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Communication between guilds and players is a key part of this game. Without it we are in the dark. This is how most alliances, and pacts are created.

Private Message

Inside the Game

Sending a Private Message (PM) is the only way inside the game to communicate with an in-game neighbour who is not in your guild. It is part of the game's software, simply search for the player's name using the Contacts tab then select 'Send a Message'. When you receive a PM in-game you will see an alert at the top right of your game interface.

At the Forums

Alternatively you can use the Astro Empires forums' private message system, useful if you have reached your daily sending limit using the in-game message service. To do this you must both be registered at the forums. You can check for new messages from the Private Messages link at the top right of the Astro Empires forums.

You can check if a recipient has read your forum PM by viewing your Outbox. If the message is still there it has not been read, so you can edit or delete it without him knowing. Once the message is in your Sentbox, it means the message has been read.

You can send a private message to anyone if you know their name. Using the forum's Member List you can PM people you never knew about. It goes without saying that sending useless or irrelevant PMs (spam) to a large bunch of people is a bannable offense, as is sending offensive or hate messages.

Remember to purge your Inbox and your Sentbox regularly, or the oldest messages will be erased anyway. To keep important PMs, move them to your Savebox or copy and store them on your PC. The storage limits for your forum account are 50 messages in your Inbox and 50 in your Savebox, and 25 messages in your Sentbox.

Notes 1. Once a message has been sent in game it cannot be recalled or edited, so use the 'Preview' button to check what you have written before sending. 2. To help other players know a forum message is from you, please register at the forums with the name you use in game.

Private messages are only one way to communicate with other players. When you check a player's profile in the forums, it may contain links to their Email, or their AIM, MSN, Yahoo and ICQ accounts. The player may also be available via IRC, or chat on the Astro Empires IRC Channel.

Some guilds also have their own off game forums, where they welcome visitors and recruit new members, as well as discussing strategy and sharing intelligence reports. Guilds will advertise their forums in their Guild Profile page and in their own topic on the Recruitment board at the forums.

IRC

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is a distributed, interactive communication network. People form channels to talk with each other, but also private chat rooms can be created.

There is a general Astro Empires IRC Channel which you can access from your own IRC client or by using the 'Java IRC' link at the top of the game interface and forum index page. Some guilds also operate their own private channels for guild diplomacy, you should ask the guild leader or diplomat for details of such links.

Clients:

  • mIRC: Probably the most commonly used one. Some consider it too complicated. Shareware. Windows only.
  • Miranda: Multi-protocol client. OpenSource. Windows only.
  • Trillian: Multi-protocol client. Commercial. Windows only.
  • Pidgin: Another easy to use multi-platform and multi-protocol client. OpenSource.
  • XChat: Easy to use and robust multi-platform client (Windows, Unix, MacOS X). OpenSource.
  • Colloquy: Easy to use and free client for MacOS X, OpenSource

ICQ

ICQ enables users to communicate by sending typed messages back and forth. It differs from e-mail in that ICQ can tell you when other players are on-line, so you can send them messages and receive responses right away. You can also see who is currently online with ICQ via player profiles due to the nature of ICQ. Another feature of ICQ is you can also contact an ICQ user via e-mail or the web without having an ICQ account yourself.

Clients:

  • ICQ: The official client. Windows only.
  • Miranda: Multi-protocol client. OpenSource. Windows only.
  • Trillian: Multi-protocol client. Commercial. Windows only.
  • Pidgin: Another easy to use multi-platform and multi-protocol client. OpenSource.
  • Adium: Multi-protocol client. OSX only.

Other Chat Clients

Guild Forums

Once you have founded your guild you will need somewhere to plan your strategies and conduct diplomacy with other players. Astro Empires provides a basic guild board in game and allows each guild to create its own topic in the Guild Recruitment section at the forums. General game related topics can be discussed at the forums in the Politics and War section. Simply select the sub-section for the server on which you play.

Inside the Game Each guild has its own basic guild board accessed via the 'Board' link at the top right of the game interface. The board is divided into four area: General, Announcements, Combat and Trade. To help with the intelligent organisation of posts, it is recommended that guild members use the board in the following manner:

  • General: this section is intended for general topics to help build good relations between guild members. Since this could cover a variety of topics game generated messages are sent to the other three sections.
  • Announcements: This area is intended for use by the guild leadership, so they can post important messages for all members to read, such as declarations of war or truce, promotions etc. It replaces the mass messaging feature to reduce server demand. When a new announcement is posted the New Message alert changes to red.
  • Combat: all battle reports resulting in a guild base being conquered are sent here. To help these important messages remain prominent, discussions in this area should be limited to the guild response to those reports.
  • Trade: post here when requesting or offering trade routes. This is also where alerts will arrive when a trade offer is accepted or declined, or when an existing trade route is cancelled.

Off Game Forums Guilds may find they need to conduct talks more privately, so many guilds set up their own forum using one of the many free packages or hosting sites available. Tophosts.com provides details of many free and low-cost hosting solutions. Below are details of some of the popular packages and free forums used by many guilds.

Free forum software for your own site:

  • phpBB Group: Free forum software but you will need your own web hosting including a SQL database to install it. Check the link on the right of the phpBB.com main page for suggested web hosting. phpBB.com have their own forums for technical support, but it is English language only. For non-English speakers, you may check out this page and select another preferred support site: http://www.phpbb.com/support/intl.php There are also many modifications (hacks) available to add more features to the software available from phpBB.com and other sites.
  • phpNUKE: A content management system (CMS) which can serve as a portal for phpBB. This allows complete 8site integration of the forum software and adds some extra features (modifications) to it.
  • phpBB2 Plus: Another portal of phpBB, with extra features. This is a German developed clone, with a multi-language support forum, but it is predominantly German language.
  • Categories Hierarchy: A heavily modified board with phpBB at its core, offering multi-level categories and sub-forums and many administrative enhancements not available in a standard phpBB installation. Well-developed and maintained, this provides a similar environment to the software used here at Astro Empires. Note: installing this software over the top of an existing phpBB forum will break any other hacks you have installed, therefore you should uninstall these first.
  • Joomla!: A content management system which claims to offer total flexibility and a broad range of features such as a blogger and FAQ section. Not reviewed in minute detail but initial impression is that it seems very complex to manage, perhaps because it is so elaborate as it is total site management rather than forum software.

Free hosting with pre-installed forums:

  • Forumer: Ad-free with a choice of phpBB or IPB, sub-domain name (example: myalliance.forumer.com), unlimited space and bandwidth.
  • Createforum: A pre-installed modified version of phpBB or Invision software with free hosting.
  • MyFreeBulletinboard: A modified version of phpBB software with free hosting.
  • ezBoard: Offers ad-supported free forums with hosting, as well as a subscription ad-free version.
  • InvisionFree: Offers pre-installed Invision software with hosting. Hosted forums must use English language only.
  • Note: Their servers are slow and unreliable, and they are slow to respond to problems. Forums hosted here often have multiple page loading failures when trying to read or post inside topics. You are recommended to avoid this host unless you cannot find anything else.

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