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  Title: It's been a long time..
Nov 14, 2005 - 11:43 am
Posted By: Tempest

It's been about a year and a half since I've spoken with most of you.. Work and personal like have been consuming my time, and  unfortunately there just hasn't been any time to play.

I've gotten a few messages lately from people asking what's up, so here's a short summary;

Work is going well.. My company is doing risk maangement, security consulting, communications management, and DDoS mitigation. We've grown from 5 to 20 people in the past year and a half, and are still hiring more as soon as we can find them.

On the home front, I've been living in the new condo for about that same time (since December 2005), and finally unpacked the last box of junk about a month ago. Hey, if I didn't need anything in the box until now and didn't have anything to do with the room until now, why bother unpacking it? ;-)

On the relationship front, I've been seeing someone for about eight months now, and it's going well. We took a cruise over the Christmas break.

Game-wise, I know there's a tourney coming up for the 0.30 release, and while I'm certain I won't make the free time to play, if there's need of a server I can likely host it.. Alf or Tarnus feel free to IM me. Actally, if there are any of my old friends around who would like my IM names (MSN/Yahoo/AIM/ICQ/Skype), PM me and I'll send them to you. I'm hardly ever in the chat room, though am almost always on IM when on the computer..

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Apr 22, 2007 - 9:47 am

  Title: My old servers
Mar 20, 2005 - 1:54 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Fakecajun write:
---*scratches head*  Tempest I've been wondering for a very long time...what de heck happened to your server?  You ain't running dis game anymore?  Are you still playing this game? And hopely you are feeling better bud.---

There were a few reasons I took down the darkelves.com servers. First and most important was that they started costing me too much. I used to have a huge operations centre with a hell of a lot more bandwidth and servers that we needed, and so could easily allocate a cluster of Sun servers for a backend database, and three dual-processor Apple Xserves for the front end web servers. That company was sold back in May, and we moved everything (that was ours) out by mid-summer. The game was then moved onto a single PowerMac dual-1GHZ G4 / 2GB ram, which was more than fast enough to run the game, but with just a cable modem (about 1 MBPS upload capability instead of the 100 MBPS that we used to have), the speed wasn't enough to let more than a few people play at the same time. Then there was one of the guys who works in the office beside ours who figured out how to cheat at the game, and did so in tourney.. I got back from some work and a nice vacation in Europe a week after the tourney ended to deal with more complaining than I wanted to pay attention to, so the server was put on our internal network and there's usually about 30 people playing (most of them in our office building for who we provide the internet connectivity).

Myself, I caught mono in December, and am only just getting back to normal. Three months of not doing much has been horrible (imagine getting up to go to the bathroom, and by the time you get back to your bed, you're so tired you have to sleep again), and I've got a LOT to catch up on, so I probably won't be playing anywhere for a while longer. I'll definitely make the time when the new version comes out, and probably would have played in the current tourney if I had been invited *grumbles at Moon*, but otherwise my girlfriend and my job are taking up most of my time.

It might be nice to have an "old-timers" game.. I'll leave that up to the people running the show (and who have more bandwidth than I right now).

If anyone has any ideas as to what to do with the darkelves.com domain name (it's being used for a whole lot of email addresses, but the web site currently serves no purpose), I'm open to suggestions.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Mar 20, 2005 - 1:58 pm

Mar 3, 2005 - 10:11 pm
Posted By: Tempest

The people of Earth had always been confrontational. They had always felt the need to have more than their fellow man. When they could not achieve their goals using normal peaceful means, they inevitably turned to violent actions. Many suffered, many died, and a few prospered. It was early in the 21st century when the middle class was almost wiped out, leaving only the very poor working class, and the very rich, who called themselves the Elite. It was not long before laws were passed declaring the poor to be a lesser species, called Workers, and as such not worthy of  the protections that human rights laws would have otherwise afforded them.

Life, as always, continued. The environmental groups of the late 20th century and early 21st century were proven wrong. Man was not destroying the planet, as no matter what happened to the ozone layer and the rain forest, there would always be life that continued. What man was destroying was his own habitat. By the start of the 22nd century huge factories covered most land masses, processing the ores and minerals that the workers mined and harvested. Food was grown in vats, and on greenhouses on Mars. Space travel had become a regular means of transport and travel to the mining colony on the moon, and the agricultural colonies on Mars. Workers made up the grand majority of the population, and were bred for the needs of the Elite. The strong were bred to the strong, to produce Workers more capable of bearing the harsh climate of Mars and to work in the ozone-depleted areas of Earth. The intelligent, logical, and smart were also interbred in order to produce Workers more capable of researching and developing new ways of making the Elite's lives easier, increasing their wealth, and entertaining them.

By the 24th century, the first colony in the Alpha Centauri galaxy was populated with twenty million of the Workers bred for strength, who had begun calling themselves Musclers (me-you-sklers), and ten million of the Workers who had begun calling themselves Genii (jeen-y-eye). A strict hierarchy was maintained such that appropriate Workers would report to the Elite back on Earth of mining, resource utilization, and how much wealth was being shipped back to earth.

Near the end of the 25th century, nearly all of the Elite were living on Mars, which had been terra-formed to resemble their old home on Earth. The Earth had unfortunately since been decimated by microwaves and solar winds since the collapse of the ozone layer a few decades prior, and only automated machinery still operated the mines and factories that produced the luxury items that the Elite desired. Nearly all of the Workers were moved to what the Elite considered the Barbaric colonies of Alpha Centauri.

Over the centuries that the Elite thought the colonies were doing only their bidding, the Workers of the colonies had been very busy. The reports sent back to their Elite masters on Mars were all modified, and at least half of all resources being produced were kept locally. Research projects that had been completed decades prior were slowly and carefully made available to the Elite, and only enough that would prevent them from becoming involved in the day to day operations of the colonies. Unbeknownst to the Elite, the Genii and the Musclers had been interbreeding in their own specially developed genetic manipulation program, such that their children would have the strength and stamina benefits of their Muscler parents, as well as the intellect and reasoning abilities of their Genii parents. By the middle of the 26th century, almost all Workers in Alpha Centauri were of the new race who called themselves the Ration, after the rational way by which they had begun securing their freedom. Half of the ships that were used to transfer resources from the planets to the space processing platforms were converted into fighters. The giant hauling ships that brought megatons of minerals and processed materials to the factories of Earth were converted into carriers, and the Ration prepared themselves for the day that they knew was coming.

The timing of that day could not have been better for the Ration, as most of the Elite were intoxicated or asleep due to the use of mind altering substances that were frequently used during their celebrations, when the Ration armada disabled their stealth technologies and made themselves known. While the Ration hated the conditions that they were forced to undergo throughout their lives, they knew that these Elite were not the ones who caused the strife of their ancestors, and so let those who wanted to leave occupy a large transport ship, and begin a long journey towards reaches of space that had not yet been explored. These Elite swore vengeance on the Workers, but it would be almost a millennium before they were heard from again. Those who chose to stay, and there were very few who did, were sterilized so they could not bear more Elite children, and were permitted to live out their lives in a small community on Mars.

The days of the Worker revolution were a turning point in the civilization of the people whose ancestors came from Earth. Many of the technologies researched over the past decades had been prepared to help change the planet Earth from the disgusting polluted mess that it had become, to a planet of lush greenery and prosperity that had never been known before. Factories were moved to unpopulated planets that could not otherwise sustain life, and the Ration began what is referred to in history books as their Golden Age.

  Title: The AATraders story.
Mar 3, 2005 - 10:11 pm
Posted By: Tempest

I have a lot of time on my hands.. My doctor thinks it will be another month (maybe two) before I've recovered my strength, so I've begun a small project that Tarnus, Moon and I discussed some months ago; The background of the AATraders world.

I'll be posting chapters as I write them, and please, if you see / read anything that doesn't make sense, or you have any suggestions for plot or story lines, don't hesitate to let me know.

I've just finished the prologue, and will probably write a few individual stories that take place in that timeline sometime in the future. It'll be posted in a few minutes..

  Title: Space Stations
Feb 28, 2005 - 3:01 pm
Posted By: Tempest

There's probably a thread about this somewhere in the message boards, but I'm too tired (lazy) to go looking, so I'm just going to post this here.

In talking to a friend this morning, we came up with a few ideas for space stations in the game. First, shipyards would be removed from the game. I know, this may seem a bit harsh, but keep reading..

Each planet would, when it reaches level 15 all around, be capable of building a space station. Space stations would have different capabilities depending on the number of planets that contribute to it. A red/black sun in a sector with one planet contributing resources (percentage population) to a space station would be less capable than a blue sun sector with five planets contributing to the station. This idea needs to be further developed, but to begin with, lets say the capabilities of a station are based on the number of persons working on it, and number of planets supplying it with resources.

There would be another field on planets for % of colonists who will work on a space station. No more than 20% of a planet's personnel could work on the station at once.
Level 1 (one planets @ 20% population): Control and coordinate sector defense fighters (bonus of 100% efficiency in fighter activity, fighters will continue to attack enemies in the sector, and mines can be moved around in the sector to impact enemy ships that stay past one tick (run of the schedule). Also, the station's technical personnel could install researched technologies from the planets in the sector onto any ship that docks there.
Level 2 (two planets @ 20% population): Automatically trade resources between planets in the same sector, so if you have one planet with huge organic productions, then that one can automatically feed the others, just as a planet with lots of ore can provide it to others to help build armor and the like.
Level 3 (three planets @ 20% population): Build a shipyard. With a shipyard in your space station, you can build new ships. These shipyards will not act like the ones in the game at present, as they will only let you build ships to the maximum technology level of any given planet in the sector, and will let you build your ships with the technological bonuses of the research stations on the planets (the currently unused research option for population on the planets). A Voyager with a maximum level 25 in all areas could cost 100 million credits, but if the maximum is level 15 all around due to planets not having high enough technology, it might only cost 15 million. Ships built in shipyards will cost money, time, or both. For example, a shipyard operating at 60% efficiency (three planets devoting 20% colonists each, or four planets two of which are at 20% and two at 10%) could produce a Voyager with maximum tech levels 15 in 24 hours, or for 15 million credits. It could produce one with maximum tech levels of 25 in one week, or for 100 million credits. Note that these are just example numbers, and would need to be worked out for the game.
Level 4 (four planets @ 20% population): Build a drydock.
Once you have a ship with a maximum specific technology level, you will probably want to increase that past its maximum at some point. For example, lets say you build a Voyager in a shipyard whose planets allow it a maximum technology level of 20 in engines and 15 in sensors. The class of voyager will let you go up to 25 all around, but for whatever reason no planets in your sector had 25 or higher between them; thus, a cripled voyager. If you upgrade your station to have drydock capabilities, you can increase the technology level maximums of your ship (for a fee). You can also have the upgrades performed free (or for lesser cost) if you wait in your ship in that sector (drydocked) for a specified period of time.
Level 5 (five planets @ 20% population): Active sector defenses.
Shooting down nova bombs / missiles that are launched into the sector by enemy ships is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to defend your sectors. With a level 5 space station, there are full time gunners and torpedoe launchers trained on the entrance points to your sector. Any enemy ships will not only have to deal with the fighters roaming your sector, and the mines that impact their hull, but a contant stream of gattling guns, point defence lasers, missle turrets, and the coordinated planetary defense systems of all the planets in the sector. When entering a sector, an enemy ship may only see a few thousand fighters, but the space station can call up millions of fighters from the planets in minutes to help take out any invaders. A level 5 space station is automatically equiped with the equivalent technology level of fighters, torpedoes, jammers, sensors, and other technologies of the highest tech level of any of the planets in the sector, as well as being armed with any advanced weaponry or defences from the research stations on the planets. A fully upgraded excelsior will have a hard time taking one of these out, possibly necessitating team or coordinated efforts to eliminate the station.

Thoughts / suggestions? PM me and I'll update this entry with anything that makes sense.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Feb 28, 2005 - 3:05 pm

  Title: The Reverend Tempest
Feb 21, 2005 - 11:07 am
Posted By: Tempest

On Sunday February 20, the new episode of the Simpsons had Homer become an ordained member of the clergy online in about a minute. I had heard of these things, so decided to do a bit of research.

Apparently, there are a number of organizations that are recognized by the US government as valid churches with the power to ordain anyone as a member of their clergy.

For pure entertainment value, I filled out the form, and am now an ordained reverend of one of these non-denominational churches. I can officiate at weddings in 46 states (50 if I bother to fill out forms), and perform most other religeous ceremonies. I wonder if I can marry two people in a chat room..

So you can all call me Reverend Tempest now :-)

  Title: Crazy Coders
Jan 21, 2005 - 9:44 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Kwae Wrote: "I mean what crazy person implements a plan at 9p/midnight?"

Tech people tend to do their best work after everyone else has gone to sleep. Nobody calling on the phone, nobody asking for anything, nobody making demands of your time, nobody telling you what to do, and nobody making noise when you're trying to concentrate.

People usually laugh when I tell them what hours I work..
Not counting the past few weeks being sick, my schedule is often:

Wake up around 9am.
Drink some juice, and do emails / make phone calls (often while in bed) until about 11am.
Eat a light breakfast, and go to the gym in the winter or bike in the summer until about 1pm (sometimes talking on the phone in the middle of these activities).
Meet with clients, and/or talk some more on the phone until about 4pm.
Personal time (not working) until 10-11pm.
Do real productive work until 1-2am.
Sleep 7-8 hours.

Effectively, that's about 8 hours of work over the day. Sometimes there's more phone talking during the day, or evenings spend entirely with the girlfriend without thinking about work (I like those), but I usually put in at least 40 hours a week.

  Title: Sick & Bored
Jan 20, 2005 - 11:08 am
Posted By: Tempest

So I've managed to catch the dreaded kissing disease (mono). The symptoms started with sore throat, fever, exhaustion, lack of appetite, and boredom.

Being about 3 weeks into it, I've finally gotten over the sore throat and fever, but the exhaustion and boredom are sticking around. I've been told that this often lasts from 1 to 3 months, and am hoping that I'm going to be on the shorter end of that.

On a bright note, in the past 3 weeks I've lost 15 pounds, which has brought me close to the ideal weight for my height - 5'7" and age - 27. If anyone needs to lose a few pounds, while I wouldn't suggest trying to get sick, this has been an almost perfect way of doing so ;-)

I spend my day mostly lying in bed or on the couch with my laptop, doing a bit of work, reading, watching movies, and trying to find something to keep me entertained. If anyone has any good recommendations for books, entertaining web sites, movies, flash games, etc, please feel free to drop me a message or email. If the count down on the main page is what many of us think it is (the new version of the game), maybe that will provide some much needed amusement as well.

Hope you're all doing better than I am!

EDIT: For those of you have been around for about 15 years and remember Scorched Earth, you might get a kick out of the remake @ http://www.scorched3d.co.uk/

Entry Edited 2 times - Edited on Jan 20, 2005 - 2:13 pm

  Title: The Big List
Dec 30, 2004 - 1:13 pm
Posted By: Tempest

I've pretty much gotten used to Big being a dick, and usually just ignore him, but I do think that he should get his facts streight..

