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:
772 Lakehurst Rd.
Browns Mills, NJ
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
***** Playing the Game *****
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
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,
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
THE MENU BAR
When the 'play' menu is activated, the following options will be
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
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' 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
'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
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.
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
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
When the 'view' menu is activated, you are able to select from the
different screen displays available.
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.
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.
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
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.
There are only three items under this menu. Here is what they
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.
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.
This one should be self-explanatory. Selecting this item
dumps the program and returns you to the desktop. Confirmation is
The functions of the items under this menu were covered already in
these docs under 'BEGINNING THE GAME'. Please note the following,
'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 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
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
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.
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
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
The second bug delt with the 'warp' sound effect. Once any player
executed a warp, the combat explosion sounds were not produced
****** 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
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.......