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Dang... quiet in here...

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Anonymous
June 10, 2005 4:02:44 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

Well look at that... I go away for a few measly
years and everything quiets down. *snicker*

Any new games or good sites out there since '03?

More about : dang quiet

Anonymous
June 10, 2005 6:55:18 PM
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Anonymous
June 10, 2005 8:14:42 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

Welcome back!

"Aaron Colman" <spamfilter@ibasics.biz> wrote in message
news:Ejfqe.33682$_o.21309@attbi_s71...
> Well look at that... I go away for a few measly
> years and everything quiets down. *snicker*
>
> Any new games or good sites out there since '03?
Anonymous
June 11, 2005 12:51:22 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

Not since 2003... most of those were around in 2003... so therefore I only
listed ones that were here AFTER 2003... since that is what he asked for...
sorry I didn't list em all...
Anonymous
June 11, 2005 8:45:41 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

edsvga wrote:
> Not since 2003... most of those were around in 2003... so therefore I only
> listed ones that were here AFTER 2003... since that is what he asked for...
> sorry I didn't list em all...

LOL. Very precise. Thanks. =)

Thanks guys. I just joined game 12, "No Frills" at:
http://circus-maximus.com/AutoTroll/game12.htm

If there's anyone interested... we've got the Fascists, X-tals,
Empire, Bots and Rebels open still.
Anonymous
June 12, 2005 3:53:50 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

Make that just the Fascists, Crystals & Empire....

"Aaron Colman" <spamfilter@ibasics.biz> wrote in message
news:V%tqe.43620$xm3.42029@attbi_s21...
> edsvga wrote:
>> Not since 2003... most of those were around in 2003... so therefore I
>> only
>> listed ones that were here AFTER 2003... since that is what he asked
>> for...
>> sorry I didn't list em all...
>
> LOL. Very precise. Thanks. =)
>
> Thanks guys. I just joined game 12, "No Frills" at:
> http://circus-maximus.com/AutoTroll/game12.htm
>
> If there's anyone interested... we've got the Fascists, X-tals,
> Empire, Bots and Rebels open still.
Anonymous
June 12, 2005 6:08:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

echocluster is nearly dead! No new games for a long time!

Better use some of the more reliable bigger hosts ...

I play at rcworld ... quiet good in my opinion! But just my two cents ;) 

Mydgard

"Heiko Schlenker" <hschlen@gmx.de> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:slrndaj3dm.bh6.hschlen@humbert.ddns.org...
>* edsvga <host@battlestarcommand.com> wrote:
>
>> maybe a couple others...
>
> http://www.planetsserver.com
> http://www.pbemzone.de
> http://www.planets-empire.de
> http://www.rcworld.de
> http://www.navgap.com
> http://www.thelastdomain.com/vgap/host/
> http://www.echocluster.com/
> http://www.spaceportandromeda.com/
> http://www.robomaster.com/
>
> http://www.webring.com/hub?ring=vgaplanetshosts
>
> http://www.akseli.net/~akseli/vgap/alt.games.vga-planet...
> http://www.akseli.net/~akseli/vgap/alt.games.vga-planet...
>
> Regards, Heiko
Anonymous
June 16, 2005 3:02:08 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

Aaron Colman <spamfilter@ibasics.biz> writes
>Well look at that... I go away for a few measly
>years and everything quiets down. *snicker*
>
>Any new games or good sites out there since '03?

A lot of people have migrated to the new version, VGAP4. Try this
newsgroup:

alt.games.vgaplanets4

It's still in Beta and somewhat bogged down by complexity, but it's
coming together.