Raven's real name is Jason, and he works for Top Five Inc, a company that handles most of my media / advertizing. Apparently he found a way to remove SG links in the last tournament that was on the tourney2 server, got caught doing so, and was booted. He plays regularly (along with about 30 other people) on our internal server, and I would consider him one of the better people in the game when he puts in the effort.

Incidentally, during that tourney (in which I did not play), I was working about 50 kilometers away from Big's home for a few days, then relaxing on the island of Ibiza.

UPDATE: Fixed a typo.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Dec 30, 2004 - 1:15 pm

  Title: Happy whatever it is this time of year..
Dec 26, 2004 - 2:12 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Hi all,

Been travelling a lot for both work and play. I've spent time in Europe, the US, Mexico, and Canada (sorry Langel, no Singapore). It's nice to relax for two weeks, and then I'm off again in the start of January for a week of skiing, and then back to Europe with a short side trip to Africa.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, a joyful whatever else it is that comes around now, and happy new year..


Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Dec 26, 2004 - 2:12 pm

  Title: News from the eye of the storm..
Oct 15, 2004 - 8:00 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Looks like things are going to either get interesting or completely boring in the tournament. I've been asked for comments on the tourney by a few people in chats, so this is the best place to post them so as not to repeat myself.

1. Big self destructing was predictable. As usual, he does well in the beginning going on the war path, but consistency is his issue.

2. Phaser is always a good pick for someone who will get ahead. I'd give him good odds of being in the top 3. As for winning, there's too far to go to know what will happen - it's possible, but I wouldn't bet on it yet. Once Phaser gets planets going and has some credits to spend, it's a challenge to get through his lairs without spending a lot of time figuring out where to go (the last time I tried, with 5 SG links in each place, I spent two hours mapping out what turned out to be a decoy lair).

3. Raven is also a good pick for the top 3. He's newer to the game, but has the building down - last time I was in the same game as him, his growth rate was phenominal (well above mine), it was only my finding his lair that kept him from keeping first place for long. We'll see if he has picked up the attacking part soon enough, and if he rebounds when someone takes out his first few clusters. As his planets all appeared within the first couple of days, I would think that he only has one (at most two) different lair entrances.

4. TB has a high likelihood of being top 3 if work doesn't keep him away from the game much.

5. Bovine, DarkSoul, and The Donald are just behind the above in acore right now, and are all good players, so you never know..

6. There are many more good people in the tourney, and I don't feel like typing much more right now, so we'lll just have to see how people are doing.

I'm leaving for 2 weeks in Mexico momentarily, so enjoy the rest of the tournament, good luck to all, and have a nice 2 weeks ;-)


Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Oct 15, 2004 - 8:01 pm

  Title: Communication
Sep 8, 2004 - 2:40 pm
Posted By: Tempest

I know I haven't said much in a while.. I was taking a break from the game for a while, when a friend convinced me to join one of them two days ago. I'm not going to link my profile just yet, as I don't want the attention to fall on me until I'm ready to do much other than tend planets. Yes, I know that some of you (hi Big!) think that's boring and not much fun. I get a sense of accomplishment in knowing that my little empire of planets are growing and are well managed.

I have a proposition for the next version of the game.. I think that the first game using the new code should be played in a two week tourney before the code is made public, so that everyone has to learn all at the same time about it. It would make things more interesting, as people who run their own server to try / test things, or people who look at the code to figure out how things work would be in the same boat as everyone else.

  Title: Problems & Solutions
Aug 28, 2004 - 12:16 pm
Posted By: Tempest

The reason that a few people haven't been able to get to darkelves.com (or the other hosts on those boxen) in the past few days is due to a firewall feature called synproxy. What this means, is that the firewall protecting the servers will make sure that your computer is communicating properly before letting it get to the servers hosting the game.

The intent of this feature is to help block a lot of the attacks that web servers face (especially ours as recently someone has decided to try and knock us off the net). Network attacks are a regular thing, and as a security company we're just a bit more of a target than most.

The synproxy feature seems to also prevent some people who are on high speed DSL connections from reaching the servers. As far as we can tell, this only affects those who use PPPoE with a particularly low MTU (if you don't know what this means, feel free to ask or ignore this paragraph). We've since removed synproxy due to this issue, and will be working on an alternate solution this week.

The other issue is the way the server is set up. We have a load ballancer (a pretty powerful one) handling all of the connections to all of the servers that are serving web pages. The darkelves.com game - and the tourney2 server are on their own box, and that box is replicated across two other servers (for a total of three possible servers that can serve the game). After the tourney was over, we upgraded the three servers to bigger/better/faster hardware, and since then once or twice a day all three of the servers have been freezing and losing all IP connectivity. Luckily we have remote rebooters, so we can bring the boxes back up, but it took a few days to figure out why this was happening.

As it turns out, the version of the linux kernel that we were using has a compatibility issue with the network cards integrated into the motherboards of the three servers. This afternoon, we're going to try a few different options, from recompiling the kernel on one box, to putting a different flavour of linus on another, and OpenBSD on the third. We'll see how performance changes on each, and will change all three to whichever seems to work best next weekend.

This means that the darkelves.com game will be unavailable for some time this afternoon. I'll try not to have all three servers down at the same time - but in the interest of spending the least amount time in the freezing cold server room, it could be about an hour where the game is unavailable.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Aug 28, 2004 - 12:17 pm

  Title: End of the tourney..
Aug 20, 2004 - 1:36 am
Posted By: Tempest

Looks like the Dragons are going to win.

We (the Rabbits) almost had it. I started poping all the rest of the indies that I found scouting over the past two weeks, and acumulated about 4 million points in planet value and creds. Destroying the planets (10 huge ones as they were in real space) dropped me by about 1 million in points, and then I lost my excel.

With level 35/36/37 in cloak/beams/torps I cloaked into another indie sector that I had novaed once. There were only 15M fighters, and the nova should have taken out enough sensors for me to make it in, but this goes to show you that you can't always get what you expect.

I've now dropped to 6.7M points, and have a good credit stash. With only a couple thousand turns, I'm not capable of buying another attack ship, so I'm just going to tend a few planets during the last 12 hours of the tournament, and see if I can stay in the top 10.

In summary, there were headaches and arguments as usual. Some people got pissed off, some people got pissed on, and overall, it was a good game.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Aug 20, 2004 - 1:37 am

  Title: A new method of play...
Aug 17, 2004 - 11:54 pm
Posted By: Tempest

So far, the tourney has been (in order) a headache, a lot of fun, anger management therapy, a lot of boredom, a lot of fun, and now I'm somewhere in the middle.

The game started with a few team mates helping to populate my first lair. The theory was that I would pump out insane credits after two days for Bovine to attack with. Big found the lair, negating that theory. I think started making one sector of planets off of everyone else's lairs near an upgrades port. This let me make some credits, but the focus of my game then became the attack. For a while now I've been wondering how Big always gets so far ahead of everyone else, and having been thrust into the situation (ironic isn't it) by the destruction of my lair, I've gained that knowledge.

Attacking doesn't use a lot of resources compared to building planets. You up your beams and torps a lot, keep cloak as high as possible, and just reap the rewards of other people's efforts. One or two novas and a sector's planets' sensors have been lowered a fair bit, and you can cloak right in, take the planets, and move on.

Poping independent planets is also a source of great income, as they tend to hold a lot of creds. By this time in the game, one can also assume that opponent planets will be holding a lot of credits. For example, yesterday, in taking about 30 planets, I accumulated over 10T in credits. Today, in taking about 35 planets, I accumulated over 16T in credits. Making that kind of credits as a builder would be possible too, but would take a lot more than the few hours I spent attacking on both days, and would require that a lot of my credits be invested in planets instead of a ship.

At this rate, provided that I can find more planets, and I've got a list of a few more indies to pop, I think I can take first place from Satman before the end of the tourney. I only wonder what things would be like if Big hadn't left for a few days.. With this style of play, he's the one to compare to. I find it too stressful, and requires a lot of split second decisions. I much prefer tending my little harvest of planets, which takes 30 seconds every 15 minutes all day.

In response to Big, I'm not using any "scripts". With an attacker style, there's nothing scripts can do for you that I'm aware of. As a tender, a script could allow your computer to auto-IGB, but that's something that PJ could easily check in the logs of the game - how often someone logs in, and from where.

I know I'm good at this game, and I think I've proven that in a few different games - including the last draft tourney. I make mistakes like everyone else, I have my good days and I have my bad days, but overall I think I do pretty well when I have the time to play. I also take offense to people insinuating that I am not playing honestly. I don't mind that some people may not like me, or may not like playing with me. It's a fact of life that you won't please everyone, nor should you want to. There are a few people who I don't particularly like as well, but I do respect their skills, appreciate the fact that they make good opponents, and I hope that they would have the courtacy to do the same in return.

EDIT: Fixed a typo.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Aug 18, 2004 - 12:29 am

  Title: Satman's turn...
Aug 13, 2004 - 11:44 pm
Posted By: Tempest

And lo, Satman did not heed my warning in the previous blog, and he fell afoul of a sector that was linked from my spy sector where I sat refreshing the scan-all option regularly, and thus he became one of those that were podded.

Satman's shields are hit for 2,876,266 damage.
Satman's shields are down!
Satman's armor is hit for 1,007,490 damage.
Your Beam Systems have overloaded!
Beam efficiency is at 93 percent.
339,092 of Satman's fighters are destroyed.
676,960 of Satman's torpedoes are destroyed.
Your shields are hit for 2,009,152 damage.
147,413 of your fighters are destroyed.
262,082 of your torpedoes are destroyed.
2,453,556 of Satman's fighters are destroyed.
2,728,852 of your fighters are destroyed.
You lost all fighters.
3,000,943 of your torpedoes are destroyed.
Satman's shields are down!
Torpedo Launching Racks have become jammed.
You have only been able to launch 68 percent of your torpedoes.
Satman's armor is hit for 1,868,775 damage.
Satman's armor breached!
Your shields are hit for 867,113 damage.
Your shields are down!
Your armor is hit for 1,233,694 damage.
Satman's ship has been destroyed.
An escape pod was launched!

Satman lost 2,876,266 Armor points, 2,792,650 Fighters, and used 7,190,665 Energy, 10,612,611 Torpedoes.

Entry Edited 2 times - Edited on Aug 13, 2004 - 11:47 pm

  Title: Here's a hint
Aug 13, 2004 - 11:30 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Use your NAV computer a lot.

Look for sectors with links to sectors that you think the enemy knows about.

Look for sectors with links to sector 4 (repairs).

You might find one of their spy sectors.

You might find one of their ships lying in wait.

You might be able to nova them.

Think about what else you can look for with NAV.

  Title: Way to go Bovine and Kwae!
Aug 11, 2004 - 4:50 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Bovine and Kwae Zar were attacking some known enemy sectors, when they came across Big's Voyager, sitting on a planet.

They nova'ed the sector a few times, so I'm not sure how much damage that did to his ship, but here are all the stats of the attack.. Isn't it pretty?

Attacking ZZ Top, aboard the Trouble maker
Your Beam Systems have overloaded!
Beam efficiency is at 86 percent.
ZZ Top's shields are hit for 964,314 damage.
80,934 of ZZ Top's fighters are destroyed.
Your Beam Systems have overloaded!
Beam efficiency is at 81 percent.
126,004 of ZZ Top's torpedoes are destroyed.
Your shields are hit for 1,278,340 damage.
Your shields are down!
Your armor is hit for 27,277 damage.
102,269 of your fighters are destroyed.
186,231 of your torpedoes are destroyed.
1,868,681 of ZZ Top's fighters are destroyed.
1,564,264 of your fighters are destroyed.
ZZ Top's shields are hit for 314,025 damage.
ZZ Top's shields are down!
ZZ Top's armor is hit for 1,278,340 damage.
ZZ Top's armor breached!
Your shields are down!
Your armor is hit for 651,230 damage.
?ZZ Top's ship has been destroyed.
An escape pod was launched!

ZZ Top lost 1,278,340 Armor points, 1,949,617 Fighters, and used 4,154,606 Energy, 2,726,284 Torpedoes.

You lost 678,509 Armor points, 1,666,535 Fighters, and used 2,556,680 Energy, 2,670,857 Torpedoes.

It took me about 600B credits to repair my ship, and I did drop in score because of that, but it was worth it. Kwae also lost his big ship, but we'll help buy him a new one..

It surprises me that someone as experienced as Big would not have any emergency warp devices, and would be sleeping in his Voyager. Granted by this point people will have sensors at level 30, but even so..

Entry Edited 8 times - Edited on Aug 11, 2004 - 5:52 pm

  Title: Buying info...
Aug 11, 2004 - 2:14 am
Posted By: Tempest

This entry is going to be a running dialog / listing of responses for people who message me with thoughts on this topic. It's probably going to be an interesting one.

I'd like to know people's views on the offering of credits for information (planet locations / enemy sectors).

If one were to say, "I'll pay 10B for every sector that someone tells me where there enemy planets", and one individual decides that to help himself get ahead he's going to rat out his team mates' planet locations, would the person offering to buy info be at fault?

This hits a game ethics area, but strategicly, if you can bribe someone to turn coat, is this not part of the game? As far as I'm concerned, this is a sound strategic manouver.. What do the rest of you think?

Making the offer isn't the problem. It's the person who takes the offer to rat out teammates that is the problem. In my opinion anyone that takes the offer in a tournament should be kicked from the game. Why? Because they are no different that someone who joins a team just to screw them over.

In the past few days I've been thinking about game strategies, and I think that dealing with other people could tip the ballance. Example, Alpha is in first place (and is on team A). Beta (team B) offers Angel (team A) 200B creds to lure Alpha to sector 12345 where Beta has set up a group of "lure" planets. As soon as Alpha is there, Beta's team launches their novas (many of them) over a warp link from a devices port sector, and they trash the hell out of Alpha's excelsior (and the lure sector).

Angel is a turn coat, and by your statement should be kicked out of the game, but as far as Beta's team is concerned, they "played" the game well with a new strategy. I know I'm introducing a completely different view here, and it would be unlikely to be used on most experienced players, but it *should* be something to consider.

And I think there is a distinct difference between an info seller and someone who joins to make trouble. The person who joins to make trouble starts malicious. The seller makes a malicious act to further himself, but overall is just putting himself before the team in importance - something that many people seem to do in tourneys.

Does this mean that the person offering to buy info has an ethical obligation to report the seller as a turn coat?

Entry Edited 2 times - Edited on Aug 11, 2004 - 3:23 am

  Title: Clarification & Bite Me
Aug 5, 2004 - 11:14 pm
Posted By: Tempest

First, if you are offended by foul language, please do not read this entry. There's nothing particularly terrible (I've not included the items that my mother would get upset with), but I do repeat a few terms that are less than flattering. If Tarnus or PJ think that anything here should be changed, please do let me know and I'll *** the "bad" words or remove them.

I'm not a captain. I was organizing the tournament, and helped CSimplex with the draft and trading due to him having personal issues this week. I asked him multiple times if he wanted me to back off and him to take the reins, but he consistently answered that he was happy with my drafting and trading.

