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SpaceEmpires.net Newsletter - August/September 2005
Volume 1, Issue 6 - August/September 2005


________________________________________________________________________________

SpaceEmpires.net Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 6 - August/September 2005
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________

Table of Contents

1) General News
2) Modding News
3) Community News
4) SEIV Map Editor
5) Interview - Suicide Junkie
6) Hammer Time
7) Newsletter Information
8) Contribution Credits
________________________________________________________________________________

1) General News
________________________________________________________________________________

August 11, 2005:
Gamer's Hell posted a fact sheet on the upcoming Space Empires V, which is
slated for an early 2006 release.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/article-165--0-0.html

Augst 18, 2005:
Patch 1.17 of Starfury, the version of the game that shipped on retail CDs, was
made available to all current owners of the game.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/article169.html
________________________________________________________________________________

2) Modding News
________________________________________________________________________________

Space Empires IV mods:

August 1, 2005:
President_Elect_Shang announced the closing of the Starfire Mod, posting the
following:

Provided below is a link that explains what has taken place, but to make a long
story short the guy that owns the license is trying to kill the version of
Starfire this mod was patterned after; namely 3rd Edition. To cut down on
competition he has eliminated ALL competition to his self made version of
Starfire called GSF.
http://www.starfireassistant.com/
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=174737

August 2, 2005:
Kevin Arisa completed an overhaul of his Romarian ship set, putting his
experience with making artwork for SE5 to good work.
http://www.isacommand.homeip.net/Shipsets/ISARomarian.htm

August 5, 2005:
Kevin Arisa began work on an overhaul of his Manai ship set, but work has not
yet been completed.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=371679

August 12, 2005:
A minor fix for FQM was uploaded by Fyron. The first release of FQM Deluxe 2.10
and FQM Standard 1.23 included an error involving many warp points having an
ability label that they should not have. Fixed copies of the mods are available
on the mods' web site.
http://fqm.spaceempires.net/

August 12, 2005:
Atrocities released the first version of a new mod, the Expanded Mod. The
Expanded Mod is a hybrid combination of several popular mods. The game has only
been modified slightly to accommodate some minor additions to stock game play such
as the inclusion of neo-standard ships.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/forum-47.html
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=373286

August 15, 2005:
EaX, also known as drakth, released a new mod, the Wonders Mod. The idea behind
this mod is the next: there is one race (a very powerful race....) and all the
other player who may join against this race.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=374115
http://hidiourempire.gwgaming.net/

August 18, 2005:
Design Names Anthology received a minor update featuring the addition of several
new design name files.
http://dna.spaceempires.net/

August 18, 2005:
The Aikenian ship set, by none other than Atrocities, was updated.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=374447

August 19, 2005:
Timstone announced the start of a new project to gather system names from
various sources and put them into one pack, much like the Design Names
Anthology.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=374403

August 22, 2005:
Kevin Arisa created a thread on SEnet to showcase his newly revamped ship set
artwork:
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/ftopic-861-days0-orderasc-0.html

September 3, 2005:
Atrocities released an urgent update to the Star Trek Mod, which fixes a major
AI bug. Version 1.9.2.4 contained a major AI error that was generating an error
regarding mining bases. This bug has since been corrected in the FIX patch. If
you have downloaded the STM v1.9.2.4 Patch or Full version please install the
fix to remove the bug.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/article174.html

September 10, 2005:
Invasion 0.50 was released by Combat Wombat.
http://www.neotechgaming.com/portal.php?topic_id=1612

September 29, 2005:
Atrocities released a Star Wars Rebellion ship set, largely inspired by Star
Wars III.
http://www.astempire.net/NASY/nasy/rebellion/Rebellion.htm

Starfury Mods:

August 29, 2005:
AWOL_Joe announced the start of a new SF mod, entitled "For The Empire."
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=376324

September 13, 2005:
Campeador announced the start of a new Starblazers mod.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=379662
________________________________________________________________________________

3) Community News
________________________________________________________________________________

