rec.games.empire FAQ

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Mark Ballinger

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Dec 10, 2001, 3:56:28 PM12/10/01
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Archive-name: games/empire/faq
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Last-modified: 2001/12/10


-=[ Empire FAQ ]=-
10 December 2001

This FAQ answers these questions:

==Description==
* What is Empire?
* Do I need direct internet access ("telnet") to be able to play?
* What kinds of machines can I play from?
* Are there "turns" in this game?
* How long does a typical game last?
* Where can I find out more about the game?
* Sounds neat! How do I play?

==Connecting==
* Where do I get a client for my machine?
* OK, I compiled my client. The docs said something about a "host", "port",
"country" and "password". I need to specify these to connect to a
game--what should I put for these four things?
* Just out of curiosity, what long term games are going on right now, and is
there a way I could peek in on them?
* The basic unix client is, well, basic. Are there more sophisticated
clients available?

==Playing==
* I'm keen, I can connect to a blitz, but I haven't a clue what to do! How
do I learn how to play?
* There seem to be a million commands! What are the basic commands I should
read about first?
* What's a Representative?
* What is a BTU and how do I get more?
* How do I build a ship?
* How do I load stuff on a ship?
* How do I get civilians to another island?
* Where do you make land units?
* Why aren't my ships/planes/units gaining efficiency?
* I have a ship with "oiler" capacity, now how do I find out how much oil a
sea sector has?
* Who can help me get started playing Empire?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

==Description==

What is Empire?
It is a strategy wargame played by a number of people (usually between 4
and 100) on the internet connected to an Empire Server. If you've ever
seen the game "Civilization", Empire is a lot like it, except it is more
detailed, and of course multi-player. As the leader of a nation which
consists of certain sectors on a large hexagonal grid, you decide (based
on resources) what each sector's "designation" should be. This way, you
obtain food, iron, gold, oil, uranium. You distribute these raw materials
to factories to convert them into more useful things. You manage a
civilian and slave populace for producing goods, and a military populace
for defense and conquest. You also have the tricky job of balancing a
budget. As the technology level of your country increases, you are able to
build more and more advanced units: for example, in a typical game, at
tech 0 you can build fishing boats and frigates, at tech 50 you can build
planes, cruisers, and infantry, and by tech 300 you can build satellites,
jet planes, and nuclear weapons.

NOTE: rec.games.empire has nothing at all to do with the commercial PC
games called "Empire Deluxe" and "Ages of Empire" nor the PC version of an
old VAX classic called "Empire: Wargame of the Century" which came out in
the 80's. The newsgroups microsoft.public.agesofempire
alt.games.empire-deluxe and comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic concern
themselves with games like these. However, people who enjoy those
single-user games would certainly enjoy the multi-user kind of empire we
play here even more!

Do I need direct internet access ("telnet") to be able to play?
Yes. It is a "real-time" game. You can not play by mail.

What kinds of machines can I play from?
You can play from a Unix, VMS, VM/CMS, Macintosh, or PC (MS Windows or
OS/2) machine that is directly connected to the internet (via LAN, SLIP,
or PPP).

Are there "turns" in this game?
Most aspects of the game are "real-time" (i.e. it isn't like risk or
diplomacy where there are turns), for example you sail ships, march
armies, and fly planes in real-time--so if you type fast, then you will
have an advantage. The aspect of the game that has turns is economic:
goods are produced, population grows, and arms are constructed only at a
specific time (called "updates").

How long does a typical game last?
This depends on how often updates occur. There are two types of games: A
"blitz" has updates every ten minutes. They last about 24 hours. A "long
term" game usually has one update every day or every few days. They last
2-6 months. To learn the basics of empire, it is highly recommended that
you first try "blitzing" a few times.

Where can I find out more about the game?
The main clearinghouse for empire information is the Wolfpack Empire Page
(http://www.empire.cx/). Wolfpack is the latest version of
the server-side of empire. Here you will find links to other sites,
including This Frequently Asked Questions list
(http://www.empire.cx/~uesugi/FAQ.html), the monthly Empire News
(http://www.empire.cx/news.html), and the Empire Hall of Fame
(http://web.mit.edu/madpit/www/empire/).

