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       xscorch - Annihilate enemy tanks using overpowered guns.



       xscorch [options]

       xscorch --help


       Xscorch is a clone of the classic DOS game, "Scorched Earth". The basic
       goal is to annihilate enemy tanks using overpowered guns :). Basically,
       you  buy  weapons,  you target the enemy by adjusting the angle of your
       turret and firing power, and you hope to destroy their tank before they
       destroy yours.


       First, fiddle with the options in the main menu.  There are a number of
       options which are described below, which may make the  game  easier  or
       harder.   The  default options make for a reasonable level of gameplay.
       Most of the game configuration is controlled from the  user  interface,
       although  there  are  a  few  command-line  options which are mentioned
       below.  Once you are ready to begin a new game, you might want to  Save
       Options  to  save your configuration, then select Begin Game to start a
       new game.

       Gameplay is divided up into several rounds.  Each round consists of two
       parts:   the  Inventory  phase  and the Battle phase.  In the Inventory
       phase, you can buy weapons to shoot at your opponents, and  accessories
       to  help  defend  your  tank.   See  the  Inventory  section  below for
       information on the weapons and accessories you may buy.  In the  Battle
       phase,  you  setup  defenses,  choose  a  weapon,  aim and fire at your
       opponents.  See the section on Battle below, for more information.


       The player has the option to buy weapons and accessories  to  make  the
       game  more  interesting.   Weapons  are  just  that:  an  assortment of
       missiles, including ICBM-like warheads, napalm, lasers, and a number of
       custom  weapons  to  bring  down  specific  defenses.   Accessories are
       methods to make gameplay easier  for  the  player  and  increase  their
       chance  of  survival,  with guidance systems, shields, fuel, batteries,
       and other odds-and-ends.

       At the beginning of a round, each player is given an opportunity to buy
       or  sell weapons and accessories.  Each player may have up to 99 of any
       item in their inventory.  A few weapons have an  infinite  supply  (for
       example, Baby Missiles) - these weapons cannot be purchased.

       Weapons  and  accessories are sold in bundles; the price for the bundle
       is displayed in the inventory, and you must buy  items  as  a  complete
       bundle.  The exception to this is when a player attempts to buy more of
       an item than their inventory can hold; in this case, the bundle will be
       broken  and  the  weapons are sold on an individual basis, with a small
       markup applied.

       Weapons and accessories may also be sold  from  a  player’s  inventory.
       Again, items are generally sold as a bundle.  The player will receive a
       reduced amount of money for the sale - hey, the middleman has  to  make
       money somewhere :)

       In  the Inventory screen, two panels are displayed, listing the weapons
       and accessories that are available.  The Tab key  will  switch  between
       the  various  panes.   Up Arrow and Down Arrow will allow the player to
       scroll through the list of items, Right Arrow will buy  a  bundle,  and
       Left Arrow will sell a bundle of the currently highlighted item.

       For each item, the name, bundle size/total price, and current inventory
       are displayed.

       Items which can neither be bought or sold will appear darkened.  If the
       player  has  maxed their inventory for that item, or they cannot afford
       to purchase the item, or the item has a  higher  arms  level  than  the
       player  is allowed, then the item cannot be purchased.  Items which can
       be bought will appear with an arrow pointing to the  right,  and  items
       which can be sold will appear with an arrow pointing to the left.

       The items that are available are listed in the next two sections.


       This list will be added once the weapons list is reasonably stable.


       This list will be added once the accessories list is reasonably stable.


       This overview is sadly, incomplete.


       Left, Right
              Change the turret angle.  This will adjust the turret  angle  in
              increments  of  5  degrees.   For  finer  control, hold Shift to
              adjust the angle in increments of 1 degree.

       Up, Down
              Change the firing power, in the range of 0 to 1000.   This  will
              adjust the firing power in increments of 20.  For finer control,
              hold Shift to adjust the firing power in increments of 1.

       Tab    Select the next weapon available in your inventory.

              Select the previous weapon available in your inventory.

       B, b   Activate a battery.  A single battery can restore 5%  of  damage
              done  to  your  tank,  and  therefore restore the maximum firing
              power by 5% when you are damaged.  You must have  a  battery  to
              discharge in your inventory to excercise this option.

       E, e   Activate or energize the currently selected shields.

       F, f   Activate   your   fuel  tanks.   A  window  will  be  displayed,
              indicating the amount of fuel you have available.   As  long  as
              you have fuel, you may use the Left and Right arrows to move one
              unit to the left or right, respectively.  In general, you cannot
              move your tank up a steep hill.  Immobile tanks will not be able
              to excercise this option.

