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214
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Issue 33
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Infrastructure – Life and Atmospheres

Infrastructure – Life and Atmospheres

It was our original intent to do away with planetary sales of Lifeforms (aka Life Demand) on worlds which was why over the years there has been very few items added to the category. Unbeknownst to us however there has been a thriving market in the production and sale of Agricultural Implements, fulfilling Life Demand across the Peripheries (despite conjecture we are not omniscient). This is something of an eye opener for us and caused us to re-evaluate the category. The conclusion drawn was that doing away with this field would be a disservice to the game and rather it would be better to develop Life Demand and integrate it into the developing infrastructure upgrade.

What is Life Demand?
While trade goods are relatively straightforward, simply being items that are desirable to planetary populations, Life Demand represents something more nebulous. It covers agricultural demands, from seeds, cattle, farming equipment through to recompense paid by civilians immigrating into the world. It does not however include slaves, so the ‘selling’ of civilians to the planetary economy should not be confused with selling people. It also includes demand for investment into the world. It essentially represents revenue that the infrastructure can spend on importing items without setting back the economy.


Like Trade Demand it has two primary components, the amount of stellars that the world can absorb per week (MAX INCOME) and a stellar multiplier (VALUE/MU).


TRADE VALUES MAX INCOME VALUE/MU LOW VAL HIGH VAL
Trade Goods 21683 1.88 7.3 15
Drugs 0 0 0 0
Lifeforms 68500 2.38 9.4 18.2

The max income component is based on the quantity and type of sectors that make up the world. The value/mu component represents the compatibility of the environment with ‘terrestrial’ life as standard sentient life forms in Phoenix are adapted to Earth-like worlds. As with trade, the value of items sold to the world is equal to the basic value of the item multiplied by the value/mu and again by their distance modifier (if unique).

How are the numbers calculated?
Max income is based on the quantity and type of sectors. The table below gives the value of each sector type. If the sector is not listed below, it does not contribute to the max income.

Terrain Stellars
Tundra 15
Sea 25
Shallows 95
Plains 120
Jungle 165
Forest 185
Grasslands 200
Cultivated 2000 (maximum quantity contribution is Population Stage x (Population Stage +1), i.e. 2 for Initial Colonisation
Urban 10000 (maximum quantity contribution is (Population Stage -1)^2 i.e. first at Advanced Colonisation


The contribution to max income for life items from urban cultivated sectors is shown in brackets:

Merchandising Calculated Actual
Life Max Income: 116665(16000) 68500

As can be seen a huge world of grasslands with the appropriate quantity of cultivated and urban sectors nets the maximum potential income because there are plenty of places suitable to live for an advanced interplanetary culture. Building more cultivated and urban sectors than are strictly needed is possible, though converting grasslands into farms and cities that are simply not needed actually devalues the world. A reason to do so would be to split up the population, making it less of a tempting target to terrorists.

Note – people have historically dropped nukes on and otherwise bombard cultivated and urban sectors. It is our intention to make this action a standard order at some point now that we have a much more accurate representation of planetary infrastructure. We will soon (in 2015, fingers crossed) be able to ‘spawn’ appropriate urban sectors as a pseudo base, include targeting lists and even ‘sublime’ the sector back into the infrastructure post combat, updating the planetary infrastructure as appropriate. It will certainly give a good reason to build platforms. No point in shielding a base and leaving the population to be blown to pieces.

Value/mu however takes into account the world environment. For a goldilocks world the value/mu is 2.1. As the world diverges from this perfection, the number drops. Each facet of the environment is treated separately. This is shown on the audit world report. The reason for showing the negative contributions for each aspect of the environment is that it allows the players to consider if terraforming is an option.

For example – consider this asteroid:

Environment Value Inf Increase Life Value/mu
Gravity 0.03 (Low) 38.5% -0.97
Temperature 44 (Low) 115.5% -2.51
Tectonic 26 (High) 16% -0.21
Radiation 0 (Normal) 0% -0
Atmosphere: Thin (0)
None 100% 100% -2
World Status: Divergent, terraforming sectors restricted.
Merchandising Calculated Actual
Life Max Income: 0(0) 0
Life Value/mu: 0 0


This airless rock has a very low gravity and temperature. As a consequence it can be seen that it has an overall value/mu of -3.59(=2.1-0.97-2.51-0.21-2) which is less than 0.

