Note that all this applies to the DOS version of the game. I don't use WinPlan, so I don't know much about it.
The standard shareware package (get these five files: vpa300d1.exe, vpa300d2.exe, vpa300d3.exe, vpa300d4.exe and install.exe) contains the default client (planets.exe) and an older version of host. You would be well advised also to download a more recent host (v3.22.017 being the latest at this writing) from Tim's site.
As for a computer player (cplayer), I recommend Cliff McKeithan's Dominate. It's freeware, it doesn't cheat, and it's very compatible with all known host versions. About half of the available cplayers are shareware, no others are cheat-free, and a few are well-known to cause problems with non-standard host configurations.
You may wish to download an alternative client program. VPA is very popular, and I favour it myself. The latest version at this writing is 3.51e.
Don't ever set up a game in the main VGA Planets directory. It'll leave all sorts of junk data files lying around. Run each game in a subdirectory from the main directory.
When you run HCONFIG, remember to load the defaults - otherwise you may be surprised when your planets don't generate any income...
So the actual sequence of commands, assuming you're calling the game GAME1, would be:
md game1 master game1 hconfig game1 host game1When running master and hconfig, use the default options. It's worth putting all the races into the game, so that you get practice against them. For master, consider homeworld distance carefully - very long gives you plenty of time to build up an economy before meeting the enemy, and is probably best to start with, but long or less will give you earlier combats.
What you need to do each turn is:
The only tricky bit in this is that the computer player needs to be told which races to play. Let's say you're playing the Feds (recommended for a new player) in the game1 that you set up above. Then your batch file would look like:
maketurn game1 dominate game1 /23456789ab+ host game1 unpack game1 planets game1The "+" for Dominate is so that it doesn't build high-tech ships and parts - the same restriction you'll be under as a shareware player.
If you were using VPA, you'd replace the "planets" line with "VPA 1 game1".
auxhost1.ini gets run after turn files are unpacked and cheat checks are done, but before other orders are carried out. auxhost2.ini runs after other actions, before the RST files are generated.
If you use RCONFIG, put REF <gamename> into auxhost2.ini.
|The ship definition files. Copy all of them together - there's a checksum calculated over the group.|
|truehull.dat||The ship list file (who gets which hull). Normally associated with the *spec.dat files, but doesn't have to stay with them.|
|Various name lists (planets, races and ion storms).|
Make sure that players have copies of the files!
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