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Planets (Version 3.x)

Introduction to Planets


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Minefields (also known as 'space mines') are explosive warheads left in space.

Each minefield belongs to one race, whose ships can travel through it with impunity. That race's allies can also be allowed safe passage through the minefield. Any other race will risk hitting mines if its ships travel through the field at anything other than very slow warp speeds. Hitting a mine will slow the ship down and damage it. For exact details on mine hit probabilities, safe speeds, damage and other effects, see your host documentation. All ships can be towed safely through minefields.

Each minefield has a friendly code. It is the friendly code of the nearest planet owned by same race. Ships with the same friendly code can travel safely through the minefield even if they are not allies.

Each race can also set a 'universal minefield friendly code'. Any ship with this code can travel safely through all that race's minefields.

All minefields are circular. (Remember that space is two-dimensional.) The radius of a minefield is equal to the square root of the number of mines in it.

Laying mines

Mines are created by torpedoes, when ships use the Lay Mines mission. The torpedoes are used (dismantled) to lay the mines. More powerful torpedoes produce more mines: the amount of mines created by a torp is equal to the square of the ID number (or slot number) of the torp tubes of the ship laying mines. That is the worst torp (ID 1) will be converted into one mine unit while the best torp (ID 10) will be converted into 100 mine units.

The ship which lays the mines may choose to lay them in another race's configuration, so the owner of the minefield is not necessarily the owner of the ship laying the mines. New minefields are centred around the ship laying them, so it is unwise to lay mines for another race unless you are allied with them and know you will have safe passage through the field.

There are three different missions that will allow you to lay mines:

  • Lay mines (standard mission) will simply convert all torpedoes into mines. If you are inside one or several minefield of yours, the mines are added to the field with the lowest ID you are in. Otherwise a new mine field is created centred around your ship.
  • Lay mine field (I=#torps, T=#owner, extended mission) will allow you specify the amount of torps to be converted into mines and the owner of those mines. Normal rules concerning creation or adding of mine units apply. Be aware that you are not immune to non allied mines.
  • Lay mines in (I=#torps, T=#field-ID, extended mission) will allow you to specify the amount of torps to be converted and the mine field ID they are added to. A necessary prerequisite for this to happen is, that you are inside the specified field.

Clients like VPA or PCC will allow you to set the parameters directly.

Laying a new mine field is only possible, if the ship is outside all mine fields of the owner of the mine field it intends to lay. E.g. if you want to lay a new mine field which also belongs to you, the mine laying ship has to be outside all of your mine fields. The resulting mine field can, of course overlap with any other mine fields of yours, but the centre will have to be outside of any previously existing field.

A good tactic often used is to overlap your mine fields with those of your ally. As you only have to be outside YOUR mine field, it's easy to create overlapping fields when using more than one race. The probability of hitting a mine when traveling through overlapping mine fields (for enemy ships) increases linearily with every mine field it travels through.

On the other hand, if you lay one minefield inside another one, the two will combine to form a larger minefield. Sometimes you may wish to do this, if radius is more important than overlap.

Scooping mine fields

You can scoop up your own minefields and turn them back into torpedoes. Only ships with torpedo tubes can do this, and the torps created will be of the correct type for that ship's tubes, regardless of what type of torps were used to create the mines. This feature can be used to convert torpedoes from one type to another and - using the extend of a mine field - to transfer torpedoes over a distance to another ship.

Note, that even though you can lay mines in another race's identity, you cannot scoop up other race's mines, even if you are allied.

Sweeping mine fields

Mine fields can also be swept by beam weapons on ships using the Mine Sweep mission. To sweep mines you have to be quite close to the minefield (default 5LY) or inside it. A ship can sweep all from enemy minefields in range in the same turn. The amount of mine units swept is equal to the square of the ID number of the beams (ID) of the ship times the amount of beams (n) times a configurable MineSweepRate (rate):

units_destroyed = ID2 * n * rate

This is the only way to destroy enemy minefields, if your host is configured to disallow MinesDestroyMines.

If you have a game with Ion Storms enabled and the config option IonStormsHideMines, too, you won't be able to scan or sweep mines, if the center of the field is covered by an ion storm, and the ion storm is larger than the minefield. Minefields owned by the ship owner can always be seen, though.

Decay of mine fields

Minefields decay naturally, at a rate which is set in your host configuration (usually 3-5% per turn, look for MineDecayRate and WebMineDecayRate in your configuration file).

Each minefield has an ID number. This is used by the host to determine the order of scooping and overlap-destruction.

There is a special type of minefield known as a web, which is the special mission of the Tholian race.

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Page last modified on January 12, 2008, at 10:20 AM