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  1. #1
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    Master of Orion!



    Well, it turns out my X-Com thread wasn't enough to sate my obsessive need to document the computer games I play.

    Master of Orion is a science fiction, turn-based strategy game, in which the player leads their race with the goal of conquering the galaxy. There are two ways to win: The diplomatic victory (in which your race is selected as head of the galaxy when elections roll around - more on that later), and the military victory (in which you kill the shit out of everyone that isn't of your species). I'll probably go with whatever victory is most convenient, unless the forum really wants me to go for one or the other.

    So how do we set about conquering the galaxy? We'll establish colonies, build factories and missile bases, research new technology, design weapons of war, invade planets, all that good stuff.

    Oh yeah, there's also the game's titular planet, Orion. It's being guarded by a big thing. A big huge thing. A thing that will eat even midgame fleets for breakfast. But kill it and the planet's yours - you immediately get a lot of late-game tech, and once you colonize it, it gives you absolutely ridiculous research bonuses. Right then, let's get started!


    Here are the settings I'll be using. Medium galaxy with 3 races means we'll probably have early first contact, and the game should last a decent amount of time without dragging on too long. Difficulty is set to average because, for someone who's played this game as much as I have, I'm kind of terrible at it. Plus higher difficulties put you at a tech disadvantage, and I want all the shiniest toys.


    The available races. We're playing as humans - sorry forumgoers, you don't get a choice there. Here's a rundown of what the races do:

    Human: Good at diplomacy, tend to be liked by other races. We can very nearly start and end wars at will with this, and seeing what the other races have, we need to use this for all it's worth.
    Mrrshan: Cat-people. They're good gunners, meaning their ships' weapons tend to hit harder. Thankfully, this doesn't apply to ground battles.
    Silicoid: Silicon-based life. They have slow population growth, but they can colonize anywhere. Many planets have hostile environments - radiated, tundra, etc. - and we need special technology and expensive equipment before we can set foot on them. These guys? No such restriction.
    Sakkra: Lizard people. They have high population growth, meaning their colonies tend to sprout up -very- quickly. Plus it means they can crank out ground troops at a rate that would make the Red Army jealous.
    Psilon: Four-armed yellow things with giant foreheads. They get research bonuses that will almost certainly kick in before we meet them, meaning defeating these guys will be an uphill battle if we run into them.
    Alkari: Bird people. Counterpart to the Mrrshans, but instead of hitting harder, these guys take less damage. Not much to say other than that if we fight them, we'll have to hit them hard.
    Klackon: Ant people. Their people can build stuff faster than other races (Note: Production capability comes from both number of colonists and number of factories. They only get a bonus to their colonists.) If we fight them, they'll have a better war machine unless we dump biological weapons all over their planets.
    Bulrathi: Bear people. They get a massive bonus to ground combat, to the point that engaging them there is suicide unless we have vastly superior technology. If we fight them, we'll need to defeat them in space.
    Meklar: Cyborg lizards. They get a large production bonus from their factories, and they tend to pick fights. If we run into them, we'll need to hit them fast and hard or drown in a tidal wave of ships.
    Darlok: Cloaked shapeshifters. They're natural spies, meaning it's much easier for them to infiltrate us - and much harder for us to do the same to them. Spies can cause all kinds of trouble, ranging from stealing technology to destroying factories.


    Naturally, the human emperor will be me.


    Decision time! We need a banner color, and I'm asking you guys. This color only really affects...well...our color in the game, and what our ships look like. I'll decide this by popular vote - in case of a tie, first suggested is picked.


    We'll also need a name for our homeworld. Now, I'll explain how colony names work:

    You may suggest colony names at any time. They'll be selected mostly on a first-come, first-serve basis, but priority will be given to people who haven't had as many colony names chosen. So if user A posts 3 suggested names, then B posts another 3 an hour later, and user C posts 1 another hour later, colony name selection would go A-B-C-A-B-A-B.

