Aurora - Dwarf Fortress In Space

So as I mentioned in my last post I went through some example weapons made using similar technology levels to make sure that I was giving you guys good data. Then, because I am insane, I decided to make charts of that data. Lots of charts. Behold:

IMAGE(http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/9364/damagepershot.jpg)

The first step is to look at pure damage per shot of a single weapon. This gives you a really good picture of the dynamics of the different weapons. First you have the Plasma Carronade, putting out an immense amount of damage with each shot that dissipates very quickly. The next highest damage level is the Railgun, which overpowers the laser with its four projectiles. As each of the projectiles’ damage dissipates with time, however, the damage level drops below that of the laser at longer ranges.

Next you have the laser, which does medium damage that slowly degrades over time, then the Particle Beam, which does constant damage which (unlike what I had said in that earlier post) starts to surpass all other weapons at the mid-long range. Lastly comes the Gauss Cannon, which at this tech level fires four shots of damage one (constant for all tech).

So that’s all well and good, but that’s only part of the picture. Since armor and the penetration thereof is such a big part of the battles in Aurora let’s look at that next:

IMAGE(http://img803.imageshack.us/img803/3230/armorpenetration.jpg)

Since the Plasma Carronade has the least penetrating damage template and the laser has the most penetrating one, they are actually penetrating the same amount right from the start, even though the plasma gun does way more damage! Then, as range increases the penetration of the Plasma gun drops far faster than that of the laser. Next you have the Railgun and Particle Beam. While they each share the same damage template the fact that the Railgun’s damage is spread out amongst four shots means that they penetrate the same amount of armor regardless of their increased damage.

The big takeaway of this graph is to note that the advantage of the Plasma Carronade that seemed so enormous in the last graph isn’t as large as it appears, even at the smallest range.

The next step is to stop looking at individual guns and individual shots, but instead look at how many of these guns we can put on a ship, and how often they will fire. To do this I ignored Beam Fire Controls, since you can use many weapons on one Fire Control. But I did add the mass of the gun to the mass of the crew quarters needed to house the gunners, and the mass of the reactor of this tech level that would be required to power it (no power/stability boosts or penalties), I divided the damage by that hull size, and by the number of time increments it would take to fire for the Capacitor Recharge Rate of this tech level.

IMAGE(http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/813/damageperincrementandsi.jpg)

Now things start to look different indeed. The immense first blast of the Plasma Carronade is not followed by another shot for quite some time, and the weapon is larger than any of the others. The laser has a much higher DPS than the Plasma Carronade, and the same or better penetration. There are other redeeming factors for the Plasma Carronade which I’ll get to, but overall it’s a strong indictment. These adjustments have also made a big difference to the Railgun, further increasing its lead over the laser in close quarters. If you look closely you’ll see that the Coil Gun has done tremendous as well, helped along by its quick fire rate and lack of a reactor. Even with terrible armor penetration you could do worse.

For some background for the mechanics of that last slide: as the focal size of the various weapons increases, their total size increases roughly linearly as well. However their damage increases (even more) roughly by the square of the size, so you start getting a lot more damage per hullsize. At the same time though the power requirement is directly tied to damage dealt, so your fire rate is falling at the same time your damage rate is rising. When you add in a larger gun your DPS actually drops over time. The changes buy you two big things though. First of all, with higher damage comes higher penetration, this is the main benefit. It also entails higher resistance to range degradation, so though your Point Blank DPS drops, your DPS at range increases. At the higher range the larger guns have almost caught up from a DPS standpoint, so they are equal except with regards to their better penetration. As an example of this mechanic, take a look at the DP(I+S) of all of the sizes of lasers unlocked at this tech level:

IMAGE(http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/6792/laserdamageperincrement.jpg)

We are definitely closing up on the end here, but for thoroughness let’s take a look at another mechanic. As range increases not only does the damage of most of your weapons directly degrade, but you also get a penalty of all beam weapons to your accuracy. What do these graphs look like if you take that into account?

IMAGE(http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/8913/modifieddpis.jpg)

Once you start taking account of those misses at longer distances you get a steep damage drop off. This is a useful chart to see because you can look at this and decide whether having longer-ranged beam weapons is that appealing to you. You may decide that you’re ok with doing less damage at 200k km because you are going to want to do all of your fighting at 50k km where all beam weapons do more damage, and the Rail Gun really shines. (Keep in mind the Rail Gun’s lower penetration though)

With the bonus to damage by being in close you may wonder why you’d ever fight at range, and it really just depends on who you were fighting. If they have no beam weapons then you can close as you wish, but if they have Plasma, or Railguns, or especially Mesons it becomes much more dangerous to close, and having the longer range weapon may help you completely avoid damage from those weapons, especially the Mesons.

Yeah, I’m scared of Mesons.

The above graph doesn’t tell the whole story of the accuracy penalties, because the skill of your crew—called the Crew Grade—provides bonuses to the accuracy of your beam weapons. For example, a 20% crew grade bonus would turn an 80% chance to hit into a 88% chance to hit. If you have a relatively skilled crew with a Grade of 20% then the above graph is changed to look like this:

IMAGE(http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/7281/modifieddpis20bonus.jpg)

So with a skilled crew you aren’t going to have as much of a penalty at range, and that penalty will start later. Skilled crews also have other benefits: faster missile launches, quicker response to orders, faster recovery from jump blindness, lower chance of components breaking during maintenance checks, and more.

