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SpaceEmpires.net Newsletter - July 2005
Volume 1, Issue 5 - July 2005


________________________________________________________________________________

SpaceEmpires.net Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 5 - July 2005
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________

Table of Contents

1) General News
2) Modding News
3) Community News
4) Ed's Guide to Playing SE4 on Linux
5) Interview - Fyron
6) Hammer Time
7) Newsletter Information
8) Contribution Credits
________________________________________________________________________________

1) General News
________________________________________________________________________________

Much hubub continues over what will and will not be featured in the upcoming
Space Empires IV Deluxe, due to be published by Strategy First in September. So
far, all that is known is that it will essentially be Space Empires IV Gold with
possibly a few bug fixes and updates for a couple of mods.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=359457

________________________________________________________________________________

2) Modding News
________________________________________________________________________________

Space Empires IV mods:

July 9, 2005:
NullAshton announced the start of a new mod, the Missile Command Mod. Amidst
sparse informaton given with the release, we are not entirely sure what the mod
is about.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=365484

July 10, 2005:
Heretic released a modified version of Atrocities' Star Trek Mod, entitled
Ralf's Star Trek Mod. The mod features various changes to the base mod, designed
to make it match his playing style better.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=365855

July 15, 2005:
Q started a thread to discuss ideas for a new form of intelligence mod for SEIV.
His idea would be to eliminate Counter Intelligence projects and instead have
players rely on Intelligence Sabotage projects. This idea had already been
thought of and implemented in Carrier Battles Mod by Suicide Junkie, however.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=367347
http://imagemodserver.mine.nu/other/MM/SE4/Mods/CarrierBattles/

July 16, 2005:
Captain Kwok released a new version, 0.20, of Space Food Empires Mod.
http://sfe.captainkwok.net/home.php

July 21, 2005:
Intimidator continues to work on his new version of the Star Wars Mod, which is
based on the work spearheaded years ago by Andres Lescano.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=355227

July 21, 2005:
After a long hiatus of nearly a year, the SE4 Mods Listing page on Malfador.com
was updated to include new mods, new versions of mods, and a new table of
contents.
http://www.malfador.com/se4mods.html

July 23, 2005:
Ekolis began work on a new mod based on the Star Control series of games.
Hopefully, this mod gets farther than his Master of Orion mod did.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=369128

July 26, 2005:
Fyron released new versions of FQM Deluxe and FQM Standard. The Deluxe update
features balanced distribution of planet types and atmospheres, thusly
ameliorating old advantages that some types had over the others. Deluxe also
features new descriptions for about a third of the planets in the mod, courtesy
of Loser. The No Ast Belt quadrant types, which feature systems that have only 2
asteroid belts instead of an entire ring of them, have been expanded to many
other quadrant layout types.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/article-151--0-0.html
http://fqm.spaceempires.net/

July 27, 2005:
Atrocities continues work on his acclaimed Star Trek Mod, posting the current
history file for the in-development version 1.9.2.3.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=298468

July 28, 2005:
SpaceEmpires.net ModWorks announced the launch of a line of Concept Mods.
"Frequently, new schemas for modding concepts will surface on the discussion
boards. After much discussion, some will be implemented in various mods, others
will disappear. ModWorks provides practical implementations for modders to use
to learn how to create such features and even implement them directly from the
samples into their own mods."
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/article-152--0-0.html

________________________________________________________________________________

3) Community News
________________________________________________________________________________

July 4, 2005:
ToxicSlurpee posted a whimsical new cargo ship design. The design resembles a
person carrying two large briefcases.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=364145

July 5, 2005:
SpaceEmpires.net ModWorks opened a new forum section dedicated to ship
modelling, the Malfadorian Shipyards. Several Doga and Metasequoia tutorials by
se5a and Zircher are in the works. Artists such as Atrocities, CapnKy, Crabby,
GMLocutus, JAFisher44, Moonsword, and se5a have made use of the forums so far.
To complement the new development site, a new ship set hosting site was unveiled
on July 14th.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/forum-45.html
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/shipyards.html