The root page on Tim's site is www.vgaplanets.com/v4beta.htm

Unfortunately if you raise this (related) subject on THIS newsgroup you
have to raise shields to maximum to avoid incoming flames from crusty
old diehard VGAP3 players. I've discovered in the past that their
netiquette isn't of the most welcoming nature. That's another reason I
migrated to version 4... (I guess they feel threatened by the new
version, but in fact it appeals to a different clientele as it is an
order of magnitude more complex.)
--
Paul Honigmann
Anonymous
June 17, 2005 5:08:49 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

* KlingonKommand <Paul@nurk.fnord> wrote:

> A lot of people have migrated to the new version, VGAP4.

I doubt that because of this:

> but in fact it appeals to a different clientele as it is an order
> of magnitude more complex.)

True is, a lot of people have retired from playing VGA Planets.

Regards, Heiko
Anonymous
June 18, 2005 11:54:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

KlingonKommand <Paul@nurk.fnord> wrote:
> [v4]
> Unfortunately if you raise this (related) subject on THIS newsgroup you
> have to raise shields to maximum to avoid incoming flames from crusty
> old diehard VGAP3 players. I've discovered in the past that their
> netiquette isn't of the most welcoming nature.

You mean, they go into others' newsgroups and accuse the regulars of
having poor netiquette? Or post with wrong 'From' lines?

> (I guess they feel threatened by the new version, but in fact it
> appeals to a different clientele as it is an order of magnitude
> more complex.)

Maybe v3 people think "small is beautiful". And maybe v3 people like
having choice in clients, hosts and add-ons.


Stefan
Anonymous
June 19, 2005 9:05:10 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

Stefan Reuther <stefan.news@arcor.de> writes
>KlingonKommand <Paul@nurk.fnord> wrote:
>> [v4]
>> Unfortunately if you raise this (related) subject on THIS newsgroup you
>> have to raise shields to maximum to avoid incoming flames from crusty
>> old diehard VGAP3 players. I've discovered in the past that their
>> netiquette isn't of the most welcoming nature.
>
>You mean, they go into others' newsgroups and accuse the regulars of
>having poor netiquette? Or post with wrong 'From' lines?
>
>> (I guess they feel threatened by the new version, but in fact it
>> appeals to a different clientele as it is an order of magnitude
>> more complex.)
>
>Maybe v3 people think "small is beautiful". And maybe v3 people like
>having choice in clients, hosts and add-ons.

I use mangled address lines to reduce spam.

I consider myself a passive VGAP3 player; it's where I started from and
I keep an eye on the NG from time to time to keep an eye on what's going
on. I used to play and post here regularly. Also, FYI I often argue on
the VGAP4 newsgroup that some things are TOO complex and VGAP3 had the
right balance.

I am attempting to widen the debate here rather than do some trolling.

VGAP3 is a more mature game and this is reflected in the players. You've
played more and understand some points of strategy and alliances in
greater depth than version 4 players. I consider the V3 group a valuable
reference source of subtle tactics cross-applicable to both games. So
occasionally I pop up here with a comment or two in an attempt to be
helpful.

I agree with you about choice of addons etc in V4. I don't think anyone
could do a better client, but there are areas of the Host code in V4
where furious arguments rage about the best way of resolving things and
as yet we have no alternatives.
--
Paul Honigmann
Anonymous
June 21, 2005 12:36:47 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

KlingonKommand wrote:
> I consider myself a passive VGAP3 player; it's where I started from and
> I keep an eye on the NG from time to time to keep an eye on what's going
> on. I used to play and post here regularly. Also, FYI I often argue on
> the VGAP4 newsgroup that some things are TOO complex and VGAP3 had the
> right balance.

Okay, so we agree here.

I have not understood many of the choices done in v4. What do we need
"ore" for? "Contraband"? Why do we need the distinction between "point
defense", "small", "large" and "super" weapons?

Other things in v4 would nicely plug into the v3 universe. Pods maybe
(actually, I've already played in a v3 game using something not unlike
pods.) And we could raise some of the limits in v3 (e.g. more than 10
weapons, or some new native races). We've even been discussing this for
PHost already. It's not yet there but, let's see what the future brings.