Regading the Big situation, he decided for whatever reason to not play (read Phaser's latest entry for more relevant details). If he chooses to piss off and make excuses, then that's his choice, and we should all just forget about him and continue playing. He is a good player, and the team he was on (CSimplex's team) will hurt for lack of the grand master attacker, but lets get on with it and stop putting so much effort into the situation.

Regarding my being a condescending prick, I prefer the term "asshole". I appreciate that The Donald was forthright in expressing his thoughts on the matter, and he is entitled to them.

I don't deal well with stupidity, childishness, or bad sportsmanship, and when someone does act in a way that I consider one of the above, they get moved into the category of, "people who are not worth my effort and probably need to be treated as children". I've put a lot of effort into this tourney during a work week that is exceptionally busy, and I don't really care whether people acknowledge that - nor do I expect them to, but I do take offense to anonymous insulting and threattening emails about this. If someone has something to say, come out and say it. There's very little I like better than a good argument.

In the past day, I've been called a "sanctimonious bastard", "self riotous dick", "egotistical megalomaniac", and told "get out so Big will play again", "I hope we never see you in another game", and a few less flattering things. The overall attitude that I've seen from players (granted this could be one person, but the originating IP addresses were different so I expect that it is multiple people) is appalling, and I've considered deleting my profile, picking a new alias, and just playing the game without talking to anyone.

I do enjoy this game, and have made some good friends in the user group / community, so rather than say something that will offend many people, I'll leave you with this:

Those who don't like me, are entitled to their opinion. For every person who does not like me, there are others who do, so why should I waste my time and effort on people who don't want and/or don't deserve it? To those who hide behind anonymous remailers, you are cowards who don't have the guts to stand behind your statements. If I wanted to put the effort into doing so, I could figure out who you are, but again, why waste my time? You aren't worth it.

This is a game. It is intended to be fun. If you spend your life playing online, and take this seriously enough that you're getting upset about it, then I think you seriously need to reevaluate your life's priorities.

Now, I'm going to crawl into bed with my cat, sleep for about 8 hours, go to work, hang at the pub for a few hours after work, and then come online to start this tourney and get ready to kick some ass. If you want to play, then play. If you want to whine and complain, go somewhere else.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Aug 6, 2004 - 9:22 am

  Title: My Dream Team vs. Your Dream Team
Aug 4, 2004 - 7:14 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Big posted his dream team of six players:
Kwae Zar
Queen Amidala

Granted that I'd also probably take ThunderBall, Kwae, and Phaser on mine in most circumstances (I don't know Queen A or Satman well enough to know how we would get along yet), I challenge his dream team to battle mine in a game after this tourney (provided that everyone can agree to play).. Anyone else who wants to set up a team of six people is welcome to join in.

My dream team (in alphabetical order):
Papa Tonio

Alternate #1: Fakecajun
Alternate #2: DarkSoul

I'm picking people that I know well, and/or have played with, and/or respect their style and attitude. There may be better players out there, but you can't beat a well structured team with a good strategy that cooperates, respects each other, and where everyone does what they are supposed to do.

Entry Edited 13 times - Edited on Aug 21, 2004 - 11:27 am

  Title: Draft Tournament - Trading
Aug 2, 2004 - 7:03 pm
Posted By: Tempest

The draft is complete, and everyone is tentatively on a team.

Captains have the choice of informing only their own team members that they are on a team, but may choose not to do so if there is a possibility for trading those individuals.

Captains may not discuss players on other teams (specifically) other than to state that a specific player is not on said captain's own team. This is to prevent anyone from getting upset about being traded.

Final teams will be posted / invites made later this week.

Questions and comments should be posted in the forum.

Entry Edited 2 times - Edited on Aug 2, 2004 - 7:04 pm

  Title: Draft Tournament - Prelude
Aug 1, 2004 - 7:16 pm
Posted By: Tempest

There was a small issue in the draft process, as we found out when the draft had completed that there was at least one well known "good" player who would have been a first or second round pick who was using a new profile so nobody would know who he was. This changed how the captains would have drafted their teams, and unballanced them. All captains were in agreement (and a number of players had similar thoughts) that this was unfair, and prompted a redraft. The redraft will occur via email over the next two days, and then there will be a few days of trading before the game starts on Friday at 21:00 GMT -5.

Regarding strategy, that will have to wait for the teams to be announced, but I will probably do what I do best, which is build and tend. If my team does a snowball, then it would be best for me to wait until there's 5.5B credits, which will allow me to do what I call a "fast start" and fund the main attacker's Voyager after a day and a half of game time. We'll see how things go..

Entry Edited 2 times - Edited on Aug 2, 2004 - 3:37 pm

  Title: WAP Template...
Jul 22, 2004 - 8:06 pm
Posted By: Tempest

One more thing.. For those people who have cell phones or blackberries with WAP capability, I'm going to be messing around with a VERY limited template that will allow you to consolidate credits from planets using IGB. I'll be using my darkelves account while I'm away to test this one evening when I'm bored of watching fireflies (and not particularly drunk ;-)

EDIT: The template works for IGB, most of the time. It seems to lose the login though, so I think there's a cookie issue. More on that later once I figure it out.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Aug 2, 2004 - 8:44 am

  Title: Secrets & Lies - The Offensive (Part 2 - Doing Damage)
Jul 21, 2004 - 12:11 pm
Posted By: Tempest

This entry will be posted as I have time to write more. I'm going on vacation to PEI (a little island in the gulf of the Saint Laurence river - in eastern Canada for those of you with no geographical knowledge of this area) on Friday morning, and will be returning 8 days later. I will have a laptop with me (and Blackberry - of course) but don't intend to spend much time online with the exception of a few emails for work. Have a good week!

Cloaking and back doors..

Novas and attacking, planets first, and miscellaneous adventures..

Taking out the planets..

What to blow up and what to keep..

Talking can be better than attacking (sometimes)..

Don't think that you can do it all yourself..

Entry Edited 5 times - Edited on Jul 22, 2004 - 8:06 pm

  Title: Player Types
Jul 21, 2004 - 12:08 pm
Posted By: Tempest

To date, players have been categorized as traders, builders, or attackers. I propose that an additional player type be used in the future, as I've recently noticed a significant difference in how some builders play.

There are builders and there are tenders. Both start out the same, but at around 30 planets, a tender will focus on growing existing planets and taking care of them, while a builder will continue to build more and more.

Ultimately, a tender could have 30 planets that are taken care of in such a way as to make more credits than a builder with 200 planets. Keep in mind that to upgrade a planet's tech, you have to be in that particular sector, spend credits, and use turns. Navigating to 30 planets and paying for their upgrades (upgrade one tech whenever credits get to 99% of max) is a lot easier than working with 200. where you'll have to upgrade a lot more at a time (and lose the credit production increases) if you want to be able to work with all the planets.

I know, I'm supposed to finish my attacking entry before others, but I'm tired today having been woken up early for a conference call, so am not posting too much at a time.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Jul 21, 2004 - 12:24 pm

  Title: Secrets & Lies - The Offensive (Part 1 - Getting Ready)
Jul 16, 2004 - 10:13 am
Posted By: Tempest

Keep in mind that attacking is not necessarily my specialty, but I have picked up a lot of useful information in my days of playing the game. People have different styles of gaming, and will almost certainly think differently throughout the game. Someone who likes building may not think like an attacker, just as someone who likes attacking may not want to spend the time waiting while his/her planets reach maturity. This entry is being posted in hopes that the builder community will gain a bit more information about how attackers think, and perhaps to give a few tips and tricks to attackers who might not have thought of something that went through my mind. As always, I'm not going to give away all of my secrets, but do hope to increase the level of skill and knowledge in the game.

The first thing an attacker needs to do is buy a ship. If the attacker has followed my lair building advice in the first few days of the game, the he/she could have a very nice voyager (all around level 30) by the third day of the game. It may also be in a team's best interest to finance a good attacker's ship early on, as this will most likely allow the attacker to take out a lot of enemy sectors before they have gotten strong enough to defend. This strategy has worked before for me and team mates, so should be strongly considered. Granted that the builder's score and manipulatable credits will drop while the attacker's increases, so many builders may not want to give up so much. This is something that should be a team decision.

Before you upgrade a voyager or excelsior, you might want to think about downgrading it. This may sound less than intelligent at first read, but think about what tech levels allow you to do. A large hull lets you move around more trade items and colonists, but also allows you to hit more mines. You may now be thinking that mine deflectors can solve that problem, but mines do more than defend. Mines will alert a sector owner (in logs) that you've been there. In the event that you cloak in past sector defence fighters, the mines will be a tell tale sign that you've been there. I usually try to make a few attack and runs on a large independent sector when I first get my voyager or excelsior. You have to make sure you have enough energy, shields and armor so that you don't get blown up, so figuring out the exact details here can be a challenge for you.

Upgrading your ship is going to be a matter of deciding how you intend to play the game. At the beginning, you might want to increase you cloak and scout for enemy sectors. Taking indies is a good way to get some quick cash or a large planet, so increasing your torps, beams, and power (to supply energy to beams) might be in your best interest. If you have some spies and know enemy sectors, you'll need fighter bays to permit your NAV computer to find enemy sectors. If you can be the first person to get sensors at level 30-35 (depending on the server settings), then you can follow a few warp trails as everyone else is still jumping from sector to sector without passing though sector 1. It's a tough decision, and you'll have to decide that for yourself. I usually try to get my ship to an all-around level 30 (except for the hull of course), and then increase torps, beams, and power as much as possible.

In the first few days of the game, a dedicated attacker doesn't have very much in the way of offence to keep him/herself busy. One possible strategy is to use one's turns to populate a builder team-mate's planets for the builder to tend, with the agreement that after a few days all of the respective planet's credits will be given to the attacker. In this case, once the planets are created, the attacker can use his/her time to scout for enemy sectors, new base locations, and interesting phenomena. The team forum is very important here, and there should be a few things that a scout (and everyone else for that matter) should be recording for everyone else's benefit:

-Independent sectors
-Enemy sectors
-Upgrade sectors
-Any sector that is more than 90% of the way to the edge of the galaxy
-Casino sectors
-Sector genesis sectors
-Lair entrances
-Any other sectors or information that you think is useful.

A team might also (if they can convince someone to do so) want to have one or two persons just be scouts. These persons would be given credits to purchase a stealth, upgrade engines, sensors, and cloak, and have as their job the responsibility to move sequentially (as engines permit) through real space looking for the above types of sectors.

On the topic of spies, while it may be in your best interest to take over every planet that you come across, if you happen to find some planets that don't have much in the way of credits, try dropping a few spies on them. If you're lucky, the planet owner will pick them up and take them on a tour of the galaxy, giving you a lot of information about other planet locations. While we're thinking about spies, keep in mind that when you transfer credits from a planet you just took over (if you don't use IGB), you risk picking up some of the enemy's spies. You'll want to clean your ship up regularly so enemies can't tell exactly where you are. You'll want to sleep in a stealth (or another cheap ship with an escape pod) so that if you do have a spy you don't get a big ship blown up, and once you start attacking, if you can help it, never go into one of your or your team mates' lairs in case you give away its location.

Scouts and spies will probably be among the best options for you, but if you don't have these available, you'll need to do some scouting yourself.

As I described in my entry on building a lair, you should be keeping track of 3D map locations as you warp around the galaxy. A few days into the game (2-3), people will start to build their first lair. Following warp trails (level 30 or higher sensors) will not be financially feasible right now, but with level 20 sensors you are capable of seeing who was in a particular sector last. When you do come across someone's trail - especially close to an edge of the galaxy where people would not be trading this early in the game, it could be in your best interest to scan all the sectors available from the sector you're in. If you see that person's trail in the next sector, move to it, and follow them using this system. If you're lucky, you'll come across their new lair entrance. Being as people (builders and tenders) will typically move into a lair and not come out for a few days (to create another one), you might not want to move in just yet. Wait 24 hours for the person to spend all their turns ferrying colonists, and then move in for the kill. You'll do more damage than if you had just moved in right away.

Look out for warp links to sectors with numbers higher than the universe creation number. Especially if these have a link to another sector with a high number. Read my entry on lair building, and look out for things that you think someone might do to confuse you.

Entry Edited 7 times - Edited on Jul 21, 2004 - 12:09 pm

  Title: Taking Over The World
Jul 10, 2004 - 11:35 am
Posted By: Tempest

I will be testing and confirming a few things in a wild rampage over the weekend before I put any details here. I'm wondering how hard it will be to take out 2B fighters.. I've got about 300 spies worth of data, and only a few SG areas that I'm aware of that I can't find the entrance to.. I'm going to drain my planets and pump about 25T into my ship sometime today or tomorrow, so we'll see if the higher fighter bay will let me find anything.

Good luck to all!

BTW, if anyone (who is not in the top 10 rankings) would like a little bonus, I'd be happy to let you follow me around and clean up some of the planets that I take over - if they don't have gobs of creds on them. PM me in the game if you see me online :-)

EDIT: I've got to tip my hat to Kwae Zar. Getting into one of his lairs was so blasted difficult, that I gave up. My ship isn't big enought o do it quickly, and he's layered his defences in so many levels, that it's not worth the time to continue trying to break his doors down. He has the single most complicated and well structured lair I've ever tried to attack - then again, he learned from me at the start of the game! Congrats dude on a job well done.. If you can do the same in tourney, I'd be thrilled to have you on my team every time.

EDIT: In response to the question why I'm giving away info and creds on the darkelves server, my current intent / initiative is to refine some attacking skills, and confirm a few of my theories before I post details in my attacking blog entry (due in the next day or two). I now know how many novas it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll. If I was playing this game very seriously (like a tournament) my score would be a lot higher - as Kwae, Phase, and Diablo can probably attest. I haven't been tending my planets much, and have left quite a few sectors with planets after breaking down the defences. In a tournament I also wouldn't risk debris hunting like I have been.

For me, this particular game is all about learning and strategy in preparation for the next tourney. Like anyone else who plays, I do enjoy being in the top scores, but I'm very pleased that other people can learn from me and do very well too (another tip 'o the hat to Kwae). I've even learned a few new things from looking at how he decided to set up his lair, and in doing so Stone picked up a lot of my planet leavings while I concentrated on figuring out the efficiencies of other attack styles.

Entry Edited 4 times - Edited on Jul 16, 2004 - 10:10 am

  Title: Server Configs & Security
Jul 2, 2004 - 11:05 pm
Posted By: Tempest

As a general note, I'm an information security person by trade, and have a team of security and server admin types reporting to me. If anyone is running their own unix based server and would like some help configuring, hardening, or going over a security audit, I'd be more than happy to help out. Configuring the game is very different from configuring a web or database server, which is very different from configuring the operating system and underlying services, and no single person can be expected to know everything about all relevant areas. Drop me an email or chat if you would like help or suggestions, and including as much technical information about the server in question (operating system version and service versions) would be helpful.

One of the most important rules of system administration is that you should dissable any services that are not needed for the system in question to operate, as more services imply that there are more avenues for an attacker to try and compromise your server.

