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Fortress Host (aka F-Host)

Author: Michael Raith

Documentation

(c) 1995-97 Michael Raith, All rights reserved

Table of Contents

1 WHAT IS FHOST? 3

2 INSTALLING FHOST 3

3 THE FEATURES 6

3.1 Carrier Fleet Combat 6
3.1.1 The Planeteer's Dream 6
3.1.2 Grouping Up 6
3.1.3 Active and Passive Ships 6
3.1.4 Ship's Aspects 6
3.1.5 Launching Fighters for Defense 7
3.1.6 Dogfighting 7
3.1.7 Closing in for Bombardement 7
3.1.8 Survivors Returning Home 7

3.2 AFM Advanced Fighter Missions 8
3.2.1 Fighter to Ship Attack - FAx 8
3.2.2 Fighter to Planet Attack - FBx 9
3.2.3 Fighter to Stargate Attack - FOx 9
3.2.4 Fighter Patrol - FPx 9
3.2.5 Fighter Minesweep - FMx 10
3.2.6 Fighter Gather Resources - FGx, FGy 10
3.2.7 Fighter Transfer Mission - FTx, FTR 10

3.3 ATM Advanced Torpedo Missions 11
3.3.1 Ship Targets - TAx 11
3.3.2 Stationary Targets - TBx 12
3.3.3 Remote Minelaying - TMx 12

3.4 Stargates 12
3.4.1 Build a Stargate - BSG 12
3.4.2 Completing a Stargate - Cid 12
3.4.3 Repairing a Stargate - RSG 13
3.4.4 Attacking a Stargate - ASG 13
3.4.5 Travelling through Stargates - Jid 13
3.4.6 The Stargate Report 14

3.5 Core Mineral Reformation Device 14
3.5.1 Building a CMRD - BCT 15
3.5.2 Using CMRD - FCT 15

3.6 Helionuclear Fusion Interrupt Device 15
3.6.1 Building a Sunbuster - BSB 16
3.6.2 Using a Sunbuster - FSB (shockwave mode) 16
3.6.3 Using a sunbuster - NSB (nondestructive mode) 16

3.7 Additional Features 17
3.7.1 Fuel Ramscoops 17
3.7.2 Plasma Sunscoops - SSC 17
3.7.3 Maintenance Ships - MTN 17
3.7.4 Automated Fighter Construction - AFC, lfm 18
3.7.5 Automated Torpedo construction - ATC, mkt 18
3.7.6 Ship giveaway orders - GSr, EXC 18
3.7.7 Deathstar Destruction Beam - KPL, KSP 19
3.7.8 Self Destruction - BUM 19
3.7.9 Tholian free Torpedos / Free Starbase Torpedos 19

3.8 Supernova 20

4 FHCONFIG 20

5 FHUTIL 23

6 A WORD ABOUT SHAREWARE 24

7 FHOST REFERENCE CARD 25

8 CREDITS 26

9 HOW TO REACH THE AUTHOR 27

10 GETTING FHOST UPDATES 27

11 LEGAL STUFF - WARRANTY 28

1. What is FHost?
FHost is an abbreviation for Fortress Host. The name derives part from the node I am running, part from the series of scifi stories I am writing - that is all linked together. The idea for Fortress Host arose about February 1995 when some of my players asked me, whether it was possible to implement something like 'Stargates' or some additional missions for the fighters stationed on carriers...

FHost is an add-on host for VGA Planets. It uses the host-files to introduce new features into planets gameplay. FHost does not replace the original host.exe or phost.exe, it's just an enhancement.

2. Installing FHost
Installation by itself is simple: Just copy the EXE file into your planets directory.

FHost.exe is a 32bit protected mode program and needs DOS4GW.EXE v1.97 or higher. The DOS binaries package includes a copy of DOS4GW if you already have DOS4GW somewhere in your path then there is no need to keep this additional copy.

FHost2.exe is an OS/2 32bit executable and does not need an extender.

FHostNT.exe is a 32bit character mode executable for WindowsNT, Windows95 and Windows32s.

The mission.ini file is intended to reside in the VPWORKx directory of WinPlan. This will allow WinPlan users to give FHost-commands using the graphical interface of WinPlan.

As FHost, host.exe and maybe other programs have to run in a certain order, you might already have created a batchfile doing the hosting job. If not, then now it is the time to create one.

FHost does no turnfile processing on its own. This is for security reasons. If you want to have your TRN's checked and included in the game universe (I strongly recommend so), then you might want to use one of the TRN checking and processing programs available on the internet.

If you are using host v3.2 and higher, installation is quite simple: Put FHost and ist parameters into auxhost1.bat and everything will work fine.

My personal configuration on Star Fortress BBS uses Phost's turn processing facilities. This has the additional advantage that Phost's features are available to my players as well.

PHost v2.8 and higher support so called 'phased' hosting. The whole process of computing a new turn is split up into several sections and add-on programs like FHost simply need to be inserted into the batch at their appropriate position. Under PHost >v2.8 your batchfiles look that simple:

phost -1 <dir>
fhost <dir>
phost -2 <dir>
phost -3 <dir>

Of course you have to supply pathnames and the correct parameters when needed. Hosts who rather like to use the original Tim-host should use a batchfile like the following one:

phost -1 <dir>

fhost <dir>

del <dir>\pstate.tmp

host <dir>

This way, you use Phost only as TRN-processor. Please keep in mind that this is meant as a solution for host v3.1x series. If you are using host v3.2x it's simplier and more fail-proof to put FHost into auxhost1.bat.

Using Phost earlier than v2.8 is not recommended, because it doesn't support phases or the FHost messaging system.

