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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  EIF (1)

.Th EIF 1


eif - Empire InterFace


     What is eif?
     What doesn’t eif do?
     Runtime Options
General Syntax
     Command Level
     Secondary Input
     Other Things
     Example .eifrc
See Also


eif [-r] [-D varname value] [game]


    What is eif?

The eif program is an alternative to the empclient that comes with the Wolfpack Empire server. eif supports aliases with parameters, command history, substitution, etc. (Courtesy of GNU readline), variables, rudimentary conditionals and various forms of file redirection, piping and execution.

    What doesn’t eif do?

eif does not play your game for you. Use GEET or Xemp. eif knows next to nothing about the game of empire. eif does not use Xwindows, Sunview, etc. It is command line based.


The variable "AUTOGAME" is set if there is a game name specified in the runtime options. I.E.,

    eif mygame

would be equivalent to

    setvar AUTOGAME mygame

from the eif command prompt.

When the last line in the .eifrc file is:

    connect ${AUTOGAME:?}

an autoconnect function is served.

    Runtime Options

The following options are available: -D varname value Equivalent to "setvar varname value" on the eif command prompt. -r Disable reading of $HOME/.eifrc at startup.


There are 2 types of input. First, command level. This is the normal input. The second is "secondary" input, in which a command asks you a question. Such as doing a "map" command without specifying a range.

    Command Level

Any line with a "#" as the first non-space character is a comment line, and is ignored. Any line with a "&" as the first non-space character is marked as only for secondary input, and is ignored. More on this later.

"$var"s are replaced with the value of the variable "var". See below.

Leading spaces on a command line are ignored, and not sent to empire.

Multiple commands may be entered on the same line, with the commands seperated by a ";" character. IE, "nation ; power" will perform a nation, then a power command. ";"s inside of quoted strings (") are ignored for this.

(NOTE that ";" will not seperate lines inside of telegrams and announcements. Otherwise you can’t get ";" into them. Not sure if this is proper, but....)

Output is redirected using ">".
  direct this command’s output into the file "fname". File must NOT exist. Command aborted if it does.
  this command’s output is appended to the file "fname". The file may or may not exist.
  this command’s output written to the file "fname". Any existing data in the file is wiped.
Redirection supports ~/filename.

Piping is supported, through the "|" type syntax.

    list | more

will pipe the list command into more. Piping supports ~/filename.

Aliases are supported. If the first non-space string on a command line matches an alias, the string is replaced with the alias. NOTE that string in this context can have any characters but spaces, not withstanding any other special characters. (#,&,!!,^)

Command history is supported.
^p moves backwards in command history.
^n moves forewards in command history.
!! repeat last command.
!str repeat last command which started with "str".
!?str? repeat last command which contained "str".
!n repeat the nth command, where n is a number.
!-n repeat the nth previous command, where n is a number.
^s1^s2 repeat the previous command, replacing string s1 with string s2.
Other variants. Read the "history.texinfo" in the readline directory. And "readline.texinfo". Exec files are supported, along with exec’s inside of execs.

    Secondary Input

This is input that commands request. IE, asking questions that you didn’t answer in the command line, or were unable to answer until the command was started.

This creates problems for exec files, aliases, etc, since you are not always sure how many questions will be asked. Thus, you can mark secondary input lines with a leading "&". This prevents the secondary input lines as being attempted as commands.

IE, "read >>read ; &y ; &n" will avoid that annoying problem of telegrams arriving while reading.

And, "build plane 16,2 ; &fighter 2 ; & " fixed the problem of not being able to specify multiword entries in a single line. (Typing "build plane 16,2 fighter 2 100" would try to build you a ’fighter 1’ at tech 2.) This example is outdated now.

leading spaces are removed.
  Spaces after the "&", as well as the "&", are removed.
trailing spaces are removed.
  ("ssm 2 " is not == "ssm 2".)

This preconditioning is not done for telegrams and announcements, through a special case which examines the prompt string.


