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214
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Mining - Everything you wanted to know

Mining

This article deals with mining minerals from planetary surfaces through the use of mining complexes. While there are other methods of getting minerals including buying them and exploiting unusual phenomena discovered through exploration and investigation, these methods of obtaining minerals are not covered here.

Basics
A mineral deposit consists of ore in localised amounts sufficiently large and associated with common minerals such that the can be recognised from orbit. They also need to be accessible such that they can be extracted through the use of a mining complex.

A mining complex is little more than a surface shaver that draws in rocks, grinds them down and extracts the ore then processes it in order to become material suitable for use in factories. Beyond a few unusual compounds the specific minerals that form the common ore groups are not specified in order to keep the game playable. As such all the common metals such as iron, magnesium, nickel, copper etc are simply defined as metals. Basic elements on the other hand include many salts and compounds that have greater commercial value in this form rather than reducing them down to metals and non-metals. The same is true of hydrocarbons. This item covers everything from methane right up to crude oils. Unusual minerals that can be used interchangeably in industry are also given a name. Pulac, representing an unusual highly energetic mineral, though like the colour of sapphires, comes in many shades on account of trace minerals within the matrix, though white is the most common variety. While most minerals can in theory be created in laboratories, the cost is phenomenally expensive consequently it is cheaper to send survey ships to distant worlds looking to build outposts to mine them directly from the surface.


Tapping a new source of minerals involves three steps:

  • Finding a world where the mineral is present
  • Determine its location and exploitability
  • Construction of Outpost


Advancing on this there are further options:
  • Decide on mining method
  • Determine if there are sub-deposits
  • Modify deposit parameters through use of technology


Finding a world where the mineral is present through Geological Probability Indicators (GPI’s)
Scanning the surface of a world (‘GPI Planet’ order) from orbit accumulates data on the surface surface geology. Ground penetrating scans also determine what lies below to some degree, which is useful if the surface happens to be covered in ocean, desert or vegetation. This data is then analysed and assayed for the probability of useful minerals existing in the rock matrix close to the surface. Iron oxides for example clearly indicate the presence of iron. For rarer minerals however direct observation of the mineral may not be possible. Diamonds for example are predicted by the detection of kimberlite, ancient volcanic lava pipes.

The technology used by both the sensors and the analysis of the generated data means that quite often the GPI data is sufficient to determine whether the construction of a mining outpost is justified. This is accounted for by the +/- range of the GPI results in a specific sector.

GPI a planet gives the average yield across the entire planet:
Code:
    Scanning for all ores:
Metals (1) Yield = 42.87 +- 11.14
Basic Elements (2) Yield = 29.36 +- 11.14
Hydrocarbons (3) Yield = 12.75 +- 11.14
Thorlium (20) Yield = 12.21 +- 11.14
Rare Earth Elements (22) Yield = 7.02 +- 11.14

Planetary data however is not particularly useful as an average for the entire planet could mean a lot of poor deposits or a few extremely good deposits.
If any of these are some use, it may then be worth either GPI’ing areas or every single sector starting with {1,1}:

Code:
   GPI Sector {1,1}
Scanning for all ores:
Metals (1) Yield = 141.25 +- 5.01
Basic Elements (2) Yield = 11.06 +- 5.01
Hydrocarbons (3) Yield = 3.18 +- 5.01
Thorlium (20) Yield = 7.67 +- 5.01

In this case sector {1,1} does not contain any Rare Earth Elements (22) though they showed up on the planetary GPI scan. It also indicates that as Basic Elements (2) and Hydrocarbons (3) are both well below the average for the world, there are none of these deposits within a few sectors.

Note that when determining the average mineral yield for a sector, it accounts for world wrapping east to west.
N.B. it follows though that a scan planet of an asteroid (1x1) should net effectively the same results as GPI Sector {1,1}.

Determine mineral location and exploitability
As alluded to in the above comment, a mineral deposit exists in a specific sector but can be mined from adjacent sectors. From the data obtained through GPI’ing it is possible to work out the maximums and narrow down where on the planet the actual deposit is situated.

Prospecting
In order to actually exploit a mineral deposit its unique resource ID number is needed. This is used when assigning mines. Getting this number can be achieved via two methods. The first is through prospecting, while the other is by bypassing this stage and simply building an outpost. This is because an outpost will list all the resource ID numbers in the mining report of the manifest. The drawback with this method is that at this stage only the yield of the deposit is known. Prospecting reveals other parameters that govern the exploitability of the deposit.
Example Pulac deposit

Code:
    Pulac (21) detected (Resource ID = 25356)
Yield: 56.24
10% Drop: 8
Quantity: Infinite
Dispersion: 41%
Deep Core Survey: No Sites

Yield is the maximum normal amount of mineral that is extracted per mine per week.
While the quantity of mines assigned to the deposit is less than the 10% drop, each mine will produce the yield. The next multiple of the 10% drop will produce 90% of the yield per mine; the third multiple will produce 80% of the yield per mine.

