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Arcadia is a mini-game launcher created by Dan Samuel (AKA Samsyn/Uncle Dan) from Synthetic Reality. It supports a wad of arcade-like features, hence its name. It currently features 12 little games referred to as toys by fellow Arcadians. The toys' lineup includes synSpace, a simple spaceship shootout, or Empyrion which will introduce you to a real-time war simulation played by player-crafted sets of units known as empires. Or you can take a break from playing a game and you can share your favorite images with other players via synVideo, and more!

What makes this game unique is that, just like Well of Souls, most aspects of the games can be freely modified by players. You can make a really challgenging arena map for synSpace to play with other players, or you can make yourself a nice set of cards to use for synSpades. Of course, you can collect some of your favorite character images to impress fellow players with your face, or your avatar. While you can play the game without actually creating anything of your own, you can have as twice to one hundred times as much fun if you do!

To get Arcadia, visit Synthetic Reality and go to the Arcadia section of the website. Download the installer, then follow the instruction to install a fresh copy of Arcadia right on your computer!

Now, launch Arcadia. You are introduced a rather uninteresting intro of Arcadia title flowing (click to skip), followed by a window like this.

Account Selection

This is the account selection window. Since you do not have an account yet, you should click "Add Account" to create your username. This username is what you will be known as to the rest of the community; the information includes your name (duh), face, net play time (often called age) and ratings for various games in Arcadia, in per account basis.
I recommend not to set a password at your account at this time, because often you might want to switch servers, and without the password you can do so more quickly. A password is probably only required if you have a goofy person who you share your computer with (most typically your brother or sister), and you don't want him or her to mess with your name online. See our FAQ section for more about passwords.

That random number written on the bar at the top is your user ID, a randomly generated number when you first launch Arcadia. This is to identify players you have met online easily and accurately. While being rare, you may encounter another player with the same name as you. Or some malicious rulebreakers may create an account with your name and your stolen face, and say it's you. Some say that age can be used to distinguish between players, but comparing user ID is a better way to prevent such confusion; since you and your copycat would have a different user ID, it is much easier to identify who's who.

Once you create an account, go ahead and sign in! You should then see the network setup window, which looks like the image below:

Where would you like to play today?

Here, you can select the method in which you would like to connect with, or configure your option. "Solo Mode" will generate a local game just for you, so no network is necessary at all. If this is your first play, I recommend playing solo-mode first and fetching toys of your choice (explained below), and you're all set to connect online and start playing with other players!

For available network options, you will see the following in the pulldown box:

  • Any Public MIX Game Server: This is the easiest, widest and the best recommended method to play online. All you have to do is pick a server you want to join, and voila! You can also set up your own server on your PC, so you can play with your rule on the server (e.g. specifying the game exclusively for your server), or you can just serve for other players to use. As Dan speaks for himself, "Play God!"
  • <Please Ignore This Entry>: An ancient multiplayer option that no longer works in Arcadia.
  • Modem: This is a two-player only option where using your modem, you can directly dial your friend's modem to get connected!
  • IPX LAN: If you have your IPX protocol set up, you can get your co-workers inside your LAN to play. Otherwise, don't worry about it, as it's not used very often.
  • TELNET: Use this option if you have a specific player or private server you want to connect, and know its IP address. Great if you want to play online secretly!
  • Null-modem Cable: This is for two computers directly connected via a null-modem cable. This may sound useful in certain cases, but I've never tried it before, so it's best left alone.

In whatever ways, once you are connected, you will be joining the other players in the toys they are currently playing. If no toy was chosen, you will be taken to this screen:

Toy Selection

This is the toy selection screen. When you are the moderator (explained later), which you'll probably be when you're the only player, you get to choose the toy for the server! Otherwise, it is the job of the player in moderatorship at the time. You can also download (commonly refered to as "fetch") and update any new toys at this screen. Make sure to check for any updates on a regular basis. Currently, there are a total of 12 toys available for you to fetch and play:

  • synPool: Play a classic game of pool, a supposed multiplayer game that features a few in-game options and free 360 angle 3D camera. Nothing special, but it's easy to play.
  • synJet: A simple 3D flying simulator where you pilot a cessna to complete missions and gain ranks. The missions aren't fully functioning, but this can be played in multiplayer to chase each other around and shoot.
  • synChess: Just as the name suggests, this is chess in Arcadia. The game comes with bots of different strengths, and a rating system to show how well you are playing.
  • Empyrion: This is one great real-time strategical war simulation game! It's basically a homage to Command & Conquer (as Dan himself wrote), but with modifyable sets of units called empires, which anyone can create with effort and dedication!
  • DomiNation: DomiNation is the Arcadia version of the boardgame Risk, a turns-based simulation using dices to invade and dominate the whole map. Luck is vitally important to survive through.
  • synSpades: This is a multiplayer card game played with four people, where you bet for how many tricks you can take in that round. Unlike what it sounds like, synSpades is one very tense and hilarious action.
  • synSpace: A simple wireframed 3D (2D, actually, but the visual is 3D) game where you pilot your customizable spaceship and shoot all your opponents to death. Or you could play a CTF based game. Being a simple yet fun game, synSpace is one of the most played toy in Arcadia.
  • synVille: A strange replica of SimCity, synVille is (supposedly) a "Battle of the Cities". As of time being this toy is not yet multiplayer, but it is still fun fooling around with the silliest city you can ever make.
  • synVideo: Oddly enough, this "toy" is not a game, but is a simple JPEG image swapping utility, complete with webcam compatibility. The basic idea is to show others your webcam photos, but you are free to share your other favorite images, as long as they are JPEG.
  • TurnAbout: This is one heck of a new nifty toy Dan is vigorously working on! Behold, this is the "mini-game creator" that uses LuA as its scripting language - that's right, you create your own game and share it online!
  • Collaboration: Got what it takes to be a writer? Then try Collaboration, a fun game where players show their piece of a short story, then vote for the best one, eventually building into one long and great story. Authors? You (and your friends)!
  • synJam: Get together with your friends and form a little band session of your own making! synJam is a MIDI music player, in which players can add inprovised tunes over it, with the instrument (channel patch actually) of their choice!

