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Posted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 3:57 pm Post subject: DXM's Digital Xperiment Mod
Happy New Year, everybody!
New Year, new projects... I've been wanting to do a massive mod for SE5 for years now, but only fairly recently have I had a more solid idea of what all I'd like to include... This mod will, hopefully, add enough new material to the game to give it a sort of 'fresh' feeling again... I intend to add tons of new stuff; new components, new vehicles, new planets, new stellar phenomena, and also new models & textures... It will also incorporate ideas from various mods, such as Balance Mod, Fyron's Quadrant Mod, GrittyGalaxy and others... I welcome all comments & suggestions, though, of course, I'll only add in things that I like(and can figure out how to do)... And, needless to say, I'll be soliciting advice from all of you on things I don't know how to do...
Since I'm starting from the ground up, let's first discuss planets...
In a previous thread, marhawkman ponted out that you can only have 5 colonizer types... But, he also suggested it might be possible to have more than 5 planet types if some of the colonizers can be used on more than 1 type... So, that's my first question - can it work like that?
Planet Ideas: In the stock game, we have Rock, Ice & Gas Giant... Part, but not all, of my new mod will be an attempt to make some things a bit more realistic. So, how is an Ice planet different from a Rock planet? On the one hand, you could point to Pluto and say that's what an Ice Planet is... But, in the game, we're just as likely to call something like Hoth an Ice planet... But Hoth was just a Terrestrial planet with snow... The only things that might really be said to be made of (mostly) ice are comets, possibly some asteroids, and Kuiper Belt Objects...(though some moons have a lot of ice on them) In fact, if you're looking for a planet that has a lot of ice, it would be Uranus & Neptune that spring to the top of the list... But as they don't have solid surfaces you could actually land on, for all practical applications they are still Gas Giants... The way I figure it, Ice & Rock are just 'flavors' of Terrestrial planets... To this, you could add a "Hot" or "Molten" flavor as well...
If the multi-type colonizer will work, I'd like to have Molten, Rock & Ice as separate types... Mostly for the sake of getting race-appropriate homeworlds - you wouldn't want the Excalbians starting on an icy world, or the Breen spawning on a lush jungle planet... But if you can't have the multi-coloinzer, I would condense Molten/Rock/Ice to just the Terrestrial type, as they are mostly the same, functionally...
I plan to have colonizable asteroids, without having colonizable asteroids... That is, there will be asteroid fields that can't be colonized as in Stock (because your colony might get smashed)... But there will be a new planet type, "Irregular", which will cover all colonizable bodies that are too small for gravity to force them into a spherical shape... I'd also like to have "Artificial" types... These would not be "Constructed = True" worlds, but rather leftovers from vanished races... And, depending on how things work out, I'm considering some kind of "Exotic" type for really bizarre alien races...
But, like I said, does anybody know if the whole multi-colonizer approach works? Back to top
Er... not quite. Each colonization ability can only work on one physical type. If you have more than 5 physical types one of them will end up sharing a tech area with one of the other types. IE, if a player starts as type 6, they'll start with the tech to colonize one of the first 5 types. BUT that physical type will remain uncolonizable. It is a potentially useful feature to have extra physical types, but they'll always be selectable as a starting type even if you can't colonize them. Not sure but you might be able to rig a script to colonize them or replace them with something useful. Isopsyco rigged something similar in his version of Asteroids. Back to top
Ah... I see, I misunderstood your previous post... So, no multi-colonizers. Oh, well. I'm glad to have an answer, even if it is a bit disappointing. Anyway, it looks like my planet line up will be: Terrestrial, Gas Giant, Irregular, Artificial & Exotic. A sixth uncolonizable type might be useful, if you wanted an alien race that was somehow tied to their homeworld...
IIRC, in game setup, there are options for only allowing players to colonize their home planet type &/or native atmosphere type... I never played with those options, as they felt too limiting... But, I'm thinking about either removing the terraforming facility or else severely limiting the valid physical/atmosphere combos... It kind of stands to reason; in reality, gas giants only have one type of atmosphere - Hydrogen. (Though, you could have Helium as a second type.) Terrestrial planets wouldn't have enough gravity to hold on to Hydrogen atmospheres, but could have a number of others... Anything that would fall into the Irregular category wouldn't have enough gravity to have any atmosphere at all... Since it would be awkward to terraform an Artificial planet, I think I'll just give them an 'Artificial' atmosphere type, which means all colonies will be domed - then make special Sizes for them, so they can have relatively high domed values... Back to top
that can be done. I did that in a mod experiment I tinkered with a while back. Machine planets had Argon/Oxygen, Quantum filaments had Quantum Haze, etc... with each "planet" having only one atmosphere type.