EDIT - Spelling, grammar. This is what you get typing on a Blackberry.

Entry Edited 2 times - Edited on Jul 5, 2004 - 11:27 am

  Title: Secrets & Lies - Building A Lair
Jul 1, 2004 - 2:11 am
Posted By: Tempest

I've been wondering for a while how much information to release to the public about how I do things, and I've found that over in the darkelves game, with Kwae Zar having followed what I've done for the first week of a game, he's almost as powerful as I am. One could consider revealing my secrets as giving my oponents help, but I see it as giving myself more competition. The intent of this entry is to give everyone a more detailed procedure for building a lair, which is almost a necessity for getting ahead in the first two (maybe three) weeks of the game. After two weeks, there are a lot of dynamics that can change, and I'm not going to go there for now (maybe in a future entry if people ask).

The key to a fast start is credits. If you are teaming up with someone, get them to loan you 5.5B (or more) to start. Buy an endeavor, upgrade your holds to as high as they will go, then put the rest into power and engines (engines at 20, power at 21, holds at 23 would be a good start). Buy a fuel scoop, escape pod, some mine deflectors, 10 genesis torps, and come back later for some SG torps and spies when you have the credits. The more credits you start with, the higher your holds, and the better off you are. Having one player on a team provide start credits to another is called snowballing, and it's a common act in team games. One player will spend their first turns trading, give a lot of credits to the next, who starts faster, builds credits, and gives even more to the next, and so on. If you're playing solo, then you'll have to trade for a while to build up your ship. You should follow Fiveyes rules for trading (read his blog), and remember to only trade a set of ports until they are at 90% of the initial credits (80% is acceptable, but 90% is better). Trading between goods and ore ports in real space (make sure they're only 1 turn away from each other) will probably make you the most credits, as your fuel scoop will pick up energy to trade as well.

Trade for about 1000 turns. As you're trading, a very important - but time consuming - task is to keep your 3D map open. Every time you go to a new sector, check the 3D map and see how close to the edge of the universe you are. When you find a sector very close to the edge, mark it down (if you're on a team, use the team forum to list these sectors). A good way of keeping track of them is to use clock notation (3 o'clock is to the right, 6 o'clock is down, etc) and % distance from the middle. For example, 9 o'clock 100% would be the absolute left edge of the universe. The reason you want to mark these down is first to find a good place for a lair, and second, to find a good place to scout for enemy lairs. Sectors closer to the edges will take a lot more real space turns to reach, and will be less likely to be found randomly. Edge sectors typically have less warp links, although I'm not certain if that's be design or coincidence in the games I've played.

Your first sectors are going to be the initial places where you make your big credits. Some people prefer to trade more, but I find that planet tending can make you lots more credits in much less turns. Populating planets is expensive on turns though, so you will have to make your own decisions. If you prefer to trade, skip to the next paragraph (#4). You will want two sectors with green or blue suns and upgrades ports - so that you don't have to use many turns populating planets, and if one sector is found, you have a backup sector. You can do it with just one sector (4-5 planets), but it is riskier. Remember that these sectors will be expendable, and you will almost certainly lose them in the first 8 days of game play. The purpose here is to use about 5000 turns populating planets, and make some residual income (make money while you're not playing and/or asleep). Follow my instructions in the blog entry on planet tending on how to make lots of start credits here. One important decision to make is how many turns to spend dropping colonists. The correct answer will depend on your playing style, but I would suggest no more than 5000 turns between all your planets, and have a hold level of at least 24, but preferably 26. The maximum size you'll want these planets to get is about 18/19, and make sure that one of the planets has a sensor/beam level a fair bit higher than the others (as high as you can afford spending). This single planet per sector will not be a money maker, but a defense planet. Set that one to 13% organics, 2% goods, 1% ore, 10% fighters, 10% torps, and the rest in energy. This planet will help defend the sector, detect intruders, and give you the time to get credits out in the event that someone is going to get in. In your endeavor, you can hold a max of 33k fighters and torps, so spend about 20 minutes buying fighters/torps in one window, and dropping sector defenses in another. Browsers with tab options like Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, and Safari make this easy to do. Once you have about a million fighters and mines (yes, I know this is boring, but it can save your sector) you should be OK to tend planets for a while.

When moving in to any public (real space) sectors, do so from sector 1 in case there is someone with a sensor level high enough to see where you went. When moving out of your lair, use an emergency warp device. This will place you in a random sector, and will not leave a warp trail in your entrance sector for someone to see in passing. If there's no trail in the entrance, then it's less likely that people will find you. If (or when) you want to go back to your grotto, take a side trip to sector 1, and from there real space to the lair entrance. There are no warp trails visible in sector 1, so nobody will be able to follow you. Once you get your sensors to level 20 (this is a game setting and can be different) you'll start to see parts of warp trails, meaning the name of the player's ship that was last seen. Once you reach level 35 (sometimes 30 depending on the game) you'll also be able to see the number of the sector that they went to. An important point to note is that if you use the collect credits option from the planet status menu, you will be moving from sector to sector, and will leave warp trails between them all.

Make sure you have a few good lair sectors picked out, and real space around them on the local map to get an idea of what's around you. If there's a blue upgrades port, do not use it, as it will be possible location that someone else (who hasn't read my blogs) might use and search around. You want to find a red, black/red, or yellow star with an organics, energy, or no port at all. People pay attention to ore and goods ports, but tend to ignore organics, and cursory glance over energy. The sector number should also not be something that people would guess (like 12345 or 10101) or type in "randomly". There is no such thing as random. If you are asked to pick a random number, you will pick one that has some affinity for you, or that you've used or seen recently. I won't go into number theory here, so you'll just have to trust me on that.

Start by using an SG torpedo, and do so in at least 10 different possible lair sectors (you should have these written down). The intent here is to not have sequential sector numbers from one SG to the next inside an SG tunnel (I'll get to that in a few sentences). When people are scouting for lairs, they will look for sector numbers higher than the initial universe size, and in scanning the next one, they will look for the number of links, and the sector number. Sector numbers close to the initial one are suspect, so the greater the difference in sector numbers, the better. Now, go back to the first one and create an SG within the first one (we'll call this one level 2). From level 2, use another to make level 3. If there is no upgrades port by level 3 (or 4), you can use an SG and make a link back to real space to the entrance to the lair. This makes a little loop. Your reason for doing this is to not spend too many credits at the start of the game, as that end of the tunnel will now be considered level 1 again. Off of a level 3 or 4 sector, create as many links as you can, and keep looking for an upgrades port. If you don't get one, move to the next lair entrance and start again. By now, there will be a small difference in the sector numbers for the SG you made earlier, and the next level in (which can help reduce the likelihood of someone finding you).

sector # / space or sg level / rs links / sg links / port type
7933 / real space / one way links to 399 and 4166 / SG link to 15022 and 15067 / organics
15022 / SG1 / link to 7933 / SG link to 15067 / none
15067 / SG1 / link to 7933 / SG link to 15133 / organics
15133 / SG2 / SG link to 15141 and 15067 / none
15141 / SG3 / SG link to 15142 and 15133 / energy
15142 / SG4 / SG link to 15143 and 15141 / devices
15143 / SG5 / SG link to 15144 and 15142 / ore
15144 / SG6 / SG link to 15145 / SG link to 15143, 15146, 15147, 15148, 15149 / upgrade
In this case, sectors 15133 and 15141 are empty, you could build defense planets in sectors 15142 and 15143, and then all the sectors off of 15144 would be credit planets.

Once you have your upgrades port, build as many planets as possible in that sector. If you're lucky, you'll have a blue or green sun. If not, don't worry. Next, create as many SG sectors as you can from that sector, and hopefully there will be a blue or green sun. If not, don't worry, you can use the smaller sectors for planets, but you're really looking for easy of management now, so you might want to consider starting another lair and seeing if you get an upgrades port with better suns in the sectors directly connected to it. In the upgrades sector, build whatever number of planets you can, and populate these with about 50M colonists each. To grow these planets, follow the instructions on planet tending in one of my previous blog entries. If you have a blue or green sector off of that one, build as many planets as you can in one of those, and populate them as well. This should use most of your remaining turns, and it is now time to tend planets for a day or two.

One of the most important things to understand is that five well managed planets are better than 25 poorly managed planets. If you have 500M colonists, it can be better to have them on five planets (100M each) rather than split up between 25 planets (20M each) over a short period of time. Remember that you are planning for the first 2 weeks - like a tournament game - not a long drawn out three month long game. You can start the same way in a three month game, but in that case where there will be a lot more time to grow, and many more planets can be better, as they will max out population a few weeks later. Taking a month to ascertain your placement in the top three positions is not bad in a long game, but In a tournament, you only have two weeks.

Once you've gotten your planets to hold about 30B (max) each, you can take  break from upgrading, and accumulate some credits to increase your hold size as high as possible (level 28 is a good number). Use your new larger holds to populate all the planets in the sectors immediately next to the upgrades port. If you have a devices port in your lair, all the better. If not, you'll want to stock up on SG and planet genesis torpedos as early as possible, so that you can get into your lair and not come out (so there's no warp trail). You don't even want to go to level 1 or 2 (or even 3) of your lair, as someone passing by could pick up your warp trail.

Planet settings for credit planets are very easy. Being as you should have a few defence planets protecting your credit planets, and the possibility of them going independent is high, you'll want to set them to 13% organics, and 87% credits. With no energy, no fighters, no torpedoes, and no armor (armor comes from ore and goods), if they do go independent, you can take them back easily, and if someone can make it past your defence planets, that person can almost certainly take your credit planets anyway, so why waste production on something you won't benefit from?

As soon as you are able to do so, remove all warp links into your lair entrance. Use your NAV computer to try and find ways into your lair, and use it from different locations in the universe (as the number of links ahead it can look is dependent upon your fighter bay tech level). Every time you upgrade your fighters, and every other day, check again for links to your lair entrance. In games where the universe grows, new sectors could have links made to your entrance sector, so you want to be as certain as you can that they are removed. You will however want to make some one way links out, to make the sector look more normal. Choose sector numbers that are far away from the sector number your lair is in, and if you can link to a space dock and/or devices port, all the better - in case you need one.

You should have two layers of defense planets in the sectors in front of your upgrades port. These planets should be well populated and make as much energy as possible. The most important technology levels on the planets are sensors, then beams and torpedos to detect and attack intruders. If you set yourself up properly, you can have about 250B credits in a day and a half. This is a fairly significant voyager that can be used to drop some serious sector defenses. In the case of defenses, the rule should be "the more the merrier". If you have no intention of going out of your lair, buy a razorback instead of a voyager, and use that to drop sector defenses. In the sector in front of your first defense planets, you could consider dropping a few hundred million mines, with no fighters. This will not give the person coming in any warning, so there is the possibility of said person taking damage from the mines - and warning you that they are getting close. You will also want to place a probe in each sector that you have planets. Set the probe to be a sentry type with a target of the same sector it is in, and a sensor level of at least 20. In doing so, it will announce in the team shoutbox area any time that someone other than you (the probe owner) enter the sector. As the game progresses, you'll want to increase the probe's sensor level to be higher than whatever you expect an enemy cloak level to be. This is another early warning system that someone could be coming into your sector, and it can also warn you if someone cloaks past your sector defences.


I'll probably edit this a few times as I find spelling errors or have other ideas of what to add here.

My next big entry is probably going to be about attacking lairs. For now, I'll leave you with this bit of advice; When you're getting ready to attack a lair, and you're in an SG tunnel, you can use an SG torpedo to create a link back to known upgrades, devices, and repair ports. This way, you can restock fighters and torpedos quickly, buy novas quickly, and you can easily get to a space dock to repair if a nova goes bad on you. This of course applies to normal sectors with warp editors too, and can save you a lot of potential trouble when you're on the attack.

One last note.. There are very few people other than Langel and Phaser who ever say anything about my blog entries. If you do find them interesting, or have suggestions for modification or questions that you'd like to see answered in future entries, please do drop me an email or say hi in chat.

EDIT: Added Opera to the list of browsers (for Langel), and tried to make two paragraphs a bit more coherent. Also modified the end of section 4.

Entry Edited 9 times - Edited on Jul 5, 2004 - 11:33 am

  Title: Tourney Updates - I Messed Up...
Jun 26, 2004 - 11:31 pm
Posted By: Tempest

So this goes to show you that everyone can mess up once in a while. With many things going on in my brain, and a lack of sleep (it's been about 26 hours since I've slept last, I made an extremely less than intelligent action.. I confused two ships, one of which I was just buying and going to get an escape pod, with another I was using to strip some SD. I evidently don't keep track of what I'm doing properly when I'm both mentally and physically exhausted. Big is taking over my insanely huge credit producing planets, so his score should increase quite a bit momentarily, and I've learned not to do anything important when I'm over tired. Oh well.. I've had a rough week, and getting blown up is probably a good way of getting me to relax and take a few days off. I've already called in sick today and am going to sleep. Enjoy the rest of the tourney all, hope to see you next game.

1. I started out well with 9 planets in 2 sectors.
2. Mrrshran team came in and took the better of the two (the one with all the colonists), and blew up my Endeavor with level 26 holds.
3. They also started attacking many other people, including Big.
4. Big cashed out his planets and bought a fully loaded brand spanking new Razorback, and went on a bit of a rampage. It was fun to watch in the news.
5. Big took a bunch of planets, including my original suped up ones, and has been using them to make huge amounts of credits. Being as he had my four big planets, about one third of his credits were coming from my efforts.
6. The Mrrshran team got their rear-ends kicked, and are recovering now.
7. I built up turns and credits, and have a nice little grotto going. It will take about 16 hours to get the grotto to a good credit production level.
8. There hasn't been any action for a while now. We'll see what happens once Big gets his Voyager :-D

So I'm at a friend's place using his computer to start the tourney, and while I got up to drain some of the beer out of my system, one of the practical jokers here decided to self destruct me. Thanks to those who said they wouldn't mind PJ doing so, and PJ for resurecting me. I had used a total of about 5 turns, so hadn't actually done anything yet. Next time I get up I'm logging out first.

Entry Edited 8 times - Edited on Jun 29, 2004 - 9:26 am

  Title: Double double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble!
Jun 25, 2004 - 7:45 pm
Posted By: Tempest

On the darkelves front, I started out the game as I usually do, making about 50B in the first two days. I then took a very Bovine action and bet it all in the casino. With the tournament starting momentarily, knowing that I would not pay much attention to the darkelves game other than to continue offering advice to some people who have asked for guidance, I took risks that I would normally not take, and they paid off! I got a nice little voyager, and bought some information, letting me take out a few people's sectors. I had to repair my endeavor a few times due to messed up novas, but otherwise I did quite well. Two nice debris landed me some good SD, which helped as I've seen two warp trails pass by one of my two lairs, and with my Voyager holding just under a million fighters/torps, a few turns spent dropping SD guarantees a few days of safety. I expect that due to my not paying much attention to the server while the tournament is on, someone will find a few very healthy planets to take over sometime next week. I've upgraded them all to hold about half a trillion credits each, so whoever does take over one of my grottos will be in for a very nice upgrade. There's already just over half a trillion credits waiting for someone.. Good luck to whoever tries to get in there!

