T H E _ _ _____ _____ ____ _____ _ __ | \ | | | ____| |_ _| | _ \ | ____| | |/ / N E W B I E | \| | | _| | | | |_) | | _| | ' / | |\ | | |___ | | | _ < | |___ | . \ M A N U A L |_| \_| |_____| |_| |_| \_\ |_____| |_|\_\
Netrek is a 16-player graphical real-time battle simulation with a Star Trek theme. The game is divided into two teams of 8 (or less), who dogfight each other and attempt to conquer each others planets. There are several different types of ships, from fast, fragile scouts up to big, slow battleships; this allows a great deal of variance in play styles.
It is played over the Internet, against real human opponents. If you do not have a computer on the internet, or connected via SLIP or PPP, you will not be able to play.
This game has a history and can actually be traced back through various ancestors to 1972. See the history compiled by Andy McFadden for more detailed information.
Up to 16 players, often widely separated geographically, connect to a central serverrunning at some site. There are about 30 public servers in the world and of these maybe 10 are well known and popular. The individual players uses a clientprogram to connect to the server of their choice. Once in the game, the server receives commands from the client (and hence the player) and sends the positions and status of the other ships, planets, etc., to all players, several times per second. The net effect of all this is to create a virtual galaxy where everyone can see each other and interact, or to put it less academically, everyone plays in the same galaxy to try to take it over.
This manual is a guide for netrek beginners; it is independant of any particular client. Clients are highly configurable and vary from one another in terms of features. Please consult your client manual for details. There are a lot of very cool things that a client can be configured for, including macros, RCDs, etc., so its worth reading your client documentation.
netrek -h thiserver.foobar.somewhere.edu
This tells netrek to join the game in progress on that server.
(You can specify the port number, if its not the standard 2592, with the -p option, should you need to.)
The better way to go about this, however, is to use the metaserver.
The metaserver is a central computer, currently
metaserver.ecst.csuchico.edu, which keeps track of currently running
games on all servers. Type
telnet metaserver.ecst.csuchico.edu 3523
to get details about the different ports. In addition, Most clients can be run with the -m option, which will cause the client to connect to the metaserver and display a window with the names and status of servers with active games, and allow you to select which to join. If you are playing netrek for the first time, it is strongly recommended that you start the client with netrek -m.
Netrek will then attempt to connect to the specified server. After connection, there will be a pause, especially if running over the modem, as the MOTD (message of the day) is received from the server. This can take up to 30 seconds with a long MOTD over a modem, even longer if the MOTD contains bitmaps and you load them. When the MOTD has finished loading, the main Netrek window will be displayed.
When you connect to a server, therefore, you must login. If you dont wish to use a permanent handle, login as guest. It is a good idea to be a guest during at least your first few hours playing. Otherwise, think of a name and type it in. You will then be asked for a password. This prevents other people from logging in as you and messing up your stats. Think of one and remember it! You will need it to log in later.
Important note: put the mouse in the tactical (left) window as you type your name and password or you wont be able to enter anything!
it will tell you important server-specific information.
The other defining thing about this screen are the team selection windows. The large numbers indicate how many people are playing on each team. Often you will not be able to pick an arbitrary team but will be restricted to some subset. This ensures that the teams are (more or less) balanced in size.
Click on the team with the next to largest number of players you will be assigned a cruiser for that team. (The numbers will fluctuate as ships are killed and are resurrected.) Or, with the mouse in the appropriate window, press a key to select a ship type and start as that type. The keys you may press are:
S - Scouts(SC): These are fast fragile little things. Good if you want to fly around the galaxy at high speed and get shot down by the first big ship that gets near. They are very good for harassing, and bombing if there are many undefended planets with very few armies on them. They are difficult to use to fight, especially for the inexperienced.
Cruising speed: 8 Combat speed: 6 Max. armies: 2
D - Destroyers(DD): These are similar to scouts but they are a little more tough and they have slightly more powerful weapons. The destroyer is sometimes erroneously referred to as halfway between the scout and the cruiser.If this were so, it would have more powerful phasers and be able to go an extra half warp faster. For the unskilled player, they live up to their nickname of Ship of Lose.The destroyer is really a specialty ship, primarily used for taking planets by those who know what theyre doing.
Cruising speed: 7 Combat speed: 5 Max. armies: 5
C - Cruiser(CA): An all-purpose ship, and the default if you dont select another.
Cruising speed: 6 Combat Speed: 4 Max. armies: 10
B - Battleship(BB): This ship is slow to accelerate and hard to maneuver. However, it has the most firepower of any normal ship. It is also very tough. Since it can take a fair amount of damage while still dishing out a lot, it is very effective for offensive playersbut watch your fuel, this ship uses a lot of it. The BB or the CA is recommended for inexperienced players, since its harder to die in them. Since dodging is tough for the BB, heavy use of tractoring, pressoring, and detting is important. See the dogfighting section.
Cruising speed: 4 Combat speed: 3 Max. armies: 6
A - Assault Ships(AS): These ships are primarily useful in bombing and capturing planets (something that beginners should do after mastering the basics). One of their unique features is that they may carry 3 armies per kill their captain has. Another is that they are guaranteed to bomb at least two armies at once. Also, they are very tough to kill because they can take so much hull damage. This is important when taking planets, because they can keep dropping while detting. Other ships dont have the hull to det without putting up their shields (and you cant drop armies with shields up). They can also cloak cheaply to sneak in and attack planets.
Cruising speed: 8 Combat speed: 4 Max. armies: 20
O (for outpost) - Starbase(SB): These are very powerful and hard to destroy. New players cannot play these (a rank of Commander is required). Because they are so powerful, new players should probably avoid getting in fights with one; it takes several players working together to destroy one. If you see a hostile base, youre best off running away from it.
Cruising speed: 2 Combat speed: 2 Max. armies: 25
Each planet has a long name which appears on the local window, and a three letter abbreviation which appears on the map. The color of the planet indicates its owner, which can be one of four team colors or gray for neutral. Some of the planets will also have symbols on them. A person symbol means there are more than 4 armies on that planet (and hence it can be bombed if its an enemy planet or beamed up from if its a friendly planet). A wrench symbol means that the planet is a repair planet; while in orbit around this planet you will repair damage much faster that usual. A gas can (looks like a sort of little box) means that the planet in question is a fuel planet, and you can refuel on that planet. This is important, because although you regenerate fuel automatically if you are not constantly using it, a fuel planet will fill you up much faster.
Below the tactical display are two little windows. The topmost of these is the warning window. Important messages will appear here. Below this is the message-send window where you can compose one-line messages to send to your teammates.
Below the map window are three scrolling lists. These are, by default, the All window, the Team window, and the Individual window (the yourwindow). These show, as you might have guessed, messages to everybody, messages to just your team and messages to just you in them. Read messages! This is important.
Left - Fire Photon Torpedoes toward Mouse Cursor
Shift+Left or Middle - Fire Phaser toward Mouse Cursor
Right - Change course toward Mouse Cursor
Other Important Commands:
0-9 Set Warp Speed 0-9
) Set speed to warp 10
! Set speed to warp 11
@ Set speed to warp 12
% Set speed as fast as you can go!
c Cloak/Uncloak Ship. While cloaked your ship will not show up on
other playerstactical displays. It will show up as a ?? on the
l Lock onto object. Sets your course to that object. If its a
planet or a Base, you automatically dock there once you arrive.
t Fire torpedo
p Fire phasers
T Tractor Beam. Pulls target toward you but uses a lot of fuel.
Useful to make sure ships that run away get killed.
y Pressor Beam. Just like Tractor, but it pushes target away.
Useful in keeping those over-agressive warships away from you.
s,u Raise/lower shields. Your shields consume fuel. Also, your ship
will only repair internal damage while shields are down. But you are
much more vulnerable when your shields are down.
L Bring up the Player List Window. So you can see the names behind
the player numbers, as well as their stats.
i,I Get information on the player or planet nearest your mouse cursor.
Lower and uppercase report different things, try both.
q Quit game quickly
Q Quit game, but read the MOTD first
h Bring up help window
Lots of commands, huh? And those are just the more common ones!
Notice how difficult it is to reach a lot of these keys, such as orbit,
lock onto, tractor, pressor, etc. Most people use a keymap to make it
easier to reach the important stuff; see the your client manual for details.
How to send Messages:
Press mor put your mouse cursor in the outgoing message window.
It is the lower of the two thin one-line windows just below the galactic
or tactical window (depending on which client you are using). Type the
letter for who you want to send to:
0-9, a-j Message is sent to player of that number/letter
t Send to your own team
A Send to All (Everyone!)
F Send to Federation
K Send to Klingons
R Send to Romulans
·Send to Orions
Use the Esc key to cancel a message before sending it.
