Example Ernie's Earthling Empire (tutorial)

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Example Ernie's Earthling Empire (tutorial)

Postby Lomn on Sat 11 Oct 2014 19:14

I had even more alliteration for the thread title, but it ran into the length limit. So only four consecutive E-words.

Anyway, porting this out into its own thread, Ernie has now posted month 2 of his tutorial campaign.

In this month, Ernie completes a habitable world survey, issues a complex fleet order, learns about prototype hulls and late prototype completion, pays a new class fee, uncrates some small craft, sells some IU, and talks about "income" vs "wealth" and how it's safe to do things like sell IU to pay for stuff without recalculating your R&D costs. Plus, I stack the PRNG to create a breakthrough that falls through the priority tree in order to accelerate an R&D project.

Comments, suggestions, corrections, and feedback are all welcome. I'm not sure how far I'll run this out, but a few more months should get to colonization with a PTU conversion factor, WP survey completion, R&D project completion, unit refits, some sort of exploration SOP (I'll probably just reference one of the simple defaults in the rules), maybe first contact with an NPR, war fleet de-mothballing... if I'm not careful, this thing will spiral out of control.
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Postby VoidStalker_WoE on Sat 11 Oct 2014 20:51

Yes!!! :D

I cannot wait to see what happens. I loved his setup and first turn, and Highly recommend him to any that have not made his aquaintence.
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Re: Example Ernie's Earthling Empire (tutorial)

Postby thebard on Thu 16 Oct 2014 06:35

here's some feedback....


MONTH2
ON THE MONTH2.PDF THERE IS A COPY/PASTE MISTAKE, WITH THE WRONG VALUE FOR R+D.



MONTH3:
IN THE RESEARCH PART YOU HAVE “Y SL2 WILL NOW BE AT 40 RP AGAINST A 30 RP TARGET, AND SO WILL ROLL AGAINST A 10% CHANCE OF SUCCESS (N8)”
FROM THIS TURN RECORD IT SEEMS THAT ERNIE DIDN’T GET HIS 10% , HOWEVER I DIDN’T SEE THIS NOTED EXPLICITLY. I ASSUME THAT IT SHOULD BE IN “RECORD SURVEY, EXPL AND R+D DISCOVERIES”. IS THAT RIGHT?


THE COLONIZATION IS VERY CLEAR (AND I THINK THAT IF I REDO THE BEGINNING OF MY SOLO CAMPAIGN THEN I’LL FIND SOME ERRORS IN MY COLONIZATION COSTS), HOWEVER THE 73 PTU ARE TAKEN FROM EARTH BUT THERE IS NO COMMENT ABOUT THE REDUCTION OF EARTH’S POPULATION . . . . HOW DOES THIS PART WORK?




FINALLY, A REQUEST: PLEASE CONTINUE………
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Re: Example Ernie's Earthling Empire (tutorial)

Postby Lomn on Thu 16 Oct 2014 09:49

thebard wrote:month3:
in the research part you have “Y SL2 will now be at 40 RP against a 30 RP target, and so will roll against a 10% chance of success (N8)”
from this turn record it seems that Ernie didn’t get his 10% , however i didn’t see this noted explicitly. i assume that it should be in “Record Survey, Expl and R+D Discoveries”. is that right?
That's correct. I went with "None of Ernie’s R&D projects have completed" as the generic shorthand; it's simpler to note positive results only. But yes, per the rules, there was an unsuccessful roll there.

In reality, I just declared that the roll failed, just like I declared what the results of the breakthrough R&D were in a previous month. I'll demonstrate statistically unlikely completions on the next month, probably.

thebard wrote:The colonization is very clear (and i think that if i redo the beginning of my solo campaign then i’ll find some errors in my colonization costs), however the 73 PTU are taken from earth but there is no comment about the reduction of earth’s population . . . . how does this part work?
L5.03.1, Free Colonist PTUs. 1000+ PU worlds will create 2% of their PTU as excess colonists; monthly colonization within that limit don't have to be taken from the world's actual PU, but those excess colonists disappear if they're not used for colonization. It's basically a bookkeeping shorthand.