> I agree with you about choice of addons etc in V4. I don't think anyone
> could do a better client,

Objection. It's too colorful yet too sparse. It doesn't guide a newbie
player like me. I can click all the buttons, but you do not know what
they mean. I get interesting tabbed dialogs which tell me *nothing*. On
the other hand, you can learn planets.exe in a day.

At a small con, we set a competition. Who of us manages first to build a
ship in v4 has won. I think we don't have a winner yet.

> but there are areas of the Host code in V4 where furious arguments rage
> about the best way of resolving things and as yet we have no alternatives.

v4 seems to actively try to lock out add-ons. Why else would you encrypt
strings with the moral equivalent of rot-13? Why else would you encrypt
RST files - not with a password the player chose, but with a randomly
generated one sitting nicely in the RST header? Maybe this is all due to
the "officially-beta"-ness of v4, therefore I do not gripe too much
about it. Maybe ot changes. I'm giving v4 a chance every year or so, but
so far it has not kept me.


Stefan
Anonymous
June 22, 2005 10:18:30 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

Stefan Reuther <stefan.news@arcor.de> writes

>I have not understood many of the choices done in v4. What do we need
>"ore" for? "Contraband"? Why do we need the distinction between "point
>defense", "small", "large" and "super" weapons?

<grinds teeth> don't talk to me about ore! I argued against it a lot.

Contraband is essentially a risky way to invest cash. It will eventually
go up in price (it fluctuates) but you may have to lock up cash for
several turns. And you will raise crime if you meddle in it. It turns
out to be an interesting set of tradeoffs. There were some loopholes
which allowed experienced players to exploit it into their primary cash
generation thing, but those are closed now.

>Other things in v4 would nicely plug into the v3 universe. Pods maybe

There is another frustrating thing about V4 - certain things only fit in
certain kinds of carrier. Why can't a ship carry natives or ore, but a
pod can? It is arbitrariness like this which puts off some people;
difficult to learn.

>v4 seems to actively try to lock out add-ons. Why else would you encrypt
>strings with the moral equivalent of rot-13?

I *think* the "problem" is this:
(1) Tim is using Visual Basic and Quickbasic to write it, not C.
Therefore the data is held in weird Microsoft-defined data structures
where V3 would have had a regular array defined by Tim. In fact at one
point Tim tracked down a bunch of weird errors to a compiler bug in
Quickbasic and rewrote some of the data structure himself in longhand.
Anyhow, you can't simply open a file and sa you want byte 34,567 which
will correspond to the 435th ship's weapon profile; you need an
intermediary tool. These are DLL's. Tim has written a couple but all
they give us access to so far are the race packs.
(2) VGAP3 was rife with cheating and host addons which clashed because
they tweaked data structures without really knowing what they were up
to. Therefore DLL's are a sensible way of allowing data manipulation:
the DLL's can contain error checks and checksum corrections.
(3) Tim didn't want VGAP4, which was going to take a long time to
develop, to get locked into one data structure. He realised he might
have to add new fields and such. If host addons appeared too early he
would not be able to retro-change data structures, you see. So he only
wanted to allow host addons towards the end of development.
(4) Tim is now writing a CPlayer, which it is rumoured will be DLL based
and open source, showing people how to manipulate the data structure.

Tim would be bonkers not to allow for 3rd party addons. Like the IBM PC,
it's why VGAP3 took off.
--
Paul Honigmann
Anonymous
June 22, 2005 10:18:31 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

In article <BX+xzLGmSPuCFwyB@furfur.demon.co.uk>, KlingonKommand <K@nurk.fnord> wrote:
(snip)
>Tim would be bonkers not to allow for 3rd party addons. Like the IBM PC,
>it's why VGAP3 took off.

3 took off because it was a good fun game - and you could actually play it
for free ... up to a point. When you decided you couldn't, it wasn't
expensive to upgrade either :) 
It was the first piece of shareware I ever registered ... and one of only 2
so far.





