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Some basics about Stars! for beginners Fri, 20 January 2012 10:03 Go to next message
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I've realized that some of the stuff I have written for my hosted beginner games is probably too hidden for newbies because it is in the private game forum Fledgling Admirals.

So I am copying some of the stuff in here...

The concept is to give new players basic information to help them find some orientation and a base from where to play the game. I carefully tried NOT to overwhelm new players with too many information.

Well... after having uploaded all the articles, it does not really look "not overwhelming", as basic as it is. It comes nicer for new players when every few game years 1(!) article is sent over.


[Updated on: Sun, 11 March 2012 07:32] by Moderator


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Race Design Fri, 20 January 2012 10:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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About race design here some very helpful links:Take it as hints and inspiration, never follow it to the point or believe everything what you read in the articles. But some stuff is really good and helpful. Remember that you need to adapt what you read to our specific game settings.

And while you are running your new race designs through a short test game, here some further tips how to use the Stars!-interface:

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How to up-/download your orders Fri, 20 January 2012 10:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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How to up-/download your orders

Stars! files:
Stars uses several files for a game:
  • gamename.xy (Universe definition file)
  • gamename.mZ (turn-file where Z is your player number)
  • gamename.xZ (order-file where Z is your player-number)
  • gamename.hZ (history-file where Z is your player-number)

Best is you create a new sub-directory called gamename. In this you copy the .xy-file. Whenever autohost generates a new year, it writes the data refering to your empire in a .mZ-file and sends it to you via email. Copy this file into the directory gamename.

Now start Stars and open your m-file.
Voila! You see your empire, it should be year 2400.
If you have protected your racefile with a password, you must type in this password to enter.

Make your orders. When you are finished, go to the top menu FILES and choose SAVE AND SUBMIT. Now Stars creates the file gamename.xZ in which it stores your orders. At the same time Stars creates the .h-history file where all your collected planetary info is stored. The shortcut is Ctrl-S, use it often.

Upload your orders:
Go to the auothost game-website (your host or auothost has emailed you the link) and on the top right click the UPLOAD TURN link, search on your harddisc for your x-file, type in your upload-password and submit. That's it. If you make changes to your orders, you can just repeat the process and update your orders. The password to upload your x-file is NOT the pasword of your racefile but the password you got from autohost.


Hint I: Creating an archive
When I am playing it is sometimes important to look up what happened for example 2 turns ago. The easiest way to create an archive is, before you save your next m-file (for 2401 for example), create a sub-directory 2400 and copy&paste all files in it. If you do so for every year, you have a fine archive.

Hint II: Regaining .m or .x-files
If for whatever reasons you are missing your m-file, you can just go to the autohost-game-website and click onto the m-file. You will be asked for your password and can then download it again. Same with your x-file.

Hint III: Stars shortcut
Stars is able to handle many command-line parameters. A nice and fast way to open your game with just one click:

1) Make a shortcut of Stars to your desktop

2) Edit this shortcut:
directory\starsjrc4.exe -pPASSWORD directory\GAMENAME.mZ

Example for player 5, playing a game called FA7 and who uses the password: uglu and Stars is in C:\games\stars\
C:\games\stars\starsjrc4.exe -puglu C:\games\Stars\FA7\FA7.m5


[Updated on: Mon, 30 January 2012 10:46]

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Production Fri, 20 January 2012 10:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Production Queues
Stars offers a great way to reduce micro-management: auto-build orders for the production queues. Best is probably to use something like this:

Factories Up to 500
Mines Up to 500

The beauty of it: whenever you haven't got enough germanium to build factories, Stars will automatically switch to produce mines. It will never produce more factories or mines than you can run with the colonists you have got on the planet. In the Stars Help file you can get additional infos, search for "Create a Production Template" to learn how to make standard orders which will be automatically appliad to all newly colonized planets. If all possible factories and mines are built with the autobuild function, the planet will show up in your reports with the message Planet xy has finished all orders.

By the way: I don't recommend putting defenses into the autobuild-queue. While they might be useful on some strategical and threatened planets, they do cost a lot in resources and minerals. Mostly those resources are better used otherwise eg for ships or research once your planned number of factories and mines is built.

There is one more important advantage. With the following similar looking order:

Factories 500
Mines 500

Stars will try to build all 500 factories before building the mines. If you haven't got enough germanium, most likely you haven't, Stars will built as many factories as it has germ for and than the production is stuck and ressources the planet hasn't used up will not be transfered to building mines or any other following production orders with the exception of the auto Alchemy order but that's a (too) costly luxury. Leftover ressources will be transfered into research. So, whenever you do not use the autobuild function, check wether you have got enough minerals avaiable. The same applies for ships. The minerals a planet can use are the ones on stockpile plus the ones which will be mined during the year.


If you have designed a factoryless race, you obviously don't want to bother building factories but mines you'll still need.


