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Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Sonntag 19. April 2020, 07:41
von UesugiKenshin
I have search for an enjoyable 4x space strategy game that is very stable, needs no internet connection, has rich art and fine descriptions of the extraterrestrials. I've looked for a game with complex weaponry for troops and vessels. I figured there was a strategy game with intricacy of tactics and strategy, in a galaxy mythos that makes sense. One that had a diverse techtree and buildings.

BotE satisfies all of these things and is free. It just is more like a strategy board game without animations as it doesn't require them. So why don't people generally know about it? This last aspect confounds me. You would think millions would be playing this. I suspect it's not marketed well and needs clear tutorials and minor adjustments to severely reduce sabotage by vastly higher tech requirements for every security building. The economy can be fixed very fast by not dropping the value of ore so much in units of 100, but 1,000 for titanium, and then by factors of 10,000 for higher value ore like duranium, crystals, and iridium. Then there is plenty of credits for the AI and human player.

This really should be marketed as a cosmic sandbox game using no more than 1-2 AI opponents at a time given the small galaxy map at 40x40.

If it had the diplomatic screen based storytelling as descibed in the modding section, and with advanced saved games to jumpstart, I would think it would be vastly popular. It's not an action based button masher. It's for genuine science fiction fans to watch a galaxy unfold at your direction. Marketing it as a combat strategy game is not compelling as combat makes people think space battle animations. When really it's about creative building of space empires.

It's constructive not destructive. It is every bit as good as Civ3. It can be as great as it can never likely do the battle animations, but could excel at storytelling with fan based writers contributing about a month of science fiction material. Most science fiction fans are frustrated creative people who have tried generating compelling art and writing prose.

Several data files could be filled with that text and displayed on successive turns as aspects of the diplomacy screen and through survey mission explorations. It makes the galaxy so much more interesting by generating pages of text on every minor race and their history and culture. And then all the backstory of the major races would similarly display and not be buried on the BotE German wiki...where probably no one has read it in years.

The game is very much like finding a diamond buried in an old garden when doing mundane weeding. Then continuing to find more precious gems like saphires and tanzanite and emeralds.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Sonntag 19. April 2020, 08:01
von UesugiKenshin
On the Google Play app, I would beef up the marketing text as it's very dry as dust, and point interested hardcore science fiction fans to urls so they can read the German wiki using Chrome or similar that does autotranslation. And similarly explain how there are all kinds of details on the Android port in English. Marketing text generates excitement.

Many young people quit as they aren't willing to learn how to play. The learning curve is steep and nearly unfathomable without 2 weeks just trying things. But it provides a huge payoff when the player accumulates that knowledge and applies it in a giant map and after 200 turns. By 300 turns, it's compelling.

You have no competition for basic tablet users using standard operating systems. You likely have all kinds of competitors on newer tablets with far better displays and newer OS. But they cost money and are MMOs. That paradigm has largely failed as the more you pay, the better your galactic empire.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Sonntag 19. April 2020, 08:25
von UesugiKenshin
When the players begin in turn#1, what they really need are two new classes of ships.
1. A diplomatic ship that has no weaponry but has long range travel (out to the red border, but focusing on colonizing the green and yellow zones) and some scanning and deliberately begins first contact missions using diplomatic finesse. Not stumbling into systems blindly with scouts and colony ships.
2. There needs to be a survey vessel just like every version of Enterprise, but it's a prototype without weaponry but just mapping so has to have decent scanning and hopefully a "hailing system". But likely the survey vessel is just mapping, and the diplomatic ship is scurrying around right behind and visiting every minor race.

The game is far more interesting when the galaxy has at least 30% but as many as 50% minor races. Then some colonization happens,but largely it's about just being inquisitive as science is an inquiry based discipline. The players explore planet and star classes, and likely add on stellar cartography databases and a galactic anthropology computer with upgrades. Or have diplomatic computers that translate better (universal translator tech and above) and this unlocks the storytelling part.

The players then hunt for clues in these items that are added in new classes of survey and diplomatic vessels...and it influences the minor and major race's the player is trying to be a better explorer and diplomat.

Higher class vessels like patrolboats and cruisers then have these aspects on the ship and can hail unknown species outside the system to avoid conflict as they do have weaponry.

