Pax Galaxia

Game Manual

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

1.1 About this manual

 

2.0 Playing the game

2.1 Moving your forces

2.2 Combat

2.3 Production lines

2.4 Star types and bonuses

2.5 Cheat Codes

 

3.0 Multi-player

3.1 Online play

3.2 Hotseat play

 

4.0 Using the level editor

4.1 The stars

4.2 Placing opponents

4.3 Balancing the level

4.4 Shortcuts

 

5.0 Credits


1.0 Introduction

Thank you for playing Pax Galaxia. We hope you will enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoyed making it.

Pax Galaxia is a fast-paced strategy game of stellar conquest. Your task is to seize control of all the stars on the map. To do this, you must move your forces around, direct where newly produced ships will go, and decide where you will engage hostile ships. To achieve final victory, you must destroy all the enemy forces. Sounds simple? Pax certainly is easy to learn, but mastering the game is another matter entirely. And, if you get tired of playing against the computer, you can always play a human opponent.

A level editor has been included with the game to allow you to expand upon the game. So play the game, experiment with your own levels, and most importantly, have fun.

Good luck!

1.1 About this manual

If you wish to get into the game right away, we recommend that you take a look at the built-in tutorial, which will give you enough information to get started. However, you may prefer to read this manual instead, as it will offer somewhat more in-depth information about the gameplay.

This manual is designed to act both as a learning tool and as a quick reference for more experienced users. Sections 2.0 and 3.0 will teach you how to play the game.Once you have learned to play the game, you may also wish to look at section 4.0, which will teach you how to use the level editor that comes with the game.

 

2.0 Playing the game

Picture 1: The Game Window

Pax has a simple, intuitive interface. Most players will not have any difficulty getting around the game’s menus and setting up their games. However, if you do, there is a help button in every menu. This button, represented by a question mark, will explain the purpose of the menu and the options available within it.

Once you begin the game, you will be presented with a stellar map. Each star represents a single planetary system. If two stars are connected with a white dotted line, it is possible for your ships to travel between them.

Under each star, there is a coloured number. The colour indicates the owner of the system, and the number indicates the number of ships that are currently there. Two numbers separated with the ‘/’ character indicate that some of the ships are damaged (the number to the right of the slash).

By using the left mouse button, you can select any star on the map. This will give you information about the star, including its name, type, and the kind of bonus (if any) that this kind of star offers to its owners. To deselect it, left-click or right-click anywhere on the background. Alternatively, simply right-click another star to select it. Once you have selected a star, do not left-click another star unless you’re trying to issue orders to your forces.

Selecting a star is also the first step to giving orders to any forces that currently occupy that system. You will learn more about this in the next section.

2.1 Moving your forces

Needless to say, you will not accomplish much without moving your forces out of their starting positions. In order to do so, you must first select the force you wish to move.

Select any star that is currently occupied by your forces. You can now order them to move into any system connected with this one. To do so, simply left-click the destination. If the destination is a valid one, your forces will begin to move. In either case, the destination star will now be selected – thus, if the destination star also belongs to your forces, you can issue further orders there. 

It is also possible to give orders by left-clicking a star, and, with the left mouse button still pressed, dragging the mouse pointer across a path of stars you control. All the stars you touch while dragging the mouse will receive a movement order. You can use this method to attack enemy stars too.

If you are moving to a friendly system, your fleet will move gradually, with approximately one tenth of the fleet moving at a time (if the source star has between 1 and 9 ships, only one will move - if it has between 10 and 19 ships, two will move - and so on). On the other hand, if the system is held by hostile forces, you will have to defeat them before any of your troops actually enter the system. This will be discussed in the next section, dealing with combat.

2.2 Combat

Once you have selected a target and issued the order to attack, both forces involved in the battle will begin taking damage – gradually, the number of active ships will decrease. Some of them will be destroyed immediately, though most will be only damaged. This process of attrition will go on until the defenders are beaten, or until the attacking player cancels the attack order.

When the defenders have no more active ships left, their remaining damaged ships will have to retreat. During a retreat, some of the damaged ships will be destroyed. The survivors, of whom about half will actually be immediately repaired back to active status, will be dispersed into friendly neighbouring systems. If there are no friendly systems nearby, the entire defending force will be annihilated. At any rate, when the defenders are gone, half of the attacking force immediately moves into the captured system. The other half remains in the system from where they launched the attack; provided that this system has no other hostile neighbours, this force will automatically start moving into the newly captured system. If the attacking system still has other hostile neighbours, but you nonetheless want the forces there to continue moving into the captured system, you will have to issue another move order.

