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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hostile Activity (09/01/22)

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Author Topic: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector  (Read 10121 times)

Deshara

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #45 on: June 04, 2021, 12:05:31 AM »

[Ooh, in an alternate universe, it'd be cool if Starsector was set in just one solar system with similar game scale. ... Something like "Against A Dark Background"...]

I WAS JUST THINKING ABOUT THIS!! I was in hyperspace in the core around the area where a bunch of systems nearly overlap in hyperspace to the extent that one star's outer jump point was closer to another star than its own internal jump point (maybe a mod randomized some core systems. I'd check but my run is a little precarious atm & the autosave is very aggressive), and I started wondering, what would this game look like if hyperspace was removed & all of the systems were stitched together into 1 supermap, to scale to where they're placed in hyperspace. Like the same way you can fly from Magec to Achaman in sublight, but u could fly from Magec to Al Gebbar. what if u measured how long it takes to fly from the outer point of magec to the inner point of magec in sublight & in hyperspace, got a scale quotient from those, measured how long it took to fly from Magec to Al Gebbar in hyperspace then multiply that by the scale quotient & just put Al Gebbar into the same map as Magec that far to the top-left, then do that for the rest of the systems & delete the hyperspace map

In fact, it just occured to me, that when I look at the sector map, I have no clue what factions rules over what part of the core. I know which systems are ruled by which faction, but my brain has never stitched that information together into a political map of the sector bc everything is separated by hyperspace

Actually, let me just go to one jump point and set a course for the other jump point. In-system at 11 burn it's a 2 day trip, out of system at 11 burn its about a .2 day trip. Oh, is it a 1:10 scale? So, the trip from Galatia to Corvus at 11 burn in hyperspace is a 1 day trip so by sublight that would take 10 days, which is the equivalent of going from Galatia to Westernesse in hyperspace at 11 burn, which, if I actually go do that & resist the urge to use sustained burn and speed up time (& feel my bones strain to escape me with the effort of not pressing a 5 & shift), it took me 45 seconds to get halfway there (ran out of fuel lol), which means that if the game had no hyperspace & was all 1 map it would take at 11 burn a solid minute & a half of burning through the deep black of deadspace, or at a sustained burn of 20 about 45 seconds between systems
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 12:20:09 AM by Deshara »
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Billhartnell

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #46 on: May 09, 2022, 07:02:16 AM »

Very cool thread!


[I have a bit of a hang-up about how a lot of fantastic worldbuilding - scifi or not - doesn't have much respect for scale. (He says, writing for a game with hyperspace, popping between planets in mere days, and other absurdities. But at least it's not pretending to be an entire galaxy!) ... like, saying 'a thousand planets' sounds cool and is fun to drop as a line, but just imagine trying to comprehend what that means. If each of those planets has a billion people on it, that's a trillion people. No one really deals with the consequence of that number of people, the number of cultures and subcultures and ideas that would spin out from them all the time. It's too big. (Admittedly, some good science fiction does deal with trying to comprehend inhuman scales. We're, uh, not doing that here.)

It requires such massive abstraction that... well, the go-to would be Star Wars, right? How many planets are in Star Wars? Answers vary, but like: a thousand? a million? 50 million? How many have we seen across the whole of the behemoth of Star Wars IP- a couple hundred, maybe 0.002 percent of the alleged total? The difference between the stated number and experienced number hits me as a bit much, especially when we're asked to believe we're dealing with the top dogs of this universe. It can feel like begging for gravitas by throwing zeroes at you without earning them. (But who knows, maybe most of these planets have like 50 people and are super boring.) Anyway, to convey the universe, each planet is not treated as a planet, but is effectively treated as a single region or city. It has to be cut down like that so each planet has like 2 biomes and perhaps 3 significant locations, max, otherwise it's too much for human comprehension.

Starsector absolutely does this same thing, though reduced by a few orders of magnitude. Each planet has basically one thing going on, because that's the comprehensible scope of the game. The social scale of the game feels more like, I dunno, the seas of southeast Asia in the 17th century - getting between islands takes a couple days, crossing the span of the reasonably known world might take on the order of months, depending. This provides that human scale; a player can feel like they know the Persean Sector. Likewise, I feel like it's a lot more believable for one super cool space captain to have a large effect on a shared human demographic unit of somewhere around 200-2000 million people than doing the same in a population of trillions.]

[Ooh, in an alternate universe, it'd be cool if Starsector was set in just one solar system with similar game scale. ... Something like "Against A Dark Background"...]
What is the lore explanation for the planet population tiers being represented as powers of ten but the income and fleet power they produce scaling almost linearly with the tier number rather than logarithmically? 

Obviously representing the powers of ten in productivity would destroy the faction balance but you could just give the Perseans a T8 planet or give Chico more negative modifiers.

Edit: Since I don't know how to delete this necro-post might as well commit to it. I think the sector's growth is comparable to Australia or Canada, lots of available land but only a tiny portion thereof is suitable to urbanised society. Given this game is Sid Meier's Pirates in space it makes sense that it would be written to have 18th century population figures.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2022, 07:36:15 AM by Billhartnell »
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SCC

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #47 on: May 09, 2022, 09:21:22 AM »

What is the lore explanation for the planet population tiers being represented as powers of ten but the income and fleet power they produce scaling almost linearly with the tier number rather than logarithmically? 
The answer: gameplay > lore. I don't like the implementation myself, but I don't think it's going anywhere any time soon.