People would love this. At the fastest rate of expansion by turn 200-300, I only explore 1/4 of the maximum galaxy as there are other elements to do like:
1. Research
2. Manage the economy
3. Engineer new ships by tweaking the base models
4. Negotiate trade
5. Improve diplomatic relationships
6. Manage public works and create resource routes
And on and on.

BotE is a very rich layered experience. Cerebral players likely are saving the game, and experimenting, and it fails and they advance or they realize that experiment failed, and reload.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Sonntag 19. April 2020, 08:33
von UesugiKenshin
You can't just explore the rest of the galaxy (75%) with the better vessels as you then are threatening major races. So these survey and diplomatic class vessels don't usually provoke hostility as those are explorers. They say they are studying stellar formation, doing anthropology studies, mapping,etc.

It's when the better class vessels enter the major races' territories that causes consternation.

"What the heck are the Omega Alliance thinking sensing a destroyer class vessel into Terran space??? PREPARE TO INTERCEPT."

That is when hostilities begin.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Sonntag 19. April 2020, 10:35
von UesugiKenshin
Hidden cheat commands known by modders are very useful when no campaign editors exist. Then the modder can create save game files by turn, and if a reveal map command shows everything, then not only can they accelerate infrastructure building by money cheats, but finish the ai player infrastructure too. This way ships and troops and buildings and technology can all be boosted in a few turns and create scenarios on a known map.

Then if the "card looks good" ie the map array poses interesting appropriate challenges for the level of difficulty versus number of players, then that is an excellent save game file.

Who cares if some players discover the cheats? It's irrelevant as the point of games is to have fun. The cheats facilitate modding regardless so very challenging preset games are available.

Even if some fraction of players then load that save game and use cheat commands, it doesn't matter as still someone will likely have the java code and release an apk with money hacks regardless. A lack of cheat commands then guarantees some part of your niche audience won't play as the game demands a knowledge of science fiction lore and technobabble and they are willing to spend two weeks just trying stuff out experimentally.

A sandbox player simply shrugs their shoulders at the idea of winning to finish the game. They don't want to finish the game. They hope that tech levels don't stop at level 14 in six areas, but continue to level 40. They hope to get more and more powerful, and even restrain themselves from crushing the minor races as they know they can easily defeat them on their own merit or by cheat commands if frustrated.

Sandbox players just like exploring and finding new undocumented aspects of the game. The game is a mystery and they find clues and happily just build and look for new clues.

Whole groups of the audience will just like to create mods for others to play. They don't care about defeating the AI.

Even if you can't make the game do a hotseat and then allow a modder to.create all the infrastrcture and then return the other empire to ai control, proper cheat commands approximate this.

You make easy save games, and normal save games, all the way up to six very crowded empires on a dense rich maximum map, but with fantastic starting buildings and military units and robust economies on impossible level. That is vastly better in turn #1 versus playing for 24 - 48 hours straight to build this up. Then expert players wage intragalactic war straight away.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Freitag 24. April 2020, 02:47
von UesugiKenshin
It's fairly standard for modding that once submitted on a forum, the content can then be used by any other modders but for decorums sake, to ask first.

Some content obviously is problematic. It's very difficult to find talented artists for ships, troops, buildings, and major and minor race portraits. Mods generally have entire teams with at 5-6 people. Usually a map designer, an artist, a musician, coders, and a mod team leader. Then 10+ beta testers.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Freitag 24. April 2020, 04:31
von UesugiKenshin
Hex editing save game files

I looked at the save game files from initially in turn#1 to all manner of games along many hundreds of turns. Nothing immediately stands out in the hex editor.

I tried doing a search for the ASCII for Credits and the names of systems and using the initial treasury of 1000. I then switched to display the hex value and searched for that. That came up empty too.

Do you have a reference for hex values in saved games? Is there a set address for certain major race empires regarding attributes like credits or how much titanium they have on hand at various systems? If there is a hex address that specifies "ownership" or within the "sphere of influence", then the map data can be read and divided up between empires too.

If we have this much, then preset single player save game files are so much simpler to do. Then a modder could set the initial treasuries for all six empires in turn #1 for balancing purposes.

Similarly can a log file be generated so a modder can see what the AI is doing? That is fairly standard when doing beta testing.

