Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I sent my orders/message in and did not get a response from the Galaxy Engine. What's wrong?

    Several things can cause this, the server Explorer is running on could be down, the server you get your mail from could be down, a gate way between these two servers could be down. If this is the case, then your mail is probably just delayed and it will get through (probably). It is for reasons like this that it is strongly encouraged to get your orders in early and not test the deadline.

    In reality, most time the reason you are not getting a receipt is user error. The Explorer mail parser depends on a few vital things. One, your return address on your message must be valid. Two, the message must be labeled correctly. The lines with #GALAXY and #MESSAGE are critical. If GALAXY or MESSAGE is spelled wrong, the parser will not recognize the message as being game mail.

    Also, be careful how you label your messages to the game. More than one player has screamed in anguish when he sent in a message just before the turn deadline but mistakenly labeled it #GALAXY instead of #MESSAGE and overwrote his orders.

  2. I know RaceX is out there in the galaxy. Why doesn't the BlindMailer allow me to send him a message?

    Galaxy Explorer is a game played with limited knowledge. If you have not encountered a race during a game turn, your race does not 'know' of its existence. For you to send a private message to a race, you must have first encountered him in the game.

    The other alternative is to send a broadcast message. Of course, every player in the game will get a copy of this message so I do not recommend discussing strategy in this forum.

  3. Some race issued a challenge for all worthy opponents to come and get him at his home world located at 0,0 in the galaxy. I checked my report, my home world is located at 0,0. Does this mean that those races will be coming after me instead?

    Explorer uses a torus shaped map (wraps on each edge of the map). Each player's report is generated relative to his home world. This means that for each player, his view of the galaxy is relative to his home world which is located, for him, at 0,0.

    Also, Explorer does not allow ships to be vectored to an abstract location in space. Ships may only be sent to planets that their races have knowledge of. This means your home world is safe (at least for a turn or two).

  4. I encountered a new race at planet X36. Upon establishing communications with him, he insists that we met at planet Y19. Is he totally confused?

    He may be, but he is correct (from his point of view). Every race starts the game with a unique set of names for the planets. No two races share the exact same names for a planet at the beginning of the game. Through the blind mailer and diplomacy, races may decided to rename planets to a common name to avoid this kind of confusion in future messages.

  5. I know that my view of the galaxy expands when I settle new planets, but by how much? Are there any other ways of expanding my view?

    The Explorer map displays shows all the ships and planets within the distance a probe in one turn from all your settled planets. At drive tech of 1.0, a probe can travel 20 ly. This means that you can see everything within a 20 ly radius of all your planets.

    When you settle new planets your view of the galaxy expands to show everything within the base amount of your new worlds. Also, as your drive technology increases, so does how far a probe can travel in a single turn. This in turn increases the view from each of your settled worlds.

    Later in the game, as you begin to lose worlds, your map will not shrink, but the areas in which ships are displayed will be limited to those regions around the planets that you still own.

  6. I try to load a ship, send it to a planet, and unload it there but the checker program says that the ship is in hyperspace on the unload command? How do I get my cargo to another planet?

    It is important to understand the sequence of events in the game. Most of the orders that you submit are executed before the first ship even leaves orbit and once a ship leaves orbit, it is out of your control until it reaches its destination.

    In the sequence of events that inspired this question, the player tried:

    L grp COL                 ; loads group with colonists
    S grp planet              ; send group to planets
    U grp                     ; hopefully unload colonists when ship arrives??
    and the turn checker replied that the group could not be unloaded because the ship in in hyperspace. This is because all of these commands are executed at the beginning of the turn and the ship does not arrive at its destination until the end of the turn.

    You may unload a ship and settle a planet on the turn following the one at which your ships arrive at the planet. On subsequent turns, assuming you enabled the AUTOUNLOAD flag, your ships will be automatically unloaded for you (without requiring a command) upon arrival.

  7. I requested a ship to be produced at a specific tech level but instead it is 0.01 less than I requested. What gives?

    Most values in Explorer are stored as full precision floating point numbers. This means that Explorer is susceptible to round-off errors and the inability of binary machines to perfectly represent certain numbers. Did your ship get created at the requested level? Yes. It may not appear this way since a decision was made early on to round down all tech levels to under represent a group's capability when displayed (logic being it is better to under estimate the speed of a group than over estimate and fall short). Other numbers, such as planet position and resources, use standard rounding. Beware, in cases like this, things might not be all that they are advertised to be.

