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Once C-evo is installed on your computer, start up the game.
C-evo's "Start Screen" interfaceEdit
The game runs in full-screen mode at the resolution you have set your monitor at. On the Start Screen, one can see a big version of C-evo's logo in the upper right; it is purely decorative. There is a menu window, in the lower left part, which allows one to select how to start a game.
At the top of the menu window are:
- Three tabs, labelled "Map", "New Book", and "Earlier Books"
- Two buttons, marked "?" and "X".
The "X" button exits C-evo and returns to the desktop; if you wish to go to another running application without quitting C-evo, it is possible to hit Alt+Tab (to do this in Windows XP, you will need to have at least one other program running when you start C-evo).
The "?" button leads to a popup window that gives you help on the parameters you can choose to start C-evo, and that has buttons that let you explore the whole of the in-game Manual.
The "Map" tab gives you map options; it is possible to download and play predesigned maps, which could be in this menu, as well as making your own map. The most important option here is the size of the map; you may choose one of six sizes of random maps, ranging in size from fairly small ("35%") to epic-size huge maps ("230%"). You can also choose the percentage of land on the map, in 5% increments from 10% to 100%. See C-evo maps for more detail.
While it is possible to play a handmade map with C-evo, most games are probably played with random maps: when the game is started, the computer makes a map that has islands, continents, and water. Each game has a different looking map; no two games are the same as a result. Every game allows you to explore a new world. The "picture" you see on the menu screen is NOT what you will play on, but is a standard indication.
Civilization-type games are very long games; even a game played with the smallest map (35%) can easily last several hours. Combine with C-evo's very addictive gameplay, it is recommended to not start a game unless you know you will be free for a few hours, though you can at any time save the game and resume later from the same point.
In C-evo parlance, a game is called a "book". To start your first game, do the following:
- Go to "Map" and choose a world size of 35% (the smallest allowed) with land mass 50%.
- Go to "New Book", ensure that the checkbox "Free Player Setup" has no tick in it, choose the "Beginner" level of difficulty, and have 0 foreign nations if you want a totally safe introduction to most of the mechanics of the game, or have 1 or 2 foreign nations if you want to see a bit of the full gameplay.
- Have the game end at 3000 AD.
- Click on "Start" to start the game.
- C-evo may spend a couple of seconds randomly creating the world you will play on.
- Now, C-evo will ask you to choose your tribe. It doesn't matter which tribe you play; the gameplay is the same. Tribes affect only how your units and cities look, and the names of your cities. Some of the colors are difficult to distinguish; try Persians, Russians, or Spanish for distinctive colors.
- Once you choose a tribe, the game starts.
After the game starts, you will see a screen with a message saying your civilization is nearing the end of the Stone Age. The C-evo game software chooses an initial location (on "fertile plains") for your first city. You start the game with just:
- a single city, in which a Palace has been built, and which has a population of four, each of whom is "working" one of the available tiles (one of them the central tile) and producing a certain number of units of food and possibly some "material" per turn
- a single "settler", who can improve the land around your city or form his or her own new city
Click "OK" when you've read the introduction. Click on the city to see detail of the city in a pop-up window over the map; you can move the pop-up by dragging it by its title panel.
C-evo's game interfaceEdit
Once a game is started, we are in C-evo's user interface, which can be very confusing at first, but soon becomes simple to use. See the various elements on the above screenshot.
In the upper left hand corner of the screen is a small version of the C-evo logo. Click it for a menu of several items:
- Manual - same as "F1", allows you to open up the manual
- Tree of Advances - same as "T"
- Options - change user-interface options (whether there is sound, etc.)
- Manipulation - try to cheat in various ways (such as seeing the entire world) - we will not do this just now
- Macro Management - allow experienced players to automate some tasks
- Open C-evo Website - in Windows XP this is a good way of starting up a second application so you can Alt+Tab out of C-evo
- Close - same as "Ctrl + Q" - and you get invited to save the book; but in some situations you will definitely not want to save it - see Forum:Saving C-evo games
Saving and loading gamesEdit
C-evo, unlike many other games, doesn't display a "Save game" option; a game is saved by closing the game (called a "book") in progress. When you close a game, it will ask you if you want to save the game. Click on "Yes" to save the game. If you say "No" it will revert to the previous save, if any.