This mod had weird ideas as to what constituted planets... planned ideas: Machine worlds were rather normal, except I was planning to stick various logos from Transformers on all of them. Crystal worlds were a collection object like asteroids, but pointy. Quantum filaments were thin ring-world like structures. Subspace pockets would have looked like warp points. I forge the fifth one, but the sixth was a brown dwarf. Back to top
that can be done. I did that in a mod experiment I tinkered with a while back. Machine planets had Argon/Oxygen, Quantum filaments had Quantum Haze, etc... with each "planet" having only one atmosphere type.
This mod had weird ideas as to what constituted planets... planned ideas: Machine worlds were rather normal, except I was planning to stick various logos from Transformers on all of them. Crystal worlds were a collection object like asteroids, but pointy. Quantum filaments were thin ring-world like structures. Subspace pockets would have looked like warp points. I forge the fifth one, but the sixth was a brown dwarf.
Sounds pretty cool. How far did you get with it?
But did it have any cube planets? Or beer planets?
If you continue developing FrEee, you could add Alcohol as a resource type! I remember playing Anno 1602 and the game suddenly telling me that "the alcohol is running out." I was like "Where?!" Back to top
I'd gone through and completely redid universe generation to properly spawn the new planet types. But I used mostly just repurposed stock assets. I'd started working on making new assets, but hadn't gotten very far. It was mostly a conceptual thing, and I learned a lot that I later used when making Warp 10. Back to top
Okay... The following posts will contain a series of 11 scale charts, featuring real & fictional examples of the sort of possible 'planets' & stars being considered for inclusion in this mod... I'm hoping to get input from forum members as to what sounds reasonable for some of the actual figures, as they will appear in the mod...
To begin with, I'd like to have a discussion about population, facility & storage space figures... Personally, I do better with a visual reference. In case anyone else does as well, I've compiled these images. The images should all be more or less to scale. There are 11 different scale factors, ranging from 50 meters per pixel all the way to 10 million kilometers per pixel...
Here we have 4 natural bodies - Deimos, the smaller of Mars' two moons; Dactyl, an asteroid and also a moon of a larger asteroid(Ida); and a pair of comets of relatively average size... Also, 4 sci-fi space stations & 4 actual, proposed space habitats...
The Caretaker Array featured a holodeck-like internal habitat of unknown capacity... The Terrasphere featured a full-scale replica of a portion of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge... Babylon 5 was an O'Neill-class station, named after the designer of the Island Two, and had a population of 250,000... B4 is larger, but was never used to hold civilians... The Bernal Sphere & the Stanford Torus are NASA designs from the 1970s, each intended to hold 10,000 people... The 'ASTEN' is a 2009 design from a Canadian student, intended to hold a maximum of 22,400 people... Island Two, one of three 'island' designs, and also known as an O'Neill Habitat, is intended to support a population of up to 800,000...
As SE5 counts population by the millions, how would one deal with populations lower than that? Avoid using small habitats? Round up to "1m" of population? Pretend that "1m" is actually "1,000" instead of 1 million? Back to top
Well, I'm fully aware that concessions will need to be made, based on the limitations of the game... But even if the differences are not as great as they would be in reality, I'd still like to make things rather diverse... I've always felt that the idea of a domed tiny colony only having a single facility is silly... IIRC, in FQM, you can find yourself with a single tiny planet in an asteroid system - which means you can't even build a resource facility & have room left to build a spaceport, which kinda makes it pointless to have a colony there... One thing I figured on doing, probably, was to have several different sizes of facility... With the larger ones having proportionally better stats... At any rate, in reality, even if you had a colony of only 10k people on an artificial habitat, it would still have the abilities of producing organics via farms, having a spaceport to get any extra resources back to the empire, the ability to produce supplies via solar panels, the ability to manufacture ships or at least units even if very slowly... See what I mean? I mean, yeah, the stock game has something like earth only having 20 facilities, and in reality there are millions of facilities... Obviously, I'm not suggesting room for millions, but I still feel like there must be some kind of middle ground... Albeit closer to stock than to reality.
