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Birth of an EmpireEdit

When you create a new empire, you (the emperor) will start on your very own planet in your very own star system. Yes, you are an emperor. Yes, you want to get of this rock and out into the galaxy to explore, conquer, or just enjoy space. But, you have to crawl before you can walk. This tutorial will get you from a lonely, naked creature fighting for survival with a knife to exploring the galaxy one wormhole at a time in a gleaming starship. It seems daunting, but you'll find yourself in space in no time, marvelling at how far you've come.

This guide will cover the general steps of building your interstellar empire: crafting, starting a city, advancing up the tech tree, rocket travel and exploring your home system, and designing, building, and commanding a wormhole-capable starship.

So, welcome to the universe, Emperor. There's work to do...


Surviving On Your OwnEdit

Let's go over the game interface.

WASD controls your characters movement. Moving the mouse will either move your view around or will move the cursor around the screen, and you can right click to switch between either of these modes. The cursor is used for interacting with the game UI like the buttons to the side or the windows that pop up, or for interacting with objects in the world like picking up wood or opening doors. While you are in look mode, left clicking the mouse will use the currently selected item (shown in the bottom right). By using your hands, feet, mouth, or a weapon, you will attack any creature you are pointed at. By scrolling the mouse wheel, you will select a different item from your inventory.

At the bottom left of the game screen you'll find three bars. They are from top to bottom your health, your stamina, and your hunger. When your health reaches zero, due to starvation, environmental damage, or attack damage, you die and will respawn. When your stamina reaches zero, due to running and jumping, you will slow to a walk until you regain stamina. When your health reaches zero, due to not eating for a long time, you will no longer regain stamina, and you will take 2 points of starvation damage periodically. It takes a long time to die of starvation, but you'll want to stay fed just to keep your stamina up.

To the left of the game screen is a column of buttons. Each of these buttons opens up a window that allows for
Interface
more advanced interaction with objects and players. Each window also has a shortcut key associated with it. For example, to open your Personal Equipment, your inventory, you can click on the backpack button or you can press F4. Do that now and you can see what item you're starting out with: a knife. You can drag the knife to other valid inventory slots like other hands, belt slots, or your back. Drag it off of the inventory window, or onto the "Drop Item" slot and you'll drop it at your feet. Press Esc to close this window, or simply right click outside the window to leave it open and return to exploring your new world.

Your first planet has an abundance of life, both flora and fauna. Right now, before you've started a city, the wildlife (and other players) can't hurt you. Enjoy this while it lasts because later on they'll be a thorn in your side. You are the only one of your race, so it's up to you to get things started.

Okay, that's not entirely true. There's Targoss...

Targoss is an NPC of your race who will help you get started. He'll cover some of the basics that you've already read here, and he'll go in a little more depth on other things. What's so great about Targoss? He gives you two things: a torch to help you see at night, and an animal carcass to make your first leather craft. How do you get the animal carcass? Easy. Kill Targoss. Wait for him to drop the torch first, or you won't get it.

Remember, to pick things up, walk close to the item, almost standing on it, then right click for the cursor and click on the item. Targoss won't tell you but you need to click at the base of the item and near its center. This is true for picking up items and foraging, which is what you're going to do next.

Let's make a backpack. That will let you carry more than a few items. Click on the hammer to open the Labor window (F10). This is the window that controls crafting, manufacturing, and building (tabs will appear at the top of this window if you can do more than just crafting). The drop down menu on the left let's you select what item you'll make, so select "Backpack using Leather." On the right you'll see you need 2 leather and a sewing needle is required. You have none of these.

The leather you can craft by choosling leather from the drop down menu. You'll see you need an animal carcass, and it requires no tools to make. You can get animal carcasses by killing creatures, then attacking the corpse until a carcass remains. Once you have an animal carcass, the Labor window will no longer say that item is needed. Instead it will list the item you do have and its TL and QL (more on these later). The icon on the bottom left will go from red to green, meaning you can now craft the item. Click the make button and you now have a piece of leather.

