ERG's Space War

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Screenshots - ERG's Space War

ERG's Space War atari screenshot
ERG's Space War atari screenshot
ERG's Space War atari screenshot

Information - ERG's Space War

GenreBoard Game - MiscellaneousYear
LanguagePublisherLAPD
ControlsMouseDistributor
Players2+Developer
ResolutionLowLicensed from
Programmer(s)

Goebel, Ernest

CountryUnited Kingdom
Graphic Artist(s)SoftwareEnglish
Game designBox / InstructionsEnglish
Musician(s)LicensePD / Freeware / Shareware
Sound FXSerial
Cover Artist(s)ST TypeST, STe / 0.5MB
MIDIVersion1.27
DumpMISSINGNumber of Disks1 / Double-Sided
Protection

Instructions - ERG's Space War

ERG's Space War Game (for lack of a better title) version 1.20

         Before going further, let me state that this is a ShareWare
    product.  If you use the program and enjoy it, I would sincerely
    appreciate a small donation.  Perhaps if my wife sees a few $5.00
    checks coming in, she won't feel so bad about the literaly hundreds of
    hours I've spent plinking away at the keyboard of my ST! (GRIN)


    Anyway, if you do send a check, please email it to:

        Ernest Goebel
        772 Lakehurst Rd.
        Browns Mills, NJ
        08015


         Also, if you should happen to find a bug in the program, or just
    want to give some feedback about what you like (or DON'T like) in the
    game, or what you would like to see included in future versions, you
    can drop me a line at the same address.  As an alternative, you might
    consider leaving some E-mail on GEnie to:     E.Goebel.


         Now that we have that out of the way, let me explain briefly how
    to set the game up for play.

         After unARCing, you should be left with the following files:


                  READ_ME.TXT  (You're looking at it)
                  LOAD_ME.PRG  (This is what you run to start the game)
                  ERGSGAME.PRG (The main program...but DON'T run it!)
                  SCREEN.WFM   (The introductory screen)


                              ***** SET UP *****

         The game can be run from any directory on any drive, provided that
    ALL the files are located in the same directory, and that the drive is
    NOT write protected.  When loading or saving a game in progress, the
    fileselector will default to the path from which the program was run.
    You can actually save/load from any drive/path, but BE CAREFUL not to
    create a path that is longer than the line that holds the path in the
    fileselector.  If you do create a path that is too long, the standard
    GEM fileselector will screw up and you will have to REBOOT to
    straighten it out.  If you use a commercial fileselector replacement
    (such as Universal Item Selector from Application & Design Software),
    you should not experience this problem.


         This may sound like a plug, but believe me, I am in no way
    associated with the folks at Applications & Design Sofware.  I simply
    believe that the purchase of their Universal Item Selector was the BEST
    $15.99 that I ever invested in my ST.  I cannot speak highly enough of
    it, and I NEVER boot my computer without it!



                         ***** Loading the Game *****

    ERG's Space War will run only in LOW resolution.  It should work on any
    ST with at least 512K of RAM, but has been tested only on 520s and
    1040s.  Although it is a GEM program, desk accessories are not
    accessible from within this version.  520 owners who have several (or
    very large) accessories installed may wish to re-boot with the ACC's
    disabled to conserve RAM.  Double-click on the LOAD_ME.PRG and away it
    goes!


                         ***** Playing the Game *****


    DESCRIPTION

         ERG's Space War is a GEM program and uses only the mouse.  It is
    actually a board game played on the computer, so don't expect any
    stunning graphics.

         The object of the game is to be the only surviving player, after
    having completely eliminated all your opponents.  This is done by
    capturing solar systems and using them to produce ships and missiles
    for your fleet, as well as food and fuel to sustain your empire.

         The game will accept from 2 to 4 players.  There is currently no
    provision for a one player game against the computer.  That is
    something that will be added in a future version.

         The game can be played on 1,2, or 4 quadrants depending on how
    many players you have and how long you want the game to last. The
    number of quadrants is independantly selectable.  The grid you see when
    you first start the game is one quadrant.  Additional quadrants (if
    used) can be thought of as existing in a stack, like a deck of cards.
    There is no wrap to the screen.  You cannot move off the left edge, for
    example and appear on the right edge.  Nor can you move from quadrant
    to quadrant by attempting to move off the edge.  Movement between
    quadrants is done only with a 'warp' maneuver.