For sample numbers:
A 1000 PU world provides about 115 PTU / month (note that even this minimum threshold is all the monthly PTU Ernie's empire could possibly afford)
A 2000 PU world provides about 1500 PTU / month (a ridiculously large number)
A 2060 PU world provides about 2000 PTU / month (this is what Ernie actually has available in Month 3. The PTU growth for V. Large populations is incredibly rapid.)

Net effect? If you're colonizing from a Very Large world, you can reasonably safely assume that you never ever need to bother with siphoning off actual PU. You can reasonably safely assume that you don't even need to check your math on how many PTU are available; odds are you'll never be able to afford the costs of that much sustained colonization, nor have the habitable space to use it. 1500 PTU takes you from nothing at all to substantially into Medium in one month. A 2500 PU world (which is, ballpark, what a homeworld hits around Turn 15 assuming you've jumped to EL3) provides enough free PTU to create either one new Large or eight new Medium populations in one month. Every month.

-------

Setting that aside for a moment, here's a quick rundown on sources of colonization PTUs:

Everything up to and including Small: sustained colonization source is impossible. A max-size Small (500 PU) is only going to produce 10 PTU (5 PU) per month in population growth. Active colonization is way above that number, and what you're thematically talking about is instead resettlement (note: not going into the resettlement rules here -- just the theme).

Everything Large and up: sustained colonization won't significantly impede growth. A minimum-size Large (1001 PU) is going to produce 700 PTU (10 PU) per month; you're probably not colonizing that many people monthly. Plus the free PTU that this number ignores. By the time you hit Very Large, it's untouchable. 2000 PU produces 10000 PTU (20 PU) per month. Ernie's colonization, even if the free PTU rule didn't exist, would very nearly be a rounding error.

Medium: requires balance. A min-size Medium (501 PU) produces 50 PTU (5 PU) / month. I tend to elect to begin using a world as a source of colonists at this point if it results in a shipping discount; the loss of 5 PU (so about 5 MCr) per month from the Medium pop doesn't too badly impact the rate of return for colonization. But it's important to stay above that Small/Medium threshold.
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Re: Example Ernie's Earthling Empire (tutorial)

Postby thebard on Thu 16 Oct 2014 11:39

thank you - a clear reply

(and yet another reason for me to say "If I repeat the start-up of my solo campaign now - understanding better
the play mechanics - things will be different")
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Postby VoidStalker_WoE on Thu 16 Oct 2014 23:16

I have to say that I am loving this thread and the website you have for Example Ernie! Much that was once unknown is now entering the light of knowledge. I have been trying to copy your ship designs and get the same numbers, as a kind of double check for my feeble attempts, and I sometimes get the same and sometimes not.

For instance, when I first read over your site, I had not a clue what half the systems meant, and so just read the descriptions. I now have a better (but still limited) grasp of some of the basics of ship design with SSF rules. On that note, I have a few questions on some of my own first attempts. If I could get feedback on these designs that would be a big help.

One area that is still a nearly complete mystery to me is the different engines and how they work, so I just stuck with (I).

So....

(3)-S*20 A*5 (I)(II)(I)QQQ(Mg)(Mg)YRR(II)-(4/ ? )

Note the lack of a strategic speed, because IDK what that should be, lol.

To work with the above under armed CL, I planned to build many of these DD's

(3)-S*5 A*2 (I)(I)(I)QQYRRRR(I)-(4/ ? )

I then looked again at what you had EE doing, and saw that you also had designed a 4 R DD class, but yours had better HTK and ammo.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Example Ernie's Earthling Empire (tutorial)

Postby Lomn on Fri 17 Oct 2014 08:07

Walking through the process of ship design (select a hull, select an engine, look up how many engines are needed and how they're organized, etc) is on my list of possible things, though I'll split it out separate from Ernie.

But I can go ahead and talk to engines. Most of what you want is in the front of App AA (engine systems are lumped together at the front of the systems list, before Armor), plus the Construction table in App EE. Specifically, the "what makes this engine different" is in I.01, Ic.01, and J.01.

