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Version 7.00

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All the various updates for v7.0 are listed bellow:

Low Level Fleet Training

All combat vessels will slowly gain fleet training points even if they are not involved in training exercises. A combat vessel is defined as one with PPV > 0. During fleet training exercises the annual rate of points gained is the Crew Training Skill of the Task Force Commander plus the operations bonus of the Operations Staff Officer. So if the task force commander has crew training of 200 and the operations officer has an ops bonus of 30%, annual crew training points would be 260. This is further increased by the grade bonus of the ship being trained. A ship has to gain 500 training points to have 100% fleet training skill.

For low level training, which is assumed to be gained through general experience and perhaps simulators, the annual training rate is 30. This is also modified by crew grade. The low level training is to counter the issue of long-serving ships responding just as slowly as newly constructed ships if neither has had any fleet training. In reality, the long-serving crew should have some advantage in that situation even without formal training. Of course, fleet training still be far more effective in terms of creating crews that quickly respond to orders in combat situations.

Chance of NPR Generating a New NPR

Currently you can set the chance of an NPR appearing on a potentially habitable planet during system generation.

In v6.50 when creating a new game, or editing an existing one, there is an additional parameter for the NPR generation chance when a system is generated by an NPR rather than a player race.

A second new on/off parameter sets whether spoiler races can be generated in new systems discovered by an NPR.

The two above parameters allow players to create a game where the chances of NPRs becoming involved in combat against non-player forces are significantly reduced, which in turn reduces the overall number of slowdowns where the player is uninvolved.

=Army Officer Promotions==

Army officers will be promoted at the ratio of 4-1 instead of the current 5-1

Fleet Display on System Map

Very minor change. Fleets are now listed in alphabetical order when in the same location on the system map.

Optional Detection Rules for Systems without Player Presence

Currently, detection takes place in any system where there are units or populations from two different races. Quite often this will be two alien races and the player race is uninvolved.

In v6.50 there will be three options for detection:

  1. Existing detection rules
  2. Detection will only take place in systems where the player race is present as well as at least one other race. No detection will take place when a system contains only alien races.
  3. Normal detection will only take place in systems where the player race is present as well as at least one other race. In systems with two or more alien races but no player races, detection will be automatically successful.

The advantage of 2) is that it will be the quickest of the three options and there will be no combat unless the player is present - no more short turns caused by NPR vs. NPR. The downside is that this is less realistic and you will not discover wreckage from alien wars.

The advantage of 3) is that the sensor phase is quicker than 1) and is more realistic than 2), although still not as realistic as 1). The downside is that you will get more NPR vs NPR battles than you do now (although fewer interrupts as NPRs move in and out of each other's sensor range).

Crew Quarters for Fighters

Added a new ship component:

Crew Quarters - Fighter. Space for 2 crew, cost 0., size 0.4.

This is part of the normal design process and will appear if the total crew requirements are 2 or less. In other words, it won't be used as a filler in the same way as small and tiny quarters - just for small, fighter type craft.

Small Boat Bay

Added Small Boat Bay as new ship system. Holds 125 tons and costs 60% of the normal Boat Bay.

No Minerals for Prefab PDC Assembly

For some reason I thought I had made this change in a previous version but it appears not :)

So for the next version, PDC assembly only requires wealth and production capacity; minerals are no longer required. Supplying the minerals was a micromanagement task that didn't real add anything to game play.

NPR Carriers

Non-player races will be capable of using carriers in v6.50. They will design their own fighters and carriers if they have the required technology and the available shipyard space.

While I was severely tempted to not mention this until players ran into the first NPR carriers :), I thought I would mention it up front for a couple of reasons.

  1. I will be adding this to my own campaign so it would come out in the fiction anyway
  2. Carrier operations are more complex than normal NPR operations so there is a decent chance of something 'weird' happening that I hadn't foreseen. In that case, it is better if players have some idea what is going on.

NPRs don't use fuel or maintenance, so I was concerned that NPR fighters would effectively become just small FACs without a true flavour of carrier ops. Therefore, I have put the following rules in place for NPR carrier ops.

  1. Even though NPR fighters don't use fuel, they have an operational range (just like player fighters) based on half the distance they could travel if they were using fuel.
  2. NPR carriers will only launch fighter strikes if the target is within that operational range and they will remain within range to recover their fighters.
  3. NPRs will only build fighters if there are available hangar bays to base them.
  4. Fighters that are orphaned (due to the destruction of their mothership) will locate a different carrier with available space and use that instead (available space here means available if all fighters currently assigned to that carrier were on board)
  5. NPR Carriers will be built with their fighters to avoid complexity (but this is offset by not building replacements using fighter factories until they are destroyed)
  6. Fighters will reload from the magazines on their carriers and those carriers will have to return to base for resupply if their magazines run dry
  7. NPR Populations now have a similar number of fighter factories to player populations.