That’s all my graphs. I’ll do a little bit more discussion on the Plasma Carronades, then put up a little more random info on what tech research and whatnot that I did to get these numbers.

Additional Thoughts on Plasma Carronades

So once we got the DPS in here things started to look pretty bad for the Plasma Carronade, but there are still a couple things going for them. First among them is their cheap research cost, with only one path to research instead of two (this is assuming you are already doing another beam weapon, otherwise there is BFC research and capacitor research as well). The second is the cheap resource cost when building them, the Plasma Carronade I used for these tests costs 63 minerals as opposed to the 100 of the Laser.

The lasers on my Battlecruisers are 30.9% of the build cost, so this may not be an enormous benefit, but having 10 ships instead of nine is still nice, and if you are looking at a stationary Jump Point Defense Base or something like that the relative savings will be even larger.

The next point may be the most important thing that gives the Plasma Carronade a use case, and that is the Alpha-Strike. I’m not sure if Mechwarrior is the originator for this term, but the idea is that if you load up with weapons that have very high damage, but low DPS, the DPS won’t matter because the target will be killed or crippled on the first shot. For example, if you have a gun that does 10 damage every fifteen seconds, and a gun that does one damage every second, and you are facing a low number of enemies with ten health, then the high powered gun with low DPS may actually be the best choice.

I definitely think that Plasma Carronades may be powerful enough to work very successfully with an Alpha-Strike doctrine. In a follow-up post I will run through a battle between two small fleets of Laser and Plasma using ships to test that.

Conclusion

Over all there is a time and a place for every weapon system. Going through all of this research I’m actually really happy with the balance I’ve seen. Some of the weapons are a little more niche than others, but all of them can be used very successfully if their strengths are kept in mind. The Railgun is a tremendous damage dealer at shorter ranges. Particle Beams edge out everything else at longer ranges. Gauss Cannons have short range but a high fire rate and can be turreted to attack missiles. Plasma Carronades have a low DPS but very high damage and a very low cost. Lasers are consistently middle of the road as far as DPS, but have great penetration and are the only thing in this list other than Gauss Cannons that can be turreted.

The two beam weapons not on this list: Meson Beams and Microwave Cannons, were skipped because their unique damage methods made them hard to compare to the others, but this also makes them interesting and non-repetitive weapons.

Appendix
Yeah, I have an appendix, that's how I roll bitches.

IMAGE(http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/4455/rawweaponinfo.jpg)

IMAGE(http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/2459/researchinfo.jpg)

Alpha strike as a gaming term definitely predates Mechwarrior. Speaking as a gamer that predates Mechwarrior...

Nice data, you should be sure to add this to the Aurora wiki. I don't have anything to add that I already haven't, given that my focus was always on missiles as the primary fleet weapon systems.

Found a new bug in v5.60. If you give fleets the default command of "refuel in current system" you get spammed with invalid null error messages. To fix it you must move all the ships out of that task group and delete it.

Pretty intelligent follow up to Yonder but I can't find the answer anywhere. How do I create a new task group? I figured out how to split a task group and move ships between them but can just create a new one. Specifically, I was trying to create a terraforming task group, and call it Terraforming TG.

Thanks. The good news is that I'm finally catching on and have almost reached my first goal of terraforming Mars.

Okay so my new 5.60 Canadian empire is humming along nicely. The game was nice enough to start me in a version of Sol that had a ridiculous amount of minerals in it. Almost all of the resources have deposits measuring in the millions and I have a colony on every inhabitable planet and moon in the system except for Venus. Heck Saturn alone has almost 40 million Sorium on it. As far as resources go my only crippling weakness is a lack of Gallicite. I could only find just over 100 kilotons of it which isn't nearly enough.

For now I'm quite content to just sit in Sol and research up a storm with my 200 labs. Most of my technologies, including weapons, have been researched to the point where further techs would cost more than 100k points. Some key technologies like engines and armour are passing the 600k point mark. I'm ready to meet some aliens and kick their faces in. In order to expand I need Gallicite. and the last time I explored a new system I ran into some aliens who rained missiles on my Mercury colony.

Like Yonder I am going to try using a purely beam weapon based armada. This means tight overlapping point defence to fend off missile swarms. And superior speeds to catch up with enemy fleets and get into beam range. Lasers will be my bread and butter with the odd meson thrown in. Jump gate defence will be handled by plasma and railguns.

There are still a couple things I don't get though.

- Since plasma and railguns can't be turreted their max tracking speed is limited by the firing computer and ship speed, whichever is lower. So my original plan with using an immobile behemoth of a defensive citadel on my side of the jump gate wouldn't work unless I used lasers and mesons instead. What would be a good minimum speed to aim for, considering these weapons will be firing point blank?
- What exactly are the effects of "jump sickness"? The only info I could find on the wiki said that sensors are blinded for 30 seconds. But I seem to remember there being other effects that caused a freshly jumped ship to be a sitting duck.

clever id wrote:

How do I create a new task group? I figured out how to split a task group and move ships between them but can just create a new one. Specifically, I was trying to create a terraforming task group, and call it Terraforming TG.

