-=[ Empire FAQ ]=-
rec.games.empire is a newsgroup for discussion and hints about Empire. This FAQ answers the basic questions on the game in general, the technical requirements to play, and the first steps in the game.
Last-modified: February 10, 2004
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 defence 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", "Ages of Empire", and "Empire Earth", 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!
Yes. It is a "real-time" game. You can not play by mail.
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).
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").
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.
The main clearinghouse for empire information is the Wolfpack Empire Page (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/). Here you will find all current client and server software, information texts and links to other sites.
Most Empire clients are located on the World Wide Web at the
Wolfpack Empire Page (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/) on the
clients page (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/clients.html). You
can get some clients also on the empire development page
The standard Empire client has been ported to:
- UNIX (various variants)
- Windows 95/98/NT
- older versions exist for other systems.
Current version is 2.8
The basic unix client is, well, basic. There are more sophisticated clients available.
- WinAce is a Windows client that runs on all 32-bit Windows OSes. You can find the most recent version at:
Current version is 2.4.0.
- 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. You can find the most
recent version at the maintainer's webpage
(http://www.lfmm.org/ptkei/) and at
Current version is 1.18.0
- pei is an Empire client written in perl, with lots of nice features and many built-in tools. The latest version of pei (version 2.9.3) can be obtained at http://www.sourceforge.com/projects/empserver and the Wolfpack site (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/clients.html).
- If you're looking for a UNIX client that's something in-between the standard client and pei, then try out eif, offering aliasing and some script facilities.
- Other clients exist (like the two X-windows clients xemp and myxec), but either they have not been maintained for years, or their current status has not been reported. Feel free to look at them at (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/Downloads/clients/others/).
What you are really asking is "How do I connect to a game?". In order to do so, you have to know first where the game is running, i.e., on which machine the server is running (host) and how to reach it there (port). Next, you need to log in as one of the countries of that game, and, of course, you need a password for this.
There are blitz games up and running even as you read this post. The "Zebra Blitz" resets every Sunday at 6:00pm EST (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.wolfpackempire.com" (220.127.116.11), and the port is 5678. For country, use a number from 1 to 20, and use the same number for the password.
As mentioned before, your client requires the basic parameters of the game to connect as a particular country. Please have a look at the documentation you obtained with your client how to specify these settings. As an example you can connect to country number 9 of the "Zebra blitz" using:
host : blitz.wolfpackempire.com
port : 5678
country : 9
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.wolfpackempire.com/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.
Another blitz game, which resets daily, runs also on host blitz.wolfpackempire.com", on port 6789. Updates are every ten minutes, reset is at 07:00pm (EST). See also http://www.wolfpackempire.com/Blitzes.html for a list of currently available blitz games.
To get in a long term game, you need to keep watching this newsgroup rec.games.empire for game announcements. You can also check the "New Games Starting Up" section of the EMPIRE NEWS
(http://www.wolfpackempire.com/news.html) and the webpage on new
and running games (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/newgames.html).
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. Check the Wolfpack Page (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/newgames.html) for a list of
the current long term games. Once you connect to one of these games as visitor, you can have a look at what's going on by typing power
(http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/power.html) or news
Read the info pages, play around with the commands. And ask your fellow players in that blitz game. 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 or the examples, though, because the game is always changing, and sometimes the information material is out of date, sometimes the examples represent a very unique situation. The surest way to get the most up-to-date info is using the "info" command in empire. The entire Empire "info" docs are on the Wolfpack Page (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/TOP.html). The first info pages you should read are "info Sector-types" and "info Products". To get an overview and the spirit of the game, I would also recommend having a look at "What Is Empire"
(http://www.wolfpackempire.com/empdesc.html) by Geoff Cashman. One part of the information documents is the "Guide to Empire" (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/Guide.html), which has been written 11 years ago, but still contains a lot of useful information. Drake Diedrich's harmless guide to Empire used to be a nice place to start. You can find it in its state of 1996(?) on http://www.stack.nl/~marcolz/empire/emp-harmless.html. An example for the first steps using WinACE can be found on http://www.techrev.net/empires/starting.html. Bob Dalton has written an illustrated tutorial to start with WinACE in the "Changeling" blitz. It can be found on Bob's site (http://www.digitallogistics.com/private/empire/EmpPg3.html). A list of things to keep in mind when starting a game has been collected on http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Hangar/6344/tutorial.htm.
Use the "info" command to read about these commands:
A confusing name for `password'. Also an Empire tradition, and that's why we keep the name despite it is confusing.
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 "capital" sectors 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 capital.
You can make ships using the build (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/build.html) command in a "h" sector, a harbour . The sector has to be at least 60% efficient, you need lcms and hcms for the actual 'build' command as well as some workforce (`avail'). Note that a ship gets only built up to 20% then, it gains further efficiency at the update only.
Using the load (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/load.html) command.
nav (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/navigate.html) a ship with mil up to the island and look (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/lookout.html) with the ship to get the coordinates of a land sector. Then assault (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/assault.html) the sector with about 20 mil. designate (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/designate.html) the sector to be a "h". Then next update, this harbour should be 2% efficient and you will be able to navigate a ship carrying civs into this harbour and unload (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/unload.html) them.
In a "!" sector, a headquarter. The sector has to be at least 60% efficient, you need lcms and hcms for the actual 'build' command as well as some workforce ('avail'). Note that a unit gets only built up to 10% then, it gains further efficiency at the update only. Normally, you also have to have a certain tech level (e.g., in the standard settings, at least tech 30).
Ships gain efficiency in "h" sector, planes in "*" sectors, and units in "!" and "f" sectors. The sector needs sufficient workforce and materials (lcms and hcms). For planes also some mil might be necessary.
While you're navigating a ship with "oiler"capacity, 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. If you have sufficient crew aboard this oil derrick, you will drill oil out of the ocean - like all production of raw materials, this takes place automatically at the update.
A number of the questions above and other questions have been collected (with answers!) by Bob Dalton. His player's FAQ addresses various detailed issues. It can be found on http://www.digitallogistics.com/private/empire/EmpPlayerFAQ.htm Please keep in mind that this list is no longer updated.
Before asking anyone, please try to find your answer:
- in this FAQ,
- in the documentation that came with your client,
- in the "info (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/infopages/TOP.html) " command in the game,
- on the Wolfpack Server Page (http://www.wolfpackempire.com/),
- on the other empire information pages mentioned above,
- by checking the archived postings at Google (http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=&btnG=Google+Search&meta=group%3Drec.games.empire).
- Then go on by asking fellow players in a blitz,
- or as last resort, by posting your question to rec.games.empire.
Comments, changes or additions should be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org