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 Readme for:  Game » Strategy » starlanes.lha


Description: An NCurses based space trading game.
Download: starlanes.lha       (TIPS: Use the right click menu if your browser takes you back here all the time)
Size: 131kb
Version: 1.3.0
Date: 29 Oct 2007
Author: Brian Hall, Update by David Barnsdale, AmigaOS 4.0 compile by Spot / Up Rough
Submitter: Spot / Up Rough
Email: spot/triad se
Homepage: http://www.barnsdle.demon.co.uk/game/starlanes.html
Category: game/strategy
License: GPL
Distribute: yes
Min OS Version: 4.0
FileID: 3101
Comments: 0
Snapshots: 0
Videos: 0
Downloads: 305  (Current version)
305  (Accumulated)
Votes: 0 (0/0)  (30 days/7 days)

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STARLANES(6)                                         STARLANES(6)

       starlanes - the game of starlanes

       starlanes [-v|c|m]

       Starlanes  is  a  game of interstellar commerce for 1 to 4
       players.  Players take two-phase turns: the first phase is
       movement, the second is trading.

       The object of the game is to become as wealthy as possible
       by trading and merging companies whilst out-smarting  your
       friends and enemies.

       -v   Print version information

       -c   Force the game to play in color mode

       -m   Force the game to play in mono mode

   The Starlanes User Interface
       Starlanes  is written using color ncurses, but will detect
       a black and  white  screen  and  will  modify  its  output
       accordingly.  On Linux, setting TERM=console or TERM=linux
       either on a virtual console or  in  a  color_xterm  window
       works well.

       After the initial player determination screen, you will be
       presented with the main Starlanes screen.  This screen  is
       split  into  three individual windows: the map window, the
       company window, and the general info window.

       The map window shows the terrain  of  the  universe.   The
       legend is:

              * - Star
              () - Black hole
              + - Infant company
              . - Empty space
              A - Company A (Altair Starways)

       The  companies  are  Altair  Starways,  Beetlejuice  Ltd.,
       Capella Freight Co., Denebola Shippers, and Eridani  Expe-
       diters.   On the map, the companies are represented by the
       first letter of their name.

       The company window shows information concerning  the  cur-
       rently existing companies, including the company name, its
       price per share, and the current player's holdings.

       The general info window will prompt the user for input  if

Starlanes V1.2.2          29 March 1996                         1

STARLANES(6)                                         STARLANES(6)

       the player is waiting to move or trade, but will also dis-
       play special announcements as  they  come  up.   During  a
       player's  turn,  that  player's  name  is displayed in the
       title bar of the window, along with his cash holdings.

       Also, mention should be made of  two  other  windows:  the
       player standings window and the company detail window (not
       to be confused with the company info window.)

       The player standings window can be brought up  during  the
       player's  move by pressing the 's' key.  This window shows
       all the player's names, stock holdings,  cash,  and  total
       worth, sorted by total worth.  It also shows the number of
       sectors that remain to be filled by companies  before  the
       game ends.

       The company detail window is invoked with the 'c' key.  It
       shows, for each active company, its name, price per share,
       size,  and  total  worth  (all player's shares * price per
       share).  The company size and total worth  are  useful  in
       determining the result of a merger (see below.)

       If  a  screen redraw is necessary, pressing '^L' at almost
       any of the prompts will accomplish that.

       Finally, if the players  want  to  quit  before  the  game
       before  is over, press 'q' or '^C' and a quit verification
       window will pop up.  If 'y' is  pressed,  the  final  game
       standings will be displayed, and the program will end.

   Player Movement
       During  the  first  phase of a player's turn, the computer
       will prompt for a move from a choice of  5.   These  moves
       are chosen randomly (for the most part).  Upon making your
       move, there are several things that might happen.   (NOTE:
       it  is  important  to remember that two objects on the map
       are adjacent  only  if  they  are  orthogonally  adjacent.
       Diagonals don't count!)

       If you move into a sector that is completely surrounded by
       empty space (.), that sector will then contain  an  infant
       company (+).

       If  you  move next to an existing company (A-E), that com-
       pany will expand into that sector of the map.  If the  new
       extension  of  the  company touches an infant company (+),
       that infant company will also be assimilated.