That leaves the sewing needle. Select "Sewing Needle using Log." What do you need? A log. Where can you get a log? A tree. Look around and head to the nearest tree. Once there, get as close as possible to the tree and click at its base near its center. You should get a message saying you foraged a log. Once you have the log, craft that needle just like you made the leather.

Once you have two pieces of leather and a needle, make the backpack. Keep your back slot open in your inventory, and your new backpack will appear in that slot. Open your inventory (F4, remember?) and click on the backpack. See all those new empty spaces that appeared in the bottom of the window? Those are the slots that your backpack can hold. Items will automatically go in your backpack as you pick them up.

You might be getting hungry now. So either eat some animl carcasses, or go forage for food. To eat, select the food as your current item using the mouse wheel, and press U to use it on yourself. Or just open your inventory and double-click the food to eat it.

The last thing you'll need to know is the top-down view. Press backspace and the camera will zoom up into the sky, looking down at you. Your position will be marked by a flashing beacon. From here, you can look around and see the landscape, but this mode has an even better use. Press '\' until you see some icons pop up. These icons tell you some information about what's present at each tile, such as a city name, building type, plant type, resource type, etc. For example, to help find a log faster, Press '\' until icons for a log appear. Go to a tile that has a log and you should find a tree. Alternatively, press '\' until you see stone icons. Go to a stone tile and you'll see bits off stone lying around. This is not just a quick way to forage, but will become almost necessary for building a successful city later on.

In fact, let's take the first step towards starting your first city: making a flag. Open the Labor window (F10) and select Flag. You need textiles and a sewing needle. The textiles you can make from a piece of leather. Once you have your flag, the only thing left is to plant the flag to get the ball rolling. Read on to find out how to start your first city, and your empire proper.

Tips:Edit

  • Remember top-down view (backspace). Remember it!
  • You can hover your mouse cursor over most items in the UI and a tooltip will pop up providing more detail on its use.
  • Your initial Vulcium Knife is not just a useful tool and a powerful weapon, but is also worth a good amount of cronodollars. Keep it or sell it, just try not to lose it.
  • If you have a knife, you can either attack with it, or carve up corpses with it. Carving a corpse will yield both an animal carcass and a piece of leather

Starting Your First CityEdit

Do you have a flag in your inventory? Then that's all you need. A flag is the only material requirement for building a Town Square that establishes your city.

Any city building, including the Town Square, is designated from the Construction window (F11). The buttons
Construction
on the right of the window select the building category, except for the bottom two: the one shaped like a bulldozer is used for deleting buildings from your city, and the one shaped like a hand returns the cursor to the normal, interacting cursor.

Let's start simple. Select the flag on the top right to see the Government & Military buildings. Then select the flag on the top left to select the Town Square for placement. Move the cursor over the spot of land that you want to place your Town Square, the center of your city. For now, try to place it near water and stone if you can. A green outline will appear around the selected tile. Left click to place the Town Square.

A window will pop up asking you to name your city. Since you are just starting out, this name will be applied to your city, your star system, and possibly your sector. So, pick a good name. Once that's done, the Town Square will be placed and your city is established. In the middle of that tile is your flag. Yep, the same flag you designed when you were creating this empire. Three things you need to know before continuing:

  1. Switch to top-down view (backspace) before placing any buildings in your city. It not only makes placement easier, but it let's you see where all the resources are (\), helping you plan your city around them and place harvesting buildings right on top of them. It's even best to be in top-down view while placing your Town Square, letting you place it close to critical resources.
  2. Any city you have, even if it doesn't have more than a Town Square, will send you periodic messages. Click the mail button (F2) to see what mail you're getting from your cities. These messages tell you everything you need to know about your cities. Right now, you only need to worry about population and morale.
  3. As soon as you place your Town Square, the wildlife will stop ignoring you. If they decide you taste good, they will attack and likely kill you. Don't worry! You'll respawn at your town square from now on. It can get annoying as many creatures are incredibly tough compared to you now, and could kill you in one hit. The only setback possible is you might lose your knife or other items. If a creature is hanging out at your spawn point, killing you over and over, just keep attacking it until it's dead. (By the way, your dead body leaves behind an animal carcass ... yes, you can eat your own dead self)

Good. You have a city. But no one's living in it yet. To support a population, you need three things: housing, jobs, and food. In some environments you'll also need power, but your home planet shouldn't need it (yet, we'll get to that). Most buildings provide jobs, so that's nothing to worry about now. Farms are a good way to make food at first and will house a couple people. Houses, apartments, and condominiums are the main source of housing. Let's build a house first.

