Strategy Guide 1.1 (SEIV)

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Strategy Guide (SEIV) 1.1
Beginner's Game Tips


Let's start with some Questions and Answers (Q&A) from MM's web site (questions related only to the demo are omitted):

  • Population growth is incomprehensible. 18% Jubilant ... but actual pop growth is tiny turn to turn?
    • Population growth is per year! (not per turn)
  • Some planets build very slow, why?
    • Depends on the rate of your space yard. It also depends on how much population is on your planet. The higher the population, the higher the rate.
  • How does starting tech levels work with setting your traits in a new game?
    • Tech levels don't effect your race creation in any way.
  • Can you turn off mines, fighters and others from the new game menu?
    • Not at this time.
  • How do I change the video resolution the game is being run at?
    • You can't. The game can currently run in 800x600, or 1024x768. If you're smaller than 800x600, then the window will be larger than your screen. If you run in larger than 1024x768, then there will be a black border around the main window when you play. Some windows will use your full screen size such as some of the list windows and the Tactical Combat window. We're looking into having the program automatically change your windows to a certain resolution if you select that option (and then set it back again when you're done).
  • Will a CD-Rom be required to play? ie when it is purchased, can one download it and play imediately?
    • Yes, a CD will be required to play. The full game size is about 35 megs compressed, and we don't want people to have to download that. In addition, there is music that is played directly from the CD.
  • Will there be a data editor release?
    • In SE4, all of the data files are simple text files. You can just open them up in Notepad and edit them directly. You can create whatever components, facilities, or ship sizes you like. (However, in the demo this feature is disabled). We may eventually release an editor, but it really isn't needed.
  • I've built a space station with two Space Yard II components on board, but for some reason it will only build one ship at a time. Am I doing something wrong, or is there no point in putting multiple build components on one platform in SE4?
    • This is a bug. There can only be one space yard on a ship. A ship or planet only has one construction queue, so even if you did put multiple space yards on it, you would only be able to build one thing at a time.
  • In SE3 you could build Facilities on a planet at the same time as ships were being built at the space yard. Now it seems that the planetary space yard uses the same queue as facilities construction. Consequently either a ship or a facility can be worked on, but not both simultaneously. Is this a bug, or a fundamental change?
    • In SE4, there is only one construction queue per ship or planet. So a planet

uses the same build queue for both is ship and its facilities under construction.