There is also an Empire Announcement mailing list. This is the best way to
receive notice of new long term games starting up. To join the list, send
e-mail to "over...@empire.cx" and include in the body of the
message "add your...@youraddress.yourdomain". Deities with new games
will notify the list administrator who will forward all calls for players.

Sounds neat! How do I play?
Well, you can play right now if you want! All you need to do is get a
client program onto your computer, and then connect to a game.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

==Connecting==

Where do I get a client for my machine?
The standard Empire clients are located on the World Wide Web in the
Wolfpack Empire Page (http://www.empire.cx/), in the
directory clients.html (http://www.empire.cx/clients.html).

The standard Empire client has been ported to:
* UNIX (ftp://ftp.empire.cx/pub/empire/clients/)
* Windows 95/NT (ftp://ftp.empire.cx/pub/empire/clients/)
* Macintosh
(ftp://ftp.empire.cx/pub/empire/clients/others/Macintosh/)
* MS Windows Winsock
(ftp://ftp.empire.cx/pub/empire/clients/others/Windows/)
* OS/2 (ftp://ftp.empire.cx/pub/empire/clients/others/OS2/)

OK, I compiled my client. The docs said something about a "host", "port",
"country" and "password". I need to specify these to connect to a game--what
should I put for these four things?
What you are really asking is "How do I get in a game?". To get in a long
term game, you need to keep watching the newsgroup rec.games.empire for
new game announcements. You can also check the New Games Starting Up
(http://www.empire.cx/news.html#New) section of the EMPIRE NEWS
(http://www.empire.cx/news.html). A new long term game is
announced about twice a month.

However, there is a blitz up and running even as you read this post. The
blitz resets every Sunday at 18:00pm EDT (so if you want to play
competitively, you should connect at that time), but you can connect to it
and play any time. The host is "blitz.empire.cx" (206.124.146.206), and
the port is 5678. For country, use a number from 1 to 20, and use the
same number for the password. For example, to use the standard client
to connect to country number 9 of the blitz, type:

setenv EMPIREHOST blitz.empire.cx
setenv EMPIREPORT 5678
setenv COUNTRY 9
setenv PLAYER 9
empire
info
quit Note that if country number 9 is already in use when you try to
connect, then you should just try a different number from 1 to 20.

Immediately after successfully connecting to a blitz, you should change
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/change.html) your country name
and representative (password). This prevents others from using the same
country and adds texture to the game. Nobody likes to be attacked by a
number! If you quit a blitz and don't intend to return, be sure to change
the country number and representative back to the original state.

A complete list of blitzes and long-term games currently running may be
found on the Wolfpack Server Page
(http://www.empire.cx/games.html).

Just out of curiosity, what long term games are going on right now, and is
there a way I could peek in on them?
Most long term games have "visitor" countries (country "visitor" or
"Visitor" with the same name for a password) that you can use to log into
the game. For a list of the current long term games, check the Wolfpack
Page "Where Can I Play" (http://www.empire.cx/games.html).


Once you connect to one of these games, you can have a look at what's
going on by typing power
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/power.html) or news
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/newspaper.html).

The basic unix client is, well, basic. Are there more sophisticated clients
available?
Yes.

WinAce is a Windows 95/98/NT client. Find it in the
wolfpack client directory (http://www.empire.cx/clients.html).

ptkei is a python/tk empire interface client. ptkei will run on all
platforms where python (>1.5) and tk run. This includes Win95/98/NT,
Unix and Macintosh. It is also in the wolfpack client directory
(http://www.empire.cx/clients.html).