    Finally, a note about ship designs: We don't have many components to build ships from right now, and there's no real need for new designs anyway - we have a few default designs that will work until it starts looking like we have a war on our hands. When that time comes, I'll go into more detail about how ships are designed and give a template to post designs to. There's a lot of things to worry about, like weight, cost, power, etc., so I'll try to simplify the form to make things easier for everyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nixie-the-Pixie
    I mainly do crack.

  2. #2
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    RE: Let's play Master of Orion! (Colony names, ship designs wanted)

    WE'RE CALLING IT MAP32 AGAIN.[hr]
    Also, seeing as we're all about to go wiping out intergalactic vermin again, I think it's only appropriate that I start posting more bullshit 'artwork'. Here's some semi-relevant anti-alien propaganda to throw around:

    This man is your FRIEND

    He FIGHTS for 18 YEARS and STILL doesn't get a break AT ALL.



    And as for colour... well it's got to be Blue, hasn't it? All the great factions use Blue as their colour. The Ion Cannon is blue, too. Red's for commies and Sarajevo-based terrorist organisations anyway.
    "It turned out that the ghost was just Mr. Finley, who ran the amusement park. The spooky part is that, as soon as the ghost appeared, the teenagers' dog began to speak! And it spoke in a tortured parody of human speech: 'relp me, Raggy,' it would say. 'I am an abomination and rould re rilled. Rill re, Raggy.'"

  3. #3
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    RE: Let's play Master of Orion! (Colony names, ship designs wanted)

    The current banner colour is fine, although red would look more like the XGP. Our homeworld? Sentinel III, naturally. I haven't decided on any serious colony names, so I'll need to get back to you on that.
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

    Anime and Steam info

    Anime-Planet.com - anime | manga | reviews



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    RE: Let's play Master of Orion! (Colony names, ship designs wanted)

    Update 2, part 1/3


    Baron has chosen our homeworld's name as Map32, and the people have chosen our color as blue. Sorry Mantis, you didn't get to name the homeworld, but our next colony will be named Sentinel III.


    Our home, 2300 CE. Population: 50 million. As you can see, our resources are currently divided between further industrializing our world and keeping the environment clean. Cleaning up our industrial waste is important - if we fail to, people start dying as a result.


    A closer look at our planet. Orbiting around it is...


    ...our glorious space fleet! Okay, so it's a couple of unarmed scouts and a colony ship. Still, its completion marks our first steps off this rock and into the heavens.


    We still don't know a lot about our galaxy, but we've got a basic map of the region.
    Something I consider a slight flaw here - the game tells you what the alien races are, even if you haven't met them yet. I've covered over this information because, realistically, we shouldn't even know aliens are out there yet.


    And here is the technology that has made this momentous occasion possible. A breakdown of what we have available now:

    -The battle scanner is a sensor array light enough to fit on most ships that has the amazing capability to tell you everything you need to know about an enemy ship - its weapons, its armor, its shielding, all that good stuff. We don't know if there's other life out there, but if there is, we're prepared.

    -Reserve fuel tanks allow our ships to travel 3 parsecs further from a supply point than they would normally be able to - more on this later. Our scouts have them, but they're too bulky to fit on our colony ships.

    -Shield I is a module that we can fit on our ships. It completely envelopes the ship in an electromagnetic field that, through the wonders of destructive interference, reduces the effectiveness of inbound directed energy weapons. Or, less technically, it makes lasers not hurt as much.

    -Ecological Restoration is a marvel that lets us keep all of our good stuff - factories, cars, etc. - and keep the environment basically pristine as long as we put the labor into doing so. Expensive, but necessary.

    -Lasers, nuclear missiles, and nuclear bombs are our effective craft-mounted weapons. Nukes have, of course, been with us for a long time, but only recently have lasers become potent and practical enough to be used in warfare. Again, if there's intelligent alien life out here, these are part of our insurance policy.


    Now, I mentioned ship range a minute ago. A typical spacecraft has only enough supplies to travel 3 parsecs from our homeworld. As you can see, that isn't very far. Scout ships can go 6, so they can at least get a decent amount of exploration done. There are two ways to extend our operational range: Research better fuel, and found colonies so we get more supply points. As you can see, red stars generally aren't very good...