       Given that you're not moving next to an existing  company,
       if you move next to a star (*) or an infant company (+), a
       new company will be formed.  You, as company founder, will
       receive 5 shares in the company for free.  For calculating
       how much a company will be  worth,  see  Company  Pricing,

Starlanes V1.2.2          29 March 1996                         2

STARLANES(6)                                         STARLANES(6)

       If  you  happen  to  move next to a black hole (()), one of
       many things could happen, depending on the  circumstances.
       See Black Holes, below.

   Company Pricing
       Determining  a company's price per share is fairly simple.
       Generally speaking, a company is worth $100 for every sec-
       tor it occupies (as given on the company info window under
       ``Size''), plus $500 for every sector it occupies which is
       adjacent  to  a  star  (*), minus $500 for every sector it
       occupies which is adjacent to a black hole (()).  If a com-
       pany's  price  per  share  drops to 0 or less, the company
       vanishes (see Black Holes, below.)   Also  note  that  you
       will  not  be  able to visually estimate a company's price
       per share if that company has undergone a stock split (see
       Stock Splits, below.)

   Holding Bonus
       Immediately  after  a  player's move, he is awarded a cash
       bonus equal to 5% of the total worth of his complete hold-
       ings.   This  bonus  is  awarded  even  if  the  game ends
       directly following the move (see Game's End, below.)  This
       is the cash that the player will then use during the trad-
       ing phase (see Trading, below.)

       If any companies exist after a player moves  on  the  map,
       that  player  will  be  given  the  chance to buy and sell
       stock.  This is where the game is really played.  One must
       determine  which  companies  are going to earn the highest
       profits in the next round and invest  in  those  companies
       more  heavily  than  ones that only have a small chance of
       turning a profit.  (See  Strategy,  below.)   The  current
       player's  cash  value  is  printed next to his name in the
       general info window title.

       Use the arrow keys to select a company you wish  to  trade
       stock  in,  then  press  return.  You will be asked for an
       amount to trade.  Enter the number of shares you  wish  to
       purchase  in  this  company.   (Just press return again or
       enter ``0'' if you don't really want to  trade  with  this
       company.)   Choose  a  negative amount if you want to sell
       shares (at 100% of their value.)  At this point, the  user
       can  also press the 'm' key to purchase the maximum number
       of shares possible, or press the 'n' key to  sell  all  of
       his holdings in this company.

       Once the player has completed trading, he can press escape
       to end his turn, thereby transferring control to the  next

       When a player chooses a sector of the map that would cause
       two or more companies to touch, a merger occurs.

Starlanes V1.2.2          29 March 1996                         3

STARLANES(6)                                         STARLANES(6)

       First, the companies sizes are  checked  and  the  company
       with the larger size absorbs the smaller.

       If  the  companies are the same size, the company with the
       highest total worth absorbs the smaller.   (The  user  can
       view  company  size and company total worth on the company
       detail window, see above.)

       Finally, if both company sizes and total worths match, the
       companies will merge at random.

       If a three or four-way merger occurs, the merges will take
       place one at a time, in an order that is  somewhat  clock-

       After  a  merger, each player will have half the number of
       shares of held in the vanquished company added to the num-
       ber  of  shares  held  in the still-existing company.  The
       value of the still-existing company's price per share will
       increase by the vanquished company's price per share.

       Additionally, each player receives a cash bonus equal to

              10 * stock price * holdings percentage,

       where  stock  price is the old price per share of the van-
       quished company and holdings percentage is the  percentage
       of  total stock once owned in the vanquished company.  For
       example, imagine that  Altair  Starways  (worth  $500  per
       share)  is  merged  into  Denebola Shippers.  Also, assume
       that the player owned 50% of the total  shares  in  Altair
       Starways.   Using the formula, that player would receive a
       bonus of

              10 * $500 * 50% = $2,500.

       For more hints on how to deal with mergers, see  Strategy,

   Stock Splits
       When  a  company's  price per share climbs above $3,000, a
       stock split occurs.  All player holdings in  that  company
       are  doubled,  and  the  price  per  share is halved.  See
       Strategy, below, for money making tips  during  and  after
       stock splits.

   Black Holes
       Since  black  holes drain $500 from any company that is in
       contact with them, it is possible that the company's price
       per  share  will  drop to 0 or less.  If this happens, the
       entire company is sucked out of space and all player hold-
       ings are lost.