With one day until the tournament left, I think now is probably a good time for most teams to have their strategies ready. A few people have made comments about how they expect the start of the game to proceed for my team, and I can say they're probably close to accurate. By nature, I am a builder and Big is an attacker. Think about what would happen if the first few days of my credit production (which by now most people have seen tends to be pretty good - at least for the start of a game) were all pumped into a ship under Big's control.. If I don't have to worry about building up to drop SD and defend my sectors, my partner would more than likely be able to go on the warpath all the sooner. My partner will then be in a position to cut off a few heads before they can grow much leaving me with a lot of planets to manage. This will likely mean that my score will start out high, drop significantly when the credits get sent over, and climb again, albeit more slowly. Overall it is a team game, and what's best for the team is what will let us get ahead in the long run. We'll see how well this works..

On the strategic front, I'm going to post a blog entry in a few days about defending your sectors. I've been talking to a few people lately who I've been surprised to learn didn't know how much planet tech levels can help sector defences. For now, know that sensors will detect people doing attack and runs, beams and torp levels can help damage attackers, ecm and cloak can help confuse and provide wrong information to enemy scans. More info to come when I decide that I'm in a mood to type ;-)

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Jun 25, 2004 - 7:46 pm

  Title: What you think is not necessarily what you're going to get..
Jun 19, 2004 - 9:13 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Life is full of twists and turns, and every once in a while you come across something that affects the way you think and the way you will think for the rest of your life. Everyone has their own method of interpreting events based on their thoughts, experience, morals, ethics, and world views, and no two people will reach the exact same mental state based on a set series of events.

Have you ever wondered why someone would do something that is completely counter to your belief system? Now I don't mean religious beliefs, but beliefs about how a normal decent person should act. Should being the operative word here. Those of you who have known me for a while have come to your own conclusions about me, but for those who haven't, I like to think of myself as thoughtful, intuitive, open minded, and skeptical, with a cold and calculating streak depending on what a situation warrants. I've always believed that people are self serving, and there has been a lot of evidence to support that in my life, but in the past few days I've been witness to behaviour on the part of people who I thought shared a similar set of values as my own that I've had to reevaluate some of my world views.

How does this affect you (the people playing the games and reading my blog entries) you might ask? Well consider how any game will evolve. The group dynamic that exists in a game can be considered similar to the dynamic that exists in real life. For those who don't care to think about people, their thoughts, and actions, you might as well skip reading this entry. I will assume for the sake of this entry that you the reader know some of the more popular players of this game by reputation.

First I would like to point out that I have no knowledge of psychology, sociology, or human analysis other than that which I've built for myself. I was a statistics major in university, and am a management consultant now. Anything I write is purely based on my opinions and may or may not be similar to established theories. The reason I'm writing this is for myself, to help me come to a conclusion about some events over the past few days and be comfortable with the resulting opinions that I will reach about people. Whether this will be of use to you, I don't know, but for those who do strategize more, or for those would would like a fleeting glimpse of Tempest's mind, please do read on.

There are three major types of foci that people base their lives and actions on, these being physical or power, mental or knowledge, and emotional or feeling. Most people will have one of these their dominant focus, and one as secondary focus. The third will be present in any given person, but will not be a big influence on said person's life or actions.

People who focus on strength in their lives are the more outgoing dominant personalities. These people want to be in your face, want to be acknowledged, and want to have power over others. Those with a strong secondary focus in mental can be very persuasive, and will usually be able to direct groups without much effort. Those who acknowledge their own strengths and can integrate benefits of mental and emotional will be the best leaders and be most able to handle a crisis effectively. I would consider Big and Tarnus to both be strength focused people in the game, as are most attackers. Tarnus seems to be more analytical and strategic (secondary mental focus), whereas Big has a more vindictive streak and likes to mess with people a lot more (secondary emotional focus). Note that these and future statements about people are purely based on how I've seen them play the game, and have nothing to do with their real lives.

People who focus on mental in their lives are not necessarily more intelligent, but are probably more capable of making use of their knowledge. These people are analytical, are always thinking about something, and more often than not will be planners. Those with a strong secondary focus in physical will be the architects and meticulous designers of the world, the people who are the power behind the power and can manipulate the course of events to achieve their goals. Those with a strong secondary focus in emotion will most likely be insecure and need constant assurance of their worth, highly intelligent people who will be seen as the geek, nerd, or social outcast, but if nurtured, can have a tremendous amount to offer to the world. I would consider myself as having a primary mental focus and secondary physical focus. I strategize and analyze my opponents (as I do everyone in my life), to the point where I expect them to take or not take certain actions as choices become evident. In situations where it would not be feasible to do something, I may try, but will not devote all of my resources to doing so. A quick example would be when Big passed me in points in the last game (before I left on this trip). I knew that in order to take the lead again, I would have to change strategies, spend a lot of time re-evaluating the situation in that game, and would probably have to take the game a lot more seriously than just playing for the fun of it. In that particular case, I was happy to continue playing as I did, knowing that I would be in second place. There is no shame in placing second when the person in first is a good player. I will not give examples of people who I believe to have a primary focus in mental and secondary in emotional, as it will probably offend them, but if you follow the blogs, forums, tournament statistics, and well known games, I'm sure you can come to your own conclusions.

People who focus on emotional in their lives tend to have a drive to build and nurture, and achieve a great sense of accomplishment when they can do so. These people usually have a strong secondary focus, which will dictate how they expend their energy. Those with a strong secondary focus in physical will want to see concrete evidence of their accomplishments. Those with a strong secondary focus in emotional will be happier with the implication of success. The simplest real life example that I can offer for an emotional / strength focussed person is a builder or tradesperson who makes / constructs / builds something (be it an object, a device, a building, or something else), is happy with the accomplishment, and can take pride in the fact that whatever was built turned out well. An example for an emotional / mental person would be a parent who has sacrificed for their child, and who watches that child grow up to be successful - think about how a parent must feel when they watch their child graduate. Most of the known builders in the game fall into the category of emotional / strength. I think that emotional / mental is not very common in the game, and the only time I've ever seen someone assume that state was Alf in the last team tournament when it was concluded that his team won. Alf was the organizer / leader of the team, and the feeling he probably had as his team was getting ahead and finally won was most likely in this category. Once that game was over, Alf almost certainly readopted his regular mind set in playing.

I hope that gives you something to think about. Placing people into these categories helps me to understand why some of them do the things that they do. I don't necessarily agree, respect, or approve of their choices, but they are not my choices to make, and I can't impose my mental state on them. Being a mental / power focus, I can try to manipulate them, but that's probably not in my best interest.

Now, a few thoughts on the upcoming tournament:
Consider the start of a game. Some people will have a reputation, and will be expected to act similar to how they have acted in the past. People will expect Big to start blowing things up, Tarnus to build a few planets and follow in Big's wake, Fiveyes to find a little hole somewhere and build a hundred planets, Fakecajun to make two or three grottos in the first few days, and so on. People with no reputation but who partner / team up with those who have reputations will be expected to act either similar or complementary to their partner. Once again to use Big as an example, a good partner to Big would be someone who could go on the warpath with him and coordinate assaults. Another good partner would be a builder who could help finance his start to the point where he is wreaking havoc on everyone else a lot sooner, and possibly tend planets for him as he goes out and conquers more. A great partner would combine some of the two, whereby at the start a builder would be best for growth, but as the game matured and the dynamics of the universe became more established, the builder would be capable and happy to assume the position of an attacker and help build the empire / take over the world. Having discussed this with Big (not in so many words), this is the reason why we've chosen to partner for the next tournament (2 person teams).

A note to Langel answering her question about French.
The French spoken in France (called Parisienne pronounced <pah-ree-zee-ehnn> ) is very well pronounced, has very distinct inflections on certain syllables, there are distinct start and end points to every word,  and most people who speak this type of French sound (to the others) as if said others are beneath them (kind of like the old-style snooty British accent as compared to modern Americanized English).

The French spoken in Belgium is similar to Parisienne, but without the snootiness. This is the one I prefer.

The French spoken in Quebec (called Quebecois pronounced <que-eh-beh-quo-ah> ) is more nasal and slang-like, the more extreme slang-type spoken by French purists (who don't speak English at all) is called Joile (pronounced <joe-ahl> with a soft j for which there is no English pronunciation). Words are often slurred together - for example the phrase "Je ne said pas" which means "I don't know" can be said in Quebecois Joile as "che pas" (pronounced <sh-ahy-pah> ).

Then there's New Orleans French, which has the same root deviance of Quebecois, but over the years there have been a lot of English words given French pronunciation (called anglecismes). New Orleans French has also lost a lot of the proper pronunciation in favor of that southern drawl that American western movies have made so prominent. This is not to mean that everyone everywhere speaks like this, just that in my not so limited experience in all four places, this is what I've heard, and this is mostly accepted as the stereotype for each of these places.

UPDATE (response to questions and fixed spacing to remove automatic insertion of smileys):
-The physical/mental/emotional categories originated from my Shiatsuist. Different areas of tention in muscle groups correspond to different issues in life. The idea that everyone has a primary and secondary, and everything else above was written off the top of my head in a verbal / written brainstorming session to sort out thoughts. It all took me about 30 minutes to write, and 10 minutes to proof.
-I believe that perfectionists would fit best in the mental/emotional group. They are definitely mental primaries, and the obsession to detail implies an emotional secondary focus. Remember that the descriptions in this entry are general, and won't apply to everyone, but if you can put yourself into one of the categories, you can potentially learn a bit about yourself and how you relate to others.
-Nothing I ever write comes from encyclopedias. I take pride in my ability to communicate intricate details and technical information to persons who would not normally be capable of or desire to understand a particular topic. This is one of the qualities that helps me a lot in my work. Getting me to shut up can be difficult sometimes. I have a need to explain things, and I want to be certain that everything I say is understood well, so sometimes I can go on, and on, and on..

Entry Edited 3 times - Edited on Jun 20, 2004 - 2:21 am

  Title: Some thoughts..
Jun 14, 2004 - 11:53 pm
Posted By: Tempest

With regards to the darkelves server, it's pretty obvious that the Tombstone is taking the lead. Assassin is growing, but not fast enough. A few people have been commenting (I'm not going to say complaining, as thoughts and musings can be interpreted in various manners) on how the top players shouldn't be making it so tough for those not as experienced. There have even been comments about how the developers should not be playing as they know more than everyone else about the game. I'd like to get my thoughts on the matter out in the open.

This is a game. Games are meant for entertainment. In all games, there will be some people who get ahead, and some who fall behind, and those who get ahead will usually - but not always - be better at the particular game than others.

In the case of this game, if you'd care to read one of my previous blogs on planet tending, I'd like to point out that the person who has the most time available to play this game will be the most likely to get ahead in the beginning. Taking both the last tournament and the start of this darkelves game as an example, I got ahead quickly by spending about 2 minutes out of every 30 while at work tending my planets. While at home, it was easy enough to log on every hour or two - also for 2 minutes.

After about a week, the game changes in favour of the attacker for a while, which is where people like Big and Tarnus get ahead. Taking other people's planets and using them to get cash will let you build a bigger and more powerful ship, which will in turn let you get more planets. Taking other people's planets and then dropping sector defences will take less turns than building up your own planets, and if someone else takes them back or blows them up, you won't care as much because they weren't yours to begin with.

After about 3 weeks (total), the game then turns in favor of whoever has the most planets, as people like Fiveyes, Moon, Fakecajun, and Bovine will have a few hundred planets that have just reached maturity. Here again we see the limitation of who has the most time to spend playing the game. It maybe turn based, but when you use your turns makes all the difference. I've seen Fakecajun dominate in points in a game where he had about 200 planets, and used about 1/4 of the turns that everyone else did. Of course, if an attacker finds your grotto, you will lose a bit here.

The darkelves game has been going on for about three weeks now, and unfortunately I had to leave after the first two. If the game were to continue for another 2-3 weeks, I'm pretty sure that the builders would get closer to taking the top scores. If I would have remained in the game, I'm pretty sure I would have been a force to be reckoned with. I usually start the game as a builder and tender, then migrate to a more "Big" style of playing. We'll have to see in the next tournament

Playing style will also make a big difference here.. In every game that I've ever seen Big play, he has been in the top three positions. The cavalier attitude as an attacker serves him well, and he has the time to tend his planets well. I'm hoping to meet up with him and have a beer when I'm in Copenhagen later this week. With regards to Tarnus, if he had the time to play as much as Big, I'm pretty sure that he would be at about the same level. Keep in mind that while he is a developer, and may know how the game works, any of us who have been playing regularly for a few months have just about the same knowledge base. From my limited experiences playing with Moon and Fiveyes, they are builders who like to hide, and if one grotto is taken, they'll have others as backup. It's a good strategy if playing against people who will not spend time trying to find you. Please read some of my previous blog entries for additional relevant comments on playing styles and how to get ahead if you are new to the game.

My conclusion is that while most of the people in Tombstone are well ahead in the game, there is no reason why other people couldn't do the same. Take a look at how Assassin is playing. He started out a bit behind, did some good work with planets, got a nice bit of cash as I left the game, but has managed to keep well ahead.

It's all a matter of the time you devote to the game, and how well you strategize what you're going to do. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

In the next darkelves game that I play, my intent is to run a sort of tutoring system. I would like to team up with some people who are not as adept or experienced in playing the game, and have them copy (as much as possible) what I do (or would do) for the first two weeks of the game so that they can see themselves how that works. I'd like Max and/or Assassin to be on that team, as they've both proven to be trust worthy and well capable of both following and understanding directions, and I'd love to help boost their skills with some of my strategies. I'm sure I'll learn a bit from watching how they play or the questions they'll ask as well about what I will suggest doing at each step. Langel has also made a comment about being on my team some time in the future. I hope the future is pretty soon

The number of players per team will be a significant factor here.. I look forward to a rematch against Tombstone in a few months. Maybe when it gets cold outside and people will want to spend less time outdoors we'll do this again and kick their rear ends

Note to Langel - I tend to use UK English as opposed to American English, as do most Canadians. Words like "favour" and "colour" as opposed to "favor" and "color".

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Jun 14, 2004 - 11:56 pm

  Title: Greetings from Greece!
Jun 11, 2004 - 5:16 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Being as I have a few hours with a 'net connection, I decided to catch up on the latest news. Looks like my former team on darkelves is slowly being pushed out of the lead. Someone really needs to take out Drac, and it looks like I should have taken out Wyatt instead of the Doc before leaving (knowing where the Doc's planets were influenced my decision on what to do in that case though

For those who have never been here, Greece is a wonderful place to visit. I'm used to being able to speak the local language (my English and French are about the same, and I understand some Italian), so having a lot of people around me mumbling things that make absolutely no sense is a bit disconcerting. The old architecture is beautiful (I've got a digital camera, and might post pictures if someone asks), and the people are interesting. Everyone seems to be upset with the movie Troy though, and how it misrepresented a number of facts from the real mythology / stories. If you need a good conversation starter in Greece anytime in the next few months, either Troy or the olympics will be good topics.

