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How PBEM Works... - 11/29/2007 5:21:31 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

Posts: 37153
Joined: 3/28/2000
From: Vermont, USA
Status: online
We've had some questions on how PBEM works, so I'm going to post another excerpt from the manual. EIA was designed from the beginning for multi-player PBEM, but in a game as complex as EIA with up to 7 players all getting through their turns, any PBEM system is going to take a little work. Here are the instructions (note that these may be a bit easier to follow once you have the game, but they should still give you a good idea of what's involved and how PBEM is structured). In short, the most experienced PBEM player shoudl be the "Host" and you want to make sure he'll stick around for the whole game.

4.2.2 Setting Up a PBEM Game

A PBEM game consists of six client players and one host player. The host is charged with the task of setting up the game.
To Start a New PBEM Game (all human):

As Host:

1. From the Main Menu Screen, click the “New Game” button.
2. Manually fill in, or use the Optional Import Method to import data into, all fields (Name, Type, Email Address, and VPs) on the New Game Screen.
3. Click “Host email game” button.
4. Enter a game name and then click the “Ok” button.
5. If not playing Russia skip to step 6, otherwise, if Host is playing Russia then:
- Enter Setup Phase and setup Russian forces
- Click the “End Current Phase” button (top menu) when finished with setup.
- The program will automatically save the game as TheGameName.sav whenever
the end current phase button is clicked.
- Send the gamestart.pbm file (found in the commout folder) AND the Russian setup file (also in the commout folder) to all clients and then skip to step 11. NOTE: A blank email is automatically generated, with email addresses and subject
field filled in for convenience or you can use another email account to send files(s)
6. Send the gamestart.pbm file (found in the commout folder) to all clients. NOTE: A blank email is automatically generated, with email addresses and subject field filled in for convenience, or you can use another email account to send files(s)
7. When the time comes for you to play your Setup Phase, use the “Load Game” button from the Main Menu Screen and load the saved game file TheGameName.
sav).
IMPORTANT: If the host attempts to load from the gamestart.pbm file to setup his/her forces, the Admin Menu will not be available throughout the game. NOTE: If password protection was selected as an option, you will be prompted to enter a password before proceeding to the game main screen.
8. Next, click the “Load Email Turn File” button found on the top menu bar and load all major power turn files that preceded your turn and then setup your forces or load a saved setup file.
9. Click “End Current Phase” button when finished with setup. NOTE: The program will automatically save the game once the end current phase button is clicked.
10. Send your setup file (found in the commout folder) to all players.
11. IMPORTANT: From now on, when the time comes for you to play or load a turn, use the “Load Game” button from the Main Menu Screen and load the saved game file (TheGameName.sav).

As Client:

After receiving the gamestart file from the host, place it into the commin folder and then:
1. Click “New Game” button
2. Click “Load email game” button
3. Enter email address and click OK.
4. Load TheGameName_gamestart.pbm file from the commin folder. NOTE: this is the only time you will use this file.
5. If password protection is enabled, enter password then click the “ok” button
6. If it is your Setup Phase turn, setup your forces or load a saved setup file and skip to step 8, otherwise continue on to step 7.
7. If it is not your turn, click the “Load Email Turn File” button found on the top menu bar and load any major power turn files that precede your turn. When it is finally your Setup Phase turn, setup your forces or load a saved setup file
8. Click “End Current Phase” button. The program will automatically save the game once the end current phase button is clicked.
9. Send your turn file (found in the commout folder) to all players.
10. IMPORTANT: From now on, when the time comes for you to play or load a turn, use the “Load Game” button from the Main Menu Screen and load the saved game file (TheGameName.sav).

4.2.3 Setting Up a PBEM Game Using AI Substitutions

The program can be set to use the AI (easy, medium or hard) to play those major powers that do not have a human player. During exchanges, make sure that all files (the phasing player’s and the AI major powers) are included as attached files when sent.

4.2.4 Loading Saved Game Files

When the time comes for you to play or load a turn, use the “Load Game” button from the Main Menu Screen and load the saved game file (TheGameName.sav).

4.2.5 Exchanging Turn Files

To exchange turn files, click the “Send Message to All Players” button (top menu bar) and a blank email is generated, with email addresses and subject field filled in (or you can use another email account to send files). Attached the turn file (found in the commout folder) to this email and send. When receiving turn files, always place them in the commin folder.

4.2.6 Loading Turn Files

Load turn files from the commin folder by clicking the “Load Email Turn File” button found on the top menu bar and load any major power turn files that precedes your turn.

4.2.7 The Role of the PBEM Game Host (The Hub)

The host reconciles and enforces the desires of the playgroup during a PBEM game. Using the Admin Menu, the host has the ability to:
- Enforce a turn deadline and use the Admin Menu to have either the AI play a turn, or skip a turn, for any given player who is unable to submit a turn file and meet the deadline.
- Supply current players with a backup saved game file (using the Admin Menu) should file corruption or out of sync errors occur.
- Replace players that no longer wish to play and supply those new players with the appropriate backup saved game file.

4.2.8 Optional Import Method to Start PBEM Game

EiANW allows players to use an external Game Assistance Program (GAP) that handles the major power bid and selection procedure. This program is available, free of charge, for download.

