Just to make sure, did you follow the other tutorial on how to get the files for Conflict Terra? If not, go and do that. It is really easy! After you have done that, continue in this tutorial.
How to Use SpringLobby
The program SpringLobby is how you will start games of Conflict Terra. It is a program that works for most games on the SpringRTS Engine, so this will be a valuable thing to learn. While a little confusing at first, SpringLobby is pretty easy to use.
Go ahead and start SpringLobby from your Desktop.
It will prompt you to check or set its settings if you load it the first time. If you want to look over these go ahead, it mostly deals with Graphic Settings, Hotkeys, and other useful options. The usual stuff for computer games ;) When you're done, go to File -> Save Settings and then you can close the window.
At the top of the main window you will see seven tabs:
This is pretty self-explanatory. The Chat tab handles the several IRC-styled channels the Spring Community uses to communicate when not playing games. You'll automatically autojoin three channels from the start: #main, #newbies, and a channel dedicated to your language based on where you're from. You can join other channels by typing /join #channelname at the bottom. Go ahead and join Conflict Terra's channel, #ct!
In order to set up a channel to autojoin (this connects you to the channel everytime you are signed on in SpringLobby), right click onto the channel's tab, go to Channel, and select Auto join this channel. You can also do this to disable autojoining a particular channel.
As I said, these are IRC channels and use the typical IRC conventions, if you're familiar with those :)
The Battlelist tab is where you'll find a list of game servers available for you to play on. There is a ton of information here, so I'll try to focus on what is important to you as a player of Conflict Terra ;)
- The Description column will have a description of what the server is. You'll see a lot of the usual for these kinds of games, 1v1, 2v2, noobs and experts and the like. What you're looking for is the Conflict Terra (test) Autohost. This is our official Autohost (server) and one that always up-to-date and ready for anyone to play. Don't worry, if someone starts using the Autohost, another one is instantly spawned for others to use if they wish.
- The Game column of course dictates which Game the server is using. This is useful to check which build of Conflict Terra the host is using. It will read Conflict Terra test - ####. You will need matching builds to play on that server. Update the game if you're outdated!
- The Map column tells you which map the server is using. This is less important, as maps can be downloaded even when in the Battleroom, but it is still useful information.
- There is other information like which country the server is located in (for latency purposes), how many players are in the room, if the server is in-game or waiting, but that is all pretty intuitive :)
The Battleroom tab is the actual server or game room, where you'll see the other players you will play with, the map you'll play on, and whose who in terms of faction and color. It also has a chat area for you to communicate with your fellow players. There is a lot you can do, and need to know about, with this tab, so I will explain it in more detail below under the Multiplayer section.
The Singleplayer tab is, you guessed it, where you'll start single player matches of Conflict Terra, or any other Spring game you choose to play. It is very straightforward. At the bottom you select the map and the game, then you add however many bots you want to play against. This tab isn't as complicated as the Battleroom, but I will still detail it in more detail below under the Singleplayer section.
You can't save games in the Spring Engine, at least not yet. This tab is no doubt in place if that is ever resolved. You can completely ignore this tab :)
The Replays tab, however, is useful. Spring does support replays of matches, and this can be very helpful if you want to review games to refine your technique, or to see how the enemy beat you so bad :) This tab is pretty straightforward, you select which game you'd like to review from a list of every match you've ever had with SpringLobby. You will need the exact same map and game files used in the match. To watch, you simple double-click.
The Downloads tab handles a feature you likely won't contend with much when playing Conflict Terra. It keeps track of the bit torrents that download any missing map or game files you need to play in a particular server. Conflict Terra is not on the servers that feed this system, so this will most likely only be used by you when playing games other than Conflict Terra.
Other Useful Information
A very important little thing to know about SpringLobby is in the Tools menu on the main menu bar. Use Tools -> Reload maps/games to load any newly added map or game files while SpringLobby is running.
- Example: You try joining a server, but find that you don't have the map. After you download the map, it still says you don't have it. Click Tools -> Reload maps/games
- Example: You want to join your friend's server, but it won't let you because you don't have the same build of Conflict Terra. Update your game (hoping your buddy has the latest version, if not, tell him to update too), then click Tools -> Reload maps/games
How to Start a Single Player Match
If you want to play the game by yourself offline, you can use the Singleplayer tab to achieve that.
- First, select the game you want from the Games pull-down menu. You're going to want the latest version of Conflict Terra you have. It should read as Conflict Terra test - ####.
- Next, select the map you want to play on. You can play on any map that works with the Spring Engine, but we highly advise you play on officially designated Conflict Terra maps. You can download the first map pack here. All officially designated Conflict Terra maps start with CT_. Be sure you have the latest version of the map!
- You will notice a little colored square with a number 1 and a smiling sun icon inside (the "official" Spring icon). This designates where you will start when the game begins. You can place it anywhere on the map, but you should really keep it to the designated start positions. These are represented by green circles on the map. Your player icon will snap to these circles when near them.