The task group panel (can't remember the button to summon it, maybe F6? Or click the "totally not a super star destroyer" button on the top of the System Map) has a "New Task Group" as well as a "Rename Task Group" button in the very bottom left of the screen. I believe that that new task group has the location of the task group that was selected when you clicked the new task group button, because I think that I've had trouble with the "Transfer Ships between Task Groups" action because a new task group (which seems like it should have no location) wasn't registered as being at the same location of the fleet that I wanted to transfer from.

Another way to do this (without worrying about location) is to select the task group that has the ships you want to move and then either select one of the ships and click "Detach Ship" which would make a new Task Group at that location with just that ship. You can then rename that task group, and go to the ship transfer screen to move the rest of the ships over. You can also go to that screen first, select all of the ships that you want to move over, then click "Split Task Group" and rename the resulting task group.

Thanks. The good news is that I'm finally catching on and have almost reached my first goal of terraforming Mars.

It's great to have another player!

Tamren wrote:

There are still a couple things I don't get though.

- Since plasma and railguns can't be turreted their max tracking speed is limited by the firing computer and ship speed, whichever is lower. So my original plan with using an immobile behemoth of a defensive citadel on my side of the jump gate wouldn't work unless I used lasers and mesons instead. What would be a good minimum speed to aim for, considering these weapons will be firing point blank?

Actually there is a hard minimum Tracking Speed of your Base Beam Fire Control Speed. So if your "BFC Speed" number is 6000km/s then your weapons will have that Tracking Speed. For example, an Orbital Base with a speed of 1km/s, and a BFC of 6000 km/s will find all of their non-turreted beam weapons with a tracking speed of 6000 km/s.

While this base track speed may not be enough for all opponents, it should still give you a very reasonable hit for all but enemy Gunships or enemies that far out tech you. For the first case your long-range missile defense lasers should be sufficient, and for the second case... Well, you'll have to tell us how that goes.

- What exactly are the effects of "jump sickness"? The only info I could find on the wiki said that sensors are blinded for 30 seconds. But I seem to remember there being other effects that caused a freshly jumped ship to be a sitting duck.

First of all it's not 30 seconds, it will be about 30 seconds. The exact number is randomly generated based on the type of jump it was (Squadron Jump vs. Normal Transit/Jump Gate Transit) and crew grade. I believe the range is 30-60 seconds for a Squadron Jump and one minute to three minutes for the other two.

I can't remember if your passive sensors work, but your active's definitely don't. You also can't launch missiles at waypoints (to avoid Warhound dropping a bunch of mines and cheating) and you can't jump out again (to avoid Warhound leaving after he dropped all of his mines).

Yonder wrote:

has a "New Task Group" as well as a "Rename Task Group" button in the very bottom left of the screen.

Oh, you mean the row that is cut off because of my laptop resolution even when I use the "reduced height windows" option? No wonder I couldn't find it. Thanks for solving that mystery for me

Yonder wrote:

First of all it's not 30 seconds, it will be about 30 seconds. The exact number is randomly generated based on the type of jump it was (Squadron Jump vs. Normal Transit/Jump Gate Transit) and crew grade. I believe the range is 30-60 seconds for a Squadron Jump and one minute to three minutes for the other two.

So basically after a ship jumps it will take at least 30 seconds to warm up its missiles and sensors for firing? 30 seconds is a lot of time to pile on the beam-hurt.

I'm working on setting up better fire controls. From what I understand, more is better. Individually firing weapons will deal better with many targets. But how many fire controls should I add before they become too redundant?

Tamren wrote:
Yonder wrote:

First of all it's not 30 seconds, it will be about 30 seconds. The exact number is randomly generated based on the type of jump it was (Squadron Jump vs. Normal Transit/Jump Gate Transit) and crew grade. I believe the range is 30-60 seconds for a Squadron Jump and one minute to three minutes for the other two.

So basically after a ship jumps it will take at least 30 seconds to warm up its missiles and sensors for firing? 30 seconds is a lot of time to pile on the beam-hurt.

Indeed it is, at low ranges at least. Keep in mind that they can still move though, and they probably will. If they are fast (especially if they jumped in some distance away from the point) they may be able to get out of your range before the full time elapses.

I'm working on setting up better fire controls. From what I understand, more is better. Individually firing weapons will deal better with many targets. But how many fire controls should I add before they become too redundant?

That's a hard question to answer. It depends a lot on the number of the ships in the fleet. The more the fleet can handle multiple targets the less redundancy you need on each ship.
Generally everyone has one FC for every beam turret or two max if they are meant for an Anti-Missile role, to handle lots of salvos of small missiles. Turrets for an Anti-Fighter role would probably get a similar complement, but you may be able to get away with fewer fire controls if you expect them to be fighting at the limit of your BFC range a lot, since the hit-rate will be very low.

For the non-turreted beam weapons I think you could get away with a lot fewer. In fact I think that a main failure of my Louis Hammond Battlecruisers is having too many BFCs. You should still have at least two per ship, so the ship isn't useless if the first one is destroyed, but that may be enough even if you have a lot of weapons. If you are fighting slower targets they are probably larger and heavily armored, so you'll need a lot of guns. If you are fighting faster targets that go above your BFC speed you will be missing, so you'll want extra weapons.

An exception may be if you are putting non-turreted weapons on a fast ship that will still be able to bring their weapons to bear effectively on smaller targets. You may want them to have more FCs for those weapons.