Tournament mode starts you when have 4 vs. 4 and the teams are not diagonally opposite (e.g. Fed vs. Kli is no good). You can get DI (damage inflicted) only during tournament mode, and more DI leads to promotions. DI is a composite score based on total planets taken, armies bombed, and ships killed. During Tournament mode (Tmodelook for the little tamong the flags, which are on the upper-left of the dashboarddirectly below the tactical window) you receive no DI for attacking non-warring races, i.e. those races not represented by a team of 4 or more.
Your rating will be updated only during Tmode. Ratings are derived from your planet bombing, killing (offense) and getting killed (defense) rates, normalized with respect to the average of all players. That is, a rating of 1.00 means you have exactly the average of all the current players.
To get plasma torpedoes, get 2 kills, and refit to [DD/CA/BB]. These home in on a target but can be shot down with phasers.
When you first enter the Game, you may need to press hit the keys Band Vtwice each. This makes the planets resources show up on the tactical and Galactic Maps. If you are experiencing a lot of blink(uneven screen updates), try setting your updates/second to a lower value. Do this in the options window (O- thats capital ohto bring it up). Click the mouse button on the updates number until you get the number you want. Lower updates tend to produce less blink, although they make netrek less playable when the network is working normally.
Declare peace with everyone (except perhaps the current enemy race).
This way you wont be attacked by neutral planets and robots! Set stay peaceful when reborn(in the options window again). This way you wont have to redo your war settings every time you get shot down.
Hints for Beginners:
Watch your fuel. When you run out, your weapons wont fire, you cant go very fast to run away, and youll be helpless. If you run out of fuel, go orbit a friendly or neutral fuel planet. Avoid chasing ships, unless you know they are badly damaged or out of fuel. Its very hard for you to dodge their fire, and very easy for them to dodge yours. On the other hand, if you can get someone to chase you, waste them!
Learn who your enemies are. If you shoot at friendly ships, not only do you waste fuel, but you show everyone that you are a beginner. And many players will specifically go for beginners just for the easy kill. Change speeds a lot. It is often useful to use high speed to get into the action quickly. But at high speeds you will have a hard time dodging enemy torpedoes.
If youre not in combat, fly around with your shields down. This enables you to repair a little damage, and you use less fuel that way. But beware, you are very vulnerable if you are surprised.
Each additional warp halves your turning speed. Slow down to turn.
Watch your galactic map to get the big picture.Pay attention to cloakers. Enemy ships near you will cause you to go to yellow or red alert. This can be used to tell if the cloaker by you is an enemy or not.
Torpedoes you det wont hurt your teammates.
Bomb enemy planets with armies on them.
Strategy and the grand Scheme of things:
Theres more to Netrek than just ships flying around and blowing each other away. The actual goal of the game is to conquer the galaxy. As a shorter term goal, a team must conquer the planets of the other team. This genocides the team, and all its players are forced to quit or change to a new team. (Note that most if not all current servers restart the galaxy after one genocide.)
How to Conquer Planets:
You conquer planets by first bombing the armies on enemy planets down to less than four. Below 4 you cannot bomb them. (Neither can the other team pick up from them, however.) Here is one time where the AS is useful: the AS always bombs at least two, so if the planet is at 5 and you bomb it with an AS, it will always go to three or less! If the planet is at 6, however, you should first bomb it down to 5 with a normal ship and then have the AS bomb.
Then you need to get some killsyou can only carry armies if you have killed with your current shipand beam up some armies from one of their own planets with the zkey (you can only beam up armies if the planet has more than four armies, so you have to keep your enemies from bombing your planets!). Once you have armies, orbit the enemys planet and beam them down with the xkey. Each of your armies destroys one of the enemys armies, so you will need more armies to capture a planet than the planet currently has. Usually, as a rule of thumb, it takes 5 armies to capture a planet, unless of course, it has fewer armies than that on it.
Some planets are more important to capture, too. Fuel planets are good planets to capture, because capturing them prevents the enemy from refueling on them. Similarly, repair planets (look for the little wrench symbol on the planet) repair ships orbiting them much faster than normal. Agricultural or agriplanetspress ion the planet or bring up the planet window with Pare most valuable because they generate armies quickly.
Standard Netrek games usually follow a pattern:
The game starts:
The teams have all their planets and usually about 30 armies per planet. So, the object in this stage is to bomb out as many of the enemiesarmies as possible, while preventing them from bombing out your own.
The planet capturing stage:
Most of the armies are bombed away, so the players concentrate on capturing the enemy planets. Its kind of pointless to try to capture enemy planets while they still have a lot of armies, so this is why players dont try to capture planets until this stage. If the enemy has lots of armies, it is very easy for them to simply recapture their planets.
The Desperate wait for armies:
The players have used up most of their armies trying to take planets, so they are waiting for more to grow on their own planets so they can take the enemies. What few they do get often end up dying, as the ship that was carrying them is hunted down by hordes of enemy ships.
The Last Planet Defense:
One of the teams has lost several of its planets. It only has a few of the ones near its homeworld. They dont have many armies to recapture their worlds because they dont have many worlds to grow them. But their worlds are well defended because they come back real close to them when they die.
This stage can last for hours if the winning team isnt aggressive or well-enough organized to take those last few worlds.
·does not read messages. Netrek is a team game. Be part of the team.
·Dies with The Armies. Note that there is a difference between dying with armies (which happens to everyone) and dying with The Armies. That is, dying with armies when armies are scarce. Often in a game, armies are plentiful, or would just get bombed away if not picked up, and getting killed while carrying happens to everyone. But its a real bummer when some twink picks up the last two armies which are vitally needed to take back that critical planet and goes and dies with them. Summary: dont.
·does not listen to his teammates. Help your team! People more experienced then you will try to direct actions and strategy. If you have a better idea, say so, but dont just ignore the requests of your teammates. Unfortunately, many players are impatient with newbies (Im one of them ;-), and will not do more than curse at you for your mistakes. If you want to get more out of them than curses, dont argue with them. They will only get angrier because a clueless newbiepresumes to correct them! Apologize, even if it wasnt your fault, and ask what you did wrong. This makes them feel stupid and then they will often become helpful. Complimenting them doesnt hurt either. Of course, here Im assuming that the arrogant player actually knows what hes doing and isnt just a jerk. There are a few clueless jerks around, too.
·calls for help continuously, whenever theres someone chasing him.
Learn how to defend yourself. If you cant, dont, for example, fly deep into enemy territory by yourself and then expect your friends to come to the rescue as soon as someone starts grinding you down. For one thing, ships do not move all that fast and so by the time they arrive you will probably be dead. For another thing, there are better things to do than waste time saving someone who will just get a new ship a few seconds later anyway, unless you are of some special value to the team, e.g. carrying armies, are the only player with kills, etc. This does not mean, dont call for help when defending a planet or taking, for example. But if you are about to get killed and youre not doing anything special, sorry.
·does things or takes resources better done or used by others.
Examples of this are bombing a planet when there is a friendly assault ship right there that could do it, or taking armies before a more skilled or better equipped (e.g. youre in a scout and hes not) player who wants them can beam them up.
·explodes near his teammates and kills them. Explosions do considerable damage. This fact can be used to your advantage, for example when ogging (killing with a suicide attack) someone. But dont explode over or near friendly ships. For example, if your are protecting someone, as in escorting for planet takes, stay a little bit away from the planet so that if/when you get toasted, you dont kill them too.
·pesters others for help instead of reading the manual or figuring it out online. This last point is extremely important! Read this document thoroughly, and investigate the FAQ, various WWW sites, and the Netrek archives (see section 6.1) thoroughly before pestering other players for help with simple things. Note that this does not mean dont ask questions: on the contrary, many players are more than happy to explain things to beginners. But dont ask without trying hard by yourself. Things like how do you play this game?or asking how do I raise my shieldseight times in the middle of a game (when you can always press hand find out) are not appreciated by most players.
·plays for himself. Play for your _team_. Theres a lot of otherwise good players who only want to increase their stats by planet scumming. Space control. Escort. Scout bomb. I cant emphasise this last enough; there are few players that I am more happy to have on my team than one who will join the game, see that their team needs a bomber, and then goes bombing.