July 6, 2005:
Starhawk posted a new chapter of his "From the Beginning" fan fiction story.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=306751

July 8, 2005:
Fyron released a long overdue update to the Shipset Megapack, a massive
collection of all known shipsets for Space Empires IV. All AIs included in the
Megapack have been upgraded to full SE4 Gold 1.91 compliance.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=365229

July 9, 2005:
Atrocities (aka the ship set factory) released yet another ship set for SE4,
this time modeling the set on the Terran Empire from the mirror universe of the
Star Trek series. He released an updated version, 1.1, on July 21st to fix a bug
with the design creation file.
http://www.astempire.net/startrek/sets/TE/TerranEmpire.htm

July 13, 2005:
Kevin Arisa performed a major overhaul of his Oxidran SE4 ship set, using newly
developed skills from his work on images for the upcoming Space Empires V.
http://www.isacommand.homeip.net/

July 14, 2005:
Atrocities released the final version of his Star Wars Imperial Navy ship set.
He had been posting new ship images as he created them on the set for several
weeks prior to the final release.
http://www.astempire.net/NASY/nasy/Imperial/Imperial.htm

July 15, 2005:
Dogscoff posted a long list of planned updates for his SE4 web site. The updates
will primarily consist of cleaning up perceived issues with the structuring of
the site. A notable addition will be an art gallery featuring artwork Dogscoff
has created over the years, as well as an update to the Neo Expansion Pack.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=367174
http://www.dogscoff.co.uk/

July 15, 2005:
Renegade13 posted the first ship for a new SE4 shipset in progress. Over the
next few days, he posted a few more ships. Unfortunately, on July 22nd, he
posted that "it's going to be a bit til this set is finished, due to how much
work I have to do. About 12-14 hours per day, and with other committments..."
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=367326

July 17, 2005:
The SE4 Rating System, which allows participants to gain and lose points
depending on wins and losses in rated PBEM games of Space Empires IV, continued
along with some games finishing and new games being added.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=153576

July 20, 2005:
AgentZero wrote a few more pages for his Hell is For Heroes fan fiction story.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=349561

July 22, 2005:
Randallw posted another chapter of his long running but infrequently updated
Final Frontier III fan fiction story, based on a PBW game of the same name.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=324457

July 23, 2005:
El_Phil has posted several updates to his fan fiction story, "Force G - The lost
command."
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=358377

July 27, 2005:
Suicide Junkie is looking for a replacement player for a top rated empire in one
of his Carrier Battles PBW games. "The empire is solidly in *FIRST PLACE*, with
the most ships, the most units, and an empire almost twice the size of the other
players."
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=325646

July 27, 2005:
Atrocities is looking for replacement players for the Quadrants of Conflict 2
PBW game, which uses the Star Trek Mod.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=369764

July 29, 2005:
SpaceEmpires.net announced a major overhaul of its RSS news syndication
features. The updates feature categorized RSS feeds, XSL style sheets for
viewing the feeds in a web browser, and better integration with the web site in
general.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/article-152--0-0.html

July 31, 2005:
Atrocities is currently hard at work on another new shipset, this time the Rebel
Alliance of Star Wars.
http://www.astempire.net/NASY/nasy/rebellion/Rebellion.htm
________________________________________________________________________________

4) Ed's Guide to Playing SE4 on Linux
________________________________________________________________________________

So, you finally hunted down that copy of SE4 Gold on eBay, you've got the disc
in your proverbial sweaty palm, you pop it in... and nothing happens!

That's when it hits you - you're running Linux, not Windows, and you'd better
find a way of playing this darn game quick, or else your brain will explode from
sheer frustration!

Don't worry, though, because it is possible - I've done it for quite some time
now, and it works quite well; there are only a few things you need to watch out
for.

First, what you need to do is get WINE. No, not from the cellar, I'm talking
about "Wine Is Not an Emulator" (or Windows Emulator depending on who you speak
to; those Linux geeks are crazy!) You can get it at
http://www.winehq.com/site/download - there's a version for nearly every major
distribution (there's even a Windows version, whatever the point of THAT is!)
Just install the package in the appropriate manner for your distribution and you
should be just about ready to install...