As usual ARs are different, they don't build mines nor factories. But usually the AR ability to mine isn't sufficient to answere all the demand, thus ARs might find it more necessary than other PRTs to produce ships with mining robots. And only the AR can use these ships for mining own planets.


[Updated on: Fri, 20 January 2012 10:21]

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Research Fri, 20 January 2012 10:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Research
Stars default setting for research is 15%. This is by no means ideal. The ideal would be to 0% and spending only leftover ressources on research once your production queues have run green (or you stop the production of factories and mines on your HW for a while when 25% are reached). Any leftover ressources from a planet will be automatically spent on research, even if your research settings are 0%.

But as true as it is that in the beginning your ressources are best spent on producing factories and mines, there are exceptions:
  • Scouts: Producing scouts will be important or you will be blind and neither find other players nor other good planets for colonization.

  • Important Tech Items: The other early exceptions are tech items you judge important to have, eg elec 1 for the Rhino-Scanner, prop 2 for the fuel mizer, construction 3 for medium freighters (or con 4 for privateers with a longer range) which will become important once your colonists grow to 25% of the total number which can live on your planet and to ferry that pop to new planets. Those tech researches are usually best done in jumps.
For ARs which don't produce mines and factories, researching energy is vital. The level of energy tech has a direct influence of the ressources your weird lifeforms are able to gather.

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Scouting Fri, 20 January 2012 10:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Scouting
If you have the fuel mizer, you will surely want to outfit your scouts with it. The fuel mizer is cheap, low-tech and together with a fuel-pod allows scouts to move around at warp 9 most of the time.

Scouts with other engines will consume quite much fuel when ordered to move faster than the max speed of the engine. It is quite often to your advantage to do it nevertheless. Faster scouting doesn't only mean faster information about your surroundings and possibly less scouts you need to produce but also less or no time at all for your scouts in open space where they could be seen by other players.

Saving some micro-management:
If you direct your scout to a planet and give it the order to colonize and then direct it to other planets afterwards, Stars will automatically choose the fastest speed. After arrival Stars will give you a warning that you forgot to bring colonists, this warning you can just turn off.

Guessing the design of ships:
Only Warmongers know the exact designs of ships as soon as they spot them. All other PRTs need to engage those designs in battle to determine the exact design. But there are 3 important infos Stars will give you always about foreign designs in the fleet window:

1) the total weight of a fleet including cargo

2) leftclick gives you the number of different ships in a fleet (if there is more than 1 ship)

3) rightclick allows you to view either the design or at least the type of ship hull and always the weight without cargo.

Sometimes you can figure out a complete design by pooling your info about another player. And when subtracting the weight of the ship-types from the total fleetweight, you have as a result the cargo which is carried by the fleet (sometimes quite handy if an unknown freighter is heading for one of your planets and you expect a pop-invasion).


Further reading

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Colonisation Fri, 20 January 2012 10:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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COLONISATION

First some catchwords:
  1. Purpose of colonisation: economical - strategical
  2. When to colonise: 25%: greens - 33%: yellows - 42%: filling up low-hab planets
  3. How to colonise: in stealth - with speed - in force

Purpose of colonisation
The purpose of colonisation is obviously to keep up your growth of pop, factories and mines... for economical reasons. If you find a good green planet above 80%, jump for it, the terminus for such a planet is "breeder" since it can play the same role as your HW. And they allow follow-up-colonisation of planets too far away for your HW but perhaps rather near to your breeder. Other than that, the same rules and numbers of growth apply to breeders as to your HW. In fact, you can call your HW your best breeder.

To gain the best growth, you usually colonise your planets in a strict order of best hab to worst hab.

But since you aren't playing Simcity and completly on your own but Stars and compete with some other really mean humans, there are also strategical considerations. Those are plenty and I'll mention only some
  • cluster control: You see a nice cluster of let's say 5 stars. The first player to establish a presence there, will most likely control the cluster and can keep other players away.

  • claiming territory: If you manage to establish a cordon of colonised planets, you can control the space within and keep other players away. Afterwards you have the time to colonise the planets within. If you do it the other way around, those cordon or border planets may be taken by other players meanwhile, perhaps threatening even your core because they managed to establish a wedge into your territory.

  • a wedge into (possible) enemy territory: Well, you can do, of course, exactly the same, colonising in a way that it is like a wedge into another player's territory which gives you a splendid future position to threaten and attack his planets. Since this might be not very much liked by the other player, make sure to secure such planets.

  • denying an opponent the space to grow: This strategy is obvious when you are for example in the NW corner and then discover that there is another player located even more in the corner. Cut him off by colonising, shoot down his ships which try to break thru. Since you deny him space to grow, his growth rate will decline in comparison to yours. Soon you will view the cornered player as a fruit to pick at will (mostly when you have gained a comfortable advantage in tech and ressources).