       R, r   Force a redraw of the screen.

       S, s   Toggle the currently selected shields.  The  currently  selected
              shields  are  the  shields which will be used when you Energize.
              Shields are classified by a power number with a type suffix:   M
              for  magnetic  shielding,  F for force shielding, and S for your
              standard, run-of-the-mill shields.  If no shields are available,
              0S is displayed.

       T, t   Toggle  contact triggers on/off.  This is only meaningful if you
              actually  have  some  contact  triggers  of  course,  and   when
              tunneling  is  enabled.  Weapons that are fired after this point
              will have contact triggers equipped (until you run out).

       0 - 9  Display  information  about  a  particular  player.    1   gives
              information about Player 1, and 0 gives information about Player

       Enter  Accept your orders.

       Ctrl+Y Bring up the System Menu (this can also  be  accessed  from  the
              menus).   You  can  control  certain  graphics  options from the
              system menu, clear the screen of smoke trails, and end  a  round

       Ctrl+Z Pauses the game.

       Ctrl+R Resign from the game.  This will end the game for everyone.  You
              will be asked to confirm the resignation.


       The system menu gives you some control over the game  while  it  is  in
       progress.   In  this menu, you will have options to change how the game
       is displayed (e.g.  the Graphics Fast  option  described  below).   You
       also have access to a few useful commands, described below.

       Mass Kill
              Kills  everyone still alive in the round.  No player gets credit
              for the kills, and none are considered a suicide.   This  option
              is useful if all human players have already been eliminated from
              the game, but the AI players are making no  progress  whatsoever
              in  annihilating each other.  This option ends the current round

       Erase Smoke
              If you have used smoke tracers or have Trace Paths enabled, then
              this option will clear all smoke trails from the sky.


       Resign Game
              Resigns  from  the current round and all remaining rounds.  This
              option ends the entire game, and will take you back to the intro

       Sound Setup
              Takes you to the Sound Options window.


       Human  The  humans believe they are the superior mind.  The AI’s rather
              disagree with that sentiment.  Keep this in mind  when  you  are
              wondering  why  9  AI’s would want to simultaneously target your

       Moron  This AI fires at random.  Of all the AI’s, this one has  by  far
              the  highest  suicide  rate.   An  alternate  name  is  ‘‘Cannon

              This AI goes for targets it has a line-of-sight to.  It’s not  a
              great player otherwise.  This AI buys weapons that have the best
              economical yield, but during the game  it  will  select  weapons
              which have the highest yield.

              This  AI  is  similar  to  the  Shooter,  except a Spreader buys
              weapons with the highest yield, without regard for the price.

              This AI chooses a victim.  Once chosen, the victim  is  attacked
              until  they  are dead, or the Chooser loses the ability to reach
              the victim. This AI does not need line-of-sight, but fortunately
              it cannot compensate for wind.

              This  AI is like Chooser, except a Calculater can compensate for
              the wind.  These guys are fairly deadly in a  fight;  they  also
              tend to allocate large budgets to defense and offense.

              This  AI  goes  for  weapons  that  will cause as much damage as
              possible, without much regard for individual victims.   This  AI
              prefers  spread  weapons to the more focused, precision weapons.
              A few Annihilaters can clear the  terrain  easily.   These  AI’s
              don’t  worry  about  defenses  too much.  With their destructive
              tendency, they won’t survive long  anyway  -  but  neither  will
              anyone else.

              No one knows what this AI thinks...

              This  selects  one of the above AI’s at random, but you will not
              be informed which AI was selected.



       Number of Players (integer, 2-10)
              Set the number of players participating in the game.

       Number of Rounds (integer, >= 1)
              Set the number of rounds to play for this game.

       AI Type (list)
              Select the AI type.  Human players are ‘‘Human’’; the  remaining
              AI’s are documented above.

       Player Name (string)
              Give a unique name for each player.

       Tank Style (list)
              Select the type/shape of the tank, for each player.


       Interest Rate (float, 0-0.30)
              Interest rate for savings, compounded once per round.

       Dynamic Interest (toggle)
              If enabled, interest rates will change during the game.

       Initial Cash (integer, 0-1000000)
              Amount of money each player should start with.

       AIs Can Buy (toggle)
              If  enabled, computers are permitted to buy items.  The AI’s are
              very uninteresting if this option is turned off.

