Peter Diefenbach: Empire

A turn-based military strategic game.

How to start the program

No matter what option you choose: You need a Java Runtime Environment on your computer. The easiest way is to get it from www.java.com. There you can also check if you already have it installed.

A word to the programmers among you

If you want, you can download the source code.

Feel free to use the files in your own projects, as long as you name me and all other contributors to the files you took in use.
If you apply changes to my files, please inform me of the result, maybe there are more interested in your improvements.


And here's the manual:

Empire

A turn-based military strategic game.

Table of Content

Introduction

Empire by Happy Trash Software

Do you have it all to conquer the world?

Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered.) - (JULIUS CAESAR)

This is a military strategic game, a war game. You start on a map, owning one city. From there, you can produce military units that can explore and conquer the world. But you are not the only one on this map, so soon the fighting will start.

You win the game when you are the only player left on this map. A player can be defeated the hard way: The player loses all cities and all units. Or the player decides to resign.

War does not determine who is right - only who is left. - (ANONYMOUS)

Start a new game

When you start a new game, you have several options to adapt the game to your needs.

Game rules complexity

To offer something both for novice and expert players, there are different types of game rule sets.

World size horizontally

The width of the world. The value must be in the range from 10 to 250.

World size vertically

The height of the world. The value must be in the range from 10 to 250.

World topology (borders)

Chooses if the world has borders or bends in itself.

City density

A higher value will create more cities, a lower value more water. The value must be in the range from 1 to 250.

Land density

A higher value will create more land, a lower value more water. The value must be in the range from 0 to 100.

Continents size

A higher value will make larger land masses, a lower value more small islands. The value must be in the range from 1 to 1000.

Game rules complexity

To offer something both for novice and expert players, there are different types of game rule sets.

Beginner

This game is for getting used to the game concepts. The following rules apply to this type of game:

Standard

This game is for players with fun in exploring. The following rules apply to this type of game:

Advanced

This game is for advanced players. Compared to the standard game, the following rules apply to this type of game:

Players

A game needs at least two players, and can be played with up to six players. There are several possibilities how to connect a player to the game:

Human

A human player sitting in front of the same computer. If there is more than one player with that type, they have to turn seats.

Computer simple

A simple computer strategy. Computer strategies play fair, they don't cheat and they don't ally.

None

Not all of the six possible player slots need to be used.

The Menu

Game

All actions dealing with the whole game.

New...

Starts a new game.

Load game...

Loads a saved game.

Save game...

Saves a game to continue it later.

Resign current player...

The current player will be eliminated from the game.

The game disbands all the player's units, and all his/her cities will become neutral.

Exit game...

Exits the current game for all players and shows the title screen.

Languages

When game is running: Switches the language for the player currently visible.
Otherwise: Switches the language for the whole program. If you start a new game, this will be the default language for all players.

Deutsch (Deutschland)
English (United States)
Look&Feel

Switches the look and feel of the graphical elements for this program. The availability of look and feels depends on your machine, so this help only explains a subset of the look and feels you might see.

cross-platform

Chooses a look&feel that looks the same on all machines.

like OS

Chooses a look&feel close to the one of your machine's operating system.

Sounds on/off

Turns all sounds on or off.

Quit

Quits the program.

View

Settings how the game looks like or behaves for the current player, or informative dialogs for the current player.

Center screen

Centers the screen onto the current unit.

Zoom level

Zooms in or out on the current player's map.

Zoom level 1 (32x32, very detailed)

Zoom level 2 (24x24, detailed)

Zoom level 3 (16x16, middle resolution)

Zoom level 4 (8x8, small)

Zoom level 5 (4x4, overview)

Zoom level 6 (2x2, high-level overview)

Perspective

Shows the world from other player's or all-knowing perspective. Only available in standard ruleset or advanced ruleset, and when either you or all other players have been defeated.

World

Shows the world as it is.

Normal view

Shows both units and cities, and leads through your units.

Survey view

Shows both units and cities, and lets you freely explore the map. When you pick a unit, returns to normal view, so you can give it new orders.

Production view

Shows only cities with their production on the map.

Group view

Allows to group units via rubber band, so all units will receive identical commands as long as grouped.

Path view

View for editing automated move paths.

Move paths are useful to give the same orders to all future units, e.g. to bring freshly produced units from the rear to the front line. Each fitting unit that begins a turn on the starting field of a path, is not damaged and has no other commands to follow gets the according go to command.

Move paths can be defined separately for land, water and air units. They must all start on the player's city (or airbase in case of air units). The end position must be reachable for the unit type, not lead to a circular path route for any military branch, and in case of air units the end position must also be a city or airbase in reach.