The quantity refers to how many mu’s of mineral exist in the deposit. This can be somewhat misleading where it is stated as infinite as this indicates that there is at least 20 years of mineral exploitation based on extracting the mineral at about 5 times the 10% drop in quantity of mines. In the above case there is therefore more than 2.5 million mu’s(=20years x 52weeks x 56.24 x 8 x 5).

Dispersion indicates the size of the deposit in adjacent sectors. Multiple sectors separation from the origin is calculated as the dispersion raised to the power of the distance multiplied by the yield, e.g. if 3 sectors the yield for the above deposit will be equal to 3.88(=56.24 x 0.41 x 0.41 x 0.41).

Deep core survey indicates the potential chance that the deposit will have further deposits in the subsurface as explained below.
The example above is not the full picture as all that can be stated is that this is the yield of the deposit in this sector. It could in theory (though unlikely with this yield) that the origin of the deposit is adjacent to this sector and that this yield represents only 59% of the original yield.

Typical Deposits
The table below gives the generic mineral stats for deposits. Note that worlds with weathering such terrestrial worlds often have much lower averages than those described below while active worlds where fresh ores are deposited on the surface through tectonic events are likely to have both greater variety of ores and better statistics (though system created before conversion from BSE to Phoenix rarely follow this logic).

Planets

Ore Type Yield 10% Drop Stock Dispersion
Common 95-140 20 5M 50%
Uncommon 36-44 10 1M 50%
Rare 9-12 5 100k 50%


Moons

Ore Type Yield 10% Drop Stock Dispersion
Common 100-140 20 5M 50%
Uncommon 32-48 10 1M 50%
Rare 11-15 5 100k 50%


The yield range equates to the world classification with increasing average yields descending down the list:
  • Terrestrial
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Dust
  • Crust
  • Cratered
  • Broken
  • Active

Construction of Outpost
Once an outpost has been constructed and mines built, it is simply a case of assigning them to the appropriate mineral resource through the use of the Mine order. Obviously there is absolutely no point in assigning more than ten times the 10% drop to a single mineral deposit and rarely worth assigning more than 5 times the 10% drop.

Decide on mining method
The yield of a deposit represents the standard method of mining. This is the most efficient method, balancing loss of mineral in the slag against the amount of mineral extracted while keeping the operation to a low visibility. There are however alternative methods of extraction.
Strip Mining
The deposit is blasted to pieces with no regard to the location. This method increases yield by focusing the richer areas of the deposit. Poorer areas become part of the slag and as a consequence the stockpile is reduced faster than the amount of ore extracted. The process produces large easily identifiable scars on the landscape and increases base visibility. The process makes deep coring more difficult and has additional environmental effects.

  • +50% yield
  • +5/mine environmental effect (these will be coded later)
  • +2/mine to excavation of deep core sites
  • -25% deposit effective size (for every 100mu mined, the stockpile is reduced by 125m)
  • Mines are 100% visible rather than 10%


Drift Mining
The lines of the deposit are carefully excavated to search for more of the ore. The slag is also further processed in order to remove trace amounts of mineral from bedrock. This extra effort increases deposit size available but reduces yield.

  • -10% Yield
  • +25% deposit effective size (for every 100mu mined, the stockpile is reduced by 80mu)

Open Cast
A large but considered hole is excavated over the deposit in order to allow more mines at the various work faces. This method increases deposit size and 10% drop but makes more visible from space. It also makes deep coring more difficult and has additional environmental effects. [/FONT]
  • +1/mines environmental effect
  • +1/mines to excavation of deepcore
  • +50% to 10% drop size
  • +25% deposit effective size (for every 100mu mined, the stockpile is reduced by 80mu)
  • Mines are 100% visible rather than 10%


Determine if there are sub-deposits
Mention has been made in the above mining methods of deep core mining. The nature of geology is that rock strata rare run smoothly across the surface. Often minerals exist in strata that has been folded through tectonic upheavals and exists in segments of faulted terrain. What was once a single mineral strata laid down on a seabed million of years ago may now be fragmented into multiple fragments, some of which are at the surface but others may be hundreds of metres underground as one side of the fault was raised up and the other pushed down. Part of the strata may even have been turned through ninety degrees so that only a thin line of the mineral is present at the surface.

