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Table of Contents: (clickable)

  1. Rules of this site
    1. The Law

  2. New Players Guide
    1. General Information
    2. The Basics
    3. How to or Not to Colonize a Planet
    4. The Particulars of Combat
    5. Helpful Hints
    6. Small Glossary
    7. Strategies:
      1. The Merchant
      2. The Builder
      3. The Banker
      4. The Conqueror
      5. The Idiot


  3. Still Have Questions?
    1. Getting More Info




The Law:
  Rules of this site  
 

These are the official rules for the game.
It is the goal of this site to run a fair game where all can play unmolested.
Please adhere to the rules so that all can enjoy.

  1. You are not allowed to have multiple accounts. In other words, if you have more than one player in the game you are breaking the rules.
    Remember, the admin can always remove your player(s) from the game and ban you, or if need be, your whole state/country.
  2. If you find a bug it is against the rules to exploit it. You must report it right away. Preferably at the forums until we add a petition feature.
  3. No cheating of any kind will be tolerated. Consider this your final warning.
  4. Please, no cursing in the beacons, communications or the forums.
  5. Treat Other players with respcect or at least indifferance.


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New Players Guide:
  General Information  
 

Since this is a variation of Blacknova Traders,
Lets begin with a bit o' history.
Blacknova Traders is loosely based on the BBS game Tradewars. In this game, you are equipped with a basic ship with which you can trade goods between space ports to earn credits to upgrade your ship. Upgrades include larger cargo hulls so you can trade more in each turn (hence more money per turn), better weaponry, engines and sensors. You can also colonise planets, which will produce goods and money for you.

This is a turn based game. Each action you take generally takes 1+ turns. You start with an initial number of turns and get an extra turn every system update, which is dependant on the particular game you play. In Example: if server updates every 6 minutes, you'd get 10 turns per hour.

After the first fews days of trading, you need to decide on a strategy. Some general strategies are listed under Strategies on this page. Its reccommended that you use the Merchant (Trader) Strategy up until about hull level 12 or so and then switching over to the Builder. But the choice is yours.


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  The Basics of Play  
 

You navigate through the universe using either of 2 methods. The basic method is warp links. Warp links are like gateways between two different sectors in the universe. Regardless of the linear distance between 2 points, a warp link will always only take 1 turn. Generally, consecutively numbered sectors will have a link between them, but this is not always the case. The second method is real space movement. Using real space, you use your ships engines to move between points in the universe. The bigger your engines, the faster you can go and so the quicker you can move between points in the universe and therefore the less turns you use. Initially, your engines will be low powered, so moving between sectors will take a huge number of turns, so it is not worth using real space movement early in the game.

It's important to never take a link without making sure that you can come back from the new sector, unless your realspace engines are big enough to get you back efficiently. There are a lot of one way links in this game. Try to stay away from them. Also, write down everywhere you go. That way you can get back to sol when it's time to upgrade.