The island of Mykonos is probably one of the best party places I've ever been to. And I've been to a lot of parties ;-) The entire island is rather expensive and decadent. Lots of people who want to have fun (there seems to be a women to men ratio of 3:1 at the moment) and don't seem to want to think about the rest of the world. How can you go wrong with that? I've got a girlfriend back home though, so not *too* much fun for me, but that doesn't mean I can't look!

<most exceptionally evil grin>

All men will look. We may say we don't, and we "only have eyes" for our girlfriend/wife, but that's an outright lie. When a beutiful girl walks by, the eyes will follow her. Sometimes we (men) are in positions where we can't make any movement to acknowledge the fact that one walked by, but we saw, and we appreciated. For all the guys out there, the way out of a situation where your girlfriend or wife asks about a girl that she saw you notice (and she tends to get upset or jelous about things like that) is, "She's pretty, but you're gorgeous, and it's you that I'm in love with". It may be more true for some than others, and I hope it's true for all, but it works. Just don't make a habit of having your neck spin around, and you'll be fine

Over the next few days I'll be in Crete, Milos, and Lesvos, although I would like to get some scuba diving in tomorrow before leaving Mykonos. I've had my open water (diving) certification for a few years, but rarely get to make use of it. That will probably depend on how much I drink tonight..

Hope you're all having a good week. If the start of the next tournament is delayed until June 21st, then I'll almost certainly be joining in. Anyone need a partner?

If you're wondering what the edit was, I missed a blazingly obvious typo.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Jun 11, 2004 - 5:17 pm

  Title: Darkelves Updates & Vacations
May 29, 2004 - 7:54 pm
Posted By: Tempest

I sold all my ships today, passed all of my credits to my team mates, and self destructed. I'm going to be in Europe for the next two weeks, and wouldn't have been able to play anyway. Looks like Drac is going to be the highest score of the game, but with Five's few hundred planets getting to a nice maturity level, if Drac doesn't find him, he could take the lead in another week. It will be interesting to see what the score is in a few days should I find some time in an internet cafe.. If anyone is in Athens, Rome, Copenhagen, or Frankfurt and wants to meet me for a beer or three, drop me an email. If anyone is interested, Greg (the admin@darkelves) has offered to set up email aliases @ darkelves.com for each of the players. By the time I get back, there should be an automated system that sets up aliases from your playername @ darkelves.com to the email address that you used to sign up in the game. Pretty cool :-)

Hope you all have a great two weeks, and hope to see you in the next tourney or darkelves game!

Being away for a few days, Dracula (Big) has gotten a bit ahead of me.. Having lost a few times in a row (4) at the casino, I decided to bet 6T credits and lo and behold, a blackjack put me just behind him. I've added an entry to the step by step blog below this one on gambling. Drac now has a few more days to get ahead before I'll be back in town with time enough to play for a few hours.. I emptied most of my planets (just in case they got found) while I was incommunicado, and they are just now getting back to around 60%. It will be another day before I'm back to 100%, and even then I won't be able to tend planets more than 2-3 times a day. Oh well.. Maybe when I get back my team will have good info on Drac's sectors so I can drain my planets, upgrade my ship (again), and go on a rampage :-)

--- DARKELVES UPDATE --- MAY 29, 2004
Nobody has found me yet, and my planets got back to the 90% credit level earlier today. Diablo was very astute in pointing out that my planet tending methods are boring but effective. Think about it this way.. You'll have to spend about two or three days logging in every hour or two for a maximum of 5 minutes at a time, but if you do so, you'll be ahead of the pack by quite a bit, and your planets will be at levels that it will be easier to recover should a disaster befall your ship. Being able to get an all around level 31 ship before most everyone else will also help you prevent everyone else from catching up to you so quickly. This can also upset people (Hi Big!) and make them want to hunt you down, but they'll want to hunt you down anyway, so why should this cause you to change your strategy?

Another point that I can't stress strongly enough is debris hunting can be both good and bad. Today i found three differen -1 to tech levels, and then a +2 to another. Being as the -1s were to techs that are not critical at the moment, and the +2 was to one of the techs that was already high and is rather important, I got a nice boost in score and much more value to my ship. The cost to upgrade the three -1's was not significant with a few trillion on my planets.

--- DARKELVES UPDATE --- MAY 27, 2004
I'm in first at the moment due to my quick setup with planets, although Dracula, Moonkey, and Diablo could easily catch up in about 12 hours if I don't log in regularly. I'm going to be out of town for most of next week and will probably only be able to log in quickly around lunch and during the evenings, so we'll see how fast they catch up. Knowing when I'm going to log in next, it's not difficult to adjust my planets to max out around that time (I was a statistics major, so figuring these things out is fun for me), but there's no substitute for regular planet tending every 30-40 minutes. This looks like it's going to be a very good game, and there are a lot of people from the tourney playing, so it will be interesting to see if my playing style holds up again now that more people are aware of what I'm doing.

Entry Edited 5 times - Edited on Jun 6, 2004 - 3:27 pm

  Title: Step by step..
May 27, 2004 - 7:31 pm
Posted By: Tempest

So a few people have messaged me in the past day with a common theme of how the blimey did I get things going so fast. Here's a short step by step version of my way of doing things on darkelves.com. Please take a look at my previous entry, which lists major considerations for that server. Incidentally, this is more or less how I did things in the tourney, except without the debris hunting.

You start with somewhere between 5-10B credits depending on the game. The first thing to do is buy an endeavor. Then warp to sector 2, get an escape pod, 3 emergency warps, a fuel scoop, and some mine deflectors if you're feeling paranoid. Now go back to sector 1 and upgrade your engines to 20, hull to as far as you can, and use the leftover cash to upgrade power.

The first thing you'll need to do is a bit of trading, and here's where you should be veery careful. The area around sector 1 should all be single hop real space, but make sure before you click on the mini map that you're not going to waste a bunch of turns. Start moving around, keeping to 1 RS away until you find ore and goods ports. Check the prices to make you get good deals, and do not use too many auto routes! I learned a while ago from Fiveyes about proper trading strategy, and it has probably saved me from a lot of wasted time. Use your route, but pay attention to the number of credits you're making. If it drops about 15-20%, then that's enough, and move on to the next set of ports. This will take you longer in time, but a lot less turns to get things going.

Pay attention to how many credits you have, and as soon as you can upgrade your hold, do so. Keep this up until you have a hold of 25/26 (I prefer 26/27 but that's up to you), and engines of about 23/24. This is a good number to get you places more easily. Power around 23/24 would also be a good idea, as that will let you trade more energy as part of your RS trading. You will also need to stock up at least 6 - and preferably 12 - sector genesis torpedoes, and about 30 regular genesis torpedoes. Make sure that you also have at least a few billion credits (around 5-6 B is good) for sector genesis too.

Most people rarely look at their 3D map. This map will show you where you are relative to the rest of the galaxy. The closer you are to the edge (outer edge), the more real space turns it takes to get places, but the less likely people will be to stumble across your lair. Finding the right place can be difficult, but don't despair. Warp links will be your prefered mode of transportation now that you're out near the edge of the world. Once you're in the right area, start looking for one of two types of sectors; either an upgrades port to base things off of, or a sector that people will probably not give a second glance to. I prefer the second type, but without an upgrades port readily available, you will have to hope that you get one when you start your sector genesis routine.

Niche, lair, grotto, home, base.. There are many names for this area. The first thing to do is create a new sector and move into it. Now, hopefully you can make a few planets here (at least two). These two planets should be set to 50% energy (at least), 13% organics, 1% ore and goods (for armor), and split the rest in fighters and torps. These are not your credit planets. These are here to protect your credit planets. Now use another SG torp, and move into that sector. If you are inhumanly lucky, this will be an upgrades port. If it is not, don't worry. From here, use as many more SG torps as you can - on darkelves in this game, the maximum is five links in an SG sector, so you should be able to use four torps here. Hopefully you'll get an upgrades port somewhere. Use that upgrades port to fill up the local and neighboring planets as reasonably as possible. Don't waste too many turns on neighboring planets, but leaving about 10M colonists on each would be a good start. For the planets local to the upgrades sector, put as much as you can in there.

Now that you have a few planets, read two blogs ago where I talk about planet tending. In brief, build a base and upgrade the planet to around tech level 12. Let it get close to max credits, and increase one tech level by 1. Keep doing this until you're around tech level 16/17, and then use the credits generated from that one to start the next planet's credit production. You should always keep the planet's credit level above 80%, and preferably above 90%. As you get credits, you can make a judgement call whether to upgrade your holds and populate more colonists, or just let the colonist reproduce and let the planet interest make you rich. I like getting planets to around 100M colonists, and letting them grow. This means a hold of around 28/29 so that you don't waste too many turns. I don't like using dignitaries, as they can be a pain to manage when you have a lot of them, but some people like to keep them on population or credit production.

Once you have a nice set of planets in your little SG cluster, you should start thinking about defense. Use a stealth to start debris hunting, and every time you pick up a few million fighters or torps, go back to your defense sector and drop them off. You can also use this time to scout the area around your lair. Buying some warp editors, and clearing out the warps in and near the entrance toyour lair would be a very good idea. You don't want anyone to drop in by accident.

With anywhere from 15 to 50 planets in your first SG cluster, it's probably time to start another one. I like having at least three or four lairs at any given moment. I also don't like having more than about 15 planets per lair, as they will eventually be discovered, and when someone comes calling with a ship that is bigger than yours, you want to be able to nova them, clear out your credits from all those planets using IGB, and run away.

Here's where the fun starts. Once you're making a very nice amount of credits, buying a big ship and going to kick some enemy derierre is probably one of the more fun parts of the game. I'll post more on this later, or not, as I decide how I'm going to act in this game.

Once you have a voyager with torps at level 30 and up, you can start one of my favorite passtimes, which is leaving presents for people all over the place. As you're moving about, take the 10 seconds required to drop all your torps as mines in a sector. When you take over a sector that has an upgrades port, open two windows, one on upgrades and one on SD, and keep alternating moving back and forth to buy more mines and then drop them. You'll use up a few turns doing so, but when the person you took the sector comes back the next time he or she is online, a few million mines can do some damage and cost your opponent time and credits.

I love being evil and messing with people's heads. People will look for sector genesis sectors. This is a given fact within the game, as that is where other people will hide themselves and their planets. There are a lot of ways to mess with people, and I'll leave you to figure out a lot of them, but one example that might help your train of thought involved the sector loop. First, find a sector using the 3D map that is pretty far out, but not far enough that you would actually want to use it. Now, make an SG sector, and move into it. From here, use two or three more SG torps to make links back to known space, but do so strategically in areas where you know people will pass. Now, make another SG sector within the first, and make links back to the same sectors that you did from the first. This can potentially confuse someone, but they will likely see it as an effort to hide something and simply do a "scan all" to find the next way in. This is like a game of chess, where you are going to try and predict what someone will do. Now, make another SG sector within the second, and a cluster of SG sectors inside where that one leads to as I described above when talking about setting up your lair. In each of these, make a few small planets, and place no fighters, but a LOT of mines as sector defense.

You will also want to leave probes in each of these sectors with sensors at level 20 or above. Sensors at level 20 will allow your team to see notifications of people (other than the person who set the probes) moving into that sector. Now, being as you know the way in, and you know when someone comes in, you can sit and wait with an endeavor and a nova bomb.. If you do this properly, the time it will take the person coming in to take over your planets will be less than the time it takes you to get and launch a nova at their nice big voyager or excelsior. To encourage people to "find" these sector accidentally, you can leave a warp trail from sector 2 to one of the entrances (making it look like you were in a hurry and forgot to move to sector 1 before jumping back to your base), and once you are inside, use an emergency warp device to get you out, so that it looks like you are still in there when the enemy comes calling. Some of you may say, "dude, that's really twisted", and I would take that as a complement!

Casinos can be addictive, especially when you see someone win big. Like everything else, gambling is part luck, part skill, and probably a good mix somewhere in between. The first rule of gambling is never bet more than you can afford to lose. Betting in the beginning of the game can be risky, as you can get ahead very quickly, or fall behind very quickly. I prefer not to use the casino much at the beginning, and if I'm feeling lucky, bet at most 10% of my total holdings. Later in the game is where the casino gets more interesting to me. When your planets are making you around one trillion credits per hour, betting a few trillion at one shot isn't necessarily bad. It can get you the next ship upgrade a bit faster if you win. One of the tricks I like to use at the casino is based on simple statistics. I start betting with a relatively (for this point in the game) low number of credits, say around 250 billion credits. Play normally for a few hands until there is a three or four in a row losing streak. At that point, having lost a few, the probability of the next one being a winner is higher, and you can bet a few trillion credits.. Now, unlike a real casino where you can count cards, I think that this game is always played with an effective full deck. This means that your chances of winning each hand are equivalent the the chances of winning the previous hand, but in the long run, things should even out in terms of the number of winning and losing hands. As always, you'll hope to have good luck.

Entry Edited 8 times - Edited on Jun 1, 2004 - 2:49 pm

  Title: New beginnings...
May 25, 2004 - 6:18 pm
Posted By: Tempest

With the darkelves.com game starting anew this evening, I thought I'd take this opportunity to give people a few thoughts on how best to start. Now, each person has their own preferences, but there are a few key things that everyone should keep in mind on this server. Most of this info might also apply elsewhere (except for the item on debris).

1. When you start the game, while you will start with a bit of a bonus in credits compared to the norm, your first need will be to trade. Getting holds, engines, and power to the early 20's and buying a fuel scoop are key to making more credits. The fuel scoop will pick up energy for you when you real space, so if you find a good set of ore/goods ports that you can get down to 1 real space hop away from each other, then you're bound to make more credits than with a warp link. Also, don't drain ports. Watch how many credits you're making per transaction, and try to use good ports together. When the credits you're making on one trade drop below a reasonable level, then move on to the next port and let the ones you're using bulid back up.

2. Planets are very important to steady growth, but don't rush. This server has a maximum of 100M colonists for every tech level, so your planets will be capable of growing VERY big. Starting a planet out with about 20M colonists is a good move, and 50M would be even better, but you won't be able to do that efficiently until your holds are at a reasonable level. You can start planets with much lower levels of colonists, around 5M, and let them grow slowly, but I usually prefer to do things systematically.

3. Building 50 planets at once can be good, as they will all grow together, but if you want to get ahead quickly at the beginning, then read through my previous blog entry about planet tending. This can require you to spend a lot of time in the first few days growing planets, but when you're in one of the top three spots in the rankings, and almost everyone else has at most half your score, you'll be happy that you spent that time.

4. Sector genesis areas are VERY important. Nobody can real space to them, so the only way in is through a warp. This also means that you can defend your SG entrance very heavily, and not worry too much in the beginning about further in your SG tunnel. You will want to defend all sectors eventually, but in the first week of the game, very few people will try to go up against a million fighters and mines (if you can drop that many).

