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Birth of the Empires 4X space tbs open source game


Malvoisin
(@malvoisin)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 7
Topic starter  

hi,

just wanted to introduce our hobbyist spare-time project "Birth of the Empires" that is best described as a free stand-alone game in the likes of Master of Orion 2 or ST: Birth of the Federation (it's not a mod for that matter ;)). We have recently released version 0.8 called Alpha 6 and it's pretty far developed in terms of gameplay and everything. Source code (~50-60k code lines, C++) is located at bote.codeplex.com for those interested in taking a closer look there.

As for the game itself, you can play the game as one of 5 races, both in multiplayer and singleplayer against the AI with different difficulty settings, develop your empire from the grounds up like you know from 4X games like Civ or MoO and conquer or diplomatically convince your neighboring alien races to join you. You can also win by economic means so several winning conditions are implemented.

Download (142mb; BotE mirror at star-trek-games.com fan site): http://star-trek-games.com/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=92&func=fileinfo&id=434

Some screenshots (preview jpg's have <100 kb size each, hope that is okay, if not, I can remove some of them; clicking on them leads to full resolution png's):

kha_buildmenu_en.jpg

kha_combat_en.jpg

kha_precombatodds_en.jpg

kha_galaxy_en.jpg

Galaxy_small_en.jpg

kha_workmenu_en.jpg

kha_demographics_en.jpg

What I would envision for the game with respect to the great FOSS space sim projects here is the possibility to take a break and wander around your empire both in space and on planetary surface (using and adapting engine, code, artwork,.. of one of the spacesims projects here), see what you built there, see your fleets moving from one sector/star system to the other, maybe even take part in battles and even fly/command a ship during a fleet encounter. Of course only in singleplayer, when playing multiplayer it would take too much time to do so. Well I know it's a bit big (and possibly dreamy ;)) but who knows, at least the potential is there I think.

We have our english forums (we're originally a german "team" working on the project for like 7 years now) hosted at http://www.botf2.star-trek-games.com along with some other projects there if you want to leave some extended feedback.

Tutorials on gameplay mechanics and game controls are planned for Alpha7, so in short, what you need to get started once you are in the game is:

    [*:1c9nydse]Options menu bar is by default hidden. You need to move your mouse to the upper left edge of the screen to make it show up. There you can save and/or quit a game.

    [*:1c9nydse]Fleets can be selected by clicking on the race icon on galaxy map in the respective sector. Then on the lower panel on screen the available fleets and ships are shown.

    [*:1c9nydse]Left-click and drag will let you quickly move and scroll around galaxy map. Also, using mouse-wheel, you can zoom in and out of map. Cursors and extra mouse buttons can be used to quickly switch between systems in build menu view.

Hope you enjoy it all!


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DarkOne
(@sscadmin)
Supreme Dark Emperor Admin
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 7649
 

Hey Malvoisin

I am downloading this right now, I just can't believe I haven't seen this sooner. The team has done a great job on the artwork and the colors scheme used to give that Star Trek feel. I will post more feedback after I play with it for a while and thanks for giving us a heads up on your project. I will add this game to my games list.

I will be moving this post to the 4x/rpg/adv area since it falls into that area.


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Geraldine
(@geraldine)
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Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 3413
 

Now this is what the SSC is all about! Welcome indeed Malvoisin 🙂 . Your game looks really good and is already on my download list. Please keep us updated on your progress as there are quite a few 4x fans on here who would love to hear more.


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Malvoisin
(@malvoisin)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 7
Topic starter  

thx!

yeah it originally was a fan-made attempt to recreate Birth of the Federation completely, i.e. with Star Trek content (hence our name ;)), but we started to switch to something self-created 3 years ago, so basically we asked people from over the net to lend us their personal artwork for use in our game which nearly everyone did that we mailed to (I was surprised as well ;)). Some guys are even well-known like Tim Appleby who's lead artist at the Mass Effect game and Aaron Sims, who has also quite an impressive cinematic history.

anyway, we stayed a bit in the dark until we had everything directly-trek removed so we can now show the game around and do not have anything copyrighted and not-asked-for-permission in it. This should also help to remove possible doubts of potential contributors who take copyrights very seriously and would not participate in a intellectual-property-wise copyrighted game ;).

