Author Topic: Terraforming For Fun  (Read 7709 times)

Offline SolusLupus

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Terraforming For Fun
« on: June 16, 2012, 11:15:34 PM »
So, I recently got Aurora, a 4x space civ game involving FTL travel through jump gates, alien life, etc.  It's basically the Dwarf Fortress of 4X's.

I like it so far, though it naturally doesn't have a lot of graphics to work with:  http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/5876/lyuten.jpg

One of the fun things you can do is terraform worlds, by adding or subtracting elements.  For instance, if you wanted to be silly, you could remove the nitrogen from your home planet's atmosphere (if it's truly Earthlike and your people are like humans), but keep in oxygen, just to see what would happen (it doesn't actually include home-made global warming gasses or such stuff, at least not by default!)

What you can add/subtract:
Hydrogen
Helium
Methane
Ammonia
Water
Neon
Nitrogen
Carbon Monoxide
Nitrogen Oxide
Oxygen
Hydrogen Sulphide
Argon
Carbon Dioxide
Hydrogen Dioxide
Sulphur Dioxide
Chlorine
Flourine
Bromine
Iodine
Generic "Safe Greenhouse Gas"
Generic "Anti-Greenhouse Gas".

I'm currently playing as a German-inspired Earth, with German names for everything, but if I restart, I want to play as a group of intensely curious but highly sociopathic alien lifeforms that like to add and subtract elements from atmosphere just to see "what will happen", especially if there's alien races on it.  Then I realized, of all the ways humans could go extinct from contact with alien life, that would be the most humiliating; they were bored and wanted to see what would happen...

The idea amuses me.  This is more evidence I am secretly a very sadistic bastard.
“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” -- Kahlil Gibran

My blog about life, universe, and everything: http://solusl.blogspot.com/

Offline ka9q

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 05:24:57 PM »
So what happens when you change the atmosphere? I'd expect a pure O2 atmosphere to have lots of big forest fires.

If the game permits faster-than-light travel it's hard to assume it faithfully follows the laws of physics in everything else...

Offline SolusLupus

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 08:48:14 PM »
It's standard in most interstellar sci-fi that the one impossible thing it should allow is FTL travel, since that is just plain easier to write around, I'm sure you would agree.  That does not mean that it has to ignore the laws of physics in all other areas.

It doesn't measure planets down to the smallest of forests, and habitability is basically abstracted.  However, a pure-oxygen environment is not as inhabitable as a good mixture, which affects growth rate of colonists.  Furthermore, if you can make a world as close to your own home planet as possible (by raising or lowering the temperature, introducing the breathable gas, offsetting that gas enough with a neutral gas like nitrogen, etc.), you don't need to live in habitats, simply named "infrastructure" -- and if your colony outgrows its infrastructure, the death rate goes up incredibly.  So you could possibly say that it's part of forest fires, abstracted.

Habitability modifier basically means the amount of infrastructure you need per million colonists.  On a X1.00 world, for instance, you need 100 Infrastructure per million.  For something like Venus, I believe it's X8.00 or so, meaning you need 800 Infrastructure per million, as they need to be built thicker, have far more atmospheric control, protect from poisonous gas, etc.  There's ways to modify that, and that's what terraforming is all about -- messing with the atmosphere :)

Also, space travel is not yet Newtonian; the programmer is working on that, but it takes a LOT of work to get the AI to work around Newtonian physics.  Right now, there is no Delta-V or inertia construct.

This is very much a work in progress, like the Kerbal Space Program and Dwarf Fortress (which the creator intends to make into an overall civilization simulator)
« Last Edit: June 22, 2012, 08:51:24 PM by SolusLupus »
“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” -- Kahlil Gibran

My blog about life, universe, and everything: http://solusl.blogspot.com/

Offline SolusLupus

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2012, 09:47:48 PM »
Whoops, yeah.  Should've known Venus would be more inhabitable than that... it requires about 2400 Infrastructure per million.  Huuuuge habitats, can't leave them much, after all.
“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” -- Kahlil Gibran

My blog about life, universe, and everything: http://solusl.blogspot.com/

Offline ka9q

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2012, 09:54:22 PM »
Well, there is a plausible way to travel interstellar and even intergalactic distances within the normal human lifetimes of the crew, without suspended animation. Travel very close to the speed of light, and the Lorenz contraction will make the distance you have to cover seem quite a bit less. The same mechanism (special relativity) provides one-way time-travel into the future.