As a consequence it is possible to investigate a surface deposit and determine if there are subsurface deposits that can be deep core mined. A Deep Core Scan can be conducted from orbit and gives details regarding the world:
Code:
    Scanning Garrius (680) for likely deep core results.
Using best equipment and a skilled officer: Unlikely -> Assured deposits
Using basic equipment and no officer: No Sites -> Excellent deposits


The order of likelihood is as follows from least to most: No Sites, Unlikely, Possible, Moderate, Good, Excellent or Assured.
The
Code:
    Rare Earth Elements (22) detected (Resource ID = 3828)
Yield: 43.58
10% Drop: 10
Quantity: Infinite
Dispersion: 46%
Deep Core Survey: Unlikely

The deep core survey is based on the prospecting skill of the officer and survey equipment present.
Code:
    Deep Coring Rare Earth Elements (22) deposit (ID = 3828):
Prospecting Skill: +0
Survey Equipment Level: +1
No deep core sites discovered.
Basic Survey Rig (2325) expended during deep core survey.

The same site can be scanned again if the skill officer improves or better survey equipment is available. This may give an improved result.
Code:
    Deep Coring Rare Earth Elements (22) deposit (ID = 3828):
Prospecting Skill: +4
Survey Equipment Level: +2
Deep Core Deposits:
Rare Earth Elements (22) detected (Sub ID = 1)
Yield: 41.01
10% Drop: 10
Quantity: 1144837
Instability: Stable
Excavation: 156 mine weeks
Survey Rig mkII (2326) expended during deep core survey.

Where the likelihood of a deep core deposit is high, the possibility of multiple deposits exist.
Code:
    Metals (1) detected (Resource ID = 32471)
Yield: 178
10% Drop: 24
Quantity: Infinite
Dispersion: 54%
Deep Core Survey: Excellent
Deep Coring Metals (1) deposit (ID = 32471):
Prospecting Skill: +4
Survey Equipment Level: +2
Deep Core Deposits:
Metals (1) detected (Sub ID = 1)
Yield: 176.7
10% Drop: 20
Quantity: 5800674
Instability: Stable
Excavation: 215 mine weeks
Metals (1) detected (Sub ID = 2)
Yield: 201.84
10% Drop: 26
Quantity: 5713075
Instability: Minor
Excavation: 581 mine weeks
Metals (1) detected (Sub ID = 3)
Yield: 207.84
10% Drop: 30
Quantity: 6098171
Instability: Stable
Excavation: 219 mine weeks
Survey Rig mkII (2326) expended during deep core survey.

Deep core mining can only use the standard mining method.

Note that all deep core deposits have an excavation parameter. This is how many mine weeks have to be used in order to reach the subsurface deposit. In the above example, if sub ID 3 wanted to be exploited (as it by far the best), 219 mine-weeks have to used in order to reach the deposit. This is simply achieved by assigning mines to the deposit then each maintenance day rather than producing minerals, the excavation time will be reduced by the number of mines assigned (10% drop does not apply). Note that no ore is produced if the mine is still deep coring. If 50 mines are assigned, then in the 5 week, 31 mines though not deep coring, will not produce minerals. Also note that each mine week also require 1 structural module which is automatically removed from the base (lowest mk used first). If insufficient modules are present, the amount of excavation conducted will be reduced appropriately.

Stability refers the possibility of an event occurring during maintenance if the subsurface deposit is being exploited. At this time, this code is not active so there are no dangers.

Modify deposit parameters through use of technology
Surface and subsurface deposits can be modified through the use of technology. For the technology to be used it needs to be tooled in the base where the deposit is being exploited. In many cases where a deposit is upgraded there will be a downside to the modification such that if a deposit is modified in such a way so as to improve its stockpile at the cost of its yield, using further tech to improve its yield at the cost of stockpile will may not be sufficient to generate an overall improvement. As with subsurface deposits described above, all upgrades have an excavation time. This catch-all term simply indicates how many mine-weeks it will take to implement the technological upgrade.

Blueprint Upgrades
Blueprints give modest improvements in a chosen area but suffer from negatives in other areas. Note that these modifiers are based on the weighted average values for the type of mineral and not the specific mineral deposit itself.

Blueprint Yield Stockpile 10% Drop Dispersion Excavation Weeks
Localised Mineral Extraction (10016) 10% -8% -5% -12%300
Planetesimal Exploitation (7005) -25% 5% - -100
Geological Mapping (7029) -5% 2% - 20%450
Hydrothermal Vein Mapping (7030) -5% -10% 15% 10%250
Deep Core Sampling (7021) - 2% -10% -20%150
Volcano Analysis (7022) 2% - -10% -15%250
Fault Analysis (7010) - 5% -30% 10%100



Tech Upgrades
Techs are more expensive and require longer tool times but their advantage is that they give better results. Multiple techs can even be used in conjunction to offset most penalties though the loss of weeks while upgrading for all but the largest mines can make this a somewhat pointless.