Also it has something to do with continental european law that is different to the US one which is much friendlier in this case. If we were living in the US, probably that switch never had occured or more likely we would offer an official trek version too since there would be no need to hold back what we already created for the game...

If people want they can mod it the way they like, just as it is with Galciv II and Stardock for example. They have a Star Trek mod, but the makers of this mod are completely unrelated to the makers of Galciv. I know CBS/Paramount is not known for bashing fans ;), but it's just a precaution. We would have done that with every protected intellectual property, be it Star Trek or god knows what.

Anyway, enough iffy lawyer's talk, enjoy the game 😉 and beware, the AI is quite good, even on easy which is the default setting at first game start! 🙂


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s2odan
(@s2odan)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1212
 

Wow. Very professional looking. Nice work!


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Malvoisin
(@malvoisin)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 7
Topic starter  

thanks guys!

you can see some minor translation issues (e.g. the "sector Sector" in battle screen) still, but that's why we call it Alpha, aside from some missing things like a colored start menu and galaxy creation parameter settings and so forth. The list of incomplete major features gets smaller from version to version though, right now it's aside from the ones already mentioned:

    [*:1joko1x7]AI building troops and managing them for invasion and defence purposes (hence no AI-led invasions or invasion defence yet)[*:1joko1x7]3D battles[*:1joko1x7]Random events and alien ships type "Cristalline entity" or "Gomtuu" if someone knows them from the Trek shows ;)[*:1joko1x7]in-game encyclopedia and tutorials[*:1joko1x7]some kind "Borg-like" race[*:1joko1x7]minor race fleet movement AI[*:1joko1x7]have some minors act like "medium" race, i.e. expanding to nearby habitable star systems and maybe even invade other systems (then mostly at the beginning when majors are weak(er) than those minors[*:1joko1x7]Windowed-mode for bote (right now it's just full-screen)[*:1joko1x7]formula for crew experience gain after a battle[*:1joko1x7]artwork (UI menu design) for our sixth race, the Omega-Alliance (thus greyed-out and not playable yet)

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DarkOne
(@sscadmin)
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Joined: 6 years ago
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Yesterday I couldn't seem to figure out how to move my ships to a different sector am I missing something obvious? I know I am getting ready for the newb bashing comments 🙂


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Malvoisin
(@malvoisin)
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I added a few getting started notes at my first post above:

    [*:2kfpy9al]Options menu bar is by default hidden. You need to move your mouse to the upper left edge of the screen to make it show up. There you can save and/or quit a game.

    [*:2kfpy9al]Fleets can be selected by clicking on the race icon on galaxy map in the respective sector. Then on the lower panel on screen the available fleets and ships are shown.

    [*:2kfpy9al]Left-click and drag will let you quickly move and scroll around galaxy map. Also, using mouse-wheel, you can zoom in and out of map. Cursors and extra mouse buttons can be used to quickly switch between systems in build menu view.

Last comment there shows how it works to move ships. Click on the race symbol and then on a fleet/ship below, now head back to the galaxy map and you'll see sectors marked as waypoints towards your target sector that you can define by a simple left-click in some sector.

How to use controls in-game and do things quicker/better is maybe not always well-explained or explained at all in-game, so here's a comprehensive list of all things you should when starting the game. Later-on in text, more advanced tips are given:

    [*:2kfpy9al]Options menu bar is by default hidden. You need to move your mouse to the upper left edge of the screen to make it show up. There you can save and/or quit a game.

    [*:2kfpy9al]Fleets can be selected by clicking on the race icon on galaxy map in the respective sector. Then on the lower panel on screen the available fleets and ships are shown. Three clicks are needed, first on galaxy map race symbol in the upper right corner of the sector in question, then one left-mouse-click on the ship/fleet in fleet panel below on screen, then on the sector you wish to fly into.

    [*:2kfpy9al]Left-click and drag will let you quickly move and scroll around galaxy map. Also, using mouse-wheel, you can zoom in and out of map. Cursors and extra mouse buttons can be used to quickly switch between systems in build menu view.

