26

Updating my previous comment, I've had a chance to try Tolk and had success with the language that I use, BBC BASIC for Windows. Oddly, it didn't seem to support SAPI, which it says it does, but it worked okay with NVDA.

The problem with Echo Quadrant is with my use of asynchronous speech. Because NVDA doesn't appear to support asynchronous speech then there are announcements that get overwritten and never get a chance to finish.

If I do attempt a bigger and better game then I will write it for use with Tolk and screen readers. And I'll put in more keyboard shortcuts.

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Played it for a while, I like it and it reminds me of the old classic 4X DOS games, so that's definitely a good thing.

I just haven't found a way to automate mining ships though, I either struggle with cargo contracts and get pirates blasting me to hell, or go under trying to do mining ships.

Also, I seem to struggle to get anything over 5k. Am I doing something wrong?

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Hi DracoSelene89: Keep an eye on the jumps you need and in how many turns you have to meet the contract. If you see something like four jumps in five turns it means you will reach your target in four turns. Cause you allways make one jump in one turn.

Hi Freeman: There is another little tricky thing wich realy could use a little bugfix. When you are mining and the system is exausted it still shows up in the mining-database. It would be very nice if exausted places would disapear from that list.
So realy! One last update would be very very nice!

One general question: Are there old 4x ascii dosgames wich were accessible?

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So am I supposed to just leave one fleet on automatically finding contracts and manually pick another fleet's contracts, also does the number of cargo ships matter? I usually put 4 on my initial fleet then a fighter or two if I can afford it to own the pirates. I wish I could sell my scout ships honestly, probably can but haven't found a way.

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@freeman69: you can solve the announcements by implementing a buffer that stores the messages. By pressing a keystroke (some games use page up and page down), the users can cycle through the buffer one message at a time, with the output from tolk saying the message. Just remember to have a key that can jump to the top or bottom of the buffer, such as control plus pageup or control plus pagedown. The bottom of the buffer should contain the most recent message.
So here's an example from another game.
In a game called Crazy Party you can do online card batles. These get quite intense and sometimes you have to look at what's going on.
In a turn, it might say:
jukesy1992 uses bulk up.
The level of physical move from jukesy1992 increases to 1.
It's pitermach's turn.
Then I have to go do something but I leave the game running and let peter take his turn.
He uses slap, causing five damage.
When I get back, I press control + page down to check the most recent message.
It's your turn.
I press page up.
5 damage.
I press page up again.
Pitermach uses slap.
I press page up again.
It's pitermach's turn.
So I'm moving in reverse order until I get back to where I las was. THen when I'm ready, I press control plus page down. It's your turn.

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31

Hi Draco & Firefly,

Mining ships are automated only to the point where they keep mining the same location. One tip, some resource locations are infinite, which is why the game tends to make mining ships have accidents.
I should have deleted the entry from the resource database. That was lazy of me. But I'm pulling together everything I've learnt from writing this to make the next game better. Hopefully.

Draco, yes, the number of cargo ships definitely matters, as does the level of protection they receive.
When you reach a comfortable level of credits, you might want to set your fleet to automatically fulfill contracts, and start building another fleet.
It is possible to amass a lot of credits, as you need them for the end-game scenario, including purchasing Mayflower ships to colonise worlds.

A question for the moderators: could Echo Quadrant be considered for an entry page in the audiogames list? If it falls short, then I'll take note of any problems and make the next game better. Many thanks.

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32

So...something I've noticed is that at least for me, is I simply cannot get anywhere not taking the nefarious contracts (awesome name for them by the way) and it's putting my rating into sociopath, which takes the AI pirates into the 1000+ strengths, and I simply can't compete with 15-20k credits frankly and getting anywhere from 100=800 credits a contract usually. Is that just the RNJesus hating me in epic fashion, or does the whole good/neutral/evil thing actually affect how the pirates and stuff are? I mean, it seems random, I can have one fleet in a system run into 4000 enemy strength and  the next fleet, exact same system, 12 enemy strength. Doesn't make any sense to me really.