    This tactic can be applied not only against players in a corner. Sometimes the same result as a corner occures due to several hostile neighbours.

  • Gates: can have a mean effect. If, for example, you manage to establish a colony within 1-year travel time to an important enemy planet or even his HW, once you get up a gate, all of your fleet (which fits somehow thru gates) is actually just 2 years away from orbiting the enemy HW: 1 year for gating, 1 year for moving.
Needless to say that the best planets are those which you colonise for both reasons: economical and strategical.


When to colonise
The growth of your population is connected with:
  • hab value of planet
  • capacity of planet or rather to how much it is filled up
Your population growth rate is multiplied with the hab value of your planet. Your HW is always a 100% green for you and thus your pop will grow at the full rate. It is unlikely that you will find another planet starting with 100% (except you have chosen the very expensive 3-immune settings for your race). Here your pop will grow best.

But it won't grow at the best rate forever. After your planet is filled to 25%, the growth rate will decline. An example:

Pop growth with 19% on 100% planet, no OBRM, no JOAT:
pop    cap%  growth  growth%
250k   25%   47.5k   19.0%
333k   33%   50.0k   15.0%
420k   42%   47.5k   11.3%
500k   50%   42.0k    8.4%

You notice that the total growth of your pop is highest at 33%, and surprisingly the same at 42% as it is at 25%, although your percentage growth is a lot less and best at 25% filled capacity. The
...

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Diplomacy Fri, 20 January 2012 10:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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DIPLOMACY

I am myself not very good at diplomacy and often lack the patience. Luckily Scott Phelps wrote some really superb articles about diplomacy: Sharing p-files
When you have got an ally, the problem arises how best to share information. For this purpose Stars allows to share your planetary and fleet data. To do so, go to "REPORTS" => "EXPORT" => UNIVERSE, PLANET, FLEET DATA. The most helpful is the export planet data function which writes all your knowledge about planets into a file called "gamename.p".

If you modify the stars.ini file (which can be found in your windows directory), all the exported files get your playernumber attached which is quite helpful to keep them apart from your ally's. Just insert the line newreports=1 in the section[Misc]

To visualize those data, there are 2 tools which are probably best suited for the task:
  1. Stars! Notebook (258kb) by Andrei Romanov
    Hint: You need to type the race names in their singular form.

  2. Xtreme Borders
    The software can be found in the submenu "The Hangar" at the website Pirates Retreat.
    The direkt link to the Xtreme Borders install program: dlXB.zip (2.6 MB)
    After installing it, you should add the latest update: dlXBupdate.zip (106 kb)
Both programs come with handy mapping funtions and statistics about your own and other empires. As an example how those maps might look like and why they are helpful, have a look at: Infight.

Sharing m-files
Another very direct way to share information: you can share your m-file with your ally. You might even give away your up-/download password for autohost. The latter should obviously be only done when there is quite some trust between allies and perhaps also only when you consider the alliance to be lasting for the entire game. If nevertheless your alliance splits apart and you judge it important to change your up-/download password for autohost, send your host an email (host can change those passwords).

Type of alliance
Before you start to exchange information with another player, think about the nature of your alliance: is it only a temporary one, is it supposed to last only for the task to bring down a certain player or is it an alliance to last all-game to share vicory (or defeat). Mostly it is wise not to give out everything in a rush but in a process over time in which trust can be built up.

Defining a way out of the agreement
Always allow a way out of an alliance or a NAP. Include a subclause how and with what time schedule it is possible to cancel the agreement. What's true about marriage, should be also true for a game: a way out without backstabbing. When the time comes that a treaty needs to be cancelled, mostly you'll discover that some things become important but you hadn't thought of it when making the agreement. Be generous and allow additional procedures for a satisfying end of the alliance for both sides. It pays off because it's a game and you do it for fun. And the Stars-community is small, you'll most likely see each other again. A properly cancelled alliance with no hard feelings on both sides and next time you might be both happily allying with each other again.

If you have already made a NAP or alliance without agreeing on a proper procedure how to cancel it, make it now!... even if this is the only clause in your alliance, NAP or whatever.
...



[Updated on: Mon, 23 January 2012 19:07]

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War: Assembling your first Fleet for Conquest (destroyer and cruiser era) Fri, 20 January 2012 10:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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To my utter regret time is pressing me and there is never enough time to write the thorough strat-article about the ins and outs of warfare in Stars (and most likely that's not even possible because you might have heard THE usual starting phrase "It depends...". So, before perhaps waiting several month before finding the time to finish the article, I've decided to post what's finished so far. Chapters will be added from time to time.

War: Assembling your first Fleet for Conquest (destroyer and cruiser era)

What's the problem
The most difficult decisions in Stars are how to allocate your precious ressources:
* into building factories and/or terraforming
* into research
* or into ship production.

Duels in which you are fighting 1:1 follow a different logic than multiplayer games. In a duel you might be doing ok if your opponent looses as much as you do. In a multiplayer game this only means that all other players are gaining in comparison to you and your opponent.