So... Maybe we should discuss what different sizes of facility there should be? Back to top
Well, I need to post the other charts to show things visually to anyone interested... But as for the raw numbers... Based on real-life examples, Irregular 'planets' range from ~1km to ~2,000km in diameter, Terrestrial 'planets' from ~400km to ~30,000km and Gas Giants from ~20,000km to ~300,000km. So, are three different sizes of facility enough? Back to top
This chart shows 11 natural bodies & 8 fictional ones... Neutron Stars are featured in FQM, but are scaled to be larger than most planets... Although yet to be observed close-up, real neutron stars are theorized to be approximately 20km across - barely the size of Manhattan, and certainly very small compared to most planets... Obviously, there must be concessions to the limitations of the game, but I'd still like to have things as realistic as is practicable...
The Star Forge was automated, but clearly could have supported a large population had it been converted into a habitat... Cloud City has a population of over 5 million... The crew sizes of the Death Stars are unknown, but would easily be in the millions... Population of the Cylon Colony is unknown, but it apparently held the bulk of their population... The Ancient Sphere from ST:ENT was part of a network of space-altering machines, but at least one of them was converted into a very limited habitat... Crew size of the Transwarp Hub is unknown, but given how little space is used by Borg drones, it could have been very large... Rama had no actual population, but was nonetheless designed as a space habitat... Which brings to mind a question; is there any way to combine the properties of a ship & a planet...? I'm guessing the answer is no. But, if you know different, feel free to surprise me! Back to top
Well, no. You can't have functional population on a ship AFAIK.
Although... It might be interesting to work on making planets move. I know you can give them a cloak.
As for Neutron stars... the apparent in-game size can be explained as simply being a visual representation of what the object looks like. Black holes are physically smaller than a hydrogen atom... BUT you'd render their event horizon, not the actual object itself. Stars are similar in that you render the Corona and in some cases extended Corona rather than just the surface. Back to top
Never tried moving planets, not sure how to go about that...
With regards to neutron stars... Perhaps one could apply a more prominent bitmap effect for its corona? Or even give it an accretion disk? More importantly, neutron stars should probably have some effect on ships... At the very least, Sector Damage - as the neutron star's immense gravity & magnetic field would surely destroy ships... Ideally, it should have effects beyond its own sector, though... Either Movement Toward Center or Random Movement. Does SE5 even have Random Movement? I know SE4 does, but I can't remember about SE5...
Here, again, are 11 natural bodies... And 6 fictional ones. Centerpoint Station, before being used as a 'starbuster', was used as a space habitat... It's central power core had been colonized and dubbed 'Hollowtown'... Yonada was an actual 'hollow' worldship, and carried the entire Fabrini civilization... Again, given the way the Borg pack their drones in, the Unicomplex could hold a population in the billions...
Of the proposed planet types, we have yet to see any Terrestrial or Gas Giants... However, Haumea is the largest 'Irregular' type known, which serves to demonstrate the considerable size difference in the various types... Every now and then, there is the suggestion of a 'terraformed' asteroid... The only example that I can think of at the moment is one from the game Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds... An asteroid is featured in a pair of missions, in the first it is an ordinary asteroid(albeit inhabited), in the second it has been at least partly terraformed and has an atmosphere... As far as I know, if you change the atmosphere of a planet in SE5, it swaps the model for a random one of the same size & type, with the new atmosphere... Easy enough, given that all stock planets are spheres... But, an Irregular 'planet' would be unique, thus it would be rather odd if changing atmospheres caused the planet to completely change shape... Unless somebody knows a way around that? Back to top
In theory you could use custom sizes to segregate the weird shapes... the catch is that you'd be unable to use the any/any/any method of spawning planets. Since there are certain sizes/shapes you wouldn't want to see in the starting map(assuming that certain shapes are by default limited to certain atmospheres).
This trick utilizes the distinction between stellar object sizes (tiny, small, medium, large, huge) and actual planet sizes(tiny, small, medium, large, huge, ringworld, sphereworld).