Scout bombing is of course, done with a scout; select this ship from the opening screen. The basic technique is just to go from planet to planet bombing, but there is some finesse involved. First of all, getting deep behind enemy lines is omething of a trick; flying at maxwarp through a dogfight in the hopes of getting past it is a good way to get killed, even if you are cloaked; scouts are very fragile. You must usually fly far around enemy ships, often way off into neutral space. At any rate, once you approach a planet with armies to bomb, the procedure is basically the same: lock on (press l), shields up as you approach (press sor u), wait till you enter orbit, then bomb (b). After a while, enemy ships will notice and start chasing you. This is goodyou are keeping them from helping their team. You are much more maneuverable than them (unless they are also in an SC) and also much faster, BUT you are very fragile. The solution is to run and dodge. Buttorping is good here, though frowned upon in other parts of the game. Learn to dodge. If you are really good, you can even take out a ship by suddenly charging at them at high speed and firing everything youve got. This takes some skill, but Ive defeated many a BB in a scout; the trick is to get them angry and make them waste fuel first.
Besides bombing, the other duty of a scout bomber is to call call pick ups as you see them. You are behind the lines and in some sense have time on your hands, so a SC bomber is ideally placed for reconnaisance of this type. You can tell when someone picks up by watching the number of armies on a planet being orbited by them. While the little army symbol(the little man) on the planet will disappear if they remove all the armies, more often than not you have to watch the army count by pressing iover the planet repeatedly as they orbit it. If the armies are going down, they are picking up. Tell you teammates so they can watch out and or kill them. There is a handy macro for this in most clients: place the mouse over the enemy carrier and press Ctrl-9. This sends a message like 4++ @ Romto your team.
Scout bombing is very helpful, and probably the easiest useful thing for a beginner to do. It is excellent practice, and actually it is also one of the most important jobs in a game.
It is a means to an end for two reasons: a) you must have kills to carry armies and take planets, and b) you often need to stop enemy ships from doing things, such as taking your planets or bombing your space, or killing your teams carrier (or you!) when you are trying to take a planet. Killing them is one good way, although there are others.
The following is from the Netrek archives by John Kirk Hammond a.k.a.
Here is the manual I mentioned. I posted it cause many people said I should.
I only use a CA, so if you play another ship take any advice with a grain of salt (actually, take it all with a grain of salt.).
There are, as I see it, 3 major things about successfully dogfighting.
The most important, by far, is intensive use of tractors. The second is to change speed constantly. The third is to det incoming torps.
Remapping the keyboard in the .xtrekrc file is important. For those interested, heres mine: keymap: dTeyadllrrqe D I think some of that was redundant, but it works, so I dont care! :)
II. Changing speeds
IX. Knowledge is half the battle :)
A. Tractors are most useful for holding an opponent in place so that your torps can catch up to him. By tractoring an opponent, one a) slows the opponents turning speed down for a short time and b) pulls him in the direction of your torps. THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT. I can not tell you how many people have come rushing onto the screen that I have tractored, using their speed, and pulled them right onto a string of torps.
B. Tractors are also useful for pulling wounded enemies (and full-strength scouts) into your phaser range so that you can finish them off. However, see III. Detting for more on that.
C. My favorite method of killing any enemy is to pull up next to him, speed up to warp 8 or 9, and on the pass launch a volley of torps and at the same time tractor him. Fire the torps almost perpendicular to your ship, because at warp 8, they will move outward AND forward, hence slamming into the opponents ship. I will also det his torps if they look like they might hurt me. Sometimes, if the torps might not hit him, I pressor him, and sometimes, just sometimes, his rapid turning pushes him BACK into the string of torps.
D. In the opposing situation, if an enemy tries this on me, I turn in his direction and pressor off of him at the same time, which (most of the time) propels me out of his incoming swath of torps. Pressors are most useful for maneuvering into and out of positions for battle. I dont use them extensively in battle but perhaps to keep a phaser-thirsty ship out of range so that I can torp him, or, in cases where there is a good BB playing, pressors are a key to survival.
[JE: T/P can also be very useful to help you dodge torps. The
most obvious way is to just turn away from your opponent
and pressor off him to give you more room to dodge. If you
have a teammate or an enemy off to one side that you can t/p
off of to move you sideways out of the torps, that is even
better. If youre using a teammate as a t/p post, though, make
sure youre not moving him into torps at the same time!]
A. It is important to change speeds constantly. Many opponents tend to dodge torps I send at them. However, when involved in a dogfight, and torps are flying in a perfect line at your ship, slam your hand down around the 7-8-9 area, and watch as your CA accelerates past the torps (I dogfight at 4). A while back, I fought with West 11 or 12 times on an abandoned server. Against that kind of skill, I change speeds maybe, once very 3 or 4 seconds, just to throw him off as to where I am going. That match ended in a tie or close to it. Those lil matches took over a minute usually. Learn to be patient. The next entry, B, illustrates that.
[JE: a style enormously helpful to conserving fuel while dogfighting is to fight at a base speed of warp 2, tractoring, pressoring, and accelerating as needed when torps are fired. This is most effective in a CA/BB/AS.
Thanks to Erik Lauer for pointing this out.]
B. The other day, I angered an opposing BB so much that he roared onto the screen firing a plasma and a blob of torps. I calmly turned perpendicular to his plasma and accelerated. That got me out of the torpsway and out of the possible turning radius of the plasma. The BB then turned tail and slowly moved away from me, firing torps all the way. By moving back and forth and calmly accelerating out of his torps I followed him all the way up to a fuel planet, never raising my shields or firing a shot. He started orbiting the fuel planet, and I sped up to 8 or 9 and roared by him, firing a volley of torps, tractoring him off the planet, detting, and phasering. Needless to say, he died and I lost my shields. But I was patient.
C. Also, remember to pressor oggers that appear behind you, as this will keep them from blowing up on you (I tend to tractor them, fire torps at them, and then pressor them, thus ensuring their death and preserving most of mine). However, you must be going away from the ogger at at least warp 7 for this to work, because pressors only really neutralize the oggers tractor.
D. When you are attempting to catch up to a target, and he is fleeing at similar speed, you can do 2 things: 1) If there are enemies in the area who could help him, you must get him quickly, so det torps sent in your direction. 2) If you and he are alone, if he fires a line at you, slam the 1-5 warp area and turn a little to the side. This usually lets you dodge most of them, but he gets those few extra seconds to flee a little more. However, if he has no help in the area, you might still have a chance of catching him.
Here is the Netrek concept that will get me in trouble with other good dogfighters. Most never det in battle. I, however, live on detting. I will cover detting on the accepted scalefrom A to C.
A.Det when tractoring scouts in and phaser them to death. Scouts fire dinky 25 pt torps that do 6 pts of damage when you det them. If you can tractor them and you are moving at sufficient speed, you can crunch a scout in a CA. As long as you det. This goes for any wounded ship, too. If a CA is wounded and is sitting stopped, rush at an angle, fire torps and tractor him in. However, you MUST remember to det torps. If you dont 10 to 1 you will mutual with him.
B.Det torps for wounded ships, planet takers, and SBs. If you want to be a good escort, stay AHEAD of the planet taker and det any torps headed for the planet. However, REMEMBER to fire at incoming oggers, and if you must, mutual with any too close to the planet.
C.Det enemy torps to wound other enemies. This I use only in special situations. When a cloaker (planet taker) flies over enemy torps, det them. You will take damage, but so will he. Any planet taker that slows down cause of wounds is usually dead in any clueful game. Planet taking counts on the taker to make it to the planet as fast as possible before oggers overwhelm the escorts.
D.OK, I also det a lot in combat. When I am dodging, I will often det to open a holein a stream of torps, or det the first few torps in a string so that I can zoom by. Remember, detting ideally only inflicts 25% of the damage on your ship, so detting 4 or 5 torps really is nothing in a CA. I also tend to det whenever I make a pass at an enemy. Granted, at one inch away those torps might not hit me, but I dont take the chance. 50-130 pts norm on a dogfight, I guess. At one inch, one pass is usually enough :). Some good players can use my detting against me, but not always.
E.You know those situations where you and an opponent suddenly zoom on the screen at the same time and right at each other? Usually, you will ram each other with a blob of torps. However, the best way to survive is to slam your hand down on the speed of 1-4, turn rapidly to one side, fire torps, pressor, and DET constantly. About 50% of the time this will allow me to destroy the incoming ship, but I in turn usually take almost 80-90% damage. However, I survive.
[JE: maxwarping at an enemy is never a good idea, and if you
do find yourself in that situation, keep in mind that it may be
better to mutual than to go to 90% damage and spend a lot of
time repairingif you mutual, you immediately get a new ship.]
F.If you are in a situation where both you and your opponent are both wounded and he is taking pot shots at your ship, go into repair mode. When he fires a torp, and you cant dodge it, det it. Repair mode will usually repair enough shields for a 10 pt det. This way you conserve your fuel. Once you get enough fuel, start moving and unleash a full string of torps at the enemy.
G.If you are in a situation when you have enough fuel to kill a crippled ship but he is right on top of you and his explosion will kill you, pressor him away before phasering him and killing him (assuming he has no fuel).