Is there a hex address to "lock an alliance". Then teams can be set up in save game files. So the Omega and the Catare are on a team versus the Terrans and Khaoran and Rotharians on a different team.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Mittwoch 29. April 2020, 22:47
von UesugiKenshin
I had a weird glitch today. In this game, it's the Omega vs the Khaoran in a 40x40 map at 100% stars, 95% minor races, 1% stellar anomalies, no aliens,no random events,no goals turned on. With so many systems populated, many M class planets are unavailable. So to test the system, I terraformed many P, O, and various class planets and then colonized them. This works pretty well but agriculture is touch-and-go at first and you try to upgrade as soon as possible. But it does work but it is far harder due to the risk of failure.

One system has titanium in it, just not on the first colonized planet, so I created a resource route from Omega Alpha to it. Later near turn #200, I terraformed a second planet in that nontraditional colonized system. I did this twice as two of the other planets have titanium resources on them, yet the programming won't allow any basic titanium mines to be constructed. Ascellus Primus has a P class that has titanium on it plus extra energy, a C class that has titanium, a Q class which is colonized and has crystals, an O class which has deuterium and iridium, and an R class which has durantium. So the system is very resource rich, just no M class traditional site for colonization, so I tested if after terraforming, if it could be colonized. And it was.

If this works then players can colonize a lot of systems lacking M class planets.

It should allow basic titanium mining as long as titanium resources are found (in this case a P class ie glaciated planet and a C class too).

The point of the test was to allow as many minor races as possible and to see if the players could colonize nontraditional planet systems, and though they might struggle to get a foothold, they still could make it work. It also is a test to see what an AI major race does to cope with few standard systems with M class planets. It may be that the AI is confounded or struggles so much that this would only be useful for a sandbox game (no other empires turned on except the player).

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Donnerstag 30. April 2020, 01:18
von UesugiKenshin
I think this is a new discovery as I extensively read the German parts of the forum, and saw no indication players were trying this.

If you terraform a planet which has no titanium, and then colonize it, then of course no basic mining of titanium can occur. And even if two nearby planets have those titanium resources, they are not terraformed...yet. But with nontraditional terraforming colonization, then still even though terraformed, the BotE programming doesn't recognize that basic mining of titanium is possible.

BUT if you send a 2nd colony ship and since it's terraformed, it updates the possible choices and then allows basic mining of titanium.

This genuinely alters the strategy of the game as many systems have no M class planets, yet can absolutely be colonized.

Now it's proved, but I am confirming it twice with two other systems.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Donnerstag 30. April 2020, 06:38
von UesugiKenshin
Confirmed. Colony ships were dispatched and I selected planets with titanium, terraformed them, and new colonists added to those planets, and subsequently then the menu updated and say on Thisbe, then I could make basic mining for titanium.

A newplayer may struggle with it, but it works. The Change to Upkeep ratio was 10:1 so it's profitable with high cashflow.

So on only one unusual planet system, Orion, they have three type O class waterworld planets. So they are unlucky and only deterium is found on those worlds, so they cannot make titanium mines, or any other save deuterium.

Playing this was with 95% minor races and is playable, enjoyable, challenging, and profitable. I have on going trade with four species. Several are hostile, but the Omega Alliance provokes that reaction.

If you would make a few program minor changes like the ability to add events and random events and increase the generation for nine planets per system, and perhaps the formula for the percentage of M class planets,the game would be far more fun.

More planets makes up to six empiresmore enjoyable. Otherwise really the game is only large enough for 3-4 empires as it's toocrowded due to low total planet count.

The modders can add unusual planet class buildings say on P, K, C, and O and then if there are any struggles, then these can be overcome as these would be typical colonization sites, not unusual ones.

If modders can add events based on visiting a system or terraforming, then modds can add rich descriptors to vastly add to the storytelling. Similarly if we modders can add diplomacy dialogue, then a range of communication can be added. Perhaps this is already in the stringtable?

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Montag 15. Juni 2020, 16:10
von UesugiKenshin
Playing the beta version on a 40x40 galaxy map in sandbox mode with 95% minor alien races, what most causes "not responding" errors where the player has to click the wait button to proceed, seems to be cause 95% of the time by colony ships being specifically given navigation orders. Not terraforming and not colonization. It appears to be a time out error.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Montag 22. Juni 2020, 23:01
von UesugiKenshin
Let's say someone wanted to play BotE. The first message from Google is "This board has no forum". Nothing links to forum posts. It's like a black hole, just a void, and most of the posts were made ages ago. That is a peculiar way to market a game.

