1.1 What is Zeus?
Zeus is an add-on for the PBEM Game Vga Planets 3 developed by Tim Wisseman.
It contains several supplements for the original game increasing the richness of the game and giving the players more opportunities.
1.2 Why has Zeus been developed?^top
The first idea was to develop a Sphere-Pwrap add-on das Minenfelder und Lokis beim überfliegen des Randes berücksichtigt. Sven Heitland got the idea to add the functionality of explore and Dmitriy Romanov proposed that there should be a chance for defense post to hide a planet from the eyes of the exploring neighbours.
If sphere mode is active, the scans beyond the edge will give you the exact information about the other side. During Auxhost1 sensor-sweep, mine-sweep, bio-scan and dark-sense information from the other side of the map are made accessible, during auxbc.ini the scans for other ships beyond the border take place.
Even warp wells will be considered, if you fly to a planet on the other side of the map.
On request of many beta testers the add-on was extended with additional features (banks, stargates and mass transports).
Each of them can be disabled or enabled at the beginning (game mastering) leaving the host total control over the components he wants to make accessible for the participants of the game. The good thing about it: the host needs just one add-on and can easily configure it with only one ini-file, the Zeus.ini or with the help of the graphical ZeusConfig.exe tool.
2.1 Explore Mode^top
The explore-mode of Zeus is responsible for the restricted sight of a player around his starting position. To find new planets the players must set the Mission of their ships to exploration. In addition to that colonized planets have a chance to find new planets around them. There is also a chance to prevent your neighbours from finding your planets by building defense posts.
The default is :
The Sphere-mode allows players to send their ships over the edge of the map which then reappear on the opposite side. This prevents players from sheltering in one corner and opens new options for alliances.
There is support for round (RoundMap=1) and square (RoundMap=0) maps.
If the host takes the round map (RoundMap=1), the entry MapRadius=xxxx will be used. If the square map is taken (RonudMap=0), the entry MapRadius will be ignored and Border= will be used.
All ships that are out of bound will be catched by the Sphere-mode routines and put into the other side of the map.
Warp wells will be considered, if you fly to a planet on the other side of the map.
The role model of the game does not support mine hits after a ship has entered the other side of the map and no decloak by lokies. The Zeus add-on uses check routines to give a player the full use of mines and lokies back making the game a lot fairer, as well as the support of scans (sensor-, mine-sweep, bio-scan, dark-sense, ships in the universe) beyond the rim of the map.
It is difficult to find the right waypoint with a round map, that is why the little tool RoundMap has been developed. You can download it at http://zeus.rebels-hq.net/roundmap.zip
The tool will tell you where to set the waypoint to, if you enter the coordinates of the point you want to go to.
EchoView provides a round map support, which can be enabled at the menu options ->utilities->Pwrap, enable Pwrap circle. The keys shift and F3 will give you a preview for the next turn and thus a check for the right waypoint.
The default is :
A stargate can be built in the orbit of a planet to transfer one or more ships to another stargate in one turn. The distance does not matter.
The use of a stargate is handled by command messages, which must be written by a player to himself. During the beta test we found out that this system works better than friendly codes, which would have taken an awful effect on the battle order after the gate had been used.
(Note of programmer: there will be ext. missions soon)
The build of the stargate takes place in the auxhost1-phase. That is even before minerals are hauled or supplies/money are paid. (But be aware of the fact that there will be a loss of supplies, if too many clans on an arctic or desert planet eat supplies to survive)
In this phase is the first check for a stargate command.
In the auxbc-phase, after ship movement, there is a second check for a valid stargate command.
For example is a command gu
Is it located on your own or an allied planet with stargate, the target planet is examined for a stargate controlled by you or an ally. If there is no error found, the ship will be moved to the other planet.
All this takes place still before the general ship movement.
It is important that the ships do not lose their old waypoint or rather their information about how far they have to go to the x- and y-direction.
Let's say a ship on the map with the coordinates 1200:2000 gets a waypoint 20 ly to the left and 20 ly upwards, but it is transferred to another planet with a stargate on 2700:2000. Now the ship moves its 20 ly (like it would have done without any stargate-transfer) from its new position to the coordinates 2680:2020.
During the auxbc.ini-phase (that is after the movement and before the combat phase) there is a second check for valid stargate commands. That is why all ships can also use a stargate immediately after they have landed at a planet.
The ships are allowed to carry as much as they can and do not have to pay for passing a stargate yet. If this impairs the game flow to much, it will be changed in future.
The default costs for a star gate are listed below. Of course the host master is able to adjust the settings.
The default is :
The Bank is a cheap alternative to transfer megacredits from one place to another. All you need are at least two banks which can transfer money to each other.
Just deposit the money to your bank on planet alpha (the money is now in the central bank computer) and let it be paid out to your planet beta, that is all and done in one turn. With a bank-alliance you are even able to transfer money to your ally.
