This document attempts to give the minimal set of knowledge required for a player to enjoy the game.
Getting ready to play
Once you start ArmagetronAd, the game will be launched in fullscreen. To be able to follow this document, press "f" to toggle between fullscreen and windowed mode.
Select your preferred languages
Once the game is started, you will be asked to select your preferred language. Use the right and left arrows to change it. The secondary language is used when a translated text cannot be found in the primary language. Once selected, use the up and down arrows to move to Accept and press return.
A screen indicate the 3D hardware found. It us usually properly detected, so feel free to press return to continue. Even if not detected properly, you will still be able to play the game. You should now be at the main menu, labeled "Armagetron Advance" with the items "Game", "Player Setup", "System Setup", "About" and "Exit Game". Remember this menu, it will be the navigation reference.
How to move in the game
Before launching into play, here is the minimal keys you will need to know:
- To turn left, press either z, y or w
- To turn right, press x
- While playing, you can always activate the menu by pressing ESC. To stop playing, navigate to "Leave Grid"
- To navigating back to the main menu after leaving the grid, press ESC once more.
Most keyboards in the world, should allow you to use the left most letter on the bottom row of your keyboard to turn left, and the second left most key to turn right.
In its basic form, the game will present you with battling AI. Avoid colliding with the various walls and use the trace you leave behind you to trap and kill the AI. After a few battles, leave the grid and return to this document. To start playing, from the main menu:
- Select the first item, labeled "Game", and press enter.
- Select the first item, labeled "Local Game", in the new menu, and press enter.
Rubber and Grinding
Battling AI at near constant speed is quite a challenge, but barely allows to overtake a fleeting enemy or to seal another in a closed area for them to die. These strategies and more are enabled through the usage of rubber and the technique of grinding. Together, they constitute the base of the play.
Rubber allows you to press yourself to a wall, preventing you from crashing into it for a very short period.
Rubber allows a cycle to near itself to a wall, as if a cushion was laid before it. Press too hard on the cushion and you hit the wall. Turn while you are pressing on it, and you will yourself tightly placed against the wall, leaving little place for someone to follow.
Each time a cycle uses this cushion, its rubber reserve are consumed. If it reaches its limit, it hits the wall it was pressing on. Coming to a wall at greater speed with consume rubber faster, as pressing to end up tighter with the wall. Normally the cycle will regenerate its own rubber reserve with time.
Running a cycle parallel to nearby traces and sometimes walls will accelerate the cycle. The closer you are, the greater the acceleration you get. Useful when attempting to overtake an enemy. Driving between 2 traces will provide greater acceleration.
Use your gained speed advantage promptly, as with time your cycle will return to its regular speed. Each turn you make will further slow you.
Learning Rubber and Grinding
The default setting of the game give very little rubber. To help you experiment with rubber, we will raise its limit. We will also lower the basic speed for the cycle so you can more carefully observe how rubber is consumed and practice grinding walls.
To change game settings, the console is used. The console is a simple text input field that allows you to redefine all the parameters of the game. It is accessible both during play and in any menu. To activate the console, press either the ^ key or the ` key. The text "Con:" should appear the bottom of the screen. There, type the parameter to affect followed by the value desired. The console is case insensitive, so typing "Cycle_speed 10", "cycle_speed 10" or CYCLE_SPEED 10" will produce the same result.
Now activate the console and write, without the quotes: "cycle_speed 10" This will reduce the speed at which the cycle tend to move, giving you more time to think and maneuver. Feel free to adjust to your preference.
The rubber meter is presented on the lower left part of the screen when you are playing. Note that by default the bar goes from 0 to 1, quite a small reserve of rubber. To change this, you will need to pass the command "cycle_rubber" (without the quotes) followed by a number.
Activate the console and write, without the quotes: "cycle_rubber 10" This will raise the rubber available to all the cycles. Feel free to adjust to your preference.
Once you have changed the cycle_speed and cycle_rubber settings, practice pressing your cycle agains traces and wall, and getting acceleration by grinding them. In the basic setup, no acceleration is gained from grinding the outer rim even though rubber is consumed when you press on it. Experiment and learn from those settings, but do not to used to them. Such a generous amount of rubber is not often seen on multi-player games.
It is to be noted that setting changes through the use of the console are not saved. When restarting the game, the original values will be restored.