5. Teamwork is important. I can't stress that enough. Each team has a forum, where you should make an entry for each type of sector. Alliance, casinos, enemies, upgrade ports, device ports, star docks, independents, etc. You want to help your team mates out where possible. If you're the first person on the team to start, and you build up a few billion credits, lend them to your team mates so that they can start faster and make even more credits. It's common courtesy to pay back at least what you borrow, and double is usually appreciated. Look at it from the perspective that if you hadn't borrowed the credits, you wouldn't have come close to making the amount of credits that you did in your first few thousand turns.

6. Have fun. It's a game. People will come along and take your planets, blow them up, and maybe even destroy your ship. This is why you have team mates, as they can avenge you, and help you build back up quickly. Getting upset and angry at a game will not help you get ahead.

7. Use the chat room to discuss strategy and ask for help when needed. If an enemy is attacking one of your sectors, ask your team mates to help drop sector defenses or help find the guy doing the attacking.

8. Debris will not blow your ship up (on this server). It could reduce it in tech levels, but it could also increase you or give you a few million fighters or torpedoes. As you get bigger and have more turns available, debris hunting will probably something you want to do regularly.

Entry Edited 3 times - Edited on May 25, 2004 - 9:34 pm

  Title: Ends
May 24, 2004 - 6:59 pm
Posted By: Tempest

The tourney is ending early tonight. Looks like I'm going to be in either third or fourth place depending on whether or not I want to spend about an hour between now and midnight. The darkelves server is also being reset tonight, and I'm only about 2M points behind Sandman.. I could probably make that up with one good bit of debris, or poping a few independant planets. It would probably also take me about an hour or two to get into first over there.

With regards to the tourney, I started a blog in the team forum, so as not to give away too much info. Turns out I only posted two entries at the beginning. Here is the useful info from them:

Like any other game, the team draft tourney is all about getting ahead, only this time it's your team, not an individual that matters.

Following the strategy set by the more experienced players, I set myself up off of an SG sector in one of our bases. Had a bit of trouble at the beginning, and wasted a few turns, but overall at the end of the first 10k, I had five planets in a blue star sector one hop away from an upgrades port.

To get to that point, the first thing I did was borrow a few credits and trade until my endeavor was up to 24 holds, 23 engines, and 24 power (the 24 power and fuel scoop makes for a lot more credits when you're trading between two non-energy ports). The next thing was to pay back the credits i borrowed, so that other people can benefit from the help. Next, a lucky SG torp made me a sector with a blue star (no port though). Going out to one of each port quickly let me build bases on each, and populate them with about 20M colonists. The planets were set to minimal everything to maximize credit production (13% organics, 1% everything else). The method I use to grow sectors quickly is based on planet tending.

Planet tending is an art. Like growing anything, you have to have an understanding of how things work and all the different areas that can affect you. First, find a sector that can support a few planets. Your first planet should be built, have a bunch of colonists moved onto it (at least 50 M) and be upgraded to about tech level 12. Put as many creds as you can on it, and wait until it hits 99% of maximum credits. At that point, upgrade one tech to level 13. Wait until it hits 99% credits again, and upgrade another. This can be time consuming, but it is the most efficient way of doing things. You can upgrade 2 or 3 techs at the same time, but make sure your % of max credits doesn't fall below about 80%, otherwise your planet won't grow anywhere near as quickly as you'd like it.

Figure out how fast your planets grow, and make sure that if you log out, you know around what time to log in again. Look at how much is made in a 5 minute interval, and multiply that by 12 for your hourly credit production rate. Overnight, you can try leaving about 50% or 60% of the max credits on the planet. You have two options on how to do so. One is remove credits, the other is to upgrade the planet by a tech level or three. How best to do this will depend on your paranoia level, but the bigger the planet the more credits you'll make.

Once you've reached about level 16 (20 B on the planet), start the next planet off with the same system. Drop in about 5 B to start at level 15, and slowly upgrade as you get to the max credit level. In about 10 hours, I built up a blue star sector (one hop away from an upgrades port) to five planets, about 80 M colonists per planet, and a total of 90 B credits. This of course took about 3000 turns, after I already had level 24/25 holds to move colonists. You'll want to grow the planet tech levels as necessary to about level 20 (183 B credits per planet). Past that, you're risking a lot in the beginning of the game. Remember that the more planets you have, the more credits you'll make, and the faster you'll grow. You don't want to keep all your planets off the same sector either, as once the enemies find out about it, they'll wait until you're offline, and then try to take out your sector (so you can't boost sector defences). Make sure you don't forget about sector defence! You need to keep energy at 20% to 50% (at least) to support sector fighters in the sector that leads to your sector genesis sectors, and put as many mines/fighters as you can affort to spend time dropping - and that your planets can support in there. As time goes by and you grow bigger, you'll want to drop SD in every one of your sectos, but for the beginning you only really need to worry about the entrance to each of your bases.

As soon as you can afford to do so, get yourself a voyager with sensors at level 30, so that you can track the other people to their bases. If you see someone in a voyager, or find a base with more than one ship sitting around, create a one way warp link to that sector, and use your endeavor to nova bomb them. Hopefully you'll set someone back by a few hours or even a day by doing some damage to their voyager.

One last important point (until I think of something else and update this entry).. Alway sleep in a stealth, not your *big* ship. Even while I'm doing planet maintenance, I use a stealth, just in case the bad guys come calling.

  Title: Various updates...
May 16, 2004 - 2:17 am
Posted By: Tempest

On the darkelves front, Bovine self destructed, so that he can put most of his efforts into the tourney. Mouse's violent tendencies are showing themselves - he's taking planets.. lots of planets.. and Naelr is back in the game (he was in a motorcycle accident and has been away for a bit). There's a reset scheduled for mid June, so that's probably pretty good timing considering the tourney will end around then too. I'm wondering if there will be any major upgrades to the game by then.

On the tourney front, things are just getting started. I won't be posting too many details of what's going on, as I don't want to reveal details that shouldn't be shared, but I will discuss major public events. It's interesting playing this style of game after so long (about 3 months) on one particular type (config) of server.. Some of the strategies I usually use to build up work better here, and others are completely useless. I think I'm going to keep a separate blog for only my team mates to read, and will post it here in a month after the tourney ends. That will probably be a long one, but will make for an interesting read - I hope!

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on May 16, 2004 - 5:55 pm

  Title: Thoughts and directions..
May 7, 2004 - 5:40 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Been back for a few days, and I decided to spend all my credits on an excelsior. For those of you not reading all the details in previous blogs, I'm talking about the darkelves.com server. Considering that I'm probably going to go on a few rampages in the near future (I'll tell you about the one we went on yesterday in a paragraph or two), I set my torps, fighters, beams, and power to highest, and the rest to as high as it would go for the credits I had (38 ish). A bit of debris hunting got me a 41 in cloak and torps, and a bit of a loss in holds and ecm. I'll need to up the ecm, but holds aren't that important to me in this ship (that's why you get a trading ship). The 41 in cloak will help out my little army of spies - the new ones at least.

Now, deciding how to proceed. Takashi has been irritating lately to my team mates, and he's been catching up in points, so he's probably a good place to start. Pooling information from Mouse and Gune (who Takashi also pissed off, and with who we made a 12-hour alliance), we came up with about 150 planets of his.. As I'm the biggest ship, I paved the way for the rest of them, clearing out sector defenses, and while they took planets, I debris hunted tolet me take the bigger sectors. I think I took about 70 planets, Mouse took about 100, and Gune took a few here and there. We stumbled on a lot of his other places due to warp trails. You want to get your sensors high enough to follow warp trails as early as possible!

Mouse then went a bit trigger happy, and had me clear some sector defenses on Sagra's space.. I think his total was about 35 planets taken from Sagra after that, all thanks to Rifleman and Naelr's data - too bad they weren't capable of being online during our assault. You should always write down a sector number when you find someone else's stuff. I might come in handy a few weeks later.

Of course Takashi is now pissed at us, and accusing us of cheating, but he tends to do that every time someone hunts down his planets. I don't think he realizes that he irritates people - beyond the normal attacking / vengeance thing - and makes them want to hunt him down the next time they decide to have a nice little onslaught event. Oh well.. Live and learn I guess.

The game will probably take a turn for the violent now.. There are a few players coming up in the ranks, and without the hoarding strategy of a big IGB, it's going to become an arms race. I think that there are a few people who are using darkelves.com as a test run for the tournament, as the settings are similar, so there are a few very good players coming in. The next week or two should be interesting.

If you're wondering, the answer is yes. I have every intention of continuing the onslaught!

EDIT: What a wonderful moment.. I've jumped back into first thanks to a sensor upgrade debris, then found an upgrade-all package, dropped ECM by 1 twice, dropped fighters by 1, dropped holds by 1 twice, and upgraded cloak by 2. It will be a while until others catch up, unless some of the ones with bigger ships find good debris. I'm sure some of the more experienced players will consider that to be a cheap way of getting ahead, but every server has its own tricks, and debris hunting is one of them here. Unfortunately the max fighters/torps/armor in debris has been reduced from 100M to 10M, so it will be harder to get very high numbers. I've spent about 15k turns in the past few days (probably a total of about 5 hours) debris hunting, and I've gone from about 50 to about 80 million points. I'm wondering if there's an upper limit on ship tech stats from debris, or if it can keep growing. The bigger you are, the faster your points will grow from ship upgrades, as the larger upgrades cost a lot more.

ANOTHER EDIT: Along comes Bovine, and drops a nova into my sector.. As I've said before, the biggest threat to me is when I use my excelsior, as it's where most of my cash is being invested. Dropped me down to about half my score. Of course, shortly thereafter I did the same to him.. Hurt me a lot more than it did him though. Oh well, that's part of the game.

Entry Edited 5 times - Edited on May 16, 2004 - 5:50 pm

  Title: Grumble..
Apr 28, 2004 - 10:01 pm
Posted By: Tempest

The IGB max was changed to 100 trillion. A good number in case a ship gets blown up, as it should let you get back to about 35 all around in a new excelsior, but as I was at almost 2 quadrillion, and am now holding that on my ship, I'm not thrilled. I understand why it was done, as Sandman and I were way ahead, and there was little chance for anyone to catch up with the IGB max set so high. The game will probably be a bit more fair now, and people will catch up to us (where we are now) within about 2 weeks.

Based on my current thoughts about how the game is working, I would suggest leaving about 80% of the maximum in IGB, and take out the interest every day. That should amount to about 20 trillion per day (as the 10% interest seems to be for an interval shorter than 24 hours- I'm trying to figure it out now). Not a bad haul. Nothing like before, but not bad.

Now, the big problem is to figure out how to proceed in the game, and I'll update this entry as I come to more conclusions. Keep in mind that these are my thoughts for the darkelves.com server in its current configuration.

It's unlikely that any sector can be well enough defended (at this point in the game) to keep a lot of cash on planets - based on ship size and debris bonuses, so that brings the question to planet cloak and ECM, and how costly it will be to get a planet big enough so that it won't be seen or taken over. People keep blowing up my planets, even at level 35 with hoards of evergy, fighters, torps, and mines in the sector. Getting a cloak up to level 40 is expensive, and i could probably do that for three planets at the moment. Above 40 is so rediculously expensive now that it's not worth doing. The other option is to buy an excelsior (I sold my ship a while back for the credits - see a previous entry) and bring 4 techs up to level 40 (probably torps, beams, power, and ECM) and the rest at level 36/37, then go on a rampage of pillaging other people's planets.

I'm still out of town for a few more days, so I have time to decide. Until then, I'm sitting happily in my stealth at sector 1, holding my credits on the ship. Right now, I'm thinking that taking out a lot of pirate planets would be good, but then, I've had one of those days where people have just been asking for it..

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on May 2, 2004 - 1:58 am

  Title: Money money money..
Apr 26, 2004 - 10:43 pm
Posted By: Tempest

It's been a few days, and now that I've confirmed my theory (that Sandman was right), I'm going to share it with the rest of you. You will not easily be able to afford upgrading your excelsior.. With a cost of over 500 trillion to get a tech to level 40, that's a LOT of credits that you'll need to build up, or a lot of upgrade debris that you'll have to hope to find. About a week ago, I sold my wonderfully upgraded excelsior for about 500 trillion, and put all of that in the IGB. Since then, the 10% interest rate has grown my credits such that as of today, I have slightly above one quadrillion credits!

That's only enough for two techs to be level 40, so I'll probably wait another week or so before starting to get back into playing. I've been travelling for work the past week, and will probably be out of town for another week or two, so it's convenient timing for the IGB growth.

For now, I'm sitting in sector 1 in a pittiful excuse for a stealth, watching as Bovine and the rest take my planets one by one. All the effort that I put into building a nice SG (sector genesis) cluster area, and defending it with 500 million fighters and 2 billion mines (just before I got rid of my excelsior) was apparently wasted, as they took it all in the past 24 hours. Oh well.. At this point, planets don't do much for me. The rest of my planets made about 10 trillion in the past day, whereas the 10% IGB made about 100 trillion. Every little but helps, but in the long run, I think IGB for a while is the way to go at this point in the game. When other people get to this point (mid to high 30's on the excelsior, and not making much in the way of credits from fighting and trading, I'd be interested in hearing your prespectives on the matter.

Something just occured to me.. At this point, until such time as we spend some of those credits, it's unlikely that anyone will be able to catch up to Sandman and I. The more credits you have, the faster you make more.. Kind of skews the game from one perspective, but there is only so much that one person can do, and eventually we're likely to be at odds with each other (expecially since we're on opposing teams).

I'm wondering what to do once I do get the fully upgraded excelsior. Upgrading planets to the point that their tech levels will protect them from prying eyes (cloak level at 50 something) will take a heck of a lot more credits than level 40 on a ship.. I guess we'll see what happens then.

Entry Edited 2 times - Edited on Apr 26, 2004 - 11:03 pm

  Title: Growing quickly..
Apr 22, 2004 - 12:23 am
Posted By: Tempest

A few people have asked me lately how I grew so fast.. Sandman and I are around 20M points, whereas most of the rest of the players are around 5M. The secret is how you start the game, and Sandman and I have different ways of playing here (he and I are on friendly terms, even though we're on opposing teams at the moment). I'll also point out that most of the rest who started at the same time as we did have either had a lot of their planets taken from them in the big purge (see previous blog entries), or have lost a pretty big ship (excelsior that was upgraded a bit) at least once.

First, consider that on this server, interest is set very high, planets produce credits very quickly, and planet max population grows by 100M per tech level. This means that a planet with tech level 20 can have 2B colonists.

Both Sandman and I started the same, whereby we created about a hundred planets. I upgraded my tech levels to about 20, and moved 200-500M population onto each depending on if they were in an upgrades sector or not. Based on the number of turns used keeping track of the scores and number of planets built, I conjecture that Sandman only put about 100M population on each. The settings for planet production (when starting a new planet) should be around 2% ore, 13% organic, 5% goods, 50% energy, 10% fighters and torps - leaving a bit in credit production. Once you have a few hundred million energy, a reasonable number of fighters and torps, and you're starting to surplus goods (once your armor is built), set goods to 2%, energy to 20% and fighters/torps to 5% each. This will leave about 50% on credits. Dignitaries should be placed on all planets, and set (as much as possible) on credits. Having one or two on spy hunter would be a good idea, and as you grow larger, switching a few to population control can help prevent (or delay) disasters and revolts.

