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Archive-name: games/vga-planets/mini-faq
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Alt.Games.VGA-Planets mini-FAQ page.

This is the Mini Frequently Asked Questions List (FAQ) for the Usenet 
 Newsgroups Alt.Games.VGA-Planets.The current version of this FAQ is  
posted to Alt.Games.VGA-Planets,alt.answers, and news.answers weekly. 

For more information see the Full VGAP FAQ at  

Subjects covered in this document:  
Introduction - "What is VGA-Planets, what do I need, how do I start?" 
Strategy - Questions about strategy, and why you shouldn't ask me ;-> 
Computer Players - "What are they, where to get them?" 
IRC - "Is there an IRC channel?" 
Spam - "What can I do about Spam?" 
Whiners - "This game sux dude." 
Web pages - "Anyone know of any web pages?" 
FTP - "Where are the FTP sites?" 
Hosts - "I want to play!" 
This page shows you how to set up a trial game against computer  

VGA Planets is a graphical, multi-player, space war game. VGA Planets 
 is designed to be able to handle from two to eleven players in a 
play  by mail (electronic mail) game format. The game is designed to 
be  played as a Net or Bulletin Board System (BBS) game (as long as 
file  transfers are permitted and available), although it can be 
played  solely on one computer. Many of the Net players are playing 
using E- mail and UUENCODE.  

The official homepage is  
This game is made up of two main parts; a Client Program and a Host  
Each of the players needs a Client program to view their results and  
give their orders, and one person uses the Host program to process  
those orders and generate new results. The Client Programs are  
Shareware, the Host Program is Free.  

The game sequence is:  
Host: Runs Master.exe and Hconfig.exe to create a new universe.  
Host: Runs a Host program to generate player files (player*.rst) 
Host: distributes RST files to the players.  
Player: Unpacks their RST file 
Player: Gives their orders with a client program. 
Player: Compiles all the orders they wish to give. (player*.trn) 
Player: Gives TRN files to the Host.  
Host: Runs the Host program to generate the next set of RSTs. 
 ...and so on.  

Client Programs: 
 Planets 3.0: Requires a 286 with Dos and VGA graphics. 
 WinPlan3.5: Requires Windows.  
Shareware Versions of these programs are available at  

Host Programs: 
 The official Host Program is available at :  

 There have also been many, many optional utilities written. These  
fall into the same two categories. 
 Player Utilities help the player by providing more information or  
enabling certain tasks to be done faster. 
 Host Utilities are for hosts, and do things like altering the  
behaviour of the universe, reading passwords for players who have  
forgotten theirs, Artificial Computer players etc, some even replace  
the entire host.exe program.  

A common posting on the newsgroup runs along the lines of:  
"Help! I am playing race X, and I am being attacked by races Y and Z. 
 What should I do?  "
Unfortunately the answer is complicated by such things as  
Are you using the latest version of host, or an earlier one? 
The original Host or PHost? 
What sort of various add-ons are you using? 
What variables has the host changed for your game set-up? 
How good are your opponents? 
In fact there are so many variables that often the answer is a matter 
 of personal preference rather than "the correct answer". A 
discussion  of strategies is therefore beyond the scope of this 
document. The  full FAQ has a strategy section.  

"So what should I do? "
 First read the document files that should have come with the game  
 If you are playing in a game using a 3.2 series host you had better  
read host32.doc because there are a lot of new features that could  
catch you unawares. There are also other documents available at most  
sites that may prove helpful, such as the Dreadlord Battle manual or  
the H files. 
 Best of all, experiment and learn from your own experience!  
"Therefore, I say: Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred  
battles, you will never be defeated. When you are ignorant of the  
enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. 
 If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be  
defeated in every battle." Sun Tzu, "The Art of War" ~500 B.C.  

There were no computer opponents included with the basic game! 
However  Tim Wisseman wrote an add-on called c-player and generously 
released  the source code. This has led to a number of "cplayers" 
being  written. The earlier ones tended to cheat quite a bit to make 
up for their lack of intelligence, but the later ones are getting 
more sophisticated. None of them are as good or as interesting as a 
human opponent, but they are better than nothing. Sadly Tim now has 
to spend a lot of time modifying his Host program because of errors  
produced by poorly-written c-players.  
For more information on free c-players, see the excellent computer  
opponents FAQ at Cliff Mc Keithan's page:  
Another page worth checking is The Q homepage at  

4) IRC: 
For those with access to Internet Relay Chat, there are VGA Planets  
channels on most of the major networks. The most popular is probably  
#vgaplanets on Efnet. You will need to connect to an EFnet server  
such as 6665 and then join #vgaplanets  
There are also IRC conferences with Tim Wisseman, the author of VGA  
Planets. These take place every first Sunday of the month on the  
#VGAPlanets IRC channel at [port: 6667]. This IRC  
server is stand alone and is not connected to any IRC networks. Those 
 without IRC clients can also use the chat room link at the Den of 
the  Draconian.  

Sadly these seem to be a fact of life on the net. Everybody hates  
them, so there's really no need to post a follow up to any of these  
sorts of posts. Ignore them, or if you really want to do something  
useful examine the message headers to determine the site the message  
came from and forward a copy including the full headers to addresses  
like postmaster@, usenet@, news@, abuse@, support@, root@ at the same 
 site. Be polite and they may do something about tracking the 
offender down. has a lot of information 
about this if  you want to find out more.  

Constructive criticism is generally acceptable on the group, but a  
lot of time is wasted by people whining or making personal attacks on 
 Tim for not constructing the game the way they would have done ( if  
only they had thought of it first). Here's an excellent piece of  
advice courtesy of The Psyborg  
>Let me put this into easy to understand language for everyone out 
>1.  If you don't like the product, don't buy it. 
>2.  If you don't like the programmer, don't support his stuff. 
>3.  If you think you can do a better job, VB costs under $200... 
>4.  If you think the game needs something else, make the suggestion. 
>5.  If your suggestion is ignored, either quit or keep playing. 
>Is that simple enough or what?  

Should posts on Alt.Games.VGA-Planets be restricted solely to the  
discussion of the game itself, or is it an arena where fellow VGAP  
enthusiasts can discuss anything they like? This is a matter of  
personal opinion, however it seems a safe prediction that  
advertisments for games that are in direct competition with VGAP will 
 not be all that popular with some of the more 'excitable' members of 
 this newsgroup.  

For an exhaustive list check out the VGA Planets Web Ring 
 The Official Home Page. 
 This is run by Tim Wisseman himself. 'Nuf said.  

 The mini-FAQ page. 
 A HTML copy of the Alt.Games.VGA-Planets mini-FAQ. FAQ 
 Galactic Traveller 
 The UK Resource for Interstellar PBEM Games  

 Tim Wisseman's Site. 
 Here you can find the latest releases of the official software and  
authorised add-ons. 
 THE ftp site. The biggest, the best, the busiest. In Berlin, 

So now you want to play? Hosting a game over the net is a big  
commitment and requires alot of work on the Hosts part. Also since it 
 is best if a host does not play in their own games they are doing  
this for little or no reward. Bear this in mind and be nice to hosts! 
 Make sure you know what you are doing first. Read the docs, host 
your  own game against a cplayer for a while to get the "feel" of 
things.  When you've done that you are ready to play for real.  
Hosts will advertise on the newsgroup when they have a game ready to  
start. Remember to reply to THEM, not to the newsgroup! Also there  
are few things more irritating than someone who starts a game and  
then quits partway through. Hosts faced with this problem will  
advertise for replacement players on the newsgroup.  
For a list of sites that host, check out the VGA Planets Host  

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM