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Author Topic: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games  (Read 619715 times)

Magnnus

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Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« on: January 09, 2010, 11:04:10 pm »

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READ END OF POST FOR INSTALLATION HELP
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Recently I've stumbled upon an absolute jewel of a game called Aurora during my ongoing search for the best 4X game out there, and I think I have a winner. This game is an independent project by a man named Steve Walmsley; his income comes from online poker, and his spare time is consumed by developing and playing this game. The game is 100% free, immensely detailed, and absolutely brilliant.

The game is turn based with turns calculating anywhere from 5 seconds of the game to 30 days. There is a screen for the system map and a galactic map; most of the actual information is presented as columns and rows of text, but it is very well presented and not cumbersome at all. Don't let the graphics and interface turn you off because the game has incredible depth; after all there is a reason I called it the Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games.

It is a very open, almost sandbox like 4X game that takes place in a procedurally generated universe of his own creation. The universe has wonderful personality with orbiting planets, stars, moons, and asteroids; of course there are also ancient alien ruins and native life, from the hyper advanced and long gone precursors to modern earth like civilizations as well as other fledgling races just setting out to the stars.

Planets are very detailed with tectonics, atmosphere consisting of real gases, temperatures derived from the distance to the star, the axis of the planet, the warming or cooling effects of the atmosphere, and the reflectivity of the surface. Through terraforming you can actually alter the makeup of the atmosphere to better suit your life or you can land some terraforming ships on an enemy planet and suck the oxygen out of the atmosphere or pump it full of deadly chlorine. Some planets or other bodies contain any combination of dozens of minerals that are needed to run your industry and empire; they have an amount and an accessibility level that determines how fast you can mine them out.

Your empire is a living and breathing creature with civilians conducting their own business among the stars; they can form corporations and trade among both local and foreign colonies or transport population to where they want to go as well as founding their own colonies or mining operations.

Research and technology consists of major research projects for anything from improving industry to forming stargates or ICBMs as well as projects for designing and testing your own components, reactors, lasers, engines, turrets, missiles, etc. Research projects are headed by lead scientists of your choice, each with their own skills and personality, with research labs and additional researchers to back them up. Your colonies and ships can also be led by individuals with their own skills and personality.

Ships and defences are designed with the components and technology that you researched, and a great deal of thought must go into an effective design. You have to factor in the weight of the ship and how it will affect the engines and fuel, and keep an eye on the complexity making sure you have enough engineers and crew allocated to keep it running. Also, make sure those lasers have proper tracking systems, sensors, and power to keep them running at top efficiency, and don't forget that your 12000 speed turrets need fast enough tracking to keep up or those enemy missiles will fly right through.

Search the stars enough and you may make first contact! This may result in peaceful trade and alliance or you may be exchanging missile fire right from the get go. I can't say much about diplomacy and aliens since I've only come across one other species and all they did was decimate my ships with theirs that were 3 times as fast and 5 times as powerful (I think it may have been a precursor outpost).

Combat is also immensely detailed with targeting for individual systems on ships or projectiles. The game also looks at the spread of damage from your weapon of choice and how it affects the enemy's armor and individual components with missiles creating craters and lasers piercing through.

This is only short blurb about what the game has to offer, and since I am still very new to the game I'm sure it is full of holes and has some very important missing content. A better way to learn about the game would probably be to read some after action reports or just to try the game out for yourself, it is free after all.

Here is an AAR and some gameplay description that the creator posted on Wargamer:
http://www.wargamer.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=397359

A short biography of the creator on the 3rd reply (very interesting by the way):
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php/topic,1194.0.html

The forums:
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/

A whole ton of fiction and AARs for the game:
http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php?PHPSESSID=5aa51e65e5fe982513caf4b6070aa9f0&board=2.0

And the wiki where download information and tutorials reside:
http://aurorawiki.pentarch.org/index.php?title=Main_Page#Links

Edit:
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INSTALLATION HELP
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When installing click YES to NOT override your dlls; the reason for the changes to sysem32 is because the setup file is as official Microsoft Visual Studio setup that installs some required dlls that windows doesn't come with; it is not the games setup. The actual game is in the AuroraUpdate475.zip, and you may try to play the game without setup if you already have the required dlls.