Using FHost together with VPHost is also possible, but due to possible problems with garbled stargate messages I do not recommend it. Modify your batchfile so that it looks like this:

vphostx bp -pt -w<dir>
fhost <dir>1
vphostx bp -pb -w<dir>
host.exe <dir>
vphostx bp -pa -w<dir>
vphostx bp -pr -w<dir>

At the moment the following files are used by FHost:

fhconfig.hst
sgate.hst
cmrdata.hst
sunbst.hst
sundata.hst

These files store the additional data on ship status and the solar systems belonging to the planets.

3. The Features

3.1 Carrier Fleet Combat

3.1.1 The Planeteer's Dream
Have you ever dreamt of what the game could look like, when you would only be able to perform fleet battles, and not one-to-one skirmishes?

Well, Carrier Fleet Combat (CFC) is the solution to any problem regarding concerted actions that you might be able to perform with your carriers, i.e. your fighter squadrons.

Additionally, it isn't even hard to use. Most of the work is done for you by FHost.

CFC breaks up with the hard barrier between ships, planets and starbases. In the CFC system I commonly speak of units.

3.1.2 Grouping Up
Now, how does it work in detail?

When, for example an opponent indicated 3 fighter squadrons from different carriers to attack your fleet orbitting "Rana 17", the incoming 3 squadrons first join together to engage your fleet.

As soon as the enemy appears on your scanners, all your units at the present location will be alerted and group up for emergency defense.

3.1.3 Active and Passive Ships
Armed ships and carriers are 'active' participiants in the battle and try to protect other ships, while unarmed freighters, bases and of course planets stay rather passive or try to evade combat. You might for some reasons wish to override the default behavior for some ships in your fleets. So setting friendly code AVC or extended mission 'Avoid Combat' will let your ship to remain passive. Setting the friendly code in a way that it reads as a numeric value between 1 and 999 (read from the left) or issuing ext-mission 'Protect other ships' will result in an active ship.

3.1.4 Ship's Aspects
This behavior modifies the so called 'aspect'. Aspect is a measure for the probability of this unit being hit. The aspect for a passive unit gets smaller, to reflect its efforts to avoid combat.

How much the individual aspect is influenced also depends on the ratio of 'active' to 'passive' units. You can imagine that a lot of armed ships provide excellent cover for your 2 freighters. (high aspect modification). But two gunboats will be by far overworked by trying to guard 15 freighters. (low aspect modification) The freighters' aspect modification is not as good as it could be when guarded better.

Of course you can't expect your freighter Captains to perform wonders when you even don't give them one armed ship for their convoy, but they'll do their best.

Aspect will appear as 'asp' in your defensive messages and should (despite some rounding errors) sum up to 100%. FHost will use the exact values internally.

3.1.5 Launching Fighters for Defense
After all units have moved to their combat position, your fleet starts fighters to defend itself. Starbases and planets launch all of their available fighters while large carriers might have problems to get all their fighters off their hangar bays in time.

The number of fighters, carriers can bring in to combat depends on the number of fighters stationed on board, the number of existing fighter bays and of course how badly damaged your carrier might be.

FHost assumes that at all times approximately 5% of your available fighters are currently launched, flying close range combat air patrol. These fighters will of course immediately join combat.

Additionally a single undamaged fighter bay is able to bring up to 20 fighters into space, while the battle is raging...

3.1.6 Dogfighting
The damage and loss formulas that are used to compute fighter losses due to dogfights and beam defenses are the same FHost used in earlier versions.

3.1.7 Closing in for Bombardement
After the enemy squadrons have succeeded to break through your lines, they close in and attack what they where ordered to. Your ships, starbases or other installations might take damage.

3.1.8 Survivors Returning Home
When it's all over they head home and your remaining fighters also return to their carriers. Remaining fighters land on their carriers in relative numbers of what they were before the battle. (If two carriers had 100 respectively 50 fighters stationed and your fleet suffered 50% losses, your carriers will then have squadrons consisting of 50 and 25 fighters afterwards).

Free planetary fighters resulting from the number of defenseposts will be taken into account.

3.2 AFM Advanced Fighter Missions
AFM refer to fighters stationed on carriers. If enabled, all races may set special friendly codes, indicating the mission and number of fighters to send out. Let the carrier come to a complete stop and place the waypoint on the target.

The parameter x may be replaced by a(ll), h(alf), q(uarters) or the numbers 1 to 0 (1->10%,2->20%,0->100%) indicating the percentage of fighters to be sent out to this mission.

Note: a, h or q may also be specified uppercased.

Keep in mind, that the more fighters you send out to a mission, the more effective it will be fullfilled, but the less fighters remain to defend your ship in case of emergency!

The pilots of each race have different skills. This has consequences in all combats fighters are involved in. A better skill helps your pilots to score more kills and to survive longer than others.

If, unfortunately, a carrier is too badly damaged to land on, or has been destroyed, while its fighters were on duty, the returning fighters search for an emergency landing place within their fuel reserve range (1/3 of their standard range) and try to land there. The pilots will first try to find a carrier, then a starbase and at last they will land on a planet's surface, convert into colonists and decommission their fighters.

You may configure that fighters flying through space use neutronium, too. The amount you configure is kilotons per 100 fighters per 100 light-years. When your carrier is low on fuel, it will adjust the number of fighters for this mission and keep 1 kiloton neutronium in reserve to keep defenses up.

3.2.1 Fighter to Ship Attack - FAx
With the friendly code FAx you may send a squadron of fighters to an enemy spaceship. They will try to attack the largest enemy ship at that position and return to your carrier. If there is more than one ship at the designated position, the defending player may give orders to his ship protecting more valuable or weaker ships from enemy fighter attacks: Setting a friendly code in the range from 001 to 999 determines the defending priority. (ships with lower code come first). A friendly code of "5xy" will be regarded as 005.

A special switch decides, whether the Privateer's ships on a rob ship mission are immune against this kind of attack or not. In this case the privateer ship escapes the incoming fighter squadron by using its cloaking device.