Never keep your shields up all the time. Your hull doesnt repair and your fuel regenerates slower. Get in the habit of putting shields up ONLY when you are doing the following:
Approaching an enemy planet for bombing or planet taking.
Within about ¾ the phaser distance of a CA or -->BB <--.
If torps are going to hit you.
If a cloaker is coming to ogg you and he is within phaser distance on the galactic.
If friends fire a lot of torps over you and an enemy is in the vicinity to det them on you.
Its fun to let a SC to get within phaser range: let him lock you a few times and he (sometimes) get cocky. Once he turns around to engage you, tractor him in and kill him.
A. Though I covered most of this in tractor, PRACTICE, PRACTICE,
PRACTICE. Some people here at Duke who program borgs say my torps are almost perfect anyway. I have been accused many times of having a blessed borg.It is because I practiced lots last year (this year I dont play very much anymore). PRACTICE AIMING THOSE TORPS. Learn to lead your opponent.
B. Dont det your own torps when you are first learning. This is the lazy mans way of getting another shot. When you are first learning, and you die cause your first shot missed, you will soon learn to start aiming better. If, however, you keep detting your torps, you will waste all your fuel in no time and gain little experience from the situation.
A. I use phasers when I make a pass at an enemy. Usually it is the difference that kills him. It is difficult to remember to tractor, torp 8 times, shields up, det, phaser, and move...but the extra 40 pt phaser sometimes is all you can get on the guy.
B. I dont suggest attempting to whittle down an enemy with phasers. The only person Ive ever known to do this effectively against me was Val, and hes gone...
[JE: youd be surprised how quickly a man who uses both
phasers and torps well can take down someone who only
torps. Learn where your 20 point phaser range is, and
phaser any time he is within that range. If you are doing
less than 20 points you are probably wasting fuel.]
A. Dont cloak (remember, this is a dogfighters manual).
B. Cloaking is only for dodging outgoing oggers(those coming to ogg you before you reach your target) or to pass over some interference dogfighters who are between you and your target.
C. Cloaking is for mainly planet takers and oggers. That is NOT my forte.
A. Never use plasma.
B. However, plasma is useful when there is a solitary planet taker orbiting a planet and you are racing to it. A plasma and a blob of 8 torps will usually do the trick.
C. S M A C K !
IX. Knowledge is half the battle.:)
A. KNOW YOUR ENEMY. Know what kinds of ships the bitmaps are.
Learn what kind of shields and hull and torps and phasers each ship has. Learn to add up quickly in your head, Well, 3 torps and a decent phaser. 120 for the torps, 40 for the phaser. That CA is hurting and wont be able to flee from me for a bit...
B. Keep track of your shields and your fuel. Make sure you have enough fuel to get out of there, cause you might get 2 kills, but an ogger will rip you to shreds when you have an empty tank.
C. Learn to cripple an enemy. When you are rushing to say ogg a SB hanging around the enemy home planet or especially to take the home planet, NEVER kill oggers coming to engage the blob of escorts and planet takers you are moving with. If you do so, you a) waste your own fuel and shields and momentum, and b) enable the enemy to reappear right next to your target with full everything. Bad move. Either cloak before you get to outgoing oggers, or hit them with 4 torps to cripple them <-- This is possible.
John Kirk Hammond
Ogging a starbase: Enemy starbases can be very inconvenient. Killing one requires a coordinated effort. Typically wave after wave of ships gang up on the starbase and do suicide runs into it, firing everything they have and then hopefully exploding right over it. However, its harder than it sounds. Keys to a good ogg are:
·all oggers uncloak at once. If you do not, the base can pick you off easily one at a time. Thus, if you know youre going to have a head start on the other oggers using a heavy ship (BB/AS) is a good idea. Conversely, dont take one if it will make your team wait for you.
·oggers come from different directions, for much the same reason that ogging a normal ship from the same direction is inefficient.
·the ogg does not take place with a lot of the bases teammates defending. One defender ~ two oggers, so minimize the defenders. Its not enough to call an ogg when the base is alone, you also have to watch the galactic to make sure that the enemy is not heading towards the base, otherwise by the time your ogg gets there he could have several defenders.
·dont maxwarp directly at the base once you are on his tactical! It is trivial for a good base to tell you are heading in a straight line and pick you off with torps or phasers! If you head in at about warp 7 (in a CA) you will be able to dodge torps much more easily. It can also be a good idea to fly at a point an inch or so to the side of the base until you get close to him, to throw him off more.
·having an uncloaked CA/BB/AS lobbing torps (plinking) at the base while the others are ogging can help a lot against a relatively undefended base. With more defenders, it becomes much less effective. CRITICAL to this is that you should NOT plink from the side of the base that the oggers are coming in from. If you do, he can pressor off you to move away from the oggers (and towards his team) much faster! Get behind the base, and force him into your oggers! If, when you do this, the base tractors you, you have two options. You can reverse direction, tractor him, fire, and try to do as much damage as you can, finishing by exploding on him. Or, you can slam on the maxwarp while firing torps at him. The latter is more effective before an ogg, because the base will be forced to use more wtemp phasering you and likely wtemp completely during the ogg. The former option is only recommended if you are low on fuel or if youre youre really close to the base when he starts firing.
·if the base has ships docked on it and does not pressor them off, fire at them. Each docked ship that you blow up does an additional 100 points of damage to the base as well as preventing them from firing at the other oggers.
Sometimes it is useful to just orbit a planet to protect it. This not only acts as a deterrent, but while you are orbiting you will have so little else to do that you can watch for incoming takers and warn your time in time. When takers approach (watch the galactic!) stop orbiting the planet, and start flying. You cannot dodge while orbiting and so you will be easy to kill if you do not start moving. Plus you have some acceleration time, and you need to be fully up to speed by the time you engage.
If you are the only one in the area in and you must defend a planet, your job it to delay the enemy long enough until help arrives (you did call for help when you saw that enemy formation approaching on the galactic map, didnt you?) Critical to this is GETTING BETWEEN THE ENEMY AND THE PLANET. Then they have to go through you, not you through them, and you have room to retreat/buttorp. If you can do this, you have a very good chance of at least delaying the take until help arrives. Failing that, you basically have to ogg the carrier, if you can figure out which ship it is. It will obviously be someone with kills. Also, some people will be known carriers. You can tell when someone beams up armies, if the armies icon suddenly disappears from the planet they are orbiting (from one of their planets, obviously; if it disappears from one of your planets you just got bombed!) Often you will see messages of the form 6++ @ CAPor just 6++. This means that player number six just picked up armies at Cappella. If you see someone pickup, dont hesitate to tell your team with a similar message. (Hint: use macros for this! See section 5.2.) Lock onto the enemy carrier, maxwarp, cloak, get inside the enemy formation, uncloak just before reaching him, tractor him (this helps hold him and pull him into your torpedoes) and fire everything you have, exploding in a burst of glory right over him, and killing him. If there is just a single unescorted taker going for a planet you can ogg him as described above, but you might try coming in uncloaked. Sometimes this will scare him enough to make him turn around, as he doesnt want to get killed while carrying. This doesnt work on anyone who can kill you easily, obviously.
(We are ROM, they are FED).
When the bomber has at least ¾ fuel, he should lurk at a minimum of warp 5, in order to win races to planets.
Maxwarp out of your core, slow to warp 9 while passing the front, and arc narrowly around the enemy position. It is reasonable to let an enemy CA chase you into toward third space; he is losing his position faster than you are losing yours.
Once you enter enemy territory, find a safe, effective place to regenerate E-temp and fuel, and then optimize your position. If another bomber is in the primary position, he will either shift to the secondary position or play an aggressive or ogging role.
Next, the key to winning the game is to take planets faster than the enemy is taking them back. There are a lot of skills to help you do this, but if youre serious about taking planets you dont have time to wander around trying to get your second kill. The key is speed...you have no time to waste.
To take planets, first you need kills. Getting kills falls under another chapter (Grey Elfs Guide to Making Yourself Useful) but Ill mention a few ways of getting quick kills. The classic method is twink bashing. Its cold, its cheap, it works. You find someone with the nice 0.3 kill ratio and get him to come after you. My favorite method is to let the guy get a decent phaser on me. Then I start to run and he says Ive got him now!and charges forward right into my beautiful line of torps. Its scary how quick you can rack up kills if the enemies line up right.
Another method is to get in front of your Starbase. If hes anywhere near the enemy he is probably attracting oggers...try to pick them off before your starbase gets at them. If he blows up someone youve just crippled, call him a kill thief and tell him youd like some reward for destroying oggers for him. Hell probably understand that you really want some kills to take planet. Note that Im NOT advising you to sit behind your SB and scum a kill after he damages it...first of all it usually takes too long, and makes enemies to boot. You certainly dont want your team against you when you really need some help.