Open the Construction window (F11) and select the housing category (button that looks like a tiny house). There are only three options: houses, a cheap way to get people to stay in your city, but they only hold a small number of people; apartments, a great way to stuff a lot of people into a small space, but people don't like them and will get grumpy if you make to many; and condominiums, a costly but efficient way to increase the amount of people your city can house. Select the house and place it next to your Town Square.

Looks like just an empty tile with some construction symbols on it, right? Stand on that tile and open the Labor window (F10). Oh look! A new tab has appeared called Construction. Just like the Hand Crafting tab, you'll see the materials you need to make a building, and the tools required to build it. Unlike the Hand Crafting tab, you must fetch the materials from the city's inventory (either the city or yourself can be holding the tools). Alternatively, you can dorp the materials onto the construction tile and click fetch. But, all this is moot right now because neither you nor the city has the stone to build a house.

What can produce stone? A mine that's been placed on a stone tile. First, though, let's find that tile. Go to top-down view (backspace) and find a stone tile (press '\' until you see stone icons). Pick a stone tile nearby to place your mine.

Wait! You can't place a building unless you can access it from a road. So, go to the road menu in the Construction window (F11), and pick the dirt road. Place the cursor over a tile next to the Town Square. Before actually clicking to place the road, press some of the arrow keys on your keyboard. See how some arrows are appearing or disappearing on that tile? Those are the directions your road will take. Right now, that's not important for anything except that if there are no arrows, you will place a special tile called a road slab (more on this later). You don't want to do that just yet because it takes more time to build slabs than regular roads. Make sure there's at least one arrow on the tile and click to place the road.

Oops, it's a construction tile again. Walk to this new tile and the Labor window (F10) now says that you don't need any materials or tools to make the road. So, just click the Work button to actually get busy making the road. A road with arrows only takes one labor, so it builds instantly. A road slab takes much more labor, so it takes a few clicks to build. This amount of labor also conrols how fast your citizens will build (yes, they will do the actual construction for you eventually).

Keep building road tiles, one next to another, until you reach a nearby stone tile. Here is where you'll place your mine: Construction window, Manufacture menu, Mine. See how when you place the mine over the stone tile, it actually says it's going to extract stone? That means your placing the mine in the right place. Place it, then build it. Mines also don't need any materials or tools to build.

Now for the last part of the Labor window. Stand on the mine and open the Labor window (F10) to see a new tab: Manufacture. This tab let's you actually work at a building, performing an action related to that building's purpose. For a mine, you can work the mine to extract a resource. Each building has a number of processes equal to the number of levels of that building (more on building levels later). Each process works similar to the crafting, where some materials are needed, some tools are required, and the end product being made can be changed from a drop-down menu. The differences here are (A) the building takes materials from the city inventory, (B) the manufacture process takes some amount of time to complete, and (C) citizens can work at the building to fetch materials and run the processes automatically.

You'll work your mine manually for now. Click Run to start the mining process. If the process says it's Not Ready (red icon), then click Fetch. Even though there's nothing required, this will reset the UI, which is sometimes buggy. The window now says the process is "Running." When it's complete, the window will go back to Ready/Not Ready, and you can click Run again. By clicking Run, you are also earning a little money. This is how income is made in your cities. Once the process is finished running, the product (stone in this case) is deposited straight to the city's inventory. The amount produced is shown below the Run button.