3.2.2 Fighter to Planet Attack - FBx
Friendly code FBx indicates a bombing mission. Your fighters proceed to the targeted planet and start a bombing run. They will also attack a starbase if they find one.

3.2.3 Fighter to Stargate Attack - FOx
Setting your friendly code to FOx, your carrier will send fighter squadrons to an enemy planet to look for and destroy enemy stargates. (Due to a lack of free characters I chose 'O' like orbit. This is where I assume stargates to be installed)

3.2.4 Fighter Patrol - FPx
Ordering your fighters on a patrol by using FPx, they will patrol around the area you marked with your waypoint. The size of the patrolled area depends on the number of active fighters but never exceeds half the maximum fighter range.

Patrolling fighters will have multiple effects on enemy forces. Depending on your primary enemy settings, battleships may be forced to slow down if they don't want to be detected by your fighters. Maybe one of their carriers' combat space patrols engages your squadrons.

If your fighters detect a fighter squadron of your primary enemy in their patrol area or they see an enemy squadron heading for one of your ships or planets, they will move to intercept the bandits.

Do not expect all of your fighters to engage in a skirmish of that kind. Usually your fighters split up into flight groups of ten to sweep the entire area. If they encounter a primary enemy ship, the flight group will call for other flight groups to join in.

Because of their task, fighters on patrol have a combat advantage over other machines that are on a bombing run.

If your machines kill a serious percentage of enemy fighters, the enemy will not be able to break through, valuable planets and/or ships will be protected.

Patrolling fighters give you a brief report of planets within their range and submit any information about enemy stargates to your intelligence agency that prepares your stargate report.

Fighter Patrols can also be launched from Starbases. The parameter then means for the base to send x*10 fighters on patrol.

3.2.5 Fighter Minesweep - FMx
When your send your fighters out on a minesweep mission, their order is to look for and sweep enemy minefields. The rate at which they will blow up enemy mine units depends on the config settings and the race skills (fighter minesweeping once used to be a colonist-only feature).

Be careful not to send too unexperienced pilots into a minefield. Sweeping is a difficult job and may result in some casualties within the minefields. The casualty rates are especially high when you send your pilot into web-minefields.

Fighters have to reach a point within the field to be able to sweep it and they will only sweep as long, as the field is large enough to surround your machines.

Warning: Do NOT forget to deactivate the normal fighter minesweep abilities of any race. Or they will be able to sweep the double amount each turn.

This is the second of the defensive missions which are also available for Starbases. Parameter x means to send x*10 fighters to sweep the minefields.

3.2.6 Fighter Gather Resources - FGx, FGy
FGx lets a first carrier send out a certain number of fightersquadrons to a planet pointed at with its waypoint.

A second carrier got its friendly code set to FGy, where y now indicates a certain resource: n(eutronium), t(ritanium), d(uranium), m(olybdenum), s(upplies) or $(Megacredits).

(The resource indicator letter even has to be set as a friendly code, when you're actually using the winplan ext-mission system because this doesn't support characters as parameters.)

Fighters will collect the requested resources and return to their starting point, landing at carrier 2 and deploying all the stuff. After they are done, they return back to their own carrier.

A single fighter transports one kiloton of minerals/supplies or 100MC.

Be careful: Although this mission can also be misused to steal resources from enemy planets, their defenses will surely not watch your machines take off with their minerals!

3.2.7 Fighter Transfer Mission - FTx, FTR
Using the command FTx on a carrier with the waypoint set on another carrier, will send the ordered amount of fighters to the other carrier.

If there is more than one carrier at the target location, please tell your pilots where to land by using friendly code FTR (fighter transfer receive) on the designated carrier.

This command may be useful to get reinforcements to the front fast.

3.3 ATM Advanced Torpedo Missions
Fighters have become more versatile - so do torpedos. Equipped with passive warp coils, a simple energy source and a targeting computer, dull torpedos turn into self-guiding cruise missiles.

Like in Advanced Fighter Missions, the x in the command give the percentage of tubes used for this mission. On a ship with 8 tubes, TA9 will fire 7 tubes.

The hit chance for a torpedo launch is determined by several factors:

One of the most important is the target ship's scanner silhouette. This means that a bulky slow ship is a better target for a torpedo than a small swift scout. Targeting computers will give you the silhouette value of each hull design within the range of 0 to 2. A value of 1 means, this ship is a 'standard' target.

The second value is the torpedo techlevel. The better the torpedo's targeting computers, the better the hit chances.

The third value is the distance to your target ship. Hit probability will decrease as distance increases.

In FHConfig you may adjust the influence of each of these values on the hit chance as a percentage. The hit ratio of each race may be set independently and therefore decide how good their missiles hit. Setting a value of 0% actually disables cruise missiles for the concerned race because they won't hit anything. Be very! careful when changing the hit ratio percentage. Setting this value too high will result in a 'hit everything under whatever circumstances' race. IMHO this is not, what a configuration should look like.

There is a special switch in the configuration to allow or disallow cloaked ships to fire cruise missiles. Be careful when enabling cloaked attacks, because this may end up in cloaking races smashing their enemies without having to face any resistance.

3.3.1 Ship Targets - TAx
Your battleship will launch torpedos at an enemy ship if you set its friendly code to TAx and put your waypoint on the target. Your cruise missiles will then look for a primary enemy's ship with the biggest size.

3.3.2 Stationary Targets - TBx
Despite the changed friendly code TB for Torpedo Bomb the only change is that you have to select a planet as your waypoint. Your warship will then fire its torpedos at an enemy starbase.

Note: The minimum distance for bombing a planet is 1 lightyear.