Terraforming could be used, getting the world to spin, hollowing out the interior, increasing temperature and filling the world with an atmosphere. These might be sufficient to mitigate the penalties. Then with a stage 2 population build an urban sector and enjoy 10k stellars a week with a nice value/mu on top of all the other benefits of having an advanced colony. The question is though whether this is worth it (unless you are a pirate).

Atmospheric Density
Optical depth is a measure atmospheric transparency. In game terms we consider this to be the product of three components, the atmospheric composition, the temperature and the thickness of the atmosphere. As such, when accounting for composition and temperature, it equates to thickness which in turn can be used to determine approximate surface pressure for the purpose of infrastructure.

Note that gravity plays only a minor role in determining atmospheric pressure. Cold worlds can still have dense atmospheres. The moon Titan has a pressure almost 50% higher than Earth yet has gravity 1/7th that of Earth and 1/3rd of its temperature (in Kelvin).

Using the existing range of optical depths for terrestrial and near terrestrial worlds produced a relatively reasonable scale on which 19 has been set as the optimal optical depth producing a surface pressure range suitable for infrastructure (on worlds that do not need domes). The normal range has been set between 14 and 24 outside which atmospheres will be described as dense or thin as appropriate. Further, the optical depth will modify the partial pressure of all the gases in the atmosphere which will influence their effect on both infrastructure and life. A dense atmosphere will have a lower optimal oxygen % though some places such as Capella in the Capellan system are still woefully low. Thin atmospheres by the same token require higher oxygen content. For worlds similar to terrestrial (virtually all nitrogen and oxygen), consider the true oxygen % (compared with 21% for a standard terrestrial world) to be equal to the 02% x sqt(optical depth/19). So for example, Capella has a modified oxygen abundance equal to 3.8%(=3xsqt(31/19)), still far short of 21%. Maybe O2 nasal breathers are used by those that go outdoors or possibly pills are taken to increase oxygen uptake.

Example of a dense atmosphere

Environment Value Inf Increase Life Value/mu
Gravity 1.05 (Normal) 0% -0.05
Temperature 303 (Normal) 0% -0.08
Tectonic 9 (Normal) 0% -0.04
Radiation 0 (Normal) 0% -0
Env Damage 42 (Normal) 0% -0.07
Atmosphere: Dense (28.22)
Nitrogen 86% 0% -0
Oxygen 14% 1.97% -0.26


Other atmospheres are a lot more hostile than low oxygen atmospheres and even a complete lack of an atmosphere. These downright unpleasant worlds can have high value/mu negatives even for a modest atmosphere %. Scrubbing these from the atmosphere is likely the first port of call.

Some worlds are just plain hostile – a typical hell world

Environment Value Inf Increase Life VALUE/MU
Gravity 1.522(High) 16.1% -0.522
Temperature 810 (High) 247.5% -5.15
Tectonic 72 (High) 62% -0.67
Radiation 0 (Normal) 0% -0
Atmosphere:
Sulphurous Compounds 76% 185.08% -4.63
Nitrogen 24% 0% -0
Oxygen 0% 11% -1.5
Merchandising Calculated Actual
Life: 0(0) 0
Life Mult: 0 0


Changing Atmospheres
While an atmosphere surrounding rock worlds is often tens to hundreds of kilometres thick, the vast majority of it is within a few kilometres of the surface. Further, certain gases are quite dense and as such their % represents their contribution at ground level rather than for the entire thickness of the atmosphere. For game purposes we are content to allow changes to be made to the atmosphere within a relatively short period that in reality would likely take decades, centuries or even longer. The simple logic behind this is that it makes for a more interesting game and damn the science. This is one of those areas where the game borderlines pulp sci-fi. This does not mean that it is extremely easy or even cheap, merely feasible in some cases.

There already exist in the game various plants and other compounds that can change an atmosphere either through absorbing or exuding certain gases. Many of these have pre-requisites such as temperature range, existing gaseous compounds, specific terrain and possibly even gravity sensitivity. Details can often be found in the plant tech manual though some may require involved knowledge garnered from exploring the origin world of the plant. Absorbers are often pelagic for the simple logic that the gas removed from the atmosphere has to be locked away and what better method that the death of the plant sinking to the bottom of the ocean to be buried in silt for the foreseeable future. Terrestrial floras capable of rapidly changing an atmosphere though rarer do exist. They generally achieve the change through converting the gas so either an inert gaseous compound or into a non-gaseous compound that either becomes part of the plant or is deposited. Microbes in the soil are classic examples, producing sulphuric acid that then drips into the subrock.
In all cases the plant will require a time period to work based on the nature of the atmosphere and other environment conditions. Further there will be a minimum mass required. It is rare that using multiple times this requirement will give any benefit as biofeedback normally causes the plant to reach equilibrium point with the environment. When seeded, there is generally evidence of the changes being reaped on the world, easily picked up in a low pass scan and in some of the more outrageous examples such as the use of vines, in the orbital message.