    BEGINNING THE GAME

         Immediately after loading, you will notice a Menu Bar at the top
    of the screen with the following catagories available:



                    DESK      PLAY      VIEW      DONE     GAME

    Move the mouse pointer to 'GAME' and a sub-menu will drop down,
    inviting you to make your selections.  First, indicate the number of
    players you need by clicking on the appropriate item.  The menu will
    disappear indicating that your choice was recognized.  Re-activate the
    'GAME' menu (notice that the number of players you chose is 'checked'),
    and select the number of quadrants to be used.  Now, re-activate the
    "GAME' menu again. There should be 'check' marks next to the number of
    players and the number of quadrants, also, 'begin' (which was
    previously in grey text), will now be in normal text, and therefore,
    selectable.

         Selecting 'begin' at this time will start the game.  If, however,
    your opponents are not located in the same room with you, and you
    intend to save the game after making your move and zip the saved game
    file off to the next player via a modem, you may wish to activate the
    PBM (Play by Mail) function. Activating PBM protects each player's turn
    with a password of their choice.  This assures that game play will
    proceed in the correct sequence, and prevents an unscrupulous (perish
    the thought!) player from examining the whole board and anyone else's
    'info' screen once he gets his hands on the saved game file.


         As the game progresses, the menu bar and the cursor change color
    to indicate which player is currently moving. RED (player #1) goes
    first.



    THE MENU BAR

    (PLAY)

         When the 'play' menu is activated, the following options will be
    available.


                                    *move*
              This is how you move your ships from one sector to another
         adjacent sector.  You will be promted to select the source and the
         destination of the move.  Pick a sector that contains some of your
         ships and click the left button.  If any ships there are able to
         move (you must have fuel, and at least one ship there must not
         have been used already in this turn), the sector will be outlined
         in pink and you will be promted to select the destination sector.
         Pick where you want your ships to move to and click the left
         button again.  If you have indicated a legal destination (not more
         than 1 sector away), that sector will also be outlined in pink,
         and you will then be asked to specify how many ships you wish to
         send.  In the upper right corner of the screen, you should see
         boxes marked +10, -10, +1, -1.  Click on these boxes until the
         number of ships you wish to send is displayed.  When you get the
         desired number to appear, click the RIGHT button and you will be
         asked to confirm.

              Your groups of ships can be moved, split and re-combined in
         any order, but any particular ship can be moved only once per
         turn.

              As each move is proccessed, any combat it causes is resolved
         immediately.  A player can continue his turn until each of his
         ships has moved, if he desires to do so.  When you don't want to
         move any more ships, click the right button by itself and you will
         exit the 'move' loop.

                                    *jump*
              'Jump' is a lot like 'move', but with it you are able to
         select a sector more than one square away as a destination.  This
         has several advantages.  Although your ships still only travel at
         the rate of one sector per turn, you can now JUMP past a line of
         enemy ships without having to do battle.  This is possible because
         while JUMPING, your ships do not actually exist on the game
         board....they enter an area known (in technical jargon) as
         'Hyperspace', and simply appear over the destination sector after
         the specified number of turns. This can be used to prepare a very
         nasty suprise attack on another player.

              Everything good has its price, however, and JUMP is no
         exception. There are 2 distinct disadvantages to this methiod of
         travel.  First, it is VERY costly in terms of fuel (5 times more
         so than MOVE).  Second, if your destination is occupied by
         unfriendly or neutral forces, you had best hope you win the
         battle, because retreat is not possible.

              There is also a limit to the number of GROUPS of ships you
         can have in Hyperspace at any one time. At present, the limit is
         10.

                                    *warp*
              'Warp' is used to move ships from one quadrant to another.
         This function is deactivated if only one quad is being used for
         the current game.  To warp successfully, your ships must begin
         their turn in a sector of empty space and warp TO a sector of
         empty space.  Also, all ships in that sector must warp together.
         If ANY ships in a sector are unable to warp (because they lack
         sufficient fuel, or they have already moved/jumped), the warp will
         not work.

              A successful warp will place your ships in the corresponding
         sector in another quadrant.  If only 2 quads are being used, you
         will warp to the other quadrant automatically.  If 4 quads are
         being used, you must select the destination Quad with the gizzmo
         in the upper right corner of the screen.  If the game will not
         allow you to select a particular Quad as a destination, that means
         that the corresponding sector in that quad is NOT empty.  Clicking
         the right button exits the 'warp' loop.

                                   *missile*
              Missiles are added to your arsenal every 6 turns, provided
         that you control at least ONE star with at least ONE planet at the
         beginning of that turn.  Missiles have huge Hyperspace engines and
         can travel up to 5 sectors in one turn.  Unfortunately, their
         considerable size prevents them from being carried or launched by
         the ships of your fleet.  They must, therefore, be launched only
         from a solar system under your control.  Each missile has a
         payload area that can be fitted with one of two types of
         equippment, and the destination you select for a missile will
         depend on which type of payload it carries.