3.3.3 Remote Minelaying - TMx
Friendly code TMx assigns your ship to fire cruise missile to the target location converting them to mine units on arrival. Please not that fully functional mine units decreases as you set your target location to a more distant point.

3.4 Stargates
After achieving a sophisticated knowledge of warpspace engineering and subspace travel, your race might be able to build stargates - huge timespace-distorting machines, being able to push a ship through space in fractions of seconds.

3.4.1 Build a Stargate - BSG
If you have enough of every resource needed to build a stargate, you may order your planet to construct a primary hull of a stargate by using the friendly code BSG.

If all went ok, your gate will be build and an id number be assigned. The gate will be shown on the stargate report.

Note: FHost will convert supplies into MC if you are lacking funds.

3.4.2 Completing a Stargate - Cid
As in implemented FHost, a primary hull of a stargate is not functional on its own. You have to build a second raw stargate at another position and finetune them on each other. This process is called secondary installation or stargate completion.

To complete a stargate, use the friendly code Cid on the target planet, where id indicates the id number of the already existing gate to link to.

If the command can be executed, first the primary hull will be build on the planet, and then the tuning and secondary installation will take place.

Secondary installation also requires resources, depending on the
distance between the stargates. The costs for the secondary installation are deducted from each planet's surface.

From now on, the two gates are linked together and ready to travel through.

It is possible to allow another race the completion of your unfinished gate. Just give your partner the stargate id and set the friendly code on your gate's planet to BSr, where r indicates the partner race (1-9ab).

Note: Also here, FHost will sell supplies, if you are lacking funds.

Short example for building a stargate between Sif and Achernar:

Turn #1: Sif gets command BSG

Turn #2: primary hull on Sif completed, Gate-id is given in the stargate report

Achernar gets command Cid to complete the above mentioned gate.

Turn #3: Gate is complete and should be working now

If you build a multirace-gate remember to set Sif's friendly code to BSr in turn #2 to allow player r to complete the gate.

3.4.3 Repairing a Stargate - RSG
If your stargate gets damaged somehow but is not destroyed, simply repair it, using the friendly code RSG on the planet. This will of course cost you 10 supplies per percent repaired.

3.4.4 Attacking a Stargate - ASG
Your ships may attack enemy stargates if you set the ship's friendly code to ASG.

This will only work if no other ships of the enemy are nearby trying to defend the gate. (And they certainly will do.)

3.4.5 Travelling through Stargates - Jid
Maybe stargate travelling looks easy. Just have your ship's code set to Jid, indicating that you want it to jump through gate id and there we go, but in some cases this may bear incalculable risks.

Each gate is equipped with a navigation computer. This sensible device is responsible for the correct alignment of the subspace distortion. Normally if the gate gets damaged, the computer will deactivate the gate's propulsion abilities. But sometimes, this emergency power off is not sensitive enough.

Travelling through a damaged gate with a possibly faulty nav-computer may have devastating effects. Some test drones have already been catapulted out of our galaxy using invalid warp parameters.

Furthermore, stargates need a sound power supply from the planet beneath to be operative. If another player conquers the planet beneath the gate, the energy supply will be interrupted and the gate will no longer work.

Because the gate's nav-computer is security encrypted, the enemy will not be able to make use of the gate. He has the choice either to leave it, or to destroy it.

If two races share a stargate link the nav-computers at both ends of the connection have to be set to the same friendly code. So be sure, that the friendly codes of both planets match, if travelling trough a multirace gate.

The navigation computers of stargates normally are programmed to let ships only of your or your partner's race jump through. Birdmen can try to sneak into the computer system by using their super spy mission and give the Jid order. With luck they can be able to perform a jump without having built that gate.

3.4.6 The Stargate Report
As soon as you have access to at least the data of one stargate, FHost will create a stargate report containing all available data on visible stargates.

The reports show the gate id, the two planets that are linked together, the damage stats and owners of the gates.

The access code shows you, whether you are actually able to perform a jump.

If a gate is incomplete, these data are not available.

If everything is ok, then it shows 'ok'.

If you are watching an enemy gate or your partner race has closed (i.e. changed planetary friendly code) the gate connection, access state is 'dny' (deny).

'pwr' means that at least one of the gates is not being supplied withenergy from the planet beneath. Normally this only occurs, when the planet under the gate has been taken over.

3.5 Core Mineral Reformation Device
The original version of the so called CMRD or 'Core Torpedo' has been invented long ago by Federation scientists who were searching for a means to turn dead planets into thriving worlds to live on. This project was considered a failure because the scientists used protomatter, which all spacefaring races know as a very instable and dangerous matter, and so it had nearly been forgotten.

Fascist engineers got hold of the construction plans and redesigned the device in such a way, that it could primarily be used to destabilisate the molecular structure of a planet's core and reintegrate it in a way that ore can be mined more easily. In other words a core torpedo increases the density of minerals in the planet's core.

Although this torpedo has been designed to be used on not yet colonized planets, the Fascists soon discovered that the molecular protomatter destabilisation is also hazardous to all known lifeforms. So it has been abused as a mass destrucion weapon from time to time.

Because of their bodies' structures, Crystal people and all siliconoid lifeforms suffer to the molecular effects of CMRD in an extreme severe way. We sure will never see a Crystal scientist putting his hands on such a cruel weapon.

3.5.1 Building a CMRD - BCT
By default only Fascists are able to equip a torpedo ship with a core torpedo. To perform this order set the ship's fc to BCT (build core torpedo). The tubes on this ship must be of techlevel 10.

If you want to get a report whether one of your ships is currently carrying a CMRD, use fc RCT (report core torpedo).

Fascists or other races may trade the plans for a CMRD with other races. Just hand a ship with a CMRD over to your partner and his engineers will reverse engineer the torpedo and be able to reconstruct it from then on.

Because of the Solar Federation's very distinct laws concerning the use of mass destruction weapons, they will never be allowed to build or use a CMRD.

