Startopia


The RTSC Guide to Startopia
Supplemental: Neurotic Details
(Always a Work In Progress)


But first: a Disclaimer

DeciThe RTSC Startopia Guide has been making a big assumption with all the stats it presents. It assumes you're playing a networked multiplayer game or a Sandbox mode single player game with game difficulty set to Average. All the numbers and stats that I've presented in this Guide are those that assume these default settings.

But a Sandbox game gives you many different options to play. You can alter quite a few settings and set up to four victory conditions - assuming you even want any. Sandbox mode treats the game like an ant farm: it's for just fooling around with your toy Space Station, without the need to defeat foes or fight wars. The stats and numbers in this Guide change depending on what difficulty settings you set. If I tried to itemise every small change we'd be here forever - and I think there's more than enough numbers and notes in it already.

Many of the basic and simple effects on a Peep seem to be unchanged as a general rule, regardless of difficulty levels. The biggest changes occur to Mind and the themed effects (e.g. like the effects of Love in a Love Nest, or of Soul in a Temple) which as a general rule of thumb are halved or doubled depending on your settings.

If you set Peep Moods to Easy then incremental negative influences are lessened and big, negative character hits are halved. Positive incremental character influences are increased and big, positive hits are doubled. You can specify whether these changes affect Residents, or Visitors, or both. On Difficult, its the other way around: the effects of negative influences are increased or doubled, while the influence of positive things reduced or halved.

By switching Economics to Difficult, things become more expensive while profits are shrunk: buying Rooms and Furniture, the cost of running them, and any other e expenses in the game are usually doubled, while the money you make off Station facilities and the bonuses from Recycling are halved and your profits are lessened. On Easy its the other way around - bigger profits and cheaper costs.

On top of all that, the moment you play the single player campaign or a custom mission many of these numbers fly out the window - if not entire conditions and rules. A mission is a set of scripts that can completely redefine just about any statistical effect or condition in the game. You can alter the files to give yourself ridiculous advantages, make diseases more prevalent, increase the number of Peeps coming through your Ports, anything. Its all there, in the Missions folders - all the scripts and settings files have been installed in ASCII - in other words, in text format. You can read them with Notepad (or better still, Textpad if you want to work with more than one file at once) or change them as you see fit. Mucky Foot designed Startopia with modders in mind, you see.


The Missions Folder

So in the meantime, finding out all the neurotic details that lurk behind the cheerful facade of Startopia involves exploring the installed game on your hard drive. Crack open the Missions folder inside and have a browse. (This is where all those downloadable custom missions go.) You'll see a lot of subfolders named as two digit numerals...


What Mission is That?
Subfolder What it Represents
00 This contains all the basic default stats in the game before it gets modified to fit specific mission criteria. i.e. tutorials; before the single player levels start changing things around; or before the difficulty settings in Sandbox and multiplayer are applied. In essence, this is your default, bog standard Sandbox mission - and mission 00 is the number one source of stats and info for this Guide.
01-12 The single player missions (should I name them all and give it away...? nah! Play the bloody game you slackers!)
30-34 The Tutorial missions.
90

Sandbox Economics set to easy. Building and energy costs are generally halved; recycling benefits are roughly doubled.
Sandbox Keeping Visitors Pleased settings set to easy. Peeps are less upset by things, and good things have more influence on them. They're easier to keep happier, satisfied and not so quick to boredom, disease, hunger or other issues.

91

Sandbox Economics set to hard. Building and energy costs are generally doubled; recycling benefits are roughly halved.
Sandbox Keeping Visitors- Pleased settings set to hard. Peeps are more upset by things, and bad things have more influence on them. They're harder to keep happier or satisfied, and bore, sicken, hunger, and get grubbier faster.

92 Sandbox Keeping Residents Pleased settings set to easy. Your workers are less upset by being under-ranked, get more out of their work and being over-appreciated, and being hired has more effect on while being fired has less.
93 Sandbox Keeping Residents Pleased settings set to hard. Your workers are more upset by being under-ranked, get less out of their work and being over-appreciated, and being hired has less effect on while being fired is downright catastrophic.
98 Multiplayer settings.

Inside these mission folders you will find various files that the game reads before running a mission. It reads all the "default" settings for everything before amending them when it reads the other files from other mission folders, depending on whether you've set some Sandbox settings, fired up a networked game or run a single player mission. You can find out what makes a Peep tick in the moods in.txt and moods out.txt files.


Unit Limits

There are population caps in Startopia. The number of Peeps in your Station usually depends on preset conditions, not an arbitrary number. This basically means that each and every mission you play uses different criteria to decide who and how many arrive through your Ports. In Sandbox mode the maximum number of any given species that can enter via your Station Ports is determined by the number of Station Segments under your control minus the number of Penitents on board. If you look inside the Mish files you can see some of the conditions for yourself. Naturally, you'll need to have some understanding of how computer code works, otherwise it will all look confusing. For example, in the single player mission called the Zedem Enclave, the maximum number of Peeps of any given species that can enter is determined by the number of Rooms on your Station plus how many "good" or "bad" Peeps (those needing redemption by the Monks) are already on board.

