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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 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
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.

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.

Is open for business...
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

New pirate threat rocks Corward Arm.

Several large pirate ships have been spotted in outer rings of Corward systems. Reports forwarded to us at the SSS allow us to exclusively tell readers that traders should keep their wits about them when moving through these areas.

No existing pirate menace has yet claimed ownership.

In a possibly unrelated event one of the FET cartel members claimed nothing was happening in the outer ring of Coptov shortly afterwards. But it could be that they are still trying to catch Empire backed pirates and have nothing to do with the new sightings.
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

DEN continue to shoot innocents

The Dewiek have made themselves busy shooting at the peaceful and innocent traders of the SSL. Leader of Solar Spices and Liquors Mr TOAD has been vocal pointing out that the Beast-DEN are being totally unfair. News of a go-fund-me appeal are yet to surface though.

This office is sure that it must have provided the DEN light relief after picking on the equally defenceless Felini. Word is that the DEN faced such an uphill struggle in these recent actions they had to take up Felini inter-breeding to provide some entertainment as the battle reports were rather boring.
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the LiQuans

A close associate of the Baron LiQuan has been haunting the Corewards periphery and like the old Baron it is said he has a meklan connection. It's unclear whether he obtained his meklan nanites via the CIA but there are rumours that the DEN may be helping the Liquan relative in a bid to sow discontent in the Stellar Empire. Exactly why they would start in Corewards is unclear although with DEN allies, the DOM, having strong positions both in the Sol system and the old Harcorp systems of Harlong and Coptuv they may be the linking factor.

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

Meklan Unleashed on Mobile Bay

Mad Dewiek scientist Dr Kala released a number of Meklan on the busy world of Mobile Bay in the Yank system. Thousands of civilians have been killed in what is treated by DEN warlords as an amusing practical joke. Rather than take any responsibility for their affiliation’s reckless behaviour, a DEN lord rumoured to be half-meklan himself quipped he would nuke the planet whilst another merely saw it as an opportunity to test some of his greener troops in combat. Surprisingly, the KAS planetary defence force was up to the job of repelling the insidious incursion. Questions remain whether further meklan are stored elsewhere on the planet and whether anybody will challenge the Dewiek’s lack of care for the lives of innocents. Probably not, given how even the mighty IMP are now cowering from a fight with the DEN (see inside this edition).

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

Who is behind the AFA?

Following the large scale holiday attack by the AFA against the FET the question of who is behind the attacks has been raised once again. What is clear is that the AFA is using ships that were transferred from the GTT to the IMP. The organisation and expertise of the operation also reduces the pool of potential candidates. Few can go from commanding a handful of broadswords to half a thousand warships and significant army logistics without a long stint in one of the more combative affiliations. With the DEN’s allies the HEX in close relations with the FET and no recent history of animosity between the aliens and FET, at least since the departure of former one-eye big-bun Norozov, it would be a bizarre turn of events if they were behind these attacks. Frankly, there’s no point dancing around it. The IMP are clearly behind the AFA. The question is what can anybody do about this move of significant Imperial resources to a black-flag agency?

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

Fox Effects Fantastic Turnaround

With his feet barely under the table, Xavier Fox has managed to dramatically turn things around at the GTT. With year-on-year sales figures up by 23%, manufacturing up 42% and ship production increased by 36%, the megacorporation is running at full steam with noticeable impact on local economies across the Stellar Empire. Political analysts also note that after a period of retrenchment following the disastrous leadership of Ike Krieger, investment in defence is at a five-year high. After such bullish growth, the trick will be for Mr. Fox to recruit C-level executives fast enough to match his ambitions. It is notable in temperament, the current crop of GTT politicals do not exhibit the monomaniacal xenophobia of their predecessors and have resisted repeated provocations by the DEN to enter a pointless spar before they have re-established superiority against the foolhardy aliens.

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

Felini flounder in Winter against superior Dewiek forces

The FEL have managed to get their asses kicked by the DEN yet again after provoking the definitely “not cute or cuddly” Dewiek in the Crossley system. The furry punching bags had bought a civilian flagged outpost in the system, without permission or under certain conditions depending on who you ask, and then had the gall to reinforce this error by positioning warships in orbit. The famously patient warlord Halvor did not buy the story these heavy hull armed ships were merely transports and sent a pack to clear the orbit. The mouthy yet green Felini fleet commander Pr'prz fancied his chances against what looked like a light complement of DEN warships and ordered his own warships to engage in the neighbouring Winter system. The result was predictably a wipe out of the FEL forces consisting of forty-seven capital warships at no loss to the DEN. Once again, a series of calamitous decision making resulted in Felini lives being wasted by a leadership barely fit to clean a litter tray. The otherwise untested Halvor can now claim some victory ale although with his penchant for picking on creatures as weak as Gracians, it’s not exactly clear how much glory this new breed of Dewiek warrior can claim against the legends of old.

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

Dastardly Dewiek Disregard Yank Neutrality

The governor of a MRC outpost in the Yank system reports that a 400-hull DEN warship called Grey Hunter Axiom entered orbit of Spritzer and opened fire with weapons of mass destruction (WoMD) against a platform, outpost, ground party and ship. Reports indicate significant casualties to Kastorian personnel both in space and on the ground. The KAS Junta is gruffly warning, with a slightly indifferent air, that everybody better stay out of the sector of the outpost for their own health. It is unclear what measures the KAS have or will take against the DEN on this matter. Such a breach of Yank neutrality has in the past caused the Dewiek to froth at the bit against the Empire for their disregard of ‘civilised’ norms. Their current silence on this matter speaks volumes.

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

Yenni-bodies Pirates?

A PIR outpost was miraculously discovered by an IMP freighter, of all things, in the Yanni system with several Javelin class warships in orbit. After noticing the IMP freighter and seeing the public post by Jack Jones on subspace, the PIR decided to flee and leave a combined force of IMP and FET forces to capture the outpost. A brain damaged three-year old commentator who still believed in the goodness of people and Santa Claus was quick to commend the IMP on their good work, dismissing those who thought it no more than a convenient clearing up operation signifying* completion of operations in the nearby FET claimed systems of Graydown, Canth and Onissian by IMP puppet Edward Lowe. Meanwhile, the Wolf Lord Lyceum summed up the view of many when he screamed, “What is this amateur b*llshit?” into an uncaring universe.


Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
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Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

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).