Upon entering the server, you will see a neat player list on your lower-right corner.

Players List

Player name should be self-explanatory. However, it is worth knowing that a player with a Golden Soul has his/her name shown in orange (Dan says it's gold, but it looks orange to me). Age is how long that player has played so far. ID numbers are what makes players unique, and are randomly generated, making identification between players of similar or exactly the same name easy, as well as making impersonation easy to find out. ID numbers are usually a random eight-digit mixture of numerals and letters A-F. A Golden Soul player will have special ID numbers that begin with SOUL and the number the player has bought the Golden Soul. Some toys may have some additional information displayed on the list, such as ratings and personal scores. The bars at the lower-right is the incoming and outgoing packet, or how much information has been transferred into and out from your computer.

In front of the player names are the smiley icons. These indicate the current emotions of the players, as well as some minor status:

  • Away from Keyboard (AFK): The player is inactive. This is often referred as AFK. When someone types the name of the AFK player, he/she will respond with an auto-message. This message can be specified using the "/AFK" command, or if no message is specified, "I am away from keyboard." is used.
  • Speech, listen only: The player has set the microphone setting and can listen to incoming microphone messages.
  • Speech, push to talk: The player has set the microphone settings and can listen and speak freely on the microphone.
  • Fetching face: The game is currently attempting to download the face from this player.
  • Face Unknown: You do not have the face for this player. You have not fetched the face from this player yet, or the fetching attempt has failed.

There may be some special icons to the left of the smileys that can be used to identify special people (including yourself):

  • You: A star will be shown next to your name.
  • Moderator: A crown next to the player's name denotes the server's current moderator. This icon is always shown and can override other icons. More details on moderator later.
  • Muted: You have muted this player. No incoming message from this player will be shown in your chatbox while muting.
  • Buddies: You can mark any player you see in Arcadia as a "buddy" as your personal identifier. This is local and the marked player will not be notified that he/she has been marked as a buddy. Marking anyone a buddy does NOT signify that you have made that player a friend, which many players get confused. This can be used to mark your Empyrion allies, watch out for some nasty person, etc. You may mark other players as Heart, Shield, Dunce, Bones, Moon, Topper, Flower, or Cipher buddy.

In each server, a player can make him/herself the moderator, or "mod" for short, of that server. Only one player can be the moderator simultaneously in a server. Anyone can be the moderator of the server - the host of the server isn't necessarily the moderator (although the admin would still have omnipotent control over the server). The first player to enter an empty server will automatically be the moderator. Whenever the server is missing a moderator (usually when the moderator player leaves the server), players may right-click on their name to make themselves the moderator of the server. So basically, the moderatorship is first-come, first-serve (but not entirely true... hint hint).

When a player becomes the moderator, he/she is given the following abilities:

  • Players will always see messages from the moderator (cannot be muted). You're the boss for the day, so you deserve to be listened by all!
  • If no toys are chosen, the moderator can pick and load the toy.
  • The moderator gets to decide the rules for the multiplayer toys. You have the ability to specify the playing map for synSpace, start the game of DomiNation, kick a player from synSpades, etc.
  • In Empyrion, it is the master who has the ability to pick the rules and start the game. A moderator, however, instead has the power to kill the game in progress and immediately end it.
  • A moderator may give away moderatorship to any active player at any given time. Do this when you don't feel like bossing around anymore.

If a moderator stays AFK for too long, the game will take moderatorship away from him/her, although it is never notified to other players via system messages. When this happens, any other player can claim him/herself the moderatorship. For the same reason, you cannot make an AFK player a new mod (although you can make yourself the mod while AFK).

Please bear in mind that a moderator is an average player just like anybody else, and will not be given any unfair advantage over the game, or cheat in any way. A moderator does not have an ability to kick/ban any player from the server, either. That is the job of the Admin, the REAL boss.

If you happened to become the moderator, you should act civilized and listen to what the other players want. Just because you can pick any maps you want in synSpace, it doesn't mean you may randomly panic around the maps to purposely create chaos. No one wants to play with a selfish moderator's rule. An ideal moderator knows how to have fun with everybody, not just for his/her own sake.

