfortable and content in the face of a measureless cosmos. They were sops, bolsters for the soul, crutches for the intellect, prayers and lucky charms to help us through the darkness. But we have witnessed the cosmos now, my friends. We have passed amongst it. We have learned and understood the fabric of reality. We have seen the stars from behind, and found they have no clockwork mechanisms, no golden chariots carrying them abroad. We have realized there is no need for god, or any gods, and by extension no use any longer for daemons or devils or spirits."


    - Primary Iterator Kyril Sindermann

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