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Old 31 July 2020, 22:30   #1
Cherno
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Dominium: Anyone know how to play (and win) the game?

Any help is appreciated. I think this game is interesting in that is a real-time strategy game before Dune II came out and the genre was established as such. I can build units and send them around the planet, but that's about it. Some questions I have in particular:

What kind of resources are there? I assume gold deposits and oil wells?
How to collect these resources? From looking at the base stats of the vehicles, I assume that the amphibious transport is used, but I see no way to actually take resources from a deposit.

Is there any fog of war after exploring the terrain? If I scout the environment and then move away, will I be able to see enemy units there, or do I need to have a unit of my own within radar range?

I think friendly units will automatically attack enemies within range, is this correct?

I found out that I can click on the unit picture in the top left which switches between no gun, small gun, and large gun. I assume this is like an aggressiveness setting? No gun would mean the unit never retaliates, or something like that?

There are several planets in the star system, and every now and then some advisor reports about enemy activity there. How to get to other stars? I assume I use the starships and transports, but how can I go into space?

I hope someone has more insight than me and helps me in solving the mysteries of this game. A scanned manual would be even better
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Old 01 August 2020, 00:00   #2
malko
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I can't help but you may try to directly ask Denis (dlfrsilver) as he wrote a small (to say the least ) review on lemon about this game.
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Old 01 August 2020, 01:56   #3
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I found this video in french, they talk about the deposits but I can't understand what exactly they are saying

[ Show youtube player ]
Edit: Aha! I found out that you can use put factories (and, I suspect, any other unit) onto a transport by moving them onto it. The transport can then move next to a deposit, and you select the carried unit from the unit list and move it onto the deposit tile. A factory will automatically harvest resources from the tile it sits on, as long as it has enough personell. Each unit of energy harvested costs one unit of fuel. Each unit has a weight value, and as long as the transporting unit has enough cargo capacity to, it can be used as a transporter. The amphibious carriers have a large cargo capacity so they are predestined.

Also, units automatically shoot at enemies, even if they are moving, and other units don't block line of fire.

Last edited by Cherno; 01 August 2020 at 02:24.
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Old 02 August 2020, 16:27   #4
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Having started a new game with at least some idea how everything works, I am still mystified about two things: How do I get more personell? Factories take a vast amount of human resources and I quickly come to a point where I can't man the factories I need to harvest enough resources. Also, what does the third button on the left in the main screen do? (head of man with headset). It keeps flashing when I click it and switches off the first button (which I also don't know the purpose of).

Edit: The headset button is for centering the view on the unit; you have to click it, then click on any tile, and the view will be centered on the currently selected unit.

Now I wonder what the button on the right panel (first button from the bottom row, with one person on it) is for.

Last edited by Cherno; 02 August 2020 at 17:33.
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Old 02 August 2020, 19:06   #5
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Can you read French? There is a scan of the PC manual over there:
https://www.abandonware-france.org/l...=245&fic=liens
click on "Télécharger le manuel de Dominium (4'721 Ko )" and then in the popup window "cliquez ici pour lancer le téléchargement" (grey frame).

There, two people shared a few tips:
https://www.abandonware-france.org/l...=245&fic=aides

It might prove useful.


If you can't read French, you could translate the above online. Sadly, the manual is made oif images and there is a pretty heavy watermark, so I am not sure if you could OCR it and then translate it online.

I guess I could try and translate page 24 and 25 which explain the interface. Let me know if you want me to do that and I'll try and do that tonight or tomorrow.

Regarding your issue about personnel, I believe you have to click the first button from the bottom row, because it is "Embauche" which means "Hire".
Page 32 states that to hire you need to bring a vehicle to a town and click on the Hire icon. You will need to pay them 1 money unit per 2 people hired. There should be a cursor/ruler allowing you to specify how many you want to hire.

For the other button you ask about (headset) I believe you mean the one with the letter C in the manual?
If so, it switches between manual and automatic aiming.
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Old 02 August 2020, 20:48   #6
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Thanks for the explaination. I never knew that there were any cities on the planets; I assumed the pyramid tiles were tank traps Now I think I pretty much grasp all the game concepts. Now the hard part is to figure out where to best place factories for maximum ore & energy output...
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Old 04 August 2020, 17:16   #7
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Just beat the game. Took me around 9 hours, without some aborted attempts where I figured out the gameplay. The game also crashed two or three times, so it's important to use savestates or savegames often.