Correct Planet Order on Fleet Window

Finally fixed the annoying problem with planets from different stars being mixed up in the destinations list. Planets will now be ordered by Star and then by orbital number.

Colonists from Neutral Countries

One of the issues I sometimes find when setting up an Earth-based campaign for the near future is that you have to account for the whole Earth population in the starting setup, or add some catastrophe to reduce that population. Aurora works well with smaller starting pops but you can't really have that in a near future setting unless you have a large number of starting nations. Therefore, I have added the option to have races that act only as a source of colonists for other races with the same starting species.

For example, you could have China, US, Russia plus "Rest of the World". You set up the first three normally then select the Neutral Race for Rest of the World during race creation. A Neutral Race has no installations but provides colonists for other races of the same species. To avoid abuse such as transporting them to a colony on the same planet, or a nearby moon, these colonists cannot be transported to a destination in the same system. In effect, this gives relatively small powers the ability to create large populations by taking immigrants from neutral powers (similar to the early United States).

EDIT: Neutral populations will only be available to government-owned colony ships. They won't be accessible to shipping lines.

Fewer Jump Points per System

This post is the result of the "Too Many Jump Points" thread in suggestions. There seems to be a general consensus that Aurora has too many systems with a lot of jump points. Therefore, I am changing the jump point generation code to create fewer junctions and more systems with 2-3 JPs, resulting in longer chains of systems and less density of systems overall. Here is the pseudo-code for the new standard.

       Number of Jump Points  = 1
       Base Jump Point Chance = 90
       Do While True
           Jump Point Chance = Round Down to Integer (Base Jump Point Chance  + Primary Mass)
           If Jump Point Chance> 90 Then Jump Point Chance= 90
           If Random Number(1 to 100) > Jump Point Chance Then Exit Loop
           Number of Jump Points =  Number of Jump Points + 1
           If Base Jump Point Chance= 60 Then Base Jump Point Chance= 30
           If Base Jump Point Chance= 90 Then Base Jump Point Chance= 60

This will produce the following proportions of systems assuming mass of 0.9 or less

1 JP: 10% 2 JPs: 36% 3 JPs: 37.8% 4 JPs: 11.34% 5 JPs: 3.40% 6 JPs: 1.02% 7 or more: 0.4%

So now we have about 1 system in 9 (for stars with 0.9 mass or smaller) with 4 JPs and 1 in 20 with 5 or more JPs. Almost three quarters will be 2 or 3 JPs. Junction systems will actually work out a little higher than that because of the higher mass stars making a significant difference at 4+. I have generated several maps with these numbers and it seems to work out OK. I'll know better once v6.50 is released and everyone has a chance to try it :)

Longer Pathfinding

Because of the changes to jump point generation in v6.50, colonies will generally be further away from each other, both in terms of distance and in the number of jump points. This means the existing pathfinding code, used by shipping lines and by default & conditional orders, is more restrictive than before due to the four jump limit.

Therefore, I have completely rewritten the pathfinding code and removed any restriction on distance. Civilians can now reach your colonies no matter where they are, as long as they have JG access. Your own ships can follow refuelling orders, etc. at any distance from home. The downside to this will be performance, although the new version of the code is more efficient anyway. I'm testing this in my current campaign but I suspect this is another area where wider testing will find the bugs :)

Forced Low Tech Races

There is a new check box on the Game Creation and Game windows that allows you to specify that all new races discovered during the normal exploration process will be non-TN. Whether they are NPRs or not will depend on the existing 'Generate Races as NPRs' check box.

This is useful should you be playing a 2300AD style campaign and want to simulate the discovery of a few low tech races before the Kafer-equivalent shows up :)

Boronide for Fuel Refineries

Fuel Refineries currently require 120 units of Duranium. Given the increased fuel needs due to the jump point changes, more refineries are required so the 100% Duranium requirement is unbalanced.

For v6.50 Fuel Refineries will require 30 Duranium and 90 Boronide (as fuel harvester modules already require Boronide)

(this is obviously not connected to the problem in my Colonial Wars campaign that many nations are running out of fuel and can't afford the Duranium for extra refineries) :)