Frequently Asked Questions
Is Anyone Out There?
- Do the AIs (computer players) cheat?
Stars! is one of the few games where computer players do not cheat. The Stars! AIs are governed by the same code that governs human players, and receive the same information. Expert level AIs start with more race design advantage points than human players, medium level have the same, and easy AIs have less. That is the only difference. If you feel like you've been taken advantage of by an AI, let us know. We'll investigate and, if we find that the AI does have an unfair advantage, we'll take it behind the woodshed for a good debugging.
- Will anyone listen if I have feedback for the authors?
Unfortunately Stars! is no longer supported by either the Jeffs(it's authors), or Empire Interactive(its distributor). If you experience problems with the game you can seek technical support(below), If you didn't like something in particular or if you have good ideas for the game, you can seek solace in one of the Clones.
- How do I get technical support?
If you haven't played the game tutorial, you should take a run through it. You can learn a lot about game play there even if you aren't just starting out. The online player's guide (help file) and the manual contain detailed documentation about virtually every aspect of the game. The Article Library contains advice and experiences from many players. And of course the Stars!FAQ.
If these resources don't yield answers to your questions, you can ask at the following online forums:
Alternately, visit one of the many web pages listed at Related Websites
- How do I submit bug reports?
You can't, however you can avoid some of the Known Bugs. Should you be (un)lucky enough to find a new bug, you can report it at either Home World Forum (English) or Forum Stars! (Polski) so that other players can avoid it too.
- When I zip my game files, they don't get any smaller. Why not?
Stars! game files are already compressed.
- Can several people play on the same computer using one copy?
Yes. Up to 16 people can play "hot-seat" on the same computer with one copy of Stars!. Just make sure that all players use the same copy. In other words make sure that there is only one copy of the game running.
To play one game with several players on one machine:
Each player can submit their turn, saves, and then returns to the splash screen using File (Close). You don't have to exit Stars! between players.
If you have enough memory (about 2-4MB per player, depending on the universe size) you can run multiple instances of the game. An "instance" is one running session of the game.
For setup and play details, read about Hosting Hot Seat Games.
- Can two or more people using the same machine, submit turns in the same e-mail game?
Yes. When your .x# file is created it is marked with both your serial number and a fingerprint of your machine. The host will only penalize two or more people playing with the same serial number and DIFFERENT machine fingerprints. Any number of people can submit turns from the same machine with the same serial number. If however, you had two machines at home and submitted one .x# file from each, then each one must have a unique serial number. This allows you to do cool things like take a friend's turn for them when they're out of town or have two family members play from the same machine and so on. We have tried to make sure that our copy protection mechanism is as non-intrusive as possible.
- Where can I find hosted games and other players?
World Wide Web Host Sites:
- You can start or join new games and find player resources at both of the forums above.
Internet Relay Chat(IRC)
A Host's Work is Never Done
Is it possible to Host Stars! from DOS?
- It depends. If the machine cannot run Windows, then the answer is No. If the machine can run Windows but usually does not, then the answer is Yes. It is possible to launch Windows and Stars! from a DOS batch file in such a way that Stars! will generate turns for one or more games and then exit all the way out of Windows allowing the batch file to continue where you it left off.
For more information, read about command line options.
- Is there any way for a host to retrieve a lost password?
Any utility which allowed hosts to remove or change passwords would remove all security from the game. All an unscrupulous host would have to do is copy the game files to another directory and remove the passwords from the player's files in that directory. They could then look at everybody's data in that copy of the universe and no matter what Stars! did, the real players would never know. In a network game ANY player could pull the same trick. Security is an all or nothing element. If we didn't provide at least the minimal level of security we do now, multi-player Stars! games would be a joke.
- I have multiple serial numbers. How do I restore a turn ruined by installing the wrong serial number on a machine?
All you have to do is copy the game files from the backup directory to the game directory, open each affected player's turn and choose File (Save). This will save their .x# files with the correct serial numbers and machine IDs.
- How do I create and save a custom race?
- Is there an ultimate race?
It depends on the type of universe and the placement and experience of the other players. Expert players can make any race an ultimate race (a few people have proven this). However, the same "ultimate race" in that game might get stomped into space dust in another game with a less hospitable mix of variables. Success breeds predictability.
- Can I edit a race during play?
Once a game is started, you're stuck with the race you entered the game with. All game files are compressed and encrypted to provide security for all players. Players cannot read or modify data files.
You can however, at any time, open a saved race file (including the file for a race currently in play) and make edits. As you are playing a race, you might discover a weakness you would like to correct for the next time you play that race.
To edit a race, open the race file using the File (Open) menu item.
Read Editing an Existing Custom Race for more information.
While I'm Playing
- Can I design my own ship hulls?
You can design elaborate ship configurations, but you can't design your own hulls. This is a primary game-balancing restriction.
- Can I use diplomacy?
Stars! has features that allow you to practice diplomacy in multi-player games. Use the Message pane to communicate with other players, arranging such things as alliances, rendezvous, trade agreements and non-aggression pacts.
When you're setting up the game, you can specify winning conditions that encourage diplomacy by allowing for multiple winners. Stars! does not require one winner.
You can declare neutral and friendly players using the Player Relations dialog. This prevents you from attacking the wrong people and allows you to automatically come to a friend's aid if they're under fire. Friends can also pass through each other's mine fields without harm. So it's worth while to set up alliances, even if they're temporary.
- How can I print out a star chart of the universe?
Use the File (Print Map) menu item.