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Old October 17th, 2004, 02:45 PM
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Default Gameplay tips & tricks

This thread was inspired by another thread:
where I learned something that probably everyone else knew except me even after my playing this game since it was released. So I decided to post some of my useful tips & tricks (a lot of which will be redundant if you read the FAQ) for SE4 gameplay. If others do the same then it's quite possible some of us may learn a trick to relieve a headache or two.

1) This one I learned from another user here on the forum. If you want to have a built-in reminder on a given planet when a build queue is done, such as you just finished building all your miner-II's (because they can be built in 1 turn) and now you want to upgade to miner-III's, you can do this. First create a dummy ship/unit of some kind. I like to use a small mine, but it doesn't matter. Just make sure you name it with your reminder as its name such as "*upgrade". Make sure you use a * as the first character (or other character which is alphabetized before the letter A). Now, each turn, review your construction queue and click the column header on the right. This will sort the list alphabetically by the names of the things under construction. Queues with the * as a starting character will be at the top of the list and you conveniently can see all your construction queues which need action. Just delete the dummy unit and issue the next order.

2) I kinda stumbled on this one by accident. I was frustrated that you couldn't add ships to a planet queue unless you had a spaceyard already built. Well you can. First add your ship to another planet's queue then save that queue. If you want to see the procedure for this, see the FAQ. Then you can add the spaceyard to your current planet followed by ships or bases using this technique. This will NOT allow you to actually build ships/bases without a spaceyard, but it sure saves time.

3) The "repeat orders" command can be very useful. I won't go into all the different ways to use it here but I'll cover 2. First for simultaneous games, you launch mines, sats, or fighters from planets automatically by using this command after the first launch. Second, you can automate collection of units. For example you can have every planet in a system making fighters, then using a small/medium transport, you can automate picking up the units from all the planets and dumping them at the largest planet. Then with a larger transport or carrier, you can stop off at the large planet to load full of fighters while it is on its way to the front lines.

3) At your training planets, make lots of fleets. Initially you should make as many 1-ship fleets as possible. That way if you neet to pump out a ship/fleet in a hurry, you can put it into one of these fleets for an instant 20% bonus. If the ship can wait there to be fully trained, it can get a 20% + 20% = 40% bonus. This may be a little cheezy, but you can even make 1-ship fleets with mothballed ships. The ship won't get experience but the dummy fleet will eventually max out. You can then make specialized super fast small ships to ferry these "fleets" out to your front lines if necessary.

4) Use the memo pad for keeping notes. Just right-click on the galaxy map in the lower right then left-click on a system to make notes. I use the system notes to keep track of system-wide things like if I have a satellite with anti-cloak sensors, or if I have a system-wide research computer, etc. For empire-wide notes, I use the scratchpad in my home system. Undocumented: you can insert a carriage-return in the scratch pad by using CTRL-M.

5) If I ever get another empire to surrender, how the heck do I make sure I adjusted all his planets? Easy. Bring up the colony report and first sort by Name, then click the Races tab on the right. You will see all the systems sorted in order and the races are shown. Easy to pick the newely acquired planets out.

6) How the heck do I capture more than one planet per turn in simultaneous games? Using your Capture Planet Fleet: "attack planet 1, load troops from planet 1, attack planet 2, load troops from planet 2, etc" for orders

7) I know that moving captured or different breathing population around is a pain, but how do I easily find the best planets to undome? Easy. Bring up the Colony report and click the "General" tab. Next sort by "Pic" which sorts by planet size, then sort again by "Atmosphere". Next click on the "Races" tab on the right. Now you have a list of planets sorted in increasing size by atmosphere and you can see what kind of race is on the planet. Concentrate on the largest planets first for undoming.

8) I am running a resource defecit but which construction queues should I shut down first? First check out which resource you are shortest in by using the empire status report. Then bring up the construction queue, click "usage" on the right then sort by the usage column. This will show the most usage planets first using the total per turn for each planet M+O+R. The highest using planets will be at the top.

9) What things will I produce on the next turn? Easy. Bring up the colony report, click on "construction" tab on the right. Next sort by the "time remaining" tab. scroll down to see all the things that only need .1 years to build.

10) I've got too much resources coming in each turn and all my spaceyards are already building something and I don't have enough storage. I don't want to lose the resources, so which planets have the most empty cargo room for building units? Bring up the colony report, click on the cargo tab on the right, then sort by "space". Sroll to bottom to see the least filled planets. BTW, build more spaceyards and/or storage!

11) Use Waypoints. If you only use 1 waypoint, make your homeworld waypoint 1. I usually transform my homeworld into a training center at some point in the game. It is very convenient to click on a ship and then hit CTRL-1 to send it to my homeworld for training. If I make another training world or fleet rally point, it is easy to use another waypoint for that one too. You are limited to 10 waypoints, but I have never needed all 10. You can also make spaceyards automatically send ships to a given waypoint. Also, rename your waypoints to give them descriptive titles such as "home", "defensive chokepoint 1", etc. I haven't tried this, but I believe that if you move a waypoint, all the ships which have orders to move to that waypoint will automatically go to the new location. This might be a good way to have a "rolling" fleet staging point.

That's 11 things that I find useful for now. I may add to this later.

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