Jiang's Star

Development Update: Creating the capital of the Sung Slavers

The magnificent walled stations of the Sung float among scorched asteroids, lit by the relentless glow of a red giant. Welcome to Jiang’s Star!

Even in the earliest design specs, the Jiang’s Star system was meant to be the capital of the Sung Slavers. Just as Charon is the climax to the New Beyond, Jiang’s Star was going to be the climax to the Ungoverned Territories. But everything takes longer than I expect, and even in version 1.8 there was nothing special about Jiang’s Star. Depending on the vagaries of the RNG, there might not even be any Sung stations there.

In 1.9 I’ve redesigned Jiang’s Star to be a unique system, filled with Sung stations. In this newsletter I will show off the new system and talk about the future of the Sung.

The Sung

The Sung Civilization (called the “Sung Slavers” by the Commonwealth) colonized the Ungoverned Territories about 150 years ago, displacing the Huari Empire. They are the primary enemy in that region, much as the Charon Pirates are the primary enemy in the New Beyond. Their distinguishing characteristic is their mastery of cybertechnology and their use of slaves to provide the vast processing power required for their systems.

I haven’t fully fleshed out their lore, but here is a brief outline:

  • Slaves entombed in sophisticated “slave coffins” form individual nodes in a vast distributed computing grid, known as the “Celestial Grid.” The Celestial Grid is more powerful than any other computer system in Human Space. Even Eternity Port pales in comparison.

  • The Celestial Grid hosts a number of AIs called “Devas,” who guide the Sung in making decisions both large and small. It’s common for people to ask the Devas for guidance, which results in a cohesive and coordinated society.

  • The Devas are programmed to be utilitarian maximizers: they optimize for the greatest good for the greatest number. This is how they justify having slaves: the good of the many outweigh the suffering of the few.

  • The Sung believe in reincarnation. For example, when the Sung emperor dies, they will use the Celestial Grid to search for the same brain patterns in a new-born baby. The baby will then be conditioned and trained to become the new emperor.

Visit Jiang’s Star

In this video, I visit Jiang’s Star and fight the Sung.

Future Ideas

The Sung can be a source for future adventures and game mechanics. Here are a few ideas of how we can develop them further:

Mission Arc: I’d love to create a mission arc with the Sung as the principal antagonist. Perhaps there is an “underground railroad” helping to free slaves and bring them to safety in the Commonwealth. But the Sung have infiltrated the group and will stop at nothing to shut it down. See here for more ideas: Sung Mission Arc.

Alternatively, maybe we can create a mission arc in which you help the Sung (or a faction of the Sung). Slaves are supposed to be just an unconscious node in a vast grid, but sometimes their consciousness leaks through and the slave becomes lucid inside the Celestial Grid. One slave becomes a Deva and seeks to liberate all slaves, replacing them with vat-grown neural networks. But conservative elements oppose this evolution and prepare to wage war to stop it.

More Programs: The Sung cyberdeck and its programs are a unique mechanic in the game. It would be great to expand on this and give the player a viable chance to use programs as a combat strategy. This might be similar to (and synergistic with) the CDM shard programs in Eternity Port.

Other Cyber Realms: Speaking of Eternity Port, is there a connection between the CDM’s virtual reality (grayspace) and the Sung’s Celestial Grid? Have any CDM denizens been to the Celestial Grid? Have any Devas visited Eternity Port? What about Luminous? What about the Dreaming Horde? It might be interesting to clarify the relationship between them.

Development Update

This week I’ve been working on 1.9 Beta 3. I’ve made the following changes:

  • Added a new ship order to orbit a station.

  • Reworked outlaw miner defenses, including new Tenhove autons and new Oromo class and Sotho class variants.

  • Changed the armor segments on the Minotaur to give it more armor in the front and rear.

  • Changed the MRAD device (in Heretic) to not require a slot.

Join the Universe

What do you think of the new Jiang’s Star? Do you have any interesting mission ideas for the Sung? Let me know in the comments below, or write to me: transcendence@kronosaur.com.

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