After installing you have to copy the contents of the AuroraUpdate475.zip to the Aurora folder,

If your running windows 7 or vista and are getting a missing MSSTDFMT.dll error:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 07:52:58 pm by Magnnus »
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Trorbes

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2010, 11:55:29 pm »

"Dwarf Fortress of 4X" is an understatement.  I just got it and started... well, trying to figure out HOW to play it.  I understand now, though, why people always complain about the learning curve of DF.
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Cthulhu

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2010, 12:23:33 am »

Oh man, if I can get over the learning curve of this I think it might end up fulfilling one of my dream game ideas (Technically one I didn't know I had, but reading through it I know if I did have a dream 4x space game it would be this)
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Magnnus

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2010, 12:41:36 am »

I didn't find the learning curve to be too difficult; the tutorial on the wiki site got me going and there is usually enough to do in the game without having to know everything that you can take your time learning.
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BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Toady One:<BR><STRONG>I could become a camgirl.</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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fenrif

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2010, 03:27:09 am »

As much as i love 4x games, this one seems waay to confusing and complicated at first glance. I'll have to sit down and have a read through the wiki to see if i can make sense of it i guess.

If theres any tips or hints you've got, they'd be much appreciated. :P
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KaelGotDwarves

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 03:55:05 am »

Looks good so far. Wargamer has never lead me astray with Close Combat series and their general recommendations are solid.
http://www.wargamer.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=303714

I'll do more reading into this before starting.

It's sad that I'm already sick of galciv2 :(
« Last Edit: January 10, 2010, 03:59:26 am by KaelGotDwarves »
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Magnnus

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2010, 04:34:13 am »

As much as i love 4x games, this one seems waay to confusing and complicated at first glance. I'll have to sit down and have a read through the wiki to see if i can make sense of it i guess.

If theres any tips or hints you've got, they'd be much appreciated. :P

I'd say to start with the tutorial on the wiki first and foremost; it isn't done yet but it is a recent construction (a couple weeks old) and more parts are added quickly so if its not enough to get you in you could wait a couple more weeks for it to be finished. Other than that I would just suggest you do the best you can with the game, play around with the interface, end a few turns to see what happens, and don't worry about messing up; its not a game that is meant to be broken down and played perfectly so messing up at every turn actually won't ruin your game. Also, the wiki is extremely sparse but more information can be found in the forums and especially in the mechanics section.
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Farce

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2010, 04:56:18 am »

Oh man.  I want to try this, but I think my computer is telling me not to.

Seriously, it crashed both times I started up when I tried installing, and then I had to let it run some system restore thing from the boot menu.  These could of course be coincidences, but that's a less fun explanation.

Magnnus

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2010, 05:27:05 am »

I'm sorry to hear that.

You could try asking on the forums; they are very responsive, and there is even a forum dedicated to installing once you register. I have also have heard about installation problems on vista.
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kulik

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2010, 05:33:58 am »

Such detailed 4x game must be pain to control. i remember space empires, after i had like 20+ planets i was absolutely lost. What is constructed where, what was it i had to upgrade, oh god i forgot i have those ships orbiting this moon...
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KaelGotDwarves

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2010, 05:43:28 am »

Okay, the amount of stuff the install attempts to change in my system32 folder is slightly worrying, but I assume those are all merely dependencies?
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Metalax

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2010, 06:04:17 am »

Sounds interesting. I'll have to have a look at this when I get some free time.
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Gabeux

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2010, 09:35:23 am »

Sounds AWESOME. To be its turn based (I hate it) and it's GFX looks a bit weird on the screens.
I'll try it, but I think today I won't stay at home. Damn.
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fenrif

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2010, 10:42:59 am »

Such detailed 4x game must be pain to control. i remember space empires, after i had like 20+ planets i was absolutely lost. What is constructed where, what was it i had to upgrade, oh god i forgot i have those ships orbiting this moon...

Space empires are some of my favorite games of all time! whoooo space empires!
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Virtz

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Re: Aurora - The Dwarf Fortress of 4X Games
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2010, 11:06:49 am »

The interface. It doesn't even fit on my screen. And it's unresizable. Fuck.
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