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The Freeciv client program is your window into the world of Freeciv. It is through this application that you will be able to play your game or simply watch other people's on-line game. Through its main window you will view your empire and the surrounding regions, direct the movement of your legions, and command the workings of your cities. In Freeciv, you are the near-absolute immortal ruler of your empire, but you can only control what you can observe and know to order.
The client is the doorway from your throne room to the rest of the world!
This document is intended as an introduction to the windows and options that will be encountered whilst playing Freeciv. It is written using the 2.4.0 gtk3 client version as a basis.
Starting a GameEdit
Having installed Freeciv on your machine (see Install) and launched the application, a main menu screen will be displayed. For now, we’ll focus on playing a single-player game against the AI. Click on the Start New Game button to begin.
After choosing to start a game, the pre-game screen is displayed. At the bottom is the chat log, where messages from the server (and other players when in multiplayer) are displayed. To the top right is the player list. Right now this should display your player, and a number of AI opponents. You can right-click on any of these players and choose what nation they will play as, and what team they’re on. You can also observe a player, watching them play rather than playing yourself (although this can’t be done in singleplayer) or take the player, handing control of them over to yourself. AI players can also be removed and have their difficulty level changed. To the left of the player list are some basic game options. Here the total number of players can be changed, the difficulty of all the AI can be set at once, and a different ruleset can be chosen, affecting how the game is played, what units are available, etc. The button below these options, More Game Options, brings up another window with options that allow for much more precise customization of the game. Holding the mouse over one of the options will display a short description of what it affects, and so we won’t look at these in detail here.
You can choose which nation to play as by either right-clicking on your name and selecting Pick Nation or clicking the button with same name at the bottom when no player is selected. This will open a new window where you can choose from a large number of civilizations split into categories, and then also choose your leader, gender and the type of cities you will construct. Once you have made a decision, click OK to close this window, then Start to begin the game!
This is where the game takes place!
The majority of the screen will consist of the main map, which shows the terrain where the game takes place, and the units in play. Currently, the majority of the map is black, as you have yet to explore it and find out what it consists of. These black tiles will be shown once you move a unit within a certain distance of them. In addition to black tiles, some tiles are explored, but shaded darker than others. These are tiles which have been explored, but are currently out of the range of sight of any of your units or cities. Although you can see the contents of these tiles as you last saw them, if they change in any way (such as an enemy unit moving onto them or a city being built there), you won’t know until you move a unit close enough to see them again. The screen also only shows a portion of the full map at once. You can centre the map on a particular tile by right-clicking on it, or on the currently active unit by pressing c. Tiles can also be middle-clicked to show details about their terrain type, location and whose territory they are in. (For more information on terrain see Terrain.)
By default, you will start off with 1 explorer, 2 settlers, and 2 workers, although at the beginning you won’t be able to see them all as they’ll be stacked on top of each other. You can tell which unit is selected by looking for a spinning white dotted circle around it. You can move this unit in any of 8 directions using the arrow keys or numpad (assuming it can legally move onto that tile). There also exist a few automated functions to move the unit without requiring direction every turn. The most basic is “goto”, which can be used by simply holding down the left mouse button and dragging the mouse until the correct path is shown then letting go, or by pressing g then clicking on the desired target. The unit will then proceed to follow this path by itself until either it reaches the destination or the way forward is blocked (i.e. by an enemy or impassable terrain). (For more information on units see Units.)
Sidebar and MinimapEdit
To the right-hand side of the client window are the sidebar and minimap, which show information about the world, game and selected unit. At the top of this is the minimap, which is a zoomed out version of the main map. This allows you to see the large-scale shape of the world on which you’re playing. Scroll bars to the bottom and right of the minimap let you scroll this across the whole world. Once again, right clicking on an area on this map will centre the view on that area in the main map. Below the minimap is the sidebar, a panel used to see general information about the game at a glance.
The parts of this are numbered in the diagram to the left, and explained below in more detail.
1. Sidebar Detach Button
- Drag and drop this to move the sidebar out of its current “docked” position at the side, and to wherever you wish it to be.
2. Game Information
- This displays the total population of your civilization, the current year in the game, the amount of gold in your civilization’s treasury and a numeric view of the tax, luxury and science levels described in number 3.
3. Tax Rates Indicators
- These show how your trade points are split up between luxuries, research, and taxes. A mask represents luxuries, a test tube science, and a coin taxes. Clicking on these will shift the balance, allowing you to change the division from the main window. Note that depending on the type of government currently in use, there will be limits on how these can be divided. For example, despotism (the starting government), allows each of these to be only as high as 60%. A window showing this balance can also be brought up from the Civilization menu item “Tax Rates”
4. Game State Indicators
- These four symbols show the state of the game. The first is the science research level, a light bulb which gets brighter as you get closer to researching a new advancement. Second is the global warming sun indicator, which gets larger and redder as pollution increases, increasing the risk of a global warming event. Third is the nuclear winter snowflake, which grows as more nuclear waste is dumped on the land, showing the increasing risk of nuclear winter. Finally is the government icon, which shows which type of government you are currently running.
5. Timeout Indicator
- This is used in games where a maximum time per turn has been set. If this option is in use it will show how long is left until your turn will be ended. Otherwise it will simply display off.
6. Turn Done Button
- This button will end your turn when pressed. This will allow AI players to move, and then once they have ended their turns, the year will increase. At first each turn will increase the year by 50, but as you approach modern times this number is decreased to accommodate for the increasing rate of technological advance. If this button is flashing, then it means that all other human players have finished their turns and are waiting for you.
7. Active Unit Information
- This shows the type of the currently active unit, as well as how many moves they have left, what terrain they are currently on, and what city they originate from (if any).
8. Active Unit Image
- This shows a picture of the active unit, including its health bar.
9. Stcked Units Button
- If there are more units stacked on the same tile as the active unit, an arrow will be displayed to the side which can be clicked to open a new window with more information about every unit on this tile.This window can be used to select a different unit to make active.
Just below the main map are several small tabs which can be clicked on to change what is displayed in the client window instead of the main map. View is the default, which shows the map. Next to this is Chat, which displays the same chat log as seen in the pre-game screen, containing messages from the server and other players. These two are permanent, however others can be opened via the Civilization menu at the top of the window, or by in-game events. If there are too many here to be visible at once, arrows will show at either side of the list, allowing them to be scrolled through. These non-permanent tabs can be double clicked to detach the window, allowing you to place it wherever you like on the game screen.
When an advancement has just been researched, the Research tab will show here. This tab is used to choose which advancement will be worked towards next. It shows a large horizontal tree of possible advancements, with those further to the right being more advanced. Within each box are icons for what that advancement unlocks, be it a building or a new unit. Lines between the advancements show dependency, where one advancement must be researched before another can be started. Those shaded in a lighter colour have already been researched, and the one in yellow is the one currently being worked towards. At the top is a progress bar, which fills up as the advancement is researched. The number inside the bar shows how long it will take to research. The current research can be changed by either clicking on an item in the tree (that you have met all the perquisites to research) or by using the drop-down box to the left of the progress bar. Clicking on an advancement that is not yet available to be researched will change the “goal”. This will automatically research all those that is required to attain the selected advancement. The goal can also be changed using the other drop-down box at the top left. The advancements that will be automatically researched will be shown on the tree in blue. Underneath the progress bar is the number of turns it will take to reach this is also shown.
Top Five CitiesEdit
The “Messages” tab is used to display messages from the game to the player. It can show a variety of messages, such as informing you of an advancement being researched, a unit or building being completed in a city, or a unit being unable to move due to inaccessible terrain.
<In progress, more to come>