The gameplay basics:
The system of Dominium has 8 planets, each of which has a fortress. The first player to control five of these wins the game. You start with one factory on a planet, along with limited supplies. The key to get a decent economy running is finding the right places to put your factories: You need gold to build units and repair them, but gold factories need energy to run, plus vehicles need large amounts of fuel as well, and all units also need manpower. Factories harvest more energy and gold the more manpower they have, and vehicles lose crew members when they get damaged as well. This all means that you absolutely need to find a place that has at least one gold and energy deposit next to each other, or within two tiles. Ideally, a city is also in the vincinity or even next to one of the deposits. You can connect factories by building more of them as a pipeline, and the energy will get divided between them, but I had little success with longer supply lines because the gold factories received so little fuel at the end of the chain that it never ran on full efficiency. So, keep connections to a length of one at the maximum. If you don't have a city next to a factory, you need a mobile unit to recruit personell there, and then carry them to the factories manually, and continue ferrying as the need for manpower arises.

As stated above, units such as carriers can transport other units like factories; to select a loaded unit, use the unit overview window, and click on one of the planet or space icons next to the listed units to see only units on that planet, or in spacec, if the units you try to find is not listed. Note that there is a hrd limit on how many units you can have at any one time.

I exclusively build factories that had 500 manpower; they are expensive but well worth it in the yields they achieve. I used WB Carriers to ferry people from cities to factories if needed, and gave them 250 manpower, so they have to make less trips. As my starting move, I built one carrier, then put my starting factory on it, and travelled to the west where a nice spot with one gold deposit, two energy deposits and a city next to each other was located. After placing another factory so I had both fuel and energy production running, I started building tanks and send them towards the planet's fortress (I already knew where it was from earlier attempts).

I always made sure I kept my manpower at the factories at max capacity and started building cruisers which I send up into orbit to defend against enemy ships trying to take back the fortress. When I had about 6 cruisers, I also build a stellar transport and used it to invade the nearest planet, where I used jeeps and tanks to scout for the best location and the fortress, then put factories there as well and secured the orbit and fortress. After that, gameplay pretty much repeated itself; I conquered more planets, secured space with my cruisers, and made sure that I kept building new units on my planets. I never built more factories on any one planet to harvest more than one tile of gold or energy. When a deposit ran dry, I used a carrier or stellar transport to move the factories to a new spot. I also made sure to protect my factory clusters with one or two tanks in case the enemy attacked, and the fortresses had four tanks defending them as well.

At some point, I had enough cruisers in space that I simply blockaded every planet, even the ones I didn't invade yet. The enemy would sometimes try to send up a few spaceships, but they would invariably get shot to pieces. One point to note is that the enemy's units, particular their tanks and spaceships, seem to be many times more powerful than your own, even if you gave your units the best stats in firepower, range etc. Often times, enemy tanks defending his fortresses would shoot your own tanks from outside your radar range, making them impossible to locate and shoot back. For this reason, assaults on some fortresses will yield very high casualties; a well-planned and coordinated attack is needed to overcome the defenders. I recommend at least six tanks moving in formation towards the suspected enemy position (often near the fortress), with their aggressiveness set to high. You can also try to do a dropship insertion with a stellar transport, this can be risky if the transport gets destroyed, but it will allow your tanks to get next to the fortress. Note that at least one fortress needs a jeep to conquer it as it is surrounded by hills completely.

My impressions: The game feels incredibly slow at first (thank god for WinUAE's turbo feature (END+BREAK/PAUSE)) but after two or three planets get colonized, you will always have something to do. Keeping production running on several planets, as well as giving orders to units in space will get overwhelming in the endgame, and you almost have to write down the major tasks you try to achieve at any given moment (planet B needs a factory which needs to be build on Planet B, but the stellar transport is at planet C and out of fuel, plus there are enemy fighters in orbit, and the enemy is attacking the fortress on planet D which needs a jeep to reconquer it should it fall, but the factories there are out of fuel because the deposit dried up, so you first need a carrier to transport the factory to a new deposit,...).

The main grip I had with this game is the way you control units; Since you have to take care of everything at the same time, on several planets as well as in space, you want to give units paths that take a long time to finish. However, with the way planets and space loops around at the borders, you will have trouble getting units from A to B because you can't look ath the map while setting waypoints. I constantly had to use the map to find units and pre-plan their paths. Exploring the fog of war also can become chore because a unit will stop when it reached an obstacles, so be prepared to constantly re-issue orders just to make one jeep move around a lake properly.
Another thing that could have been improved is that you have to do such many things manually that should really be automated, like keeping your factory's manpower up, and refueling vehicles.

I manged to beat the game within three days, but I dare you to take a break long enough to make you forget where your major production centres, targets of invasion etc. are.