Keep doing this for a while until you feel you've built up a hefty supply of stone. Then, head back to your unfinished house and open the Labor window. Now, when you click Fetch, some of the city's stock of stone should be transferred to the construction site. Click Work until the house is finished. Congrats! You've made a place for your people to live.

To feed your people, build a farm: Construction window, Food & Drink, Farm. Build it using stone, just like the house. Not only does this building produce food, but also a few more rooms for your people to live in. Produce some food for your people by opening the Labor window, going to the Manufacture tab, and produce some "Vegetables using Rain." When you Fetch for this process, you may have to click the Fetch button many times until the materials, sunlight and vegetation, finally stock up. Oh, and it must be daytime to actually fetch sunlight. Run this process a few times to make some food.

So now your city has housing, in the form of a house and a farm; jobs, in the form of a farm and a mine; and food. Wait a little while for the people to start arriving. Keep checking your mail for new messages. People immigrate to your cities on a fixed cycle: roughly every 13 minutes. This is easy to track because you'll be sent a message at the same time.

Play around with adding other buildings. Pay attention to what materials a building needs to manufacture its products. Then, try to find out what buildings to place to produce or harvest those materials, and make those.

This is the flow of manufacturing: harvest materials from the environment (stone, ore, oil, etc.), refining those materials into construction items (metal, plastics, etc.), producing low-end goods from those items (mechanics, textiles, etc.), producing high-end goods from the low-end goods (weapons, computers, etc.), and eventually constructing starships from all of the above.

Beware your city's morale. You'll see this in the messages from your city. Add things to your city that your people like, and morale goes up. Add things they dislike, and morale goes down. A positive morale means people move in to your city. A negative morale means they leave. If too many people leave, your city starts to decay.

I say beware, because eventually your citizens start to demand certain buildings like arenas, shops, and universities. If they don't get them, the city gets a morale penalty. Just build these, and they're happy again. So keep an eye on those mail messages to see what your citizens are asking for.

Similarly, if you don't keep the number of jobs and the amount of housing space roughly equal, the people will start to complain about either overworking or unemployment. Overworking is only a -1 penalty to morale, but unemployment can be far more severe, so try not to build too much housing space without the jobs to back them up.

Another tip: you can change the number of levels to build, for some buildings, by scrolling the mouse wheel. More levels provide more manufacturing lines or more efficiency for some buidlings (i.e. 8-level banks hold more money than 1-level banks).

Tips:Edit

  • Lay down buildings in top-down view (backspace). Be sure to scout the land for resources using '\' in top-down view.
  • You can add levels to a building after it has been built. Just build the same building on top of it to add more levels.
  • Better building materials, selectable towards the bottom of the Construction window, allow for more levels of a building. A stone condominium can support 8 levels; a metal condominium can support 16 levels.
  • Place your Town Square near a coast-line for water (power), near stone (building construction), near ore (metal), and near oil (plastics). These four are essential for fast production, so it's good to have them nearby. You don't need water for power, but it's the easiest. Metal and plastics are mostly interchangeable, but you'll want both eventually.


Advancing Your City to the Space AgeEdit

Now for the slog. Here's where your just running around your city, adding one building after another, trying to get a rocket ship built. Oh, but the reward is sweet:

The vast expanse of space!

Yes, a rocket ship (and an iron will) is technically enough to explore the galaxy, but all you'll need it for is getting off your planet and onto another one in your home system. Why? Because it is incredibly unlikely you'll find on your home planet the two critical components for a starship: Eludium and Lumenite. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Start by building a road slab in your city. Remember road slabs? You make them by building a road with no arrows. Why are they important? Because all vehicles must be constructed next to a road slab. Once the slab is done, build an Airfcraft Factory right next to it. Any aircraft built at that factory will appear on an empty, adjacent road slab. Make sure the factory is producing space rockets too.

But hey! You don't have all the materials to build a rocket ship yet (even if you do, follow along anyway, you might learn something).

Go to the Manufacture tab and see what a space rocket needs for production. It should be air, mechanics, metal, large rocket motor, and textiles, plus a fitting wrench, screwdriver, torque wrench, and wrench for tools. You'll also see you need electricty. These are the products you'll want to aim for now.