Other things that can be changed on a mission by mission basis are:

The amount of e each Peep carries.

The number of emotional points they arrive with - not everyone arrives on the Station in the same mental, physical or spiritual shape.

[table to follow - ha! someday]


Power Usage and Rooms

Power usage in Startopia is represented by a power rating instead of simulating actual power usage. Your e account and your Energy Collectors and Energy Boosters contribute to your Station's power rating: other facilities, Statues and Furniture deduct from it. If it drops below 0 power failures start plaguing your grand domain.

Rooms and Building are bathed in red light when they have been powered down. If you ever find an inert building or room (or you've captured a new bit of deck) you may have to open up its menu and power it up by hand before you can do anything with it.

Station facilities are classified in two types: Buildings and Rooms. Buildings are rigid, prefabricated structures that can't change size. Rooms are adjustable areas that can be resized when you build them and can be completely rearranged later on. You can furnish and play around with layout to your heart's content. I'm including gadgets like Power Boosters, ComSensors, etc. as Buildings. All Buildings and Rooms have an energy rating that is worked out by charging per square of floor space. You count the coloured rings on the floor lining the facility to work out the area being used. For example, a Lavatron as a footprint of 2 by 3 rings, charged at 50e per floor square: in total it consumes 300e.

Build cost shows the default asking price for the Hardplan Crate that actually conjures up the holographic plan that your Scuzzers build to. If you manufacture your own Hardplans from your Factory, they'll be considerably cheaper. N.B. The same applies with trading - those green and red smiley faces used to show you how good or bad a deal is to you are worked out from the default price - not the cheaper price your Factory can make it at.


Running Costs for ADJUSTABLE Rooms
Room Build Cost e rating Recycle Value
Sleep Berth 1000 50 250
Love Nest 4000 50 1000
Rough Bar 6000 50 1500
Disco 10000 50 2500
Lockdown Brig 5000 100 1250
Sick Bay 6000 100 1500
Recreational Bar 8000 100 2000
Slug Apartments 20000 100 5000
Laboratory 8000 150 2000
Cocktail Bar 10000 150 2500

Running Costs for RIGID Buildings
Room Cost to Build e rating Footprint e Rating Total Recycle Value
Energy Collector 50000 -100 6x8 -4800(?) 12500
Power Booster 5000 -5000 2x2 -20000
Zedem Temple - - - - -
Recharger 1000 0 1x1 0 250
Port 10000 1 4x4 16 2500
Lavatron 2000 50 2x3 300 500
Dine-O-Mat 2000 50 3x3 450 500
ComSensor 5000 150 2x2 600 1250
Security Turret 5000 200 2x2 800 1250
General Store 1500 100 3x4 1200 375
Computer Shop 2000 100 3x4 1200 500
Music Shop 4000 100 3x4 1200 1000
Leisure Store 4000 100 3x4 1200 1000
Combat Store 4000 100 3x4 1200 1000
Curiosity Shop 8000 100 3x4 1200 2000
Star Motel 8000 150 3x4 1800 2000
Cargo Hold 5000 100 5x4 2000 1250
Recycler 10000 50 6x8 2400 2500
Plaza Fountain 5000 50 8x8 3200 1250
Viewing Gallery 10000 100 5x7 3500 2500
Security Centre 10000 50 8x11 4400 2500
Space Inn 10000 150 5x6 4500 2500
Oroflex 15000 50 10x10 5000 3750
Holodome 15000 150 6x6 5400 3750
Star Dock 30000 50 10x14 7000 7500
Factory 6000 100 7x10 7000 1500
Roulesse Wheel 30000 100 8x9 7200 7500
Palace Galactica 15000 200 6x8 9600 3750

Why do Gem Slugs keep dying on me?

Once you've played the game for a while and worked out how to appease those fussy aristocrats, the Polvakian Gem Slugs, the next thing you'll start to notice is that they have this rather annoying habit of dying in your nicely appointed Slug Apartment or Cocktail Bar for no readily apparent reason. Often the deaths occur in a Slime Bath or at a Cocktail Bar table. Mucky Foot claims this was a bit of a bug that missed the last (and only) patch; apparently the Slugs get "jammed" into place and stop moving. Despite their paralysis, the game engine still processes their characters stats and they eventually croak from health loss brought on by starvation or lack of Lavatronning - or something. Some people recommend taking out the Slime Baths in a Slug Apartment so the Slugs can't sit down and accidentally get stuck.

