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Choosing a Race - Master of Orion 2 - Microprose

Some Races are much better than others, the best thing to do is customise your own, but if you are too inexperienced, or want a bit of a challenge choose one of the following:

ALKARI - Dictatorship, Artifacts Home World, +50 Ship Defence
BULRATHI - Dictatorship, High-G Home World, +20 Ship Attack, +10 Ground Combat
DARLOKS - Dictatorship, +20 Spying, Stealthy Ships
ELERIANS - Feudal, +25 Ship Defence, +20 Ship Attack, Telepathic, Omniscient
GNOLAMS - Dictatorship, Low-G Home World, +1 Tax, Expert Traders, Lucky
HUMANS - Democracy, Charismatic
KLACKONS - Unification, Large Home World, +1 Food, +1 Production, Uncreative
MEKLARS - Dictatorship, +2 Production, Cybernetic
MRRSHAN - Dictatorship, Rich Home World, +50 Ship Attack, Warlord
PSILONS - Dictatorship, Artifacts Home World, +2 Research, Creative
SAKKRA - Feudal, +1 Food, +100 Population Growth
SILICOIDS - Dictatorship, -50 Population Growth, Lithovore, Repulsive, Tolerant
TRILARIANS - Dictatorship, Aquatic, Trans Dimensional

The Psilons are by far and away the best race to play as. They have total superiority in science, which means they discover everything, and discover it first, making their ships more deadly, and colonies more productive. I never play them as they are just too easy. If you get them as an opponent, treat them with extreme care, they can be contained as long as they don't acquire too many star systems. So make sure you colonize as many systems as you can, even the bad planets, also get the systems protected by monsters, these have the best planets (2 or 3 battleships will destroy them, don't send any smaller craft or you will lose them), and destroy weaker powers as well, once you have built up enough strength. Also trade with all other players first, so you get the technologies everyone else has, before wasting your trade technology on the Psilons, when you could of got that technology elsewhere.

The Humans are the next best race. They get a 50% bonus in trade and science, and no morale penalty. They also gain diplomatic advantages, which make it easier for them to trade technology, and less likely for others powers to declare war on them.

The Darloks look good, with bonuses in spying, and ships that can approach colonies undetected. But once they have stolen 2 or 3 technologies, the other power will nearly always declare war on them. They are difficult opponents as they steal technology from everyone, and so are almost as advanced as the Psilons, trade with them next to last.

The Mrrshan have military advantages which mean their attacks are more deadly, and they get more command points, allowing them to maintain a larger fleet.

The Meklars have production advantages which mean they can produce more early in the game, they also require less food. As technology advances, their advantages become less useful, due to new production technologies.

The Sakkra have population growth advantages which means they grow faster (very useful when there are a lot of planets to colonize), and support larger populations on any given planet. They also produce more food (useful at the start, but irrelevant after farming technologies have been developed).

The Gnolans have trade advantages meaning they always have a fat treasury, but this is no use if you are behind on technology.

The Klackons have general production advantages which means food, manufacturing, and science are improved. But since they don't get to choose which technology to research, they become technologically crippled.

The Silicoids have production/pollution advantages which means they produce more, and don't have to set aside potential production to clean up pollution. However, diplomatically they are useless, which means they can't make peace treaties, or trade technology - making them deader than the dodo. If you get them as an opponent, be careful, as they can launch surprise attacks early in the game, which can cripple or destroy you. So don't colonize systems near them, not only will you lose these systems, but they can be used to launch attacks on more of your systems, which might otherwise have been out of range. Have an army of spies ready, so if they do declare war, you can at least rip off their technology. If you survive the first few dozen turns, other powers will soon destroy them.

What are the chances of their being other intelligent live in the Milky Way

It is fairly certain that the speed of light is the fastest speed possible for travel in the Galaxy. The nearest Star to the Sun would take 4 Years travelling at this speed, Stars at the center of the Galaxy are only ½ a light year apart and more numerous, unfortunately we are near the edge, any major Civilisation would be likely to concentrate at the centre due to increased communication and travel speeds, and decreased fuel costs. Only mass less particles can go at the speed of light (photons), and the energy required goes up exponentially, as you approach this speed. A speed just short of light speed would require ALL the energy in the universe, an object gets heavier and heavier as it approaches this limit, time also slows down in the vercinity. So I don't think anything above say 25% Light Speed would ever be economical, as you probably have to take your fuel with you, or at least something to slow you down at the other end, although one could imagine a solar sail, first accelerating the ship in one system, and then decelerating it in another.