To create or edit a path, you have to click on the start point of the path. This opens a dialog where you can edit all paths starting from that position. When you press the button "Create new path", the dialog will disappear, until you click the end point of the new path.

You can't remove a path by yourself. But you can make it applicable for none of the military branches, then the system will remove it when you leave the dialog.

Replay latest enemy moves

Replays the enemy moves of the last turn that were visible for you. When finished, returns to normal view.

Replay latest own move

Replays the latest own move. When finished, returns to normal view.

Context menu...

Shows the context menu for the current unit or position, if applicable. Behaves like a mouseclick.

Status report...

Shows a global status report.

Log book...

Shows the latest log book entries.

Game properties...

Shows the game properties the game was created with.

Player settings...

A dialog to adapt the way the game presents to the current player.

Orders

Orders for the current unit of the current player.

Production...

Changes production.

Only applicable for cities.

Move paths...

Changes move paths starting this position.

Only applicable in path view, and only for cities and airbases.

Go to

Gives the unit the order to move to a destination.

The computer only offers destinations this unit can reach on it's own. When choosing the path, the computer takes the terrain into account, but no other units in the way.

Before moving onto a field owned by enemies, you have to repeat the command from the neighboring field. (This helps preventing accidental attacks.)

Escort

Gives the unit the order to escort another sea unit.

Only applicable to sea units. The user selects the target sea unit to escort. From then on this sea unit will try to follow the target sea unit at the best of it's abilities.

Go home

Gives the unit the order to return to next own city (or airbase or carrier for air units). If multiple cities are equidistant, one will be chosen at random.

Useful for units with limited range (like air units), or for damaged units for repair.

Explore

Gives the unit the order to explore areas not explored so far.

Unit will head to the nearest unexplored area and start to explore it. It will try to maximize the amount of terrain it can explore, but will prefer short-term gains to long-term gains. If there is no unexplored terrain within reach (or a reasonable number of turns away), the unit will disregard this order. Land units that pass neutral cities while exploring will ask for new orders. Same for units with limited range (like air units) when getting low on fuel.

Sentry

Gives the unit the order to sentry and wait for new orders.

Useful for guarding units, or for land units waiting for their transporter, or for loaded units.

Not applicable in cities. For air units only applicable in safe places like carriers or airbases.

Load units

Gives the unit the order to load other units.

Applicable for transporters and carriers, when outside of a city.

The unit remains at position until fully loaded. Each fitting neighboring movable unit that is sentry or without orders is loaded.

Unload units

For transporters and carriers: Wakes up all contained units for unloading.

In the advanced game, for armies and tanks: Builds an airbase. The building unit is used as garrison and will therefore disappear.

Clear orders

Clears the unit's orders.

Clear alerts

Unit can continue it's path.

Disband unit...

Disbands unit.

Rename...

Renames unit or city.

Next

Changes focus to next unit.

This is not an order but a command, so any other order the unit may have is not affected.

Useful to let other units move first this turn, e. g. because they are in the way, or they shall attack first.

Skip turn

Unit won't move this turn.

This is not an order but a command, so any other order the unit may have is not affected.

A city might repair a damaged unit that skips turn and stays in the city.

Also useful, if you're not sure what to do with this unit, but don't want to sentry, e.g. because you want to be reminded every turn, or it's in a city, or because a passage is currently blocked by another unit that will move away next turn.

A unit you skipped the turn for won't be presented to you in normal view this turn, but in survey view you can still pick the unit and thereby revoke this command.

End turn

Ends turn for current player, so the next player can move.

To end the turn, you must be in normal view, and all your units must have moved or skipped their turn.

?

Some information about the program.

Help...

Displays some help about this program.

About...

Displays information about this program.

Keyboard Actions

Action Key
Move current unit west NUMPAD4
Move current unit east NUMPAD6
Move current unit north NUMPAD8
Move current unit south NUMPAD2
Move current unit north-west NUMPAD7
Move current unit north-east NUMPAD9
Move current unit south-west NUMPAD1
Move current unit south-east NUMPAD3

Fields

A map is not the territory - (ALFRED KORZYBSKI)

  Unexplored

In standard and advanced games, when the game starts, nearly all terrain is shown as unexplored. The real terrain can be uncovered by moving one of your units onto or near to it.

The whole art of war consists in getting at what is on the other side of the hill, or, in other words, in learning what we do not know from what we do. - (DUKE OF WELLINGTON)

  Border

A field that no unit can move to, cross, attack, or do anything else with it. Marks the edge of the map.

  Water

A field that only sea units or air units can move to. Can take only one unit at a time.

  Land

A field that only land units or air units can move to. Can take only one unit at a time.