August 10, 2005:
David Gervais released 4 new SE5 teaser wallpapers of stupendous quality on
SEnet Image Gallery.
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/gallery-album_wallpapers-page3.html
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/gallery-photo_wallpapers-SE5_Explore.html
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/gallery-photo_wallpapers-SE5_Explore.html
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/gallery-photo_wallpapers-SE5_Exploit.html
http://www.spaceempires.net/home/gallery-photo_wallpapers-SE5_Exterminate.html

August 15, 2005:
A CSM Targeting Priority thread, using Google Maps, was created to share
information on the geographic location of SE players.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=373937

September 22, 2005:
Narf started a thread to gather ideas for a "Revised Edition Star Trek," which
aims to create a Star Trek without the inconsistencies and the absurdities.
http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Number=382000

September 28, 2005:
Suicide Junkie has started an in-depth tutorial web site for his Carrier Battles
Mod.
http://imagemodserver.mine.nu/other/MM/SE4/Mods/CarrierBattles/CBmodTutorial/

________________________________________________________________________________

4) SEIV Map Editor
________________________________________________________________________________

SEIV comes with a map editor tool that is both easy to use and quite
comprehensive in its scope. The Map Editor is placed, by default, in the root
directory for SEIV and will use the stock game data and picture files. That is
to say, whatever files/pictures you've got in the default folders. If you want
to use the Map Editor with a mod that affects map creation, simply move the
SE4map.exe into the Mod folder for the data/picture files you want. When you
start the Map Editor from that mod folder, it will use the mod data/picture
files instead of the stock ones.

WHEN MAKING A LARGE MAP OR LOTS OF ALTERATIONS, SAVE FREQUENTLY!

Layout.
Across the top left is the control bar. Most of the functions of the editor
start here. The main view is made up of 3 windows:
The System Window contains all of the stellar objects in a given system.
The Galaxy Window has a grid of the entire galaxy and shows all the systems and
warp lines.
The Space Object List shows all the stellar objects in a given sector.

Where to start?
To start with, there are 2 methods for using the Map Editor to generate your
map. The easy way, and the Easier Way.
The Easy Way is to click on the Galaxy Map at the grid location that you want a
system to be and click Add. This brings up the Edit System window which allows
you to put in the details of your system; whether you want a normal system,
nebula, or a black hole and any stellar abilities you want it to have. The list
of names available for a new system comes from the SystemNames.txt file in the
Data folder, but you can also rename a system to anything of your choosing. Two
or more systems can have the same name, though it is advised not to do this as
it can cause confusion during a game if there are multiple objects with the same
name. Keep doing this over and over and over (and over and over) until you've
got all the systems in your galaxy map that you want.

You'll then have to go into each system and add what you want for them using the
same basic process as you did in creating the systems except you will use the
Add button in the Space Objects Window. Click in the sector that you want a
stellar object and then click Add in the Space Objects Window. It will then ask
you what type of object you want to add; Planet, Asteroids, Storm, Star, Warp
Point or Destroyed Star. For each type of object, there is an Edit window for
you to fill in the details such as name, picture and any abilities you may want
plus other relevant details depending on the object.

Do this over and over and over (and over and over) for each object you want in
each system you've created to build your galaxy.

Hmmm. That doesn't sound so easy after all. Kind of tedious actually…

So then comes the Easier Way. Before doing anything else, click File>Generate
Map. Depending on the mod you are using, a window opens that asks you the
parameters of the map you want. Once you click OK, it will generate a random map
based on the details you picked that you can now modify using the
Add/Edit/Delete buttons in the Galaxy window for System details or the
Add/Edit/Delete buttons in the Space Object Window for stellar objects.

Hey, that sounds Much easier! Hence the name.

What to do with your map?
Any existing object or system in a custom made or pre-generated map can be
altered or deleted. Simply click on the item and the appropriate Edit button (in
the Galaxy Map for Systems, in the Space Objects Window for stellar objects) and
alter the details as you see fit. For the most part, you can modify anything you
like in any way you like.

