|BlackNova Traders FAQ
Welcome to the BlackNova Traders FAQ. This most recent update occurred on 01.10.2002 and is current for the version 0.3.1. Based on the original FAQ by Garrison.
|Table of Contents:
This is the section to read if you are a new player.
|New Players Guide
These are the official rules for the game. As this is a web based game it's fairly hard to enforce these rules.
You are going to have more questions. I say this with a fair amount of
certainty. There are two really good sources of answers I know of other
than this FAQ. First, you can always send a message to one of the top 10
players in the game. They should know the answer, but they may not bother
to reply. The second source is the official forum. This link is to
the forum on TheGeek.org. The creator of the the game,
Ron Harwood, runs TheGeek.org.
These are some generic strategies to help you get started. These aren't set in stone, and are very general. They should give you an idea of what works and what doesn't though. There are of course many more strategies, but these are the ones I thought up at 2 in the morning. :)
Special Note: For all of these strategies I am assuming that you have
already survived your first couple of days in the game. If you are still a
newbie, read the New Player
The Trader primarily spends his time trading. The best thing to do is find a goods port and an ore port in adjacent sectors. Trade back and forth until either you can afford a hull upgrade or the port's prices are no longer very good. Keep doing this. When you're engines are large enough to realspace (this varies on the galaxy size in each game, usually anywhere from 14 to 18) start doing trade routes between goods and ore ports. They don't have to be adjacent at this point. Be sure to buy a fuel scoop if you're going to realspace trade (trade route).
Be sure to have the maximum amount of EWDs and an escape pod at all times to ensure survival. You don't have to upgrade any techs except for hull, energy, and engines. Everything else is good for combat or colonizing. Your military techs can be zero as the EWDs are your primary means of survival.
PROS: Quick rise in score. Good to play catch up if you enter
the game late.
The Builder is mainly concerned in building a planetary empire. As such, he should build his hull to a level 15-16. Then start colonizing a planet. Colonize planets to about 25-50 million before moving on to the next planet. The reason for not fully colonizing a planet is that you want the colonists to procreate for as long as possible. They stop when there are 100 million people on a planet. I guess sex is boring at that point. Didn't think that was possible. My bad. :)
Here's the deal on upgrading. When you hit a 15-16 hull level, upgrade everything to within 4 of your hull. Actually, forget about sensors. Builders don't need sensors. They don't need amour either for that matter. Always have full EWDs and an escape pod. Every time you upgrade your hull, upgrade the other techs. Quit upgrading engines when you can realspace anywhere in 1 turn. Upgrade as soon as you can.
So far as colonizing is concerned, realspace to a special port. Pick up a full load of colonists, fighters, and torps. Realspace to your new planet. Drop off colonists, fighters, torps, and the energy you made from realspacing. On each new planet, set the energy production to 5% and all other productions to zero. You'll need the energy to power planetary shields and beams.
Colonize constantly. Use the money made by your planets to buy the stuff to supply your planets. You don't really need to trade much in this strategy.
PROS: You make lots of cash in the long run.
The Banker builds one planet to full capacity. Upgrade as though you were a builder. Be sure that the planet is completely well defended. Keep adding fighters. If you think that the planet has a ridiculously high number of fighters, then it's probably the right number. I'd recommend spending something like 5-10% of your turns adding more fighters and torps to the planet.
Ok, here's the way the Banker makes his living. Put all your money on the planet and then land on the planet. It should be well defended enough to survive any attacks. Wait 600 turns, during which the money will earn interest. Play the 600 turns as though you were a Trader. At the end, put the new money on the planet and wait another 600 turns before you play again. The important thing is to let the money sit around and accrue interest for as long as possible.
This strategy works fairly well if you combine it with a Builder, i.e.. Build a bunch of planets, but Bank on one of them. Harder to defend your empire this way.
PROS: You can make a metric buttload of cash if you're patient.
The premise here is that you build up your military techs (shields, armor, computers, torps, and to a lesser degree sensors) and use them to take other people's planets. You then use the money acquired from these new planets to upgrade even further. You end up with lots of ill gotten colonists and planets this way. They will make money for you and you will gain an empire similar to that a Builder might create.
Be sure to stock every new planet acquired with plenty of fighters and torps to be sure that the former owner won't come and try to take the planet back. Trust me, that sucks.