  City

It is vital for success to conquer cities, as cities can produce military units.

A city is a field that can be conquered by land units. If successful, the city gets colored by the player's color, and the player can choose what unit this city will produce. The conquering land unit is used as garrison for the city and will therefore disappear.

Any city owned by a player can produce land units and air units. But only cities neighboring a water field can produce water units. A neutral city produces nothing.

A neutral city or enemy city can be conquered by land units. Air units can attack the city's production or enemy units residing in the city. Water units can do nothing with them.

In your own cities, you can stack as many units as you want to. Even more, air units can land in them, and damaged units can be repaired by staying in them.

In combat, cities can not attack, only defend themselves. They do this with a defense rating of 2 and a damage rating of 1.

  Rough

A land field. Additionally, in the advanced game,

  River

A land field. Additionally, in the advanced game,

  Forest

A land field. Additionally, in the advanced game,

  Mountain

A land field. Additionally, in the advanced game,

Units

Military units are essential for your success. As each kind of unit has it's strengths and weaknesses, you need to understand how to use them most efficiently.

Not all units are available in all game rules complexities, and sometimes there are subtle differences of the units' properties between those, so all unit properties are listed for all complexities. Properties are:

Type

Either land, water or air unit.

Turns to produce

How many turns it takes for a standard city to produce the first unit of that kind.

Sighting range

How far this kind of unit can see and explore new territories. Also applies for enemy sighting alerts.

Load

The kind of load this kind of unit can take, if not damaged or hindered otherwise. Names the number of cargo holds this kind of unit provides, the kinds of units it can load, and for each of those the number of holds that kind of unit takes.

Moves per turn

How many moves this kind of unit can move per turn, if not damaged or hindered otherwise.

Moving range

Air units need to refuel within their unit range, or they crash and get destroyed. They can refuel by landing in cities, on carriers or on airbases.

Move-over

Air units can move over other units - but they must end their turn on a field on their own, or on a field they can land on. While a unit is moving over another unit, no other unit might move, so actions like Next and Skip turn cannot be performed then.

Maximum damage

The number of hits this kind of unit can take before it is destroyed.

Can attack coastal units

Only applies to water units. Indicates if this kind of unit can attack land units standing on the shore.

Attack strength

Defines how likely this unit will win a combat round when attacking.

Defense strength

Defines how likely this unit will win a combat round when attacked.

Shot damage

If this unit has won a combat round, defines how many hits the enemy gets.

  Army

A land unit, and therefore able to occupy cities. Can be loaded by transporters.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type Land Land Land
Turns to produce 6 6 6
Sighting range 1 1 1 (2 for air units)
Load none none none
Moves per turn 1 1 1
Moving range n/a n/a n/a
Move-over no no no
Maximum damage 1 1 1
Can attack coastal units n/a n/a n/a
Attack strength 2 2 2
Defense strength 2 2 2
Shot damage 1 1 1

  Tank

A land unit, and therefore able to occupy cities. Can be loaded by transporters.

When an undamaged tank conquers a city, only half of it is used up as garrison. The other half becomes a new army.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type n/a n/a Land
Turns to produce n/a n/a 12
Sighting range n/a n/a 1 (2 for air units)
Load n/a n/a none
Moves per turn n/a n/a 2
Moving range n/a n/a n/a
Move-over n/a n/a no
Maximum damage n/a n/a 2
Can attack coastal units n/a n/a n/a
Attack strength n/a n/a 2
Defense strength n/a n/a 2
Shot damage n/a n/a 1

  Fighter

An air unit to explore the world and to fight against bombers. Can be loaded by carriers. In advanced ruleset, can attack city production.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type n/a Air Air
Turns to produce n/a 12 12
Sighting range n/a 1 2
Load n/a none none
Moves per turn n/a 5 6
Moving range n/a 20 18
Move-over n/a yes yes
Maximum damage n/a 1 1
Can attack coastal units n/a n/a n/a
Attack strength n/a 2 2
Defense strength n/a 2 2
Shot damage n/a 1 1

  Bomber

An air unit to explore the world and to fight submarines. Weak against fighters. In advanced ruleset, can attack city production.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type n/a n/a Air
Turns to produce n/a n/a 12
Sighting range n/a n/a 2
Load n/a n/a none
Moves per turn n/a n/a 4
Moving range n/a n/a 24
Move-over n/a n/a yes
Maximum damage n/a n/a 1
Can attack coastal units n/a n/a n/a
Attack strength n/a n/a 2
Defense strength n/a n/a 2
Shot damage n/a n/a 2

  Transporter

A sea unit to transport armies and tanks, but vulnerable to attacks.