For Crystal and siliconoid people, the CMRD is an extremely devastating weapon. They will therefore never use or build CMRDs.

3.5.2 Using CMRD - FCT
Having your ship in the orbit of the target planet, issue the friendly code FCT (fire core torpedo) and the device will be launched and detonate.

Although a core torpedo may be used as a weapon against other races, this is a very difficult task. Your ship has to trim its position very carefully to successfully launch a CMRD. If alien ships are disturbing your vessel (and of course they will try if they recognize your intentions) you will not be able to launch the torpedo.

Furthermore the planets defense posts will launch their fighters and use their beam weapons to intercept the torpedo before it detonates on the planets surface.

3.6 Helionuclear Fusion Interrupt Device
Accidentally invented by genuine Crystal scientists on an outer space solar lab and annexed from a Birdmen warship that just passed the station, the HFID (or so called Sunbuster) developed to one of the main weapons of the Birdmen race.

A sunbuster torpedo fired directly into a sun stops all thermonuclear reactions almost instantly and therefore makes the sun go nova and turn into a white dwarf afterwards. This, as a consequence, lets the whole planetary system of this sun become a set of giant, unfriendly icecubes.

3.6.1 Building a Sunbuster - BSB
Similar to the construction of a core torpedo, your ship needs to have: One kiloton of every mineral, the required amount of money, tech 10 torpedo tubes and of course you have to be able to construct a sunbuster. Build a HFID with fc BSB (build sunbuster).

Like core torpedos, the sunbuster technology may be traded among all races (except for the Solar Federation which will never allow the use of mass destruction weapons). Giving a ship with a sunbuster away to another race should do the job.

The status of the sunbuster on board may be requested by setting the ship's fc to RSB (report sunbuster).

3.6.2 Using a Sunbuster - FSB (shockwave mode)
You order your ship to fire the sunbuster with friendly code FSB. Sunbuster missiles can be fired at distant suns like torpedos. Put your ship's waypoint on the target solar system. The ranges and hit chances are the same as configured for cruise missiles.

The defensive rules against sunbusters are the same as for core torpedos. If you succeeded, your ship should run for its life, because your opponent surely will not be very pleased about what you did...

3.6.3 Using a sunbuster - NSB (nondestructive mode)
At stardate 8696.06.28.2014 tholian scientists revealed a new set of configuration parameters for the already existing sunbuster. This epoch-making discovery allowed to shutdown helionuclear fusion of a star without the typical supernova shockwave that normally would occur.

What does this mean in detail? And what could this be useful for?

The nondestructive mode could be seen as some sort of 'emergency shutdown' for suns that are about to go nova - on you own planets.

Unfortunately you cannot reverse the process of helionuclear breakdown once your scientists realize that your sun is going instable, but you can protect your planet and all units in and near the system from the supernova shockwave. So 'shutting down' a sun this way saves your colony but nevertheless means that this planet will cool down to zero degrees.

3.7 Additional Features

3.7.1 Fuel Ramscoops
Because they were used to travel long distances through deep space, the Colonies invented a device that gathers Hydrogen out of the vacuum and converts it into fuel for warpdrive engines. Originally designed into the hull of the Cobol Class Cruiser, the ramscoops have also been ported to the famous Virgo Class Battlestar in the meanwhile. By trade with other races and through assimilation by aliens, ramscoops are now also found on Eros Class Research Vessels and B41 Class Explorers.

The amount of neutronium collected by a ramscoop per light-year traveled may be configured by the host. Default setting is 2.0 kt/LY.

Host 3.2 didn't recognize fuelscoops working, when used with VPHost. FHost fixes this.

3.7.2 Plasma Sunscoops - SSC
Crystal people like heat very much. And so it is no wonder, that their engineers built a modified form of the ramscoop into the Ruby Class Light Cruiser that is able to collect the plasma directly out of a sun's corona. Although this method is very effective in collecting fuel, the required low distance to the sun bears some risks to the ship and the crew. An unexpected protuberance may damage the ship's hull or high frequented gamma rays may cause losses to the crew. Friendly code SSC activates this mission.

3.7.3 Maintenance Ships - MTN
Almost each fleet now has socalled maintenance ships within their ranks. The only ones who do not use the concept of maintenance ships are the Cyborgs, they already have a much more sophisticated repair technology, and the Fascists and Birdmen, who think that repairing a ship in space is an unethical and cowardly act.

All other races may use their according maintenance ships by flying to the position of the damaged starship and setting the friendly codes of both ships to MTN.

The amount of damage repaired depends on the capability of the repairing ship and of the size of the ship to be repaired. But also if very small vessels are to be maintained, repairing speed will never exceed 25 percent per month.

The ships equipped with all the necessary items are:

  • Vendetta Class Frigate
  • Dwarfstar Class Transport
  • Onyx Class Frigate
  • Moscow Class Star Escort
  • Cybernaut Class Baseship
  • Sagittarius Class Transport

3.7.4 Automated Fighter Construction - AFC, lfm
Given the friendly code AFC (or lfm, for host compatibility), a carrier loads the maximum possible amount of minerals to construct fighters using 3kt Tri, 2kt Mol and 5kt Supplies.

You can configure the amount of supplies a fighter costs and how much MC a non-supply-race has to pay for a fighter. FHost takes this into account when performing an AFC or lfm command.

The ability to configure fighter costs is one of the key features for Fhost. It can be used to break down the barrier bewteen the former fighter and torpedo races.

Due to the improved flexibility and general usability of fighter units, building fighters has become more inportant in gameplay. Charging a race 100 MC for a single fighter while others only need 5 Supplies would turn the balance towards the ceap producers... So every race should have a chance to build up a fighter force at a reasonable price.