- You can change your faction by mousing over the icon and clicking the icon following "Side:" The "Ally:" number dictates the team you're on, and the "bonus %:" number dictates the players handicap.
- You will need to add an AI bot in order to play. To do this click the "Add bot..." button in the bottom right corner of the window. This will bring up a small window. There is a Nickname field where you can change the AI's name (useless because the bot shows up with an automatically created name anyways) and a drop-down menu where you select which of several AI's you'd like to play against. As with your player icon, you can move this one to wherever you want on the map.
- Important Note: No AI currently works well for the NKG faction. The game will load just fine, but the AI will not be able to play very competitively. Hopefully this will one day be remedied, but for now it is just a fact of the game.
- Important Note: If you want to play against a bot playing as the Drone faction, select either the SchwarmAI, YMSAI_test, or YMSAI_stable. These are custom-tailored AI for the Drones that are included with the game!
- When everything looks good, click the "Start" button in the bottom right corner, and the game will load! From there its up to you to win ;)
Those steps will get you playing a single player match no problem. If you want to deal with some slightly more advanced options, you can click on the Options tab under the Singleplayer tab. On this page you'll be able to control minor variables in the game, such as the minimum and maximum game speeds you can change to, and the max number of units per player in the game. 500 is the default, and should be more than plenty for the average game of Conflict Terra. Next to the Options tab is the Unit Restrictions tab, which you can use to lock out particular units, for whatever reason you may find.
How to Start a Multiplayer Match
Conflict Terra is of course a lot more fun with friends, and you should try and play matches against other people whenever you can!
- The first thing you should do is tell your friends about Conflict Terra! If you don't have friends, get them, and tell them about Conflict Terra! The more people who play Conflict Terra, the better.
- After you've spread the word, you can click on the Battlelist tab of Spring Lobby. If this is your first encounter with the Spring Engine, or SpringLobby, you will be prompted to log-in or create an account. Lucky for you, creating an account is super easy. If you already have an account, log-in. You know the drill.
- If you need to create an account, click on the Register tab. Type your desired username in the "Nick" field, and your password in the two "Password" fields. Click "Ok", and your account is created! Go back to the Login screen, make sure you're on the Official server from the Server pull-down menu, type in your info, make sure "Remember Password" and "Autoconnect next time" are checked (if you so desire, we advise you do), and you're in!
How to Use the Dedicated Autohost
- Find the server named "Conflict Terra (test) Autohost" and join it. You'll switch to the Battleroom tab.
- The autohost is a computer somewhere in the world hosting the game for you; you should be able to connect under comfortable router settings. You control the autohost by entering text commands. Typing !help will give you a list of the commands. Useful ones to know are:
- !start - Starts the match
- !votemap (name of map) - This will start a vote to change the map. You can enter any valid map name that you own. Others will have to vote to actually change it, but this shouldn't be a big issue.
- An important note to point out, since it is confusing for most people: Team # dictates your "player number" and Ally # dictates the number of the team you're on. This is kind of dumb, but it is just how the program is ;)
- The rest should be pretty intuitive. You pick colors, use !help to figure out what you want, and then play!
How to Host Your Own Game
- If you don't want to mess with an autohost you can of course always host your own game. Now, if you are behind a router on your network, which is likely, you'll probably have to open some ports in order to host. Portforward.com is a great resource on how to set up your router for port forwarding, if you aren't familiar with how to do that. The port you want to open for Spring is UDP Port 8452. If you have any issues with getting people to join your game, your best bet would be to visit the Help & Bugs subforum on the SpringRTS forums.
- After you get that ironed out, you can host your own games! When you click the "Host new..." button in the bottom right corner of the Battlelist tab, a window will appear.
- "Description" is used to name your match. Select the latest version of Conflict Terra you have from the pull-down menu for "Game". Enter a "Password" if you wish. The slider indicates the max number of players allowed in the Battleroom. You can set it as high as you want, you don't need that many players to launch the game. Setting it higher than you know you'll need is useful most of the time. When everything looks good, click "Host"
- One of the best advantages of this is that, of course, you are in complete control of the game and you don't have to enter the text commands to do anything. Select the map you wish to play on on the right, change your team color, kick players, it is all under your immediate control.
- An important note to point out, if you didn't read it above: Team # dictates your "player number" and Ally # dictates the number of the team you're on. This is kind of dumb, but it is just how the program is ;)
- When everything looks good, click the "Start" button in the lower right corner and the game will go!
How to Join A Game
If you're trying to join someone's game, things are as easy as they can get. Find their game by either sorting the Game column or the Description column in the Battlelist tab, double-click to join, and once inside pick your faction and your team color, your Ally and Team, and you're good to go. Let the host take care of everything else :)
Hopefully this tutorial was helpful for new players on learning the ropes of playing Conflict Terra. As always, consult the SpringRTS forums if you need more help, or contact me if you so desire. Good luck, and enjoy Conflict Terra!