(Addons discussion is still in progress.)
If you have some additional comments, questions, ideas, criticism please be free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org
For our spanish visitors, there's a short version of this site and some additional infos at Admiral Thrawn Home Page in spanish language.
checklist, files needed for
For popular VGA-Planets FAQ visit the site of Roger Burton West.
The good choice of a xyplan is an important feature for a good game. Today it is very
easy to style a new alternative map. There are several different map generators available
for this purpose (Links). These alternative maps are often based on
geometric figures. However, they are only favorable for specific games with a special aim,
e.g. Ashes of the Empire or team games.
Based on a lot of experiences several rules could be used to generate a good new map:
If you take a smaller (B, C) universes, players have less
to watch on their fuel and it is easy to reach the neighbors homeworld, vice versa.
(Smaller universes speed up the total game, ensure often early fights and strength
cloaking races.) If you use very large universes, Winplan will have some problems. Players
can't reach these outer planets (A). (for VPA? - I don't
know). Maximum size of an universe is a diameter of 3000 LY.
If you like to use less than 500 planets, calculate your new diameter by the formula sqr(X/500*Y^2); (X=number of planets, Y= chosen diameter for 500 planets, e.g. 2000 LY)
|A) Nebula||B) Apoka||C) Germany|
|D) Doom||E) Bubbles|
The TimHost Master setting is very defined. Only few parameter can be chosen. The few settings of interest are involved at the pmaster link.
Link to => pmaster
Generally, I would like to discuss and comment only important default settings. Some of them are very critical, if you use the standard setting. Furthermore, in order a newbie host have look on this site I comment also settings, which are usually fix and unfavorable to change. For an experienced host most of these settings are logical.
My suggested standard setting is aimed on the standard shiplist. E.g. for PLIST you will find additional comments.
Link to => pconfig.src
Link to => hconfig.exe (not
still under construction, but just some comments.
PHost3 and (older?) versions of the campaign editor don't work properly together.
The goal of a game is an important aspect every host should think about. A lot of games are offered without any; they are called "open end" or "highlander". This might be o.k., but hence follows a couple of consequences on this. I personally found out, you do well to set a distinct aim in a game.
# Use a scoring method, where players can see the actual situation.
All players must be motivated to play a long period (sometimes 200 turns). It is very, very difficult to find this kind of players. There are a couple of reasons, why those games end often before one race wins.
- A lot of players are quitting during a game. Later only few human players are kept (mostly turn 50+). Replacements are often unmotivated, especially if their precedessor played bad or a computer player took over the game for a while. The game ends, because nobody is motivated any longer or no human opponent is left. The challenge is missing.
- Lots of races are allied with each others. The other races are killed by big alliances. Then nobody like to cancel his alliance, because he is afraid the remaining races will kill him. So a steady state is reached and thus the end of the game.
- Another "end" position is, if nothing has happend in a game. These could be observed in games where a lot of friends are playing (they don't like to fight each others on private reasons) or often the universe is unfavorable constructed (to long distances or only two neighbors). Players are waiting and waiting until all fun has gone.
A defined aim is motivating for players, because they can reach the goal on a distinct time. Furthermore, a host can calculate his own active time much better.
There are a lot of thinkable goals, but some of them are problematic. Here is a small list of possible aims and their rating. Be aware about the importance to set an aim, which is neither to easy nor to hard to reach.
# A fixed number of ships (e.g. 100) is the goal. In my opinion this is not advisable, because some races (Lizard) can build faster ships than others. BTW to build 100 ships in a standard IN is no problem ;). It is very difficult to find a good limit. Maybe 150 is a good point of end.
# A distinct number of planets (e.g. 100) is the aim. Better than ships, but there are still races collect planets (Liz, Priv, Borg) faster than others. Reaching 100 planets is very easy. If the goal is set on 125 planets for the next 5 turns, I believe, that is a good aim for a game.
Heiko programmed a very smart addon for it, called checkvic.
I found several varities in the IN.
- Reaching a distinct score - makes no sense, because some races gain a to big advantage by this system (Liz).
- Twice as much as the second placed player - good, but also very difficult for some races to win (Xtal).
Most tonnage sunk
Problematic. Playing a standard game some races are preferred having lighter ships, but they are as strong as heavier ones. E.g. Rush vs. DeathStar or the Patriot is a very light but an incredible strong ship. This problem gains by the "wrong" damage calculation of the THost or PHost standard combat setting. In my opinion, some races (Liz, FED, Reb, CoM) have big advantages in this scoring system. Furthermore, Privateer and Crystal have a big disadvantage by their bad fighting abilities. Thus it is unfair. This system also depends on the fixed turn number.