General relativity also provides a way to see well into the future. Imagine a story about a rich physicist (contradiction in terms, I know) who develops a terminal disease. He regrets that he won't be around to see how things work out for his family and the rest of the human species. But he finds a way: he travels to a black hole and jumps in. As he approaches the event horizon, the rest of the universe seems to speed up, and the light from it becomes increasingly blue shifted. Watching radio signals from earth, he controls his approach to the black hole so that the end of the future earth time interval that interests him coincides with his death from the disease. Of course there's no return from this trip either, but those he leaves behind will not see him die until after they do, even if they live to old age.

Offline SolusLupus

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2012, 09:55:35 PM »
Well, there is a plausible way to travel interstellar and even intergalactic distances within the normal human lifetimes of the crew, without suspended animation.

Okay.  Put that easily into a game about settling different solar systems, then, without having time protract into centuries.

Because it seems to me you've totally missed the dang point.
“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” -- Kahlil Gibran

My blog about life, universe, and everything: http://solusl.blogspot.com/

Offline ka9q

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2012, 10:08:42 PM »
Actually, you don't need to terraform Venus. You don't colonize the surface; instead you build a cloud city like the one above Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back. At at altitude of about 55 km the Venusian atmosphere has a temperature of 27C and a pressure of 530 millibar - and ordinary air is a buoyant lifting gas in the dense CO2 atmosphere. To simplify the structure you could make the habitat atmosphere 60% N2 and 40% O2 so its total pressure could match the 530 mb outside pressure and still have a sea-level-earth ppO2.

Water can be synthesized from the sulfuric acid present in the Venusian atmosphere as clouds and possibly rain. Oxygen can be extracted from either the sulfuric acid or the CO2. And nitrogen, useful as a diluent gas for the habitat atmosphere, is 3.5% of the Venusian atmosphere.

Offline SolusLupus

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2012, 10:09:24 PM »
That's what Orbital Habitats represent.
“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” -- Kahlil Gibran

My blog about life, universe, and everything: http://solusl.blogspot.com/

Offline ka9q

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2012, 10:09:47 PM »
Why? You can certainly use relativistic travel to settle other solar systems. You just can't ever go back to the earth you knew, or communicate with them in real time.

Offline SolusLupus

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2012, 10:11:10 PM »
...Nevermind.   ::)
“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” -- Kahlil Gibran

My blog about life, universe, and everything: http://solusl.blogspot.com/

Offline Al Johnston

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2012, 08:42:40 AM »
You just can't ever go back to the earth you knew, or communicate with them in real time.

For interesting stories involving multiple locations you generally need ways for the inhabitants of those locations to interact...
"Cheer up!" they said. "It could be worse!" they said.
So I did.
And it was.

Offline SolusLupus

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2012, 01:45:58 PM »
Speaking of which, I found my first real alien race!

(Precursors don't count;  they were an old interstellar race that were wiped out by an extragalactic group of invaders, leaving behind only automated defense systems that like to screw you over whenever they meet; there's also swarmers, which is one solar system with a race that has no jump ability, and are basically, from what I know, are silicon-based mineral creatures that essentially take over a ship and have them go find other ships to take over or something, leading into swarming tactics with tons of small ships).

I have a diplomatic team trying to decipher their language now.  I also need to form a xenologist team and an espionage team, just in case.
“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” -- Kahlil Gibran

My blog about life, universe, and everything: http://solusl.blogspot.com/

Offline SolusLupus

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2012, 04:31:55 PM »
...I just noticed something.








Something is not right here...














 :o
“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” -- Kahlil Gibran

My blog about life, universe, and everything: http://solusl.blogspot.com/

Offline Count Zero

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Re: Terraforming For Fun
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2012, 05:47:04 AM »
Quote
of all the ways humans could go extinct from contact with alien life, that would be the most humiliating; they were bored and wanted to see what would happen...

Reminds me of this
"What makes one step a giant leap is all the steps before."