Note on Warp Points.
All Warp Points are dependant on each other. If you move one, you have to adjust
the target coordinates of the other one for them to function properly. If you
don't you will end up with ships coming out in a sector that has no Warp Point.
This may be intended and can be used to create what are called One-Way Warp
Points. One-Way Warp Points are ones that you can enter from one system but
cannot return. In fact, anything going through a One-Way Warp Point will come
out in a sector without a warp point and may confuse the beans out of anyone who
is watching on the other side.

Alternately, there is nothing to say that just because you came through a warp
point one way, that going back through the warp point will take you to the same
place. The target destinations of 2 warp points don't necessarily have to match.
I have used these 2 features in addition to the fact that multiple systems can
share the same name to create, IMO, realistic nebulas.

Creating Realistic Nebula's.
First, create several identical looking nebulas that each has different names.
Place your warp points in each nebula system in matching sectors. Then connect
your warp points in any fashion that you see fit, preferably not in a logical
order. Be sure to have at least one ‘entrance' warp point. I usually have one
way in and one way out. Once all are placed, rename all the nebulas to the exact
same name. You will also have to rename the target destinations of each of the
warp points. For convenience, I name each of the systems xx1, xx2, xx3, then
just remove the number from the names. Even though they are all named identical,
the game will remember the correct warp point that you have set them to point
at. If you are using a version of SEIV older than 1.91 you can place all the
systems in the exact same coordinates on the Galaxy Map. This will create an
overlapping of all your systems and further confuse the beans out of a wayward
ship. If you are using 1.91, then you cannot overlap systems. Instead, simply
move each of the systems to adjacent coordinates so as to hide the warp lines. I
feel that this arrangement also give the visual impression of a ‘large' nebula
when looking at the galaxy map.

Starting Points.
Finally, the Map Editor gives us the ability to designate Starting points for
all the potential players. If you've created a custom map and want each player
to begin where you want them to, simply click on the Starting Points>Set
Specific/Set Common option. Specific means that the player that matches the
number of that Starting Point will start there. Common just means that any
player may start there. It is possible to mix Specific and Common Starting
points on one map.

- Bearclaw
________________________________________________________________________________

5) Interview - Suicide Junkie
________________________________________________________________________________

This month we held a press conference with acclaimed modder Suicide Junkie on
the #SpaceEmpires IRC channel, on Freenode.net.

Fyron: How did you become involved with Space Empires?

SJ: Well, I first found SE3 on a generic file site... Walnut Creek something or
other. They had all kinds of game demos sitting around on the server. I played
the SE3 demo for quite a while, and then found the forums and SE4. I didn't have
the opportunity to register SE3, since I only had a win3.11 machine at the time.
There was one forum before Shrapnel [1], but I forget the name.

Fyron: Space Empires Center?

SJ: Yeah, that's the one. Once Shrapnel hit, I was locked in. Made some mods for
the SE4 classic demo... poked around doing nothing particularly memorable. Until
that fateful day that whitehojo started the "A pirate's life for me" thread [2].

DarkAnt: By any chance, do you still have those mods SJ?

SJ: I'm sure I've still got the classic demo-mod kicking around somewhere. It's
probably still posted on my old Geocities site [3]. I've got something called
nicksmod in the old classic folder, last edited in March 2001 [4]. And the chess
scenario mod from December 2001 [5]. Of course, I have lost 6 hard drives in the
last couple years, so there is probably some missing.

Fyron: What made you decide to take the reigns on the Pirates and Nomads project
[6]?

SJ: As I recall, it was simply because everybody else said it couldn't be done,
and I knew I could prove them wrong. Although, rereading the thread, it seems
people were pretty enthusiastic for it at first, though there is references to
another thread about nomads.

SJ: The making of P&N was a pretty gradual process. It started off with just
playing what I imagine was just that nicksmod file, using appropriate racial
settings (big - to planet stuff, big + to space stuff). A pirate racial tech was
added to turn it into the "piratesmod", with the miniature spaceyard components
and the swashbucklers. Then all manner of things were bolted on over the months,
as the nomads appeared, and it slowly morphed into the mod you see today.

