The following section gives a rough outline of the actions taken in Begin to perform one cycle. The actions given here do not necessarily represent the outline of the computer code used to implement a cycle, but instead are a simplified, non-optimized version designed to give understanding of the model of reality used by the game.
As stated before, a cycle is the amount of time that passed between turns. Some actions occur only once per cycle. Other actions (like movement) occur once per sub-cycle. The actions taken in a typical cycle are explained below.
First, all the energy that is available to a ship is added up. There are two energy systems in Begin. They are the Warp Energy System (WES) and the Reactor Energy System (RES). Power from the WES is used to propel the ship through space. WES power is always used to try to accelerate the ship to the desired speed. If there is not enough WES power to drive the ship at the desired speed, the ship will travel at the maximum speed possible for the amount of WES power available.
If more WES power is available than is needed to propel the ship, WES power is converted into RES power at a rate of 4 WES eu = 1 RES eu. This is one of the few conversions of energy in Begin that suffers a loss of eu. Additional RES power is supplied from the reactors and batteries. Energy needed to run the rest of the ships systems is taken from this pool of RES power.
Life Support Energy
Energy is deducted for use in by the life support system. The amount of energy needed to run the system is: number of original crew / 10 energy units
The number of crew that die in battle does not affect the energy needed to run the life support system. If not enough energy is available to run the life support system, the ship is in danger. After 3 cycles without a functional life support system, all the crew members aboard a ship will die.
Next, energy is used by the shields. If there is not enough energy to keep all the shields up, no shields are activated this cycle. The amount of energy used by the shields is determined from the shield design.
If there is any energy left over, it is used to charge the phaser banks and the torpedo tubes. When a torpedo tube is completely charged, a torpedo is loaded into the tube with the proximity that was specified earlier. If a change in proximity is desired, the torpedo that is in the tube must be unloaded.
Any weapons that have been locked-on an object will now adjust their aiming direction to track the object. In the case of phasers, the banks are pointed directly at the target. In the case of torpedo tubes, the direction of aim is chosen to lead the target based in the targets current direction and speed. In this way, the target will be certain to be hit if it does not change direction or speed.
All ships that have indicated that they want to fire phasers now do so. Phaser fire is considered to be simultaneous by all ships. Phaser fire can cause damage to other objects as explained in the damage section. Phaser fire is considered to instantaneously reach its target.
Next, all the torpedoes tubes that are ready to fire do so. This involves creating new torpedoes, pointing them in the right direction, and giving them their initial speed. There is usually a small difference in the speed of individual torpedoes. The normal speed variation for a given torpedo class can be obtained from the library computer.
All torpedoes that are launched at once with the same bearing, proximity, and speed are placed in a torpedo group. This creates only one object in the game to speed up fuse checks, etc. This does not affect the damage caused by the torpedoes or the ability to defend against them.
Probes are created for all ships that desire to launch them. The target information is downloaded into the probe, and the probe is then created and aimed at its target. All probes travel at their maximum speed at all times.
Certain events, as related above, occur more than once per cycle in order to better simulate reality. These events are explained below.
Once per sub-cycle, all objects in the game are moved an the proper distance based on their heading and speed. Objects that track other objects do not update their heading in each sub-cycle.
Sub-cycle Fuse Checks
There are two fuse types in Begin -- proximity fuses and time fuses. All weapons in Begin use both types of fuses. During this part of the sub-cycle, both types of fuses are checked in order to see if the fuse should activate and destroy the weapon to which it is attached. The time fuse works by number of cycles. After the number of cycles set in the fuse have gone by, the fuse is activated. Proximity fuses activate when the fuse is brought within a specified range of an object. Only enemy ships can set off the proximity fuse of a probe. All other proximity fuses will be set off by any object.
All fused weapons contain a arming switch. This prevents activation of the time or proximity fuse until a small number of cycles have gone by. This is what prevent ships from being blown up by their own torpedoes as they leave the tubes.
Operating a warp engine at higher than its cruise setting will cause it to become hotter. As an engine is damaged, it will Begin to produce more heat for a given power setting. If there is time, your chief engineer will warn you as the temperature of your engines reaches dangerous levels. All ships in Begin will suffer loss of an engine if the temperature of the engine exceeds 40M degrees (note that the value of "M" is not specified).
Damaged systems can be repaired. Your crew will automatically repair all damaged systems. Some system take longer than others to repair. For example, Warp drives take longer to repair that phasers. As you lose crew members, it takes longer to repair systems. Your first engineer will tell you as systems are fully repaired.
Any remaining RES power that has not been used by ship systems is placed in the ship's batteries. If the amount of left over power exceeds the capacity of the ship's batteries, the excess power is lost. Your engineer will advise you if the batteries contain a different amount of power than they did last cycle.
End of Cycle
This completes one cycle. Control is return to the routines that ask for your input and run the enemy strategy routines.