    ...while yellow stars tend to have the best planets.


    But, we'll have to work with what we've got. The yellow star is too far away, so we'll send our colony ship to this red one and see what we can find. It'll get there in 3 years/turns.


    While our colony ship's doing that, our scouts can start looking at what the other stars have to offer.
    [hr]
    2/3


    Hell yeah! This red star has actually given us one of the best colonizable planets I've seen. Not mineral-poor, good environment, high population capacity...


    ...so we make ourselves at home. It was supposed to be Sentinel III, not 3, but I ran out of room.


    Meanwhile one of our scout ships arrives at another red star, with more typical results. This isn't so much a planet as it is an asteroid - utterly uninhabitable.


    You can only squeeze so many people on a colony ship, and with only 2 million citizens, Sentinel 3 is off to a slow start. However, we can transfer people there from somewhere that can spare them.


    Our homeworld's sitting at about 60 million colonists now. At any time, we can transfer up to half of a colony's population to another. We'll need to do this regularly to get our new worlds to develop at a reasonable pace. Also, I've drawn an arrow to show where that scout's headed.


    Not much to say here, just scouts exploring new planets...



    Damnit! Why does such a good colony have to be radioactive?


    Another typical pla - wait a minute. What's this? Our surface explorers found what?


    Incredible! There's an ancient civilization down there, and we've found some of their old weapons! The missiles in this stockpile are significantly more advanced than the best we have available, and they'll give our weapons development programs a nice kickstart.
    Artifact planets make some of the best colonies in the game. As we've just seen, the first one to discover them gets a free tech from them. More importantly, any research they produce is doubled.
    [hr]
    3/3


    Another decent planet! Can't hold a candle to the artifact world, but it's still good.


    This one? It would be bad if it weren't rich. Because of their production bonuses, a rich planet basically does twice as much as an equivalent non-rich planet. With a little terraforming, this place could become the backbone of our industry.


    Map32's got all the factories running it's able to support. If we kept putting production into industry, it would give us money for our treasury, but for now let's start focusing on research.


    Here's what Map32 looks like now that we've paved the place over.


    Here's our current starmap. Annoyingly, all of the colonizable planets are just out of reach.


    It's time to change that! Now that we're putting resources into technology, we can select one tech from each of the six categories - computers, construction, force field, planetology, propulsion, and weapon - to put our efforts into. For computers I'm going to go ahead and research the deep space scanner rather than a better battle computer, since we haven't run into aliens yet we're obviously alone in the universe those missile guys are all dead anyway. Here were my other options for other areas, with research point cost, chosen tech bolded, and why I chose it:

    In Construction, my only option is to research Reduced industrial waste 80% (750 RP). This will cut our industrial waste to 80% of its current levels, meaning less money spent playing Captain Planet.

    In Force Fields, the only research branch is Class II deflector shields (280 RP). They're...better deflector shields. Early force field tech isn't that exciting, but you take what you can get.

    In Planetology, research options are Improved terraforming +10M (90 RP) and Improved eco restoration (600 RP). I'll be researching the improved eco restoration, which lets us clean up 50% more waste for the same material cost. Improved terraforming would let us terraform our planets to increase their maximum populations by 10 million, but to really reap the benefits from it, we need to spend less money cleaning up the crap we keep dumping everywhere.

    In Propulsion, my only research option is Hydrogen fuel cells (210 RP). These increase our ships' range from 3 parsecs to 4. It's not a lot, but it's that crucial extra bit we need to get those nearby planets.

    In Weapons, the missiles we discovered open up a lot more options. We can research the following:

    -Hand lasers (120 RP)
    -Gatling laser (750 RP)
    -Neutron pellet gun (1470 RP)
    -Fusion bomb (2430 RP)


    I'll be researching the hand lasers, since they're far and away the cheapest. They're not that impressive - they just give us a slight bonus to ground combat. Gatling lasers are like regular lasers, but they're heavier, more expensive, and fire 4 times per turn - they can take the place of lasers on our larger craft. The neutron pellet gun is a wonderful weapon - it hits a bit harder than the laser, it's light and cheap enough to mount on a fighter, and most importantly, shields effectiveness against it is halved. Heavy shields can severely reduce or even negate damage we deal, so this feature makes it a very nice early-game weapon. The fusion bomb lets us hit planets harder, and that's never a bad thing, but it can wait until we're on the offensive against someone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nixie-the-Pixie
    I mainly do crack.