  1. Special ports sell upgrades for your ships. Sector 0 is always a special port. Write down any other special ports you find.
  2. Different regions of the galaxy are governed by different rules. Federation space prevents any form of combat, so new players are safe in Federation space. You can tell what region you are in by looking in the top right corner of your screen.
  3. Try to find a goods or an ore port. Scan each sector from sol. If there isn't one, move to sector 1 and keep trying. As soon as you find an ore or a goods port, move there and trade.
  4. Now try to find an opposing port adjacent to the port you are in. In other words, if you first found a goods port, find an ore port next to it. The important thing is to find two adjacent sectors with ore and goods ports close to sol. This step may take anywhere from a couple to a bunch of turns. I know that's vague, but the layout of the ports changes every turn. The closer to sol you find the ports, the better.
  5. Trade back and forth between these ports until you can afford an upgrade. At this point, go back to sol and upgrade your hull. The bigger your hull, the more cargo you can carry and therefore the more money you can make in each turn. Go back to the sectors you found and start trading again.
  6. Keep doing this until you have a spare 100k credits. Use it to buy an escape pod. Keep trading and upgrading your hull.
  7. When you have a spare million, buy an Emergency Warp Device. Emergency Warp devices will move your ship to a random sector if you are attacked. Keep upgrading your hull. You should be relatively unkillable at this point. Emergency warp devices become unreliable though when your hull reaches size 15.
  8. When you have the cash, buy more EWDs. For every EWD you buy, also get a warp editor. That way, if you are attacked, you can create a one way link back to sol (sector 0) and use it. You can't be stranded in the middle of nowhere. This becomes un-necessary when your real space engines are large enough.
  9. Use traderoutes. Traderoutes help automate the task of trading. You can get your ship computer to move between 2 ports and trade the commodoties without you having to issue commands to move, trade etc. It still takes the same number of turns, but requires less work from you. Traderoutes can work on either real space or warp links. When you first start out, you will want to use warp links, so find sectors that are linked by warp links to trade between. Traderoutes can be one way or two ways. A two way traderoute means your ship will buy commodities from port A, sell them at port B, buy from port B then go back to port A and sell.
  10. Sector defences consist of mines and fighters. Mines are deployed torpedoes. Mines can only detect an incoming ship with a hull size greater than a certain level. Usually 8. Fighters can be set to one of two modes. Attack or Toll. In attack mode, they will attack any ship that does not belong to their owner or a member of their owners alliance. In toll mode, they will only let you enter the sector safely if you agree to pay a toll. Sector fighters require energy from a friendly planet to remain in the sector. If there is insufficient or no energy, they will slow break down. A defence against mines are mine deflectors. It is a good idea to carry a lot of these. They are cheap anyway. With fighters, you are given the options of fighting, retreating or using your ships cloaking device to try and sneak in to the sector. Sector fighters require energy from a friendly planet in the same sector, otherwise they begin to degrade. The default amount of energy required is 1 unit of energy per 10 ships. Energy can be taken from any of your planets or from a corporate planet from your alliance in that sector.
  11. Planets can created using a genesis torpedoe. Planets can produce commodoties and credits to fund your ship. The more colonists you have, the more they produce. You can use traderoutes to populate your planets from special ports.
  12. Later you can browse Strategies and pick a strategy to follow. Or make up your own.

Here's a list of things for new players NOT to do:

  1. Don't scan people. Generally people scan others right before they attack. Don't scan their planets either.
  2. Don't logout in a sector with other players or their planets. They might assume you are scouting out locations for a bigger player and then decide to kill you.
  3. Don't attack anyone who is ranked higher than you. You will most likely die in the attempt.

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  How... or How Not to Colonize a Planet  
 

This is something I wrote in the forums... thought it belonged here. Standard cut 'n' paste action. Here goes:

Also, I've seen planets that have 100 million colonists on them already. I'm gonna give a short lesson right now on why you should NEVER colonize a planet to 100 million people.

First, I pose a question. How many extra, and conveniently free, colonists does a maxed out planet make per turn. The answer is zero.

Now, how many new colonists could be produced by 100 million peeps if they were allowed to reproduce. The answer is 50k peeps. At 5 creds per peep, that's a value of 250k per turn for free. You don't even have to transport them from a special. They take care of that on their own.

Now imagine that you don't have 100 million peeps on one planet, but 50 million each on two planets. Now, each planet will make 25k peeps per turn and you'll get your 250k credits worth between the two planets.

Those two planets will take exactly 1387 turns to reproduce until they are full. You will gain free colonists, which means free money, on every one of those turns. If you had just the one planet, you'd get nothing for free.

Now imagine that you had spread those colonists over four planets instead of two. It would take each of those four planets 2774 turns to go from 25 million peeps to 100 million peeps. You'd be getting free people for that many turns. Ultimately you'll get an additional 300 million people for free. At 5 creds per person that's 1.5 billion credits for free. It's spread over 2774 turns, but it's still a damn lot of credits for free.

I assume you see where I'm going with this. Residual income is a gold mine. By spreading the same number of colonists over a greater number of planets you are increasing the total future amount of residual income. The only downside is that you have more planets to defend. The upside is that even if you lose one, you have other equally large planets to rely on for income.

Hence, the moral of this story is not to colonize to 100 million. It's dumb. I am going to suggest a maximum colonizing limit of 15-25 million colonists. That gives you a solid planet, but also gives you plenty of time for the planets to grow. That's just a suggestion. Use your own judgment.

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  The Particulars of Combat  
 

Combat is tricky. I'm going to lay it out one step at a time. First we'll do ship to ship combat, and then we'll do ship to planet combat. This is basically an English representation of the code. Now, those of you who complain about not being able to read the PHP code can quiet down.

One very important thing that I want to stress is this. In a fight, you use 100% of your fighters. You only use 2% of your torps. This is because the torpedo launchers mounted on your ship can only launch a salvo equal to 2% of the maximum torps you can carry. Make sense? I hope so.