You should be careful when selecting a target to attack. Launching an attack prematurely, with forces insufficient to achieve victory, will only slow you down – you will lose ships and not gain anything in return. Be especially careful when attacking stars with a defence bonus, as they will put up much more resistance than usual. On the other hand, if you are attacking from a star with an attack bonus, you can face somewhat worse odds and still win. If it is at all possible, when trying to capture a star with a defence bonus, you should launch your attack from a star with an attack bonus, as the two will cancel each other out. However, most of the time this will not be an option. Beware also of stars with production and repair bonuses – while all stars slowly produce and repair ships, these particular types of stars are more effective at it, making them very useful in both defensive and offensive operations. When attacking such stars, even if you have superiority in numbers initially, you may find that these stars’ capabilities counterbalance this superiority if the battle goes on for too long. At the same time, however, note that stars repair ships at a much slower pace while under attack. Thus, it is occasionally worthwhile to continue an attack with little chances of victory, simply to maintain pressure on a fleet that includes a large number of damaged vessels.

When attacking ordinary stars, you should have at least 1.5 to 1 superiority in active ships – ideally, 2 to 1. Attacking a star with a defence bonus, 4 to 1 superiority is preferable. In both cases, however, you can still win against slightly worse odds – but your forces will take much more of a beating in the process. Ultimately, the greater your numeric superiority, the better.

If you are facing a large force, try to surround it first, so that the entire force is destroyed when you defeat them – otherwise, they will be repaired after the retreat, and you will need to fight them again.

During a typical Pax game, you will almost certainly also face attacks from the enemy. Depending on the proportions of the forces involved, you may react to these attacks in different ways – but of course, more often than not, your defending force will be outnumbered, as the enemy would probably not launch an attack otherwise.

Do not defend every system you own. If you are facing an overwhelming force, it may be better to retreat for a system or two. This will force the enemy to spread out his forces. It may also allow you to make a stand at a more defendable position, such as a star with a defence bonus and it may save your forces from becoming encircled.

The alternative is to reinforce the system. If you can bring in enough additional forces, the enemy may break off his attack. If you do not have sufficient forces nearby to reinforce the system, you can set up production lines to ensure that newly produced ships automatically move towards it. This will be discussed in the next section.

2.3 Production lines

The key to victory in any Pax game is to maintain a steady flow of ships, shifting your fleets around as needed, and reinforcing them as much as possible.

All stars produce new ships at a steady rate (although some stars have a production bonus, allowing them to generate ships faster). It is important to ensure that these ships immediately go into action – if, at a critical moment, your main fleet finds itself fighting another fleet of equal size, the victory, not only in that battle but in the whole game, will depend on how quickly either side can replace its losses.

When you issue a move order, you are not exactly ordering those particular ships to move – rather, the order will apply to every ship that passes through that star until the orders change. Thus, you can create chains, with each newly produced ship immediately receiving orders to move onto the next star, and the next, until it reaches the front line. Ideally, every star should be included in a chain.

This can become more complicated if you are fighting on two or more fronts (which will almost always be the case); when that is the case, you must divide production appropriately, so that each front gets sufficient reinforcements. Keep in mind, however, that there will never be sufficient reinforcements – not until you have gained the upper hand, in which case they will no longer be critical anyway. Choose your battles carefully; when fighting on multiple fronts, it is advisable to limit yourself to defence on some of them.

2.4 Star types and bonuses

There are several different types of stars. All but one of these star types has a bonus associated with them.

Red Stars – Defence bonus. These stars make your (or the enemy’s) defence almost twice as effective. This bonus is cancelled out if the attack comes from a green star.

Green Stars – Attack bonus. These stars are similar in effect to red stars, except that their bonus works in the opposite direction, aiding only the ships that initiate their attack from such a star. This bonus is cancelled out if the attack target is a red star.

Blue Stars – Movement bonus. Any fleet leaving such a star will move a lot faster, with twice as many ships moving per each map update.

Yellow Stars – Production bonus. These stars produce new ships at roughly double the rate of other stars.

Violet stars – Repair bonus. Ordinarily, these stars repair ships at double the rate of other stars. During combat, their bonus becomes even more significant. They are able to repair ships while under attack at the same rate as other stars do during peace (ordinary stars, while under attack, can only repair ships at one fifth of their ordinary peacetime rate).

