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Time, Turns and Interrupts

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Aurora is neither real-time nor turn based. Instead, the player chooses a Time Increment (turn length) and the game then advances, until either the chosen time increment has passed, or an Interrupt event happens that requires the player's attention.

Warning: there is a glitch in the game that can prevent incoming missiles from being detected and fired upon by your automated defenses if you choose a long increment time in battle. It's safer to stick to increments of under a minute.

Turns

Time Increment, allows the player to speed in-game time. Choose how long you wish to advance time by clicking one of the Time Control buttons (5 seconds - 30 days). Early in a campaign when not much is happening you may be using 5-day or even 30-day increments. During the approach phase of a battle you might select 1 hour or 20 minute increments and when you are under missile attack you will probably select 5 second increments to give your point-defence systems the best chance of detecting and engaging incoming missiles.

Automated turns: If you click the 'Auto Turns' checkbox before clicking an increment size, Aurora will keep running increments of that size until an interrupt event that effect the player race(s) is generated. So if two NPRs decide to have a long battle, check the box, click the turn advance, and go take a 5-minute stretch break while the game automatically runs through the 5s increments until the fight ends. Just make sure you unchecked the box whenever you want the game to pause after the next time increment regardless of interrupts. (The option is only available when using the Tactical Map)

Each turn is divided into a series of phases, during which Aurora makes all relevant calculations. There are two ways in which a turn can be shortened. If the program believes something is about to happen, like a missile or ship entering detection range, it will shorten the turn at the start. The second is through an interrupt, which is caused by a notable event and ends the turn so that the player (or an NPR) can react to it.

Interrupts

Interrupts give you a chance to do something about a perceived problem while you still can do something about it e.g. detecting a new ship from an alien race, having one of your task groups finish its orders or detecting a missile coming at you. Interrupts ends automated turns, and can not be shut off.

An interrupt means an event partway through an increment that ends the current increment at the end of the current sub-pulse. Only certain events are flagged as interrupt events so not every event causes an interrupt. An increment adjustment is where the program checks ahead before the increment takes place to see what is going to happen and makes the increment shorter as a result. This is not the same as an interrupt. An interrupt or an increment adjustment does not end automated turns. That only happens as a result of an interrupt for the currently selected race.

Note that the NPR AI code for movement and combat takes place at the start of a turn, so if anything significant happens relating to an NPR, the NPR needs a new turn in order to evaluate the event and react to it. Once a player interrupt occurs, it ends automated turns so the player can react. However, the AI doesn't need a break to react - it just needs to start a new turn - so interrupts are flagged as Player Events or Non-Player Events. A Player event is either something directly affecting a player, or an NPR event that involves a player, such as the NPR detecting the player. For NPR events that do not involve players, Automated Turns are not switched off. Example of Player events that interrupt a turn:

  • a new ship contact
  • a missile Launch
  • a task group completed its orders
  • a production item being finished
  • a ship being unable to carry out its orders

For a list of game events, see the Events Log window and click "Filter Events". There you can also configure which events not to see in the log by double clicking them (e.g. officer promotions).

5-day Increment

5-day increment refers to the construction phases that takes place every 5-days. You get to build a lot of things in different things in Aurora and its where the actual construction takes place. It would affect performance if Aurora updated construction times in every 5 second increment or sub-pulse so instead the game waits until an number of increments have passed that add up to about five days and then runs all the construction code after the normal movement/detection/combat phases for that increment. Because Aurora increments rarely add up to exactly five days between construction cycles, the program uses the actual amount of time that has passed, whether it is 5 days, 12 days or 6 days, 14 hours, 12 minutes and 45 seconds. This means that the amount of 'construction' carried out in each construction cycle may vary a little between cycles. You can choose to change the trigger time for a construction cycle from the standard 400,000 seconds in the game setup if you want it to happen more or less often.

Contributors

Mor, Zook