    [*:2kfpy9al]Outposts can be build by transport class ships, just go over the order buttons on bottom right after selecting such a ship, you'll find the correspondingly-named button there. After finishing an outpost, (an)other transporter(s) can even upgrade this outpost to a full starbase by essentially clicking on the same button again for this ship

    [*:2kfpy9al]Use resource routes right from the start after you colonized your first world. Most likely it will need titanium for its structures to build and your homeworld has more than enough at the beginning. Resource routes are laid similar to trade routes but work resource-wise, so just one resource per route is possible. Also I would not recommend laying more than one route per system since only one route is for free, more than one go at the cost of trade routes, i.e. for each further resource route you can lay one less trade route from that system.

    [*:2kfpy9al]After meeting another alien race (mostly a so-called minor, major homeworlds are not supposed to be close to each other at game start, but it can happen), you can set up diplomatic relationships with this minor. If he is in favor of you, i.e. neutral and above, try to convince him to sign a trade treaty with you. Once accepted, lay a trade route to his homeworld.

    In order to do that, go to system->trade menu and click on trade routes (use your homeworld as starting point first, could be you need to wait a few turns into the game before a trade route is allowed population-wise, you'll get a note however in-game about that), then lay it to the sector in question. After that you'll have the benefit of evergrowing relationship values with this minor. It is slow, but overtime you will see that he becomes more and more friendly towards you (depending on his race traits of course, not all minors act the same way) and eventually offers you better treaties and at last membership.

    Trade routes can be laid to other majors as well when you have a trade treaty or higher with this major (non-aggressive pact does not count here). Since majors mostly got more than one star system under their control, you can lay a full set of trade routes towards their systems (1:1 relationship there, so 1 sector to 1 other sector). Income from that route is calculated by both systems' population so it helps when you have some intel about their system pop. Cancelling a trade route works the same way as laying a trade route, you'll notice it becomes pink on galaxy map and ends in 5 turns.Then you can for example retry to lay a more profitable route if you choose a wrong one the last time (so to sum it up, try to lay evenly routes, i.e. a 30bn. star system should do trade with a 30bn. star system of another alien race and so on, having a 50bn. system doing trade with a 10bn. system is a bit of a waste of credits).

    [*:2kfpy9al]Diplomacy menu works as follows: Once you get to know / meet another race, it is added to your diplomatic menu in the list at left hand side. You can click on it and see how this race is seeing you (hostile, friendly, optimistic, etc.). By giving gifts you can try to improve your relationships with them. Once they are neutral or higher towards you, you may want to consider offering them a trade treaty. Once accepted, you can lay a trade route towards that race's home system. This gains you money/credits and continuously but slowly improves relationship with them. You can also bribe them if they already belong to another major or have higher treaties with another major.

    This holds for the "minors" in-game. A "major" is a race that can be played by humans or AI. These majors expand their territory just like you and they have slightly different diplomatic options, but in the end it should be self-explanatory what a "non-aggressiveness"-pact means and what effects an affiliation or a defence pact with another major race has.

Here some more advanced hints start, you may want to find out about them yourself (you can get behind it yourself certainly, they are pretty logical when you think about it ;)):

    [*:2kfpy9al]Helping minors terraform their planetary system helps increasing your popularity with them too. That way it can boost relationsships even from hostile towards neutral or above and then you can do as mentioned above to get that minor into your empire.

    [*:2kfpy9al]I'd only terraform planets that do not take more than 10 turns at the beginning as a general hint. Also, multiple colonization in one star system boosts population number - though it costs of course a lot to build that second colony ship and works only if there are more than 1 planet in that system and that other planet(s) need(s) to be unterraformed, otherwise it gets colonized too by the first ship colonizing this world - is a thing worth thinking about. When you have >7bn. population in a system, you can build a so-called star-dock. This orbital structure increases range of your fleet and is one of the most useful things at early-game alongside researching engine tech towards level 3 at 100% RP allocation, ignoring the rest a bit because engine tech also increases maximum range of your ships making it possible to colonize and explore worlds that could not be reached before (or only when building expensive outposts to get there).

    [*:2kfpy9al]I'd rather not invest too much credits into convincing minors at the beginning, buying colony and transport ships is IMO a bit more useful, but there are several ways to play the game (also depending on the race you choose to play with of course, each has its own special prowess), I just mention my way here.