Theoretically wormholes do link distant regions of space, but

There are 100 Billion Stars in the Milky Way (10% of its mass, 90% is 'Dark Matter' which may be nebulae - where new stars are born, sunless planetoids, or burnt out stars), and 100 Billion Galaxies in the Known Universe, it is theoretically possible that there are many other Universes (but by definition we will never know that) and Dimensions (the latest theory says 9 plus time). The Universe is 20 Billion Years old (give or that a few eons), the Solar System is 5 Billion Years Old, incorporating the material from two generations of star death, necessary as the heavy elements can only be created when Suns go Supernova. Young huge stars can go Hyper-nova in nebular gases in only a few million years seeding the star nursery gas thus cutting out one Supernova and a few billion years.

Live arose 4 Billion Years ago, possibly seeded by building block material from comets bombarded by Solar Radiation. A certain amount of planetary radiation is required for genetic mutation, and the orbit must give a temperature of a little above the freezing point of water, and below it's boiling point. The Gaia effect means the planet may vary its temperature by suitable organisms living or dying depending on current temperature, thus producing Carbon Dioxide which acts as a insulator. Live on Earth is based on Carbon, a element which has 4 bonds (the most possible), allowing highly complex shapes to be created. Other Chemical Combinations like the Methane on Titan, a moon of Saturn could produce life. As Titan has not been properly mapped their is a small chance that life exists there, there is also a large chance that live once existed on Mars, before the water dried out.

Life did not leave the sea until 400 Million Years ago (0.4 Billion), and for 300 Million Years of this Giant Dinosaurs (Terrible Lizards, although now Scientists think they are a form of bird) dominated, until a regular Comet Storm destroyed them, Millions of Years until the next one, so plenty of time to prepare. The Sun still has several Billion Years to live as well.

Mankind only arose 3 Million Years ago, at one point only about 100 existed in the entire world. 100 Billion Humans have walked the Earth, over 10% in this Century. Much of the intervening time was involved in learning hand eye manipulation skills using simple tools, so the brain grow bigger, as a result of gains from using tools, for hunter gathering. Mankind spread out from Africa (probably, there is some evidence that it may have been South East Asia), over many generations slowly adapting to local environments. Europeans are called Caucasian because they split off from the main race when they traversed the Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas leading into Europe. Blond Haired Blue Eyed Europeans split off again when they developed in Southern Sweden (the Colours of their flag), later emigrating to Germany, Russia, and around the North Sea. Chinese originated in the Far North, further North than Europeans, their eyes are slanted to allow them to sea in snow storms. Tanned skin is for protection against the sun, and darkens as you approach the equator, although migration has altered this somewhat. People in Africa and New Guinea look very similar, they have had no contact, either dormant genes have been reactivated, or it is a case of parallel evolution. One would have thought lighter skin would have been useful, because it would reflect light but, skin damage clearly outweighs this. Bob Marley died of Skin Cancer, because he was light skinned in a very hot region. A large African nose allows air to be cooled before it is breathed in.

The Neanderthals lived in Europe until about 50 Thousand Years ago, they were probably more intelligent than Homo Sapiens, with bigger brains, but lacked speech, could not interbreed, and were simply out breed, as they competed for the same types of resources. It is about this time natives of Siberia crossed into the Americas, eventually populating it all.