But for any corpse on the Station, you can perform a post mortem on it in your Research Lab by plopping the body onto the Analyser and waiting for the Turrakken to examine it. In fact, there's a few little things like this you can do.


Can you work Salt Hogs to death?
Yes. It is possible to kill Salt Hogs within a Factory by working them to death. Unlike all the other professions in the game, once Salt Hogs start their work in a Factory, they never leave it until the build list is completely finished. It doesn't matter what their current mood or state of mind or health is. Constantly adding items to the list will guarantee they never leave, and before long the game engine will work its merry magic on them and cause them to start expiring. In practise, you'll be hard pressed killing anyone queuing up basic cargo crates: this situation only applies to really massive items, such as the Energy Collector that take forever to build. Queuing up several Collectors is guaranteed to kill a Salt Hog or two.

What on earth is a Ping-O-Tron? Groulien Lava Lamp!

A Ping-O-Tron is, of course, a machine that goes ping. All good futuristic Sick Bays should have one. It's a piece of Station medical equipment that nearly made it into the final game. Mucky Foot got as far and modeling and texturing these mysterious contraptions before removing them from the final release. Well... not entirely! There's still a reference to them in Mission 7 (I think) of the single player campaign; the Grey Trader will actually sell them to you and you can install them into a Sick Bay. Unfortunately, they were never properly removed, so building one can lead to some ...interesting problems. Usually, it just means you have a Sickbay that has a piece of unused equipment taking up space, but occasionally it will attract a customer that gets locked into place by some half-there programming. And occasionally those results can be pretty bizarre.

There's a number of features that never made it into the final game, and this has been a bone of contention for some fans. Its a bit of a moot point now that Mucky Foot is gone. Things like a flying taxi service, some animals to go with the Bio-Beck, salaries for Station Residents, a Fighting Pit for the Kasvagorians in the Entertainment Deck and others. Arona Daal was originally to have a parrot-like(?) sidekick called Goma; and you can still find many references to it in the moodsin00.txt and moodsout00.txt files. There was also a fairground ride called the Gyro coded into the data files that was never modeled. You can still include these things in your custom missions, just so long as you never, ever let their Crates be opened during the Mission.

A Salt Hog becomes as one with an Ultra-Lamp, thanks to a Ping-O-Tron.

What happens when Peep's character stat is zeroed?
Interesting (but mostly unpleasant) things happen if a Peep has less than 10 points in a character attribute.
Body Body
The Peep dies. Oh dear!
Nourishment Nourishment
The starving Peep suffers ongoing -3Mind -3Body. It gets sicker and its opinion of your Station drops. More details.
Toilet Toilet
At minimal Toilet levels, they really need to go and worse, they start to suffer ongoing -1Body -1Soul -3Mind. Eventually, when zeroed, I believe the Peep pisses themselves, a no doubt highly humiliating experience. Although I've yet to see such a thing, evil Administrators may want to experiment with this one. More details.
Love Love
At minimal levels, Peeps suffer -2Soul -3Mind. More details.
Fun Fun
At minimal levels they start losing -1Soul -4Mind a second. At zero levels they actually get depressed! More details.
Sleep Sleep
At minimal levels, Peeps can hardly stay awake: -1Body -2Soul -2Mind. I've yet to see one pass out, though. More details.
Soul Soul
When Soul becomes minimal, a Peep becomes corrupt enough to become Criminal. When it zeroes, they become psychotic apparently. The odd murder can take place. Oddly enough, a depleted soul only causes -1Mindper second. More details.
Mind Mind
They leave the Station, right there and then! And there's precious little you can do about it, either. More details.
Drunk Drunk!
They simply pass out at the pub... More details.


"Cheats" and Easter Eggs

I received email from a chap called Overmind recently, who, gravely concerned with the "death" of Startopia as a game online, sent me all his stray notes and bits to include in the site. A sort of final resting place and archive, so to speak. So, I've added the "F11" game "cheats" and Easter Eggs in here. If it gets too big I'll split them off into a seperate page. One thing I do want to do is knock up some nice screenies to go with 'em.

"Cheat Codes"
"Cheat codes" (so called) are often tools written into the game to help the developers debug their code during its development. In most cases, they're left in as "easter eggs" or as curiosities for the tourists.

Script Overlays

Hold down F11 and type in scriptinfo to activate an information overlays throughout the game. Press Right Shift and TAB to scroll forwards through these pages and overlay modes, and Left Shift and TAB to scroll back. This is an internal tool that's designed to help modders create and debug custom missions. Actually its quite a fascinating thing to watch. One mode literally tells you what each and every Peep is currently doing, while another actually tracks all their vital statistics as they walk around.

Changing game speed

Hold down F11 and type in rshiftspeedup to activate game speed controls. You'll get two VAL messages while you type in the code. Then to change game speed, you need to hold Right Shift to unlock the controls:

< Slows the game down. You can go down to almost, but not quite, complete immobility.