Bruce


-------------------------------------
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
- George Bernard Shaw
Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.
- Ambrose Bierce

Caution ===== followups may have been changed to relevant groups
(if there were any)
Anonymous
June 23, 2005 12:05:32 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

KlingonKommand wrote:
> Stefan Reuther <stefan.news@arcor.de> writes
>> I have not understood many of the choices done in v4. What do we need
>> "ore" for? "Contraband"? Why do we need the distinction between "point
>> defense", "small", "large" and "super" weapons?
>
> <grinds teeth> don't talk to me about ore! I argued against it a lot.
>
> Contraband is essentially a risky way to invest cash. It will eventually
> go up in price (it fluctuates) but you may have to lock up cash for
> several turns. And you will raise crime if you meddle in it. It turns
> out to be an interesting set of tradeoffs. There were some loopholes
> which allowed experienced players to exploit it into their primary cash
> generation thing, but those are closed now.

Hmmm, okay. There is at least one v3 add-on which does something similar
("Friendly code lottery"). But I doubt that function needs to be in the
game core.

I think one point why v4 still is not ready is that Tim got lost in details.

>> Other things in v4 would nicely plug into the v3 universe. Pods maybe
>
> There is another frustrating thing about V4 - certain things only fit in
> certain kinds of carrier. Why can't a ship carry natives or ore, but a
> pod can? It is arbitrariness like this which puts off some people;
> difficult to learn.

It's similar in v3. A carrier cannot carry torps. No-one can carry
natives. I'm not too unhappy with these restrictions. Of course, if you
add new means to carry stuff around (in v4 it's pods - for v3 there is
an add-on called "Starbeamers", and quite a number of "Bank"-type
add-ons, and doubtlessly a wealth more; at least the starbeamers can be
configured to allow transport of natives), it starts getting inconsistent.

So far, v3 has had only one annoying inconsistence, which is that you
cannot drop money onto a planet you do not own yet. Well, I "fixed" that
in PHost 4 :-) (JFTR: if you use add-ons, this feature is broken in all
current PHost 4's. New version follows soon, I hope.)

>> v4 seems to actively try to lock out add-ons. Why else would you encrypt
>> strings with the moral equivalent of rot-13?
>
> I *think* the "problem" is this:
> (1) Tim is using Visual Basic and Quickbasic to write it, not C.
> Therefore the data is held in weird Microsoft-defined data structures
> where V3 would have had a regular array defined by Tim.

Although Visual Basic has some restriction, this one is bogus. Even
BASIC PDS (=the one v3 is written in) supports arbitrary file access.
You can easily say "give me the 32-bit value at address 32498."

> (2) VGAP3 was rife with cheating and host addons which clashed because
> they tweaked data structures without really knowing what they were up
> to. Therefore DLL's are a sensible way of allowing data manipulation:
> the DLL's can contain error checks and checksum corrections.

It's a myth that this prevents cheating, because you still can bypass
the DLLs. To prevent cheating, you have to (a) trust all software that
runs on host side, and (b) validate everything that comes in from the
client. This works in v3 as well as in v4. Tim just did not implement it
in its entirety in host.exe. But there's the (older) check.exe, and
there's PHost.

And the best thing to avoid add-on clashes is to document the file
formats and protocols :) 

> (3) Tim didn't want VGAP4, which was going to take a long time to
> develop, to get locked into one data structure. He realised he might
> have to add new fields and such. If host addons appeared too early he
> would not be able to retro-change data structures, you see. So he only
> wanted to allow host addons towards the end of development.

Although this is a weak argument (it's not too hard to define data
formats in an upward, across, and downward-compatible manner, it's just
some work), this is the main reason why I do not gripe too loudly about
v4. I know it's not yet finished, and I know that Tim wants to invest
time in finishing it, not writing a programmer's manual.

