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  THE PLANET HANDBOOK (version 1.01) by Paladyne
 

VIII. TIPS, TRICKS, AND CASHING IN ON PLANETS

Time to reveal a few secrets that veteran players know and use to their advantage. Hopefully there is some information in this section for all players to pick up on and learn, new and old alike.

WHERE TO BUILD - TUNNELS AND BUBBLES

Several salty, space-faring veterans of the game use these labels interchangeably, but there is a technical difference between them.

A bubble is a large section of space with limited ways in and out, a minimum of 100 sectors in size. The maximum size depends on the size of the universe being created and the number of bubbles desired by the game operator. When Gold extensions are turned ON, a flag is removed, and the option to create bubbles in enabled. The GameOp can then break up the universe from one large area into several smaller ones. These smaller areas are called bubbles.

Tunnels are much smaller, and are created in every version of the game. Tunnels range in size from a single dead-end sector to as large as 20 or more sectors. They can have a single sector as an entrance/exit point (called the mouth, the gate, or the front door sector), or may have one or more one-way exits that let you leave but not return. These one-ways are often called "back doors", but the point is that no one can get INTO a tunnel except through the "front door".

Before you start building, mark the entrance to a tunnel as an "avoid" sector on the Computer menu, then try to plot a course into the tunnel from the outside. If the computer finds another way in, then it is not a safe tunnel to build in. If the computer cannot find another route, then the tunnel is "verified" and is likely safe to start creating planets and colonizing.

Even tunnels that have been verified can be flawed, but not often. In very large games where the maximum course length is short, it is possible for the computer to not find another way into a tunnel when one actually does exist (also clear any avoids you may have to prevent blocking another route). Few and far between, but such games can be created. If you suspect this might be the case, try verifying the tunnel from different points around the universe, just to be sure. Just use the Computer menu option [F]ind Route to save turns moving.

COLONIZING TRICKS

Once you find a nice, quiet tunnel several sectors away from FedSpace (you don't want to be found that quickly, do you?), you can start making planets and colonizing them. Having to move to Terra and back quickly uses up your daily allotment of turns. A ship capable of TransWarp can really help here. Buy fuel from a port and leave it on the planet you want to colonize, then TransWarp to Terra, grab your share of colonists, and TransWarp back.

Simple, right? Sure, if you already have an Imperial StarShip or a Corporate Flagship, and trying this in a Havoc Gunstar uses more fuel than it's worth. Here is where a Planetary Transporter can really pay off. Use the old-fashioned move technique to grab enough of the colonists to start making a Level 1 citadel. Once it is started, start dropping more fuel on the planet. Once the citadel becomes a level 1 you can buy a transporter pad and upgrade it enough to reach Terra. Grab enough fuel for the return trip, beam yourself to Terra and grab colonists, then TransWarp back. Complicated, but remember that beaming you and your ship with a planetary transporter only uses a single turn, but 10 units of fuel from the planet per hop.

Red (evil) players cannot lock onto Terra directly, but they can try leaving a fighter close by and warp to the fighter, then move the rest of the way to Terra and TransWarp back. If you don't have the luxury of a TransWarp drive, a planetary transporter still saves you the cost of moving to Terra, cutting your turns used per cycle in half and doubling the productivity of colonizing.

PLANET FARMING FOR CASH

Planets worth keeping early in the game are class (O) Oceanic planets and class (L) Mountainous planets. Class (H) Volcanic planets are the best for making fuel, but are very slow in building citadels (2-1/2 weeks for that Quasar cannon, and over 7 weeks to reach level 6). With 1 million units of fuel to run a Quasar cannon, they are the best planets in the long run for tunnel defense, but slow in getting there. After the first week, consider starting these after tunnel defenses are built up enough to defend yourself. In an invasion, volcanics make a wonderful prizes.

But for making money, Class (O) planets are champions. They ramp up very close to what a port can handle buying in a single day. An Oceanic planet reaches peak production at 100,000 colonists and can produce 50,000 units of Organics a day. At maximum, a port can only take in 65,530 units a day for about 2.2 - 2.5 million credits profit. In some games, the ports are limited to 32,000 units and offer you around 0.6 - 1.2 million in profit. Oceanics can outpace the ports!

Like colonist production, the value of products at the ports are based on a bell curve. You get a better offer from a port at 90% than you will from a port at 10%. Once you upgrade the port to its maximum volume, only sell products to reach the 50% mark, and do this twice a day, or the top 25% four times a day, to maximize your profits.

Making class M planets and farming equipment from them sounds like a good idea at the start of the game, but it isn't. While equipment is more valuable than organics, at best they can make 1,153 units per day you can sell for about 100,000-150,000 credits.

PLANET FARMING FOR FIGHTERS

You might think that class (M)Earth Type planets are the best for fighter production. After all, they have the best production formula with n/10, right? Wrong! Remember that fighter production is based on the daily production of FOE product. Class M planets have a ratio of 3/7/13, so the best fighter production they can do is 30 colonists to make 1 fighter.

Mountainous planets reach citadel level 1 in only 2 days, and level 2 after another 5 days (giving it the first Combat Control computer) AND the first Quasar cannon in a total of 12 days. Another advantage is the n/12 fighter production with a fuel ratio of 2. This means that placing colonists in fuel production makes really good fuel, and 24 colonists to produce 1 fighter. It's the best place for the first 20,000 colonists to go, making 1,666 fighters per day and 10,000 units of fuel.

But do not discount those Oceanic planets! What Mountainous planets make in speed, Oceanics can beat with volume! Class (L)s might have the advantage with fighter production of n/12, but they top out at only 20,000 colonists. Class (O) planets are five times that, and with production only 3 points different at n/15 can make more than triple the fighters per day at top production.

VII. CITADEL ADVANCEMENT TABLES - IV. INVADING SECTOR & PLANETARY DEFENSES


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