The ECO space program.

  • I read some suggestions here about space construction/exploration and agree that it's a last-priority kind of thing. However, it doesn't have to be too complicated to work. I think it would add a lot of value to ECO. Especially adding a Mars-like planet. Since the entire world will soon be talking about Mars

    -- Satellites --
    First of all, putting satellites in orbit probably wouldn't be too much work. All you need is a new rocket tech/specialization, a building to create rockets, a satellite and a rocket model + animation, and a launch pad.
    As for the satellites themselves: just reuse the asteroid orbiting code. The code required is already in place, except perhaps for the rocket's flight to space. As long as you don't allow it to take humans it seems to be relatively simple.
    I would suggest moving some systems (like global climate information) from the current omniscience-like system to the satellite network.

    -- Other planets --
    This is a whole other level of gameplay of course. But it might not be all that hard to create other planets that you can travel to. It requires creating new biomes of course (and maybe plants/animals), but only a little extra coding. It would likely share the base code with the normal Earth-world.
    I'll assume the first planet to be added would be Mars and use it as an example below:
    Issue 1: Gravity
    Gravity is just changing a constant, not much work required. Animations might need some tweaking though.
    Issue 2: Terraforming
    The lack of oxygen is emulated by forcing the wearing of a space suit and using oxygen as a consumable.
    Terraforming the atmosphere could be done using the current CO2 mechanics for other gases seems reasonable.
    You can even terraform oceans using the sealevel mechanics. Start with oceans under the lowest land level, and have it rise up with more heat on the planet.
    The only issue I can see is the lack of a magnetic field. But this could be solved by adding an 'artificial magnetic field' between the sun and the Mars-like planet. Some kind of late-game high tech solution to keep the atmosphere from flying away from Mars.
    Issue 3: Travel
    Just add a loading screen between the rocket launch on Earth and arrival on Mars.
    Perhaps add a way of setting the launch site on Mars using the 3D mars-map.
    Anyhow, if it isn't done by the developers, I can imagine this will be modded relatively quickly. As long as there is no in-space floating around stuff it seems pretty doable.

  • Good ideas, and (hush hush) we're considering these things for expansions to the game...

  • @JohnK I'll not mention it to anyone! I'm already looking forward to those expansions ;)

  • I can see a minor space program as a technology to going to an destroying the meteor - be a fun alternative to the lasers and would stay with the premise of the game. The idea of terreforming worlds is a whole different game. Firs of all tehre is a great leap between the reality of Eco and the utter Sci-fi fantasy of terreforming a planet.

    There is no way to start out on 'Mars' and terreform it. Even if you do very little research on terreforming Mars you quickly find out that without more Mass, and a greatly enlarge the magnetosphere no amount of work done of the surface of Mars will terreform it. In its current stat you could bring oceans of water and it would all out gas immediately. mars would need more mass - brought by force collisions from other bodies (and then 1000's of years wait for the planet to stableize), it would need its core rotation speed up - NASA has put forward some plans about digging into the mantle and setting of explosions that would do this. The other way is to coax some large bodies of other bodies into orbit around Mars at Lagrange points to use tehir magnetic field to shield Mars and hold water in and allow it to develop an atmosphere. And taht is just teh very early start of terreforming a planet. Terreforming a planet is still very much science fiction and really has little to do with ecology until a planet is well into a terraforming phase and supporting life. Since most of what we would have to do to terreform a planet would need to be done from space - without technology we don't have except in fictional books, would have to be done from space most likely from generational ships big enough to go coax other bodies to Mars you are talking about a space exploration and terreforing game, not an ecology game.

    There is a huge leap from putting a guy in a rocket , in a space suit and sending him to a meteor to blow it up - and while that is still science fiction at this time for us - we do have the technology to do it and have landed unmanned probes on asteroids so the do-ability of the concept is there. So even though do it would fall under science fiction, I could see the stretch to doing as the byproducts of getting a man and a bomb to the meteor would be another polluting factor you would have to work against.

    Terreforming another planet, while totally science fiction and not based on any technology we currently have does not really have anything to do with ecology and community building etc. Nothing that Eco is really about. Terreforming a planet, even if you found one with the right mass and a magnetosphere, would take generations unlike what you see in the movies. Much of that time would be spent living aboard a ship orbiting the planet and when you could move to the surface it would still mostly be in sealed bunkers. To terreform even the most cooperative planet would be a generational project and it would not be about ecology and community building and working toward saving a planet; but about team choosing and leadership, scientific experimentation and space exploration and developing a new world - a totally different premise. Great premise for a different game but very different from the game Eco and the systems in use in the game.

  • @rentechd The current estimation for a fully terra-formed mars does not keep in mind advancing technology at all. Which makes it per definition, the very worst case scenario. I do assume exponential technological growth due to AI and brain-interfacing technologies. Both on Elon Musk's to do list by the way :P

    1. It would likely start by creating a magnetic field, which is the biggest issue to terraforming Mars. The only thing keeping us from starting the process right now. And yes, this could take a long time, but not 1000's of years, likely we'll have the technology in about 50 years or so, then the engineering in 70. Kick-starting the core might prove too difficult to do, but it can be achieved in multiple other ways as you said.
      A satellite between the Sun and Mars emitting a magnetic field is the more realistic option in my eyes. But still far from our current capability. The biggest limitations are getting the material there, which the Mars colonization in the coming decades will likely make easier due to breakthroughs in space-travel. And the creation of a giant magnetic field. But that's just a power issue. We just need better solar panels and that problem is likely solvable.

    2. The moment we manage a magnetic field, we'd start creating and spreading human-made bacteria/nanobots to produce the things we need for an atmosphere. Most necessities are already on Mars and do not require asteroids to impact the surface at all. It just needs recombining atoms into the correct molecules, which we are getting much better at at a rapid pace.

    3. Temperatures would rise due to Mars having an atmosphere again.

    4. The entirety of Mars could have an atmosphere in just a few years after having a magnetosphere. Yes we can place plants and animals on Mars to make it look a bit more like Earth, but we wouldn't need those in order to be able to walk on Mars without protection. The bacteria could already provide the function plants have on Earth.