So let's take I. For movement, I.01 says that safe cruising speed (i.e. strategic speed) is half of tactical speed, rounded down. A speed 4 I-engine unit, therefore, has a strategic speed of 2. A speed 5 I-engine unit likewise has a strategic speed of 2. Each successive generation of I engine adds 1 to a hull's maximum tactical speed and turn mode.

To find out max speed, we look at the Ship Hull Table (construction table) in App EE. If we've got a CL hull and I engines, we cross-reference the CL row against the Ia column, and see that a CL with Ia says "4(3)" (and is shaded, but we ignore that for now). Speed 4, turn mode 3. If we wanted to use Ib (one generation beyond Ia), those numbers would increase to "5(4)". Ie, two generations up, would be "6(5)", and so on. So, that's max speed.

Next up: how many engines do we need to get that speed? Take that speed number we just looked up (4 for CL / Ia) and multiply it by the "I/Jc/Ic/J Eng. Power" column on that hull line. For CL, this number is 1.5: 1.5 engines are needed to produce 1 tactical speed. Ignore the decimal for now and just multiply that number by speed: 1.5 x 4 = 6. 6 Ia engines are needed to get a CL moving at max speed. If we were using Ib engines, it would be 1.5 x 5 = 7.5 engines needed to move at max speed (so, important note: you have to actually use more engines to get the high-generation higher speeds).

Next is engine room organization. Engine rooms are organized in groups of engines that will produce 1 tactical speed per engine room (this portion of the rules is found in C1, movement, rather than in the ship design rules). However, we don't actually put 1.5 engines per room. Instead, we alternate engines-needed-rounded-up and engines-needed-rounded-down -- so, for CL, 2 and 1. For BC, 3 and 2. Most unit types don't actually have to do this, but it's good to illustrate here. So with speed 4, our CL will have 4 engine rooms: 2 of 1 Ia each and 2 of 2 Ia each. How are they ordered? C1 lays this out, too (specifically, C1.02.3). The alternating sizes are arranged in pairs: (Ia) and (IaIa) alternating. The rightmost engine room of each pair must be the room with more engines. So, working right-to-left, the engine room order will be (Ia) (IaIa) (Ia) (IaIa). Once we move past the unit design stage, we don't care about the 1.5 thing any more: each intact engine room provides one tactical speed, no matter how many engines are in that room. Note also that "pairing" the engine rooms doesn't mean the rooms need to be next to each other; it just establishes the relative order.

Some other, shorter examples: the CL / Ib mentioned above needs 7.5 engines. You can code a half-size engine as a lowercase leading letter (so iIa) in the leftmost engine room. The "i" is a separate system for HTK and other purposes, and uses half the HS and is half the cost of the full size version (so, for Ia, 0.5 HS and 10 MCr). This CL would have (iIa) (Ia) (IaIa) (Ia) (IaIa) for its engine rooms.

For small hulls with fractional engine power, you may end up with more than 1 tactical speed generated per engine room. CT with Ia has speed 6 and engine power of 1/2, so 1/2 x 6 = 3 engines total: (Ia) (Ia) (Ia). FG is the particularly odd case with its 2/3 engine power: FG / Ia needs 10/3, or 3.33, engines for speed 5. Since tactical speeds are always rounded down, you really need 3.5 engines to power this design: (iIa) (Ia) (Ia).

Finally, brief notes about other engines: J engines are faster tactically for I engines: a CL / Ja design can achieve speed 6 where the CL / Ia tops out at 4. However, they take a range penalty for LRW, have a larger blindspot, have a relatively lower strategic speed (both CL / Ia and CL / Ja have strategic speed 2), need to devote more HS to engines to achieve that high speed... there are plenty of tradeoffs to be aware of to get that extra speed in combat, but speed in combat is incredibly useful.