Metal can be produced at a Smelter, but you'll need ore to smelt. Ore is mined just like stone, but you need to find a tile that has ore on it. The ore icon looks like three grey rocks with yellow streaks. Place a mine with the maximum number of levels on one of these tiles. Once the mine is up and running, build a Smelter with the maximum number of levels. As the mine pulls ore out of the ground, the smelter will grab it all up and turn it into metal. That's one material requirement down.

Next is mechanics. Easy. Build a Machine Shop to turn that metal into mechanics. But don't have too many lines making mechanics. They'll quickly eat up all your city's metal, which is important for most products. Either make fewer mechanics, or build more ore mines and smelters to produce metal faster. The machine shop can also produce the tools required for the rocket ship. If you want, you can make the tools and mechanics out of plastic, but that's a different tech tree starting from extracting oil from the ground using wells.

Let's provide power to the city next. With electricity, citizens will work at night, doubling your production rates. If you're by a body of water, just build a Hydroelectric Power Plant next to the water. You'll need metal, mechanics, stone, hammers, and wrenches to build these. If you've followed the last couple steps, you should already have all these. Soon after the power plants are finished and running, you'll see the lights flick on in your city.

Textiles are tough. You can make them at a Textile Mill from plastic, plant fiber, or leather. Plant fiber and leather require farming (leather is made at a Meat Processing Plant from animal carcasses). Plastic require getting oil from Wells, refining the oil into petrochemicals at a Refinery, and then turning that into plastic at a Plastics Factory. If there are no oil tiles available, you'll be forced to go the farm route. If so, try to make hay and water (Farms and Treatment Plants/Wells respectively) as both of these speed up farming considerably.

How about air? Aren't you breathing air? Well, yes, but you need to bottle it. A Refinery set to produce air from the environment will do this easily, requiring no materials or tools. Build one now.

Lastly, the large rocket motor. This thing takes a lot of metal and a lot of one type of chemical: petrochemicals, nitrate explosives, or gunpowder. Petrochemicals are produced from oil at a Refinery. Nitrate explosives are made at an Explosives Factory from fertilizer, which can be harvested from Farms. Gunpowder is just pointless for rocket motors, since it requires nitrate explosives and two other materials. If you have enough oil around, then use the plastics. Otherwise, beef up your farming industry to crank out fertilizer and use nitrate explosives. Eventually, you'll get a large rocket motor.

With all the materials and tools collected, head to the Aircra-

WAIT!

Build an Armorer and make environment suits and environment suit helmets. You're going into space. Did you think you could go up wearing nothing but a belt and a grin? These require electronics, which need crystals, metal, minerals, plastics, soldering irons, and power. You have metal, power, and probably plastics. Soldering irons can be made at the machine shop. Minerals and crystals can be mined. The mineral icon looks like pink and yellow mounds. The crystals icon looks like ... crystals.

Now ... with all the materials and tools collected, and an environment suit and-

WAIT!

No one told you how to buy stuff from your city? Communication tutorial incoming!

Open the Comm window (F3). What you see are tabs indicating open comunication channels. The buttons to
Comm
the right of the tabs are for opening or closing different channels. The yellow one is important because it opens standard channels like Trade, which you want open now. Go to the Trade tab.

You can type messages into that box near the bottom, then press enter and they will be transmitted to the channel. How far they are transmitted depends on your range, which is controlled by the five buttons to the left of that box. From left to right, they are Close (300m), Hail (planet and moons), System, Sector, and Galaxy. If you transmit on System range, everyone in your solar system will receive your message. If you transmit on Galaxy, everyone in the galaxy will receive it. Try to have a good reason to transmit on Galaxy range on standard channels like Trade.

Build a Broker. This building let's you (and ships) buy and sell from your city. Stand on the Broker and go to the Trade channel in Comm. Select System range. You could probably go lower, but System is a good habit because later on you will have a space station, and with a space station you can reach any city in your solar system. Anyway, System is good for now.