PROS: You can get a whole lot of colonists using a small number
This is more a list of what not to do. I've seen people do things that boggle the mind, but the truth is that they just don't know any better. Here's a listing. Don't...
If I think of more, or you email
me, I'll add them to this list.
This section contains some information on game mechanics. For example,
if you want to know how many units of organics your planet can make in a
turn, you could probably find it here.
Please send me any cool tricks you think of. I'll list the ones I know.
|Planetary Production Values
Planets can produce all sorts of things. Here goes. By the way, all of the commodity production rates assume you're producing at 100% capacity. If you're putting 50% towards a commodity, for example, it would take twice as many colonists to make the same number of said items.
|Hull Sizes by Tech Level
This list will show you how many items you can store in your holds. This list also represents armor, shields, beams, torps, and fighter capacity. I show up to tech level 24 That's the highest I've ever gotten to. The formula for figuring out the capacity of your holds or other tech levels you will have is 100*(1.5^(the tech level in question)). Round off that number and you have your answer.
|Upgrade Costs by Tech Level
This is a listing of how much it costs to upgrade to a certain tech level. For example, upgrading from 0 to 1 costs 1,000 credits.
|The Particulars of Combat
Combat is tricky. I'm going to lay it out one step at a time. First we'll do ship to ship combat, and then we'll do ship to planet combat. This is basically an English representation of the code. Now, those of you who complain about not being able to read the PHP code can quiet down.
One very important thing that I want to stress is this. In a fight, you use 100% of your fighters. You only use 2% of your torps. This is because the torpedo launchers mounted on your ship can only launch a salvo equal to 2% of the maximum torps you can carry. Make sense? I hope so.
VERY IMPORTANT ADDITION TO VERSION 0.1.14 COMBAT:
Ship to Ship Combat
Ship to ship combat happens in a very straightforward manner. Here we go. I'll be using the following method to determine who is the attacker and who is the defender. a_shields is attacker shields. d_shields is defender shields. No here we go.
Ship to Planet Combat
This works almost exactly the same as above. If the defender's ship is not on the planet, then the planet is considered defeated if its shields and fighters are reduced to 0. The planet has no armor, so skip the part where you attack the opponent's armor.
If the planet's owner is on the planet, then things are somewhat more complicated. You should understand how combat works from the above listing, so I'll just list the order in which things happen.
See, I told you it was easy.
|How... or How Not to Colonize a Planet
This is something I wrote in the forums... thought it belonged here. Standard cut 'n' paste action. Here goes:
Also, I've seen planets that have 100 million colonists on them already. I'm gonna give a short lesson right now on why you should NEVER colonize a planet to 100 million people.
First, I pose a question. How many extra, and conveniently free, colonists does a maxed out planet make per turn. The answer is zero.
Now, how many new colonists could be produced by 100 million peeps if they were allowed to reproduce. The answer is 50k peeps. At 5 creds per peep, that's a value of 250k per turn for free. You don't even have to transport them from a special. They take care of that on their own.
Now imagine that you don't have 100 million peeps on one planet, but 50 million each on two planets. Now, each planet will make 25k peeps per turn and you'll get your 250k credits worth between the two planets.
Those two planets will take exactly 1387 turns to reproduce until they are full. You will gain free colonists, which means free money, on every one of those turns. If you had just the one planet, you'd get nothing for free.
Now imagine that you had spread those colonists over four planets instead of two. It would take each of those four planets 2774 turns to go from 25 million peeps to 100 million peeps. You'd be getting free people for that many turns. Ultimately you'll get an additional 300 million people for free. At 5 creds per person that's 1.5 billion credits for free. It's spread over 2774 turns, but it's still a damn lot of credits for free.
I assume you see where I'm going with this. Residual income is a gold mine. By spreading the same number of colonists over a greater number of planets you are increasing the total future amount of residual income. The only downside is that you have more planets to defend. The upside is that even if you lose one, you have other equally large planets to rely on for income.
Hence, the moral of this story is not to colonize to 100 million. It's
dumb. I am going to suggest a maximum colonizing limit of 15-25 million
colonists. That gives you a solid planet, but also gives you plenty of
time for the planets to grow. That's just a suggestion. Use your own
|Questions and Answers:
When people send me questions, I'll answer them here. I'll reprint the
question and answer it to the best of my ability.