       AIs Buy Aggressively (toggle)
              If the previous option is  enabled,  the  AI’s  will  buy  items
              conservatively.  With this option, the AI’s will allocate larger
              budgets and buy bigger items early in the game.

       Free Market (toggle)

       Scoring (list)
              Specify how  scoring  works,  selecting  from  Basic,  Standard,
              Greedy,  or  possibly other methods defined in the configuration
                   Basic    Players only receive money for kills and survival.
                   Standard Players receive less money for kills and survival,
                            but they will also receive money for  damaging  an
                   Greedy   Players  are paid as in Standard scoring, but with
                            bonuses for unused inventory at  the  end  of  the

       The Lottery (toggle)
              If the lottery is enabled, there will be a random drawing at the
              start of each round.  A random player will receive a bundle of a
              random  weapon  for  free as the lottery award.  This is a great
              way to inject a little extra  life  into  AIs  who  are  usually
              conservative  buyers.  Plus it’s always great fun when you get a
              free Annihilator...


       Air Viscosity (float)

       Gravity (float, 0-10)
              Specify the gravity, in pixels per cycle squared (one  cycle  is
              roughly 50 milliseconds).

       Ground Damping (float, 0-10)
              Specify the ground damping, used in tunnelling calculations.

       Maximum Wind Speed (float, 0-10)
              Specify  the  maximum  wind  speed, in pixels per cycle squared.
              The actual wind velocity is initialised once per round, to  some
              value in (-max, max).

       Wind is Dynamic (toggle)
              Normally  the wind remains constant through a round.  If this is
              enabled, the wind will change once per turn.

       Suspend Dirt (percentage)

       Tanks Fall (percentage)

       Borders Extend (integer, >= 0)
              This specifies how far off-screen  weapons  should  be  tracked,
              when  you  are  playing with no walls.  When this value is zero,
              weapons will disappear as soon as they leave the screen  in  the
              horizontal  direction, even if wind would have brought them back

       Walls Are (list)
              Specify how weapons behave when they hit a boundary.  Note,  the
              ground  is  always  ‘‘concrete’’ -- this specifies how the sides
              and ceiling behave:
                   None       The sides and ceiling are open.
                   Concrete   All  sides  are  solid.   Weapons  hitting   any
                              boundary will explode.
                   Padded     Weapons  hitting  the  sides  and  ceiling  will
                              bounce off, although at a reduced velocity.
                   Rubber     Weapons hitting the boundary will bounce off  at
                              exactly the same velocity.
                   Springy    Weapons  hitting  the  boundary  will bounce off
                              with an additional ‘‘kick’’ to the velocity.
                   Wraparound The ceiling is open.  Weapons going off one side
                              will  reappear on the opposite side.  Explosions
                              will  also  wrap  around  the  screen  if   they
                              detonate near an edge.
                   Random     One  of the above types of walls are selected at


       Sky (list)
              Specify the background sky.

       Hostile Environment (toggle)

       Land Generator (list)
              Specify the generator to use to create the land.

       Bumpiness (percentage)
              Specify the noise on the generated landscape.


       Arms Level (integer, 0-4)
              Specify the maximum arms level for the game.  Only weapons  with
              this  arms  level or lower may be purchased by any player, under
              normal circumstances.

       Bomb Icon Size (integer, 0-4)
              Specify the size of the bomb icons, while  they  are  traversing
              their  path  in  the  sky.   This  does  not  affect the size of
              explosions, or the size of the smoke paths (if  trace  paths  is

       Tunneling (toggle)
              If  set,  weapons  are  allowed  to tunnel through land.  If you
              enable this, you will want to buy contact triggers if you want a
              particular  weapon  to  always  detonate  on  impact (instead of
              tunneling through land).

       Scaling (float)
              Scale the size of explosions by this value.   If  playing  on  a
              very large or very small playing field, you might want to adjust
              this value.

       Trace Paths (toggle)
              If enabled, all weapons leave a  smoke  trail  to  reveal  their
              trajectory.   If  this  option  is  off, you can still use Smoke
              Tracers to determine the path a weapon will take.

       Useless Items (toggle)
              Some weapons are not  useful  given  the  current  configuration
              (e.g.    contact   triggers   are  irrelevant  if  tunneling  is
              disabled).  If this option is enabled, then weapons  which  will
              have no effect are not listed in the inventory screens.


       Screen Width (integer)
              Set the width of the playing field, in pixels.

       Screen Height (integer)
              Set the height of the playing field, in pixels.

       Dithering (toggle)
              If  enabled,  the land and sky gradients will be dithered.  This
              option is particularly useful  on  16-bit  displays,  where  the
              gradient is very noticeable otherwise.  This does slow down land
              generation somewhat.