I forget if I ported it into Warp10, but I once tried to figure out how to make it so you could either create or find ringworlds/sphereworlds... I had to duplicate the size entry. Yeah the "constructed object" flag sets whether you can randomly generate something. If yes, you can't randomly spawn it during galaxy creation. If no, you can't use the tech items to build it later. Awkward huh?
In theory you could add special sizes, such as medium-oblong, or something, to make it so that you have a sub-class of medium planets that aren't round. Back to top
Sounds like an interesting work-around... But, with several dozen different Irregulars, that could get rather effort intensive... Grr... My iMac -the single most expensive computer I've ever bought- is dying on me after less than a year and a half! They do not make HDDs like they used to... The number I've had die on me in the last year or so is just unbelievable! I think it's time to switch to SSDs...
Anyway, I'm just spitballing here, but right now I'm planning on 14 'natural' sizes and 15 'artificial' sizes... Though, the later is subject to change depending on available models... The names I'm using for the naturals go like this: Minuscule, Miniature, Diminutive, Petite, Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, Massive, Gigantic, Titanic, Gargantuan & Colossal.
Obviously, this chart is dominated by the smallest of the Terrestrial 'planets'... Vesta & the Unicomplex are provided for comparison... Given the examples we've looked at already, we can define a rough size range for the Irregular 'planets' - from Dactyl to Haumea, Irregulars range from about 1 km to 2,000 km in diameter... The smallest Terrestrial 'planet' is just over 400 km in diameter... As we've already seen, Artificial 'planets' can be as small as the smallest Irregular, and given the size of the Sphereworld in the stock game, can be far larger than any natural planet...
One question that could be asked about Terrestrial 'planets' is whether to stick with what appears to be natural(at least in our system) -lots of airless bodies & only a few atmospheres- or is it more fun to include a greater variety of planets with atmospheres(esp. oxygen)? Back to top
Joined: Aug 04, 2003 Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:31 pm Post subject:
Well, realistically speaking, only the smaller natural planets tend to lack an atmosphere. Larger ones (say, the size of Mars and bigger) will tend to have accumulated some stellar gases and formed them into some sort of atmosphere. It's just that smaller planets tend to be more numerous. Also, I imagine that artificial planets will more likely than not have an atmosphere, simply because they were designed that way, just like the sphereworlds in stock - if you're an oxygen race, you build an oxygen sphereworld! That's no space station - it's a spreadsheet! Back to top
Good point, perhaps then, I should be asking whether or not to have lots & lots of little worlds and fewer big ones, or should the mix be more equal...?
My thinking on Artificial 'planets' so far has been that they would have an "Artificial" atmosphere - thus, all colonies would be domed. And then, just give the domed figures the same value as non-domed... Do you think it would be better to let them have multiple atmosphere types?
Here we have 10 more Terrestrial 'planets', all of which are still relatively small... And, for comparison, Haumea - by far the largest of the Irregular 'planets'... Although I'm sure that some sci-fi story, somewhere, has a race that would have started on an airless asteroid, I can't think of any... So, I think it is doubtful that any race would need to start on an Irregular 'planet', thus I see no issues with balance if we give them smaller pop/fac/cargo specs... Something that could be discussed, is whether or not the different planet types should have higher amounts of a certain resource than the others, and if so, which resource would be higher on which type? Or, should resources be linked to some other factor? Back to top
Yes, it probably would... May be a moot point anyway, I can't find which data file controls resource % values for planets... What might have been nice would be linking high organics values to planets that are obviously lush with plant life, etc..
And now 8 more natural bodies and one Artificial... These are the largest of the Terrestrial planets... There are many exoplanets larger than Earth, but the one shown here is the largest exoplanet believed to be of a rocky/solid nature... The Earth-like conditions shown here are purely the imagination of the artist; no exoplanet has been observed so closely... The Halo artifact, from the popular game, is of considerable size... While I don't play the game, I've listened to one or two of the audiobooks and it is my understanding that these artifacts were not populated... Nevertheless, given its artificial nature, its maximum population must have been a significant percentage of the population of an Earth-like planet... We can now say that Terrestrial 'planets' range in size from around 400 km to 30,000 km in diameter... But, should the really big ones be anything like Earth?