Actually, even having a programmer's manual does not avoid clashes. If
you look into your PHCC archive, that one comes bundled with a Killrace
utility which claims to support PHost. It supports PHost 2 (or another
dinosaur of that type), and happily blasts PHost 3 and 4 games into
pieces, because it chose to ignore the version number we placed in the
auxdata.hst file.


Stefan

(Is there a download link for the planets4.hlp somewhere? I recall there
was one someday, and my Planets4 installation seems to lack a help file.)
Anonymous
June 25, 2005 1:18:17 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

Stefan,

thanks for the thoughtful, worthwhile reply.

>> Therefore the data is held in weird Microsoft-defined data structures
>> where V3 would have had a regular array defined by Tim.
>
>Although Visual Basic has some restriction, this one is bogus. Even
>BASIC PDS (=the one v3 is written in) supports arbitrary file access.
>You can easily say "give me the 32-bit value at address 32498."

I think the "problem" comes about because Tim is using Object Oriented
Programming, a shorthand (?) way of looking up data values. So instead
of saying "I need the weapon type mounted on this hull... that's in
array blah at location, umm, let me work this out a bit" you say
something like

ship(3).weapon(4)

ie get me the weapon type in bay 4 of ship 3. It's still confusing but
theoretically better... heck, don't ask me, I'm not a programmer, I've
only written one real VB program. Maybe it makes debugging easier than
wading through a zillion lines of C. Anyhow, for each type of Object you
define the kinds of Things associated with it, eg weapons (subarray of
20), engines, owner, hull type etc. Then VB sorts out the arrays for you
and when you program it will present you with meaningful choices. Sorry,
Im not being very clear. The point is that if you program in this way,
you no longer directly control how the data bytes are structured,
instead you define the layer above that.

>(Is there a download link for the planets4.hlp somewhere? I recall there
>was one someday, and my Planets4 installation seems to lack a help file.)

There used to be a 9MB download or something and I can send you it if
you want... if you have broadband. But editing a HLP fle is tricky
(judging by the two editors I've used) as you have to do it all at once
and recompile. So it ain't been updated for a couple of years and is
somewhat out of date. Tim switched to online help at that point so he
can update it more simply page by page. In fact there is a mini working
group of Beta testers organised by "DoC" which is updating them for him,
albeit slowly.
--
Paul Honigmann
Anonymous
June 26, 2005 3:33:53 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.vga-planets (More info?)

Hi,

KlingonKommand wrote:
>> Although Visual Basic has some restriction, this one is bogus. Even
>> BASIC PDS (=the one v3 is written in) supports arbitrary file access.
>> You can easily say "give me the 32-bit value at address 32498."
>
> I think the "problem" comes about because Tim is using Object Oriented
> Programming, a shorthand (?) way of looking up data values.[...]
> The point is that if you program in this way,
> you no longer directly control how the data bytes are structured,
> instead you define the layer above that.

I'm 90% sure Tim still has full control over data files (it's not opaque
"OLE containers" or something similar crazy). But, no doubt, it makes
things much simpler if you do not have to handle other programs hacking
inbetween you. It's definitely possible to crash PCC by hacking
chartX.cc or vmX.cc in a way it does not expect, because it does not
validate everything. It's the same with the v3 host - and surely also
the v4 host.

But otherwise I do not know too much about the BASIC dialect used in
v4host. I know a little bit of BASIC PDS, and my only serious modern
BASIC program was written in MS Access 2.0 for Windows 3.1.

>> (Is there a download link for the planets4.hlp somewhere? I recall there
>> was one someday, and my Planets4 installation seems to lack a help file.)
>
> There used to be a 9MB download or something and I can send you it if
> you want... if you have broadband.

Dang. The download link is just above the online help link - why didn't
I see it the first time? Please don't send me the file, I do not have
broadband. But I've just pointed "wget -r" to the v4 online help site,
so I guess I have the whole help in a few minutes :) 


Stefan
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