Tech Yield Stockpile 10% Drop Dispersion Excavation Weeks
Specialist Mineral Extraction (8508) -15% 30% - -250
Mining (8650) 20% 10% -20% -200
Excavation(8660) -5% 5% 40% 15%450
Seismology (8719) -5% 10% 20% 15%200
Hydrothermal Analysis(8722) -10% 5% 20% 20%100
Volcanology(8721) 20% 5% -5% -15%200




Example of using Planetesimal Exploitation on a Collidium deposit.

Code:
| Collidium (31)                        97241     8.205     5         126667   |
| |
|-Mining Report----------------------------------------------------------------|
| |
| 0 available mines |
| |
| MINES MINERAL TYPE ID OUTPUT |
| 16 Collidium (31) Normal 97241 117 |

Upgrading Collidium (31) deposit:
5.46 (-2.75) Yield
131667 (+5000) Stockpile
100 (+100) mine weeks excavation
Planetesimal Exploitation (7005) has been exhausted and removed from your
position.


Rare ores have an average stockpile of 100,000mu
Code:
| Collidium (31) {100 m.w.}             97241     5.455     5         131667   |
| |
|-Mining Report----------------------------------------------------------------|
| |
| 0 available mines |
| |
| MINES MINERAL TYPE ID OUTPUT |
| 16 Collidium (31) Normal 97241 0 |

N.B. Very rare ores cannot be upgraded.




 
News
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  Star Date: 221.22.5

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RAGNAROK BECKONS

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Assault on End Game

The ancient Architects have declared war on the Dewiek Elder Nation. The first sign of the conflict was subspace transmissions in a remote system in the Pocket Periphery. This followed reports that the ancient Ragnarok shipyards on Beacon were malfunctioning. In response, the Wolf Mother sent urgent orders to several Dewiek scout ships to patrol the End Game system.

The Konungr Smidamadr was the first to encounter the gigantic, “Planet Killer” class ARC ships. Measuring in at thirty-two hundred heavy hulls and armed with a hundred ARC plasma weapons, the ship was more like a mobile armed platform. It is certainly the largest vessel ever recorded. The scout ship was vaporised instantly.

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ARC Planet Killer dwarves largest DEN warships

 
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  Star Date: 221.11.4

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Caste Apart

The Flagritz Republic is (very nearly) no more. In its place, a single Hexamon and Flagritz power has arisen. The new Collective has absorbed much of the Flagritz holdings with only a handful of Clique-caste Flagritz systems choosing instead to align with the other Elder species, the Dewiek.

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Flagritz and Hexamon Hybrids - A hope for the Future?

 
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  Star Date: 221.3.3

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Meklanmania

Meklan scout ships continue to be seen around the Orion Spur periphery. These cyborg creatures in service of hidden ancient masters appear to be terrorising the Wimble Nation in particular. Despite public lamentations against the hardship of defending themselves, the Wimble leadership have not yet responded to our request for comment.

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Artist's impression of a Meklanised Wimble

However, Xavier Fox, CEO of Galactic Transport and Trade, did give us the following statement:

“We have engaged several Meklan ships, although currently the source has not been identified. GTT Directors have been running patrols and have engaged and destroyed numerous ships that have attacked outlying outposts belonging to different affiliations. The pattern of ships encountered leads us to believe there is a central source, but until that is found we would suggest any affiliation with assets in the area provide adequate defences.”

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Doomsday On Pause

At the site of the Thete anomaly, the Dewiek Nation has sent media sensation Sharon Aleman to the scene. Aleman, whose cybernetic enhancements allow her to directly interface with her ship’s sensor array, led her hardened crew into a dive of the outermost “edge” of the anomaly. After spending several days collecting and analysing data (mere minutes to the rest of us outside the anomaly), Aleman reported her shocking discoveries.

 
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  Star Date: 220.50.5

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Veil Lifted on Flagritz Home Space

As the Hellcadium ISR field continues to fluctuate, one of the newly exposed systems is Junista inside the previously hidden and inaccessible home periphery of the Flagritz Republic.

Over the past few weeks Flagritz Republic patrols and platforms have dealt with a number of scout ships from the Human Empire as the IMP wasted no time in exploiting this opportunity to poke around in their old enemy’s backyard. It is understood that at least one of these unarmed scouts was destroyed with no one willing to estimate how many more might be buzzing around.