A typical example: you and your neighbour are about even, skirmishes along your borders increase with each year, soon both of you are sending dozens of destroyers and frigates against each other, equipped with yakis and beta torps with some old xrays mixed in. After 12 years of fierce and intense fighting you finally manage to conquere the planet or cluster which was in the way of your expansion. With the pride in your heart of a hard won victory you suddenly discover another player's fleet coming your way and shocked you realize that you are totally outclassed in tech and numbers.

In Stars you not only need to win the war but also the next one.

Having made such kind of experiences leads many players to the opposite behaviour: instead of too early wars, they fight no wars at all but try to gain battleships first (if not even nubians) and at least weap-tech-level 16. This is not only quite boring but also a lacking strategy in case another player or alliance engages into quite successful wars and succeeds in ruling half the galaxy and soon also the little spot of the peaceful researcher.

As usual, Stars has no single strat how to win but everything is dependent on the surrounding and what your opponents are doing... which, by the way, makes it d###ed difficult to write this small article. But probably you get the point that it is important to know your galaxy to make the right decisions... let's call it scouting, scouting, scouting.

When to build your first Fleet
Warships aren't build for their beauty alone but to enlarge your ressources by other means. And your ressources aren't an end in themselves, either, but you try to grow them all the time to beat also your last and not only your first opponent. So the correct question is:

When is the point where it is economical to build a Fleet for Conquest?

The question when is closely connected with the question why. Let's say, so far you have invested most of your ressources into expanding your territory by colonisation, growing pop and building factories. But since quite a while your expansion hasn't gone outside but rather inside by colonising bad or yellow planets which you have skipped in the first rush. The reason for this is usually that you have met neighbours, borders, resistance. With some of those neighbours you might have a formal or informal non-aggression-pact (NAP), with others the skirmishing is increasing every year and one you deem weak enough to give you an easy victory and to gain fat green planets you see beyond the border. Your first war should be about fat green planets: after expansion by colonisation now you are trying to expand by conquest. There is no fixed year to this development and it may vary from game to game considerably based on the size of the universe, number of players and several other factors.

Running out of space is by no means the only reason to wage war, sometimes it is as simple as that you see a good and easy opportunity to strike against an opponent. Nevertheless you should always keep in mind the economic impact a war will h
...



[Updated on: Fri, 20 January 2012 11:39]

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Public Player Score Fri, 20 January 2012 10:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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PUBLIC PLAYER SCORE

In some beginner games and some duels the option "Public Player Scores" is chosen. Wether this is the case or not and when they will be shown, you can usually see in the game announcement. Otherwise you can just check this and other game parameters by going to the upper Stars menu bar, choose "VIEW" and then "Game parameters...".

If the public player scores start showing, probably half of you feel like being somehow marked, may it be because you are ranked high and expect everybody to gang up on you or the contrary: being ranked low and expect everybody to see you as an easy target. Well, that's one of the reasons why public rankings are not used very often. Another important reason is that the public rankings give you information which you usually should have tried to gain yourself by scouting. And all those scouting efforts (and investments) are rendered a bit superfluous by public rankings.

But in a beginner game it might be nevertheless helpful for you to get a feeling for a game which you aren't anylonger playing alone with some AIs but to evaluate your endeavours and race design in contest with other human players.

The main problem with the rankings: they are often enough quite misleading. Do not look on the rank alone but carefully try to analyze also the other infos. A factoryless race will most likely be never leading the ranks in ressources but may nevertheless be the strongest player in the galaxy. While you are still investing 80% of your ressources into building more and more factories, the factoryless race can invest nearly everything in tech and producing ships. Which might lead the factoryless player to the conclusion that he better attacks you BEFORE you are ready with building all your factories.

Often enough you see players with low ressources leading the ranks in tech, what could this tell you? Or there is a player who neither leads in ressources nor tech but is ranked first, often enough because he has the most planets. This is because many of the points given by the Stars ranking system are connected with the number of planets you own. But does it make you really the strongest player if you have 40 planets of which 30 are small and very difficult to defend?

By the way: a simple scout with a x-ray laser is already considered an escort ship. The ranks showing a player with 40 escort ships is a scary thing, especially if you yourself have just 2 armed ships. But it would be helpful to know wether those are x-ray scouts or cruisers with bazookas...

Stars ranking point system
  • Planets: 1-6 pts, 1 pt for each 100,000 colonists

  • Starbases: 3 pts each (does not include Orbital Forts)

  • Unarmed Ships: 1/2 pt for each unarmed ship (up to the number of planets you own).