When nearing a city not owned by this player, implicitly performs an unload command.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type Water Water Water
Turns to produce 30 30 30
Sighting range 1 1 1 (2 for air units)
Load 6 cargo holds for Army (1) 6 cargo holds for Army (1) 6 cargo holds for Army (1), Tank (2)
Moves per turn 2 2 2
Moving range n/a n/a n/a
Move-over no no no
Maximum damage 3 3 3
Can attack coastal units no no no
Attack strength 1 1 1
Defense strength 1 1 1
Shot damage 1 1 1

  Destroyer

A cheap and fast sea unit.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type Water Water Water
Turns to produce 24 24 24
Sighting range 1 1 1 (2 for air units)
Load none none none
Moves per turn 3 3 3
Moving range n/a n/a n/a
Move-over no no no
Maximum damage 3 3 3
Can attack coastal units no no no
Attack strength 2 2 2
Defense strength 2 2 2
Shot damage 1 1 1

  Submarine

A sea unit to silently track down and destroy other sea units. For submarine special visibility and vision rules apply:

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type n/a Water Water
Turns to produce n/a 24 24
Sighting range n/a 1 1
Load n/a none none
Moves per turn n/a 2 2
Moving range n/a n/a n/a
Move-over n/a no no
Maximum damage n/a 2 2
Can attack coastal units n/a no no
Attack strength n/a 2 2
Defense strength n/a 1 1
Shot damage n/a 3 3

  Cruiser

A strong sea unit.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type Water Water Water
Turns to produce 36 36 36
Sighting range 1 1 1 (2 for air units)
Load none none none
Moves per turn 2 2 2
Moving range n/a n/a n/a
Move-over no no no
Maximum damage 8 8 8
Can attack coastal units yes yes yes
Attack strength 2 2 2
Defense strength 2 2 2
Shot damage 2 2 2

  Battleship

The strongest sea unit in the game. In many aspects a stronger version of the cruiser.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type Water Water Water
Turns to produce 60 60 60
Sighting range 1 1 1 (2 for air units)
Load none none none
Moves per turn 2 2 2
Moving range n/a n/a n/a
Move-over no no no
Maximum damage 12 12 12
Can attack coastal units yes yes yes
Attack strength 2 2 2
Defense strength 2 2 2
Shot damage 3 3 3

  Carrier

A sea unit to transport fighters, but vulnerable to attacks.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type n/a Water Water
Turns to produce n/a 48 48
Sighting range n/a 1 1 (2 for air units)
Load n/a 8 cargo holds for Fighter (1) 8 cargo holds for Fighter (1)
Moves per turn n/a 2 2
Moving range n/a n/a n/a
Move-over n/a no no
Maximum damage n/a 8 8
Can attack coastal units n/a no no
Attack strength n/a 1 1
Defense strength n/a 2 2
Shot damage n/a 1 1

  Airbase

This is a strange kind of unit: Airbases are not produced by cities. An army or tank on a land field can "unload" itself and transform permanently into an airbase. An airbase, once installed, cannot move. It can only be disbanded. If successfully attacked, it will be destroyed, and all contained units will be lost.

It can hold up to 8 fighters or bombers, but no other units.

  Beginner Standard Advanced
Type n/a n/a Land
Turns to produce n/a n/a 0
Sighting range n/a n/a 1 (2 for air units)
Load n/a n/a 8 cargo holds for Fighter (1), Bomber (1)
Moves per turn n/a n/a 0
Moving range n/a n/a n/a
Move-over n/a n/a no
Maximum damage n/a n/a 1
Can attack coastal units n/a n/a n/a
Attack strength n/a n/a n/a
Defense strength n/a n/a 2
Shot damage n/a n/a 1

Player settings

A dialog to adapt the way the game presents to the current player.

Production reports for

If turned on, a dialog is shown each time a city produces a unit of that kind.

Land units

If turned on, a dialog is shown each time a city produces a land unit.

Air units

If turned on, a dialog is shown each time a city produces an air unit.

Water units

If turned on, a dialog is shown each time a city produces a water unit.

Sounds

Turns on sound signals

Prompts

If turned on, plays a signal each time a unit gets active that needs a new command.

Commands

If turned on, plays a sound each time a unit follows a command.

Moves or Fight

If turned on, plays move or fight sounds.

Alarms

If turned on, plays an alarm sounds, e.g. for enemy sightings.

Animation delays

Delays in physical time (but not game time) for animations.

Messages

Affects the time each message will last on the message bar.

Battle

Affects the time it takes to show each battle.

Movement

Affects the time it takes to display a movement of a unit from one location to another.

Map

Map display.

Distance information

Shows distance information for the active unit on the map, if zoom level permits.