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Open demo game - Printable Version

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Open demo game - ixnay - 10-08-2015

I started a "solo galaxy" to test out the waters and perhaps introduce the game abit and entice others to join our game.

If you contact Davin, register on his site, and ask to take part in the free playbymail game, then you will have an account with which you too can start your very own solo galaxy. Or, of course, you can live vicariously through me.

I begin playing Galaxy #64 by clicking around the web interface. It is simple, plain, and uncluttered. There is a lot of technical information availabe, but having read the rules I am able to make general sense of it. The first thing I look for is the map -- I want to see where I am in the galaxy. It's an ASCII character grid, depicting stars as asterisks, although it's customizable and responsive. It encapsulates neatly the past/future duality of this game. It looks like a print-out from 1982, but it's an interactive play-by-WEB game that seems to leverage modern technologies. You can even get your turn-report as an XML file, should you want to port the data into your own third-party database, spreadsheet, or XSLT display engine. Ancient and modern at the same time.

I start with a standard home system at the center-right of the 100x100 map, with all the other starts mapped but none "charted." This means I know they are there, but I don't know much else about them.

I begin with 10 "FX" freighters -- standard smallish ships each loaded with enough PI (production inventory) to launch one remote colony. They have 20 star drives, which means they can dart out pretty far across the map (20 spaces), but just 1 inertia drive -- enough to steam into a spacedock, but useless in combat.

I also have 10 "SC1" scout ships, tiny and cheap, intended to scout star systems first and warn of any trouble. If there were any reason to expect bad guys (or wandering monsters) in this game, I would probably keep my freighters home for the first turn and send a wave of scouts. But I might just kick-start things by scouting WITH my freighters and send the scouts further afield.

Rounding out my fleet, I have a couple of lightly armed patrol boats ("SK1" Skirmishers), a single armed carrier ("CV1J" -- the "jeep carrier"! -- clearly my flagship!) with a complement of 4 heavy fighters, and an immobile ST1 Space Station, bristling with armament for home defense. Everything is "tech level 1".

The "fighters" aren't akin to x-wings. They're more like corvettes, with more than double the armament of those patrol boats and (let's imagine) a crew of 200. They'd be hideously expensive, but because they lack star drives they are merely quite expensive. The carrier is more or less a rig to get these space frigates around. This reminds me of the old game Warp War.

There is a simple and useful ship design tool. It could use a couple of minor tweaks, but overall this is the kind of tight and easily understood game design that PBM ought to strive for. This design tool reflect this.

There is an order page on which you can record up to 50 orders. It uses a varying number of "argument" fields with each order, which should be quite familiar to any PBM gamer, but this page itself does not automation or error-checking. There IS an app available for download that is supposed to handle errors and support order writing, but I haven't installed it yet. I am leary of installing apps, and wish this functionality were available on a web site, or at least embedded in an Excel file. It would help to know what language or framework it was written in. It would also help to have a mac version, for those who are so inclined. But it is entirely optional -- you are able to draft your turn "manually", and it doesn't look too difficult.

Finally, the site offers a "suggest actions" button, which provides a set of actions you might consider issuing on turn one. Perhaps more importantly, it demonstrates several important orders -- how they work and how to write them. I will likely write my own, but this is a big help to be sure.

I will stop here for now. I'll submit at least one post per turn, and shoot for getting at least one turn per day submitted. Solo games can be played at your own pace, so I will get things moving more speedily once I get situated...


RE: Open demo game - ixnay - 04-29-2016

(placeholder post -- I edited a thread from several months ago, but want to bump this to alert thread-browsers -- scroll up to read)


RE: Open demo game - Davin - 04-29-2016

(10-08-2015, 11:20 PM)ixnay Wrote: There IS an app available for download that is supposed to handle errors and support order writing, but I haven't installed it yet. I am leary of installing apps, and wish this functionality were available on a web site, or at least embedded in an Excel file.  It would help to know what language or framework it was written in.  It would also help to have a mac version, for those who are so inclined.  But it is entirely optional -- you are able to draft your turn "manually", and it doesn't look too difficult.

The GTac app is freely available for download from the Galac-Tac web page and does only a minimal installation.  It makes use of the aforementioned XML download, which is available to anyone specifically for that purpose.

GTac is a Windows program (written in an ancient language called APL), but any programmers among you are welcome to write your own using the same XML data.  If you build something that you'd like others to use I'd be happy to host it on my web site alongside GTac.  That also goes for anyone that wants to write a Mac version of the tool, or better yet a phone-based version.  Unfortunately, GTac is far too fancy (especially the mapping) to put into Excel by itself (though it does include Excel data export facilities for those that would like to add additional features).  But if someone wants to build a simplified assistant that runs entirely in Excel, please be my guest and I'll host that for you, too.

I've avoided making the web site TOO fancy because I'd like it to be VERY portable, to any browser of any version on any machine using only the most basic HTML code.  (But yes, I do want to at least add simple error checking to the input page.)


RE: Open demo game - Davin - 04-29-2016

(10-08-2015, 11:20 PM)ixnay Wrote: I begin playing Galaxy #64 by clicking around the web interface.  It is simple, plain, and uncluttered.  There is a lot of technical information availabe, but having read the rules I am able to make general sense of it.

You may also wish to read the short technical article in the last S&D issue (#11) entitled "Galac-Tac: Quick-Start Guide".  This is also available as a PDF download from my web site


RE: Open demo game - GrimFinger - 05-03-2020

Is this solo game, Galaxy #64, still going?


RE: Open demo game - Davin - 05-03-2020

(05-03-2020, 05:43 PM)GrimFinger Wrote: Is this solo game, Galaxy #64, still going?

Sorry, no.  We tried to start up a forum-only game as galaxy #60 some time ago, but not very many people wanted to sign up for it then.  It's still out there waiting, if folks are interested in trying now.