During the same game I was rolling mines out after jumping in, I was also sending in 100 ton fighters. Moving at 37,500 km/s, they just outran the jump point defenders with minimal damage taken, waited out the 'jump blindness' and raced back to attack before ducking back through the jump gate.

There are two types of jumps - standard transit, and squadron. Standard is what you use when travelling through a jumpgate or using a jump drive equipped ship to open a portal - you always end up on top of the jump point and have the longer 'blindness' recovery delay. Any number of ships can go through a standard transit at the same time. I'll leave it as an exercise for the student as to why always landing on the same spot is a bad thing for a jump point assault.

Squadron transit has you jumping in at a random spot near the jump point - the higher your squadron jump tech, the farther you can end up. It is however limited to the max number of ships that the particular jump drive can carry in one transit, which is dependent on your tech - starts at 3 (which includes the ship with the jump drive). You will want to research both techs if planning on doing squadron transit jump point assaults. Note that the location is random for each squadron jumping through, so you could end up with your fleet scattered about in small clusters, with its attendant problems. If you plan on having escorts providing fleet wide point defense, and they end up too far from the capital ships they were supposed to cover... Fortunately, if your tech is high enough, you could easily end up arriving outside of beam weapon range of the defenders, and hopefully have time to run away.

Keep in mind that unless you play with crew training off, there is a delay in responding to orders. Which means that defenders may not get a shot off at you before you run away, and your crews may be fumbling around trying to remember when the gas pedal is while the enemy ships are busy turning your ships into swiss cheese.

LtWarhound wrote:

Keep in mind that unless you play with crew training off, there is a delay in responding to orders. Which means that defenders may not get a shot off at you before you run away, and your crews may be fumbling around trying to remember when the gas pedal is while the enemy ships are busy turning your ships into swiss cheese.

Ah yes, I forgot to mention that. Even my skilled crews at around 30% crew grade still take 20-25 minutes to actually move after an order. By the same token firing your weapons takes 10-20 seconds, so the defenders have a similar, albeit smaller, delay to work with.

So I applied the patch after my first game took a turn for the worse. I was hit with a fuel shortage and then I had two ships implode because I wasn't paying attention while terraforming Mars. Guess that solved part of the fuel problem

So then in my second real attempt from scratch I thought I was all smart and had my industry fire up and start building automated mines while I researched some ship engines and built my first batch of survey ships. Wrong, the inner solar system was pretty barren with the exception of some large mineral deposits on Luna and Mercury. But no Sorium, which after my last game I was looking for. So I turn to the outer solar system and boom 1.5m sorium on Uranus. Guess I'll ship all my mines to Mercury. So I just started researching a sorium harvester but that's a year out at best. Good news is I'll have fuel this game.

So I also actually researched weapon tech this game (last game was just how to build a ship and move some stuff) and while I'm nowhere advanced enough to make use of the good info you all have been posting I created what I'm thinking is a basic combat vessel for this attempt. While I realize this probably isn't a powerful or even useful (?) ship would you mind giving me a little feedback on the general configuration of it? I'm not talking min/maxing or even "you get your ass kicked" but more of a "you should consider using X with Y" or "you don't even have a..." I have read some of the tutorials and wiki but I'd appreciate some general feedback and guidelines for ship building. I was just going to learn by the "wow I was blown up quick" method, but thought I'd ask.

Spruance class Cruiser 2,200 tons 186 Crew 227 BP TCS 44 TH 120 EM 0
2727 km/s Armour 2-15 Shields 0-0 Sensors 1/1/0/0 Damage Control Rating 1 PPV 16
Maint Life 15.73 Years MSP 1064 AFR 38% IFR 0.5% 1YR 8 5YR 121 Max Repair 30 MSP

Ion Engine E8 (2) Power 60 Fuel Use 80% Signature 60 Armour 0 Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres Range 51.1 billion km (217 days at full power)

Gauss Cannon R1-100 (2x2) Range 10,000km TS: 2727 km/s Accuracy Modifier 100% RM 1 ROF 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
15cm C2 Plasma Carronade (1) Range 60,000km TS: 2727 km/s Power 6-2 RM 1 ROF 15 6 3 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
Fire Control S02 32-2000 (2) Max Range: 64,000 km TS: 2000 km/s 84 69 53 37 22 6 0 0 0 0

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

Also, this game is great.

Id, the first thing I saw was the Maint Life of 15 years. While that's a good thing on a long range survey ship, for an inner system response craft, its a wee bit excessive.

Note that you have 1064 maint supplies, but a max repair of 30. That means that if the most expensive thing on this ship broke, your repair bill would be 30 out of 1064. Even if your ship was decimated and needed to repair most systems, you'd still have a lot of repair parts excess.

So, I'd recommend that you think about what sort of repairs you expect, and adjust accordingly. I'd trim that by a third, and invest in additional engines or armor.

A beam weapon armed ship has to close to point blank range, basically. To do so, you need to control the range, either by position (i.e. jump point defense, you are already at close range) or by speed - chasing the target down. While closing, you need to expect to be taking fire. So, you need to be able to do both at the same time - run the target down and take damage. At low tech levels, this can be a problem.

And finally, the usual mistake. You can't hit what you can't see. Are you planning on having a stand-off scout ship painting the target with active sensors while the beam weapon ship closes to range? If not, then you need active sensors on this ship. Probably something that can spot a 5,000 kton target at range 100,000km, and a resolution 1 sensor to spot missiles in time to get at least one defensive fire salvo off before the boom.