              If you fit your missile with a NOVA warhead, the only legal
         destination is an ENEMY (not independant) star.  If the missile
         hits the target star, EVERYTHING in that sector is destroyed and
         reduced to a field of asteroids.  The only defense against a
         missile is to have a large number of ships in the target sector to
         locate and destroy the missile before it reaches the star.  This
         is, of course, a risky proposition at best.  An attacker may only
         use 2 missiles  of this type per turn regardless of how many he
         has accumulated.

              An alternative is to fit your missile with a telemetry
         package.  This provides you with a means of uncovering a large
         section of the board without actually having to go there.  Any
         sector can be selected as the destination with this type of
         missile.  Upon it's arrival at the destination, the contents of
         the target sector and each adjacent sector are displayed.  There
         is no limit to how many of this type missile you may launch in a
         single turn.


    (VIEW)

         When the 'view' menu is activated, you are able to select from the
    different screen displays available.


                                 *quad (1-4)*
              Clicking on one of these items displays the corresponding
         portion of the main game board.  Remember that the different
         quadrants are considered to be stacked one on top of the other,
         like a deck of cards.  Some of these may be in light text and
         therefore, unselectable.  The number of active quadrants depends
         on the number you chose when the game began.

                                     *map*
              Selecting 'map' from the 'view' menu replaces the main game
         board with a Production Map for the selected quadrant.  Only the
         solar systems of the current player are displayed on the map.
         Ships, and other players' systems are not shown.

              The colors of the systems on the map reflect what item they
         are currently producing.  Green systems produce food; red, fuel;
         and blue, ships.  Placing the cursor over one of your systems and
         clicking the left button calls a routine which allows you to
         change the production of the selected system.  To change a systems
         product, point at the desired item on the top of the screen and
         click the left button.  Clicking the RIGHT button when NO SYSTEM
         HAS BEEN SELECTED exits the Production Map and returns you to the
         main game board.

                                    *info*
              The 'info' function provides you with the data neccessary to
         manage your empire.  Here you will find a breakdown of how many
         planets you control, and how many of them are producing which
         item.

              Production data is also catagorized by item.  You will see
         how much of each item was produced THIS TURN, the projected amount
         needed NEXT TURN, the TOTAL quantity on hand, and the PERCENTAGE
         of your total capability at which you are operating.  NOTE: The
         projected fuel requirements for your next turn are based solely on
         the needs of your planets!  YOU will have to add the amount of
         fuel you will need to move your fleet (based on your battle
         strategy) to this number to get an accurate figure.

              The 'info' screen is also useful for keeping track of your
         ships in Hyperspace.  Information provided includes the number of
         ships traveling, the destination sectors, and the turns on which
         the ships will arrive.


    (DONE)

         There are only three items under this menu.  Here is what they
    do....


                                  *end turn*
              This item does exactly what you think!  When you are done
         with your turn, select 'end turn' from the 'done' menu.  Be
         careful though, because you will NOT be asked to confirm.  If you
         are playing a regular game, play will pass immediately to the next
         person.  If however, you are playing a PBM game, a GEM File
         Selector will appear so you may enter a name for the saved game
         file about to be created.  Enter the name you wish to use and
         click 'OK' to save the game and exit to the desktop.  Clicking on
         'CANCEL'  will exit to the desktop WITHOUT saving the game.

                                  *new game*
              Clicking here will erase the game currently in progress from
         memory (but will not affect any saved games on disk), and allow
         you to begin a new game from scratch.  You will be asked to
         confirm this selection before it becomes final.

                                  *quit game*
              This one should be self-explanatory.  Selecting this item
         dumps the program and returns you to the desktop.  Confirmation is
         required.


    (GAME)

         The functions of the items under this menu were covered already in
    these docs under 'BEGINNING THE GAME'.  Please note the following,
    however.

         'Save' is used to save the game for later play.  This command is
    useful for a standard game only (which can be saved at any point).
    'Save' is greyed out for a PBM game because when 'playing by mail', the
    game is saved automatically at the end of each player's turn.

         'Load' will recall a saved standard or PBM game from disk.  It is
    not necessary to set the number of players, quadrants, etc. before
    loading because that information is present in the saved game file.



    THE MAIN GAME BOARD

         When a new game is begun, the starting positions of the players
    will be displayed.  The remainder of all the sectors in each of the
    quads will be grey.  This indicates unknown territory.  Once a sector
    has been visited by any player, it's contents will be visible to
    everyone.  Most sectors contain nothing...they are just empty space.
    Some however, contain stars (some of the stars have planets in orbit,
    some do not), and finally, some sectors contain asteroid fields.

