Hosting Modem and Email Games

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Other Game Set Up Topics

This is more complicated to explain than it is to do.

Stars is turn-based, not interactive. This means modems can be used to transfer turn files once they are generated. You can do this through a BBS, email, upload/download from an FTP site, or using any other method you wish to transfer files from the host to player systems. There aren't any special transfer protocols for modem users--you're just uploading or downloading files.

Tip: Notice the <tooltip text="Accelerated BBS Play option">Accelerated BBS Play
When you check the option of Accelerated BBS (also known as ABBS or AccBBS), the following happens:
Bullet.png Players start out with a population 4 times larger than normal.

(Normal start in a non AccBBS game is 25,000 pop. Growth Rate makes a difference in this calculation. A rough approximation comes up with 5k pop for every 1% GR. For example - 10% GR will start with 75,000 pop, 20% GR will have 125,000 and 19% GR will have 120,000.)
Bullet.png All planets have 20% more minerals.
Bullet.png Planets with poor mineral densities are improved by a few percentage points.

This means you can build 5 to 10 ships your first turn, complete research up to 2 tech levels a year, and in general jump-start the game. You don't have to worry about running out of colonists if you want to send out a large number of colony ships early in the game.

In games started with this option you'll need to make many more decisions from turn 1 on. The first 10 turns accomplish what otherwise takes about 30 to 50 turns. These games usually have a winner emerging before turn 100. A disadvantage to this option is that some of the subtlety of Stars! is lost. You don't have to make as many of the early resource tradeoffs that have a large impact on your strategy later in the game. Most BBS gamers will find that this disadvantage is outweighed by the faster pace.</tooltip> in the Advanced Game setup. You may wish to check this option during setup to jump-start the game.

Before you begin setup, have your players design their races and give you the race files for loading into the game. Alternately, you can customize a for any player who wishes it.

To set up a modem or email-based game:

  1. Click on New Game on the opening screen or on File (New) from the Stars! main menu. The New Game dialog appears.
  2. Click on Advanced Options, then specify options such as the universe size, difficulty level, relative starting positions, accelerated play for BBS games, number and type of players (real or AI), and the victory conditions. Be sure to load any custom race files provided by the players. Create <tooltip text="player positions for latecomers">Adding Expansion Players
    If you think there'll be other players joining later in the game, add an Expansion Player for each missing person. Stars! will assign a "housekeeper" AI to run things for those players until they actually join the action. This AI will keep planets and fleets active, making sure the production queues are busy, etc. It does not develop any strategy.

    When the player joins, right click on the diamond next to their name in the host dialog and change the type to Human Controlled. Then, give the latecomer a break by asking the other players to leave them alone for N years.</tooltip> if you think it's necessary.
    The order of players listed in Step 2 of the Advanced New Game dialog becomes part of the turn filename for each player. The turn file for Player 1 will be gamename.m1, for Player 2 it will be gamename.m2, and so on.
  3. You'll be prompted for a game name. Enter any name up to eight characters long (don't worry about typing an extension). Stars! creates a set of files containing data for that game and each player in the game. You can save the game wherever you wish. By default, Stars! will save the game files in the Stars! install directory.
  4. The Stars! Host dialog appears. Click on Close to stop the game until all players have submitted their turns. If you'd like to leave Stars! running, click on Auto Generate.
  5. Before the first turn each player needs to download the universe file, gamename.xy, and their player file, gamename.mN (where N is the player number), for the newly created game. Alternately, you can upload or email gamename.xy and gamename.mN to each player. These files will be located in the same directory in which you saved the game.

6. Help the players understand what they need to do using the instructions in What Each Player Needs to Do. If you're playing as well as hosting, you'll probably find it easier to start a second instance of Stars!, playing from one and using the other to handle host duties.

After each player has sent you their turn (in the form of the log file, gamename.xN) do the following:

1. Place each player's submitted log file in the directory where you set up the game.

2. Start Stars! (if it's not already running), click on Open Game, and open the host file, gamename.hst.

3. If the Stars! host is set to auto-generate mode, it will automatically generate the new turn as soon as you move the player log files into the game directory. If you're generating turns manually, then select Generate Now from the Host dialog. Stars! will continue to follow any existing orders for players who didn't submit their turns on time. All messages and data for the missed turns, such as planets discovered or battles fought, will be present when they load the new turn.

4. Once the turn is generated, notify the players that the new turn is available. You can email or upload each newly updated gamename.mN file or allow each player to download it themselves.

Using a Timer App?

If you use a timer application to launch Stars! on the host system, take a look at the variety of command line options that will do such things as start Windows and Stars!, generate the new turn and exit both programs.

Learn about:

What Each Player Needs to Do

Setting and Viewing Winning Conditions

Playing with a Custom Race

Saving Your Game

Exiting Stars!

Replaying a Previous Turn

Files Used in Stars!