       If a player attempts to place an infant company (+) near a

Starlanes V1.2.2          29 March 1996                         4

STARLANES(6)                                         STARLANES(6)

       black hole (()), that infant company  will  be  immediately
       sucked up, resulting again in an empty sector.

       Likewise, if a player attempts to start a new company that
       would normally be worth $500 or less per share next  to  a
       black  hole,  the  sectors that the new company would have
       occupied all become empty space (.).

       For some ways to make black holes work to your  advantage,
       see Strategy, below.

   Game's End
       The game ends when 54% of the map is filled with companies
       (about 70 sectors.)  The player who made  the  final  move
       receives  his 5% holdings bonus (see Holding Bonus, above)
       and the final standings window is displayed.   The  player
       with the highest total worth is the winner.

       In  order to maximize your profits, you must wisely invent
       your cash.  For instance, if a company  is  near  a  black
       hole, it is likely that it will lose $500 per share in the
       next few rounds.  Likewise, if a company is near  a  star,
       it might soon have a $500 gain.

       Also, the larger the company, the greater that chance that
       it will be added onto (just because it takes up more  room
       on  the map.)  If you own 300 shares in a company, and its
       value goes up by $100 per share, that's a $30,000 increase
       in your net worth.

       Another  thing to watch for is when companies are about to
       merge.  Remember that the number of shares you own in  the
       smaller  company  will be halved before being added to the
       bigger one when they merge.  This  can  be  used  to  your
       advantage, especially if the smaller company is worth sig-
       nificantly less than the larger.  If the  big  company  is
       worth  $2,000  per  share, and the small is worth $200 per
       share, you can buy 10 times as many shares in the smaller.
       When  the  companies  merge,  the  number of shares in the
       smaller company is halved, but  it's  still  5  times  the
       amount  of stock you could've purchased in the larger com-

       Don't forget that when two companies  merge,  the  players
       receive  a  cash  bonus  that depends on the percentage of
       stock they owned in  the  smaller  company  (see  Mergers,
       above.)  It is good to try to own a higher percentage than
       anyone else.

       A way to gain profit earning potential is to have a  large
       number  of  shares in a company when the stock splits two-
       for-one (see Stock Splits, above.)  Even though your  ini-
       tial  net  worth  remains  the  same  after a stock split,

Starlanes V1.2.2          29 March 1996                         5

STARLANES(6)                                         STARLANES(6)

       you'll now increase your net worth by twice the value  you
       used  to  whenever  the  company's  price per share rises.
       Also, if your opponent has 100 shares  and  you  have  150
       before  the  split,  that'll  change to 200 shares and 300
       shares, effectively increasing  your  lead  in  shares  by

       Black holes weren't present in the original game, but were
       added to give players who have fallen behind a  chance  to
       shaft  the  leaders.   If your opponent owns 100 shares of
       Altair Starways and you only own 50, you  can  extend  the
       company  against  a  black  hole.  Your opponent will lose
       $50,000 from his net worth, but you'll only lose  $25,000.

       Finally,  a reminder to invest as much money as you possi-
       ble can each round (unless it's too  risky.)   The  reason
       for  this  is  the  5% cash bonus all players receive each
       round based on their holdings (see Holdings Bonus, above.)
       Your cash earns you no interest.


       This version of Starlanes was written and is Copyright (C)
       by Brian ``Beej''  Hall  1995-1997.   The  author  can  be
       reached  at  beej()ecst.csuchico.edu.  Starlanes comes with
       ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.  This is free  software,  and  you
       are  welcome  to redistribute it under certain conditions;
       read the file COPYING for details.

       I'd like to thank the  unnamed  authors  of  the  original
       Starlanes for creating such a thought provoking and fun to
       play text-based game.  I got my  first  copy  on  a  First
       Osborne  Group  (FOG)  disk in what must have been 1982 or
       so, and used to spend endless  hours  playing  against  my
       friends.  For us, the game is just as fun as ever.  To the
       original authors, I salute you!

       There are no computer controlled players.

       Doesn't respond if ^Z is pressed to suspend the game.

       If only one person is playing, he or she  will  frequently
       make  enough money to break the fixed-field-length windows
       and/or cause the variable that holds player cash to  over-
       flow.   Try to keep your earnings under $2 billion until I
       convert these variables to long doubles.  :-)

Starlanes V1.2.2          29 March 1996                         6

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