I'll play around with mining ships but I REALLY am starting to hate the goodwill contracts especialy when I'm getting everything being 4 of them two or three times in a row and I'm costing 80 or 100 credits in maintainence for my fleets...

That being said, I did manage to somehow earn a colony ship earlier and set it to pretty much found a colony in the system it was in that had highest life: none

Problem is, I assumed from the guide that it'd convert the 20 (yes, twenty) cargo ships into raw resources but that didn't happen and thus the colony never got anywhere. Is that a bug or did I just merely set the colony in the wrong place?

Lastly, pirates, I reallly, really hate them. If you're gonna go do a bigger version of this can we have an option at a certain reputation level to go pirate other computer controlled fleets for stuff?

Oh and I'll admit, I tried memory editing and editing the save files to see what'd happen. Answer: It completely and utterly broke, gave me 1.67E20 for everything which resulted in no credits, no fleets and nothing, so I approve of that one smile

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33 (edited by freeman69 2017-03-20 16:38:28)

Hi Draco,

20 cargo ships, that was a lot to lose. Just between you and me, keep colony ships separate from your trading fleets. But they may need protection as I had one of mine boarded by aliens.
The model for colony growth is a bit complex, but kick starting one with additional materials ie disassembled ships, isn't necessarily a good thing.
If you can find a planet with some form of life then the growth rate is faster. Plus bigger planets allow a slightly bigger maximum population. The tax rate that a population is comfortable with, is random, covering a 10 percent spread. Avoid planets with lots of bad natural activity, but I think you know that.
If you can get to a point with enough credits to buy a Mayflower ship, or twnty cargo ships, then you're already past the difficult bit. Probably. As long as you have enough in reserve to cover damage then let your ships run on automatic.

Your reputation affects the frequency of encounters and the magnitude of the force you'll face, but this is a statistical average and individual encounters will vary.

I was always going to have an option for the player to pirate other factions, but it got put to one side to ensure the game was completed. Plus, I wasn't sure exactly how to incorporate it into the game. I felt that the fact you can occasionally board enemy vessels was a resonable balance. Or maybe I'm just trying to annoy you enough to get you to buy a dreadnought and destroy the odd planet.

At the moment I'm looking at an idea for a damaged Borg cube to make its way home across a vast, unknown territory, like Voyager or Battlestar Gallactica in reverse. We are the Borg...

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@Freeman, certainly Echo quadrent will get a database entry. It's a miner problem at the moment for me since as I said I can't download the game owing to using a rather old xp laptop, and probably couldn't run it even if I did.
I'll certainly be glad to try it out when I get back to my flat though, which will hopefully be next week after which point I'll be glad to write something up for the database, ---- that's assming of course one of the other staff doesn't beat me to it.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Hey Freeman! So waht about making some last bugfixes till admin dark is back in his flat again? You created a realy nice little piece of software wich would benefit of every little update!
HMM, let me think of a story: What about humans find an alien ship on mars and accidentally activate a powerful jumpdrive wich throws them accross the galaxy to a distant place in the universe or maybe even another universe? They dont have enough energy left to activate the jumpdrive again and they dont know how the jumpsystem works and wich coordinates they would need. So they have to take the long way. Learning about the alien ship. Learning about the alien race. Maybe there are old different alien inhabitants in stasis. And no one knows if one of them is of the builders Race. No one knows if they are friendly or not.
Something like this?:-)

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36

freeman69 wrote:

Hi Draco,

20 cargo ships, that was a lot to lose. Just between you and me, keep colony ships separate from your trading fleets. But they may need protection as I had one of mine boarded by aliens.
The model for colony growth is a bit complex, but kick starting one with additional materials ie disassembled ships, isn't necessarily a good thing.
If you can find a planet with some form of life then the growth rate is faster. Plus bigger planets allow a slightly bigger maximum population. The tax rate that a population is comfortable with, is random, covering a 10 percent spread. Avoid planets with lots of bad natural activity, but I think you know that.
If you can get to a point with enough credits to buy a Mayflower ship, or twnty cargo ships, then you're already past the difficult bit. Probably. As long as you have enough in reserve to cover damage then let your ships run on automatic.

Your reputation affects the frequency of encounters and the magnitude of the force you'll face, but this is a statistical average and individual encounters will vary.

