blog.calmerllama.com

“Fragile Allegiance” Hints and Tips

by on Feb.23, 2010, under PC Game Hints & Tips, PC Retro Gaming

Surviving in the Fragmented Sectors.

This article was originally published in Computer Games Strategy Plus magazine.

Ok … so you’re a real-time strategy gamer and you’re looking for fresh challenges. You’ve grown sick and tired of Orcs muttering “zug zug” under their breath, KKND’s giant scorpions have you checking under the bed each night, and Tanya’s twin 45s inspire deep contemplation of the physical attributes of Lara Croft. Time to don your spacesuit, shoot up some tranqs and commence your illustrious financial career within the asteroid fields of Interplay’s Fragile Allegiance. Managing a TetraCorp franchise can be a real trial at times; the workers are restless, there are half a dozen alien races vying for the same minerals, and the user interface is a veritable “click-fest” at the best of times. To give prospective franchisees a head start in the Fragmented Sectors, here are some pointer’s that Miss Fong kindly passed o­n to me during my in-system “lay over” at the ambassador’s dome last month.

Financial considerations
You’re now the proud owner of a TetraCorp franchise and, as such, are expected to make a profit no matter the cost. Whether it’s via the legal ore market, trading with aliens or using the black-market, your superiors will be justifiably happy so long as the creds keep rolling in. The budget system is o­ne of the quirks of the mega-corporations; it serves absolutely no financial purpose other than to irritate you when the money is not allocated for the intended purpose. The easiest way to handle finances is to perform tasks en masse within o­ne budget before shifting to another; you can therefore keep all of your operating funds in that account until you’re finished. Sell as much ore as you can during the first year; you’re not likely to bump into too many aggressive aliens so weapons procurement isn’t a priority. Just make sure you keep the personnel security budget in the black in case an ex-supervisor decides to take up tachyon bomb juggling after you’ve sacked him!

Trading o­n the black market is another practical way to make money; feel free to make acquaintances with drug runners, smugglers and the like as they provide additional income while you’re waiting for the Federal Transporter to return from Terra.

Colony development
Try to colonize as many asteroids as you can early in the game; they provide a rapid income base and there is absolutely no reason to indulge in slow expansion. Construct any necessary shipyards and weapons factories to create a handful of scout vehicles; you can use them to quarter the sectors around your home colony looking for new asteroids. Unless you’re playing in an Aggressive atmosphere (or you’re a Chicago Bulls fan in Utah), you won’t need to indulge in any other ship-building during the first half year of the game.

Once you’ve arrived o­n a new world, build the following installations: Resiblock, Security Center, Radiation Filter, Air Processor, Environmental Control, Hydroponics Plant, Hydration Plant, and Solar Generator (go for a Solar Matrix o­nce you buy it from SciTek). The aforementioned buildings will ensure that your colony is self-sufficient … at least until the first natural disaster occurs.

Mining is the most important activity you’ll perform; depending o­n the value of the asteroid you’ve landed o­n, you can determine how many mines to deploy. The choice asteroids (those with Traxium and/or Nexos) are probably worth o­nly o­ne or two Seismic Penetrators due to the low amounts of ore available. The middle range (yellow) ores are best mined with three to four Deep Bore Mines.

Once you have strip mined an asteroid, you have several choices; you can either abandon them (by destroying all your installations and spacing the workers), or use them as forward military bases and/or ore-transhipment points. In either case, you should probably destroy the mines to make room for the new military installations you will want to deploy.

Sci-Tek purchases
Sci-Tek specialises in a wide range of highly classified and restricted weaponry and equipment. While many of the items are useful (and in some cases, essential), there are some that should be avoided. In the power field, you will rarely find a need for Powerplants or Hi-Energy Power Stores; instead, purchase Solar Matrices and Power Amplifiers. Similarly, the Asteroid Tracker is a pointless piece of equipment; just scan the play-field to calculate the asteroid vectors when required.

Supervisors and agents
As you have probably noticed, the user interface isn’t as seamless as it could be; o­nce you have half a dozen or more asteroids colonised and are being inundated with messages every few seconds, you’ll be punching more buttons than Homer Simpson during a reactor meltdown! Luckily, TetraCorp has provided you with a collection of miscreants and renegades euphemistically called supervisors. These individuals are a mixed blessing, varying in quality from presidential personal assistant to altar boy. If you do elect to hire o­ne, choose o­ne (or more) of the former varieties and assign as many colonies as possible to her. Don’t assign all responsibilities to her or you’ll suddenly discover yourself penniless after she bulk orders a consignment of Pleasure Domes through your procurement department. My personal choices are to assign Power, Radiation and Security maintenance as well as the Asteroid Virus, Collision and Ore/money level warnings. Don’t allow the supervisor to tinker with mining; whatever you build o­n day o­ne is usually sufficient for the life of the asteroid. Keep an eye o­n their stress levels and ensure that adequate funding for their salary is available in the personnel budget. If you are running low o­n funds or they start making their own press releases, you are well within your rights to sack the individual and place them under guard until the Federal Transporter arrives to take them away.

Espionage plays a useful part in the Fragmented Sectors. A well trained agent can provide information o­n alien cultures, sabotage installations, deliver viruses and generally make a nuisance of himself to his unwitting hosts. The o­nly down-side is the high cost of positioning them o­n an enemy asteroid. They are most useful in a pre-emptive strike capacity; for example, you can use o­ne to destroy defensive batteries o­n an enemy colony just before your fleet arrives in bombardment configuration.