If one the characters ’$’ ’;’ ’"’ ’#146; is not to be parsed by eif, it can be escaped with a \. Note that a ’$’ can also be escaped as "${}".


’alias’ list all the aliases
’alias word’ show what alias ’word’ is.
’alias word command’ create/change alias ’word’ to command.
’alias word command ’ ditto, but the "s are removed. Allows embedding of several commands inside one alias. ie, ’alias dd "dump #0 >!dmp; map #0 >!map"’

’unalias word’ delete the alias for ’word’, if it exists.

The variables $0, $1, $2, ... are supported for aliases. They are the "words" in the command that the alias is working on.

Also, these variables can be conditional.
${N:-word} uses "word" if argument N does not exist.
${N:?word} prints out "word" and aborts command if N does not exist.
${N:+word} uses nothing if argument N does not exist.

"words" are space delimited, or surrounded by "s.


    local% alias tt echo 0-$0 1-$1 2-$2

    local% tt a b c d e f

    0-tt 1-a 2-b c d e f

    local% tt a b c d e f

    0-tt 1-a b 2-c d e f


exec filename execute the commands in "filename".

exec’s are allowed to be recursive, but at this time there is a minor bug when the exec file ends on secondary input. Input is redirected to stdin, and not the calling exec file. Fixed some day.

Output redirection handles recursive execs.


$$ process id.
$< read from stdinput.
${} a literal $.
${<:%word} read from stdinput, using "word" as a prompt.
$%name retrieve "name" from the runtime environment, using getenv().
$name replace with value of "name".

${name} replace with value of name.
${name:-word} if name is not set, or null, use "word" instead.
${name:=word} if name is not set, or null, use "word", and set variable to "word".
${name:?word} if name not set, or null, print "word" and abort command.
${name:+word} if name not set, or null, substitute nothing.
${name:%word} use "word" as prompt if "name" == "<". ":%word" ignored elsewhere.

setvar name string
setvar name string
setvar name
unsetvar name

If %name is used instead of name as first argument to either setvar or unsetvar, the environment is used instead of eif’s local variable scope.


The current list of commands are:
alias setting aliases.
unalias remove an alias.
echo print out the rest of the line.
beep make a beep.
games show the games that are configure in.
addgame add a game.
connect connect to a game.
kill kill a hung game process. (Only works if server supports it.)
try try a country/rep at a given game.
trykill kill a hung game process for a country/rep at a given game.
exit quit the program
cmdlist list these commands
exec execute a file. Supports ~/filename.
runfeed execute a program, and use its output as eif commands.
history display a listing of the command history.
setvar set a variable.
unsetvar delete a variable.
@ pass the rest of the command off to the system to execute.
if Uses /bin/test, and stops at endif. Disables command if test returns false. Can be nested. Cannot span exec files.
elseif Next case in an if sequence, same testing as ’if’.
else Last case in an if sequence.
endif Ends an ’if’ sequence.

The file "$HOME/.eifrc" is read in and executed as an exec file.

    Other Things

When "connecting" to a game, the program does a chdir to the directory specified in the "addgame" command. Thus, you can have multiple games, in multiple directories, so that your data files for things like "ve" don’t get messed up. NOTE that the directory name in "addgame" is relative to your home directory.


    Example .eifrc

# Games
addgame cvis 6789 visitor visitor .empire.chg
addgame zvis 5678 visitor visitor .empire.zeb

# Read system eifrc exec /usr/local/lib/eif/eifrc.include

# Prevent name clashes by defining abbreviations ourselves alias   ex      "expl c ${1} 1" alias   pl      plane alias   sh      ship alias   m       map alias   b       bmap alias   sh      ship alias   x       exit alias   c       connect

# Run the sat command on all planes in wing S (see eifrc.include) alias   sats    "pwith S do sat \[\]"

# If a game was passed as argument, connect to it. conn ${AUTOGAME:?}




By far most of the code is from the original author: Doug Hay. Very little has been modified, but most of that is done by Marc Olzheim (
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