A third way is to try to force enemies into an outnumbered situation.
This requires some skill in not getting killed, and is difficult if there are several people ogging indiscriminately, or ogging you in particular. Basically you try to get behind a person so he cant get away. Then you sandwich him between your torps/phasers and those of your teammates, and out of the random spread you have an even chance of getting a kill, better if your teammates arent as good.
Once you have kills, be careful. Good oggers will pinpoint anyone with more than 1 kill, and especially focus on known planet takers. Always watch the long range scanner for cloakers, and know if good players are headed in your direction. If you spend 5 minutes getting 2 kills, you certainly dont want a battleship running you over when you least expect it. This holds true everywhere, at all times. Little sucks more than getting blown up at your home planet as you refit to an assault ship...especially if the guy them bombs the armies you were planning to pick up. (A little secret: when I head back to my home planet to refit to an assault ship, I pick up some armies from the front line and carrying them back with me...because theres no guarantee they will still be there when I get back).
There are a couple of ways to deal with oggers. First, you have to know they are there. Watch the long range scanner at all times, even when dogfighting. Remember that your ship still has weapons, and use them. If you are planning to take planets, dont get in close with enemies...they may just be trying to suicide into you. Im not encouraging people to runner-scum, but dont close with the enemy either. If an enemy is coming in cloaked, there are two things to do. If hes coming in very fast, either blast some torps into his path, since he cant dodge, or cloak just before he gets within phaser range. Slow, spin to the side, and speed up again...he will uncloak, go flying past you, miss with his torp spread (which you just dodged), and try to come back after you, now rather low on fuel. If hes coming in slow, fly away around warp 6, burning no fuel, and wait for the ogger to run out of fuel. Then go do what you were before he got there. Remember that most oggs are ineffective unless you dont see it coming, are already hurt, or the ogger is really good. Also, let your teammates help you, but dont hide behind their coattails: if youre going to be effective you have to take some risks, and sometimes you get burned. Take your loss and come back fighting.
What ship you choose to take planets in is a difficult choice.
Everyone has their favorite fighting ship: I prefer cruisers. In some cases another ship might be more effective: you lose time in changing ships (less if your starbase is nearby), but a different ship might be able to do more. Each ship has a different style to it. Scouts are useful for taking planets that are left undefended and weak. You can slip in very quickly and beam down two armies, which can either take a planet or weaken it for the next person to show up. (This tactic can be very useful when the enemy is low on planets...letting other people take the planet with one kill ships). Destroyers are exceptionally good for taking lightly defended planets since they can carry 5 armies and are both fast and maneuverable. Heavier ships are more useful for taking well defended planets, since they can take the punishment of random torps. Remember that Assault ships can carry an army for every 0.33 kills...so an assault ship is much better for taking planets. However, enemies know what assault ships can do, and will often ogg one without even checking how many kills it has.
Another choice is how many armies to carry. This depends on what you are trying to do, and how many armies your team has to use or lose. If you expect that your team can defend the planet youre taking, only carry enough armies to leave one of yours on the planet, and let it grow. Carrying more is an invitation to be ogged, and is probably a waste unless youre sure that you can grab more than one planet in a single run. If you think your team cant defend the planet, and youre just taking it to deny its growth to the enemy, try to carry enough to bring it to 3 or 4, so that the enemy will have to waste many armies to get it back. Again, carrying more is just an invitation to be ogged, and it actually reduces your effectiveness, because youll be so timid defending your piles of armies that you wont be able to get anything done. Sometimes you gotta die to take a planet...If you are taking a planet that is heavily defended (like a last planet stand) then carrying more than 4 is probably useless, because youll probably just die with them all, and theres no point in losing lots of armies at a time. Of course, it all depends on how many armies you have: if you have 15 planets with 20 armies each, it doesnt really matter how many you die with, while if you have few armies you have to conserve every one you can get.
There are several different situations in which one takes planets.
These are: your team is down, its an even battle, youre driving the enemy back, youre trying to break core planets, or a last planet stand.
If you are short on planets, you are probably also short on armies, so defending them is a must. Hordes of oggers will come for you as soon as you pick armies up, if not sooner, so be ready. Dont just take a planet and fly away, because a planet with 1 army is easy pickings for anyone with a kill. Stay and defend it, or make sure someone else is. Otherwise, you might as well have died with the armies for all the good they did your team. If you have lots of armies (sometimes all your planets grow at once) it can be useful to save some on your starbase, rather than taking lots of planets that are easily taken back. Planets with 4 armies cant be taken by a 1 kill ship, while a planet with 1 army can. Always take an agri first if your team has the ability to defend it, because it will grow armies much faster than a regular planet. Who needs a home planet when you have an agri...
If the game is fairly even, then you want to take planets fast and stop the enemy from retaking them. Again, you are probably low on armies, and should be making sure the enemy is too. Only carry 5 at a time...go back for more after you take a planet. Carrying more is just too risky at this point in the game. Take agris first, then fuel, then repair. Your team will love you for it :-)
Try to con your team into clearing the planet so you can take it. If they arent, you can try to clear it yourself, depending on how good you and the target are. If you think you need help, but arent getting it, try this trick: wait for a teammate to get near, then fire some torps and try to get the enemy to shoot back. Toggle your shields a couple of times too. Look like your having a really tough battle. Hopefully your teammate will get the idea and come chase the enemy off. Theres a lesson here that Ill mention again and again: people notice what happens on their short range scanner more than they notice the long range scanner. This is more true with less skilled players. If you want someone to notice you, do something on their short range view: if you dont want people to notice you, stay off their short range view. We all have tunnel vision, and often see only what we want to see. Use this to your advantage.
As you advance into the enemy space, the game changes a bit. You start to have more armies than the enemy...you can afford to be more aggressive in taking planets. Every army you kill is another blow, every planet is production lost by the enemy. A really strong push at this point can force the enemy into a last planet stand. The enemy will be fighting back hard, but they dont have enough people to defend all of their planets heavily. Use this to your advantage.
Oggers have an easy time at you when you are in their space, so watch for them all of the time. Dont be conspicuous; just kind of fly around until you see an opening. The key is that, as time goes on, different enemy planets will become weakly defended. People fly around, and others get killed. What you have to do is be ready for an opening to occur, and JUMP on it before the opportunity closes again. What I like to do is pick a promising side of the enemy space and float...careful not to get on the short range scanner of any enemies. A lot of times, someone might be floating perfectly aimlessly, headed somewhere else, but will zero in on you if they see you at short range. Even if you kill them, youve lost valuable time and opportunity, plus the person might very well look at the kill list and send out an ogg call on you. I wait for something: sometimes a planet just gets left open. Other times a teammate causes a distraction which keeps the enemy from looking at the long range scanner. (Remember, its hard to look for cloakers when someone is shooting at you). Sometimes my team just blasts the enemy off. When a chance occurs, you have to MOVE, and fast. You may only have seconds to get the planet and get out before you are noticed. Cloak, and scream in at max warp. As you get close, slow down so you can dodge a bit. Slow down more as you get close to the planet, because you have to be going slow to orbit the planet. Keep your shields down as you go in (to conserve fuel), but keep your finger on the shields key so you can toggle them instantly. I usually raise them once Im close enough to take damage from the planet. At this point there are four keys you need: bomb, beam down, det others torps, and shields (these are by default b, x, d, and uor s). I find it useful to remap the bomb key to something near xand d; I use s. This way you can hit all three keys without looking down. Its also useful to have the resource display on the short range view: this way you can see if you should bomb before beaming down armies. As soon as you start orbiting the planet, start bombing or beaming down. Be prepared to det incoming torps, and to raise shields if it seems necessary. If someone fires a plasma at you, its almost always better to raise the shields to take the plasma, then continue. Remember that raising shields stops you from attacking the planet, so you have to hit the bomb key again. Look for the army picture to disappear, then start beaming down. As you beam down, look back and forth between incoming torps and the little window above the message window which counts down the armies: 4..3..2..1..0..1.. As soon as youve beamed down all your armies, raise your shields and hit warp 6. Try to dodge torps on your way out, and punch it as soon as you are in the clear. Spin parry dodge. Lower your shields if no torps are hitting you, to save your fuel. Also, uncloak as soon as is feasible to avoid getting caught without any fuel. Head for the nearest friend and have him get in the way of the oncoming enemy hordes.
For a beginner, it can be a real problem to remember which keys to hit, and to hit them in the right order. Practice on planets that arent so defended: pretend there are enemies about, cloak, and take the planet as if someone were about to kill you. You never know, someone might be.....At all times, dont panic, and never give up: that battleship MIGHT just miss :-)
Taking last planets is even tougher, because there are less openings.
