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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.

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  Star Date: 221.3.3

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

    Admiral Lord Simms killed after a long and distinguished service to the Empire.

    The Imperial Services have intercepted and serious damaged several DEN ships on the way to the Empire’s home systems. Unfortunately during the action Admiral Lord Simms was injured and reports from the Viceroy indicate he has passed away, fighting the enemies of the Empire like any true Imperial Officer.

    The Viceroy has stated that the officers and crew of the DEN ships have been captured and are now awaiting trial at a secret IMP base.

    DEN continue to strike at the Empire

    Reports are coming in of multiple engagements between the Empire and the Dewiek Elder Nation over the last week. With several battles taking out Empire ships in the Heartland of the CIA.

    AFT turn to piracy

    The Association of Free Traders have, after a long history of neutrality, turned to piracy this week. AFT Drake boarded an IND ship in the Halo periphery, killing several of the crew in the process.
    Independent trader Jarlebanke Langhofdi immediately took to the public communication channel demanding an answer to why supposedly peaceful traders had killed his crew and taken his ship.

    The AFT remain silent over the attack.
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Combat Special Edition

    Since the DEN started shooting at those lovable FEL fluffballs things have certainly been heating up. So we through it would be prudent to bring you, gentle beings of the peripheries, a special edition in order to keep you updated with all the latest action in regards to who the DEN are shooting and who is shooting them.

    Felini strike back at Dewiek

    Reports have come in of the FEL striking back at the DEN in the Kallisan system. A huge FEL force supported by the IMP and CIA assaulted DEN positions taking both the platform and base called Lucien. There was much rejoicing in the FEL camp as the Felini proved they were not such lovable fluffballs after all!

    GTT get sucked into the war

    A passing fleet of GTT warships got caught in the fighting and this saw the GTT enter the war. When asked about this CEO Fox pointed out they are not warships at all, they are trade defence ships. So how they came to be in the DEN system of Kallisan is a mystery to us. But the GTT CEO was clear that they only engaged using support and defend orders to protect allies. Needless to say, the CEO commented “We found ourselves on the Dewiek Nation’s enemy lists pretty soon after.”

    Dewiek Nation attacks GTT positions in Orion Spur, breaking DOM system rules

    A fleet of DEN warships has engaged and destroyed a significant number of GTT cargo ships and escorts in the DOM system Monument. The GTT immediately took to the public channels to ask why the DOM were not doing something. In reply the DOM issued a statement to stop, which the DEN ignored.

    The DEN newssheet "The HOWL" published a completely unbiased review of the attack shortly after.

    DOM make a choice

    After the above incident and then further raiding by the DEN, taking out a few GTT cargo ships in the DOM system of Coptuv, the DOM seemed to have been faced with a choice of stopping drinking their tea and doing something or just hoping it would go away. Instead they seem to have decided to abandon the whole idea of being an active affiliation and we have since folded. The lengths some people will go to not to have their elevenses disturbed is truly staggering. We asked the DOM for a statement on their new system rules to share with our readers but have received no replies.

    DOM positions share out

    Just as we were going to press news has come in of various DOM assets being given to other affiliations or sold. Hopefully we will have more on this story in the next issue of your favorite factual newsheet. Yes, that's us at the SSS.

    *** Affiliations ***

    AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
    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) - Urd
    DOM Dominion (57) – we believe the DOM are now inactive
    FCN Falconian Republic (70) - Bacran
    FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
    FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
    FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
    GRC Gracians (13) - HG1
    GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
    GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
    HEX Hexamon (23) - Ando
    IMP Imperial Services (51) - Jack Jones
    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
    MIC Mohache Independent Commune (76) - Sleeps with Dragons
    NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
    RIP Regularly Involved in Piracy - Githyanki
    RRH Roy Robert Holdings (39) - Roy Roberts
    SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
    USN Ulian Stellar Nation (34) - Oeipus Prime
    WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz

    * Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
    ** Affiliation has no leader but this is the only known contact


    Inactive: ANT, BHD, COD, HVE, IDC, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG

    Deceased: CAL

    *** Submission ***

    By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.

    Free Ship when you sign-up
    Complete missions for in game rewards
    Control everything, up to an entire empire
    Dedicated human moderators
    Player and Moderator driven plotlines
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    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).