White Stars – Multiple positions. White stars are one of the most unusual star types. These stars, and any ships present there, appear to exist in multiple places at once. In practice, this means that when your ships move into a white star system at one end of the map, they can move out of the system at the other end (wherever the white star’s other location is). Keep in mind that this may cause the illusion of having more ships than you actually have, as the ships occupying a white star will be marked in two (or more) places on the map.

2.5 Cheat codes

Several cheat codes are available in the Single Player mode of Pax Galaxia (note that none of them work in multiplayer games). If you use cheat codes the high-scores for that game are not saved.

 

3.0 Multi-player

Pax Galaxia offers two modes of playing against a human opponent. The first option is to play online. When this option is chosen, the game will be played much like an ordinary single player game – except that one or more of your enemies will be human. The second option is to play hotseat, with multiple players sharing the same computer. If this is selected, the gameplay will become partially turn-based. This will be discussed in a moment.

3.1 Online play

Picture 2: Online Game Settings

To play multiplayer games with players on your network or on the internet, you need to press the 'Play Online' button on the 'Main Menu' screen. This will open the 'Start Network Game' screen, where you'll be able to join existing network games or start new ones.  

Before you press the 'Host' or 'Join' buttons for starting (hosting) or joining a game, you can enter your player name (this name will be visible to your online opponents).

3.1.1 Hosting (creating new games)

Hosting means creating a new game that other players can join. The checkbox next to the 'Host' button controls whether you want to create a public or a private game.

If you host a public game, your IP address will be made known to every Pax player on the internet, allowing them to join your new game (you'll want a very secure computer - a firewall is highly recommended).

If you host a private game, nobody will know about it, and you'll have to convince your friends to play against you and send them your IP address by other means (instant messaging). If you only want to play Pax on your local area network, a private game will also be the way to go.

If you have a firewall you'll have to set it to allow the Pax Galaxia application to connect to the internet, and to act as a server. You'll also have to open the UDP port 8591 on your computer, so that outside players will be able to connect to your computer.

If you connect to the internet through a router, you'll have to forward the 8591 UDP port to your computer.

3.1.2 Joining existing games

Pressing the 'Join' buttons is the way to getting connected to existing games. You have the choice to join a game by IP or to search for the existing public games.  

Public games are created by random players on the internet. To list those games you have to press the 'Get Games' button - the game will automatically connect to the http://diogames.com/list.php web page where all the public online games are listed. If any active games are found they are displayed in the game window and you can try to join them by clicking on the small 'Join' button next to each listing.  

Each listing will show the name of the hosting player, the name of the map that will be played and the current (and maximum) number of players.  

The other method is to join a game by IP. If you can communicate with the player that hosts the game, you can learn his/her IP address directly and enter it before pressing the bigger 'Join' button on the lower part of the screen.  

If you have a firewall you'll have to set it to allow the Pax Galaxia application to connect to the internet. You'll also have to open the UDP port 8591 on your computer, so that outside players will be able to connect to your computer.

If you connect to the internet through a router, you'll have to forward the 8591 UDP port to your computer.

Picture 3: Online Game Window

3.1.3 Playing an Online Game

When you are playing online, you will have some additional options in the game, as well. Upon clicking on the 'say' option, you will be able to type in a text message, which will then appear on the other players' screens.

Additionally, underneath the player names at the bottom of the screen, there will be a row of buttons, which allow you to quickly communicate your alignment to other players. By default, the buttons for the other players will bear a red 'war' sign. By clicking on another player's alignment button, you will change it to a yellow 'peace?' sign - a request not to fight each other. If the other player decides that it is in his best interest to not fight you any more, he can confirm the truce by clicking on the button representing you, at which point the sign will change (on both your screens) to a green 'peace!' sign.

Make no mistake, however - victory is a matter of eliminating all your opponents, so any peace will in fact be just a short-lived truce.

3.1.4 Text Commands

The behaviour of an online game can be modified by issuing textual commands through the chat system. To differentiate from chat messages commands must start with either the '$' character or the '!' character. Some commands only work on the computer hosting the game some work on the client.

3.1.4.1 Server Commands

3.1.4.1 Client Commands

3.2 Hotseat play

If you do not wish to use your network connection to play against another person, you also have the option of playing hotseat. When playing hotseat, the game will play real-time as usual – however, each player will only have control for a portion of the time. When your turn is over, the control is passed to the next player. Your forces, however, continue to try to act on any orders that you had given them during your turn. Because computer players will be able to order their troops all the time, it is recommended that you choose a level where there are no opponents apart from the human-controlled forces.