Then there's a bit of a waiting game. In retrospect, I think Sandman had a better system than I leaving population at 100M and letting it grow rather than putting more population on planets from the beginning, as he used a lot less turns and in the long run ended up around the same score and me, so his efficiency rating is/was a lot higher. Once your planets get to about 1B population, the money starts rolling in.

Now, choosing your planet locations is a bit tricky. Upgrades ports are always good, since it's easy (early in the game) to ferry colonists without using too many turns. You should always use blue stars where possible, as five planets contributing to defense is better than less. Green stars (four planets) are ok, but don't expect to be able to defend less that that easily. Remember that sector fighters and beams (to attack) take energy, and the more planets you have, the more energy is being created.

One interesting option you have - if you can afford it - is to use sector genesis torpedoes. if you create a sector, then that sector can not be real-spaced to. One of the tricks that I use is to find a blue star with an upgrades port, then create about 10 sector genesis sectors off of it. Since nobody can real space to them, they are safe from random real-spacing or people just simply exploring - or using probes. You can then warp colonists in no matter the type of star. Defenses are always necessary, as someone could cloak past your blue star/upgrades sector and get in, but in the beginning of the game not too many people go on the war path, so you won't have to worry about that as much. Over protect the sector that they were all linked to, and only build up defenses in the SG sectors once you're able to drop a few million fighters and mines at a time. The good debris in the game will help in this endeavor significantly.

This is when Sandman and I differ in our play styles (at least for this game). He put all of his credits in the bank, and is colecting crazy amounts of interest. I spent a lot of my credits on my excelsior which will enable me to build planets up more quickly, and defend sectors more efficiently. I'd much rather spand an extra hundred turns with a hold size of 37 bringing a planet up to over a billion colonists so that it starts producing for me immediately than to wait for 3-4 days for the 100M to reproduce/populate up to a nicer number.

Being as debris in this game is pretty sweet (I haven't seen a nova bomb, and there are a lot of upgrades, 50-100 million fighters and mines at a time, and lots of energy going around), I use most of the debris goodies I find to set up sector defenses, and spend about 1/3 of my turns debris hunting. With a few tech upgrades here and there, and a military upgrade package (which increase all techs by 1) now and again, I've kept within 1 million points of Sandman. Military upgrade packages are probably the most rare, but I've managed to find 4 of them in the game so far. I've also found one opposite type which reduced all techs by 1, and a few downgrade debris, but overall I'm quite a bit ahead.

Sandman probably doesn't care much about his planets anymore, and is only collecting at most 20% of his daily income from them - whereby at least 80% of his income comes from IGB interest. I'm in the opposite camp, getting about 80% of my income from planets, and 20% from IGB interest. I use most of my planet income to upgrade planets to level 32 to support more colonists, - which will make even more credits, and to build more planets. Planet tech levels past 32 gets a bit too expensive at this point in the game. We'll see what happens in a month. In a future version of the game, I hope that planets will be able to build themselves up by allocating colonist percentages to it.

The drawback for Sandman's style, is that he will eventually have to spend his money, and his score will drop when he upgrades his ship. At that point, his residual income will drop significantly unless he builds more planets, or only spends a bit at a time. The advantage for him is that he can sit back, watch the rest of us fight, and laugh when he finally gets to be the first one with a level 40 all around excelsior and takes over good portions of the world.

I've already spent a lot of credits on my ship, so in theory, I could lose my ship and be stuck rebuilding it. The benefit to my way is that I have all these planets making me credits, it's very easy to build more and to quickly upgrade and populate them with my large ship holds. It takes me less than 50 turns to get a new planet's population to a level where I'm not worried about it anymore. If I lose a few planets, I don't really care, as there are many more where they came from, and it will only take a few minutes to build up another planet to that level.

Overall, both methods seems to work well so far. Once you get to the point where you can put about 50 trillion in the bank, do so, and leave it there in case something happens to your ship. You don't want to be stuck without an excelsior, especially for debris hunting.

Something else to keep in mind, Sandman and I both *seem* to have builder mentalities in this game. We don't go out of our way to take other people out (except in the ocasional vengeance situation - see previous blog entries), and I don't know about him, but I plant spies everywhere. The more spies you have active, the more you learn about the world. There are also no bounties on this server, so it really is a free for all where you don't have to worry about the big federation ship coming along. That's a good thing if you do build up quickly, and want to take out someone smaller than you who has been taking your planets.

I hope that will help you out in both this and future games on the darkelves.com server (assuming that the admin keeps the settings the same - but they have been for the past three games, so I don't see why that would change). Note that the info / method of play described here can and probably will be completely useless on other servers where planet size, credit production, interest, and debris are not set so high.

This entry will probably be edited a few times as I notice typos or think of something else that should be in here..

Entry Edited 4 times - Edited on Apr 23, 2004 - 11:49 pm

  Title: Wow..
Apr 21, 2004 - 1:31 am
Posted By: Tempest

Lot of interesting stuff happened today.. Take a look at the bottom banner the admin posted. I lost a couple upgrades with a bad debris, apparently Gune got so damaged that he dropped in score by about 4 million, and I had a few planets go independant. Lovely isn't it?

One nice thing to look forward to is an update the admin mentioned in shoutbox that there will be Federation and (don't remember the name of the bad guys) as AI players instead of having them just move around now and again.. Looking forward to that.

Having planets able to build themselves up would be cool too. It costs WAY too much to upgrade them past 30.. I wonder if that will be in the next version..

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Apr 22, 2004 - 9:30 pm

  Title: It finally happened...
Apr 20, 2004 - 1:57 pm
Posted By: Tempest

They finally coordinated a strike against me.. Saras and Bovine of course. I wonder what happened to Takashi..

A loss of 31 planets isn't terrible, except that they got the entrance to my SG area which was protected by about a billion mines (I spent more than a few debris bundles on that) and 100M fighters.. The planets were only level 25, but even so.. That's pretty significant attack power.

  Title: Grumblings..
Apr 19, 2004 - 7:37 pm
Posted By: Tempest

With the latest round up upgrade debris that I've gotten, I just realized that it will be VERY unlikely that I'll be able to afford upgrading the techs that are 35-36-37. Before doing another round of debris hunting (I just spent about 3000 turns doing that), I think I'm going to try to build enough credits to pay for everything else to get up to 34-35.

10M fighters and 14M torps is pretty nice. I still don't do any attacking without picking up a debris to increase my torps above 50M, but even so, it's a good start.

UPDATE: I just checked scores as I was logging out, thinking that I would be a million or two ahead of Sandman. Looks like a few other people picked up upgrades! Gune and Mouse both jumped by about 4-5 million points (if I recall correctly). This would be a good thing, as Mouse is on my team, and Gune was also picked on by the Pirates, so it's unlikely that we'll be at odds anytime soon.. I think..

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Apr 19, 2004 - 7:50 pm

  Title: I just thought of something..
Apr 18, 2004 - 11:21 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Now that I've let the secret of the debris out of the bag, everyone is debris hunting! If anyone knows how debris are created, I'd appreciate knowing.. Are there a fixed amount? How often do more magically appear? Do ships have to get blown up to leave them?

On a side note, I've just picked up an upgrade-all package, and being as most of my tech is in the early 30's, that was a nice boost of points, which will probably keep me ahead of Sandman for about a day!

EDIT: For those interested, upgrade debris exists in three forms:
1. Upgrade all techs by 1
2. Upgrade one tech by 1
3. Upgrade one tech by 2

EDIT #2: I've just picked up another debris that dropped my sensors by one (sensors were my highest upgraded item), so my lead in points is no longer as much as it was when I wrote this the first time..

EDIT #3: Debris are added automatically when the system updates every 5 minutes. Good to know.. Now my question becomes, how does the system decide what type of debris to create?

Entry Edited 3 times - Edited on Apr 19, 2004 - 11:23 am

  Title: Good.
Apr 18, 2004 - 10:32 am
Posted By: Tempest

Looks like things will be back to normal now.. Well, as normal as one of these servers can be. Most of us need a bit of time to build back up, and I think there's going to be a new craze in debris hunting. Now, it's a Sunday, and I'm not going to spend it inside on a great day like this.

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Apr 18, 2004 - 10:33 am

  Title: A message..
Apr 17, 2004 - 9:28 pm
Posted By: Tempest

This is a message I just sent to Bovine. He's a bit upset that we took most of his sectors in a 2 hour coordinated strike, and has been trading arguments with Assassin in the shout box for a few hours. Note that a few "bad" words were replaced as this is a public blog ;-)

Hey dude.. I know getting all your stuff blown up can be frustrating, but that is a part of the game. I've had it happen to me a few times, and I've done it to other people a few times. Playing on this server is a bit different than others, as planets can grow a LOT larger, which means insane credit production.. Look at how many credits Sandman makes (an assumption based on his score increasing regularly).

You also have GOT to get spies EVERYWHERE.. I've got about 500 active ones on other people's planets and ships, so I know where a good portion of the world's planets are. It's all about strategy..

As a side note, I tend to be a "build until someone messes with me" type of player. Taking a few planets from people at a time isn't a big deal, but you guys completely nailed Mouse and Naelr, so turnabout is mostly fair play.

Also, debris will get you VERY nice stuff here.. There are a lot of upgrade debris. Once in a while you'll come across one that will decrease a tech level, but I've only seen one so far on this server, and have picked up at least 10-15 upgrades since I got my excelsior. You can also make a killing on fighters / torps. 50-100 million at a time.. A warning though, if you have a lot, you're likely to lose a lot (fighters/torps) with other debris. Dropping 100 million fighters or mines to protect a sector is easy (as I'm sure you've seen with a few of my sectors).

That's it for advice for now, and if you leave us alone, we will tend to leave you alone. A few sectors or planets here and there, but no coordinated "grind him into the dirt" type sessions. Read my blog if you want to know what else is going on.. I find it entertaining to keep a running log of what's going on..

  Title: The cat came back..
Apr 17, 2004 - 4:30 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Lo and behold the one called Tempest picked up two pieces of debris, one of which increased his sensors by two to level 36 and the other his holds by two to level 34, and he rose in stature of points to be ahead of the one called Sandman.

Probably won't last long till he's ahead again (about 4-5 hours if my calculations are correct), but this raised my morale a bit.. I had thought it would take a lot more to get ahead, but at the levels that my excelsior is at, raising anything by 1 or 2 will be a significant points boost.. Looks like I've got to spend some time debris hunting :-)

  Title: Crap on a stick..
Apr 17, 2004 - 7:34 am
Posted By: Tempest

I decided to check scores this morning, and without my 10T in the bank, and the rest of what I would have had if not for the series of events described in the past few entries, Sandman has shot ahead by about 400k points in about 12 hours.

Looks like I'm going to be building planets for a while if I want my recurring revenue to match his.

Maybe we'll go to war again in a week or three ;-)

Something you should remember is that fighters mean jack squat most of the time. If you come across a debris with a few tens of millions, they're great for a sub orbital strike to eliminate planet defenses, but other than that, torps and beams are the key. Most of the time.

  Title: Spies...
Apr 16, 2004 - 6:42 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Spies are your friend. If you drop spies onto planets all over the place, especially if you have a high cloak (it's easier to get in, drop the spies, and get out), you can learn a heck of a lot about your opponents. Every time you log in, make sure you check on your spies, and write down anything useful that they have discovered.. Especially the location of enemy planets. I've got about 500 spies in the game now, and have been copy-pasting their info into a notepad since the game started. I probably know where about half of the occupied planets are :-)

  Title: Yup...
Apr 16, 2004 - 4:57 pm
Posted By: Tempest

I was right.. the war started quite interestingly. My damned cable modem stopped working while I was logged in checking my dignitaries, and they happened to come across my sector while I was gone. I thought that emergency warp devices would have protected me, but lo and behold my lovely ship with tech level around 31 in evenrything was dropped down to about level 20. It took everything in my IGB account, and borrowing some more to get me back up, and even now I have one more item that needs to be fixed.

I'm quite happy that each of the Pirates' planets that I took had anywhere between 20 and 30 billion on it.. Made paying back the loan much easier.. I think I got most of two of their planets.. Based on the formula of built + captured - lost, two of them should only have one or two sector left each.

Sandman is the big guy, but he hasn't done anything to me directly, so I'm not likely to start hunting him.. Bovine is another question.. He seems to be wisely keeping out of things for the moment. We'll see how things go over the weekend.

In summary, the past 12 hours have been more or less me losing a lot, then getting most of my ship tech back, but am about 10T poorer.

  Title: The war is on!
Apr 15, 2004 - 11:18 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Well, looks like the war is on between Space Monkeys and Pirates.. They took about 20 planets, then we took about 25. It's a nice start :-)

Unfortunately, I ran out of the torpedoes that I got from my last big debris discovery, so I either have to go debris hunting again, or deal with not being able to take as many planets at one time as I'd like to.. They were wiping out 30 million fighters and 50 million mines in one shot (as per the logs), so I think that they suped up on debris fighters and torps before beginning their assault too. It will be interesting how this turns out. On another note, the casino problem hasn't been fixed yet.

Off to bed now. I have the day off tomorrow, and intend to spend it doing something other than messing around on the computer. When you spend all day working on one, it's nice to get away from it once in a while. Then again, I've got a beautiful little powerbook.. It's easy to become addicted.

  Title: Upgrades
Apr 15, 2004 - 4:52 pm
Posted By: Tempest

I love upgrade debris.. A military upgrade package just saved my ass in rankings.. It'll take Sandman another few hours to catch up, and by then I hope to have a lot more planets. I usually populate planets with about 200M colonists after building them (on this server, the max is about 2B with level 20 tech), and they grow nicely for a few days before i have to worry about population control. I have about four hours now where I have to sit here without doing much, so I'm going to try and plot out the time frames required for population growth while making planets..

  Title: Credits
Apr 15, 2004 - 4:34 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Well, one good source of credits has stopped today. The casino apparently isn't moving any money. It's probably the caching module they installed yesterday (the last time it did work), so we'll see if that is fixed soon..

Casinos don't give you THAT much more money consistently, but it's a nice bonus when you need a trillion or three now and then. Back to making more planets, as it looks like Sandman is going to pass me in points momentarily.

  Title: DarkElves Update
Apr 14, 2004 - 6:35 pm
Posted By: Tempest

Well, once again today I've pulled off just barely staying in the lead.. The settings here are pretty cool, with no bounties, and huge planet maximums. There have been some pretty good upgrade debris too, and spending a few hundred turns debris hunting will usually land you at least one or two upgrades to your ship, and a few tens of millions of fighters or torps. Makes protecting planets a lot easier.

Looks like there's going to be a showdown between the Space Monkeys and the Pirates sometime soon. That should be interesting..

Entry Edited 1 time - Edited on Apr 14, 2004 - 6:39 pm

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