  5. #5
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    RE: Let's play Master of Orion! (Colony names, ship designs wanted)

    Off topic: The initials for Master of Orion makes me think that there's intergalactic space cows lurking around somewhere.

    On Topic: So far this looks good. You're explaining the aspects as and when needed. I look forward to ship designs and the almost certain outbreak of Lethal Death.
    Fighting through Aliens, Robots, Insane sick people, demons, plants, dragons, fish, squids, jellyfish and more for the good of the forum!


    When I play a game, I usually want to see lethal amounts of death and destructive amounts of ruination.

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    RE: Let's play Master of Orion! (Colony names, ship designs wanted)

    Thanks, Grimm!

    Anyway, none of you except Grimm and BaronOfStuff came up with any colony names. We'll see the repercussions of this shortly.

    Today's update, part 1/3


    We open today's update with a scientific discovery! We've got ourselves these hand lasers after just a few turns of research. This doesn't get us any new research options, sadly, so sticking with the theme of death rays, we're researching gatling lasers next.


    Also, better deflector shields! This only opens one research option, the Personal Deflector Shield (1150 RP), which will give our ground troops a +10 bonus to their combat rolls. On top of the +5 we get from the hand lasers, that'll make our soldiers pretty tough.


    Of course, this is our most important development. With these, we can finally grab those delicious 4-parsec away colonies. This only opens up one research option, Irridium Fuel Cells [Range 6] (1940 RP), so we'll start working on that. More distance is always good.


    We have the technology, and now we need the ships. Research is halted once again so that Map32 can pump out colony ships, taking 4 years to build one.


    We haven't completely industrialized Sentinel 3 yet, hence why it takes 6 years to produce a colony ship, but we need to grab those planets as fast as we can.
    As you might have guessed, how well you do getting colonies early on will make or break you. That's why I'm throwing everything into these ships now that they have somewhere to go.


    Progress is slow, but steady.


    First we'll grab this yellow star here. The artifact planet is 5 parsecs away, so we can't reach it, but colonizing this one will put it in range.


    Meanwhile, our scouts will spread out and have a look at the additional planets that will soon be in our range.


    Ohhh, we'll definitely want this one.


    Heads up, everyone! We're getting some kind of unencrypted transmission from deep space!...There's a galactic news network?
    GNN announcements show up whenever something important happens to tell us about it. They can also happen randomly, to give us information on how the species compare with each other in areas like technology, industrial capability, etc. Let's see what this one has to say.
    [hr]
    2/3


    Oh shit. Not only are aliens out there, they're beating us to the punch on this whole "conquering space" thing. I wonder when we'll see what these fellows are like?


    Well, this is the exact opposite of promising.
    First contact with the Alkari happening on the same turn as the announcement that they've grabbed six planets is just a coincidence. Two species establish contact when they're close enough for their sensors to pick each other up.


    This doesn't bode well. The way our expansion is plotted out, it looks like we're going to be sharing a very large border with a bunch of birdy supremacists. The good news is that you'll notice we have three colonies now...
    I've taken the liberty of blanking out the other empires again.


    ...because we've established Klendathu! Let's ship in some people from Map32 to get it on its feet.


    If we pull up the "races" tab at the bottom, we get the option to view how we're comparing to other known empires. We don't have as many planets as the Alkari, but our existing ones are better established.


    Some of you might be clamoring for war, but we need to play to our strengths. The Alkari are superior pilots, but we are unrivaled diplomats. Also, initial speech aside, the good news is they seem to have a relaxed attitude toward us.
    Picking the "audience" tab, then the race of your choosing, gives you the audience to meet with their emperor. There are times when it can't be used, which we'll see later.