 

4.0 Using the level editor

Picture 4: The Editor Window

Pax Galaxia comes with a built-in level editor, allowing you to expand the game and thus extend your enjoyment of it. The editor is simple to use. Creating a level essentially consists of four stages – first, you must place the stars. Then you must create links between them. The third stage is to deploy the fighting forces. The final stage is to balance the level, in order to ensure that the level is not too tough or too easy.

When you've completed your new level and are satisfied with it, feel free to send it to us at contact@diogames.com - we will make it available in future versions of our game so other players will enjoy it too.

4.1 The stars

When you first open up the editor, you will have a blank map before you (you may also clear the map by selecting the ‘new’ option). In the top left corner of the screen, you will see all the different stars that you can use. To place a star, simply select one star type, and position it by left-clicking on the map. If you wish to place more stars of the same type, simply continue clicking on the map until you have placed enough. Note that the editor will automatically prevent you from placing stars too close to each other or to the edge of the map. To delete stars, select any star type, but instead of placing the star in an empty spot with a left-click, right-click an existing star. Alternatively, you may select the ‘delete star’ icon, in which case you will be able to delete stars with a left-click.

Picture 5: Editing Tools

On most maps, you will naturally want more than one star. Note that you may replace any existing star with a star of that type by clicking on it while the new star type is selected. If you decide to use the white star type, make sure to place at least two stars of this type on the map, as otherwise the star’s bonus will be irrelevant. Furthermore, there is a limit of six white stars altogether. There is no limit for other star types – you may place as many as you can fit on the map.

After you have placed your stars, you need to set up the travelling links between them. In order to do this, select the ‘create link’ icon. Then, simply select the first star, and the second. This creates the link. Since the second star remains selected, you can quickly create a second link by clicking on a third star, and so on. If you wish to select another star without creating a link between it and your current selection, you may de-select the current star by right-clicking anywhere on the map. It is worth noting that there is a length limit for links between stars – if the distance between two stars is too great, the link will not be created. You may also delete links by right-clicking a star – this will delete all the links originating from that star.

Finally, you may move stars that have already been placed. To do this, select the ‘move star’ icon. Then, click on any star to select it, and click elsewhere on the map to place it. If the star already has links to other stars, moving it may result in the deletion of these links, should the new position be too far away from the other end of the link.

4.2 Placing opponents

No map is complete, of course, without any forces to fight. So, select the ‘place forces’ icon. Above the icon, there is a small input window, and a series of coloured circles. The circles represent the colour of the player whose forces you will be placing – thus, selecting the red circle will allow you to deploy the red player’s forces. The input window is used to determine the number of ships you will be placing.

Once you have chosen the player and the number of ships, you may place the forces on the map by left-clicking on any star. If the star already has a force assigned to it, this will replace it. You may also remove existing forces without replacing them with anything by right-clicking a star.

It is easy to lose track of the total number of ships when you’re placing large amounts of them on the map. For this reason, a ‘stats’ icon has been provided. Moving the mouse over this icon will display a summary, telling you how many stars and ships each player has been assigned so far.

4.3 Balancing the level

Setting up the stars and the opponents is all you need to do in order to create a level. However, unless the level is perfectly symmetrical, you will probably need to do a bit of balancing if you wish to ensure that all opponents have roughly similar chances of winning. We have made this easier by including the ‘test’ option within the editor. Selecting this option will start a series of 100 games played between computer opponents. These games are played extremely rapidly, so you will not see the actual gameplay. Instead, you will be given a summary of the number of wins, out of 100, that each player has managed, and the approximate time it takes to win for each player. If a particular player manages to win a lot more frequently than his opponents, the level needs balancing.

There are numerous ways of balancing a level. The most obvious of these is to simply reduce the number of ships or stars assigned to a particular player. However, keep in mind that sometimes, it is better to make subtler changes – changing a single star to a different type can result in far-reaching differences in the way the level is played out.

Finally, don’t rely too much on the designer demo. Ultimately, the best way of testing a level is to play it yourself – a human player will have very different results compared to a computer player.

4.4 Shortcuts

Some commands are only available in the editor through keyboard shortcuts. They are listed below.

 

5.0 Credits

Diodor Bitan – programming, game & level design and artwork.

Jakub Majewski – level design, manual, and quality assurance.

 

Libraries used: SDL, SDLnet, SDLimage.

 

Copyright 2003-2006 by Diodor Bitan. All rights reserved.