I was always going to have an option for the player to pirate other factions, but it got put to one side to ensure the game was completed. Plus, I wasn't sure exactly how to incorporate it into the game. I felt that the fact you can occasionally board enemy vessels was a resonable balance. Or maybe I'm just trying to annoy you enough to get you to buy a dreadnought and destroy the odd planet.

At the moment I'm looking at an idea for a damaged Borg cube to make its way home across a vast, unknown territory, like Voyager or Battlestar Gallactica in reverse. We are the Borg...

Destroy a planet...?

I am so, so in for that one! I just don't get the contract generation, in all my playing it seeems the goodwill stuff is next to useless, and the standard contracts never seem to be worth it so I HAVE to go nefarious to make ends meet, which leads to stronger enemies which leads to a quick game over.

I got the 25k by just doing 1-3k nefarious runs as the most I ever saw from a standard contract was...300 credits yet nefarious went all the way up to 3.5k, which seems a bit off to my way of thinking. Then again, currently got two colonies with 5 corvettes guarding them and another 4 and a pair of dreadnaughts guarding my 100 (Yes, a hundred, ha!) trading fleets. Then there's my lonely little scout ship and dreadnaughts guarding my mining fleet.

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Hi guys,

That's great news if the game does get onto the list. Many thanks. I've not had a wide audience for my work before, and I now know I'm going in the right direction.

One of the reasons I pushed to finish the game is that I was on leave, which is now over. I know that I should have removed the resource entry from the database when a specific resource was exhausted, but it's not a game-stopper. It's been a learning experience and I intend to focus on a new game that's much bigger, more complex and sophisticated. May take some time though.

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hi. I have enjoyed the game a lot sofar, the transcendence research is a nice way to win the game. My strategy is to automatically fulfill standard contracts untill I have around 200 cargo ships, by then I have a steady income and I can focus on colony building. As for pirates I prefer to use my destroyers to kill them if they demand all cargo because that could be a lot of money lost.

feel free to add me to your Skype. it is valentin.velecico.9
nothing is impossible.

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39

I was going through the ship database and was highly confused by some of the offensive ratings, though I had to smile at the Mayflower having either 800 or 1000 attack, can't remember off the top of my head.

@Mastadont: I personally always get 100-300 credits for automated cargo runs honestly but is it worth keeping a fleet of 3-X ships back to manually pick contracts for that strategy? I've not been able to repeat my success of 100 ships at all though oddly enough, usually run into 2000 strength pirates which is worrying.

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@Freeman, it's what we're here for. I do hope the news on the front of site also helps let more people know about the game. There is definitely a desire for games like this in the Vi/blind gaming community, since thus far the closest thing to 4x games we have are online browser based ones which usually reduce down to "who can minimax faster" and don't really have much by way of exploration or even randomly occurring challenge since more are just based on steadily and constantly increasing resources and are very heavy on player run guilds and politics.

For this reason I'd suggest perhaps considering expanding the game, or at least solving some inequities that people mention, since this will be a game lots of people will want to play, whatever comes up in the future.

Btw, I'm wrestling with my conscience about whether to pinch my wife's windows 7 machine and pplay this, since the game really sounds like my sort of thing.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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41

hi,

I'm confused slightly.

how do I automate a fleet I don't quite get how you do that.

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42

To automate a fleet it's under standing orders and navigation.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the contract prices are based on reputation? I've had higher standard prices initially then I've had 2500 credit contracts without a carrier or 800/400 credit contracts at sociopath.

Also, one thing I was missing out on, hopefully you'll add a way to sell ships instead of scuttling them. Also, I had to laugh at 20 Mayflowers owning a pirate fleet. Battlestars, anyone?

That being said the automatic contracts aren't THAT awesome in the early game IMHO, from my experience stick to manually going through contracts and picking them, personally I try to go for the 1 jump contacts each time. Also....Mining is awesomely good for steady income until I managed to lose my mining ship, somehow I still got mining income from a scout, so not sure how that works but not gonna turn down free credits. One last thing, fighters are incredibly useful, I personally make a point of capturing them and any alien ships too. Course, problem with that is I don't make enough on contracts at all. Still, this game is insanely addicting...

