Date: 1996-08-22
From: John
Subject: Re: Tape, etc.

My Dear Mr. Duk:

I am all aquiver at the thought of these "Alexander research materials" and hope to see the tape and whatever else in the next day or so.

Meanwhile, I've been doing some Alexander research of my own, a project of absolutely (and I mean ABSOLUTELY) no apparent redeeming value. I played a game of Conquest 4.0 in "big map" mode, 124 x 96, and, after making short work of the enemy, sent out a fleet of carriers and mapped every pixel (about 3,247,680 pixels in all). I then took about 2 dozen screenshots and pasted them all together to form a giant GIF map, which I can now examine down to the pixel.

Would you have any interest in this map? The catch is that it weighs in at 1.8 Megs. Might make an interesting desktop pattern for a large (2040 x 1592) monitor. This large sample might provide additional insights into Conquest's new continent generation algorithm.

The map itself was quite interesting to explore. I have learned that the size of the map has a huge impact on every facet of the game, much more than I realized at first. I think the 3 (small, medium, and large) sizes that 4.0 provides are plenty - there's no need for continuous scales. The small size makes for *very* quick and intense games. The large size could easily keep 2 human players busy for a week - the sheer size was overwhelming at times.

At one point I spent a month or so developing a sizable fleet with carriers, battleships, etc. As I explored across an area the size of a normal world map it began to appear as if my fleet was trapped in a vast inland sea. I kept searching for some kind of Northwest Passage back to the rest of my empire, came excrutiatingly close on several occasions, but still no outlet. Although I had been exploring with fleets of carriers for months there was still no sign of the enemy. It was not until late in the game that I found an escape.

Another point of interest was a natural "Panama Canal," a winding river 4 or 5 sqaures long which completely separated two vast continents. I also found one good sized hunk of land that was attached to a much larger continent by a single square - I immediately positioned an artillery piece on the square which could have single-handedly held off a concerted attack.

Here, for the record, are the three sizes which Conquest 4.0 provides:

Small 48 x 32 15 Cities
Medium 96 x 64 50 Cities
Large 124 x 96 100 Cities

Let me know if you want the big map!

Yours in haste,

Epicurious J.