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Lamentations of the Damned: Playing Far Horizons for the very first time
#31
ENTRY TWELVE

My empire continues to suffer under the Curse of the Moderator, a soulless entity that appears to be mindless, as well, since he suffers under the self-imposed delusion that I have "puzzled it out." The truth of the matter lies at the far end of the galaxy from the game moderator's understanding of the dilemma that I find myself in.

To make matters worse, to add insult to injury, Ixnay the Space Pheasant preens ceaselessly from the Blog Hell of the Consortium of his empire's good fortune in traversing and colonizing the galaxy. This Cockapea's conspiracy does not go unnoticed! With methodical mindlessness, he treads the path to intergalactic Hell. Conflagration awaits his Consortium ilk and the disease of their spread to other worlds. Like common vermin, the Consortium must be eradicated. No trace of their species' worthless existence will be left intact, 'ere this conflict is over.

In exceedingly ancient techno-runes, the secret to planetary colonization lies. What manner of madness is this game manual? It is a Consortium plot, no doubt, one that was left to lie in wait to ambush us, in our bid to conquer the stars. Foolish cretins! How brazen they are in their deceit, but we are not lambs to be led so easily to slaughter. When I, at long last, hold their homeworld in my grip, then shall they know the power that is but my own to command!

The worldforge that is my empire's industry now grows by leaps and bounds. If need be, I shall ravage my empire's homeworld to obtain the implements of war necessary to smite these Consortium fools. Such a small price to pay for galactic greatness.

What's this? FOOLS!! Can you not be entrusted with even the simplest of tasks? Why do I tolerate your weakness? You dare bring word to me that one of our starships has mis-jumped? You think me gullible? You live to serve me. I am not blind to Consortium sabotage. This is an act of war!
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#32
ENTRY THIRTEEN

Once more into the fray of issuing orders for my empire. The denizens of my realm are lost without me. Mere minions, they be.

How very unfortunate, then, that translation of the techno-rune that is the game manual for Far Horizons: The Awakening remains incomplete. Confound the race of extra-dimensional devils that created it!

Planetary colonization. Ah, a novel concept. My empire has mastered faster than light travel, yet my minions are clumsy in their attempts to colonize other worlds. How is it that we have mastered the stars, yet remain slaves of mere planets? My wrath shall be great, my fury truly on a galactic scale, if these obstacles to intergalactic greatness are not overcome soon.

The Consortium's man pigs snort loudly of their expertise in this area. Pah! Their celebration of their accomplishments shall be cut short by my war fleets. We shall see how well these fools celebrate, when they lie dying in the rubble heaps that were once their cities.

But, how is it that these miserable creatures, this sniveling upstart of a species, has managed to progress so fast? Conspiracy!! Clearly, they are in league with others. They receive aid and assistance from others, from some other space-faring species. My spies fail me. I grow displeased, once more.

And where is that confounded game moderator, anyway? He tests my patience. It has been a full minute. Where are my empire's turn results??

Why must I suffer the indignity of being beset by such fools?
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#33
ENTRY FOURTEEN

Confusion reigns!! What an utterly confusing game. Last turn, my ships jumped and scanned, just fine. This time around, nothing. I am miffed. I am befuddled. I am lost - lost in space, once again.

I had a tech level to increase on its own, this turn. I also have the technology, now, to build some kind of gun turret. I don't want to build that turret, though. Thumbs down! Thumbs down! Thumbs down! I think that I will print this set of turn results out, just so that I can crumple it up and toss it into the trash can.

Can somebody invade my homeworld and eliminate me, already?

I did an electronic search of the rulebook, just now, and I don't see any mention of the word turret in it. My empire doesn't build turrets. Will we be able to build widgets, next? How about cogs? Or sprockets?

Cogsworth Cogs, here I come!

Meet George Jetson...
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#34
Section A of the Rulebook is titled "High Tech Items and Capabilities"
A.4 on page 75 is titled "Auxiliary Gun Units"
"A species with a Military tech level of at least 10 may build Auxiliary Gun Units. These units are carried as
cargo and add to a warship's existing o ffensive power. Basically, these units can be used to convert unused
cargo space into additional o ffensive capacity."