DarkAnt: Who's idea were the nomads?

SJ: There were at least 10 people throwing ideas around in the first few pages
of the APLFM thread, so I think its safe to say that the core ideas were a
community effort. Implementing those ideas, on the other hand, was what
everybody was pessimistic about.

Renegade13: Are you planning on doing a P&N mod for SE5 when it is released [7]?

SJ: I'll definitely be doing some mods for SE5. What kind of mod is up in the
air. I'm really not sure what I'll do first. I could try to go the P&N route,
and make lots of small changes in a creeping fashion, or I could rip out all the
data files and make a simpler but excellently balanced mod.

SJ: However, I have tried the first approach a few times now, and I can't seem
to stop myself from making extreme changes. So I figure my first SE5 mod will
probably be along the lines of Carrier Battles mod [8], rather than P&N style.

Fyron: How much time did you spend on making your various mods?

SJ: A mod like P&N was an insanely long and slow process. It grew from late-2000
through mid-2003. My Carrier Battles mod, on the other hand, took only a month
from the time I blanked the data files and started writing.

Scruffy Weirdo in the Back: How did you make that ablative armor mod for the SE4
classic demo? I thought the demos couldn't be modded?

SJ: The gold demo can't be modded much if at all. The classic demo allows
modding as long as the string values remain the same length, and all numerical
values in the file add up to the same number. What I did was make the kamikaze
warhead III into a dumping ground for numbers. I set the tech level required to
100, so it would never show up in game. Then I could increase the shield
regeneration of the regenerator 5, and would subtract the same number from the
kamikaze damage.

Tevlik: What do you see as being the major stumbling block for new players when
they get the SE4 Deluxe version?

SJ: You know, I really don't think I can get into a newbie frame of mind in
order to answer that question well. From my first experiences, I think the SE4
demo was a good influence, though. It let me build up a modest empire, and have
a skirmish or two on the borders before the time limit hit. I thusly got to make
a little something of my own without the AI shoving its superiority down my
throat on the first try.

SJ: I suppose many new players will try the demo before they buy, but how many
are just going to pick it up in the store and get totally overwhelmed right
away?

SJ: I think in that first demo game, I had only one system, and maybe a handful
of fringe colonies after 100 turns... With only 15 colonies, you'd get raped by
AIs once they find you and start flooding in from their 50-system empires. But
with the demo limit you can sort things out on the small scale and start to
understand what's going on without getting stomped before the time ends. Thusly,
I'd guess that the biggest problem for the new retail players would be getting
overwhelmed.

Tevlik: As a prominent member of the SE community, how do you forsee the future
of the SE community and/or the SE universe?

SJ: Well, SE has been getting massive boosts in moddability with each version,
and with all the mods there really doesn't seem to be an "se universe" anymore
in the game sense.

SJ: From my view, I see Shrapnel as the definite core of the community. The rest
of the SE3 sites surrounding it are pretty fractured and random. With deluxe
hitting retail, there is certainly going to be a huge influx of new players. The
best result I'd say, would be for a revitalization of the smaller sites, with
Shrapnel being used as a common ground place to meet. I do worry about the rush
of new players driving the quality of Shrapnel threads down towards the Internet
average, but I'm sure the existing community members will be a good example.

Fyron: How do you answer newbie questions so quickly on Shrapnel?

SJ: There are a number of things which contribute to the ability to answer
questions in an eerily quick manner... I tend to keep the forums up in a
background window all day, so I am "on" a lot more than most. I'm also a veteran
of the newbie question heyday, back around 2002 to 2003 or so. Lots of typing
practice with thousands of answer posts boosts typing speed.

Fyron: Good times, good times.

SJ: Lots of playing has given me the opportunity to naturally memorize most of
the stats of components and facilities in the game, and as a programmer, I have
a pretty good sense of how the game probably "thinks." Those two basically give
me the ability to emulate SE4 in my head. That ability also helps when planning
mods.