  • Escort Ships: 2 pts for each Escort ship (up to the number of planets you own)
    (An escort ship has a power rating greater than 0 and less than 2000)

  • Capital Ships: (8 x NumCapitalShips x NumPlanets)/(NumCapitalShips + NumPlanets)
    (A Capital ship has a power rating of greater than 1999)

  • Tech Levels: 1 pt for levels 1-3, 2 pts for levels 4-6, 3 pts for levels 7-9, 4 pts for level 10 and above

  • Resources: 1 pt for every 30 resources
For more infos about the Stars public player score, use the Find option of your Stars! Help and search for Score Sheet. If you haven't got the FIND-option in your help, update your help-file (see e27ihelp.zip there).

In general, while ranks are always interesting to look at, don't overrate them.


[Updated on: Mon, 23 January 2012 19:20]

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AutoHost is frozen Fri, 20 January 2012 10:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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AutoHost is frozen

Short: Upload your orders even if autohost is frozen. Your orders will be stored and used when the server is restarted. But your orders will not be shown as "in" with the usual time stamp on the game page. Once up again the server will catch up with missed gens.

What's the problem?
Such things happen from time to time at autohost and aren't really a problem: Once Ron, the admin, will notice the problem and finds the time, he'll restart the server and every game will automatically continue. Usually the reason is a new game and the host passworded the hst-file, sometimes there are problems with special scenario-games and sometimes nobody can really figure out what exactly caused the problem but there are lots of possibilities for an old Win 3.1 game on a today's server.

Orders
You can and should upload your orders nevertheless. the orders will be stored and used whenever the server gets on again. You can even update orders. But it will all happen unseen, no message and time stamp will appear on the game page as you are used to normally. So, if you are in doubt wether you have already uploaded your orders or not, better redo it to be on the save side.

Why uploading orders when everything is stopped?
Because technically the game is NOT on hold and once the server is up again, the server will catch up with with everything what it should had done including genning at once if this should had been done 12h ago for example. If you have uploaded your orders, they'll be used. Without having uplaoded your orders, you'll miss the turn. Sometimes the server is only frozen for a short time and most players and hosts won't even notice it. So, don't forget to upload your orders and assume that the normal genning schedule will be followed.

On hold
You have probably guessed by now that there is a fundamental difference when the game is "on hold". The host needs to manually restart the game while "frozen" means that the game will automatically restart once the server is restarted which is out of control of the host but done by the guy running autohost.

If a host notices that autohost is frozen usually the host will set the game on hold but as mentioned above: don't count on it.

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Stars! Copy Protection Fri, 20 January 2012 10:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Copy Protection

Stars uses a rather uncommon copy protection. In depth you can read about it in the articles linked below.

The short version:

1) Using 2 computers:
Installing Stars on 2 computers and transfering your x-file with the orders to and fro is a prime candidate to trigger the copy protection.
How to avoid it: Before uploading your orders, make sure that you
* load your orders into Stars (just open your m-file which will load the orders automatically if in the same directory)
* then delete the x-file with the orders on your hard-disc
* recreate your x-file by saving (ctrl-s) within Stars.
The newly created x-file you can safely upload.

2) Doing orders for your ally because he is gone for some days:
The same applies as above with the same workaround.
Please, inform the host BEFORE you do orders for your ally. In general it's possible but every host wants to know about it.

3) Using the same serial as another player:
Don't do it!
Ron, the admin of this forum, can give you a unique serial number: Getting serial numbers
If you haven't got one yet, inform your host at once and get one!

Links:
* Stars Help about copy protection
* Copy protection - allies making orders for each other
* Installing on a second machine:


[Updated on: Mon, 23 January 2012 19:24]

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Tech Trading Fri, 20 January 2012 10:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Tech Trading
In some games you aren't allowed to trade tech, in some only with your ally, in some with everybody. Make sure to know the specific rules applying to your game.

There are superb articles about the different ways how to do it:
There are pros and cons for each method, only a few of them are:
  • vast distance between tech traders may only allow wolf/lamb method because wolves can be transfered
  • if only specific techs should be transfered, trade via pop invasion is mostly not the right choice
  • wold/lamb and scrapping are rather expensive for continous tech trade but might be cheapest for only a few trades
  • between 2 traders and for continous trade, pop invasion is the cheapest version
  • within a bigger alliance wolf/lamb might be the cheapest, fastest and most specific version
  • sometimes time is essential and several methods of trade might be used together

Here a short list how fast (in the best case) a tech might be transfered after research from one to others:
  1. 0 turns: Invasion - You can get the tech the same turn as your ally
  2. 2 turns: Wolf/Lamb - 1 turn to build the lamb + 1 turn to move lamb to wolves
  3. 3 turns: scrapping - 1 turn to build lamb + 1 turn to move/gate to ally's starbase + 1 turn to scrap
Sometimes it's important in which order Stars! works down the different stages of one turn. For example: With a pop invasion done by a waypoint-0 order, you can't get the tech your ally is researching in the very same year because research is done a little bit later. But you might gain this tech with a pop invasion done by a waypoint-1 order. For the exact order when which thing is done when Stars processes a turn, see the up-do-date kept thread here:
* Order of Events

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Stars! version & Help File with Find-tool Fri, 20 January 2012 11:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Stars! version and Help File

Most of you will have downloaded the starsjrc4.exe file from the autohost-download area. As a matter of fact you are supposed to use either this file, refered to as a the jrc4-patch or for those who prefer the German translation, to use the STARS27JRC3-GERMAN.ZIP, refered to as the jrc3-patch (German).

