Dominion 2.8.2 review

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Dominion is a multi-playerworld simulation and role-playing game

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 473K
Developer: Mark Galassi
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Dominion is a multi-playerworld simulation and role-playing game. Each user controls a nation, making economic, political and military decisions for it.

This is a world simulation game developed initially by students at SUNY at Stony Brook, and then by students at Stony Brook and other universities. The intention is to write a game which offers the role playing potential and complexity of relations found in conquer (written by Ed Barlow, then picked up by Adam Bryant). The plan is to
extend the game by offering general descriptions of many features (such as races, magic spells, armies, spirits and technology powers). For example, the races of the world are not limited to 4 hard-coded races, but are described in a file which can be modified at any point in the game by the Game Master. The same goes for army and spirit types.

Dominion is *not* another version of conquer; things work quite differently, and we have *never* looked at the conquer source. Still, we acknowledge this most creative game which gave us our inspiration. In September 1990, the author of conquer version 5 has heard of many of the features of dominion, and has included them in conquer version 5. He has acknowledged that these ideas come from Dominion.

The Game Master is given a nation, but this nation is sort of "fragile", since it has no sectors, and such stuff. We should make it more solid, but meanwhile it is to be used mostly for its [E] command, which allows the Game Master (who logs into the game as "Gamemaster") to change the properties of a sector or of a nation.

Dominion development started in the spring of 1990, when Mark Galassi was running a game of conquer for graduate and undergraduate students at at Stony Brook. After the data file kept crashing, and a whole lot of inconsistencies were discovered, and we found that the source was too complex to be fixed, we decided to write our own replacement. Ed Barlow did a great job with conquer, and it is a great game, but it
was his first C program, and people who added to it kept the endless case statements, and the special cases, and worked on new features rather than re-writing. The original name of Dominion was Stony Brook World (sbw), but it has been named Dominion since version 1.02.

In many ways Dominion was a teaching project intended to teach many Stony Brook undergraduate CS majors to work on a large software development project. Once the project reached a certain size, people from other universities joined in the development.

One goal of dominion is that the ruler of a nation should always have many choices available on how to invest resources, each one presenting strong but distinct advantages. Conquer contains both a good and a bad example of this: you can invest metal in cities, ships or armies. Either way you get advantages, and you have to choose. On the other hand, jewels are really not used for much else than getting magic powers. You can also use them to support monsters, but that is a different order of magnitude, and few players get the monsters. In dominion, there should be several decisions you can make to invest all your resources.

Kevin Hart has been working on the CN code which allows the computer to play various nations. Starting with version 1.05, the computer-played CNs have begun posing a real challenge in the game.

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