VERY IMPORTANT ADDITION TO VERSION 0.1.14 COMBAT:
Combat now requires energy for beams and shields. If you have 20k energy on your ship and your beams can support 25k beams and your shields are at 25k shields, you'll actually get 20k beams and 0 shields. The reason is that beams use energy before shields do. In this example, you'd have to have 50k energy on hand for beams and shields to both be at max power.

Ship to Ship Combat

Ship to ship combat happens in a very straightforward manner. Here we go. I'll be using the following method to determine who is the attacker and who is the defender. a_shields is attacker shields. d_shields is defender shields. No here we go.

  1. First, a_engines and d_engines are compared. A chance to attack is determined by this formula: success=(10-d_engines+a_engines)*5. This number is then compared to a random number between 1 and 100. If the random number is higher than the success number, the attack goes on. Otherwise you get a message saying "Target out maneuvered you!".

    Here's an example. If your engines are 13 and his engines are 16, then we calculate the success rate as (10-16+13)*5. The result is 35. Hence, you have a 65% chance (35% chance to fail) to succeed.

  2. Second, a_sensors and d_cloak are compared. A chance to attack is determined by this formula: success=(10-d_cloak+a_sensors)*5. This number is then compared to a random number between 1 and 100. If the random number is lower than the success number, the attack goes on. Otherwise you get a message saying "Unable to get a lock on target!".

    Here's an example. If your sensors are 7 and his cloak is 3, then we calculate the success rate as (10-3+7)*5. This result is 70. This means you have a straight 70% chance of success.

    I know this looks the same as the above engines check, but here you get the success percent right away. There you have to subtract from 100. Looks like two different people wrote this code. Incidentally, there's always at least a 5% success or 5% failure chance. Nothing is certain.

  3. Okay, now combat is a go. If the defender has an Emergency Warp Device, it is used and the defender is sent to a random sector between 1 and the max sector number, which is 5000 in this game. Combat, of course, would end. If the defender has no Emergency Warp Devices, combat is continued.

  4. First, beams are exchanged against fighters. The a_beams will destroy up to half of the d_fighters and vice versa.

    For example, you have 20,000 beams and he has 14,000 fighters. Your beams will take out 7,000 fighters (half) and leave you with 13,000 beams left over. If you had 20,000 beams and he had 47,000 fighters, you would take out 20,000 fighters. That would leave you with 0 beams and leave him with 27,000 fighters.

  5. This step only happens if either player has any beams left. Assume we have beams left. The a_beams will go against d_shields. If the beams are higher, they will negate all of the shields and there will still be some beams left over. The same thing goes for the defender's beams against your shields.

    For example, you have 7,000 beams left over from the previous step. Your opponent has 20,000 shields. Your beams would take away 7,000 shield points and your beams would be done. If he had had only 6,000 shields, your beams would have taken away all shields and left you with 1,000 beams left over.

  6. This step also only happens if there are beams left over from the previous two steps. In this step, a_beams are matched up against d_armor. If your beams are greater than his armor, then he is going to die. If your beams aren't high enough, you just take away that many points of armor.

    For example, you have 3,000 beams left over and the opponent has 40,000 armor. You'll take away 3,000, leaving him with 37,000 armor. If he had 3,000 armor or less, he would die in the conflict. Death equates to an armor rating of 0 or less.

  7. Now we have an exchange of torpedoes. In this version of the game (blacknova.net 3/6/01) torps have a damage rating of 10. This is something that can be changed in the config file, so it might not always be the same. First off, torp damage is calculated by multiplying the number of torps you have by the torp damage rate. So, if you had 400 torps, your torp damage would be 4,000 (400*10).

    If the defender has any fighters left, the torp damage will take out up to half of them. It's basically the same as with the beams. So, if your torp damage is 4,000 and d_fighters is 5,000, you will take out 2,500 fighters. That'll leave you with 1,500 worth of torp damage to work with. If he had had 10,000 fighters, you would have taken out a full 4,000 of them. You wouldn't have any torp damage left though.

  8. If you have any torp damage left, it is applied to the defender's armor. So, if you had 4,000 torp damage left, you'd take away 4,000 armor.

  9. Now, fighters attack. Your original fighters total is subtracted from his fighter total, and his original total is deleted from yours. This might not seem immediately intuitive, but it is. I'll give some examples.