In both downloads the Stars!-help file is not included. While there are some glitches and some errors which evolved during the different versions and updates, nevertheless the Help file is indeed very helpful and I can recommend it very much. The most up-to-date help-file even comes with an additional very handy FIND option.

* e27ihelp.zip
- read the ReadMe.txt for information how to install it (depending on your system: linux, apple or one of the newest Windows version there might be further information needed which you might best ask in the Bar at autohost)
- contains slightly updated Stars!.hlp, 2 dll-files and a ReadMe.txt with troubleshooting infos
- includes additional feature: quick search within the help (very handy)
- on other websites this help-update comes as e27ihelp.exe but I made it a zip-file (running an unknown exe-file is always a bit creepy)

Once the files are added you can access the Help with pressing F1 within Stars. There you can even make bookmarks/Lesezeichen to easily access information about PRTs, LRTs, movement & battle etc.

Alternatively several players have worked to bring together this help-file in an online-version on the Stars!Wiki (although I don't know wether it is already complete):
* Stars!Wiki Stars! Help online

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Wild mix of hints Fri, 20 January 2012 11:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
Commander

Messages: 1068
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin

Wild mix of hints while looking over the shoulders of the Fledgling Admiral players:
  1. Keep in mind the special abilities or components of your race. Just a few examples:
    a) ITs can gate pop and minerals.
    b) HEs can make great usage of the Settler's Delight engine by not building freighters or privateers but an armada of mini colonizers equipped with col mod for colonisation or a cargo pod to boost its capacity or a fuel pod to serve as fuel ship. Since those mini-coloniser are so cheap, they can be used even for scouting by either just orbiting an planet to warn you of incoming ships or giving you the planet's data by colonising it.
    c) Super Stealth can make great usage of the transport cloak.
    d) ARs can (and often enough must) use their col ships' ability to bomb other players' planets with spores (2000 kills per turn per col pod).
    e) JoaT scout-ships, frigates and destroyers have the ability to scan their surrounding even without a scanner.
    f) IS colonists grow in freighters at halved growth: use it by not filling up your freighters to the max.

  2. Don't forget to scout. If you haven't found enough green planets and your HW is starting to crowd at over 30% capacity (press F3 to see a table with all your planets' stats), build more scouts. By now most HWs are already above the important 25% capacity line and it might be difficult to ferry away all the pop, often enough around 50k each year. The small freighter is inefficient because it's too small and too expensive in comparison to the medium freighter. Go for the medium freighter even if you need to research some levels in construction. The medium freighter has a rather high cost in germanium, okay for -f, bad for the germ-hungry factory builders. The privateers can be equipped with fuel pods and become long range transports or colonizers and do cost almost no germ at all... but are very ironium hungry.

  3. Try to identify your neighbours. Some PRTs are easily identified, others are tricky but most can be guessed when carefully looking at your reports.

  4. If you have spent lots of points to get the fuel mizer, use it! It's the best early engine you can get. Better than the grasshopper, better even than the daddy long leg 7 because the mizer is cheaper and uses less fuel when mercilessly run at warp 9 to get afap to the planets of your choice. The only exception are warships where you might use the DDL7 or higher engines to gain the better battle speed.

  5. Defenses... build them wisely or perhaps not at all. They need lots of ressources and minerals and thus should be only built when really needed. Mostly offense is the better choice. 100 defenses cost 1500 minerals and 1500 ressources. You can build a small armada of ships for this price.

  6. Don't overdo building early warships. Some are great as escorts or to hunt down your neighbours freighters. But early torps, especially the alpha torp are more or less useless and the early lasers like the blue one and the red xray are soon completly outdated.

  7. In the long run one should always have in mind not to build too many designs since you can't have more than 16. But in the beginning you can recycle outdated designs quite well by joining them with a colonizer: the newly colonized planet will receive 75% of the minerals the ships consist of, a good start and without filling up precious cargo space. Minerals within the cargo bays are, of course, unloaded to 100% during the colonisation.

  8. Research in jumps.

  9. Give your scouts, ships and planets orders for several years in advance. Not only does this help you to get a better overview and plan of what you are doing, you can also safely miss a turn without much harm done.

  10. Colonizing lots of planets with just 2500 colonist... well, I've already mentioned in another post that I think this is dangerous and with no merit. Colonizing red unhabitable planets at this stage of the game is definetly not recommended. What for are you doing it?