In the immortal words of Commander Susan Ivanova: "No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow."

clever id wrote:
Yonder wrote:

has a "New Task Group" as well as a "Rename Task Group" button in the very bottom left of the screen.

Oh, you mean the row that is cut off because of my laptop resolution even when I use the "reduced height windows" option? No wonder I couldn't find it. Thanks for solving that mystery for me

If you have Windows 7 you can follow the tips that theinevitable posts here.

1) Hold the windows key and hit P to bring up the projector enable screen. While still holding down the windows key hit the P key again twice more to cycle over to the "Extend" option. Hit enter to select.
2) Go to display settings and make sure that under Multiple Displays that "Extend these displays" is selected
3) Now you have to choose where you want the other monitor to be located in relation to your main screen.
a) At the top of the screen it has two images of monitors, with a 1 and a 2 over each screen respectively
b) Click on the 2nd screen and drag it so that it is positioned over the top screen
4) click apply and you are done

The game should now show the entirety of the interface. If you cannot see part of it you need to drag the title bar up off the screen. This can cause you to lose windows if you arent paying attention because you have no way of viewing the second monitor. In order to find the windows once again:
1) Go to the taskbar and right click on the window in question
2) Click on "Move"
3) Left click without moving the mouse
4) Now as you move the mouse the window should be dragged with it, position the window where you want and left click again to drop it

Basically what this does is let you slide the windows up out of the main screen higher than they usually can be. Between hiding the label and basic windows options by putting them on this "fake" screen, and moving your task bar to the side or making it auto-hide, you should be able to see everything.

Not that in addition to doing the taskbar "Move" operation he describes, that thin little Main Aurora window has an optio to reset all window positions.

If you aren't on Windows 7... well he's got instructions on that post too, but I just tried them on my Vista computer and they didn't work, so good luck.

clever id wrote:

While I realize this probably isn't a powerful or even useful (?) ship would you mind giving me a little feedback on the general configuration of it? I'm not talking min/maxing or even "you get your ass kicked" but more of a "you should consider using X with Y" or "you don't even have a..." I have read some of the tutorials and wiki but I'd appreciate some general feedback and guidelines for ship building. I was just going to learn by the "wow I was blown up quick" method, but thought I'd ask.

Well the first thing I notice is that your ships don't have Active Sensors. Do you have a second ship, with more of a command role perhaps, which will paint your targets for you? That is generally the way I go, however for beam ships the firing range Active Sensors are so small that I also frequently just toss them on every ship.

Second thing is that you have a crap ton of Engineering Bays. You have fuel to travel 50 billion kilometers, which is enough for local travel, maybe limited operations in the neighboring systems (I like having a large fuel buffer, others may disagree), however on the other hand you have enough maintenance supplies to last you 15 years. I don't think your ships are really large enough to consider for (unsupported) long endurance voyages, so instead of increasing your fuel to match your maintenance supplies I would cut back o the latter. Two to three years of parts should be sufficient for a small in-system patrol craft.

I'll post more thoughts later, I've got to run to work now.

Edit: Tannhauser!

Oh, forgot to note the last thing: What powers your weapons? You don't have a reactor. Most beam weapons require a power supply.

clever id wrote:

Ship design...

I would add a comment about your fire controls. You'll notice that your ship speed is actually greater than your fire control tracking speed. So your weapons are tracking off of your ship speed. Which is pretty abysmal to start with. Understandable at your tech level, but very, very slow overall. Certainly not enough to track a missile with. So I would suggest you concentrate on upping your BFC tracking speed. Put at least one BFC on that has tracking speed matching your gauss turret tracking speed.

Lesson learned on the Maintenance bays/repair info, thanks guys. I haven't learned to actually think when I play this yet so things like that are kind of "oh duh!" light bulb moments.

Yonder, Thanks for the extra info. I appreciate your extra searching. Believe it or not I had previously searched when I was using a XP machine so I either skimmed right past that or it wasn't posted yet, which is possible since it was quite some time ago. I was able to find a workable solution using that info and by disabling aero snapping. The only problem window (fleet) then opens the correct size and I can scroll it just far enough off screen to see everything.

Warhound, I'll have to fire it up after the kids go to bed and double check things but I built that ship by pretty much changing things until the design errors went away. Based on a quick scan of the wiki I think the reactor is only necessary for beam weapons and all the weapons I used are "non-laser energy weapons", which doesn't require the reactor? Not like I really know yet Anyone?

MoonDragon, That's one of those light bulb moments. Thanks.

Thanks again, and I'll actually read though more of the wiki tonight like you all probably wanted to suggest.

Oh, is there a way I can just take one of these bad boys out and blow up asteroids or do I need a enemy target? Drones?

I'm wondering that as well. Being able to stage wargames would help my understanding of combat a lot.

clever id wrote:

Yonder, Thanks for the extra info. I appreciate your extra searching. Believe it or not I had previously searched when I was using a XP machine so I either skimmed right past that or it wasn't posted yet, which is possible since it was quite some time ago. I was able to find a workable solution using that info and by disabling aero snapping. The only problem window (fleet) then opens the correct size and I can scroll it just far enough off screen to see everything.

Excellent! You're welcome.