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43

I learnt a lot from writing the game, including things that I'd do differently. I'm already focusing on a bigger idea, and intend to use Tolk. If I had more time then I'd consider updating Echo Quadrant, but from a purely selfish point of view, I'm very eager to try something on a grander scale.
Will report back in a while...

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44

what sorts of ideas have you got?

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@freeman: what about the buffer idea in conjunction with tolk?

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Hi.

I'm now looking over the game in order to give it a db page. I don't think I've got to grips with everything yet (especially making enough to cash to actually buy more ships and advance), but we'll see.
One practical question however I do want to ask freeman 69, is what exactly do you want your developer name to be in the database?
That is when I list "developer" what do you want to be called. Freeman69 or something else? Do you have a company name? would you like me to add your real name? Since you don't have a website at this point where I can read about the game I'm not sure on this so please let me know as I'll hopefully be putting a description of ecco quadrent together in the next few days.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Hi, and sorry for the delay in getting back!

To answer Aaron, Echo Quadrant was partially designed around the functionality of SAPI speech. I looked at replacing SAPI with Tolk and for the majority of the code it was simple, but in a few places it caused problems due to the way in which the game code was designed. It will be easier to incorporate Tolk into a new game, than to attempt to update Echo Quadrant.

To answer Dark, I have a programming website under the name of freeman69, link below, but my real name is Rob Jeffs. Everything I've done is open source or freeware and I'm not associated with a company.
http://freeman69.moonfruit.com/

To answer Darren, my current idea includes a massive ship with a cybernetic crew that needs repairs and upgrades, while making its way home across the galaxy. You will come across empires and navigational hazards, and solar systems with worlds similar to Echo Quadrant, but with potentially hundreds of ships and cities, or just a few. You will have to harvest new levels of technology, crew and materials to survive and grow. All of the ships will be comprised of technological modules, that have their own energy, crew and material requirements.

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sounds interesting. are you going to make an echo quadrant 2 at some point? to expand on the first?

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Darren, it's crossed my mind already. Writing Echo Quadrant was a learning experience. I'm already rewriting the code that controls the menus, and I have a better idea of what works as a game. If I have a flexible game engine, then I can make the games more interesting. As Echo Quadrant worked, I would like to revisit it, but that's a little way off.

My current game idea incorporates an additional menu interface that is a 3 by 3 square grid, to be used as a long range scan, for setting a destination, and as an indication of the direction home.

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Grids tend to work well audiogame terms, though I would also consider program shortcuts as well, since people obviously even in windows are very used to say pressing the first letter of a menu and being there instantly, indeed many people (myself included), even use numbers to put things at different menu positions, for example in my browser favourites I have a folder called audiogames, and the first item is this site with a 1 next to it.

This I think would've helped in echo quadrent to speed up the gameplay and might be something to consider for the next game.

Getting back to echo quadrent, one thing I find a bit weerd is that good will contracts pay nothing, standard contracts pay only 100 credits per ship per turn on average, and nafarious pay 200, but I have to take one good will for each nafarious to fix my reputation n negating the bennifits. This basically means it'll take a massively long time to enough for another cargo ship when the prophet is added to maintenance costs, unless I'm missing something here, indeed I did start off exploring since I thought that was probably a good idea, only to find that without a miner ship or mayflower for colonization exploring was a pretty thankless task since even if I encountered aliens I didn't seem to be able to do anything with them. Then of course there was the  chance of running into pirates which pretty much wipes out my ships anyway since the pirates are all at least strength 200 and I can't aford enough ships to get to that strength, which is making progression a bit problematic at the second, unless I missed something, indeed I am a little confused why you start off with three scout ships when your in a quadrent which is already explored and when exploring doesn't seem of much value early in the game and the first thing you need to do is buy cargo ships.

Again I don't know if I am missing something here, eg some sort of bennifit you can get exploring since right now basically I'm just sitting maintaining a constant level of cash with what cargo ships I've bought (as it's pointless to buy fighterse they are no help against pirates), until I get bashed by pirates and not really progressing.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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