Additionally, Titan -which is just over 5,000km in diameter- is the smallest body known to have a significant atmosphere. This seems like a logical dividing line between those natural bodies able to have atmosphere and those that are not. Going by the naming convention I'm planning on, this means all 'sizes' "Tiny" and smaller would be airless, which would include all the "Irregular" planets. Back to top
Oddly enough, we can see the full range of Gas Giant sizes on this single chart... Just as there is a slight overlap between the largest Irregulars & the smallest Terrestrials, so too is there an overlap between the largest Terrestrials and the smallest Gas Giants... Though vastly larger than a neutron star, a White Dwarf is still slightly smaller than Earth... From this chart, we can see that Gas Giants range from about 20,000 km to around 300,000 km in diameter... One can always say that there might be balance issues given the massive difference in size between Terrestrials & Gas Giants... But, it could be argued that natives of Gas planets would be much larger than those of Terrestrials... And, there might be other factors, like a very limited atmospheric layer that is safe for habitation... Perhaps, Gas Giants should have specs that aren't too much higher than Terrestrials...
The tentative concept I'm using right now doesn't follow an exact progression, but here's what it looks like:
Minuscule = Irregulars ~10km
Miniature = Irregulars ~50km
Diminutive = Irregulars ~100km
Petite = Irregulars ~500km
Tiny = Irregulars & Terrestrials ~2,500km
Small = Terrestrials ~5,000km
Medium = Terrestrials ~10,000km
Large = Terrestrials ~20,000km
Huge = Terrestrials ~30,000km
Massive = Gas Giants ~25,000km
Gigantic = Gas Giants ~50,000km
Titanic = Gas Giants ~100,000km
Gargantuan = Gas Giants ~200,000km
Colossal = Gas Giants ~300,000km
Technically, there should be Terrestrial (spherical) planets as small as "Petite" - but I didn't feel like there should be more than one over-lap size...what do you think? Earth would fall into the "Medium" size range... At first, I intended to have one over-lap size between Terrestrials & Gas Giants, but I decided I wanted Gas Giants to have specs that wouldn't be as proportionally higher than Terrestrials as their physical difference...
I won't type out everything just now(the PC I have the data files on has somehow lost wifi ability, so I have to use another computer for Internet), but here are the current Max. Pop. / Domed Max. Pop. figures:
Minuscule = 10m / 1m
Miniature = 50m / 5m
Diminutive = 100m / 10m
Petite = 500m / 50m
Tiny = 2.5b / 250m
Small = 5b / 500m
Medium = 10b / 1b
Large = 20b / 2b
Huge = 30b / 3b
Massive = 5b / 500m
Gigantic = 10b / 1b
Titanic = 20b / 2b
Gargantuan = 40b / 4b
Colossal = 60b / 6b
As you can see, I've kept the Domed figure one order of magnitude less than the non-domed figure... Though, I've wondered if Gas Giants might should have a larger relative Domed figure...? Back to top
I just KNEW somebody was gonna ask that! Yes, I should have rounded down or said "approximately" or put a "~" in there... The thing about looking up the size of extra-solar planets or stars is that their size is listed as X.X Earth Radii, or X.X Jupiter Radii, or X.X Solar Radii... So, I just multiplied the X.X figures by the Exact figures for either Earth, Jupiter or Sol... The result, of course, is a very specific figure. It is misleading, but that's how I did it... And I don't want to go to the trouble of re-doing the charts.
In fact, here's another chart. You'll notice the far too specific sizes of the Brown Dwarfs...
Having covered all the natural planets, we move on to stars... Admittedly, they are more window-dressing than functional in the game... Unless larger stars could generate more solar-supplies, is there a way to script that...?
While we've already seen neutron stars & white dwarves, they are actually stellar remnants rather than 'living' stars... Here we have Brown Drawf stars, which, as I understand it, are like large gas giants that may have some fusion going on inside them, but not full-blown fusion like a 'real' star... Red Dwarf stars are the most plentiful & longest-lived stars in the universe... Which brings to mind a question; what controls the chance of a star going nova?
Again, there is overlap - while a red drawf has more mass than a gas giant, the smallest of them have smaller diameters than the largest gas giants... Then there are Orange stars which are a bit smaller than our sun... And Yellow stars like ours... Back to top
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