Warhound, I'll have to fire it up after the kids go to bed and double check things but I built that ship by pretty much changing things until the design errors went away. Based on a quick scan of the wiki I think the reactor is only necessary for beam weapons and all the weapons I used are "non-laser energy weapons", which doesn't require the reactor? Not like I really know yet Anyone?

Ah, Warhound is right, I'm sorry I missed it. The Gauss Cannon is the only beam weapon that doesn't need a generator, so you will need one for the Plasma Carronade.

On the stats for the weapon above you see

Power 6-2 ROF 15

That means that it takes 6 power total to charge the gun, and it takes 2 power every time increment, giving you a total Rate Of Fire of 15 seconds (one increment is five seconds). Since you have one of those guns you need a total of 2 power, either in four half power generators, one 2 power generators, or any other combination. When you have that you'll get an additional line in your ship schematic like the following:

Tokamak Fusion Reactor Technology PB-1 (17) Total Power Output 272 Armour 0 Exp 5%

Only you'll only want a power output of 2 (unless you are going for redundancy, but I think at this size ship and armor level your initial mass should go into improving armor, and working on redundancy later.

Thanks again, and I'll actually read though more of the wiki tonight like you all probably wanted to suggest.

Eh, not particularly, reading the wiki and all that still doesn't replace the knowledge you need when you actually go to design a ship, getting some real feedback is best. You can get it at the Aurora forums too, but there I think you'll get a lot more of that Min-Maxing advice.

Oh, is there a way I can just take one of these bad boys out and blow up asteroids or do I need a enemy target? Drones?

You need an enemy target. I'll start looking for some references for how to do that for you and Tamren, or write a barebones one up myself. I'm actually doing that right now for the Plasma vs Laser example I mentioned that I was going to do in that post with all the charts.

When designing a power generator you can pick any size from 1-50. But since power generated increases in a linear fashion. Is there any point in designing a size 30 generator instead of just using 30 size 1s?

Yonder wrote:
Warhound, I'll have to fire it up after the kids go to bed and double check things but I built that ship by pretty much changing things until the design errors went away. Based on a quick scan of the wiki I think the reactor is only necessary for beam weapons and all the weapons I used are "non-laser energy weapons", which doesn't require the reactor? Not like I really know yet Anyone?

Ah, Warhound is right, I'm sorry I missed it. The Gauss Cannon is the only beam weapon that doesn't need a generator, so you will need one for the Plasma Carronade.

Yeah, I just added some lasers and didn't get a build error so I was going to mention that. I hope I didn't come off as implying that I knew more than someone who had actually played
So thanks for picking that up Warhound.

Tamren wrote:

When designing a power generator you can pick any size from 1-50. But since power generated increases in a linear fashion. Is there any point in designing a size 30 generator instead of just using 30 size 1s?

The question is mostly one of "Do I want a Size 30 generator with a HTK of some larger number, or do I want 35 size 1 generators to give me some redundancy since each one dies easy. What about the fact that each one of those generators has a 5% chance of causing a (small, since they are small) secondary explosion?

The smaller generators also simplify design for several ships. Instead of a size 15, size 25, and size 50 generator you can install three, five, and ten size 5 generators.

How to do Wargame Testing

First off you'll probably want to do this in a new game, nothing in here should break your game, but when I am going into these testing matches a lot of time I'll end up magicking myself up an entire tech tree or something, so it's best to do this in a separate game so that you don't have to worry about cheating or whatnot. To each his own though. If you do make a new game you may want to rename your Empire something other than "Terran Federation" to make it easier to compare down the line. For example I would have saved myself some annoyance if I had had the foresight to name my starting Empire "Laser Empire" or something like that.

1. Turn on Space Master
That Main tiny window has a "SpaceMaster" tab. Click it and select SpaceMaster On. Unless you specified otherwise when you designed the game the password for this will be empty, just hit ok. If at any time down the road I talk about an option or command that doesn't exist SpaceMaster may have been turned off. Come back here, turn it on, then close and reopen the window missing the command. Even the windows that have "Refresh All" buttons probably need to be closed and reopened.

2. Giving yourself all the tech you want.
Now that you are in Space Master (or SM) mode the normal research window will have two new buttons under the tech, "Instant" and "Instant RST". By selecting a tech and clicking instant the Empire you are controlling will instantly be given that tech. By clicking "Instant RST" you will with a single click research all of your current "Racial Techs" which means all of those blue prints that you design. So the specific Engines, Weapons, Turrets, Missiles, etc are your "Racial Techs"

Alternatively, when you go to the "Create Research Project" window to first create these blueprints there will now be an "Instant" button their to the left of "Create" so that will accomplish the task as well.

3. Design the ships for the First Empire
You design the ships the same way as you always do. This step is identical to a real game.

4. SM in the ships for the first Empire
Go back to the Main tiny window. Click on the "Space Master" tab again and go to "Fast OOB Creation" or Shift + F9. (OOB stands for Order of Battle, it mostly means Task Group though, someone like Warhound may be able to clarify if and how OOB differs from Task Group).

From this new window you select the Empire you want (right now you only have one) the species you want (your Empire will only have one species, but this can change if you conquer and absorb aliens, or make sub-species through genetic manipulation) the Task Group you are adding to, the class of ship you are adding, and the number of ships you are adding.

