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rec.games.empire FAQ


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Archive-name: games/empire/faq
Posting-frequency: every 7 days
Last-modified: 2001/12/10

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
        -=[ 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 "overlord@empire.cx" and include in the body of the 
     message "add yourname@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 (uesugi@empire.cx)
     


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