I have to admit that I'm confused about how you can have such a hard time with this game. I have never before played this game, but I read the manual and read the Getting Started guides and I began playing with little trouble. Perhaps my Computer Science schooling makes it easier for me to understand and fill out the orders. Or perhaps I just have far more free time on my hands to read the manual and related guides.

I would recommend adding the AUTO command to your POST-ARRIVAL orders, as per section 9.9 (pages 55 and 56) of the rulebook, as it will automatically fill out part of your orders for the next turn, such as issuing instructions for your TR1 ships to jump to the nearest unvisited star system and run a system SCAN. The AUTO command was also mentioned in the Hints for Beginners article which can be found on the Far Horizons website.
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#35
Very well, I will end this attempt to provide a diary of thoughts from my perspective as a player. No further entries will be made.

The confusion, this time about, emanates from copying and pasting orders that worked the last turn, but didn't work this turn.

I did review the section of the rules on Auxiliary Gun Units. It's not as though I haven't reviewed the game manual, at all.

What is the point of utilizing AUTO orders, when one doesn't understand how to do the actual orders manually, first?

It is irrelevant to me if you or twenty-five thousand other players comprehend how to play the game. In order for me to play it, then I must comprehend the rules, also. The simple fact of the matter is, I don't. If the game manual is so easy to comprehend, then it shouldn't be revised further.
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#36
(04-07-2011, 05:25 AM)GrimFinger Wrote: Very well, I will end this attempt to provide a diary of thoughts from my perspective as a player. No further entries will be made.

The confusion, this time about, emanates from copying and pasting orders that worked the last turn, but didn't work this turn.

I did review the section of the rules on Auxiliary Gun Units. It's not as though I haven't reviewed the game manual, at all.

Your post made it seem that you couldn't find the entry for this new technology in the rulebook, so I directed you to it, and the entire section where you will find future technologies that you might develop.

Quote:What is the point of utilizing AUTO orders, when one doesn't understand how to do the actual orders manually, first?

The point is that as a new player to the game, you should employ the devices that are there to aid new players. Upon using the AUTO command, you can view the orders that the program proposes for you and figure out by example how to use those particular commands. You can then disregard these suggested orders if you so choose.

Quote:It is irrelevant to me if you or twenty-five thousand other players comprehend how to play the game. In order for me to play it, then I must comprehend the rules, also. The simple fact of the matter is, I don't. If the game manual is so easy to comprehend, then it shouldn't be revised further.

From my brief experience with you on the Road of Kings, you appear to find ample opportunity to prove your intellectual superiority, beat people over the head with your logic and debate skills, and prove that your understanding of Hyborian War is superior to theirs.

That is not what I was doing here. I was attempting to open a dialogue about what precisely is so difficult about this game, as well as offer you suggestions about how you can better fill out your orders. Does it require proficiency in Computer Science to easily process the order structure? Perhaps so. Is the rulebook too cumbersome to understand, except for those who have an inordinate amount of free time such as myself? Perhaps so. Maybe other people are finding it as difficult as you? Maybe everyone else is having an easy time of it? I don't know.

And this is your response?
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#37
Indeed, our experience with one another is brief. Where Hyborian war is concerned, I don't seek to prove intellectual superiority of anything. My experience, where that game is concerned, is that players tend to believe whatever they want to. There's a lot about that game that remains an unknown to anyone outside of RSI. My basic view on that game is that, once a player understands what a given kingdom is capable of, then it doesn't matter who is one's enemies are, whether they be new to the game or a veteran of many years.

The whole purpose of me playing in this game of Far Horizons: The Awakening (Galaxy Alpha) is so that I can learn how to play the game. In order to do that, I have to learn the order codes. Copying and pasting a SCAN order should work consistently, from turn to turn. Yet, it did not, this turn. Do I find that to be confusing? Very much so?

The rules contained within the current Game Manual are Seventh Edition rules. Thus, those who played the game long before I did evidently saw fit to revise, and re-revise the rules, time and time, again. That the game's rules and order codes are comprehended by some will translate into some being able to play the game. To increase the potential player base of the game, the learning curve needs to be reduced - particularly for those with zero prior experience with the game.