    You have 40,000 and he has 36,000. You'll end up with 4,000 left over and he'll end up with 0.
    You have 20,000 and he has 20,000. You'll both end up with 0.
    You have 15,000 and he has 27,000. You'll end up with 0 and he'll end up with 12,000.

  10. If there are any fighters left, they are applied to the defender's armor. So, if you have 34,000 fighters left, you can do 34,000 damage to d_armor. If the defender doesn't have enough armor left, too bad.

  11. The last step is to test whether or not either player is dead. If either player has armor of 0 or less, they are dead. If you die, life sucks. You learned a hard lesson. If your opponent dies and you live, you get some money based on salvaging his ship. If you want to know how much, look in the code. I'm tired.

Ship to Planet Combat

This works almost exactly the same as above. If the defender's ship is not on the planet, then the planet is considered defeated if its shields and fighters are reduced to 0. The planet has no armor, so skip the part where you attack the opponent's armor.

If the planet's owner is on the planet, then things are somewhat more complicated. You should understand how combat works from the above listing, so I'll just list the order in which things happen.

  1. Your beams can take out up to half of the planet's fighters.
  2. Planet beams take out up to half of your fighters.
  3. Owner beams take out up to half of your fighters.
  4. Player beams go against planet shields.
  5. Planet beams go against your shields.
  6. Owner beams go against your shields.
  7. Your beams go against owner armor.
  8. Planet beams go against your armor.
  9. Owner beams go against your armor.
  10. Your torp damage takes out planet fighters.
  11. Your torp damage takes out up to half of the owner's fighter.
  12. Planet torps take out up to half of your fighters.
  13. Owner torps take out up to half of your fighters.
  14. Your torp damage goes against owner's armor.
  15. Planet torp damage goes against your armor.
  16. Owner torp damage goes against your armor.
  17. Your fighters go against planet fighters.
  18. Your fighters go against owner fighters.
  19. Your fighters go against planet shields.
  20. Your fighters go against owner armor.
  21. Planet fighters go against your armor.
  22. Owner fighters go against your armor.
  23. If your armor is 0 or less, you die. Bozo.
  24. If owner armor is 0 or less, he dies. Good job.
  25. If you're alive, he's dead, and the planet has no fighters or shields, you win and get the planet. Well played.

Okay, relatively easy. lol

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  Helpful Hints  
 

This is just a random listing of helpful hints. Most of them come from the forums or the other top players.

  1. Whenever you are choosing between two sectors, such as if you're in a goods port sector and it connects to two different ore port sectors, always choose the one that has more links. That way you'll have more options on where to go next.
  2. The game sets up all links in order plus random links. This means that sector 152 has a link to sectors 151 and 153. If you find a sector that is out of sequence, ie. you're in sector 456 and there's a link to 455 but not 457, it means that some player has purposefully destroyed that link with a warp editor. Usually, but not always, something good is hidden in or near that sector.
  3. When you create a planet, use warp editors to destroy all of the links heading into and out of the sector. Then make a one way link back to the closest special. That way if people who can't realspace happen into your sector they will be able to get out again.
  4. When you create a planet, don't bother to name it. People are more likely to assume that a planet named "unnamed" is actually empty. I tend to name my smaller planets and leave the larger ones unnamed. It has always worked out well for me.
  5. Try to make friends with someone in the top 10. That way, if you are attacked and defeated, chances are your new friend can exact retribution.
  6. If you don't use a utility to map where you've been, write down all specials, planets and who own them, goods ports, and ore ports you run across. It's nice to know where a new ore port.

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  Glossary  
 

  1. creds- short for credits.
  2. EWD- this is short for emergency warp device.
  3. EWB burn- when a player attacks another player specifically to activate and EWD he is doing a "burn".
  4. fits/torps- short for fighters and torpedos. You see this abbreviation in the forums all the time.
  5. M or B or G- M(mega) stands for a million. B(billion) and G(giga, means billion) both mean a billion. In other words 4G creds means you have 4 billion credits.
  6. rs move- this is just short for realspace move. It means using your engines to move.
  7. sol bump- when you're above a certain level you automatically get kicked out of federation space. People call this a sol bump.

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Strategies:

There are alot of strategies you could use. Generally these are most common.

Special Note: For all of these strategies I am assuming that you have already survived your first couple of days in the game. If you are still a newbie, read the New Player Guide first.