What you're going to do next is ask the city to open a special channel for you. Click the button in the bottom left that looks like a megaphone. This is the Hail button. It's a kind of handshake. It tells anyone or anything that you want to establish communication, and would they please open a channel. On the Trade channel, Hails will establish contact with cities. On Fleet channel, Hails establishes contact with starships (that have officers, more on this later). On Hail channel, Hails will reach space stations. Play around with the hail feature, but please try to avoid Galaxy range. Spamming your business with everyone gets annoying.

Your city should have opened up a special tab. Go to that tab. See that eyeball button on the bottom row of buttons? That solicits sales on the channel. In this case, you want to buy an environment suit from the city. Click solicit sales, then select the environment suit from the list. The city will report back with what it has in stock. Double click on one of the listed environment suits and you'll be asked how many you want to buy. Just one for now; they're expensive. Now you know how to buy things. Buy a helmet too. Drag the suit to your armor slot in your inventory, and the helmet to your helmet slot. Okay, now you're ready for space.

Okay ... with all the materials and tools collected-

WAIT!

Fuel! Build a Refinery to extract hydrogen from the atmosphere. Then go to the broker and buy one or two tanks of hydrogen. This is easier if you have a backpack. Okay, NOW you're ready for space.

Finally, with all the materials and tools collected, an environment suit and helmet, and reserve fuel in hand, go to the Aircraft Factory and build a Space Rocket. If the adjacent road slab is empty, the rocket will appear there when it's ready.

Hop on in by getting close to the rocket ship, pointing the crosshairs at it, and pressing E. Once inside, you'll see some new information: a fuel indicator on the bottom left. If the fuel indicator reads 0, press V to refuel the ship from your inventory. The fuel indicator will also be faded a little. That means the power is off. Press P to turn the power on.

Whoa, a heads-up-display just appeared. Get to know this thing, because it's key to getting around in space. The center is your artificial horizon. The rocket is probably pointed straight up right now, so it's skewed. The bottom of this shows your heading.and your current latitude and longitude (obviously, these only make sense on planets).

To the right of the HUD is your current altitude above sea level. Out in space, this works as the distance from the nearest planet/moon/star. There's a small curve below this number that is currently a flat line. This is your acceleration. Press Pg-Up or Pg-Down just once. See how it changed? Press it once more. See it changed again? Don't press it anymore or you might shoot into space and burn up. Anyway, Pg-Up accelerates forward, and Pg-Down accelerates backward. Press Delete to set your acceleration to zero. So press Delete now.

To the left of the HUD is your current speed, which should be zero. If it's positive, you're going forward, negative is backward. This is always relative to the direction the ship is facing, not you. A number can appear below this which tells you that the ship has some velocity to he left or right. The rocket ship is entirely inertial, so if you are moving forward, then turn, you will continue moving in the same direction. This bottom numbers tell you how much of this left/right, up/down velocity you have. To stop this type of motion, press or hold Q. To stop forward or backward motion, press or hold space.

Finally, there's a meter above your velocity. This is a fun one, because it tells you how close you are to burning up in atmosphere. If the meter reaches the top, then BOOM you're going too fast and will burn up. The rocket is streamlined and can go pretty fast in atmosphere without taking damage, but other ships are not. Be very careful not to accelerate to fast in atmosphere.

To control the ship, use WASD, to turn the ship left/right and up/down. And that's it. PgUp to accelerate and give the ship speed, Delete to stop accelerating, space and Q to brake, WASD to turn, V is refuel, P is power.

So, slowly accelerate until you start gaining some velocity (it takes some power to actual break the pull of gravity). Give it more power, staying well below that burn up speed. Once you're free of the atmosphere. Open up the throttle for maximum acceleration (Shift + PgUp) and enjoy the freedom of space!

Aaaaaaah, freedom....

Exploring Your Home SystemEdit

But you have a job to do. This space rocket is a child's toy compared to what you can design yourself. Remember, you need to find Eludium and Lumenite to get started on a real starship.

Next up, finding Eludium and Lumenite...

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