Author Topic: PLATO: Empire Computer Game  (Read 887 times)

secrets of blackmoor

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on: September 10, 2021, 05:49:43 PM
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I realize this is a war gamer site, but some war gamers also play computer games.

Periodically I wander through various forums looking for new players for Empire. We have a serious problem, our player base is dying off. We are down to maybe 6 -10 players. When we drop below 6 it will likely stop being played forever.

https://www.daleske.com/plato/empirev.php

Empire is possibly the oldest multiplayer computer game in history. It may also qualify as an early FPS - Frames Per Second twitch game. Surprisingly despite being old and primitive it still holds up as a compelling experience combining a start trek 2d fight game with a glorified game of RIsk. Since it is 2d, it also feels like a naval game with space ship icons. The objectives are the planets. Fly around shoot enemy ships and try to transport armies to take over planets - sounds easy, but it's not. It takes teamwork and skill. Even someone who cannot fight well can play as a planet bomber and army carrier, or provide faser support in fights.

Due to the limits of the technology it has some quirks. Re-plots only happen when you ask for them. Thus every time you hit r or the back key, your ship jumps. The program also forces replots every 10 seconds. Thus even though your display may not show anything moving, everything out there is changing position especially torps.. Delaying a re-plot is utilized as a tactical Hyper Jump to get near some one and launch photon torpedoes. This is one of several game hacks that are standard play. Another is planet hypes. If you land on a planet at the end of a jump, the program will thnk you spent that last move segment not moving and your engines will cool for from 1-10 seconds. Planet hypes are good because flying too long at full power can make your ship explode.

I will warn you now, this is a hard game to play. If you played computer games BITD you know what I am talking about. The games were not designed to be easy to play in order to garner more product sales. This and other games on PLATO were designed to be intense simulations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PLATO_%28computer_system%29

The game runs on an iliac main frame that is being emulated. You can only access the system through a terminal program called Pterm. Because the system predates standardized keyboards and all the Os and programs are designed for the era, the key commands are different. We call the RETURN key the NEXT key. I n  order to use some key strokes you also need to use the ALT/CTRL key + a letter. A week on the system poking around into all the games including the first DnD games and you become familiar with the system's alternate keyset and how to make things happen. For instance when logging in the second screen requires a shift + CTRL + letter command.

If you do use the system there are a lot of fun games from war games that have been ported, to RPGs - these are the oldest ones on computers, and multi player head to head games. There is even the first 3D wire frame trek game on this system and a 3d wire frame tank battle game.

Yet, Empire is the one game that has kept players coming back for more for roughly 45 years. I've played a lot of FPS games and Empire just has something unique about it that is very subtle - I played my first game in about 1975/76.

I run the weekly battles on Sunday nights. eE do 3-4 hours of mayhem. We are the oldest group of head to head computer gamers in history.

I can hold a training session for anyone interested.

-Get a sign on at www.cyber1.org

-Download the Pterm program at the site and you are good to go!

Sometimes we are blessed when one of the designers comes to play with us. If you join a team in Empire, people will message: WE'RE SAVED!  And we sincerely mean it. ;)
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 06:05:15 PM by secrets of blackmoor »



bayonetbrant

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Reply #1 on: September 10, 2021, 07:31:37 PM
Dude, we have a whole area for 4x games and multiple.multi-player online ones going right now, like a Stellaris game w/ Martok, Barth, and Dave P, and at least 4 different Civ 6 games going now

There's space 4x stuff all over this group 😁

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secrets of blackmoor

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Reply #2 on: September 11, 2021, 04:39:45 AM
I looked through the headers, was not sure if this was the right place to put it.



bayonetbrant

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Reply #3 on: September 11, 2021, 08:43:23 AM
I looked through the headers, was not sure if this was the right place to put it.

No problem  :hug:

We can always move stuff around as needed!  8)

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bayonetbrant

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Reply #4 on: September 11, 2021, 08:44:38 AM
I looked through the headers, was not sure if this was the right place to put it.

re-reading the thread, my comment about
Dude, we have a whole area for 4x games

Was NOT an admonishment about where to put the thread, but just noting that there's ZERO problems with talking about games like this here because we've got plenty of fans of them  :bigthumb:

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secrets of blackmoor

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Reply #5 on: September 11, 2021, 07:03:31 PM
Ok, so how does one move it to the place where people who want it are located?



bayonetbrant

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Reply #6 on: September 11, 2021, 07:27:42 PM
Ok, so how does one move it to the place where people who want it are located?

Done!  :rockon:

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secrets of blackmoor

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Reply #7 on: September 14, 2021, 03:37:09 AM
Where did you put it?



bayonetbrant

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Reply #8 on: September 14, 2021, 07:44:28 AM
Where did you put it?

see the top of the page  8)

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