Ken Stevens and Sam Tetherow have written an Empire client called
"pei" with lots of nice features and many built-in tools. The latest
version of pei is at www.nol.org (http://www.nol.org/home/tetherow/pei/)

If you're looking for a UNIX client that's something in-between the
standard client and pei, then try out eif
(ftp://ftp.empire.cx/pub/empire/clients/other/UNIX/). There are
also two X-windows clients available on ftp.empire.cx at
* xemp (ftp://ftp.empire.cx/pub/empire/clients/other/UNIX/)
* myxec
(ftp://ftp.empire.cx/pub/empire/clients/other/UNIX/myxec/)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

==Playing==

I'm keen, I can connect to a blitz, but I haven't a clue what to do! How
do I learn how to play?
Ask and read. Most Empire players are happy to answer newbie
questions--heck the more players we have the better! There is lots of
material on Empire that you can read. You have to be careful with the
documentation, though, because the game is always changing, and much
of the literature is out of date. The surest way to get the most
up-to-date info is using the "info" command in empire. The first info
pages you should read are "info Sector-types" and "info Products".
Drake Diedrich's harmless guide to Empire used to be a nice place
to start. Does anybody still have a copy?
The entire Empire "info" docs are on the Wolfpack Page in
pub/empire/infopages/
(ftp://ftp.empire.cx/pub/empire/infopages/)
I would also recommend having a look at "What Is Empire"
(http://www.empire.cx/empdesc.html) by Geoff Cashman.

There seem to be a million commands! What are the basic commands I should
read about first?
Use the "info" command to read about these commands: change
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/change.html), break
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/break.html), map
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/map.html), ann
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/announce.html), wire
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/wire.html), tel
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/telegram.html), read
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/read.html), expl
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/explore.html), move
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/move.html), res
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/resource.html), cen
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/census.html), dist
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/distribute.html), thresh
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/threshold.html), lev
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/level.html), com
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/commodity.html), prod
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/production.html), budget
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/budget.html).

What is a Representative?
A password.

What's a BTU and how do I get more?
A BTU is a "Bureaucratic Time Unit". Most Empire commands require
BTU's. In a blitz, you don't need to worry about BTU's. In a long
term game, BTU's are generated by civilians in efficient "c" sectors
(capitols) in the following way: every time you log on, the server
gives you a number of BTU's corresponding to the length of time since
the last time you logged on and the number of civs in your capitol.

How do I build a ship?
Using the build
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/build.html) command.

How do I load stuff on a ship?
Using the load (http://www.empire.cx/infopages/load.html)
command.

How do I get civilians to another island?
nav (http://www.empire.cx/infopages/navigate.html) a ship
with mil up to the island and look
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/lookout.html) with the
ship to get the coordinates of a land sector. Then assault
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/assault.html) the sector
with about 20 mil. designate
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/designate.html) the
sector to be a "h". Then next update, the harbor should be 2%
efficient and you will be able to nav a ship carrying civs into the
harbor and unload
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/unload.html) them.

Where do you make land units?
In a "!" sector.

Why aren't my ships/planes/units gaining efficiency?
Ships need to be in an "h" sector, planes in a "*" sector and units
need to be in a "!" sector. The sector must be at least 60%
efficient. Units and planes need mil in the sector. Also there needs
to be sufficient "avail" in the sector (note the figures for "avail"
in "show * build" are misleading--the actual avail you need is
actually 4x what "show" says). You need to have enough lcm's and
hcm's in the sector. Land units can also need guns and shells. In the
client "pei" you can use the "sneweff", "pneweff", and "lneweff"
tools to find out what efficiency your ship/planes/units will have
after the next update, and if they won't get maximum efficient, what
the sector needs.

I have a ship with "oiler" capacity, now how do I find out how much oil a
sea sector has?
While you're navigating the ship, type "v" and you will get output
like:

[oil:82] oil derrick 1 (#297) @ 11,-1 0% sea
which means that that sea sector has an oil content of 82.

Who can help me get started playing Empire?
Before asking anyone, please try to find your answer in:
* in this FAQ,
* on the Wolfpack Server Page (http://www.empire.cx/),

* in the documentation that came with your client,
* in the " info
(http://www.empire.cx/infopages/TOP.html) " command
in the game,
* by asking fellow players in a blitz.


Mark Ballinger (ues...@empire.cx)


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