  • Is there a way to limit the number of planets per system?
    • You can do this by modifying the data files and adding new Quadrant Types. Look into the data file SystemsTypes.txt in the data directory. There will be more details on these data files in the full version.
  • Can you still adjust your production on the Jubilant to Angry scale as in SE3?
    • Nope. Production Output has been removed from SE4. You now have to keep your population's happy by your actions, not just by changing the production output.
  • In the Game setup - Quadrant, What do Finite resources mean?
    • Finite resources is a new way to play Space Empires. Normally when you play the game, each planet can generate an infinite amount of resources. Each planet has a value that is expressed as a percentage. But when you play with finite resources, then each planet as a maximum number of resources of each type that can be mined from it. The value of the planet will be displayed as an actual amount in kT of resources. Once these resources have been expended, you cannot generate any more from that planet. This feature adds a bit of viciousness to the game as you must continually expand or die.
  • When a ship is hit in combat, but no component has been destroyed (I know that as comps have different damage resistance, some of them are able to stand several his) how do I know which comp has been hit? Does the component remain "half damaged" forever or it's repaired before next combat?
    • Damage in SE4 has changed since SE3. Instead of one damage point destroying one component, each component now has a damage resistance. This is the amount of damage it must take before it is destroyed. When you take damage in combat, you may not see a specific component destroyed. But don't be fooled, your ship has taken damage. Once the damage amount to a particular component reaches its damage resistance, then it will be marked as destroyed. A component is fully functional until it is destroyed. Once you leave combat, all "partial" damage is removed.
  • I started a race for rock planets with no atmosphere yet I couldn't colonize the astroid belts in my system. I had population on the ships, what am I doing wrong?
    • In SE4, you cannot colonize asteroids. You can only remotely mine them for resources.
  • How do you construct a ring world or a sphere world? Since the components are larger than any ship that I can find I am uncertain as to how I would construct one of these beasts.
    • To construct a ringworld or a sphereworld, you will need to build the required components on starbases. How do you get them to the location? This is where a spaceyard ship comes in. First, build a space yard ship and send it to the location (the star) where you want to build your sphere world. Next, have the space yard ship construct the starbases with the required components (you may want to have more than one space yard ship to speed this along). Once the starbases are constructed, select the one with the activating component and select Stellar Manipulation. Choose Stellar Construction on the window. When you do this, all of the starbases with required components will be de-constructed and formed into the sphere world.
  • I constructed a sphere world but it does not show up as one of my colonies. What gives?
    • A ring world or a sphere world is merely a constructed planet. After you build it, you still need to colonize it. Once you colonize it, it will behave like any of your other colonies. You can then start building facilities on it.
  • There are several references in the config files and UI screens for a unit type of "drone", but no actual data on them. Would you care to comment on what these were going to be and why they aren't in the game after all?
    • Drones were originally going to be in the game as a sort of computer controlled missile. They would be launched from a planet like a fighter and then seek towards a designated target completely under computer control (or possibly player control). However, due to a number of difficulties with targeting, pathing, and intent for the drones, we decided to remove them from SE4. The pictures are still present, as are some references in the data files, as it is our intention to eventually patch these into the game when the design issues have been worked out.
  • How do I access the CD manual in HTML. I can't find it while in the game, and I can't find it while looking at the contents on the CD through Windows Explorer. Where is it?
    • The HTML manual is installed with the game into your SE4 directory. From the Start Menu, select Programs \ Shrapnel Games \ Malfador Machinations \ Space Empires IV Manual. We will be adding a shortcut to the manual from the game in the next patch.
  • Is there somewhere an overview of the different galaxys where i can find the differences between Midlife, Ancient, Spiralarm and the others?
    • Mid-Life - A standard quadrant with regular planets. Systems are layed out randomly. Cluster - Systems are grouped into clusters on the map. Galactic Edge - Systems are spread out as far as possible from each other. Spiral Arm - Systems are arranged spiraling out from a central circle. Grid - Systems are arranged in a grid pattern. Ancient - Systems are arranged randomly. There are many more black holes and nebulae in the quadrant.
  • I've noticed that I am only able to get at the first few colonies when I select the "Redesignate Colony" button - the scroll bar only goes to about the first 25 or so planets. Does the designation actually do anything?
    • The list window that is displayed when you press Set Colony Type will only show you the colonies which are visible in your list. If you scroll down the colony list, then when you hit the button, the list displayed will show what the colony list is displaying. The Colony type is useful for players to know what they intended the planet for, and for the ministers so they know what the player wants to use the planet for.
  • The range of enemy designs to choose from seems very small. Why is this? It probably has to do with time and my level of familiarity with each empire; but I'd like to know what governs this.
    • The list of enemy ships to choose from in the combat simulator is given by the ship you have seen in your game (been in combat with). Once you are in combat with more ships in the real game, you will have more to choose from in the combat simulator. Keep in mind that you can also fight your own ships in the combat simultator as well.

Also, in some on-line discussions:

Nitram Draw/Marty Ward
First Lieutenant
posted 12 April 2001 13:08

[Ed: This was developed for his own version of a similar strategy guide, which
he offered for inclusion when I happened to publish first.  This summarizes
many of the points raised in the threads which follow it.  If you want to get
started quickly, these are all sound suggestions.]

If you are like me and were introduced to the Space Empires series by SE4 it
can be extremely overwhelming when you start your first game. There are so many
choices. Hopefully, the following tips will help you in your early efforts to
learn the game. 

First of all, let me say I am no SE4 expert. I lose as many of my SE4 games as
I win. I have played it a lot though and thought I would write down my
observations of what works for me. These tips are for beginners.  Most
experienced players will already use some these tips or will have devised
effective counter strategies and more advanced techniques.  All I can say to
them is, please take it easy on me if we ever get into a game.

There are so many ways to play SE4 that creating a step by step guide is
pointless. The number of players, size of the quadrant, starting tech,
resources, etc all combine to give a tremendous variety to the game. Most of my
tips are based on my own game preferences; large quadrant, standard resource
amount, 1-3 starting planets, large number of AI's, low tech and colonize only
home planet type. Once you are comfortable with playing the game you can make
it more challenging by adjusting the set up. Some ideas are: