Non-player character

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NPCs definition and purpose

A non-player character (NPC) in the Universe is a character not controlled by any player. The non-player characters have their own ships and defenses and can be attacked by players. They have a limited lifespan, see the linked-in, race-specific pages for more details. The primary goal of NPCs is to provide small and mid-level players alternative opportunities to learn how to hunt, to find targets suitable for them to attack, and for them to gain resources to allow them to grow as quickly as possible. The secondary goal is to provide all players with additional targets, thus encouraging more people to remain active in the game.

Determining NPC compositions

NPC compositions are determined mainly using BFG-specified templates, with some variation of results based upon characteristics of players who are selected daily on a random basis.

Once per day, the game selects a single player at 20 evenly spaced intervals throughout a given universe's leaderboard. These players roughly represent the players at the following percentile ranks (95, 90, 85, 80, 75, 70, 65, 60, 55, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5, 0).

For each of those players, SFC collects the player's armor, weapon, and shield levels, averages them together, and stores that data. The game also collects information about the number of ships the player has and stores the build ratio for those units (20% Artemis class, 15% Hades class, 30% Hades class, etc.).

Spawning process

NPCs are spawned (created) by a computer process that begins running at the top of each hour. NPCs spawn at the Universe-wide rate of (30 * Number of Galaxies) per hour.

NPCs are allocated to galaxies based on the relative number of planets in each galaxy that have been colonized by active players (players that are not inactive or suspended). However, no more than 500 NPCs may be active in any one galaxy.

When an NPC spawns, it will randomly select a planet that has been colonized by an active player, and it will size itself after the colonizing player. If it selects one of your planets and you are in the 99th percentile of players, an NPC that displays on the Galaxy page as being "white" to you would spawn in that galaxy, between 0 and 99 systems away from the selected planet. If you are in the 50th percentile, a "white" NPC would spawn in that galaxy, between 0 and 50 systems from the selected planet, etc. "Red" NPCs spawned off players larger than you, and "green" NPCs spawned off players smaller than you.

The game uses its NPC templates, the build ratio and AWS information for the appropriate current-day randomly selected player, plus some additional randomization, to determine the composition of each new NPC. The percentage of RSP assigned to defenses is part of the NPC templates. In general, a larger percentage of the RSP is assigned to defenses the larger the NPC is. In October, 2014, BFG expressed the intention to cap defense RSPs at 40% of the NPC's total RSPs. However, there is no code in the spawning routines to ensure this intended cap is not exceeded. Numerous instances of NPCs with defense levels greater than 40% of total target NPCs still occur.

When an NPC spawns, its database record is assigned a de-spawning (disappearance) time stamp that is some time between (NPC spawning time + minimum lifespan) and (NPC spawning time + maximum lifespan), where the maximum and minimum lifespans vary by NPC type. The min and max values, by type, are provided in the wiki page for each of the three NPC "races". These pages can be accessed using the links that are provided toward the bottom of this page. As is discussed next, this time stamp is used to generate NPC de-spawning warnings, and it also plays a part in NPC de-spawning.

De-spawning warnings

If an NPC is probed at a time that is within 2 hours of its de-spawning timestamp, a warning will be generated at the bottom of the espionage report to the effect that the NPC is preparing to leave. As a result, if an espionage report does not include a "preparing to leave" warning, the probed NPC has at least two hours of life remaining.

De-spawning process

NPCs are de-spawned by a computer process that begins running at the top of each hour. As the process runs, it compares the current time to the NPC's de-spawning time stamp. If the current time is later than the time stamp, the NPC de-spawns (disappears).

NPC characteristics

  • An NPC can include all ship types available in the game. So, theoretically, a large NPC could include an undeployed Hephaestus!
  • NPC plunderable resources are such that Hydrogen will always account for 20% to 25% of the total resources (when converted to Ore) and Crystal will always account for 30% to 50% of the resources (when converted to Ore).
  • NPCs are destroyed after 85% of their resources have been plundered. When this occurs they are removed from the galaxy. NPCs will also be removed from the galaxy if they surpass their lifespan. See the NPC race-specific pages, linked in below, for NPC lifespan information.
  • NPCs cannot be attacked using Interplanetary Ballistic Missiles.
  • Attacking NPCs results in a debris field, the size of which is based upon the size of the defender's and the attacker's losses.
  • DSPs are awarded for attacking an NPC in all Starfleet Commander Universes except for Starfleet Commander Nova, Conquest, and the Tournament. The number of DSPs is half what would have been awarded if the NPC had been a live player.

Which NPCs you can probe and attack

In the past, a "newbie protection scheme" was used to control the size of NPCs that a given player could probe and attack. Currently, any player can probe and attack any NPC.

NPC types and sizes

No table of RSP or resource ranges for NPCs can be generated, because NPC sizes will be dynamically generated based on the players in the game. This means that as players continue to grow, so will the NPCs. Further, if an influx of new players appears, NPCs will skew downward in size, until the new players get larger.

NPCs will be named in game based on the percentile of RSP they would rank on the leaderboard. These ideal percentages are below, but technically an NPC can be any size.

  • Krug Abandoned Cruiser: 0
  • Urcath Abandoned Cruiser: 5
  • Krug Abandoned Warship: 10
  • Seekers Abandoned Cruiser: 15
  • Urcath Abandoned Warship: 20
  • Seekers Abandoned Warship: 25
  • Krug Small Enemy Fleet: 30
  • Urcath Small Enemy Fleet: 35
  • Seekers Large Abandoned Warship: 40
  • Krug Enemy Fleet: 45
  • Urcath Enemy Fleet: 50
  • Krug Large Enemy Fleet: 55
  • Seekers Abandoned Leviathan: 60
  • Urcath Large Enemy Fleet: 65
  • Krug Floating Colony: 70
  • Urcath Floating Colony: 75
  • Seekers Large Abandoned Leviathan: 80
  • Krug Large Floating Colony: 85
  • Seekers Abandoned Colossus Platform: 90
  • Urcath Large Floating Colony: 95

The three fictional alien races to which NPCs are assigned are described as follows. See the linked pages for information regarding NPC lifespans.

KrugA ruthless race of hulking, barbaric warriors whose heritage and culture center on combat and brutality. Mercilessly pillaging and assaulting defenseless colonies and stranded fleets, the Krug always approach situations by shooting first and asking questions later. Not much is known about the Krug, because those who encounter them rarely live to tell the tale.
UrcathThese vile beings cannot be approached with any form of intelligent negotiation or reason. They must be confronted head on and pushed back with brute force. While lacking any apparent verbal communication abilities, the Urcath display a surprisingly sophisticated level of strategic unity and coordination, creating a vicious and ruthless adversary; a force to be reckoned with.
SeekersA colossal race of supremely intelligent beings that once acted as a Ruler Class over most other races in the known universe. The Seekers are now known to be extinct, and their existence and history are only hinted at by trace artifacts that float through the universe.
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