If I understand the rules and the order codes and the required syntax, then it becomes possible for me to help in revising the rulebook for an Eight Edition. If I do not understand them, then I can't assist with such an undertaking.

This diary was an attempt to provide feedback to the game's moderator, with an entertaining spin. I had hoped to utilize it to help him to better understand how a person new to the game approaches the game, and help him to identify potential stumbling blocks. Ixnay started a thread of his own, so of late, I thought that I would attempt to increase the rope play aspect of things - especially since the others in the game had chosen to remain so very quiet.

I have reviewed all of the documentation listed on the website for this game, as far as I know. Some of it I have reviewed more than once. It would be nice to have example turn orders to review. Instead, we have example turn results. Example turn results are useful for generating interest on the part of prospective players. Example turn orders would be useful for comprehending how to actually issue orders correctly. This is why I have mentioned them, previously.

With regard to the gun turrets issue, I comprehend what they are. It would not be uncommon, however, for a player who is new to the game to use the word "turret" to search the game manual with, particularly since that term appears on the turn results, themselves. Yet, it's not in the game manual. Why? What purpose is served by utilization of terms distinct to turn results, but not found in the game manual? Such only serves to increase confusion, not simply for myself, but for new players.

Also, since this was the first time that new specific items were gained by my empire, the game only drained my enthusiasm, when they appeared on my turn results for this turn. It was a net gain for my empire, to be certain, but I didn't particularly care for technology to manifest itself in the game this way, as a matter of game design.
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#38
(04-07-2011, 03:00 AM)GrimFinger Wrote: ENTRY FOURTEEN
Confusion reigns!! What an utterly confusing game. Last turn, my ships jumped and scanned, just fine. This time around, nothing. I am miffed. I am befuddled. I am lost - lost in space, once again.

I checked into this, turns out a BUG in order fetching caused some peoples orders to be zeroed out Sad

You're totally sane, don't worry. I'll be re-running the turn shortly.


Quote:This diary was an attempt to provide feedback to the game's moderator, with an entertaining spin. I had hoped to utilize it to help him to better understand how a person new to the game approaches the game, and help him to identify potential stumbling blocks.

And I do appreciate this log for exactly that reason. In fact if you hadn't expressed confusion over the SCAN orders, I might not have caught the bug and error.
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#39
(04-07-2011, 02:34 PM)Ramblurr Wrote: I checked into this, turns out a BUG in order fetching caused some peoples orders to be zeroed out Sad

You're totally sane, don't worry. I'll be re-running the turn shortly.

I sent you an e-mail, already. Two areas that I had ordered research for increased this last turn, under the now-old set of turn orders. Maybe they had increased on their own, also. So, maybe my turn orders for this turn did not get processed, at all, originally, even though I thought that only part of them had gotten processed this turn, when I sent that e-mail to you a few minutes ago.

Quote:This diary was an attempt to provide feedback to the game's moderator, with an entertaining spin. I had hoped to utilize it to help him to better understand how a person new to the game approaches the game, and help him to identify potential stumbling blocks.

(04-07-2011, 02:34 PM)Ramblurr Wrote: And I do appreciate this log for exactly that reason. In fact if you hadn't expressed confusion over the SCAN orders, I might not have caught the bug and error.

So, what was the source of this particular bug or error? When my turn orders arrive (I send them the same way, each turn), are they in text format? Or do they arrive in HTML format? Is the bug in question in the Far Horizons code? Or is it in third-party software that you are using to fetch all of our turn orders from your e-mail in-box?

With regard to the broader issue of the game manual, itself, players need to understand that just telling someone new to the game to read the 93 page manual, and to re-read the 93 page game manual, and to keep re-reading the 93 page game manual does not make the game or its rules more intuitive.

I have downloaded the game manual more than once. I am well aware of where the latest version of it is on my computer's hard drive. I refer to it quite frequently, in fact - usually more than once per turn, even when I only submit a very basic set of turn orders. I don't operate in a vacuum or a void oblivious to the game manual and the rule set that it encompasses.