    [*:2kfpy9al]Short explanation on internet connectivity of BotE: The game does not connect to the internet unless someone connects you or you connect to someone outside your LAN for a multiplayer game. Sometimes people misunderstand it and think the game's underlying server-client structure would mean it would connect to some host server on the internet. This isn't the case, it uses just the client applications that you run.

    [*:2kfpy9al]Auto-build (AI governor for colony management) can be activated system-wise by going to Empire->Systems menu, and there clicking on a system of your choice and pressing the 'a' key on your keyboard. It then tries to build meaningful things whenever build queue of that system is empty. It cannot be set to different goals however, so you can't tell the governor to focus on ship-building for example. It does what it seems best-fitting for this system.

    The governor is into effect as long as you press 'a' again in the Empire->Systems menu. you see the difference immediately, a system set to auto-build has a red-colored "auto-build" mark in that menu.

    Basically it is the AI that controls this particular system then. It looks up which structures can be built according to system resources storage and then decides for one of them to be built. Sometimes even buys buildings/ships when you have the credits. It also sets workers to places and puts structures that require energy up in energy menu.

    In Alpha7 it is planned to have a menu for the governor to allow/disallow him buying, scrapping, reallocating labor units, etc., also to tell him which direction the colony should be developed to.

    Right now, it's just a testing feature, that's why it's a bit hidden.You can always interrupt the governor by filling the build queue manually. Then all items in the queue will be built and after the last item was built and the queue is empty again, the auto-build automatically kicks in again. So you don't have to press 'a' in the menu to completely switch it off when you decide to take manual command again over that system for a short period of time.

    So basically, it kicks in only when the build queue is empty.

    [*:2kfpy9al]In late-game, you can try to build resource allocators (if you have more than 5 colonies in total). These allocators let all your colonies including your homeworld access that specific system's storage for the given resource type. It'a "master-resource-route" so to speak. Very powerful. Yet you should build it in a safe system deep within your own territory and of course with enough mines producing enough of the resource for all your colonies (have a look at planetary bonusses for that resource for example).[*:2kfpy9al]You can get information on enemy fortifications when hovering your mouse over the enemy system on galaxy map once you are in that sector with your fleet. Then a short tooltip pops up with short information on which orbital platforms are there and which ones are activated although activation status can and mostly will change once there is a battle fleet threatening that system on the AI-side.

Btw. it is "allowed" 😉 to take screencaptures from in-game, maybe even create a trailer if you know how to do such stuff. Having a gameplay video surely helps people see quickly what the game is like, more so than screenshots. Also it can help explain game control issues like the ones mentioned above.

We also put up our german manual as an html manual here: http://translate.google.de/translate?hl=de&sl=de&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fsvn.star-trek-games.com%2Fbirth%2Fhandbuch%2FHandbuch.html

In order to understand battle outcomes better, we have a combat simulator that is used in-game in the background when you hit "Fight", where you can see a tactical view of the combat or statistical data for repeated combats: http://botf2.star-trek-games.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1731


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Leafcutter
(@leafcutter)
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Joined: 13 years ago
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Just found this...thanks...will give it a try 🙂

-LC-


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Grimm
(@grimm)
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Joined: 13 years ago
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Great work! I tried many 4x games since Master of Orion II and none came even close to the masterpiece. Your game gives me hope that there will be a 4x wich will be be close to the great Master;)

Really imperssive so far, i'am looking forward for the 1.0 version. And it's really great that you included multilingual support.


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Malvoisin
(@malvoisin)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Topic starter  

thanks Grimm! 😉

1.0 will certainly be a while before it's released but we intend to "get in the ring" with the old "Master" ;)..


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ollobrain
(@ollobrain)
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Posts: 564
 

any progression to report ?


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traker
(@traker)
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Posts: 23
 

Ive been keeping an eye on this for a while now and have to say great work. I love playing this game. It has a vibe that is for some reason missing in a lot of 4X games and i have played a few.

This is well worth a look at.


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Malvoisin
(@malvoisin)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Topic starter  

thanks traker.

ollobrain, we hope to deliver a new alpha version around x-mas. all races will then be playable and a new graphical start menu will round the picture of the game so to speak. I recently played the pre-alpha7 dev version and it didn't crash even once in like 300 turns. I guess we kicked the bugs out of every corner (hopefully ;)).

3D battle is also worked on by a community member using Irrlicht engine. So everything looks in place right now..


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