As a side note, WINE by default installs with two "fake" hard drives on your
fake Windows system, the C drive and the Z drive. The C drive is located in a
hidden folder under your home directory (specifically ~/.wine/drive_c). The Z
drive just points to your root directory so you can access all of the other
files on your system. If you want there's a way to add "fake" drives pointing to
your CD-ROM and such, but that's not actually necessary to play SE4.

To install SE4, just navigate to your CD-ROM drive (probably /mnt/cdrom or
/media/cdrom) and run this command:

wine SETUP.EXE

Hopefully you should now get the SE4 installer. (If not, let me know! ;-) Follow
the instructions in the installer (don't freak out if the backslashes appear as
W's with lines through them; it's a font problem and everything should work
normally).

If you have a patch to install, you can apply it in a similar way: navigate to
the directory where you downloaded the patch, then wine patch-file-name.exe for
instance.

Now you should be ready to play! If you want the stock game, go to your newly
created SE4 directory and type

wine Se4.exe

You may want to create a shell script to go to this directory and run wine for
you:

# !/bin/bash
cd "~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Shrapnel Games/Malfador Machinations/Space
Empires IV Gold"
wine Se4.exe

If you want a mod, I think the Modlauncher works with WINE (though the Companion
doesn't seem to, and I haven't gotten around to writing a Linux version of the
Mod Selector yet). Or you can find and edit Path.txt yourself, or do something
really weird like I did and set up a shell script to open up Path.txt in a text
editor!

Three caveats, though:

1. DO NOT minimize using SE4's built-in minimize button or press Alt-Tab while
playing SE4! When you restore the game window, it will be really tiny and there
will be no way to bring it back! To get around this, either run the game in a
window (see the WINE documentation for information on how to do this) or simply
be very, very diligent!

2. The combat replay window is borked; if you try to view a combat replay, the
log window hovers on top of it covering most of the screen and won't go away.
You may also wonder how to get out of this situation, since clicking the log
window's Close button does nothing. To get out, just press escape!

3. Minor issue, but the standard SE4 fonts won't appear in some versions of
WINE; installing fonts properly in WINE is something I don't quite understand.
You'll just have to make do with the basic sans-serif fonts.
Well, have fun playing SE4, and I hope SE5 is this easy to play on Linux! :-D

- Ekolis ( ekolis at cinci dot rr dot com )
________________________________________________________________________________

5) Interview - Fyron
________________________________________________________________________________

We held a bit of an impromptu press conference with Fyron on the #SpaceEmpires
IRC channel, on Freenode.net.

Narf: "So who is Fyron, anyway?"

Fyron: "I am about to begin my fourth year in university as a computer
engineering major. I was born and raised in southern California, USA. I make
mods for SE and tinker with web sites in my spare time."

Narf: "How did you get involved in SE?"

Fyron: "Long ago, I was a subscriber to the Computer Games Strategy Plus
magazine. I kept the game demo CDs piled up on a bookshelf, but rarely looked
through them. I loaned the whole stack to my friend Brandon some time in 1999. A
few days later, he showed me the Space Empires 3 demo that was on one of the
CDs. A long time fan of strategy games like Civilization and Colonization, it
instantly appealed to me. We played the demo to death for many months, scouring
the web for all sorts of custom ship sets and such. Finally, we wanted more.
Being kids, we split the cost of registering the game."

"Then, we discovered the Universe Ladder roleplaying community. We joined up a
few months after the final incarnation of the Ladder in late 1999. Good times
were had."

"I was initially put off by many of the new features of SE4, and did not get it
until about 10 months after its release. A lot of details just didn't feel
right, such as the construction, research and intelligence models. I joined
Shrapnel Games Intel Forums [1] in July of 2001."

"Ever since I joined the Universe Ladder, I have always had a web site of some
sort. Initially, it was just a roleplay empire site for my Kazharii Imperium
[2], with a page here or there for the various mods I worked on. It was hosted
on various free web hosts as they randomly closed down or degraded in features.
But in August of 2003, I got the idea for a larger, more general Space Empires
web site in my head. Thus, SpaceEmpires.net was born."