Igncom1

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #48 on: May 09, 2022, 12:01:46 PM »

Exponential profits meet exponential costs  ;D
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Billhartnell

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #49 on: May 10, 2022, 09:40:50 AM »

Exponential profits meet exponential costs  ;D
And exponential margins, though given the almost anarchic state of the post-Collapse sector perhaps we're meant to imagine that a populous planet is like a realm in Crusader Kings 3 (or 2 to a less extent), in which a single ruler can leverage only a small portion of the realm's resources. Administrators demand an absurd amount of money, perhaps the a substantial cut is taken by all lesser officials.

Is exponentiality still reflected in stockpiles though? Does a planet that produces 6 units of food have 1M food in the stockpile while 4 units has around 10k? 
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dostillevi

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #50 on: May 13, 2022, 03:40:14 PM »

You guys are really, really underestimating human population growth. The only reason we sat at a billion people for so long was infant mortality, we kept dying off before we could grow up for thousands of years. The moment we hit the twentieth century, the population started climbing, and in little over a hundred years it's hit 7.9 Billion. You might be tempted to point out that we're living in a time of relative peace, but that's actually inconsequential to my point since the greatest areas of population growth are third-world countries that live in conditions much worse than The Persean Sector. Mogadishu is so bad every two weeks I ask someone "Hey have you heard about that terrorist attack in Mogadishu a few days ago?" Without looking at the news and I've yet to be wrong.

Even with epidemics, being ravaged by war and genocide, and a phenomenally low life-expectancy, the population of Africa went from 177 million to 1.2 Billion in Fifty years The biggest reason for that was infant mortality rate dropping so suddenly. And that's still not hitting the resource cap. It's expected to hit 4.7 billion in 2100. That's more than half our current population on one continent.

You all seem to forget that when the going gets tough, humans screw like rabbits. The worse conditions are, the more children people have. Even though we might not have as many children at a time as other species, female humans are capable of pumping out a kid every year starting at like sixteen until their fifties (depending on the individual). Go watch the Duggars if you want to see what that looks like with any kind of access to modern medicine. Of course, that's not taking safety into consideration, but as life gets more dangerous and harder, people start to care less about the 'safety risks' of things like pregnancy. Even with access to birth control, regions with less wealth and less safety still have higher birth rates, as exemplified by every ghetto in the US.

For the Sector to be sitting around a billion people after two hundred years, either conditions are bordering on 'Antartica in the middle of a blizzard with medieval level medicine' bad, or every major population center is enjoying the kind of success of a first-world country while also having hit their resource caps. As long as people aren't getting nuked, it doesn't really matter how many fleets get blown up, it's inconsequential to the population.

To put it in perspective, if we average it together, our population is currently growing at an average of a bit over 1% per year, compounding annually (and decreasing as we approach our resource limit). Even if the Persean Sector's population grew at the same rate, that's at least 1.7 million up to 17.7 million people a year. That's 590 to 5,900  3000 person fleets being destroyed per year with a hundred percent mortality rate. Despite what you might think, humanity just doesn't have the economic prowess to wage a war that can outpace our birthrate unless you specifically target population centers with intent to wipe them out, as evidenced by, once again, Africa, which I will remind you has basically stayed in a perpetual state of war since the turn of the century.

To put it simply, the numbers are in, and Alex got his wrong.

That's part of it, the other part is increased lifespans. Not only are children surviving to adulthood far more often, they're also remaining alive through the next 3 to 5 generations after them far more frequently.

That said, the Persian sector isn't just Mogadishu. It's mostly environments that are completely uninhabitable by humans without technological assistance, and that assistance is breaking down. A new person in Africa (or anywhere else on Earth in the 20th century) needs water, food, some degree of shelter, etc. These might be hard to come by, during some periods a lot of people will suffer and die from their lack, but the capacity to produce far more of these basic resources than were used existed. Unfortunately that almost certainly won't be the case in the 21st century.

A new human on almost any Persian world needs the same resources, along with other resources like oxygen that we don't really think about on Earth. In the Persian sector though, not only is the maximum capacity of those resources very clearly limited on most worlds, it's often shrinking. It's not just a matter of people producing more of the basic goods - people *can't* produce more of those goods due to technological limitations. A new human in the Persian sector means everyone else gets by with a bit less, or someone else has to die.

This hit especially hard after the collapse, when worlds lost access to imports necessary to meet basic needs. Vast numbers of people died because the worlds in the sector not only weren't producing the resources needed, they in fact didn't have the capacity to produce those resources at all without additional terraforming, and that terraforming ground to a halt soon after the collapse for the same resource reasons.