When you select a class it will show the schematic on the right. When you click Ass it will add the requested ships to the requested Task Group (so I guess the OOB is this subset of ships). These ships will by default have full fuel, full MSP, zero time on their maintenance clocks, their full base missile complement, and 0% Crew Grade. I believe any of these variables can be changed in SM mode, but I don’t know how to chance them all. In particular back when I was doing missile tests several months back I just magicked in new ships every time the one I was firing ran out of missiles.

The bottom of this window has a “Remaining Build Points” display, that’s just for reference. The idea of a Trans-Newtonian start is that you are supposed to assume that your Empire has already been getting off the ground, the canon development is two years of production worth of ships, and the build points are in reference to that. You can go negative here, and it won’t make a fuss at all.

5. Make a new Empire
Go to the System View and select a planet with a valid atmosphere for life. I believe in the Solar System the only bodies that start out applicable are Earth and Saturn’s moon Titan. In the bottom right of the window you have the “SpaceMaster Functions” the top left one is “Create Empire.” Clicking on that with any other body selected will return an error that there isn’t an appropriate atmosphere. Clicking it with Titan will ask you if you are sure you want to make a Methane-Breathing race, then will take you to the Create Empire panel. Oxygen planets don’t double-check with you, so Earth will take you straight to this panel.

In this panel you can set any of the variables that you like, but the most important one is to rename the Empire, because juggling between two “Terran Federations” is super super annoying and I’m totally not speaking from experience damnit.

The only reason to really choose Earth over Titan is if you are trying to test out Ground Battles, landing invasion forces, Planetary Bombardment, or something like that. If you are doing space battles only then either one works just fine. Many of the After Action Reports have the player juggling multiple Empires starting on Earth (like the Americans and the Russians) so it’s one of the things that Aurora should handle seamlessly.

At this point you’ll have to close and reopen many of your windows again, but once you do they should all or almost all have a drop down menu somewhere in the upper left that you can use to switch between Empires. If you have SM mode off this will need to put in the race password each time you do this (by default empty like the SM password). This allows you to do Hot Seat or Play By Email games without the possibility of cheating. (Although the way Aurora processes time would make PBE games a real chore.

6. Repeat 2-4 for this second Empire

7. Have your virtual ships murder each other. For Science!

8.Random tips
a. Remember that altering a ship schematic applies those changes to all ships that have already been built of the current class. That’s why when you first order a Shipyard to retool to that class it “Locks” the design so that it can’t be changed anymore. In SM mode you can unlock those designs and fiddle with them, so if you realize that you don’t have enough generators, or want to try a larger sensor, or a faster turret and fire control, you can just unlock the design, make the changes, and they will be applied to all existing ships.
b. When SM mode is on when you go to the “Ships” window (also labeled “Individual Unit Details”, or F6) along the bottom of the window towards the right you will see “Repair All” and “SM Refuel”. The latter is self explanatory, the former will magically repair all of the components and armor on the ship. This is especially useful when doing a bunch of target practice when you don’t want to kill the thing you are fighting yet. I have no idea if this replaces dead crew as well.
c. Hey! It’s that thing I didn’t find a couple of months ago! If you go to Ordnance [sic] Management the “Standard” option under Fast Reload will refill the missiles to the standard loadout. You should be able to change that ‘standard’ loadout at any time as well. I think that you can even do that without unlocking the ship.
d. I do not see a place to resupply the MSP, or to change the Crew Grade, so that may not be possible. More likely I’m just missing it though.
e. This is more of a general tip, but you can do a lot of the same stuff in this “Ships” window that you can do in the “Combat Overview” window (F8). But the Combat window lets you copy those orders to other ships, as well as accomplish some of the stuff with fewer button presses. You should generally try to do what you want in the Combat Overview window, and only go to the Ships window if you can’t find it. I only mention this because when I was first trying to figure this stuff out I found the Ships window, did what I wanted, and used it from then on. I didn’t discover the Combat Window until recently, and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet.

clever id wrote:

Yeah, I just added some lasers and didn't get a build error so I was going to mention that.

The Build screen will only catch a few of the possible errors you can make during ship design, so don't think that no warning means no problem.

No engines? Sure, go ahead. No sensors? Why not. No power for weapons or shields? Go for it!

The Build screen is not your friend. In fact, it laughs quietly in the background and gleefully waits for the NPRs to blow up your ships. Aurora is that way.

Are you saying Aurora is a new, user friendly name for GLaDOS?

--Edit--

Yonder wrote:

(OOB stands for Order of Battle, it mostly means Task Group though, someone like Warhound may be able to clarify if and how OOB differs from Task Group)

OoB is for your navy what BoM (Bill of Materials) is for your local manufacturer. It is, in essence, a complete inventory of your ships. From OoB you should be able to see all the ships you possess, where they are, and what TG they belong to.

MoonDragon wrote:

Are you saying Aurora is a new, user friendly name for GLaDOS?

Except it won't lie about the cake.

It is, in essence, a complete inventory of your ships. From OoB you should be able to see all the ships you possess, where they are, and what TG they belong to.

And it does.

The OoB screen (ctrl-H) is a good screen to be familiar with. It lists all the task groups, and allows you to expand them out. If you do that, you can see every single ship your empire own, at once. Click on a ship to see its details, if you've forgotten what you designed. If you set the option, you can have the System information window jump to that ship, in case you forgot where it is (if I go away from the game for a week, this is the go-to spot to remind me).

***

Did you know.... The Naval Organization tab.