For the first few hours, gameplay feels consistenly exciting because you regularly see messages on what planets the enemy has invaded and which fortresses he controls. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to find out the enemy's progress without writing down the messages and keeping track of you own successes in securing fortresses. For this reason, you are running against the clock and at some point the enemy will secure his fifth fortress while you might only control two, with no other planets invaded or even discovered yet. This in turn means that you can't just sit around and wait to accumulate resources; you have to always find targets of opportunity to hinder the enemy in his movements. The endgame becomes much less exciting and allows you to just play at your leisure. When I finally won the game, the baron just told me he would be back, but then the game send me back to the workbench (WHD install) so I'm not sure if there is any way to play at a higher difficulty.

For it's time, it's an interesting game, a hybrid between a turn-based wargame and the kind of real-time strategy we later see from Dune II and Command & Conquer, plus the aded strategic layer which has some elements of a 4x space game like Master of Orion in it. In hindsight, I would think that the game would work much better if each planet was it's own level or scenario and you could do them one after another, with the space layer as a hub of sorts, but only the planet you are actively playing on is part of the game simulation, while everything else (space and other planets) is frozen.

Last edited by Cherno; 04 August 2020 at 17:38.
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Old 04 August 2020, 19:10   #8
lilalurl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to find out the enemy's progress without writing down the messages and keeping track of you own successes in securing fortresses.
Page 27 of the manual, it is stated that there is a "revious previous messages" button. I guess it is in the menu you can access through button D (see page24), the one looking like a cornered paper sheet, in the middle of the bottom left panel (just above the messages).
Maybe it does not go back far enough for the purpose you'd like to though

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherno View Post
When I finally won the game, the baron just told me he would be back, but then the game send me back to the workbench (WHD install) so I'm not sure if there is any way to play at a higher difficulty.
According to the manual (p22-23), you can change the difficulty level through Select Game Level (same menu as 1/2 player(s), Load Game).
The higher the stellar numbers (?) displayed the harder the game will be.
- First number is speed and aggressiveness of the Baron's reactions
- Second number is the Baron's charisma. The higher it is, the more willing to follow him the inhabitants of Dominium will be. It translates as more industrial and military help from them to the Kraalians (?) ("kraaliens" in French).
- Third number is your charisma and therefore how willing to join your ranks are the Dominians.
- Last number is luck (or randomness?) factor.
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Old 04 August 2020, 19:17   #9
Cherno
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilalurl View Post
Page 27 of the manual, it is stated that there is a "revious previous messages" button. I guess it is in the menu you can access through button D (see page24), the one looking like a cornered paper sheet, in the middle of the bottom left panel (just above the messages).
Maybe it does not go back far enough for the purpose you'd like to though
Thanks, I knew about the previous messages window, but it indeed is limited to a fraction of the messages, and since you get spammed with all kinds of notifications (unit xy reached destination, factory xy full, unit xy damaged,999), it is not that useful. I believe that the video messages are actually not even listed here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilalurl View Post
According to the manual (p22-23), you can change the difficulty level through Select Game Level (same menu as 1/2 player(s), Load Game).
The higher the stellar numbers (?) displayed the harder the game will be.
- First number is speed and aggressiveness of the Baron's reactions
- Second number is the Baron's charisma. The higher it is, the more willing to follow him the inhabitants of Dominium will be. It translates as more industrial and military help from them to the Kraalians (?) ("kraaliens" in French).
- Third number is your charisma and therefore how willing to join your ranks are the Dominians.
- Last number is luck (or randomness?) factor.
Ok, interesting. I doubt that I will play the game again in my lifetime, but it's still good to know. I have no idea what the charisma stats would do, maybe it would limit the number of personell that can be recruited in a city.

Every now and then, you get a video message about a foreman choosing to work for the enemy, or a plague befalling the inhabitants and the search for a cure, but I never experienced any effects on the gameplay.
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Old 05 August 2020, 00:35   #10
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Here is a "godzilla-like" rough/savage translation* : I have applied OCR on the FR manual, then copy-pasted the text to deepl.com and then copy/pasted to word and saved as PDF.

It should allow you to understand everything about the game

PS: my file-attachment quota is almost full. This file will be deleted when I will need space for another attachment...

*no correction, no grammar check, only rough computerized work. Feel free to recreate a nice manual layout and/or correct the translation if it's not understandable - which should not be the case with deepl
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Dominium_uk__.pdf (299.4 KB, 25 views)
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Old 05 August 2020, 01:20   #11
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I'd be interested in knowing what you used to OCR and especially to get round the watermark.
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Old 05 August 2020, 01:43   #12
malko
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there were watermarks ? I hadn't seen...

(almost all of them were skipped by the OCR recognition. I believe because they are clear grey and behind the text - the few remaining, I have manually deleted them from the recognized text when I have copy/pasted the text - so, no magic or special skills involved)
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Old 28 August 2020, 13:53   #13
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Thanks a lot for all your effort Cherno
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