Although Pigs and Dolphins have brains almost as large as Humans, they lack speech and manipulators (hands), so can not pass knowledge through the generations, or create tools - so no matter how smart an individual, it can never build on the work of past generations. Much of the Dolphin brain is used for sonar, much like the human brain has a lot of sight mechanisms. For this reason, it would seem a space faring Race could not evolve on in the sea, particularly without the ability to use fire, and it took live a long time to leave the sea. This may have been aided by the Moon, a satellite this large may be rare, the tides allowed organisms to inhabit a region, where it is land half the time, and sea the other half, erosion also created shallow beaches. Also the moon limits the range of the Earth's axis tilt, if it wasn't there one day could last a year, with the North Pole pointing towards the Sun, clearly not a suitable environment for live - 6 months of light, and 6 months of darkness, probably very cold. Live would have to migrate across continents, birds and sea live could, put could plants survive the deep winter?

The last Ice Age was about 10 Thousand Years Ago, shortly after signs of Agriculture and Civilization are found in the Middle and Far East, slowly spreading across Eurasia, and North Africa. Indian and European Languages are derived from the same root, for this reason. Civilization may have existed before this, but got wiped out by the Ice Age, and would have been based on a very low population anyway.

At the start of this century the Earth's Population was 1 Billion, it is now 6 Billion, and forecast to go up to between 10 and 15 Billion the later being more likely. The World is divided into two camps a small highly educated, high consuming population, and a large poorly educated, low consuming population. The first group is actually showing signs of negative population growth (when immigration from the other group is excluded), some parts of the second group are showing signs of population growth slowdown as the join the first group, but others are either unwilling or unable to chance. The populations of some countries in Africa double every 25 Years, while Italy is forecast to cease to exist in 200 Years! These two strategies are known in nature as Quality v. Quantity, both extremes are clearly unhealthy. One is going to self destruct, will creating a vast amount of pollution, the other is going to degraduate its environment looking for increasingly rare supplies of water, food, and wood. The logical thing would be for the first group to place less emphasis on development (after all we have all eternity ahead of us), while aiding the second group, to become more developed. The politicians lack the vision, and will (the system makes them unable to look beyond the next election), and bankers don't see a profit in it, being interesting in only ultra short term gains.

So the Question is do advanced societies naturally self destruct? The Roman Empire for example collapsed through external pressures (the Barbarians), and being to liberal in a pre industrial age (any advanced society had to really on a vast manual labour force, for food, construction, military etc... with out the aid of machines - the accompanying injustices were a part of this). It was followed by 1000 Years of Barbarism which Europe could only escape by stealing land in the Americas and enslaving Africans.

If one studies the trends above it can be seen that any advanced Civilization would either appear to collapse completely, or revert naturally or by necessity to a simpler form. Perhaps this isn't why we haven't encountered other live, it would seem likely that it would arise among so many Stars, and over such a great period of time. Or maybe they are not stupid enough to advertise their presence in fear of an invasion. Or have advanced to such a point that they are super intelligent. It is calculated that it would take only 3 Million Years to explore the Galaxy using current techniques (of course vast new resources would be required), this is just 0.15% the age of the universe. Civilization has only been around 10,000 Years or 1/2000000 the age of the Universe, so it is quite possible we could have missed thousands of Civilizations by Millions of Years. A new theory says the Galactic central black hole periodically blasts out Gamma rays every few hundred million years that destroy all organic material on planetary surfaces.

Radio Wave have only been transmitted from Earth for 80 Years, so only Planets within an 80 Light Year Radius could have picked up our signals, they are probably to weak any way, and the Aliens would have to be 'looking' in the right direction. The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Live, also an ancient Egyptian God/Pharaoh) Program was cancelled a few years ago, but is continued as a charity, as was a new bigger particle accelerator in Texas - this shows Science is reaching its limits, as cutting edge stuff requires such titanic resources it can not be supported. If you read Science Fiction from a few decades ago there was talk of vast space fleets, but we have barely ventured into space over the intervening period, although the discovery of water on the moon, will make a moonbase much more economically viable, as will the fusion reactor if it is ever developed as this would require fuel blasted of the sun, which is found on the moons surface in quantity, cheap high quality ICs made in the low gravity might also provide a market, as would tourism. A 'space elevator' would cut Earth->Space Transport costs by 90%. Lets face it, it would be a lot easier to colonize the desert, attic, or sea floor. The future has turned out very differently, with the enthersise being on the very small, not big - like Microchips, and DNA.