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C-Alien Contact

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Communication Attempts

There are two additional constraints on attempting communication with alien races in C# Aurora.

  • 1) Translation checks will only take place if both sides have a status of "Attempting Communication". In other words, you can't translate their language if they refuse to talk to you.
  • 2) For translation checks to happen, both sides must have ships and/or populations in the same system and both sides must be able to detect the other. Detection in this context is Thermal or EM for populations and Active for ships. So you must effectively announce your presence and stay there if you wish to attempt communication (or show the aliens the way to another system for communication attempts).

This should add more realism and a little more tension to first contact.

Date 23.06.2018


Electronic Intelligence Gathering

A new concept in C# Aurora is ELINT, or Electronic Intelligence Gathering. This is performed by a new line of ship components, the Electronic Intelligence and Analysis Modules. These start at strength 5 and follow a similar strength progression to EM Sensors. One of the prerequisites for each module is the corresponding EM Sensor strength technology.

The ELINT Modules are 10 HS, require 15 crew and cost 20x their strength (this is subject to change as a result of play test).

They have a secondary function as an EM Sensor, although a dedicated EM sensor of the same size would be far more effective.

Their primary function is to gather electronic and signals intelligence on alien populations and active sensors (and I will add ground forces at some point). Increased strength, through research or multiple modules, can increase the range at which intelligence is gathered but the base rate is fixed. Multiple ships cannot increase the intelligence gathered from a single source, although a single ELINT module can gather intelligence from multiple sources.

If the target can be detected by the ELINT modules' built-in EM Sensors, intelligence can be gathered.

The rate is 1 intelligence point per day, boosted by the Intelligence bonus of the ELINT ship commander. For populations, the intelligence is also multiplied by (100 - Population Species Xenophobia) / 100. In other words, it is much harder to gain intelligence when a population has high xenophobia. If the alien language is not translated, all intelligence is reduced by 80%.

Intelligence is gathered per population and per active sensor design (if multiple sensors of the same type are monitored, you only gain intelligence at the same rate as one sensor). Specific alien sensors will now be associated with specific alien classes.

Alien active sensors will initially be displayed with just a strength and not a range or resolution. Once 100 intelligence points have been gathered for a particular design of active sensor, its range and resolution will be displayed. Note that in VB6 you only have an approximation of the alien sensor range. I plan to add active jammers and passive stealth capability, both of which will become more effective against alien sensors based on the intelligence gathered on those sensors (no limit to intel points). I'll provide the detail for this when I post the jammer and stealth rules.

Alien populations will be initially be displayed as they are now, with EM and thermal signatures.

  • Once 100 intelligence points have been gathered, the population size in millions and the number of installations will be displayed. Additional information becomes available at higher intelligence levels:
  • 200 Points: Number of factories and mines and whether a spaceport and/or a cargo shuttle station are present.
  • 300 Points: Number of refineries and maintenance facilities and whether a refuelling station and/or an ordnance transfer station are present.
  • 500 Points: Number of research facilities and ground force training facilities and whether a naval headquarters and/or a sector command are present.

The intelligence points for a specific population will reduce at approximately 25% per year if ELINT monitoring ends. The information that was gained while intelligence points were at their highest point will remain and is shown in red when viewing the alien population on the Diplomacy window. Current information is shown in green.

Any intelligence gained on a population is also used at the racial level for the purposes of espionage. Each Alien Population Intelligence Point adds one Alien Race Intelligence Point. If the population is less than 100m, the translation of Population Intelligence to Race Intelligence is modified by Population in millions / 100. When 100 Alien Race Intelligence Points have accumulated, a check is made for any intelligence gained.

This is the same check as in VB6 for espionage teams and can result in new technology, survey data, new system knowledge or details of an enemy ship class. I will probably add information on alien sensors, ground units and populations to that list.

As a result of these changes, espionage teams have been removed from C# Aurora.


A couple of design examples for the ELINT Module:

Date 09.09.2018

Alien Weapon Detection

As part of the tactical intelligence in C# Aurora, it will be possible to determine the weapons of alien ships under the right circumstances.

When a ship fires beam weapons, either in the combat phase or in the missile movement phase, each race which has a current active sensor contact for the firing ship will detect the type of weapon (Railgun, Laser, etc), the power of the weapon, the number of weapons fired and the weapon range (based on target location).

When a ship launches missiles, each race which can detect the new salvo at the point of launch will detect the number and size of the launchers on the firing ship (only those launchers that fire missiles will be detected).

If a ship fires or launches multiple times, the interval between firing for each weapon type will be tracked (this won't be perfect because the alien ship may be firing different weapons at different times but will provide a reasonable idea).

All the weapon intelligence gathered will be displayed for the Alien Class.

Date 22.12.2018

Interrogation of Survivors

In VB6 Aurora, you can gain espionage points from interrogating the survivors picked up from life pods. In C# Aurora, the same principle applies, although they are now Race Intelligence Points and are added to those gained via ELINT.

The rate at which Race Intelligence points are gained from survivors is Crew / 10 + the cube of the rank number of any captured officer (so R3 would provide 27 points). This is more important than the same algorithm in VB6, because there are now potentially multiple officers per ship.

However, unlike VB6, this point gain is reduced if the survivors are from a non-hostile power. The intelligence points gained from neutrals is halved, friendly by 80% and allied by 90%. This is to simulate that aggressive interrogation is unlikely to be used against survivors from a friendly power.

As with other intelligence gains, there is a further 80% reduction if the alien language has not been translated.

Date 08.09.2018