Provided by: xscorch_0.2.1-1+nmu1_amd64 bug


       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

       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

       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

       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

       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

       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 10.

       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 prematurely.

       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 only.

       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 screen.

       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 tank...

       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 Fodder''.

              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

       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 file:
                   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 opponent.
                   Greedy   Players are paid as in Standard scoring, but with bonuses for  unused
                            inventory at the end of the round.

       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


       Air Viscosity (float)

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

       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 on-screen.

       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
                   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 random.


       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 on).

       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

       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 Menu.

       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.   A  restart  is  required  to
              change the value of this option.

       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 shields.

       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

       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 directory.


       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.