4.2.9 Explanation of the GAP

Bids are capped at 30 Victory Points to curb astronomical bidding for France or Britain. Ties are broken using a non-repeating random number event. The password created during the bid procedure
was designed to protect the player’s EiANW gamestart file and subsequent turn files. Also during
the bid procedure, players can choose which pre-existing wars they would declare should they win control of a specific major power. The bid file (.bid), which is encrypted, contains the player’s 7 bids, pre-existing war declaration requests and the password that the player made. The player name and email address is also included but is not encrypted. NOTE: give recognizable names to your bid files (e.g. YourName_GameName.bid) so that the host understands which game it belongs to (he/she may be hosting more than one game and your bids may vary from one game to another depending on the major power your trying to control).
When completed, the player sends the bid file to either the game host or a non-playing arbitrator, who will use the GAP to compare the bids according to the following order: Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria, Prussia, Spain and Turkey. The host (or arbitrator) also has the ability of selecting the Britain and France at war option at this time. Afterwards, the host (or arbitrator) can send those results, which are written to a text file, by email to all clients. The text file (.txt) contains the results of bidding; the major power won, VP cost, player name, email address, pre-existing wars, and a list of the individual bids from all 7 players. Note: the major powers listed vertically are the aggressors (i.e. made the declaration of war).

4.2.10 Importing the GAP Data

The major power selection data generated by this program can be easily imported into EiANW by the host (or arbitrator) of the PBEM game by simply clicking the “Import Bids” button. A dialog box will open that will allow the host to find the folder that the bid file (with an .sel extension) was save to. The selection file (.sel) is automatically saved to the folder that the text file was saved to. This is the file that EiANW will use to import. NOTE: The passwords are NOT encrypted so the host or arbitrator can reference them if needed. For a higher level of security it is recommended that you use a non-playing arbitrator.
After loading the selection file, the Name, Email Address and VP Bid data will be filled on the New Game Screen, but not the game Type, which the host must manually set (to “Email Host”). Once the host has set his/her major power, double-click on “Email Host” (center of screen) and the remaining six players will change to “Client”. From here follow the instructions, starting with step #3, on how to Start A New PBEM.

4.2.11 The Role of the PBEM Game Arbitrator (Non-Player)

The use of an arbitrator offers a higher level of game security for PBEM games because the host will not be able to see the passwords. The arbitrator’s job is:
- To receive and compile bid files from a playgroup consisting of seven members, which include six clients and one game host.
- To use the EiANW Game Assistance Program to compare and calculate all seven bid files in order to determine control of the seven major powers according to the selection procedure
- To act in accordance with the majority desires of the playgroup and select the Britain and France at war option if requested.
- To send the results, contained within a GAP generated file (.txt), by email to all clients and the host.
- To import the results, contained within a GAP generated file (.sel), into EiANW for the purpose of creating a gamestart file.
- To send the gamestart file, created by EiANW, to all Clients (not the host).
- To send the saved game files (.sav and .dat), created by EiANW, to the Host (not the clients).
- To retain a copy of the .sel file, containing all seven passwords, for future reference as needed by a replacement player, should a member of the group leave the game. NOTE: if a player should leave a PBEM game, the host sends the game file and the arbitrator provides the new player with the password found in the .sel file.

_____________________________

Erik Rutins
CEO, Matrix Games LLC




For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.
Post #: 1
RE: How PBEM Works... - 11/29/2007 6:37:57 PM   
ravinhood


Posts: 3891
Joined: 10/23/2003
Status: offline
Wow that's a lot of info thanks Erik. ;) At least I have something to memorize now until the 14th of December ;)

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 2
RE: How PBEM Works... - 11/29/2007 9:00:45 PM   
napoleonbuff

 

Posts: 6
Joined: 12/19/2006
Status: offline
If you choose not to use the GAP, can you handle bids outside the game then enter them manually?  If so, are these entered bids restricted to 30 VPs?

I ask because I personally think this VP bid cap is too restrictive (I've seen Russia do very well with a bid greater than 30, let alone France or Britain).

(in reply to ravinhood)
Post #: 3
RE: How PBEM Works... - 11/30/2007 12:06:06 AM   
Ralegh


Posts: 1557
Joined: 2/1/2005
Status: offline
Yes, you can handle all the bidding stuff seperately if you wish.

The good news for PBEM are:
a) the "deviations" from normal EIA to get rid of non-phasing player decisions in lots of situations - pretty much its one-switch per player phase, except for chit choices for big battles.
b) extensive play testing has shown the PBEM to be quite robust, and to handle the situations that come up over the tim of a long game. For example, we have protection against people cheating, handle the situation where files go missing etc, ...

There are still some more features I would like...  but everyone wanted to get the darn thing out, rather than letting me add features.  Maybe we (the player community) can help them prioritise options for later patches...

_____________________________

HTH
Steve/Ralegh

(in reply to napoleonbuff)
Post #: 4
RE: How PBEM Works... - 11/30/2007 12:52:55 AM   
eg0master

 

Posts: 161
Joined: 3/20/2002
From: Stockholm, Sweden
Status: offline
Even though the manual preview above is interesting it does not answer my main questions... I was looking for more practical stuff like:
"when completing your XXX phase you have to do YYY in order to ZZZ in another players turn"
One typical example is naval interception. Another is chit choice during battles. Retiring into cities. And so on.

_____________________________

24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.

(in reply to Ralegh)
Post #: 5
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