  11. Crowding your HW upto 50% capacity will give you huge problems in a very few years. You need those colonists on colonies
...



[Updated on: Mon, 23 January 2012 19:32]

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Re: Some basics about Stars! for beginners Fri, 20 January 2012 13:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Eagle of Fire

 
Lt. Commander

Messages: 809
Registered: December 2008
Location: GMT -5
Personal tip for the Fledgling Admiral players, especially the moderately advanced players who happen to play along beginners: don't hold back in your race creation.

One might think it is better not to go overboard with race creation when you are one of the only few moderately advanced players participating... However, this will most likely come back to haunt you.

Always give your maximum in race creation. Whatever kind of game you participate in.



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Re: Some basics about Stars! for beginners Tue, 24 January 2012 01:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
magic9mushroom is currently offline magic9mushroom

 
Commander

Messages: 1361
Registered: May 2008
Eagle of Fire wrote on Sat, 21 January 2012 05:13

Personal tip for the Fledgling Admiral players, especially the moderately advanced players who happen to play along beginners: don't hold back in your race creation.

One might think it is better not to go overboard with race creation when you are one of the only few moderately advanced players participating... However, this will most likely come back to haunt you.

Always give your maximum in race creation. Whatever kind of game you participate in.


With the proviso that you must know how much micro you can handle over the timeframe of a whole game. "Ease of play" is something to factor into your race design and playstyle.

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Corrupt race file due to changed race name Thu, 30 May 2013 15:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
Commander

Messages: 1068
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin
Mac1 wrote on Wed, 29 May 2013 20:25
Ok, made some race, but have problem with corrupt every time i want to change name.
Can some1 remind me what was the algorithm to do that ? :)
Thanks


For the next time:
The race file becomes corrupt when the new name has more or less spells (letters/characters) than the old name. 1 character more or less is fine.
So there are 2 workarounds:
a) doing the race file anew from scratch
b) adding or subtracting only 1 letter/character, save, exit, open, change another...

Examples:
old: Wanderer (8 letters)
new: Ogerolfe (8 letters)
No problem should occur because both names have the same number of spells.

old: Waderer (7 letters with typo)
new: Wanderer (8 letters)
No problem should occur because the number of letters differs only by 1.

old: Wanderer (8 letters)
new: Urug (4 letters)
Race file probably corrupt.

Changing race name in steps (change, save, exit, open, change...)
old: Wanderer (8 letters)
new: Urugere (7 letters)
new: Uruger (6 letters)
new: Uruge (5 letters)
new: Urug (4 letters)
Should work.


[Updated on: Mon, 23 April 2018 10:05] by Moderator


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Re: Corrupt race file due to changed race name Wed, 04 January 2017 11:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Entropicurity is currently offline Entropicurity

 
Petty Officer 1st Class

Messages: 62
Registered: November 2007
Location: Northern Indiana, USA

Just wanted to point out that this guide/help was GREATLY appreciated!

Especially the parts regarding early engagement and what a "fleet" truly consist of (Warships, Bombers, and Aux.). Now learning how to apply that with each race/game is going to be fun to try out. As an old player getting re-introduced all the hard work you put into this really helps out a lot.

Thank you!



--
"A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials." - Chinese Proverb

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Re: Some basics about Stars! for beginners Mon, 09 January 2017 21:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
talkingbologna is currently offline talkingbologna

 
Senior Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 86
Registered: November 2016
Location: 1947
Quote:
Just wanted to point out that this guide/help was GREATLY appreciated!


I agree, thank you Altruist. I recently paid attention to the part about one click loading.


[Updated on: Mon, 09 January 2017 21:01]

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Re: Some basics about Stars! for beginners Thu, 12 January 2017 12:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
Commander

Messages: 1068
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin
You are welcome.

I am delighted that the articles can be really helpful.

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Re: Some basics about Stars! for beginners Thu, 12 January 2017 23:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
talkingbologna is currently offline talkingbologna

 
Senior Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 86
Registered: November 2016
Location: 1947
Yah, still learning something new each time I peruse.

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Re: Some basics about Stars! for beginners Sat, 18 February 2017 19:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
LittleEddie is currently offline LittleEddie

 
Lieutenant
Helped track down one or more Stars bugs

Messages: 517
Registered: February 2011
Location: Delaware
I would like to add something about cheating in Stars! on AutoHost for any new player.

Disclaimer: I don't run AutoHost, I'm just a player and I have hosted a few games over the years.

First off I would like to say that it is possible to cheat in Stars! and that is one of the main reasons that you should want to play on Autohost.

On AutoHost for most games we have a non-playing host and after the game is up and running, his/her main job is to check and make sure that the players are playing by the rules of AutoHost and for that game. To do this he/she does have to have access to every players turn and most hosts do keep a backup of every turn by year.

Why?

Because we don't really like cheating here, we think the game should be played so that all players have an equal chance of winning based on their skill and to increase the skill of those that play and don't win.