It is not an objective of mine to read the rules until I memorize them. If I did that, then how I approached the game would likely be quiet different from how many potential new players to the game would likely approach the game.

Granted, it might very well be true that, if I really honest to God truly wanted to learn and play this game so that I could excel at it, then immersing myself in 93 pages of rules until it all sank in could very well be one way to accomplish that. Except, that's not my goal - not right now, anyway. It may never be my goal. At this stage of things, I honestly don't know if the game is worth investing that much time in.

According to the INTRODUCTION for the game: In addition to being a rich and realistic simulation, there are no true victory conditions|the game is played solely for enjoyment.

So, no matter how much that one excels at it, it is impossible to achieve victory. After all, no true victory conditions exist. Which begs the question of why myself or any other player should feel pressured to consume a game manual, over and over and over, until things just sink in and our respective light bulbs go off.

There are some things in this world, including some rather dry material, that I do enjoy reading. A 93 page set of rules for a game that I know very little about, one which was resurrected from the dustbin of history, is not exactly a well spring of excitement for me.

Once upon a time ago, the Seventh Edition of the game manual for Far Horizons may have sufficed, the question of why the rules needed that many revisions wholly aside. I do not think that the Seventh Edition of the game manual suffices, today - a full decade into the 21st Century. If it is relied upon, then I think that the game's potential pool of active players will be far less than it otherwise reasonably could be.

Do I nitpick the rules? Sure I do. Do I criticize them? Positively. In order to explain them to others, I must first be confident of them, myself.

Some of the rules don't even apply to the player just starting out. I know that much from actually exploring the game manual. So, when they are first starting out, no new players to the game actually need to concern themselves with having to read and digest 93 pages. If they do, then odds are, I think, that their chances of ending up confused about something - about anything - increase. If they become confused at all, then odds are, at least some of them will quit without giving the game much of a chance. How, exactly and specifically, that player dropouts impact other players of Far Horizons, I really have no clue, at this juncture in time.

Using Hyborian War as an example, many players of that game have debated various aspects of that game for years - even decades - on end. Some of the same issues are debated over and over and over, again. There are, I think, worse ways to sort through differences of opinion, than by debating issues under contention. It has nothing to do with intellectual superiority. I've been alive on this planet for almost 48 years, now, and on a day in, day out basis, I encounter very little that might be recognizable as "intellectual superiority."

My experience, over the years, has been that analyzing and debating an issue or a problem can be helpful to myself (and sometimes to others, also) in better grasping whatever it is that is under consideration.

Where Hyborian War is concerned, I am not aware of a single player of the game, as many veteran players of the game that I know and have encountered over the years, that even knows the full and complete sequence of how everything in the games code is processed.

One issue that arises again and again in Hyborian War is over something called mega-alliances. One can either approach such an issue from the standpoint of logic, or from some other standpoint. One of the beauties of logic is that no one holds a monopoly upon it.

A lot of discussion on issues that pertain to Hyborian War are not grounded in either fact or logic. I don't simply assume that those who designed that game intended that there be no mega-alliances, simply because numerous other individuals dislike mega-alliances, or because they have concluded, using their own vague criteria, that the game's designers were opposed to such. Heck, the famed Robert J. Bunker talked about mega-alliances back in 1989, in his Paper Mayhem article about Supernova II. Where that game was concerned, Robert stated, "Mega-alliances are acceptable in my mind also because they are not as strong as most players would think."

Source: Paper mayhem issue # 38
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#40
(04-07-2011, 04:01 PM)GrimFinger Wrote: According to the INTRODUCTION for the game: In addition to being a rich and realistic simulation, there are no true victory conditions|the game is played solely for enjoyment.

The above quote by myself from the Far Horizons game manual was a direct "copy and paste" operation.

Copying and pasting from the game manual is, thus, susceptible to syntax errors, it seems. The --- became a |, when copying and pasting into this forum. The same issue arose, when I copied and pasted it into my e-mail client, just now. It was also replicated, when I copied and pasted it into Notepad, and into Win2Pad.
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