Due to the sheer quantity of parameters involved in changing atmospheres, this area of the game is dealt with through special actions and is not really for the novice explorer.

Gardening
A sector represents a variable area of a planetary surface depending on the planet type. A sector of a moon for example is normally considered to be much smaller than a sector of a planet while a sector of a gas giant is considered to be tens if not hundreds of time larger than those of a planet. Typically a sector on a planet is roughly 500km to 1,000km square (250,000 to 1M square kilometres) – sufficient to fully circumscribe Great Britain. The sector description therefore represents the most significant terrain of the sector, not necessarily the most common. Molten rock for example may refer to a sector with a few active volcanoes or possibly a fault that is spewing basic lava. These may only represent 1% of the actual terrain area but are by far of greater interest to an exploration team. Urban and cultivated sectors by the same reasoning also dominate the sector though the reality may be little more than a few hundred square kilometres of fields, a few roads and sufficiently cleared vegetation to allow a starship to land without causing a forest fire.

Shouldn’t this mean that a grasslands sector on a goldilocks world is worth more than one on borderline inhospitable world? Yes, and it does due to the life value/mu factor.

Often a world will have less valuable terrain for the purposes of life demand. Cold arid plains, bare crust and desert. Historically we have allowed changes to the terrain through special action and the exhaustive use of structurals, life items and flora of some description. We will be changing this based on the mechanics used to seed Coreward Periphery thereby preventing the conversion of Tundra sectors to Jungles. For the moment though we will honour previously agreed requirements.



The mechanics however will be put in place allowing to convert one type of sector to another based on local temperature (planetary temperature represent average equatorial temperature), current terrain and desired terrain and the world status is terrestrial. Divergent worlds will require investigation to determine the exact limitations on terraforming sectors.

Inf Increase
This stands for the % increase in infrastructure requirements for the integration of all tech and planetary stage upgrades. Note though that this is capped at 100%. In the above example of a hell world, the total % increase surpasses 500%. Why show these numbers if it is capped out at 100%? For some worlds it may be reasonable to tackle various facets of the environment. A world with a high gravity, a high temperature and a hostile atmosphere may not be worth terraforming even though both the atmosphere and temperature are readily fixable, simply because the oppressive gravity will still result in a high infrastructure increase. Showing each component of the infrastructure increase allows the player to see what can be achieved.

This is dealt with in more detail in the article on Upgrading Infrastructure.




 
News
******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 and most reliable unbiased publication in the known universe from our home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last couple of weeks,


Cluster War! DNA Gather Fruit
 
******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 home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last few weeks,


Cluster War! MZC attacks DNA
 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***

The Dewiek rise again!

After the death and destruction wrought upon the Dewiek Nation by the Architects, there was a period of calm if you were a werewolf fancier. But now the Dewiek have risen to once more in the name of the Dewiek Packs, led by Skarn. Their new message being one of peace, a most unusual change for the large humanoid wolves. While they rise from the ashes of the Mizuchi Combine the Galaxy waits to see how this new affiliation acts, baring in mind the Dewiek have something of reputation.

Empire invade the Cluster!

A significant force of GTT warships recently entered the Cluster, somewhere they have not seen the need to go for a very long time. At the same time the CIA banned the Dewiek Packs from it’s space and also sent a large number of warships into the Cluster to bolster the GTT’s presence. After this show of force the Crossley system, known for it’s wormhole connecting from the Cluster to CIA space shifted to be claimed by the GTT. Currently the Empire has over 200,000 troops and 2000 warships roaming the nearby systems. Inhabitants of the Cluster are waiting to see if there are any further developments. GTT CEO Xavier Fox when asked by our office dismissed it as a “Training exercise”.

Krell sale!

The Krell Clan Dark Angels has been selling off bases, outposts and even systems lately. It is unknown why they have decided to cash in their assets and territories, but it points to the accumulation of significant wealth by the Krell clan. If you have any spare cash and want to expand your assets then it seems to our office that the best place to go is the Dark Angel Clan and ask what will be going up for sale next, assuming they actually have anything left.