Usually youll have to beat one, two, or even more enemies to take the planet. An assault ship is usually necessary for this, unless the defenders are really clueless. You have to pick your attack carefully; you cant just charge in and take the planet. Wait for things to look good. Bide your time: if the enemy only has one planet, they probably arent coming back anytime soon. Wait for their admiral to fly away, THEN crash the planet. Always be ready; sometimes the enemy home planet will be totally undefended for just long enough to get in and take it. One of the best times to take a last planet is when the enemy has burned most of their fuel dealing with others: they might not have enough fuel to finish you off, especially if you det their torps for less damage. Sometimes youll wait for 15 minutes for those 3 seconds that the starbase drifts away from the planet. Only three seconds, but youre in and beaming down before he can find his plasma. Try to get the enemy to forget about you; let them deal with other people, and then suddenly pop out of nowhere to take the planet.
As you fly in, youre expecting to get fired upon, so be ready for it.
Have one finger on the shields, and use your other fingers to change speeds. I usually try to slide in at about warp 5, dodging the enemy torps as I go in. I accelerate as I see a clear path to the planet, and hope I can orbit quickly. Always remember that youll probably have to lock on the planet again, as youve been spinning around in circles all this time. Once you lock on, keep the shields up and move your hand over the beam down key. As soon as you orbit, start beaming down, and have another finger ready to det the incoming torps. This is probably a suicide mission, so dont worry about what to do after you take the planet. Only stop beaming down if a plasma is incoming: then it might be worthwhile to take the plasma to the shields, then continue beaming down. Usually its all over before you can think about making it out alive. If you somehow manage to get all your armies down, try to fly away and get to your friends...but even if you die, youve really done a lot for your team.
If theres more than one defender, or the one is fairly good, youll probably need help to take it. What you want is to have your enemies too busy to look at the long range scanner to see if cloakers are incoming. This usually means you want the distraction uncloaked, so that the enemies will focus on the distraction. Try to come in from a different angle; few people expect a planet taker to come from behind them. Make sure the good defenders are occupied, or have your teammates assigned to take them out. There are two plans: either have your teammates kill most of the defenders, or just keep them so busy that they wont see you. Killing works better at planets farther from the home planet, since the returning ships cant get back in time. Killing also is needed against good players, because they are probably going to see the cloaker anyway.
If you are helping someone take a last planet, your job is to keep the enemy busy...too busy. If there are only a few (3 or less), and no SB, then pick out the best of the defenders and suicide into him. They will all burn fuel shooting at you, and youll take out the person most likely to kill your planet taker. The planet taker can then come in and take the planet in those few seconds before the enemy looks back at their long range scanner. If there are too many defenders for this to work, you have to be more sneaky. You somehow have to get the defenders to focus on you instead of the planet taker coming in from a different angle. One of my favorite tricks is to fly in cloaked, and then fly cloaked or uncloaked in the opposite direction from the real planet taker. If all goes well, the enemy will come chasing off after me while the real planet taker slips in behind before the defenders notice the deception. A lot depends on how good the defenders are: a few really clueful battleships can defend a planet against all comers.
This is all well and good, but usually you just get blown to bits without getting a single army down. If this happens, hurry back out and get some more kills. Pick up more armies, and start floating around again. You know youre doing well if the enemy says You have kills AGAIN???Hang around, look, wait, and then sneak in from behind, and get blown to smithereens. Come back again...and often that third time, theyll have just a little too fuel, and be a little too far away...and its all over.
So thats the advice I have to give on planet taking. Ill just summarize:
move: dont waste time
get kills quickly
watch for oggers always
know what planets need to be taken, and who the defenders are
choose the right ship and the right number of armies
try not to attract attention
try to get undefended planets
wait for an opening, then jump on it
attack when the enemy is too busy too deal with you
come back again...and again...and again...eventually the enemy....will collapse
And remember, theres little more satisfying than breaking a long last planet stand, or knowing that every player gets to see your name in the final message: : Galaxy has been conquered by Ff (Grey Elf) and the Federation. But the best compliment I ever got was when I took Romulus as a Fed three times in a row, and one of the Romulans sent to the all board:
damn elf. Makes my day everytime I see that line.
email@example.com Admiral Neutrino)
At that time, Netrek was updated to support UDP (Universal Datagram Protocol) instead of TCP. This is a network protocol that runs much faster than TCP and greatly improved playability. The world was a happy place once again. The only catch is, unlike TCP, UDP packets are not guaranteed to arrive at their destination uncorrupted, or even at all! This is what makes UDP fast, but it is also a problem. In practice, it means that packets will occasionally get lostduring play. If a server packet is lost you will have a jerky update, or a ship will appear to be in the wrong position, or a random unmoving torpedo may float on your screen, seemingly ownerless. If a client packet is lost, your phasers may not fire when you press your middle mouse button, or your shields may stay down when you order them raised.
In 1991, the first game of Netrek was successfully played over the modem via SLIP. This was made possible via yet another modification to Netrek, Short Packets. This was an internal rewrite of the communications protocol in Netrek to use much less bandwidth. In particular, rather than sending the full positions and status of all ships and torpedoes on every update, the server sends only those things that have changed and only for those objects which are in range (i.e. on your tactical map.) It also employs clever packing of information in bit fields and variable length packets to squeeze the maximum information out of every bit. This reduced the bandwidth for Netrek to modem usable levels. However, this too had its problems: with short packets it is possible for the client and server to get out of sync with each other, as the full game status is not resent very update. This has results similar to lost UDP packets.
However, all is not lost. If you find that your ship doesnt always respond to your commands, bring up the ping stats with the ,(comma) key. (Incidentally, this is also where your lag is displayed: look at the avg. rt [round trip] timeline.) Read the line labeled tot out pkt loss. If this is greater than a few percent, UDP is losing a significant number of packets. To fix this, bring up the UDP options window with +(plus). Click on the line which says sending with simple UDPand cycle through the various options. Try each one (enforced state, enforced weapons & state, and the last resort, TCP only) until your packet loss drops to a satisfactory level. What is actually happening here is that the client is manually tracking what you ordered, and if the server doesnt do it, resending the request.
If you have strange garbage (random torps or phasers) on your screen or you seem to be firing at phantom ships, or your damage wont repair, or any of many strange effects, try requesting an update manually. Try the -(dash) key first, this requests a small update.If this doesnt fix the problem, try the =key. This will cause the client to pause noticeably over a modem as the server sends more than 2000 bytes of data, including all ship positions and status, planet positions, and each players stats, but it should completely resync the client and server. One option that I find useful in the options menu (press uppercase O) is the request update on enteroption. When this is on, every time you enter the galaxy in a new ship, everything is updated. This causes a short pause, but it gets rid of phantom data from your previous life which sometimes happens. If you find this useful, put the line askforUpdate: onin your netrekrc file.
Incidentally, sometimes the client will fail to connect to the server with UDP and/or short packets. If this happens, to turn on UDP, press +and click on UDP channel is closed(it takes a few seconds, watch your warning window, try again if it doesnt work.) How do you know if UDP is off? You will be responding much slower than usual, and if you have a modem, you will see the client sending data even when youre flying straight and not firing, etc. These are TCP packet acknowledgments. To turn on short packets, press ,to bring up the short packet window, and click on Dont receive variable and short packets. Give it few seconds, watch your warning window, and try again if it fails.
I personally often play over SLIP and a 14.4kbps modem gets you a reasonable lag and update rate. Playable, if youve never experience a direct connection.
Note that you only need 9600bps of bandwidth to play, but the slower the modem, the greater the lag. A 14.4kbps modem has a minimum propagation time of about 105 ms each way, so this means a minimum of 210 ms lag will be added to whatever the lag is over the internet from your local SLIP server. Good lag times over a 14.4kps modem are in the 260 ms range, which is awkward but playable (hint: dodge before youre fired upon, and lead with your phasers, not just torpedos.) On a direct ethernet conneciton, good lag is around 70 ms, but on a good day it is possible to get 40 or even 20ms lag across a continent. If you have a direct connection and youre consistently seeing high lag, you may have a slow video system or computer, which means that the network is fast enough but the computer is not. Try reducing the number of updates per second (again, in the options window.) If this works you can add updatesPerSecond: <n>to your xtrekrc, where <n> is whatever number worked for you. The default is 5; with a fast computer and net connection you can get up to 10 or so before it chokes or reaches a point of diminishing return.
Something that is also very useful when playing over SLIP is to reduce the MTU (maximum transmission unit) setting of your SLIP software. The default is usually 1500. Reducing this to 1000 or even 500 will hurt throughput (so its bad for those 4 meg ftp transfers) but give you better lag. I have found that changing the MTU from 1500 to 1006 gives me 40ms better lag, on average.