Ic engines, meanwhile, are cheap, large, and slow tactically / fast strategically. The primary military case for using them is for WP Assault units, for a couple of reasons. First, they reduce the transit size, allowing you to push more units through the WP quickly (at low levels, it's around a 30% reduction relative to I, and more like 50% relative to J). Second, they keep costs down for units that you're expecting to die anyway. Why take a Lambo to a demolition derby?

---

So, that was engines. As for your designs, they're legal! Which means that much of the above was probably old news, because you've got the right number of engines and order of engine rooms on the CL. The only thing of note for rules adherence is that Mg don't use parentheses for standard coding -- I don't think any player would be tripped up by it, but my shipbuilder program would reject "(Mg)" as an unknown system.

Taking the designs in reverse order, the DD is noteworthy for being slower than necessary. I assume that it's to match the CL speed (since you said "to work with the CL"). As far as the relative HTK, Ernie's design effectively swaps one Shield (1 HS) for one small hold (Hs, 0.5 HS) and one small magazine (Mgs, 0.5 HS). Since all systems are one HTK regardless of size, I've squeezed two HTK into the space that used to hold one HTK (and since that one was a passive defense, I've not really compromised any capability by doing so). As with half-size engines, small holds and magazines are restricted to one of each per unit so that you can't abuse this substitution. Appendix CC7 has lots more to say about unit design.

For the CL -- yeah, you said it. It's under-gunned. If your opponent is going to prioritize killing the CL simply because it's larger than the DDs, then it may be an effective soak. But I think I'd be more inclined to conclude that it's an SRW-heavy design, because a CL could be throwing a lot more than 2 missiles per turn -- and so, if possible, I'd try to stay at range. OK, so I'm wrong about there being SRW -- but I can probably hold the range against a CL. And so, if the range is indeed holding, I'll shift fire to the DDs; they're (a) shooting twice as much and (b) generally die faster anyway. Net effect? I don't think the cruiser is likely to actually soak fire off of the rest of the fleet while the outcome is still in doubt. But that's just my guess, and it's hard to be sure what you'd do against unknown ships when you've got the design in front of you on the forum. It certainly might work against an opposing fleet that's being run by the SM under somebody's SOP constraints.
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Re: Example Ernie's Earthling Empire (tutorial)

Postby reddavid on Fri 17 Oct 2014 10:11

Lomn, amazing write up. You go above and beyond.

I have found a discrepancy in the rules concerning half engine notation.

The examples in C1.02 and C1.02.2 show half engines coded as iI.

The rules in Eng.01 show a half engine coded as i only.

In the note of Eng.02 it shows i only.

i only was the traditional way of notation but the examples seem to show that the notation was changed for Solar.
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Re: Example Ernie's Earthling Empire (tutorial)

Postby Lomn on Fri 17 Oct 2014 10:35

So, the discrepancy: Per Eng.01, the half-size engine itself, as an independent system, is "ia" or "ice" or "jb" or whatever. No capital letter.

Per C1.02.2, though, half-size engines are almost always mounted with a full-size engine. Since the generation codes have to match, the engine room notation is "(iIa)" or "(iIce)" or "(jJb)" or whatever. However, all of those examples are two separate engine systems in a single engine room, just like "(IaIa)" or "(IceIce)", and they absorb multiple points of damage accordingly.

And per C1.02.2.1, it is possible to have an engine room of "(ia)" on small units. Personally, I'd support an edit that changes "...as the only engine on the unit" to "...as the only engine in its engine room", thus allowing something like an (iIa)-engined EX a little more fault tolerance for strategic movement. But that's a pretty small corner case. I think this is the only part of half-size engines that's new to Solar vs what was in Ultra.

You have no idea how many times I typed "(code") and screwed up the nesting writing this post. Including, usually, retyping the exact same error a second or third time when I backspaced to correct it.
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Re: Example Ernie's Earthling Empire (tutorial)

Postby Cralis on Fri 17 Oct 2014 11:34

Since ia is an engine, and engines are required to be in an engine room, why would we need to specify "only engine room"? The change is not that there is only one engine on the ship, but rather, in this case a half-sized engine can be the only engine in the ship and is still valid.

In every other case a half-sized engine must be paired with a full sized engine.
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