SJ: Now, don't think that answering posts is just about speed, though. An
instant reply is worthless if you don't explain things fully. *That* is the
challenge of question-answering. There will be lots of posters right behind you,
and it is the first post which causes the light bulb to turn on above the newbie's
head which will gather all the kudos.

Fyron: I have fond memories of threads with 4 or 5 or 10 posts in a row
containing pretty much all of the same info, all within 10 minutes of each
other,

SJ: 10 minutes? How about 120 seconds of each other. :D

Fyron: Nah, you always had Geoschmo coming in real late with his slow typing. :D

SJ: The entertaining part is how the thread moves on after the question is
answered, when we all start digging out the tangential info; there would be a
large set of posts covering all the possible follow-up questions before they are
even asked.

References:

[1] http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/
[2] http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/threads/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=16057
[3] Geocities
[4] nicksmod
[5] chess scenario
[6] Pirates and Nomads
[7] http://www.spaceempires.net/home/gameinfo-SE5.html
[8] Carrier Battles
________________________________________________________________________________

6) Hammer Time
________________________________________________________________________________

So, as I sat there trying to fix an anti-matter reactor as some of my
less-intelligent fellows chewed upon some of its' cords, a task I made more
difficult by repeatedly poking at them with my foot, I asked myself 'Narf, why
do you do this?'. My computer system for the Murphy's Law immediately tried to
resolve this dilemma by asking 'Sir, are you sure you don't need another
checkup?'. 'No', I said, 'I need a left-handed bulb wrench'. I soon received the
needed article and set to work making sure we didn't all blow up. 'I was
referring', I said, 'To a rather more general question of "Why"'.

The computer pondered for a moment, then said 'Would what you are thinking be
what my processors have calculated you are thinking?'.

'I don't know', I answered. 'I have yet to develop machine telepathy. However,
at that moment I was thinking of a rhinoceros wearing socks'.

The machine burped once (Well, that's what it sounded like - I'm afraid not much
works here and things are always breaking down - Then said 'My processor
calculate that either you are: A) Contemplating your spiritual and existential
reasons for your actions, B) Asking why you are currently fixing something that
is extremely broken - Careful, sir, that fuel line will rupture in nine
seconds, C) Wondering why you put up with a job that is clearly beyond any easy
finish, or D) Wondering why you talk to yourself - Something my psychological
module would like to know, too'.

All of these options were worthy of consideration, as it was a rather unplanned
outburst. 'Well, if you refer to my current actions in A), I am trying to
prevent this reactor from exploding to prevent us all from dying. I happen to
like living and wish to continue doing so. Also, I feel a duty to live. For some
reason, I am alive, and I am not about to discount that reason. That same line
of logic applies to why I am attempting to keep these less-intelligent mice from
chewing through these cords and thus blowing us all up. As to B), I am fixing it
because if I don't, it will soon explode. Aside from the previous line of
reasoning about life and death, none of the less-intelligent mice are capable of
fixing it. And your self-repair routines had to be taken off-line because they
kept on messing up, due to the disrepair being too great.'

'As to C), if you are referring to my attempts to educate these less-intelligent
mice, I feel mice have a lot of potential as a race, perhaps justly. If you
refer to my attempts to repair the anti-matter reactor, only to repair it
latter, besides all the other arguments I have given, I cannot afford a new
one, which may have an unknown system I may not be able to repair in time. I
know the problems with this one and can adapt to them. If D), it helps me sort
out my thoughts, along with talking to a pseudo-sentient computer system.'

'But I do not believe it is any of those', I finished my very long speech.

After ruminating a while, the computer asked 'Could it be that you are still
using your feet to shoo away the less-intelligent mice when you yesterday
installed a brand-new Small Whiskered Intelligence Safety System?'

'Yeah, that could be it', I admitted.

The following transcript has been released for publication by the author on
'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.

"SEIV Map Editor" contributed by Bearclaw.

"Interview - Suicide Junkie" cobbled together by a clever imposter of 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 online 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: 2005-10-16 (4930 reads)

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