> Speeds the game up.

L Resets game speed to normal.

: Sets it to maximum speed.

Insta-win

Hold down F11 and Right Shift and type in levelwin to instantly win the current mission you're in.


Graphic Easter Eggs!
Usually, developers stick these little "cheats" and gems in the game to use as debugging tools during a game's development.
Wireframe mode Hold down F11 and type in bangunsnotgames to toggle a wireframe mode for everything. This is quite a cute trick, and works best on big sprawling panoramas: your Bio-Deck or a bustling deck.
Transparency mode Hold down F11 and type in xyzy to toggle transparency for all textures. Everything becomes see-through, if not luminous. Its quite a wild effect: the Bio-Deck looks amazing: you can see everything on the Bio-Deck right through the station. The external starfield is only activated if you happen to have a Viewing gallery or an open docking bay door in view, which further enhances the effect.
Cartoon shader mode Hold down F11 and type in tomfdigsmanga to toggle a "cartoon shader" effect. Actually, its not really drawing black lines around everything so much as drawing a pitch black matte shape of an object and then offsetting it slight to give you a slightly black edge. Most trees look a bit naff, but some buildings and characters show up really well.
ZX Spectrum mode!

Hold down F11 and type in cliveroolz to toggle a ZX Spectrum graphics emulation! For those too young to remember (or rather, not born at the time) a ZX Spectrum was one of the first 8 bit home computers to hit the domestic market waa-a-ay back in the early Eighties. The "Clive" is Clive Sinclair, the English entrepeneur who pretty much created the home computer market in Britain in the late Seventies. He's a much loved grandfather figure in old retro computing circles.

This command toggles through two variations in this graphics mode: a low res mode, which I think matches the original hardware (Startopia's station-scapes all but degenerate into noise at such low resolutions), and then a high rez mode, which matches whatever screen resolution you set for Startopia on your PC. It does make your PC's performance crawl, though. And while in theory, activating this command a third time should toggle you back to normal, I find with my Windows2000 PC with DirectX 9.0c, it didn't. Its still cute, though!

If you ever wondered what Staropia might have looked like if it had fallen through a time warp to twenty years ago, well, here it is! Oh, you didn't? Well... your life is duller and less interesting than you know.

Frames per second Hold down F11 and type in showfps to activate a frames per second count (FPS) on your game screen.
Scuzzer Cams

This rather awkward cheat lets you stick a camera on the shoulder of a Scuzzer and then cycle through all the Scuzzer droids on board. Hold down Right Shift and F11, then type in rshiftscuzzercam.

After that, holding down Right Shift and pressing the numeric keypad buttons 7 and 8 to cycle you forwards and backwards through the various points of views of your complement of Scuzzers. Make sure NumLock is turned off. Unfortunately, I find my Windows 2000 system gets locked into this mode, and I'm permanently stuck inside my Scuzzers.


Overmind's little list of Bugs and other "features"

I'll let the man speak in his own words:

You can auction Gem Slugs doings! Bung 'em in the Auction slot and when the auction is done a green, plain-texture crate with question marks will be loaded into the buyer's cargo bay. It will then disappear without trace. The doings will appear in the next (non-biodeck) segment you open. If you occupy the entire station, your... um... Doings_Count in the Scriptinfo screen will be kludged to one over the 'real' value, so beware.

You can auction bombs, too, but they just blow up in your Cargo Bay. Sell 'em to your foes, though this trick won't work twice.

You can select the right-click menu of the Zedem Temple if you beam some art into it. DO NOT turn the power off and then on - your Zedem Monks will never work again. DO NOT repack then unpack the temple - it has not been designed to be built by Scuzzers, you'll just tie up your droids and get to watch an eternal red fiery corona where the obelisk should be. The Temple has no recycle value and the next temple (which your monks will automatically build) will almost certainly be in a different location, ruining your Biodeck's plant life and the contours of your land. Not to mention spilling water everywhere - do this before you expand the Biodeck for the F1 entry or don't do it at all.

If you place a Viewing Gallery on the North side of the station (north being forwards) you get to see heavy space traffic. Place it on the South side for energy beings and dead peeps, a quieter, more reflective view.

 


Multiplayer crash bugs

Three Eidos Games forum threads on the subject: these are unresolved bugs that are pretty much permanently, unless someone writes a patch for the game. See the Startopia Overview for more Multiplayer details.

Multiplayer crashing to Desktop - includes reaction for ex-Mucky Foot dev clarifying things
Multiplayer crashing to desktop - accussing fingers point to Autosave
Multiplater crashing to Desktop - accussing fingers point to Autosave; aftermath



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Last modified Tue, Oct 18 2005 by Lindsay Fleay