       Animation (toggle)
              If enabled, explosions and other effects will be animated.  This
              option can also be controlled from the System Menu.

       Graphics Are Fast (toggle)
              If  enabled,  all graphics are always as fast as possible.  This
              option can also be controlled from the System Menu.

       Computers Are Fast (toggle)
              If enabled, graphics are fast when there only  computer  players
              are  alive.   This option can also be controlled from the System

       Gameplay Options:

       Mode (list)
              Determines if all players will fire at  once  (Synchronous),  or
              whether each player will fire independently (Sequential).

       Teams (list)

       Order (list)
              Determines the player order.

       Talk Mode (list)
              Determines who is allowed to talk.

       Talk Probability (percentage)
              Determines the likelihood that a player will speak at the end of
              a turn.

       Extended Status (toggle)
              If set, the  status  bar  will  contain  an  additional  row  of
              extended information during the game (things such as trigger and
              battery inventories, life, wind).

       Tooltips (toggle)
              If set, tooltips will be displayed where available.

       AI Controller:

       Human Target Practice (toggle)
              AI’s will always prefer human targets to AI targets (except  for
              AI’s  that fire at random).  When playing against 9 Calculators,
              this can make your day pretty lousy.

       Allow Offset Targetting (toggle)
              Generally, when a weapon hits a shield it does less damage  than
              an  explosion  detonating  right  outside  the  shield  (weapons
              hitting the shield do not have  a  chance  to  detonate).   This
              changes  the  AI  targetting behaviour so they will deliberately
              aim outside the shield, if  their  intended  victim  has  raised

       Always Offset (toggle)
              If  the  above  option  is set, this option will force the AI to
              always offset  its  targetting  as  if  the  player  had  raised
              shields.   This  allows the AI to compensate for cases where the
              player may simply not have had their turn yet to raise  shields.
              The  downside is the AI will never attempt to score a direct hit
              with this option enabled.

       Enable Scan Refinement (toggle)
              If set, harder AIs are allowed to refine their  trajectories  by
              computing  trajectories  that take into account player shielding
              effect and various other factors they do not normally  consider.
              This  option  could  slow  down gameplay a bit but makes the AIs
              much more difficult.

       No Budget Constraints (toggle)
              AI’s will spend as much money as they  can,  disregarding  their
              budget preferences.

       Sound Setup:

       Enable Sound (toggle)
              When set, music and sound effects will be played.

       Use HQ Mixer (toggle)
              When set, mikmod’s high-quality mixer will be used.


       --help Display  a brief synopsis of the command-line options available.

              This is insanity, Max!  Or what if it’s genius?

              Display weapon yields, and economical yields.

              Specify an initial window geometry for xscorch, where w  is  the
              width  and  h  is  the  height of the playing field.  Useful for
              displays less than around 800x600 resolution.  Note this  option
              overrides  the settings in the config file, but you can save the
              new options to your config file so you  don’t  have  to  specify
              this every time.  You may also use -g.

              Load an alternate user config file, in file.

              Enable music and sound effects.  You may also use -S.

              Disable music and sound effects.  You may also use -s.

              Enable use of the high-quality mixer, if sound is enabled.  This
              may use a lot of CPU power on older machines.

              Disable use of the high-quality mixer, if sound is enabled.

       --name Set the name of your player, if you  are  initiating  a  network
              game.  By default, your user name is used.

       --port Set  the  port  number to use in a network game.  This option is
              only relevant if you also specify  --client  or  --server.   The
              default  is  dependent on the protocol number, but is some large
              port number.

              Start xscorch in client  mode,  and  connect  to  server  (which
              should  already  be  running).   If  --name  and  --port are not
              specified, reasonable defaults are used.

              Start xscorch in server mode, and wait for connections from  the
              clients.   --name may be used in conjunction to specify the name
              of this player.


       This is very unstable right now, and therefore is not documented.


              User’s default configuration for xscorch.

              Profile bitmaps for the tanks, usually stored in the local share


       The  xscorch  home  page  at  <>.  There is also
       additional documentation in the source distribution.


       xscorch was written by Justin David Smith  <justins(at)>  and
       Jacob  Luna  Lundberg <jacob(at)>.  (Please do not list these
       e-mail addresses on webpages, or list them in other  packages,  without
       contacting us first.)

       This manual page written by Justin David Smith <justins(at)>.
       Copyright(c) 2001,2000 Justin David Smith.