I'd argue that most of the sector lives in conditions *FAR WORSE* than Mogadishu (and briefly to your suggestion that Mogadishu represents the parts of Africa with significant population growth, take a look - most of the population growth in Africa is in relatively modern, stable megacities https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/lifestyle/fastest-growing-cities-in-africa-2021/b97e271?op=1). Not only are they worse off than Mogadishu, the maximum productive capacity of most Sector worlds has already been met and is declining, whereas in Africa and elsewhere on Earth, maximum short term production potential is far higher than actual production. In addition, Africa benefited from significant foreign aid and investment in the 20th century, which also isn't available in the Sector. Without efforts to restart terraforming, or to colonize the few *habitable* worlds that aren't already colonized, there's very little room for population growth.

Terraforming and colonization are extremely high risk investments when the Sector is unstable and in conflict. It's much easier to grab some guns and take what someone else already has - and that is also a net negative for population growth.

Edit: Another way to look at it - On Earth, an average human creates more value than they consume during their life. A new human is going to provide more resources in net than they need to survive, and they're able to do this generally through extraction of resources from finite reserves and making them available for circulation in the economy (usually through a specialized economy where only some people and tech do that extraction). The 19th and 20th centuries also saw enormous resource availability gains through innovation, but *almost all* of that innovation came from increasing our ability to access limited resources, not in finding ways to do more with less resources. This enormous growth in resource availability was a significant driver of population growth.

In the sector, this is almost certainly not the case. A new human doesn't have the means to extract more than they consume from the environment. Technology is in decline, and most people don't have the means to access resource reserves on barren or inhospitable worlds. The technology that does allow extraction in those harsh environments is failing, which means the net output of humanity and it's technology is declining, and a new person adds to the consumption, rather than the production, of resources.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2022, 03:51:09 PM by dostillevi »
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squished_fish

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #51 on: May 17, 2022, 01:58:12 PM »

What is the lore explanation for the planet population tiers being represented as powers of ten but the income and fleet power they produce scaling almost linearly with the tier number rather than logarithmically? 

Obviously representing the powers of ten in productivity would destroy the faction balance but you could just give the Perseans a T8 planet or give Chico more negative modifiers.

Edit: Since I don't know how to delete this necro-post might as well commit to it. I think the sector's growth is comparable to Australia or Canada, lots of available land but only a tiny portion thereof is suitable to urbanised society. Given this game is Sid Meier's Pirates in space it makes sense that it would be written to have 18th century population figures.
I imagine this has to do largely with automation and development. The limit to production isn’t necessarily the amount of people standing around but the arable land, urbanized space, etc. Most of the population of any given colony, I imagine, is dedicated just to expanding/maintaining the infrastructure of the colony.
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Antelope Syrup

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #52 on: May 17, 2022, 07:23:00 PM »

I dont know If anyone has mentioned this yet, but being a size 8 planet means having a population of just 100 million to nearly 1 Billion. Chicomatzoc could have only 102 million people and still technically be size 8. Hypothetically, if every size 7 planet had 99 million people, and Chico had 100 million, it would not be very significant on it's own. I think it's important to take into account this range, and that it's impossible to be absolutely sure just how many people live on size 7 and 8 worlds because of how vast the range is.
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presidentmattdamon

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #53 on: June 16, 2022, 10:33:52 PM »

recalculated this due to a debate on discord, via handcount of all the planets and some math.

3 size 3 (garnir, nomios, kanni)
18 size 4 (asharu, derinkuyu, nortia, skathi, arcadia, kanta's den, olinadu, orthrus, tigra city, cethlenn, donn, epiphany, laicaille, kapteyn, thulian raider base, lost astropolis, port tse, athulf)
25 size 5 (ancyra, cruor, umbra, baetis, hesperus, raesvelg, ragnar complex, agreus, tibicena, nova maxios, coatl, sphinx, salamanca, qaras, culann, asher, chalcedon, nachiketa, eldfell, mairaath, ilm, yesod, suddene, ailmar, cibola)
5 size 6 (jangala, eochu bres, yama, fikenhild, madeira)
7 size 7 (sindria, volturn, tartessus, eventide, gilead, kazeron, mazalot)
1 size 8 (chicomoztoc)

minimum:
Code
3 * 10^3 + 18 * 10^4 + 25 * 10^5 + 5 * 10^6 + 7 * 10^7 + 1 * 10^8
= 177,683,000

maximum:
Code
3 * 9.999 * 10^3 + 18 * 9.9999 * 10^4 + 25 * 9.99999 * 10^5 + 5 * 9.999999 * 10^6 + 7 * 9.9999999 * 10^7 + 1 * 9.99999999 * 10^8
= 1,776,829,941
« Last Edit: June 17, 2022, 12:12:33 AM by presidentmattdamon »
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Demetrious

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Re: Calculating the Population Size of the Core Sector
« Reply #54 on: June 18, 2022, 10:44:14 AM »

Although mapping population to strength clearly has its limits (RL example: compare India with the US). Tri-Tachyon did stand a credible chance of winning the Second AI War against the 100 times larger Hegemony.

It also makes it very clear why Tri-Tach was willing to take such egregious (even for them) risks with fully automated warship fleets.

There's an old saying, "sci-fi writers have no sense of scale." Once again the writing in Starsector has risen above the common pitfalls.  :)
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