         Each sector that contains something will also have a 3 digit
    number at the bottom.  This indicates the number of ships currently
    occupying that sector. Only one player can occupy a sector at any
    particular time (except during combat, which is over quickly).  The
    color of the sector indicates which player controls it.  If the sector
    shows a solar system but is grey in color, then it is independant and
    may or may not have the ability to defend itself.



    REINFORCEMENTS

         Reinforcements are based on how many PLANETS you control that are
    devoted to producing ships.  At the beginning of each turn, the
    computer gives you 5 new ships for each ship producing planet you
    control.  Note that this figure is only accurate if you are building
    ships at 100% of your capacity.  Reinforcements appear in the solar
    system where they were produced.

         The opposite side of this coin is the asteroid field.  At the
    beginning of each turn, each group of ships in an asteroid field will
    incurr a certain amount of loss.  Unless moved to safety, this loss
    will continue until the group is reduced to a single ship.



    PRODUCTION AND COMBAT STRENGTH

         Unless changed, your home system defaults to producing ships, and
    each subsequent system you add to your empire defaults to food
    production.

         Food is distributed automatically as it is produced, first to your
    planets, with the remainder (if any) going to your fleet.  If your fuel
    planets receive all the food they need, they will produce fuel at 100%
    of their capacity.  If they do not get the required amount of food,
    fuel production will be affected.

         The combat strength of your fleet also depends on the food supply.
    After your planets have taken what they need, what remains is available
    for use by your ships.  If your ships receive all they food they need,
    your combat strength will be 100% of its maximum.  This percentage will
    be affected if food is in short supply.

         Unlike food, fuel is distributed to your planets at the end of
    your turn, AFTER your ships have moved and used what they require.  It
    is therefore possible to use ALL of your fuel for movement, leaving
    none for use by your planets.  This is usually unwise, as food
    production will be affected if your planets do not get the amount of
    fuel they need.

         Your ship producing planets depend heavily on the food and fuel
    produced elsewhere.  Approximately 50% of their production capacity is
    determined by the availability of food, and 50% on the availability of
    fuel.

         There is a considerable amount of inertia built into the
    production system.  What this means is that it takes several turns for
    your various production capacities to be affected significantly by
    shortages, but it will also take several turns for the turn around to
    be observed once you have taken corrective action.



    HELPFUL HINTS

         During ship to ship combat, the advantage lies with an attacker.
    When occupying a sector containing a star, however, the defender's
    strength is doubled.  This is true whether or not the star has
    planets.

         It is usually a good strategy to produce ships at the edges of
    your empire, with food and fuel being produced at the center.  This
    makes expansion easier since your ships don't have to travel as far to
    get to the action, and prevents sudden shortages which might occur if
    you make food/fuel systems easy targets.




    *** NOTE ***

         Version 1.12 of this game contained 2 bugs which were eliminated
    in version 1.20.  The first of these was rather serious.


         When a standard game (not PBM) was saved, one or more of the main
    screens were corrupted.  To restore the screens to their original
    condition, it was necessary to re-load the saved game before
    continuing.


         The second bug delt with the 'warp' sound effect.  Once any player
    executed a warp, the combat explosion sounds were not produced
    correctly.




    ****** NOTE NOTE ******

         I thought that I had fixed all the 'save' related bugs with
    version 1.20, but discovered that this was not the case.  After
    receiving reports from folks who were unable to save their games, I
    looked into the code and discovered a typo in a varible name in the
    'save' routine.  Strange as this may seem, I have never had a problem
    saving a game with v. 1.20!  I attribute this fact to my use of
    Universal Item Selector, and here is why: When I tried to save a game
    with the UIS installed, I had no problems. When I tried the same thing
    without UIS, using only the standard GEM fileselector, the game would
    not save.


         So, I re-wrote the save routine making it less restrictive and
    allowing a shorter pathname (by eliminating the need for a folder
    called SAVED.GAM), and tested it with UIS and without UIS.  This time
    (with version 1.27) it will work for sure!


         All saved games will have an extender of 'ERG', so you will know
    what they are.  If you don't put the extender in the filename, the
    program will do it for you.  If you use a different extender, the
    program will CHANGE it to 'ERG'.


         One last item:  When saving a game, be SURE that you have entered
    a name before clicking 'OK'.  If you don't, strange things will happen.
    The game will be saved, but there is no way of telling what the name
    will be.  It will, of course, have the 'ERG' extender, so you should be
    able to find it eventually.......
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