Once a game is saved, it can be reloaded again by restarting C-evo, choosing the "Earlier Books" tab, and choosing the game you saved. If this is the first time anyone has played C-evo on this computer, the game you just saved will have the name "Book 1". Multiple games can be saved; games are sorted by the time a game was saved, with newer games lower in the list. If anyone has played a game of C-Evo on the same computer before, the game you just saved will be the game at the bottom of the list of saved games. On that screen, there is an option to rename it, e.g."Joan's first game with opponents".
To open a saved game at its latest position, select the game on the left side of the box then click the button marked "Open".
If you don't like how a game has progressed, you can close it (saving it) then reload at any year-end in the past. To do this, select the "book" (saved game) on which you wish to roll back the clock. Next, below the mini-map icon, and above the "open" button, there is a display of the year (in game time) when the game is saved. It is possible to change the year to continue playing again by either clicking on the arrows to the right of the year, or sliding the long bar immediately below the year. Doing that will probably erase all of the later years; if you want to preserve them for later comparison, there is a way: see C-evo: Saving game variants.
Map viewing optionsEdit
In the lower left corner of the screen there is (at this point), a largely black rectangle with a small blue or green area. This is a mini-map; this lets you see the entire known world at a glance. Below this mini-map are some options that affect how you view the world; the most useful of these options are the ones that allow you to see political borders (you can not cross these borders if you have a peace treaty with another player) and the one that allows you to see the isometric grid C-evo uses.
If we are playing without any opponents, the option to see political borders will only allow us to see our own borders. To enable this button, click on the third box from the left below the mini-map. The grid can be turned on by clicking on the sixth box from the left below the mini-map (the second box from the right).
While these options are below the mini-map, they generally affect how we view the main map that takes up most of the computer screen.
The main map does not show the entire world; it shows only a part of the world (and only the tiles in that part of the world that your units have discovered). One can change what part of the world one sees by left-clicking on the main map; the point you click will become the center of the main map window. It is also possible to change one's viewpoint by left-clicking on the mini-map, or by enabling scrolling in the options in the top left menu.
If you have opponents, you will be able to see some information about their units or cities when you are close to them. In the example below, the player has just clicked on the enemy city "Sparta" to see, in a pop-up window, what is defending it: nothing at present (as is indicated also by the coloured number on black background, whereas guarded cities have black numbers on their nation's colour of background).
Units and citiesEdit
When you have just started, the only visible part of the main map will be your fledgling capital city and the tiles it can work, along with a Settler unit blinking to indicate that it awaits orders (and maybe an additional tile adjacent to the Settler but too far from the city to be worked by it).
The blinking unit is shown also near the left of the bottom panel, with its name and a square indicating its experience level, which will be stripes or a star once it achieves higher levels than the initial "green", which is shown by an empty box. Above it is (in this case) "1.5", which is the number of movement points it has remaining for this turn. Below it is a green panel indicating its health: 100% at this stage. To the right are two or three menu buttons: the book gives information about the unit, the exclamation mark lists possible orders, and the digging tool leads to a menu of possible terrain enhancements. For this first year of the game, the best option, if the Settler is on a plain or prairie, is usually "I", which instructs the Settler to start irrigating the tile it is on (so as to produce more food, which allows faster growth). If instead you try "R" for road-building but it happens to be on a river, you will be told that you don't yet have bridge-building knowledge, and you will be able to choose another option, such as moving to a tile where it can build a road or irrigate.
Finally on the map screen, you can look inside the city by clicking on it. That needs a whole new page!
At the bottom right of the screen, a small pane contains two icons. The bottom one is for "End of turn". The top one shows your palace or capitol (indicating your government type) and leads to a menu of in-game options, most of which are reports and can usually be achieved through the function keys.
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