F12 brings up the Task Groups screen, which by itself has more information than most players will ever want to know. A few versions back Steve added the 'Naval Organization' tab. Like most of Aurora, its usefulness depends on you, you have to be willing to dig in and learn what it can do, and keep it up to date as you go.

Click the OOB button on the bottom of the F12 screen, its a shortcut if you can't recall Ctrl-H brings up OOB. While the OOB screen is useful, its not very user friendly. You can build a custom OOB on the Naval Organization tab.

Here is a start step by step for getting started with this tab:

* Highlight the 'Fleet Headquarters branch (its the only thing currently showing). From the 'Modify Organization Branches' section on the right side of the tab, click Add. Fill in a name, lets go with 'Civilian'. Repeat, add in a 'Survey' 'Military' and 'System Defense' branch.

* Highlight the Civilian Branch. Add some more sub-branches, lets go with 'Cargo' and 'Asteroid Miners'.

* Highlight the 'Cargo' sub-branch, add two more sub-branches (sub sub branches?). Call them Cargo Task Group 1 and Cargo Task Group 2.

At this point you should see that you are building a bare tree structure. Now lets get some use out of it.

* Up at the top of the screen, open the 'Name' drop down, and select a task group that has some freighter type ships (for now, pretend one of those ships is called Fast Hauler 001). In the Naval Organization tree you just built, make sure the subbranch Cargo Task Group 1 is highlighted. Under the 'Assign Ships to Organizational Branch / Assign Mothership' section to the right, click on 'Add TG'. What you should see is a list of the ships in the task group you selected now populating the subbranch, including Fast Hauler 001, of course.

* From this point forward in the game, any time you are wracking your brain trying to remember what you did with Fast Hauler 001, come back here. Click on that ship, and the Task Group screen will pull up the appropriate task group. If you have the checkboxes to the right (Show Fleet and Location) then you will see exactly which task group and what system the ship is in.

Play with it, as early in your game as you can, because its really something you want to keep up to date as you go. I use it one of two ways: I dump all the ships of a given type (say, freighters) into one branch, to let me see where they all are (hhmm, freighters 1 through 10 are off hauling autominers to Titan, the fast haulers are bring back minerals from Alpha Centauri, etc, etc). The other strong use I get it to build custom mini-OOBs, to let me keep track of operational groups (Example: The Far Stars raiding OpGroup consists of a fleet scout, resupply ship, carrier, 20 fighters, 4 recon FACs and 4 escort destroyers. When I move the OpGroup into a system, I typically break it up into several different task groups. The recon FACs move in independently to find targets, the resupply ship hangs back in the last system with two DDEs, the carrier hops insystem with the other two DDEs to support strike fighter actions, etc. So many task groups, yet, my mini-OOB shows their exact location and lets me keep track of the OpGroup at a glance.)

Whenever a ship is built, the first thing I do is add it to the Naval Organization tree. For me, this is a critical action if I want to get good use out of this tab.

* at this point the other half wanders into the den, sees the 20 year old empire displayed on the myriad screens open on the two monitors and laughs 'I knew Aurora was about to drag you back in' *

System: Birmingham, November 5th, 2060.

The xenoarcheology team was busy crawling over the extensive ruins on the only body in the system, a small planet that had been picked over by whatever race had come before. The xeno team's shuttle shared the orbit of some alien wrecks, assumed to be as old as the ruins, and a salvage tug was enroute to work on them. A system survey task group was spread out, poking around for possible jump points, and a massive jump gate constructor had started work a week ago to open a stable wormhole back to known space.

That's when the picket ship on duty at the jump point back to the Belfast system noticed an unknown thermal signature. Small, damn small, and moving in fast. Thermal 5, speed 43,000 km/s, it was spotted at a mere 375,000 km out. The picket fired up its active search sensor just in time to be painted by active sensors off the bogie.

The unknown came to a halt, and its thermal signature vanished. An alien sensor buoy hung in space for a few seconds, pinging the three ships, then burned out.

Since the picket on the Belfast side of the jump point didn't see anything, all I know is that something, somewhere in this system, targeted the jump gate constructor with a single missile that had a sensor buoy instead of a warhead. Scrambling the nearest gunboat squadrons, but most of the fleet is tied up in a standoff a few systems over, some damn precursor relics are camping the only known jump point into the Glasgow system. Going to be at least a week before anything can arrive here, and until the gate is built (140 days from now) the constructor is stuck. At least the other ships can flee, the system survey team has a small jump ship to ferry the grav-survey ships around.

Should be interesting. Steve keeps adding twists to the game.

I have unmanned my manliness. I open up the game, saw a zillion spreadsheets, not a dwarf or tileset in sight and ran. I ran and ran and ran.

I need more time with other Dwarf Fortress type games, such as DF, before I fall off this cliff.

Aurora is actually way easier than DF IMO. The difficulty curve may be just as steep, but it levels out way faster. I have a relatively busy weekend, but if you want to give it a try again with a bit of help you could post a time here and I or someone else could try to be in vent to give you a push start.

New Aurora player chiming in here. After three hours study last night I got my first ship up and running and seem to have spawned in a fairly well stocked system.

I didn't expect the goodjers to have the best Aurora thread going but I've learnt a lot more about getting this game running from this thread than from the official forums. It has been interesting following Yonder from the early days of complete bafflement to now posting graphs about the game.