Narf: "How did you get into modding?"

Fyron: "I have always tinkered with the games I played, starting with
Civilization 2. I made a large number of mostly minor mods for that game, as did
my friend Brandon. Possibly due to a complete lack of an Internet connection,
all of these mods never saw more than personal use. After I got SE3, I made a
modification of a mod [3] I had downloaded from Malfador's site, Mike's Mod [4]
or some such. I was not very heavily involved with the community at the time, so
it was only played by myself and Brandon. The main feature that finally won me
over to SE4 was the vastly expanded modding potential."

"Once I finally got into SE4, I joined many a PBW game [5]. Incidentally, I have
only played 2 single player games of SE4, neither of which ever came close to
completion. One game, of which I now forget the name, was hosted by Efran
Randohar. Efran was fond of making various changes to the system generation
files, resulting in far more interesting maps than the stock game could make. I
was intrigued, so I started work on my own quadrant mod. Unfortunately, it fell
by the way side. A few months later, I idly mentioned the mod to Atrocities over
some IM service. He encouraged me to finish the mod and release it. Thus,
Fyron's Quadrant Mod [6] hit Shrapnel in June of 2002. I've made a couple of
other mods since then, most of them fairly minor. Adamant has been a real beast,
however."

Tevlik: "What is it that makes you a prominent person in the SE community?"

Fyron: "I do a little of this and a little of that around the community. Mostly,
I try to help people with whatever they need help with."

Tevlik: "What other non-SE hobbies do you enjoy?"

Fyron: "I enjoy reading novels, watching good, mostly older movies, programming,
web site design, playing RPGs of all forms, and photography."

Scruffy Weirdo in the Back: "What's your favorite form of fiction?"

Fyron: "It's a toss-up between epic fantasy and epic science fiction. The Lord
of the Rings was my favorite set of books as a child; I even enjoyed reading The
Silmarillion. I was also engrossed with science fiction movies such as Dune and
the Babylon 5 television series."

Tevlik: "What do you see in the future of SEnet and in the SE Universe?"

Fyron: "I expect that the various community-oriented sections of SEnet, such as
ModWorks and Fan Fiction, will pick up more frequent traffic when SEV comes out.
I don't currently have any plans for the expansion of SEnet, but then, most of
what I do with the site is based on spur of the moment ideas."

"I truly have no idea how retail will affect the SE universe. On the one hand,
it will garner more attention on the game. But on the other hand, the game is
still a niche game. It might not have wide enough appeal to succeed in retail.
Hopefully, it can maintain the same level of elegance as we had in SE3 and SE4,
not caving in to the general level of simplification so pervasive in retail
games these days. But either way, there will definitely be an infusion of new
blood in the online community. Whether these people will find established sites
like Shrapnel Forums or SEnet Forums, or they will just stick to the publisher's
(Strategy First) forums, I can't say. Hopefully these sites do not go the way of
the old SE3 community sites like the Borg Tournament Grounds and the SE Center."

"The 3D rendered ship graphics in SEV are going to pose some severe challenges
for most SE4 ship set authors. The prominence of Doga has not been conducive to
learning texturing techniques, which will definitely be the main focus of SEV
ship set design due to low polygon limits."

"I predict an explosion of mods even greater than we had with SE4, due to all of
the excellent new possibilities in SE5. Mod making is going to be more
complicated, but people will adapt."

And that concludes the press conference. Stay tuned for next month's issue,
where we plan to continue interviewing more community leaders.

References:

[1] http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/postlist.php?Board=UBB23
[2] http://kazharii.spaceempires.net/
[3] The mod is now available for download. Note that since it was never really
intended as more than a personal mod, the documentation is lacking.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/downloads-details-409-Fyron's_SE3_Mod.html
[4] http://www.malfador.com/se3editr.html
[5] http://seiv.pbw.cc
[6] http://fqm.spaceempires.net
________________________________________________________________________________

6) Hammer Time
________________________________________________________________________________

Welcome to Narfs' Hammer Time.

Today, I'm going to talk to you about cheese.