  8. The "Status of Players" section of the standard galaxy report has been replaced with "Player Status" and "Intelligence Information". Why?

    Explorer is a game of limited information. You only know what you have observed for yourself. The "Status of Players" section of the galaxy report revealed too much information. It showed who the leaders were, who were investing tech, and who in industry. That coupled with the knowledge of where races' home worlds were tended to influence strategy throughout the course of a game.

    In Explorer, you must learn to reason with uncertainty. The "Intelligence Information" section tells you the races you have encountered, their highest displayed tech levels (in the ships you have met), your relations with them, and the turn you last met them.

    The "Player Status" section gives you an overview of your race at a glance. It shows your tech levels, the number of planets you own, your population and number of colonists, your industry level, and aggegate capital and materials.

  9. What do those symbols stand for in front of my planet names?

    The default states for planets are no autounload and a conforming defensive posture (only attack those races your race is at war with). There is no symbol indicating the default states.

    '*' - indicates that autounload is enabled at this world
    '-' - indicates that this world has been set to DEFENSIVE
    '+' - indicates that this world has been set to PEACEFUL,
          all races welcome.

  10. The "Incoming Groups" section shows a group heading for one of my planets from a planet that I have no knowledge of. How is this possible?

    Your opponent either has a higher drive technology than you or is launching on you from a world behind your common border.

    In other words, imagine three worlds, A,B,C, 11 lys apart in a straight line. You on planet A can see planet B and your opponent on planet C can see planet B. If he settles planet B then he can see your planet A as well. This means he can launch from planet C to planet A without planet C showing up on your map.

  11. What does the V A W S M stand for in the battle reports?

    Explorer does not show you the design of the ships you encounter, only their capabilities. V A W S M represent velocity, number of attacks, weapon strength, effective shield strength and mass. This is the minimum amount of information necessary to prepare an offensive or defensive strategy against the ships that you encountered.

  12. How can I have a battle report with only one ship present?

    This occurs when a planet of yours is bombed and you did not have any ships present to defend it. The battle report is still generated so that you can know what force your opponent used against you.

  13. I signed a peace treaty with RaceX and set my default posture to PEACEFUL but we still fought the next time we met. How come?

    There can be several reasons for this but, most importantly, your default posture has no bearing on how you will relate to races you have already encountered. It only governs your reaction to races that you meet for the first time.

    When you desire peace with another race you must declare it specifically,

       A RaceX 
    It is still possible that you will fight the next time you meet if,
      a) RaceX is still at WAR with you
      b) you meet at a planet of his, or yours, that has been set to DEFENSIVE.
    This does throw a cloud of uncertainty over relations between two races, it is for this reason that good diplomacy skills are vital to success in Explorer.

  14. Are the Explorer reports compatible with GalaxyTV or any other turn viewing display tools?

    No, but people have written conversion scripts to enable GalaxyTV to parse an Explorer report. The problem is that the limited information and wrap-around galaxy are alien to GalaxyTV and other standard tools. GalaxyTV may be used but be warned, it may give you non-valid results when calculating distances. Also Explorer's grammar is slightly different from standard galaxy so the orders generation capability of GalaxyTV is suspect.

    Native tools for Explorer have been developed and are recommended for use over GalaxyTV. The conversion scripts and Pat Sullivan's turn viewer for the Mac are available through the Explorer web site at under Tools.

    The current power tool for Explorer players is Aaron Judd's GalaxyChart.

  15. How are the power rating calculated?

    The power ratings are a measure of a race's capability to produce a war fleet. It does not measure growth potential or take into account what ships you might already have built.

    The power ratings are calculated by summing the mass production capacity of all a race's planets multiplying that by the average of its drive, weapons, and shield tech levels and dividing it by the mass production capacity of a home world.

    Given the median rating of a game and your race's power rating it is possible to get an idea of where you stand in the game. If you are above the median, you are in good shape. If you have dropped below the median, then it is time to expand (either by capturing some new worlds and devloping them or by building your tech up). If you are way above the median, congradulations, you are either dominating the game or ripe for a take over since you have not taken the time to build up your defenses yet.

Explorer is written in C++ and runs on Sun and HP workstations with native and Gnu C++ compilers. Explorer also runs on the latest versions of Linux.