There is no restriction in the amount or number of transactions with your or allied banks.
For example a message from a Lizard to himself can look like this:
pb 233 2000
bp 444 1000
bp 125 1000
What happens? Right, there is a bank-alliance offer first, followed by two new banks at the planets 233 and 444. Then planet 233 deposits 2000 Mc at the bank And the bank pays 1000 Mc to 444. In case the planet 125 belongs to an ally and he or she offered an alliance too, your bank will pay 1000 Mc to that planet.
Now to the default costs for building a bank:
2.3.3 The mass transports
Mass transports give the players the opportunity to transfer minerals, colonists and supplies to another planet also equipped with a mass transport. The default settings prohibit colonists, neutronium and supply transfers, but the host can change this easily of course. Mass transports are limited to an amount of 1000 kilotons per resource.
Now to the default settings:
As mentioned before, there are so-called Zeus alliances, which must be set to use a particular feature with another player or players. This is done by commands in Command Messages.
The alliance is active after both players have set the command.
(-a0xxx)<<< Zeus 0.5 >>>
The example above shows a privateer player completely allied with the fed player (means both set the desired command messages). In addition the privateer player does offer to the crystal player a stargate alliance and the crystal player himself does offer a explore alliance to the privateers.
Is required to avoid minehits of allies in their own minefields, if ships are travelling over the edge of the map.
ALSO REQUIRED TO BE SET IF YOU DEFINED A REGULAR TIMHOST ALLIANCE ALREADY !
Explore Map Alliance:
Share your map exploration data with your allies.
Enable MC transfer from player to player.
Share your stargates with your allies.
Share your transporter with your allies.
4. Command Messages
Commands are send to the addon only via command messages.
Example command message composed to yourself
A line does include the word Zeus.
Followed by the commands bb 34 and bb 341.
A bank branch will be build on #34 and #341 if the required ressources are available.
Using pb(PlanetToBank) 34 4000 will transfer 4000Mc from planet #34 to the bank.
Using bp(BankToPlanet) 341 3000 will transfer 3000 Mc from the bank to planet #341.
Using gb xx will build a stargate at planet #34 and #341.
The invalid command gb444 will be ignored.
By means of gu(GateUse)341 262 ship #262 will travel to the stargate of planet #341.Therefore the ship needs to be at the position of a stargate after its movement phase.
Using ae(alliance explore) 7 will activate the explore alliance to race 7.
The following command message has some errors ...
commands bb 341, gb 341 und ae 7 are not processed, since only one command per line is allowed.
341 3000 bp will not be recognized, since the command code needs to be issued at first followed by desired parameters. gb444 are not processed, since a space between command and parameter is missed.
To avoid using friendly codes, Zeus uses Command Messages. This works easily by writing a message to yourself (to your own race).
One line must contain the word Zeus. The commands must be written in the other lines.
5. Instructions for the host master.
The Zeus add-on consists of two executables Zeus_a.exe and Zeus_b.exe and the config file Zeus.ini.
<path to Zeus_a.exe>\Zeus_a.exe <game directory>
<path to Zeus_b.exe>\Zeus_b.exe <game directory>
The files hullspec.dat, race.nm and planet.nm must be in the game directory
At the first run Zeus creates additional files in the game directory. These are urgently needed for a correct work of Zeus and should not be deleted. As well should the xyplanXX.dat - files stay in the directory, that is why you should not cut or move but copy the xyplan-files for the players.
For an easy installation a setup tool is available:
The ZeusConfig.exe accompanied by ZeusConfig.ini
With the help of ZeusConfig.exe the setup for the add-on is settled. It creates a Zeus.ini in the game directory and the correct entries will be integrated into the auxhost1.ini and auxbc.ini. After that the program checks the existence of the needed files in the game directory.
Is there no hullspec.dat, no race.nm or no planet.nm the program tries to copy them from the host directory.
The configuration file zeus.ini needs to be placed in the game directory.
I want to thank all the people supporting me during the development- and test phase with Zeus.
First there is Tim Wisseman. Without him we could not enjoy this great game at all.
And of course Ricki Rohr the host master of http://www.rcworld.de, without his engagement there would have been no test games and his many suggestions that helped me to improve the add-on.
Then I would like to thank cordially Dirk Lucht, Katrin Braasch and Martin Peters, who helped me out by writing a reasonable guidance and the English translation.
(Yes it hasn't been easy with my enduring renewals. Harry :)
A lot of thank goes as well to Stefan Reuther, who was so kind to make the fileformat.txt available for the community.
And last but not least I want to thank all betatesters, who bear all the errors and bugs in the beta games and supported me with untiringly readiness for action to improve the add-on Zeus:
The program is distributed as freeware
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