A very common question is whether to have compression turned on or off for SLIP play. At first I thought that compression should always be off to reduce lag, as when the modem compresses it tends to wait for a good chunk of data to arrive before transmitting so it can get a better compression ratio, and this increases lag. However, during testing I found that compression can sometimes get you an extra 20-30 ms off of your lag. Actually, lag seems to fluctuate randomly depending on the compressibility of the packets being transmitted/recieved. The moral of the story: experiment! On nice thing about compression on, though, it that your MOTD and Metaserver listings arrive much faster.
If, while you are playing, you suddenly get a freeze, try switching to the netrek console window. If you see a ghostbust message there, just wait, and hopefully the server will call you back, and you will re-enter the game. This can take several minutes, but its better than sitting in a wait-queue. If you were very lucky, its possible that no one will have killed you while you were disconnected.
For more, the best place to go is the newsgroup rec.games.netrek.
Reading the FAQ and FOCS (frequently offered clever suggestions) for this group is a good idea.
The Netrek Home Page on the Web is http://www.netrek.org/
It has links to just about everything that exists in netrek. Highly recommended.
A very good page is the JCH information archive (also accessable from the Netrek Home Page),
Those without www access can get the JCH archive by anon. ftp at
cs.cmu.edu /afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/jch/netrek or at
Kevin Bernatz (Sun Tzu)
Terrence Chang (Exxon Valdez, retired)
Andrew Markiel (Grey Elf)
Hugh More (ZZnew guy, retired)
Shekter: Credit is given for each entry. Those with no credit, I wrote. I have included many terms which are old or almost never heard anymore, for interest and amusement. There are, for example, about 10 different types of scum that I had never heard of before (pizza scum and terminal scum are my favorite.)
Ellis: Removed a lot of those really old ones because this manual is too long already. ;-)
No armies (duh, ;)) [ Hunter Chen ]
Practice robot, or third space robot, or terminator
A netrek client that has some sort of automatic cheatfeature, e.g. auto-dodge or phaser, cloaker display, etc. This is cheating except on designated borg servers such as mean.mu.caltech.edu.
Borg scum / Client Scum:
People who play borgs during non-borg hours or on non-borg servers.
[ Walter D. Pullen ]
Someone who uses borg clients on non-client nights. At least most of
these are from Berkley. Most popular are plasma clients and phaser
clients. I think its pretty clear that these people are cheating. [ Hugh More ]
[Shekter: this is now very uncommon due to the RSA verification
scheme, which was designed specifically to prevent this.]
Bronco-type servers, such as CMU, Berekeley, USC, and UofW. Differs
from Chaos servers in refuel and plasmas. No Galaxiy class ships. [ Hunter
Chen ] [Shekter: this is what is now the standard Netrek server, so named
becuase it first appeared on a machine called bronco.]
To fire torpedoes behind you while running. While this is a fun and
easy way to waste someone who insists on chasing you, doing this habitually
makes you a Runner Scum (see which). [ Shekter ]
Netrek playing ability, experience, etc. Also someone who has these,
e.g. Tywong is clue. [ Shekter ]
A generally derogatory term referring to a players inability to
match to expected levels of play either due to lack of experience or poor
ability. [ Hunter Chen ]
Utexas or KSU server with high refuel rates, free plasmas, and Galaxy
classes. Also known as Galaxy server. [ Hunter Chen ] [Shekter: these are
pretty rare these days. ]
Bombing deep in enemy teritory. This often involves cloaking, and is
very important at the begining of the game. [ Hugh More ]
to detonate torpedos. [ Timothy Worsley ]
According to the authors, DI is Destruction Inflicted.It is simply your (planets+bombing+offense) ratings x (Tmode hours).
When you a receive a promotion on DI, it means that you could sit around and do nothing while waiting for the required number of hours and still get the promotion. E.g., Admiral Flatliner has only 27.19 hours while 40 hours and a ratings total of 8 are required for the rank. 8 x 40 = 320 DI. Flatliners ratings add up to 11.69, so 27.19 x 11.69 ~= 320.
Note that it is possible to lose DI because your ratings are always
relative to the global average The double DI and quad DI promotions are
fairly meaninglessbasically you can get a promotion with insufficient
ratings but lots of hours. [ Terence Chang ]
Similar to ratings scum, these people either only play during the initial bombing runs, or else quit out near the end of the game when there are no more chances for lots of bombing and planet taking.
[ Walter Pullen ]
Draft League. A semi-professional Netrek league with regular games.
This requires less clue to play in than the INL (which see). [ Shekter ]
To kill an important carrier who is carrying a reasonable number of
armies. Any kill of a base that has been effective in gameplay is a doosh,
whether the base was carrying armies or not. There are some other odd
spots where dooshapplies. Any particularly large display of carnage
(such as two fleets meeting at a planet and going up in an 8-ship chain
explosion) certainly qualify. Also, even if a starbase were very weak and
innefective, any base ogg where 6-7 ships uncloaked simultaneously from
well-spread angles such that it is very clear that the base hasnt got a
snowballs chance in hell, is quite clearly a Doosh![ Jon Blow ]
A special term to denote those players who dont really know how to
play very well, but help their teams greatly by being at the right place at
the right time. These guys can really help Oggers and planet taker by
distracting opponents and often serve to scare off runner scum who would
be taking planets. [ Hugh More (ZZnew guy) ]
Good players who log in as guest or a new Ensign character so people
will think they are clueless, until they promptly get wasted. Especially
fun to do against the Newbie scum, below. [ Walter Pullen ]
People who do things like fly their SB at warp 1 when its not
damaged, or pretend to be damaged so youll chase them and they can waste
you. [ Walter Pullen ]
Grey Elf effect:
To suddenly dodge into a stream of torps. He named it himself.
[ Timothy Worsley ] Also called the Pac Man Effect or Wocka Wocka Wocka Effect.
Scum who log in specifically to hurt a team, and so help the opposing
side. This can involve giving away kills, going in as their SB and letting
the enemy kill it (along with 25 armies), telling the other side whos
carrying, along with other nasty things. [ Walter D. Pullen ]
A player who comes in on the other side in order to hurt them and then
quits out again and rejoins his old team. [ Hugh More (ZZnew guy) ]
Practice bot. Also a derogatory term. [ Hunter Chen ]
A battleship Ogg done without cloaking at warp 8 in order to clear
space. Named after Hugh Moores ship of the same name. [ Timothy Worsley ]
Practice robot. So named because it is often the player designated by Ig (Player in slot g, on the Independent team.)
International Netrek League. A professional Netrek league. INL players and INL games are generally considered to be the ultimate in Netrek clue.
[ Shekter ]
Armies. (I know theres an origin, but Im not sure what it is.)
[ Timothy Worsley ]
People who only play to rack up kills and dont do anything with them
to help their team. They are often found hanging around the SB or around a
last planet where they can easily rack up kills. [ Walter D. Pullen ]
LPS [Last Planet Stand]:
If the enemy is down to a few planets, its useful to try to get the
hardest ones first (like the home planet) while they are still uncertain
which planet youre planning to take: i.e. you can fake an attack on a
different planet in hopes of drawing away some defenders. If it gets down
to an LPS on the hardest planet, its much harder to take since the enemy
knows exactly where youre going. [ Andrew Markiel ]
People who send nasty or insulting messages to individuals or teams to intimidate or scroll their screen so they cant read useful stuff.
Especially applies to those robots. [ Walter Pullen ]
Similar to Ensign scum, people who play under a different name then
they are accustomed to. Often involves switching terminals with a teammate
to confuse the enemy or give an advantage. E.g. a good dogfighter gets a
kill and switches terminals with the team planet
taker. [ Walter Pullen ]
One who has just started playing netrek. [ Hunter Chen ]
Merciless players who target Ensigns and other newbies and waste them
several times to rack up kills so they can do whatever. [ Walter Pullen ]
See Human Target. Named for Jon Kims ship of the same name.
[ Timothy Worsley ]
Og....The act of Ogging. The process of cloaking and appearing adjacent to enemy while firing torps and tractoring on to him. Purpose: To kill. Without caring about dying in the process, also called suiciding. Ogging is an art, it consists of knowing when to cloak and when to uncloak.
Planets are not subject to Ogging, since no one can here their screams.
