Date: 1994-07-08
From: John
Subject: Empire Deluxe

My Dear Mr. Duk

Thanks for your diligent work in digesting this Empire Deluxe game. I have re-activated the archives and am now adding all these notes to the permanent record. In this note I will try to list all the features I think we should adopt - features are numbered for future reference.

First, for the record, here are the two ideas we recently agreed to on the tapes:

  1. All aircraft will consume a minimum of 5 fuel units per day. This means that a fighter cannot hover for more than four days without refueling.
  2. Our interface will include the ability to display labels next to each city showing that city's current production so that we can evaluate who is making what at a glance.
Based on the details from your first note and from your Empire piece description document, I propose the following new features for Alexander:
  1. I agree that we should provide automatic naming for all cities and pieces. As you may recall, we discussed this possibility at length back in our original journal; we noted then that some kind of naming convention is vital for programming. It would place too much of a burden on the player to force him to name each city/piece as it is created, so I like the idea of automatically pulling names from a database. Users should, of course, have the option of editing that database.

    I presume that names should follow a common theme with city names that are grouped according to what continent they reside in (i.e., Seattle should not be on the same continent as Beirut). I further propose that the name themes also be tied to the piece design chosen by the player (e.g. Marble tiles yield city/piece names from ancient Rome/Greece, Garnet pieces yield fantasy names, Steel pieces yield science fiction names, etc.). We should probably also name continents.

  2. If a Carrier is used in the patrol path, the path will move with the Carrier. This principle should apply to paths tied to ANY moving piece. For example, a destroyer could have a patrol path which circles a moving transport. I believe we have already agreed that patrol paths should be arbitrarily complex, though, if need be, I could live with Empires limit of 4 legs per patrol path.
  3. I agree that "Sentry" is a much better name than "Sleep."
  4. The Explore, Escort Ship, and Go Home commands are all worth implementing one way or another. If our programming language allows, we could provide some kind of menu of pre-defined scripts initially stocked with behaviors such as these. Advanced users could edit the scripts that come with the game or add their own.
  5. I like this idea that production time for subsequent pieces should be reduced after an initial piece type is produced. It makes sense - retooling should take extra time - and it adds a devilish twist to decision making without unduly complicating the interface.
There were another half dozen or so minor innovations that I noticed but didn't particulary care for. If you saw some features that you liked and were not included in the above list, please list them. Also, please respond with your reactions to the above proposals.

As for screen capture gadgets, plenty are available and I can ship you one if you want, but the screen capture that is built-in to your Mac should do fine. Just type Command-Shift-3. Every time you do, you should hear a shutter clicking noise and another numbered paint file will appear on your startup drive. Just open the paint file (Picture 1, Picture 2, etc.) with any paint program.

Yours in haste,