Tiny rocks and gas giants question

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andy
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Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby andy » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:26 pm

Is there anyway to build a colony or a planet in a system that has only tiny rocks and/or gas giants?

I'm guessing that the answer is no. It seems that you cannot colonize tiny worlds and you can't build a planet unless you already have a colony in the system.
Last edited by andy on Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Arioch
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby Arioch » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:39 pm

No.

gaerzi
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby gaerzi » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:53 pm

You can claim the system by sending outposts, but you can't do anything productive.

You can try modding the game to allow populated outposts to do colony projects, though. But of course if you do that, you won't be able to reliably report bugs with your saves, as the bugs may be caused by your modding instead of being from the base game.

Sometimes you'll find systems that have no planet at all, just a star. With those you can't do anything at all, not even send an outpost.

andy
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby andy » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:19 pm

Slightly unrelated, but it's kinda weird that you can construct a medium or large planet in an empty orbit, but you can't construct a planet if it already has something in the orbit.

However, constructing and terraforming planets is so late in the game that I doubt it matters much to competitive game-play.

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Arioch
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby Arioch » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:42 am

andy wrote:Slightly unrelated, but it's kinda weird that you can construct a medium or large planet in an empty orbit, but you can't construct a planet if it already has something in the orbit.

However, constructing and terraforming planets is so late in the game that I doubt it matters much to competitive game-play.

And that function will be removed in the next expansion.

We also might remove Tiny worlds, since they only seem to anger people.

gaerzi
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby gaerzi » Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:41 am

Not as much as the Viscids!

It could be good if it was possible to do something with non-colonizable worlds besides use them to anchor orbitals. Perhaps mining outposts or something like that. Not full-fledged colonies but something somewhat interesting and valuable.

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PrivateHudson
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby PrivateHudson » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:56 am

gaerzi wrote:Not as much as the Viscids!

It could be good if it was possible to do something with non-colonizable worlds besides use them to anchor orbitals. Perhaps mining outposts or something like that. Not full-fledged colonies but something somewhat interesting and valuable.

It could be driven to the point where player will consider extensive infrastructure over uninhabited worlds as real alternative to colonization of bad planet. Environment maintenance cost could play a role in that.

DanTheTerrible
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby DanTheTerrible » Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:33 am

gaerzi wrote:It could be good if it was possible to do something with non-colonizable worlds besides use them to anchor orbitals. Perhaps mining outposts or something like that. Not full-fledged colonies but something somewhat interesting and valuable.


I think Arioch has mentioned eventually including one or more races that inhabit gas giants. Plans for this seem nebulous but if the game continues to be developed we may see this in a future DLC expansion or something. I am not aware of any plans to do anything with tiny planets.

Edit: personally I find it a bit unrealistic that planets are required to build space stations at all. I see nothing in SiS's lore that would prevent building fueling and sensor/communication platforms in arbitrary points in deep space with no planet or star present.

gaerzi
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby gaerzi » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:43 pm

Even if a race that can settle on them is added, something would still be nice for the normal races.

MOO:CTS has gas giants and asteroid belts. Both can be turned into normal rocky planets with late game technologies, but before that point, you can build installations on them, giving you a resource income. You can choose between either a commercial venture (wanna mine Tibanna gas?) or a scientific one. In SIS, tiny rocks could give a choice between mining for metals and mining for credits I suppose.

We could even imagine that gas giants could get their own special resource pools. Tiny rocks could get the mineral resources of normal worlds (mineral rich and/or rare gems), perhaps even artifacts. Gas giants could perhaps have artifacts too, but would otherwise have brand new resources, like rare gases.

Outpost transports could be fitted with surface modules allowing them to deploy into such planetary stations instead of a regular space station.

AMX
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby AMX » Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:22 pm

Just remembered another old game - Perry Rhodan: Operation Eastside.
Gas Giants there could not be settled - but they had moons, and the moons were treated exactly like planets.

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Arioch
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby Arioch » Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:21 pm

We want to avoid the situation where you can always place colonies on all four orbital slots. This is partly for the flavor of the game -- good colony sites should be rare enough that factions may get into conflict over the best ones -- and partly for mechanical considerations, as increasing the number of colonies per system increases the amount of micromanagement and late-game bloat. Unfortunately, the current terraforming system works directly against this principle, which is one of the reasons why we're changing it.

The idea behind gas giants and tiny worlds is that they're "terrain" to add interest to each system instead of just empty orbits. They have minimal utility in that you can place outposts around them, but they were never intended to be colonizable. I can understand that players reflexively want to exploit everything, and so there's a natural frustration when they can't colonize Tiny worlds, so unless we can figure out some kind of exploitation scheme for Tiny worlds, the simplest solution may be to just remove them from the game.