Function Buttons

As a common feature for Arcadia throughout the gameplay, the game has the function buttons on top of the screen to guide you through many useful (or cute) functions for your benefit (or for fun).

  • Log Off: Leave the server and go back to the sign in screen. This is faster than closing and re-launching Arcadia.
  • Toy Screen: Switches to toy screen.
  • Park Screen: Switches to park screen.
  • Browser Screen: Switches to web browser
  • Player Diary: Opens the Player Diary of all the players you have seen.
  • Speech/Microphone Setup: Opens the speech/microphone setup window.
  • Chat Macro Editor: Opens the chat macro editor to help you type certain phrases quickly.
  • Visit Arcadia Homepage: Launches web browser and goes to SynReal's Arcadia website.
  • Visit Arcadia BBS: Launches web browser and goes to Arcadia BBS.
  • Donate Synthetic Reality: Launches web browser and goes to donate page.
  • Visit Current Toy's Webpage: Launches web browser and goes to the page for current toy.
  • Emotion Controller: Controls your current emotion.
  • Choose Face: Opens the face selection window that lets you browse and choose the image to use for your face.
  • Font Setup: Opens the font setup window.
  • General Preferences: Opens the general preference window.
  • Toy Preferences: Opens the toy-specific preference window. Some toys do not have preferences.
  • About Arcadia: Opens the "About Arcadia" window. Check what version of Arcadia you have here.

The Arcadian Diary is the archive of information of all the players you have seen. In here you can browse a few details of a player, like the player's bio (edited in the network setup window), when you first and last saw him/her, hours played, and so on.

To access the Diary, click on the Player Diary function button, or double click in the player list the name of the player you wish to know about. You will see a window like this:

Player Diary

The Diary will automatically save all of the players you see on Arcadia, so as you play, you will have built up quite a large (and reliable) almanac of player. Having said that, the Diary will come in handy when identifying someone you've never seen before, but you feel you know that person.

You may sort your diary by name and user ID. When you're looking for a certain player, you may want to first browse by name, and then look up his/her ID, in case you see more than one person with the same name. Trust me, I have seen TONS of Links, Zeros, Yugis, and Sephiroths.

Now, how does the Diary help you in identifying some cheap plays? When you see a name you don't recognize, but you're sure it is actually someone you know who is playing under a different name, double click on their name, and sort your diary by ID. If you see another name with the exactly same ID, bingo, you've blown the cover. In other words, if you see multiple people with the same ID, it is same to assume that they all the same person.

Of course, this technique is not 100% accurate, as there are a number of ways to get around this, and, although very unlikely, extremely rarely two people may get the same ID. But in general, remember that you can't spam the server under a different name and pretend it wasn't you, because people will easily find out.

Messin' with the ducks and a servebot

The park is actually one of the three "screens" Arcadia can simultaneously run, the other two being the main toy screen and the web browser. In the park, you can interact with the other players in a few mini-game (in a mini-game launcher!)

To access the park, click on the Visit Park function button. This can be done at any time, regardless of what toy is being played. You may use your arrow keys to run around in this large plain. You may hold Shift to speed up your movement. Hold Ctrl to "strafe" or sidestep left and right. Also, press PageUp/Down to adjust the height of your camera.

On the top-right of the park screen is the overview map of the park. You may use this to find out where the other players are in the park. If you want to locate a certain player, click and highlight his/her name on the player list. This will cause a 'crosshair' to be shown on the player. Also, a green needle will appear on the compass above you, showing the direction of that player (much like synJet), so you can use that to run straight to him/her.

Once you've rounded up with a couple of your friends, you may play a few mini-games, which can be selected by clicking the buttons inside the "Sports" tab:

  • Tag: I hope you know this game well enough so I don't have to write about it. When you're 'it', click on the other player's face (NOT the player list!) to tag him/her. You will not be able to tag others for a second or so after you were tagged. The "it" will have the red shadow instead of green.
  • Splat: This is basically paintball. Click on the others' face (again, NOT the player list) to throw a paintball. You can only throw one ball every few seconds, so don't keep clicking on the screen to death. You may change the color of the paintball by clicking the color palette.
    Whether the ball hits or misses is entirely random; running like crazy won't really help you in dodging the balls. Although that will give your opponent a hard time even clicking on you. So the challenge here is to constantly move around, trying not to be clicked as much as possible, AND clicking on the opponent at the same time. I personally recommend strafing, just like you would when playing Doom or Counter-Strike (but are you really gonna try THAT hard in a mini-game?).
  • Duck Feeding: A prefered game of duck-lovers and loners (just kidding...). Click on the ground to throw some duck food (you can change the color if you want). Eventually a couple of ducks will fly to you, depending on how much food you've thrown. If you want a lot of ducks, just keep feeding them.
    Please note that the ducks are not visible to others. So typing out "hey look, so many ducks around my face :)" will most likely make you look stupid.

You may only interact with other players who are playing the same toy, in which case the player's shadow will be colored green. You cannot throw paintballs to a harmless player who isn't even playing (just like how PKers cannot attack NonPKers in WoS).

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