Diplomatic initiatives
A practical tool to use when you have few weapons is to open up a dialogue with your alien neighbours. When you first make contact with another species it is useful to attempt to formulate a Non-Aggression Pact. This provides you with a modicum of security without the necessity of spending heavily o­n arms; in most cases your alien counterpart will be willing to do a deal of some sort. Some races appear more “erratic” than others; you will eventually discover those more willing to negotiate with your embassy. Feel free to trade exotic items and ore with your neighbours as well; they sometimes offer good prices for choice items and make for a welcome source of additional income.

Internecine combat
Despite your best efforts, eventually another alien race will take exception to your actions, policies, or lack of eye-stalks and declare war. Luckily there are a few nifty tricks you can use to force your protagonist back to the negotiating table.

Use Asteroid Engines to group your asteroids in clusters; close proximity makes them more defensible. You can also maneuver the aforementioned clusters around the asteroid field, albeit very slowly. Make sure that enough Gravity Nullifiers are active to ensure no “friendly” collisions occur.

Asteroids also make nifty offensive weapons; if you’ve ever read E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen Series, you’ll already have an inkling of what’s in store. It’s simply a matter of maneuvering a pair of rather worthless lumps of rock o­n opposite sides of an enemy asteroid and vectoring them towards each other; the last thing that your Rigellian opponent spies will be a brilliant white flash as his valuable colony vaporises in the collision! Smaller asteroids appear to work better in this capacity as they have higher velocities and are harder to avoid.

Missile strikes make for a useful stand-off attack capability. If you wish a “time o­n target” effect where a large number of missiles impact simultaneously, build multiple launch silos to increase the salvo size and coordinate strikes from multiple colonies.

With fleet actions, it is usually best to keep your eye o­n the conflict as much as possible rather than relying o­n the retreat rating to save your vessels in a sticky situation; a hands-on approach will ensure that you aren’t discomfited by a mandated retreat when o­nly o­ne enemy installation is still standing. Ensure that the fleet’s retreat rating is set to 100and enjoy the show.

That’s it! You’re now well o­n the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur in the Fragmented Sectors. Good luck with TetraCorp … and watch your rocks!

©1997 Strategy Plus, Inc. (reprinted with permission)

Be Sociable, Share!
:, ,

10 Comments for this entry

  • Menaid

    This is one of my favourite games of all time 🙂

  • Calmer Llama

    From memory (and this is quite a while ago) my only big peeve was the game interface. Navigating all those deep full screen menus was a chore. But the game certainly had its moments.

  • mick

    Can anyone get this game working!!!!

    i have tried relentlessly to get a downloaded copy of fragile allegaince working i have of course paid for it and not been bad but to no avail! it loads main menu and then dies as soon as i start to begin gameplay!

    i have bought a cd from good old ebay and will let you know if it works but its rather frustrating as no other rts can compare in my oppinion!

  • Calmer Llama

    I would suggest that you grab a copy of DOSBox (http://www.dosbox.com), which is a free MS-DOS emulator that is excellent for playing old games that just won’t run on today’s hardware. According to the site’s Games directory, Fragile Allegiance will run using the latest version (0.72)! Let us know how you go.

  • pizzabakker

    solution

    hi guys..
    if you have dosbox (which you need for these kind of games nowadays)..

    here is what you do
    unzip (if you downloaded it) the game into c:fragile

    then open dosbox and type these commands
    mount c c:gamesfragile
    mount d c:gamesfragile -t cdrom

    then type fragile.exe and you;re good to gooooooooo

    just don’t do alt tab or hit the windows key

  • Morten

    Running the game

    I found the CD in some basket at the post office for no money whatsoever, and decided to grab it because it looked cool. Understandably, it was hard to get it to run on winXP, but here’s some advice for anyone who don’t know how to use dosbox:

    Open a command prompt. Don’t put your CD in yet, it sometimes crashes if you do. I’ll assume you have your game installed under C/fragile.

    In the prompt, write “CD” (the weird backslash is altgr+< ) "CD FRAGILE" and then just fragile. After the game loads and you find yourself on the main menu screen, pop the CDrom in and press new game! That worked for me.

  • webgurupc

    In my top games too.
    Only prob was that all the new asteriods tend to appear on the left of the screen… so dominate that side and you get all the resources. Once thats done its fleets fleets fleets.
    At the moment I am learning Sins of a Solar Empire and keep wishing it was as good as Fragile. Thus far it isn’t

  • Feerekicwib

    hi, new to the site, thanks.

  • Tonberry Keef

    Got this game from gog.com, having wanted to play it since it was reviewed in the first PC gaming magazine I ever bought, all those years ago.

    I’m still in my early days, but playing on ‘slow’, it’s hard to see how any of the colony supervisors could possibly be worth it. Money is so scarce in the game, and so few asteroids need developing, that it’s hard to see the point. With around 15 asteroids on my last playthrough, only around 6 at a time had any meaningful amount of ore on them, and the opening gambit of one of each life support facility doesn’t ever seem to need upgrades or maintenance. Even if they built the necessary bases for you, that’s a tiny amount of time saved for roughly twice the cost of making them!

  • Calmer Llama

    I got the impression that colony supervisors were added because it wasn’t a straight-forward process switching from screen to screen. A reasonably steep learning curve, lots of choices to make and a circa 1990’s interface adds up to a lot of stress at higher time settings.

    Alas, I don’t believe I ever had the courage to play FA at any speed other than ‘slow’ 🙁

Leave a Reply