MOO-CTS implements gas giants and asteroid belts by allowing the player to build bases on them that provide either Science or Currency directly to the general fund (rather than to a particular colony). I think this kind of mechanism for non-colony exploitation would work for SIS, and in a sense you can already do it -- you can set up an Outpost containing a Science Stations module around a gas giant or tiny world, though the 2 Science you get from it is hardly worth the 2 Coin upkeep that it costs. One way to deal with this is to have the Science output of the Science Stations module scale with where it is placed, and to add more planetary specials that can boost science outpost and give the research outposts something hypothetical to study (as I think an ordinary gas giant probably isn't that exciting for scientists of this tech level).

We've always wanted to implement asteroid belts, and I think exploitation with a Mining Outpost that yields Metal could work. The biggest issue here is how to represent asteroid fields graphically in our system. We don't have a true 3D engine that would be required to represent rotating asteroids (the planets are done with clever shader tricks and are not really 3D), and most of the 2D animation options that we've discussed would probably look terrible, in my opinion. So I think the right thing to do here would be to use a simple static 2D image. I think that worked acceptably for the Warp Nodes. Asteroid belts (and gas giants) could also have more special features, like Mineral Rich or Mineral Poor, or various scientific anomalies that could generate science. Perhaps the presence of an asteroid mining base in a system could unlock the construction of asteroid bases in other colonies there (since I don't think an asteroid fortress would be of much use in that orbital slot -- unless you're a pirate).

If we added asteroid belts, I think that would eliminate the reason for Tiny worlds to exist, and we could simply remove them.

I'd also like to add a special native race that lives on gas giants that gives an opportunity to have actual colonies there, but this will probably need to be paired with some kind of special resource/planet special to make such a colony worthwhile.

We might add moons at some point as some kind of planet special that gives some kind of bonus. But we would not want to make them colonizable for the reasons mentioned above, in addition to the UI/graphics issues that this would present.

DanTheTerrible wrote:personally I find it a bit unrealistic that planets are required to build space stations at all. I see nothing in SiS's lore that would prevent building fueling and sensor/communication platforms in arbitrary points in deep space with no planet or star present.

While one could theoretically place an outpost in an empty orbit, I don't really see a compelling gameplay reason to allow it. I think star systems always have at least one planet, so there's always someplace to put a Fuel Depot Outpost, which is the only current use case I think think of. I can imagine min-maxers feeling compelled to put something in every empty orbit, and that's something I'd like to avoid.

AMX
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby AMX » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:17 pm

Arioch wrote:We want to avoid the situation where you can always place colonies on all four orbital slots. This is partly for the flavor of the game -- good colony sites should be rare enough that factions may get into conflict over the best ones -- and partly for mechanical considerations, as increasing the number of colonies per system increases the amount of micromanagement and late-game bloat.
...
We might add moons at some point as some kind of planet special that gives some kind of bonus. But we would not want to make them colonizable for the reasons mentioned above, in addition to the UI/graphics issues that this would present.

Makes sense - the approach to colonies is radically different...
I think star systems always have at least one planet, so there's always someplace to put a Fuel Depot Outpost, which is the only current use case I think think of.

Completely planetless systems do happen, but I can't recall ever seeing more than one in the same game.

DanTheTerrible
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby DanTheTerrible » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:31 am

AMX wrote:Just remembered another old game - Perry Rhodan: Operation Eastside.
Gas Giants there could not be settled - but they had moons, and the moons were treated exactly like planets.


No chit? Somebody made a Perry Rhodan game? Man I remember reading those books as a kid. Can I blink on "tell me more"?

DanTheTerrible
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby DanTheTerrible » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:58 am

I would encourage the separation of refueling from communications. Maybe create a separate station module "hyperspace relay" that provides a source point for detection and communications. This could orbit any planet.

However, I would require fuel depots to either have a local source of fuel or transportation infrastructure that carries fuel to the depot from other systems. I would adopt the Traveller concept that any hydrogen source will do as a fuel source. This means a gas giant, surface water, ice, or even an inferno planet (CO2 in the atmosphere), but desert and barren planets won't do. More difficult fuel sources might increase the upkeep cost of the fuel station, i.e. island planets would be easy but infernos would be hard. Note that with nuclear energy available processing elemental hydrogen out of compounds such as water, methane, or CO2(?) is pretty trivial, and so is melting ice.

Transportation infrastructure would mean some number of cargo points out of the trade pool. Maybe 5 points, but that number can be tweaked.

Edit: [facepalm] Glad I caught this before anyone else did. Um, nuclear energy isn't going to help you extract hydrogen from CO2. I added a warning question mark to the above. Somehow I conflated extracting oxygen with extracting hydrogen. Infernos are still probably usable as fuel sources due to the presence of water vapor and methane in the atmosphere.
Last edited by DanTheTerrible on Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

gaerzi
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Re: Tiny rocks and gas giants question

Postby gaerzi » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:41 am

A Cloud City-stye "surface" outpost on gas giant could have zero upkeep, making it potentially more interesting than an orbital station, and allowing to remove the special casing for Fargone.


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