*** Affiliations ***

AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
BLG Bolg Organisation (22) - Akhenaten
BHD Brotherhood (63) - de Molay
CIA Combined Intelligence Agency (64) - Laton CIA
DNA Displaced Natives Asylum (66) - DNA people
DTR Detinus Republic (58) - Morley Decker
DEN Dewiek Elder Nation (67) - <unknown>
DWK Dewiek Packs (19) - Skarn
FCN Falconian Republic (70) – Bacran *
FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
HEX Hexamon (23) - <unknown>
KRL Krell (30) - Namica
KRT Krell of the Reverence Temple (37) - Kal Torak
KST Kastor Kastorians (12) - Kastor
MZC Mizuchi Combine (86) - Mizuchi
MOH Mohache (73) – Listens
NHS Noble Houses (41) – Roy Roberts
NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz

* Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
** Only known contact, please update us if this is incorrect.

NPC / FoC: ARC, CIV, CGT, FRE, HBO, HEF, IND, ISP, JCN, MEK, MRC, PIR, PRV, TCA, TRN, KAS
Inactive: ANT, COD, DOM, HVE, IDC, IMP, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG

*** Submissions ***

By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.
 
GTT step forward to control protection and peace in the Stellar Empire.

With the retirement of Jack Johns and various lower-level IMP officers from public life, the Imperial Services were left on the verge of being unable to fill their role as protectors of the Stellar Empire. Due to the serious nature the Imperial Services found itself in, the Emperor recently travelled to GTT HQ to attend a board meeting with the directors of the GTT.

With Galactic Trade and Transport being one of the few remaining loyal Imperial Chartered affiliations, who also supply well over half of the war material to the Imperial Services, the Emperor sought the position of the GTT with regard to the Imperial Services becoming overburdened with bureaucracy and lacking effective leadership. Effectively the Imperial Services were at the point of collapse. A position highlighted when an opportunistic supposed ally subverted four Imperial Outposts in the Inner Empire, thinking their asset grabbing would go unnoticed.
 
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  Star Date: 221.30.5

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RAGNAROK COMES

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A Forlorn Hope

The seat of Dewiek Government has fallen. What began as a small group of Architect ships picking up retreating DEN forces, amalgamated into a much larger force. The bombardment fleet comprised dozens of Adult ARC ships plus several Planet Killers. The force made short work of the impressive fortifications of the planetary orbit of Newstart. Multiple heavily armoured and maximised deflector shield platforms crumbled. They did so only after releasing their volleys of antimatter and nova weapon batteries. Any DEN warships that remained from earlier encounters also stood the line. But within the week, the last defence was gone.

Bombardment of Wolf Lair starbase proceeded without further resistance from the Dewiek. ARC Plasmas ripped through starbase shields. They demolished tens of thousands of factories and research facilities. The ARC demolished the huge military recruitment and training facilities on the planet. Over half a million trained troops evacuated from deep bunkers, leaving a token ground defence.

The ARC were not satisfied to burn the facilities and murder the workers. They deployed repeated salvos of their Virus Bombs on the wider population. Reports began to arrive of civilians of the world regressing. Leaving settlements and returning to nature. Much as the Dewiek found themselves some decades ago when they started to recover from the First Great ARC-DEN War. This time there was no High Lord Magnus willing to obliterate the world to save a remnant of the people. Newstart was already lost.

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Newstart is lost

 
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  Star Date: 221.27.2

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RAGNAROK APPROACHES

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End Game Lost

A short-lived period of peace followed the Dewiek Elder Nation’s historic and Saga-worthy defence against the Architect Planet Killers. A handful of the more typically encountered ARC ships were spotted picking off DEN support ships in Forlorn Hope before more than forty of them appeared back in End Game.

While the ARC “Adult” class ships, as the DEN had previously classified them, were eight times smaller than the “Planet Killers”, they were still as big as the largest ships any other species has managed to produce. Including the otherwise technologically advanced Dewiek.

Forty-four of these Plasma armed organic vessels smashed through the DEN forces left circling the orbit of Beacon, End Game. The mass of ARC weapons bombarded the DEN Shipyards at Ragnorak with their superheated ionized gas, razing the entire outpost to the ground.

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ARC Plasma weapons devastate End Game

 
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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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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