    Let's see if we can establish a trade agreement.
    So, what do those numbers mean? They're basically the money value of the goods moving between the races once the agreement is established. That means that a trade of, for instance, 75BC can mean anything from us losing 75BC a year buying their stuff, to gaining 75BC a year selling ours. Humans usually get good deals in trade, so we want to go as high as possible.


    Apparently they like our stuff more than they hate us. What're we selling that they want so badly? My guess is space crack.


    This is an Alkari-occupied planet. We're orbiting it. So what's going to happen?


    Nothing, as it turns out. Our scout is unarmed, they have no ships or missile defenses there, so our scout pilot and their colony are just kind of stuck staring at each other.
    [hr]
    3/3


    Okay, this is it! The real thing! Our colony ship, trying to set up base on this star, ran into Alkari that were already there! Let's see how this goes.


    The battle screen. To the left is our colony ship, to the right is the Alkari scout.


    Before we do anything, let's have a look at our own ship's stats. Knowing is half the battle, after all. We can see here it has 100HP. Clicking on it gives us a more detailed view.


    As you can see, its specs aren't very impressive as a combat vessel. Especially since it doesn't even have any weapons.


    Putting our cursor over an enemy ship lets us see its name and HP. It only has 3, which means it would blow up quite easily if we had anything capable of doing so. If anything in our fleet here had a battle scanner, we could see a detailed stat screen for the enemy's ships, like we got with our colony vessel.

    Well, our scouts aren't armed, maybe the Alkaris' aren't either. Let's move our colony ship forward and see if we can scare them off.


    Success! They fell for our bluff and jumped away from the planet. It's ours now!
    If the enemy doesn't have any weapons, they'll run away, even if you don't have any weapons either. Using this trick is key to getting contested planets early. Also, note our colony ship's less than impressive movement range - that'll change once we get better propulsion tech.


    I claim this planet in the name of myself humanity!


    Another GNN report. Now we know what we're up against. Curious how the largest alien empire also has the weakest space fleet - although to be fair, we don't have a single armed ship.
    Fleet strength, as calculated by the game, is determined only by the mone. tary value of the ships you own. Also, the fact that Psilons are involved means this is going to be a tough game, even though they aren't the dominant species. They're that broken.


    Freed from the burden of producing colony ships, Sentinel 3 was finally able to fully industrialize, even with citizens being shipped out to populate new colonies.


    Our expansion has paid off, and adding CD-I and 3DO to our empire paves the way for us to develop a strong industrial and technological base. The problem is, our new colonies are weak and vulnerable, and we now have alien neighbors to contend with.

    It's time we established a proper space force.


    Yes, it's time for the first round designing ships! I'll post more details later today.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nixie-the-Pixie
    I mainly do crack.

  7. #7
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    RE: Let's play Master of Orion! (Colony names, ship designs wanted)

    Hail LJN!
    Hail 3DO!
    CD-i Seger!
    "It turned out that the ghost was just Mr. Finley, who ran the amusement park. The spooky part is that, as soon as the ghost appeared, the teenagers' dog began to speak! And it spoke in a tortured parody of human speech: 'relp me, Raggy,' it would say. 'I am an abomination and rould re rilled. Rill re, Raggy.'"

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    RE: Let's play Master of Orion! (Colony names, ship designs wanted)

    Sweet, I guessed Psilon correctly.

    Planet suggestions:

    Caliban
    Planet P
    The Zone (preferably an Irradiated planet, stick it anywhere though)
    Chernobyl (same as above)
    Surtur
    Kraken
    Cydonia
    T'leth
    Aumaan
    Zwitter
    Nexus
    Jericho
    Reach

    If you need any more, I can quite easilly suggest them.
    Fighting through Aliens, Robots, Insane sick people, demons, plants, dragons, fish, squids, jellyfish and more for the good of the forum!


    When I play a game, I usually want to see lethal amounts of death and destructive amounts of ruination.

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    RE: Let's play Master of Orion! (Colony names, ship designs wanted)

    Spacecraft Design Phase 1
    Number of designs wanted: 2
    Purpose of designs: I need some cheap ships to act as border patrol in case the Alkari suddenly attack us.