Zones are the game elements used in ArmagetronAd. As zones can offer perculiar behavior, this section will give you a rough introduction to them.
Win and Death Zones
The win and death zones offers instant win and instant death to any cycle who enters them.
To try them, you will be required to load a new map. To do this, from the console type map_file followed by the name of the map to be used. In this instance, the file name is AATeam/demo/win-1.aamap.xml, so at the console, type "map_file AATeam/demo/win-1.aamap.xml", without the quotes. If you dont have this map already on your system, the game will attempt to download it automatically, so you should probably be connected to Internet when you attempt this.
On the next round, the arena should hold a green win zone and a red death zone. Experiment with either zones. Note that for your convenience that there are no AI, as they are too subject to the zones. Also, your trace is not of a finite length, allowing you move freedom of movement.
Zones can be configured so it is not the action of entering them that produce the effect, but rather by the cycle being inside the zone, often or a certain amount of time.
Using the console, type "map_file AATeam/demo/conquest-a-1.aamap.xml". This will load a map containing a single zone. You have to pass a total of 12 seconds in it in total to conquer it. As you conquer it, you should see it turning faster and faster onto itself, giving you a visual representation of the state of the conquest. Once conquered, the zone collapse and the round is won.
Now load the map named "AATeam/demo/conquest-b-1.aamap.xml". This time, your conquest of the zone gets eroded with time, meaning that if a partially conquered zone is left alone for a while, it will return to its original status and you will have to re start the conquest. Do not worry, the conquest rate is in your favor at a rate of 4:1. It would take 4 seconds outside of the zone to loose the conquest generated from 1 second inside the zone. Experiment with this zone until you are comfortable with the conquest and decay concepts. Note that when totally left alone, the zone simply turn at its lowerst original rate, indicating that the conquest of this zone has been reset to nothing.
This time the zone is configured in a way that it is the natural decay of the zone that conquers it. Left alone, the zone will naturally conquer itself and you will lose. To prevent this, passing time inside the zone will actually annulate the decay. Again, the odds are in your favor in a 4:1 rate. Each second passed inside will annulate 4 seconds of natural decay. So keep on your guards and do not wander too far. This map is named "AATeam/demo/conquest-c-1.aamap.xml".
In multi-player setups, the following names can be encountered: - Fortress: Each team have to defend their own zone while trying to conquer the enemy's. The decay usually move the status of the zone toward non conquered. - Sumo: Multiple zones surimposed with decay set to conquer the zone. Each player has to fight the other players for some space under the common zones in to prevent his own zone of being conquered, or face certain death.
Beside rudimentary AI, the ArmagetronAd games allow you to compete again other player on the same computer, on a LAN or over Internet.
Connecting to a LAN server
For the main menu, navigate to "Game". There select "Network Game" and then "LAN Game". The game will query the local network (LAN) for any server, and present them in a list.
It is possible to use the client to host a server. From the list of local servers, click on "Host Game" and then "Host Network Game". Your copy of ArmagetronAd will allow you to server as a server for other to connect to, while letting you join in the action. The server will run until you exit the menu.
Connecting to an Internet server
For the main menu, navigate to "Game". There select "Network Game" followed by "Internet Game". The application will start querying different servers from all around the world and present you with a list of servers with a few details. It is strongly advised that you read the short description presented for each server at the bottom of your screen. It often gives you valuable information about the server you are about to join.
Selecting one will connect you to it. More information might be presented to you during the connection operation. Read it carefully as it often describe the type of game you are about to try. And dont forget to communicate with the other players present using the chat capacity of the game, available on the 's' key.
Internet access is of course required for this.
Type of play
The dynamic of the game will be decided by the settings in use. These settings and resulting combinations are too various to cover here. Also, when connecting to a LAN based server or an Internet based one, the server will decide of the configuration.
One rough categorization is possible: Free for all versus Team Play.
When in doubt, do not hesitate to communicate with the other players. Chat capacity is associated with the key 's'.
Free for all
In this type of play, all the players compete against each others. It is left to you to make the best use of your cunning, reflexes, experience and even ad-hoc alliances to raise yourself to the top.
In this type of play, cooperation between members of a team will usually produce better results than having everybody trying to accomplish the same goals. Often, individualism will actually harm your team mates, and incite their fury toward you. Be observant when joining a server, your team mates might be relying on you and ignoring them might cause great troubles.