Little Eddie:
P.S. Thinking about it, I've never won a game of Stars! on AutoHost that I've started, but I love playing Stars!.







[Updated on: Mon, 23 April 2018 10:07] by Moderator


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Re: Some basics about Stars! for beginners Sat, 18 February 2017 21:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
magic9mushroom is currently offline magic9mushroom

 
Commander

Messages: 1361
Registered: May 2008
LittleEddie wrote on Sun, 19 February 2017 11:31
I would like to add something about cheating in Stars! on Autohost for any new player.

Disclaimer: I don't run Autohost, I'm just a player and I have hosted a few games over the years.

First off I would like to say that it is possible to cheat in Stars! and that is one of the main reasons that you should want to play on Autohost.

On Autohost for most games we have a non-playing host and after the game is up and running, his/her main job is to check and make sure that the players are playing by the rules of Autohost and for that game. To do this he/she does have to have access to every players turn and most hosts do keep a backup of every turn by year.

Why?

Because we don't really like cheating here, we think the game should be played so that all players have an equal chance of winning based on there skill and to increase the skill of those that play and don't win.

Little Eddie:
P.S. Thinking about it, I've never won a game of Stars! on Autohost that I've started, but I love playing Stars!.

It is possible for a non-playing host to umpire a non-AutoHost game. They need all the race passwords or a means of reading .HST files, but it can be done. AH is a convenience, not a necessity IIRC.

Of course, by the same token, a playing host can undetectably "screen-cheat" in any non-AutoHost game with a .HST file reader.

There was a hubbub about .m file sanitation, which would have required AH - or at least, access to a sanitiser - to prevent, but it eventually came out that JRC4 blanked most of the data that could be extracted.

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Your very first Stars-turn Mon, 27 February 2017 13:43 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
Commander

Messages: 1068
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin
The first Stars-turn in a game run at autohost

You might have (should have) played a few games of Stars alone against the AIs and if only to get familiar with the interface. And now you have joined your first game at autohost against other humans. Some of the necessary steps are already explained in the 3rd post, some not as I realized only now.

1) Announcement and race file
Most likely there was a thread in the forums and after a while the chosen host declares that the game is ready to start and sets a deadline to sent in the race files. Well, you design your race file and then you sent it either via email or personal message within autohost (just click on the nick to the left, a page shows up and in the lower part there is an option to send a PM-personal message) which also allows attachements.

The minimum test you should have done before is to load your race file into Stars to see wether it is perhaps corrupted, a test game to see for yourself in an at least AI-environment how your race design fares is also always a good idea.

If the host is also playing in the game you should set a password in your race file. If he is not playing this is optional.

What info should you sent to the host:
* game name (if the host is running several games with each 8 players it is easy to get confused otherwise)
* race file
* your email-address you want autohost to use to send you the new turns
* your nick or name you want autohost to show on the game page
* your nick/login-name you use at autohost in the forums

2) Your first email from autohost: "Your AutoHost upload password"
So the host has sent the necessary files to Ron (who is running autohost) and after a while you receive your first email from autohost: "Your AutoHost upload password":

*Your turn upload password is: ****
*This is for game: ****, player *
*starsautohost.org/games/****.htm

Follow the link in the 3rd line and you will find the gamepage where you can up-/download all necessary files. Bookmark it. You will visit this page a lot in the coming month. If your browser has the option give it a short nick.

You will see your empire's name and your nick and to the right a link to the m-file. You can click on it to download it, type in the password autohost has sent you. Usually this manual download is only necessary for the very first turn, afterwards you will get your m-file sent directly and automatically by email.

What you will also need is the xy-file, the file in which the universe is defined. You can find it in the upper right corner: Universe definition file.xy
Download it into the same directory you put your m-file.

Well, now you are ready to go and the other steps are already described in the 3rd post.

3) First orders/turn
What's easily forgotten and to avoid making your host angry: In most game-announcements there were some rules defined, apply them if necessary.
For example quite often, you are only allowed to set your ally as "Friend" and are supposed to set every other player to "Enemy". You can do so within Stars in the menu under "Commands" and then choose "Player Relations".
Other than that you want to make yourself familiar with the surroundings of your homeworld (HW), produce a few scouts, give your starting ships some orders and establish an automated production queue for your factories and mines.
For the very first turn the host sets the "game on hold". Only after every player managed to upload his/her first orders, the agreed upon time schedule will be activated.

4) Misc
Here some additional things I usually do at the start of a new game and found very handy.
Besides creating a short cut for starting Stars with your m-file, see 3rd post, I also create a shortcut for a simple text-file where I store some helpful information:

a) Game name, starting date, link to the announcement of the game, host's name and email-address

b) Link to the game page and your upload password.

c) Your password for the race file (actually that yo
...



[Updated on: Mon, 27 February 2017 13:48]

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