3.7.5 Automated Torpedo construction - ATC, mkt
Using friendly codes ATC or mkt, ships are able to build torpedos in space. Please notice that mkt only uses resources that are already on board the ship while ATC determines the maximum amount of torpedos that this ship can build and loads the proper amounts of resources. ATC and mkt codes also distinguish whether a race must pay MCs for torpedos or may use supplies.

The amount of supplies that each race has to pay for a torpedo can be configured in FHConfig. A value of 0 means that this race has to pay MCs.

3.7.6 Ship giveaway orders - GSr, EXC
If you want to give the control of one of your ships to another race, just meet somewhere in space and set the friendly code to GSr (give ship to race r). r is the number of the race from 1 to 9, a or b. You may also specify gsr as lowercased order (compatibility with host commands).

If you want to trade two ships, the more secure way to do this is using the exchange command EXC on both ships.

This special mission only works when both involved players give this command to their ships at the same location in space.

The crews and colonists of both ships will change and take their position as well as they are able to. If, unfortunately there is not enough room for all crewmembers on the new ship, a part of the crew has to stay as colonist clans...

3.7.7 Deathstar Destruction Beam - KPL, KSP
The Gorbie Class Battlecarrier is now equipped with a huge main weapon that is able to pierce the shields of any ship within a matter of milliseconds or to even blow up entire planets with a single blast.

According to what you want to shoot at, set the friendly code to KSP (kill ship) or KPL (kill planet).

The use of this weapon will cost a pretty large amount of energy that has to be delivered in the form of neutronium.

REMEMBER: A planet you blow up this way does not exist anymore and therefore can not be colonized!

3.7.8 Self Destruction - BUM
Under some extreme conditions you may recognize that there is no other way out for one of your ships than engaging the self destruction routine. You would presumably like to blow up your ships to prevent your enemy from catching valuable mineral loads or reverse engineering your main battleship...

For self destruction is a highly sensitive topic, you unfortunately are not allowed to decide over the lives of perhaps many thousand crewmembers of your own.

To send a request for self destruction to one of your ships, give friendly code BUM.

The commanding officer on the ship will then evaluate the ship's situation and decide, whether he approves self destruction or denies your request.

At least two of the following conditions have to be given:

  • the ship is low on fuel (between 1 and 25 kt left)
  • the ship is more than 60% damaged (90% for lizards)
  • there are more than 5 armed enemy ships within a distance of 10 light years
  • more than 80% of your crew have been killed

3.7.9 Tholian free Torpedos / Free Starbase Torpedos
Per default, the Tholian race gets two free torpedos on each starbase. The techlevel of the added torpedos is determined by the tech on each starbase. So a base with tech 10 torpedos will get two tech 10 fish each turn, while a new starbase with tech 1 will only get tech 1 torpedos.

Since v1.20 the host may also configure an amount of free torpedos for each race individually.

3.8 Supernova
The life of a star ends approximately 10e9 years after its birth.

Of course this event is rarely improbable to happen within a game that simulates 500 solar systems over a period of maybe 20 years.

But to make things more interesting and add a new fancy color to the game, you may set a percent chance that determines how likely a sun will run out of atomic fuel in a certain turn.

If this happens, the sun does not go nova instantly, but it will show up on your scanners that this sun is starting to increase fusion activity.

In the default period of 10 turns the players are informed about the progress of the nova and the corresponding planet starts to heat up as the sun grows. The player who owns the endangered planet should put all his efforts in evacuating his colonists until the sun collapses.

While reaching the final state of a nova. The ray emissions of the star are high enough to be seen at the other end of the galaxy. Not to talk about the poor planet, that is burnt to ashes. Even the deflector shields of common ships are not strong enough to withstand the radiation when the distance drops under 10 light-years.

Finally the nova collapses to a 'white dwarf'. A little glimming star.

This system can now be considered dead, because without a constant supply of thermal energy the planet will barely be warmer than 70K.

4. FHConfig
This little program for itself is freeware. Start it with the game directory as a commandline parameter and you may edit the game configuration. If you do not give any parameters, FHConfig will assume the current directory as your choice.

FHConfig will start up with default settings if it cannot find a fhconfig.hst file.

Move around with your cursor and increase/decrease the values by typing + and - or enter the values directly where it applies.

Stargate costs divide into primary and secondary costs.

The primary costs for one gate are given, the total secondary costs are calculated by:

cost.2nd = pow( (real_range/base_range), prop) * cost.1st;

As you see you may render long distance gates more expensive by decreasing the base range or by increasing the proportionality factor.

The cmrd/hfid save defense number shows the amount of required defense posts on a planet to be 100% safe from the according weapon.

For core torpedos or sunbusters you have the choice between three options:

If set to never, a race will not be allowed to build or fire any weapons of this kind.

If set to yes, the race is able to build and use the weapon from the beginning.

If set to no, the race does not begin with the required technology but may acquire the knowledge by capturing/buying a ship from another race.

You may allow certain races to build torpedos using supplies instead of MCs. The amount of required supplies can be fine tuned for each race of its own. Setting the amount to zero means that this race has to pay MCs. The default values of 5kt supplies are a rough guess by my betatesting crew and me. Please feel free to test around and perhaps report any good settings...

Registered FHost also allows the host to configure the build costs for fighters for each race individually. You may set the price in MC, or a general price based on supplies. If a race's individual MC-price is set to 0 it uses the configured amount of supplies to build torps.

Suggested MC costs for fighters are cheap. This is because fighters play an important role in FHost games and no one could afford fighter missions if a single fighter costs as much as a highspeed drive for a battleship or the hull of a 'big' ship. The MC costs slightly remember to the former 'fighter' and non-fighter races, because races 8 to 11 have a better price than the others. Borg are the exception. Their production capabilties are immense and their technological knowledge gives them an advantage. Fortunately, the borg are rather miserable individual pilots (skill 60%), what somewhat weakens them. So they have a lot of bad fighters...

