.-+- -+-. |==================================================| | | | VGA Planets C u t S c o r e 1 . 0 | | | |==================================================| `-+- -+-' CutScore by Michael Herrmann ~~~~~~~~ - is a tool for VGA Planets ((c) Tim Wisseman). - cuts down the score sent from host to players in their RST files. Quick start ~~~~~~~~~~~ I think a manual as short as this can be read completely. But I am realistic enough to know that some uses disagree with me :-) . If you are one of them, please be a good guy amd read at least the rest of this short section. After that call 'CutScore ?', read the usage info lines and insert a line for CutScore into your host batch. If you already know (or don't want to know) what CutScore is, skip section 1. If you already know (or don't want to know) how to operate CutScore, skip section 2. If you already know (or don't want to know) how to interpret the CutScore scoreboard, skip section 3. If you decided to skip sections 1 to 3, you may want to skip the rest as well. So just have a look at the table of contents, and don't forget: By using this program you confirm that you agree with the no-warranty section of this manual. Contents ~~~~~~~~ 1. Why CutScore 2. How CutScore works and how to make CutScore work 3. The CutScore scoreboard 4. No warranties 5. History 6. Known problems 7. Please hand on 8. Contact 1. Why CutScore? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In your first Planets games you were probably satisfied with the default score. Maybe you still are. But some players feel that a score should not rely so much on bases and include anything a player builds. VGAScore and PTScore, for instance, are doing a good job here. Yet other players feel that Planets is more fun if you don't know so well who you are fighting against. They like an anonymous scores or switch it off completely. CutScore offers such an anonymous scoreboard. With CutScore, you can still see how good you are in relation to others, but you will not see who of your competitors is how good. If you are Fed, you will get the score of the Robots, but it may be written down as the score of the Rebels or of the Empire etc. If your Planets frontend supports a score graph, you may be worried, but CutScore doesn't mix randomly. Your score graph will remain readable. In the times of priority build points and other queue control programs, the number of bases may not be so important any more. But the number of planets is, because the number of planets determines your total income and thus controls how fast you can develop. CutScore shows the number of planets only. Your ships are not counted in CutScore. Ships are only a means to get what you really want - planets. After all, this is the name of the game. ;-) Zeroing a player's score may cause problems. In VPA, for instance, you can't write messages to players with zero score. CutScore takes care that players don't get zero score as long as they still have anything to play with. 2. How CutScore works and how to make CutScore work ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CutScore takes care that players don't get the score that the host program wants to send them. This score is sent in the RSTs. Thus CutScore reads the score information from the RSTs, cuts off base and ship information (except for the player's own race), shakes and mixes the planets information (for details see below) and writes the result back into the RSTs. In order to work, CutScore needs nothing but the RSTs. But it does need the score information in the RSTs. If your host program allows you to switch off the score, don't do it if you want to run CutScore. Since CutScore needs the RSTs, it must be run after Host or PHost - and of course before sending the RSTs ;-) . Before changing them, CutScore copies the original RSTs with the complete score information to PlayerN.bak. Usage: CutScore <GameDir> If less or more than one command line parameter are given or if the one command line parameter contains a '?', a short info message is displayed and CutScore doesn't touch any RST. 3. The CutScore scoreboard ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The complete explanation of the scoreboard may sound a bit complicated. But for those who don't want to know about the details and the reasons, the explanation can be reduced to three simple rules: 1. The number of planets is given for all races, but the races are mixed (except your own race). 2. Four your own race and for races with three or less planets, the total number of ships (capital ships and freighters) is entered as freighters in their scores. 