Coincidentally, suspected IMP lackey, SSL TOAD, has also been overheard showing an obsessive interest in the Flagritz periphery. However, we have received no reports of this being anything other than his usual drug-fueled, barely decipherable mutterings at this stage.

Either way, this sudden, uninvited interest in the Flagritz Periphery has left the FLZ leadership muttering darkly about appropriate measures being taken. Defensive fleets and supporting structures are being deployed in the Junista system and beyond in expectation of further uninvited guests.

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When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...

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Thete's Timey-Wimey Tease

Investigation into the Thete anomaly continued in the Dewiek Pocket Periphery. The anomaly was scanned from all angles by a number of the Dewiek Nation’s best sensor ships and officers. The data, collected over several weeks, was sent to one of the DEN’s most advanced scientific laboratories for analysis.

What they found will shock you!

 
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  Star Date: 220.45.1

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Perfidion Reached

Long speculated by theoretical Stellar Cartographers, Perfidion Reach finally opened in the last few weeks. Immediately, the Detinus Republic boldly staked a claim on the first accessible system, Hellcadium. Only time will tell the true value of this strategic move but their much-taunted bureaucracy may have finally proved its worth.

Early reports from scans of the system reveal a wildly fluctuating ISR field. Rumours suggest that at least one ship was destroyed as it was forced into an asteroid belt chasing a stable jump field attempting to exit the system. Casual travellers are warned away from the system at this time for their own safety. Leave it to skilled explorers and navigation officers.

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Mathematical model of Hellcadium ISR Field.

We spoke to Captain Zakiyah Ummahi via subspace link. Zakiyah led the first DEN expedition into the Perfidion Reach. "Spirits remain high but this is largely down to the extended R&R we were all forced to take immediately prior to jumping into this hole. Initial scouting reports show at least one planet with plenty of forests and grasslands which might help if we're going to be stuck here for Folkvar knows how long waiting for this damned ISR field to stabilise."

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Valhalla Stargate Reopens

Dewiek engineers and scientists have finally managed to re-enable Stargate Valgrind this week and the protective Exclusion Zone is to be lifted. If DEN investigators discovered who caused the gate to malfunction, or why, they were not willing to share it with us. Military sources, however, have announced a project to provide a significant boost to the already formidable defence platform in the stargate’s orbit.

 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***

Empire - DEN action grinds to a halt

After months of tension relations between the Empire and the Dewiek Nation, which rose to several large scale fleet actions ending in the DEN losing over 60 Direwolf warships in Solo, things appear to have moved from antagonistic to unfriendly. With the Solo system being a particular issue an agreement has been reached between the Wolf Mother of the DEN and Xavier Fox of the GTT. Since this things have become very quiet, not just because the shooting has stopped, but also because my reporters have been on their summer holidays.
 
News For Discerning Naplians!
---- Special Galactic Edition ----



(The Host sits at his desk as the studio lights dim, and a single spotlight bathes him in light. He looks straight into the camera and begins to speak: )

Host: Naambta!
Good Greetings, and welcome to the show.

This is News for Discerning Naplians, and i’m sure you are all showing much impatience to see this week’s Panel Discussion. We will be discussing religion with the Lady Ghadir of the Temple of Ya Zoon, renowned neo-naplian spiritualist Chairman TonTon, and a very special guest from our imperial neighbours, Bishop Samantha Porteus of the Brotherhood. But before we get to that...

(Looks demonstratively at his digital wrist watch. )

... it is time for a word from our sponsor.
 
******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the latest version of ESNN, giving the news and views from the ESNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe from our new home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last few weeks,
 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***
  • DEN assault FEL base and get wiped out
  • CIA Trade fleet caught and destroyed by the DEN
  • Krell denounce worship of the True One

  •  
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Huge fleet skirmish at the London/Crossley wormhole

    A large fleet of over 700 DEN warships responded to the EMP action in Crossley, where a 4000 hull DEN platform was destroyed. Reports show the DEN ships caught a group of CIA ships napping and inflicted significant losses on the humans. IMP and GTT fleets moved to assist the CIA, matching DEN fleet numbers, but the arrival of over 1200 Hexamon ships seems to have tipped the battle in favour of the DEN-HEX alliance.

    The combined DEN-HEX force pushed through the wormhole into the Heartland area of human space and retaliated, attacking several CIA platforms in response. The outnumbered Empire fleets abandoned the area and fled, they are currently waiting for the larger alien force to make their next move from their hiding places.
     

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    I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

    Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
    -Zigic