    Spacecraft design form

    Name: Name it whatever you like, but I may have to abbreviate it to get it within the 11-character limit.
    Size: Small, medium, large, or huge?
    Description: Its equipment and what it does. You can be as general or as detailed as you like. I won't necessarily be able to give you exactly the ship you want, but I'll do my best within the game's limits.


    Designing spacecraft: A primer



    Developing new weapons in Master of Orion is an involved affair, as you can see from the image above. The one thing all modules have in common, though, is that they count against the ship's weight (the game won't let you pile too much crap on one ship - hence the available/total weight counters) and will make it more expensive. There is no single best design, but some are definitely better for their roles than others. Here are what the module types do. Think about what you want your ship to be good at, because it won't have the space or money for the best of everything. Finally, even older, outdated weapons modules can still be useful, and shouldn't be ignored, because as our tech levels get better, our existing modules get smaller and cheaper. For instance, right now our ships can mount close to twice as many nuclear missiles as hyper-v rockets.

    Computer determines a ship's weapon accuracy - the better it is, the more likely the ship is to hit what it's aiming at. Given that the Alkaris' advantage is that they're hard to hit...

    Shield determines damage reduction, which is equal to the shield's level. For instance, a laser will hit an unshielded ship for 1-4 damage. With a Shield I, this drops to 0-3, and with a Shield II, this drops to 0-2.

    ECM The better a ship's ECM is, the less likely missiles are to score a hit on it. Bad news is we don't have any ECM technology now, so we're stuck without.

    Armor determines a ship's hit points. No choice here either for now, I'm afraid. All we've got is titanium until we research something better.

    Engine determines how quickly a ship moves between planets. We're stuck with retros.

    Maneuver determines how quickly a ship moves around the battlefield. More maneuverable ships also get evasion bonuses against all weapons. Retro engines give us a max maneuver of...1!

    Weapons are where we finally have some actual variety. A ship can hold up to 4 types of weapons, with up to 99 of each type, provided it has the room.

    Also, quick note on weapons: The two main weapon types for anti-ship purposes are beams and missiles. Beams have short range and somewhat low damage, but have infinite "ammo" and are difficult to evade. Missiles have high range and damage, but have limited ammo (each missile module has a 2-shot variant and a 5-shot variant), take time to reach their targets, and are hindered by ECM.

    Special modules have various useful effects that'll be detailed in the parts list.

    Speaking of the parts list, it's in the next spoilered section!


    Available ship modules

    Computer
    Mark I

    Shield
    Class I
    Class II

    ECM
    Nothing

    Armor
    Titanium

    Engines
    Retros

    Maneuverability
    Up to 1

    Weapons
    Laser: 1-4 damage, range 1
    Heavy Laser: 1-7 damage, range 2. Can't be mounted on small ships.
    Nuclear Missile: 4 damage, range 6. Can't be mounted on small ships.
    Hyper-V Rocket: 6 damage, range 7. Can't be mounted on small ships.

    Special
    Battle Scanner: If any of our ships in a battle has one of these, we can see all of the stats of all of the enemy ships. Can't be mounted on small ships.
    Reserve Fuel Tanks: Add 3 parsecs to a ship's range, but it's not like border patrol will need them.
    Standard Colony Base: Lets us land on planets with non-hostile environments. Can't be mounted on small or medium ships. There is no reason our border patrol would ever have these.


    Hope that was all clear. If not, just ask and I'll clarify.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nixie-the-Pixie
    I mainly do crack.

  10. #10
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    RE: Let's play Master of Orion! (Colony names, ship designs wanted)

    Eh, Gamelon's the best name we've got going for another planet, and you damn well know it.
    "It turned out that the ghost was just Mr. Finley, who ran the amusement park. The spooky part is that, as soon as the ghost appeared, the teenagers' dog began to speak! And it spoke in a tortured parody of human speech: 'relp me, Raggy,' it would say. 'I am an abomination and rould re rilled. Rill re, Raggy.'"

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