3. Any other items written down in the scoreboard don't carry information. For those who are interested in the details and the reasons, I wrote the rest of this section. The CutScore scoreboard is ordered according to player strength. Player strength is determined by the number of planets only. CutScore shows the number of planets of all races. But only for your own race you can be sure that the number of planets written down for a race is actually the number of planets that belongs to that race. The other races are mixed, but not randomly. Let me make clear with an example how they are mixed. Let's assume you're Privateer, you're good and the third-strongest player in the game. The next weaker race, whoever it is, is written down as Cyborg, the next one as Crystal etc. downwards. The second-strongest player, one position better than you, is written down as Fascist and the best player as Bird. The Lizard score shows the weakest player etc. upwards. What happens if you have a Planets frontend that sorts races in order of strength, assigns colors to them and draws a graph over several turns? First of all, you always get the same color, the one designed for your race by your frontend. Second, the next stronger player in turn X will most likely also be the next stronger player in turn X+1, and he/she will get the same color as before. In this way, the score graph will remain more or less intact from turn to turn. When two players (excluding yourself) change score position, you will not be able to tell. When you are changing score position with someone else, the top player of the graph will come down to the bottom or vice versa. This may look a bit confusing during the first few turns of the game when changes of score position are still frequent, but later in the game you will get a nice score graph. So far for the order of races. What information does CutScore write down for each race? Well, CutScore relies mainly on the number of planets, and it takes care that the ordering that may be done by a frontend will be done in terms of the number of planets. This is why the number of starbases must be the same for all players. CutScore sets it to 1. This means that no score line will ever go to zero completely, and hopefully it also means that messages can be written to all players all the time in VPA. (Since your own number of starbases is also shown as 1, you have to keep track of your starbases on your own. CutScore could write down the number of your starbases as starbase entry for all races in the score. But then, if you had 30 bases and 30 bases were written down for every one into the score, it would be very hard to detect everyone's position in a typical score graph that counts bases with 120 points and planets with only 10 points. I prefer to count on your ability to take track of your starbases.) So far for the bases. The number of planets in the score is correct for all players (not counting here that the races are mixed). The number of your own ships (capital ships and freighters) is shown in your own score. But they are all written down as freighters in order not to interfere with the score graph more than necessary. Ships of your opponents are not shown. The number of freighters of your opponents is set to zero, and their number of capital ships is *your* total number of ships divided by 10 (and truncated). This makes sure that the ships entered in your own score line as your freighters don't confuse the score strength. There is one exception to the ships. If a player has 3 or less planets, his/her ships are written down in the same way as in your own score. I find this necessary in order to indicate if a player is really out or not yet - or how much more effort you will need until he or she is out :-) . This set of rules may sound complicated, but it's not that bad. For the beginning just remember the simple rules from the start of this section. If you want to know later and forgot, just have another look here. After all that's what manuals are for. A final remark: You may think for a while that it could be a good idea to include the ship info of all races into the score. It's not, because with ship and planet info combined, a player can easily keep track of a race once he found out its position in the score. 4. No warranties ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I wrote this program very carefully and tested it thoroughly. However, to err is human, and you know that no useful program is really free of bugs of any kind. By using this program you accept that the risk is completely on your side and that I cannot be made responsible for problems of any kind including (but not limited to) loss of data, hardware destruction etc. 5. History ~~~~~~~~~~ CutScore 1.1 (after a few months of testing): - First public release. - Set the number of planets below which the number of ships is shown from 13 down to 3. - Added two lines to the info message. - Manual added. CutScore 1.0: - First usage in a Planets game. 6. Known problems ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Problems? What problems? ;-) 7. Please hand on ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CutScore is freeware. If you like it, I'm happy. Please feel free to give CutScore to anyone else and/or upload it to mailboxes or servers if - you distribute it free of charge (and only free of charge) and - you distribute it together with this documentation. You are not allowed to make any changes to the program or the documentation. If you want a change, please contact me. 8. Contact ~~~~~~~~~~ For questions, comments, bug reports etc. please contact Michael_Herrmann@m2.maus.de or firstname.lastname@example.org. If both doesn't work, someone in the newsgroup maus.spiele.planets will probably know how to find me.
Last Modified: 25-Feb-2000