Cheese - a solid food prepared from the pressed curd of milk. This definition is
the Human one, from the nation known as the 'U.S.'. It's a rather dry
definition, so I'll provide you with a better one: Cheese is rotten milk,
generally sterilized by intense heat. Looking at cheese under a microscope is
supposed to be a sure way to never eat cheese again.

Cheese(y) - Games, primarily computer games.

The use of tactics or various other options which are considered unbeatable or
'break the game'.

That is to say, that people who don't know about them will quickly get beaten by
those who know about them, if they are used.

Generally, these tactics get banned in the better games.

Big Cheese - Slang north american term for 'guy in charge'.

When it comes to mice, that's me. Narf, leader of all Mice.

It's a very, very strange job (Remind me to tell you of the time my dimensional
transfer device short-circuited), that has some genuinely scary moments (Remind
me to tell you of the time a rather-less intelligent mouse thought it would be a
good idea to chew through a cord in my dimensional transfrer device), but,
cliche as it sounds, somebodies gotta do it.

Cheese Factor - Slang north american term for 'something silly'.

This is clearly a product of human minds who fail to understand the grandeur,
nay; the power of cheese. Why, just last week, as I was bending steel rodes and
nibbling on some chedder...But, I have tried to explain before.

Moon - Green Cheese - Old Human fable

Beleive me, the moon isn't made of green cheese.

We already tested that.

Cream Cheese - Spreadable cheese, generally coloured white, with a mildly tangy
flavour

This is a particular favorite. Goes well with bread or certain bread-items. If
you havn't tried it, I suggest you do.
Unless you're lactose intollerant or something, in which case, you have my
sympathy.
Parmesan cheese - A pale yellow cheese
This is best used grated into small peices and melted on a pizza.
Cheese Cake - A desert made from cake. And cheese.
And cake. And cheese. And cake. And cheese. And cake. Did I mention it has
cheese?

Many have noted that eating cheese increases my strength. You may wonder, does
this work on all mice?

Why do you think elephants are scared of us?

I'm Narf, and this has been, Hammer Time.
________________________________________________________________________________

7) Newsletter Information
________________________________________________________________________________

Contact Info

Web site: http://www.spaceempires.net/
Email: admin at SpaceEmpires dot net
IRC: #SpaceEmpires on Freenode.net ( http://seirc.spaceempires.net/ )

This newsletter is put out by SpaceEmpires.net. It focuses on all things
related to Space Empires.

To subscribe to the newsletter, you must register at the SpaceEmpires.net Portal
and select the option to receive the newsletter when editing your profile. You
can also unsubscribe from the newsletter in the same manner.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/

If you wish to contribute to this Newsletter, send an e-mail to the editor,
Imperator Fyron. Any relevant Space Empires related news will be accepted.
Currently, we are looking for writers wishing to contribute articles on subjects
such as game strategy, technical articles explaining various game features,
short fiction, etc.

Dedicated to the memory of Mlmbd.
________________________________________________________________________________

8) Contribution Credits
________________________________________________________________________________

Newsletter editor: Imperator Fyron.

General, Modding and Community News compiled by Fyron.

"Ed's Guide to Playing SE4 on Linux" contributed by Ekolis.

"Interview - Fyron" cobbled together by a Fyron-like character that wasn't
Fyron.

"Hammer Time" contributed by Narf.

The Space Empires series of games is produced by Malfador Machinations.
http://www.malfador.com/

Space Empires IV and Space Empires: Starfury were published by Shrapnel Games.
http://www.shrapnelgames.com/

Space Empires IV Deluxe is to be republished for the retail market by Strategy
First. Space Empires: Starfury has been republished by Strategy First. Space
Empires V will also eventually be published Strategy First.
http://www.strategyfirst.com/
________________________________________________________________________________

All submitted materials are copyright by their respective owners and used with
full permission.

The SpaceEmpires.net Newsletter is copyright 2005 by the SpaceEmpires.net
Newsletter Staff. All rights reserved.
________________________________________________________________________________





Copyright © by the author, posted with permission.

Published on: 2005-08-11 (4586 reads)

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