On page 3 of the setup screen, you may configure some of the advanced internal parameters of FHost:

Bird gate chance is the percentage of success for Birdmen to use enemy stargates.

Starbase mass is used when calculating aspects of starbases during fleet combat events.

Passive firepower determines the fraction of firepower that ships get in a passive position.

The fuel mass coefficient determines how much a large fuel tank affects a ship's manoeverability and therefore worsens the ship's aspect ratio.

A value of zero means that this ships highgly manoeverable despite it's fuel tank. A value of 1 means that the maximum fuel is counted as full weight and therefore makes those ships (e.g. Neutronic fuel carriers) very good targets.

The passive aspect modificator determines the benefit a ship gains from staying in a passive position. Zero means that the ship is invulnerable. 1 means that there is no difference between active and passive ships.

Offensive and defensive fighter bay capacities indicate how much fighters a carrier can launch in offensive/defensive situationer from each fully functional fighter bay. A carrier with a certain amount of damage will have these valued reduced by the same percentage.

The fighters_always_airborne percentage indicates how much of the fighters that remain on a carrier during a mission are flying close combat air patrol to guard their carrier.

The last two config switches allow to turn cruise missile mines on or off.

Please keep in mind that the parameters on page three have a severe impact on game balance. Please change them only if you know exactly what you're doing.

Words of wisdom:

Neither my betatesting crew nor myself stated that the FHost default config is the ultimate word of wisdom. The default config rather reflects our (or my) personal view of the game. One of the reasons to make FHost as configureable as possible was the knowledge that every set of players has different opinions about how 'their' game universe should look like.

So do not hesitate to try out different sets of configurations. If you think 'Fighter races' are too strong. Just decrease fighter range of increase figter prices. (Or decrease prices for all the other races). Your cruise missiles always miss or don't make enough damage? No problem. Increase maximum range, hit ratio or relative damage...

There are billions of possible configurations. And no one could ever proof that one is more fair than another. In the end it's still a matter of how intelligent your players exploit new features. (Maybe 'advanced space warefare with FHost' could be the headline of a little booklet I intend to write one day).

So, for example, no one tells you that you must not cleansweep amourphous planets with the fighter-bomb command before colonizing.

In any case: Players that stick to their 'old' strategies that worked well in games without FHost will soon recognize that other players, who use more flexible strategies, start chewing their territory away...

5. FHUtil
FHUtil is a tool that combines some functions for hosts to maintain their game data with the possibility for players to perform several calculations concerning torpedo hit rates.

FHUtil is a command-line-driven program. The first parameter when you start it always needs to be your game-directory or the directory the global data files are. Next are the commands. Possible commands are at the moment:

give race, a special way to delete one race from the game by merging it into another empire.

nova init, the setup for a special FHost-scenario: all suns have a limited lifetime that slowly expires. For example if the host specifies a value from 100 to 200, the first suns will explode after 100 game turns and the last ones after 200. After the maximum time all suns will have burnt out and the winning player is the one, who managed to build most ships and has saved most colonists for the new sector...

Warning: 500 suns changing their status at the same time may require some minutes to calculate and will generate a lot of messages. In the worst case (all 500 suns exploding at the same time) you will have to expect a host-message file of 1.8 MB size. Some tools may have problems handling a 190k resultfile...

  • torp given the according parameters of the target ship, torp calculates your hit chances and estimates the amount of damage that your torpedo causes.
  • basetorp this is the same as above but for starbases.
  • sunbuster idem for cruise missile sunbusters

The parameters the last three player functions accept are the following:

  • m<mass>, effective mass of the ship (hullmass+maxfuel)
  • M<realmass>, hullmass (i.e. armor)
  • d<distance>, distance to target
  • t<torptech>, torpedo tech used
  • D<defenses>, defense posts
  • h<hit_ratio>, hit ratio as configured in FHConfig
  • T<tech_infl>, the tech influence as configured in FHConfig
  • r<max_range>, the maximum range of cruise missiles
  • R<range_infl>, the range influence as configured in FHConfig
  • G<damage>, the damage scaling configured in FHConfig
  • S<save_def.>, sunbuster save defense posts as configured in FHConfig

From the above, FHUtil requires a certain minimum amount of parameters to do a correct calculation. For example: calculating hit chances on a ship without giving the ship's mass does not make sense.

If you omit the configuration-specific parameters, FHUtil will use the default settings.

6. A Word About Shareware
FHost is shareware. So you have the possibility to try out my work before paying for it. I would be glad if you consider registering when you decide to use FHost on a regular basis. This project used up a respectable amount of time. (And as it seems to me now, it will also continue using)

Please notice that the shareware version of FHost is NOT licensed for commercial use of any kind. If you are running a pay-to-play site or are making money in any other manners by using FHost, you should contact me for more information.

Unregistered FHost will send a message to every player in the game from time to time and run for a maximum of 100 turns. Following features will not work:

  • Fighter Transfer
  • Fighter Resource gathering
  • Fighter Minesweeping
  • Fighter Stargate Attacks
  • Starbase Fighter Missions (Minesweep/Patrol)
  • You must not alter the default costs for fighter building.
  • Multirace stargates
  • Attacking Stargates
  • Super Destruction Beam (Planets/Ships)
  • Technology transfer of core torpedos (CMRD) and sunbusters (HFID)
  • HFIDs may not be fired as Cruise Missiles.