Back in, I believe, November/December of 1990 I use to play netrek much more than now. At the time, I was probably only Flt Captain Sun Tzu, maybe even just a Captain. A group of us, which included Jay Hui (TheSlug), Byron Sinor (Krang), and Steve Russel (Khelik) were playing netrek with Terence. The three of us were Feds, Terence was Orion. It was a full game, and Terence had come in as Og <== (beginning to get how it happened :> ). At this time, suiciding people with kills *NEVER* happened. Dogfighting rained supreme, and cloaking was used only for planet taking, that is until Terence decided to teach us CMU boys alesson. Steve had accumulated a 3, 4 kill ship and had taken Spica (or El Nath, I dont remember) and Terence chased him and tried to mutual with him. Steve killed him, but was left at ~90% internal. As he wiggled towards Fed. space he watched the galactic map as Og reappeared and began to move rapidly in his direction. I will never forget how his voice shattered the calm of the cluster with yells of Its OGGGGGGGG. HELP! HELP!!!!!!!!!
Its OOOOOOGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!. His final words were something to the
effect of AAAAAAAAAArrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh, Ive been Ogged!!. Jay and
I immediately picked up on the effectiveness of suiciding people, and had
Terence show us how to do it better. That is how Ogging started getting
popular, and how the name spread through Netrek History. [ Kevin Bernatz ]
Those who Ogg for no understandable reason. This does not include
those who occationally Ogg planet takers with kills, bombers, and star
bases. However, there are people who Ogg people with no kills, and people
who never take planets simply because its the only way they can see anyone
blow up other than themselves. [ Hugh More (ZZnew guy) ]
Pac Man Fever:
The Grey Elf effect: To suddenly dodge into a stream of torps. This is much better known as Pac Man Fever!You know, eating the dots.
[ Scott Drellishak ]
Players who declare peace against the opposing team so they can get
confuse some of the enemy to waste fuel, and can fuel off of the enemy
planets as well. Generally not applied to scouts mapping the galaxy at the
beginning of a game if they declare peace. [ Walter Pullen ]
people who, at every opportunity, will try to prove that Phasers are
superior to torps and plasma, and who will was an entire ships worth of
fuel chasing a phasering a scout . [ Thomas Smith ]
A Borg client written my Tod Mummert. Also, any player who uses this
client. Named after MUCUS PIG. [ Timothy Worsley ]
A player who takes up a slot, normally cloaked, while eating, going to
the bathroom etc. [ Timothy Worsley ]
When a planet grows armies. [ Timothy Worsley ]
Some one who devotes their game play to getting plasma and keeping it
(i.e. never dying). They stay near a fuel planet and just plasma anyone who
comes near. Really obnoxious dorks to have on your team. [ Ellis ? ]
A sub-group of Ratings Scum. Those who waste armies by dumping them on planets that cant be defended in order to improve their planet ratings. This can acutally help the team if they have a lot of armies or are against a clueless opponent. Often, however, it hurts the team because the planets are quickly recaptured and the armies are lost for good.
[ Hugh More ]
Carrying. More or less plusses represent an exact knowledge of number
of armies. [ Timothy Worsley ]
Carrying armies. [ Timothy Worsley ]
General scummy players who only play to make the next rank and dont
bother helping their team any. [ Walter Pullen ]
Another sub-group of Ratings Scum. Those who are so cautious about dogfighting that they rarely get a chance to do it, but prefer to pick up injured ships. These hurt a team by stealing kills from those who would use them (to take planets) and by filling up a team slot with a more-or-less useless player. Frequenly, star bases are Ratio Scum.
[ Hugh More ]
Receiver Configurable Distress. There is a whole section on these in your client manual.
People who kill you right when you enter the game. The worst scum of
this type can kill you in this manner several times (especially in a borg
on needmore) each time you get pissed off and come in to kill the person
only to be smashed by a plasma and 8 torps before you can move or fire
anywhere. [ Walter Pullen ]
Type II Res scum:
Basically the opposite of the above. These people use a shiny new ship or two to take out most anyone near their home planet, i.e. you are beautifully dogfighting, and manage to take out that BB in your DD. Unfortunately you are now going warp 2 and he comes right back in and flies at you in a new CA at warp 9 and your kill quickly becomes his kill.
[ Walter Pullen ]
Flying for a long period of time with an e-temp above 95.
[ Timothy Worsley ]
The ROBO effect:
Shooting a plasma as soon as it is fired. Some only count this as the ROBO effect if the phasorer is then accused of playing a borg client.
[ Timothy Worsley ]
Players who bring in a 3rd space robot to give them an initial
advantage if they get genocided, or else attract the Terminators or
Hunterkillers over into enemy space to wreak havoc. [ Walter Pullen ]
[Ellis: since most servers no longer allow bombing out of T, and
terminatorsweapons will only hurt the team who fired out of T, and not
many servers even have iggy, you wont see this one a lot either.]
Berkley term. 1) This refers to those who run from and even fight in hopes of gaining the advantage of shooting backwards. It is important that this does not include running when outnumbered, injured, or out of fuel.
It also does not include merely attemping to stay at rangewhere a smaller
ship is more effective. Runner scum are looked down upon because this
tactic cant be used by everyone. If it were, there would be no kills. So
those who try to make the game more interesting get reamed. 2) also often
used to descibe those who hide in the backfield and only fight the
occational straggler. [ Hugh More (ZZnew guy) ]
The encryption alogrithm used in Netrek to prevent people from using borgs. It works like this: each client has its own key, which is in two parts, a public and a private key. The public key is given to all the servers. The private key is hidden in the client binarythis is why clients are distributed only in binary form. When the client connects to the server, the server generates a packet of random data and sends it to the client. The client encrypts this with its private key and sends it back to the server. The server decrypts this with the public key for that client. If the client is what it claims to be, i.e. it has the correct private key, the public key will decrypt the packet back to the original sequence. Its actually somehwat more complex than this, but the net result is that its very difficult to use a borg when you are not supposed to.
Even if you do manage to create a blessed borg, the server gods can
simply disable the particular key you are using, without causing too much
disruption. [ Shekter ]
Of course I like that one definition I read on this group a while
back, that a ___ scum is someone who does ___ more than I do. [ Walter
I should point out that at times, calling someone a <whatever> scum
is a compliment. Particularly, Planet Scum and Ogger Scum can often help
their teams, and are cheered by thier fellows. [ Hugh More ]
To Ogg, without cloaking, by following a player just outside of effective weapon range, until s/he reaches an obstacle, and then attacking.
[ Timothy Worsley ]
A hit with a plasma torpedo, especially if the ship dies, when it is
also a FATALITY, and especially when the ship in question was carrying, in
which case it is also a DOOSH! [ Ellis ]
Bombing outside planets, genocided race planets, and other undefended
planets. [ Hugh More ]
People who play a SB and try to individually waste anyone that comes
near. This involves cloaking and when an enemy comes within range, quickly
uncloaking and tractoring it in to its death. Common tactic found most
anywhere. I do it all the time. :) [ Walter Pullen ]
[Ellis: of course, the base isnt helping its team at all. Dont do it.]
Very annoying teammates who steal your kills or planets, e.g. you
skillfully wound Flt. Capt. Dodgeswell after a hard dogfight and are about
to take him out when some Lieutenant flies in and takes the kill with one
phaser, or you use 4 of your armies to neutralize a planet, only to have
someone else take it when you are away getting more armies. Generally
doesnt apply if they take kills from the SB or take heavily contested
planets. [ Walter D. Pullen ]
People who switch sides in the middle of a game, often to the more
clueful team so they can benefit by a quick genocide. Especially scummy is
to log in on one side, and bomb the enemy flat, then quickly switch and
bomb the first team flat, to rack up DI. [ Walter Pullen ]
People who kick you off that nice color xterm because youre playing
games and they want to use it to get some work done. [ Walter Pullen ]
The section of the galaxy owned by teams with no players on them, e.g.
Orion and Klingon space in a Fed vs. Rom game.
Third space scum:
Someone who takes over neutral space rather than working for a
genocide. [ Timothy Worsley ]
Stands for Tournament Mode. Stats are only recorded on the server when there is a minmum number of players, usually 4 per team, to have a reasonable game, and the opposing teams are not diagonally across from each other, i.e. Rom Vs. Ori.. T-mode shows up as a little T in the flags display. You can only bomb and take planets in T-Mode, so basically if you dont have T-mode you dont have a game (which means you will have a minimum of eight players for a Netrek game.)
The worst slime in the galaxy. These are the people who at 3am log in
4 times on each side as guest, and then come in as their main character and
bomb everything and take over the galaxy a few times while they are the
only one playing = lots of DI. [ Walter Pullen ] [Shekter: this is not
possible on many servers now, as they check the actual login and IP
address of the player to prevent this sort of thing ]
Wocka Wocka Wocka:
Pac Man effect of eating enemys torps without detting. Also
labelled as the Grey Elf Effect. [ Hunter Chen ]