  The Merchant  
 

The Merchant primarily spends his time trading. Find a 2 ports in adjacent sectors, then trade back and forth until either you can afford an upgrade (hull and engines first) or the port's prices fall low. Continue doing this. When you're engines are large enough to realspace (this varies on the galaxy size in each game, somewhere over level 10) start doing trade routes between goods and ore ports. They don't have to be adjacent at this point. Be sure to buy a fuel scoop if you're going to realspace trade (trade route).

Obtain the maximum amount of EWDs and an escape pod (to ensure survival). You don't have to upgrade any techs except for hull, energy, and engines. Everything else is good for combat or colonizing. Your military techs can be zero as the EWDs are your primary means of survival.

PROS: Quick rise in score. Good to play catch up if you enter the game late.
CONS: Lack of planetary empire means that you'll lose out in the long run. I feel that the Merchant is only effective up to about a hull level of 18.


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  The Builder  
 

The Builder is mainly concerned in building a planetary empire. As such, he should build his hull to a level 15-16. Then start colonizing a planet. Colonize planets to about 25-50 million before moving on to the next planet. The reason for not fully colonizing a planet is that you want the colonists to procreate for as long as possible. They stop when there are 100 million people on a planet.

When you hit a 15-16 hull level, upgrade everything to within 4 of your hull, except, sensors and amour. Always have full EWDs and an escape pod.

So far as colonizing is concerned, realspace to a special port. Pick up a full load of colonists, fighters, and torps. Realspace to your new planet. Drop off colonists, fighters, torps, and the energy you made from realspacing. On each new planet, set the energy production to 5% and all other productions to zero. You'll need the energy to power planetary shields and beams.

Colonize constantly. Use the money made by your planets to buy the stuff to supply your planets. You don't really need to trade much in this strategy.

PROS: You make lots of cash in the long run.
CONS: Kind of slow to start. Conquerors can sometimes take your planets.


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  The Banker  
 

The Banker builds one planet to full capacity. Upgrade as though you were a builder. Be sure that the planet is completely well defended. Keep adding fighters. If you think that the planet has a ridiculously high number of fighters, then it's probably the right number. I'd recommend spending something like 5-10% of your turns adding more fighters and torps to the planet.

Ok, here's the way the Banker makes his living. Put all your money on the planet and then land on the planet. It should be well defended enough to survive any attacks. Wait 600 turns, during which the money will earn interest. Play the 600 turns as though you were a Trader. At the end, put the new money on the planet and wait another 600 turns before you play again. The important thing is to let the money sit around and accrue interest for as long as possible.

This strategy works fairly well if you combine it with a Builder, i.e.. Build a bunch of planets, but Bank on one of them. Harder to defend your empire this way.

PROS: You can make a metric ton of cash if you're patient.
CONS: You can only play every couple of days and you don't have many planets to produce for you.


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  The Conqueror  
 

The premise here is that you build up your military techs (shields, armour, computers, torps, and to a lesser degree sensors) and use them to take other people's planets. You then use the money acquired from these new planets to upgrade even further. You end up with lots of ill gotten colonists and planets this way. They will make money for you and you will gain an empire similar to that a Builder might create.

Be sure to stock every new planet acquired with plenty of fighters and torps to be sure that the former owner won't come and try to take the planet back. Trust me, that sucks.

PROS: You can get a whole lot of colonists using a small number of turns.
CONS: Everyone will hate you and it's sometimes hard to defend new "acquisitions".


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  The Idiot  
 

This is more a list of what not to do. I've seen people do things that boggle the mind, but the truth is that they just don't know any better. Here's a listing. Don't...

  1. ...scan over and over and over. It is a waste of turns. Don't scan ships or planets unless you actively plan on attacking them. For one, it's a waste of turns. Also, it pisses people off to be scanned. You will be marked if you scan someone more than once.
  2. ...waste your time trading energy or organics. Ore and goods will give you the greatest returns.
  3. ...realspace move unless you can get somewhere in 1 or 2 turns. I've seen people use 50-100 turns to move from where they are to sol. You could probably move from sector to sector and find a special port using less turns. Plus you might find other planets or trading ports along the way.



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Still Have Questions?
  More Questions?  
 

You are going to have more questions.
I say this with a fair amount of certainty.

There are two really good sources besides this FAQ.
You could send a message to one of the top 10 players in the game. They should know the answer, but they may not bother to reply.

The best source is the Our official forum.


 
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