7. FHost Reference Card

Legend
1-0 = 10% to 100%
a = all
h = half
q = quarter
n = neutronium
d = duranium
m = molybdenum
s = supplies
$ = MC
id 01-99 = Stargate ID
r 1-9ab = Racenumbers

Miscellaneous Commands
SSC Activate Sunscoops (Ruby Class)
KSP Kill Ship (Deathstar)
KPL Kill Planet (Deathstar)
AFC Automated Fighter
Construction
ATC Automated Torpedo Construction
GSr Give Ship To Race
EXC Exchange Ships
BUM Request Self Destruction
MTN Maintenance Order
AVC Avoid Combat

Advanced Fighter Missions
FAx Fighter Attack Ship
FBx Fighter Bomb Planet
FOx Fighter Attack Stargate
FMx Fighter Minesweep Area
FPx Fighter Patrol Area
FTx Fighter Transfer to
FTR Fighter Transfer Receive
FGx Fighter Gather Resources
FGy Fighter Gather (part2)

Advanced Torpedo Missions
TAx Torpedo Attack Ship
TBx Torpedo Bomb Planet
TMx Torpedo Remote Minelaying

Stargate Commands
BSG Build Stargate
Cid Complete Stargate
BSr Build Stargate To Race
ASG Attack Stargate
RSG Repair Stargate
Jid Jump Through Stargate

Core Torpedos
BCT Build Core Torpedo
RCT Report Core Torpedo
FCT Fire Core Torpedo

Sunbuster Commands
BSB Build Sunbuster
RSB Report Sunbuster
FSB Fire Sunbuster (shockwave)
NSB Fire Sunbuster
(nondestructive)


8. Credits

I'd like to thank following persons who have helped with their ideas or programs, or part of their knowledge to create FHost.

Tim Wisseman author of VGA Planets
Jan Peter author of VPHost and VPTools Dijkstra
Holger Walz "Century Forces", having tons of ideas for FHost
Gisbert "The Cylon Imperator" thanks for the Moggert corrective reading
Wolf Moggert "King Wolfdie III" at least promised to write
Gerd Tr”ger "Navy's 1st Bomber Squad" a hard working beta tester
Jens Hofbauer "Devil's Alliance" OS/2 hints, stargate bug
Johannes Meyer "John Locutus Warduck" fighting the unowned ship' bug
Stefan Schneck "Snail Imperator" many good ideas about fighter combat
Eva-M. "Even R.T'Pei Sawaiy" encouraging me to Ksionsek finish FHost
Sandra Steiger for patiently reading through
Marcus "Bugnix" ideas in code organisation Meissner
Tobias Schieál "Col Slung" the 'official' FHost distributor in Regensburg

And my Star Fortress 'acting crew':

Annette Diruf, "LtCdr Tecall" (Second-in-command)
Michael Schulte, "LtCdr Rhallick" (Second-in-command)
Tobias Schieál, "Col Slung" (Army Commander, Mech Units)
Marcus Meissner, "Maj Marcus" (Wing Commander Cobra/Viper)
Kathrin B”lter, "Cpt Indira" (Wing Commander Anaconda)
Andrea Reyzl, "Lt Avalja" (Communications Officer)
Armin Kohl, "Lt Rip" (Flight Officer)
Monika Ehrenreich, "Sgt Satik" (Engineering)

Special thanks go to my grandfather, who always supported me and my ideas. It makes me very sad that he passed away just on FHost's first release date, on June 27th 1995.

And to all the others that I might have forgotten...

9. How To Reach The Author
If you have questions of suggestions, or probably have found a bug, you may reach me at following addresses:

FidoNet: Michael Raith@2:2494/340, Star Fortress
InterNet: Michael.Raith@wiwi.uni-regensburg.de
WWW: http://www.netzblick.de/mlraith
The newest FHost will always be requestable from my BBS (magics: FHOST, FHOST32, FHOSTNT, FHOST2, FHOSTDOC)

Star Fortress BBS: +49-9401-79462, v32b, ISDN

My snail mail address:

Michael Raith
Kreuzstrasse 5
93092 Barbing
Germany

For more details about how to register, please see the register.frm
that was included with the main archive, or look at my homepage for a
newer version of the registration form.

Also feel free to write your comments about FHost to me...

10. Getting FHost Updates
The newest release of FHost should always be available at:

-Star Fortress BBS, +49-9401-79462, v32b, ISDN, FAX

-Star Fortress Homepage, http://www.netzblick.de/mlraith/fhost/

-FU-Berlin,ftp.fu-berlin.de.,pub/pc/msdos/games/vgaplanets/util/addon

-The Neutral Zone, http://www.imagi.net/~rwdc/vgap/

If for some reasons, you have trouble finding the files at the above internet sites, try asking http://ftpsearch.unit.no/ftpsearch about the newest FHost. http://altavista.digital.com will also do a good job in locaing sites that are carrying FHost archives...

The original FHost release archive is called FHOST???.EXE, where ??? shows the version number. This EXE-file is a self-extracting archive. It has a security envelope attached to it. If this envelope is missing, someone has tampered around with the archive and files could be missing. In this case, please get yourself an unmodified copy.

I have included PGP signature files for all executables that belong to the FHost distribution. You may check the authenticity of the files by calling "PGP <file>.sig <file>.exe".

Due to the size of all the release files I split everything up into several parts:

FHOST???.EXE, the main archive with support files and ASCII-docs
FHX???.EXE, files needed for FHost DOS/32
FHN???.EXE, FHost Windows NT/95/32s executables
FHO???.EXE, OS/2 executables
FHM???.EXE, FHost manual in winword format (suggested reading)

11. Legal Stuff - Warranty
FHOST, FHOST2, FHOSTNT, FHCONFIG AND FHUTIL ARE DISTRIBUTED "AS IS".
NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND IS EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED. YOU USE AT YOUR OWN
RISK. THE AUTHOR WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR DATA LOSS, DAMAGES, LOSS OF
PROFITS OR ANY OTHER KIND OF LOSS WHILE USING OR MISUSING THIS
SOFTWARE

 

 
 
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