For VESAC(C) and PLIST this method can be used, but it is still unfavorable.
Highest score, planets, ships a.s.o. after a defined number of turns. These aims seem to be o.k. for me, but it is very hard to find a fair endpoint for the particular scoring unit.
Moreover, if you like to use the highest score after a defined turn number, you have to look for a good scoring systems based on different weighting parameters. The org. THost score isn't smart. (I like searching for the most common scoring systems later, in order to add some comments on these) For the use of TimScore, 80 turns and more, might be a good limit. For others (ptscore) a lower limit can but shouldn't be used.
Invasion Points Scenario
Puh, I didn't played in such a game until now. But it seems to me, that several races are preferred by this system. Privateer and Crystal are the loosers in this system, because there races haven't any fighting abilities. If a high limit of points is chosen, these races might get their chance later, but then the game will run a while.
Distinct area or planet
A good idea of a circled universe could be, the hold of a distinct central planet or area (a couple of planets) for 10 consecutive turns.
Very good! However, the voting must be unanimous, means all players must vote the same player. (I saw one game one guy was winning and nearly all other players votes somebody else.)
This issue is interesting and important. I mentioned this problem especially in the IN. There are several reasons why players are quitting games.
However, a host has only few possiblities to avoid this BAD behaviour. Here I offer some suggestions:
Which host behaviour is common then?
But such as easy as this problem can't be solved or the game isn't good and satisfying
for players with high demands. It is necessary to take a particular spot on this problem
for finding a good and fair solution. The important fact is, don't keep a race in your
game without any control. Players could gain unfavorable advantages by it (e.g. towing a
Hsssing ships from a beaten Gorn to their own planets or supplying a rebel fightership
with fighter minerals) being very unusual for games. E.g. if you are playing a computer
game, let say Battle Isle or Warcraft against the computer or human opponent, you would
let take him his turn, too, or this game makes no fun and won't give you any real
satisfaction. That's why I demand, never to keep a race without any control for a long
Here are some suggestions what you can do with vacant races.
Have a look on the races situation
If the race is without any chances, look for the reasons.
(It is very difficult to define, is a race without any chance or not. Maybe less than 5-10 planets and 2-5 ships should be a good limit in the most cases.)
- another race nearly killed it => do a Takeover (=> Links) to a total allied race OR if there is any, do a "Takeover" to the conquerer, also one turn after informing all players. If more than one race attacks - Hmm, I don't know yet :) - maybe ask the players or give it to the race whos homeworld is closer.
- the privateer or crystalline stole him nearly all ships => let a computer player overtake the race for a defined time (e.g. 5 or 10 turns, in dependence of the remaining area) in order they give them additional determinated time to steel the last ships. Inform your players on it, then do a Killrace.
- As an alternative possibility for upper suggestions, use a good computer player until the race is complete killed.
If the race has chances
- search for a new player, asap
- inform all remaining players and please for addtional time if necessary.
- if the situation is critically (e.g. WAR), don't make a host run OR please these opponents to stop their attack until a new player is found. I saw a lot of game which were destroyed by a bad host behaviour in this situation. After several turns these games often end.
- if you have plenty of time, do ONE "economy" turn. That means no war activities for the vacant race, set all starbases on "NUK" and "Refuel ships", refuel all ships and set a Warp9, for all warships set a "KILL!" mission and supply it with ammo (if possible), set all taxes on 0. (This is only a suggestion.) Inform the remaining players you are doing one turn. Stunrace (Roger West => Links) is an addon for these properties, but is not tested yet by myself.
- if it is impossible to find a new player in time, use a good computer player while searching - best a CPlayer which won't break alliances.
|Tim's Site||Tim Host|
|PHost||portable Host, very flexible in parameters, great alternative to Tim-Host, at the putils.zip you will find a some of good util programs, e.g. Killrace|
|EchoView Homepage||EchoView is a player utility, it is a starchart and database program with lots of inbuilt utilities|
|Roger Burton Wests Programming Site||Sanitise.zip (2K), Fixmap.zip (3K), Stunrace.zip (53K)|
|Neil Symons VGAP Site - broken||A big download site for VGAP, i.a. Takeover, ExploreMap|
|FAQ||FAQs of VGA-Planets, collected by Roger Burton West, Gary Grothman, Gordy Pine and Mark Wilmot.|
Thanks to Oliver Korn for his critical discussion. You will find additional hints, especially for players on his Help Document.
Mail to: email@example.com
|Last Modified: 10-Jul-2005