There is scant information about it and how to play and this is reflected by very few youtube videos.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Samstag 12. September 2020, 07:14
von UesugiKenshin
As there is no editor for the Android version, if you would patch the software to allow mods to load, this would greatly add to the playability of the game. There is no good way for Android players to load a mod directly.

The most beneficial minimod would be to merely remove all sabotage from the game as it's highly unrealistic given the vast distances as there no possibility of making effective intelligence networks across the entire galaxy on a 40x40 fully populated map. It unbalances an otherwise superb game. I would say it's among the finest space wargames available for the Android.

As the game is currently, every player conquering will have morale issues after turn #700 despite maxing out infrastructure and being at peace...even in sandbox mode with all other major races turned off. The empire will see declines in morale until some systems will probably begin to revolt. This means they need morale boosts.

So a better version of the game would be to merely allow intelligence agencies to reduce rebellion ie opposition groups on one's own planets ie improve morale rather than to allow sabotage. So every building that would give a bonus on sabotage should instead improve morale.

The biggest limiters are resource routes to growing an empire which are too low. I would double them. The second limiter is insufficient deritium. I would double that too.

These three minor changes would make a superior thrilling game for a maximum of 4 major races on a heavily populated minor race galaxy on a giant map. Then each major race would have to battle their way to control the closest minor races and carve out a quadrant in the galaxy. Then having done so, only then begin attacking other major races.

If there were a true scenario editor, then a modder could build a galactic map, assign minor races on the map, assign the starting location of the major races, and starting infrastructure, ships, troops, tech level, and money.

I would be perfectly willing to create many scenarios on several sized galaxies.

Then BotE would be a remarkable wargame and not so focused on economic building as that is the primary focus for the first 700. Ideally one would then start some scenarios say in turn 700 as many people don't have a whole month to just build empires. They could start waging war by deploying ships and troops straight away.

So a new patch would allow the loading of these scenarios as save games. Then many people could play a scenario over a weekend and that would primarily be strategic war in many battles instead. Otherwise it takes a month to get to those kinds of levels.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Sonntag 13. September 2020, 19:25
von UesugiKenshin
I sent you an email about modding sabotage so it's essentially eliminated from the first 700 turns and then would only show up in some advanced buildings that would have heavy requirements like completing whole levels of technology from level 15 on up. Then such a mod could be offered on Google Play so it would a parallel apk.

I would document the changes and field questions here at the forum.

I think twice as many would download the program and it would be wildly popular. If people like it, I would do similar simple edits so additional minor races then show up as major ones as alternatives.

Re: round about BotE for Android

Verfasst: Mittwoch 16. September 2020, 12:41
von UesugiKenshin
UesugiKenshin hat geschrieben: Donnerstag 2. April 2020, 06:39
blotunga hat geschrieben: Donnerstag 2. April 2020, 05:05 While there is no official multiplayer build, at least for the PC I did make a release with MP enabled. You can find it somewhere in the forums. If not, I can make one when I have time. With multiplayer, you can play all races at the same time :D
Would you consider releasing that on google play, Sir? Otherwise I can't run it on my Android tablet. If so, then I could use the brute force method of playing through say 200+ turns as all six major races to expand and then save these and maybe that would work as save games as I proposed. That is effectively 1200 turns, so perhaps two weeks of work.

And then would that be compatible with the current revision such that it would load the save games? I doubt it.

Whenever you find the time, it would make a fine series of advanced save files.

With a large screen shot or shots of a map as I proposed, I think the star system presets idea is far simpler, but the flaw would be an adequate economy and techtree. Or even with the basic techtree, it would be unlikely to begin with 20 systems per major race given only 1000 credits to even begin making a food supply. I could have a basic farm, industrial center, research building, and titanium mine going as presets but the upkeep costs will likely falter versus the initial 1000 credits.
This multiplayer version is the Google Drive version (with French translation added), but if you would load this on GooglePlay, I would immediately create scenarios. It should be a seperate ap from the standard version.

The vast majority on tablets can't sideload apk files this requires rooted tablets
2.or newer ones
3.or loading via a PC and then again reloading to the tablet.

Please load it to GooglePlay.