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Blitz-games Ruby VGAP Viewer Java VGAP Client Message Types


VGA-Planets is an ever-interesting space-faring game. Playing against at most ten human opponents, you have to build your economy, put your diplomatic skills to the test and fight it out when those fail. The eleven different races each have their own set of capabilities, guaranteeing quite different play, even when the players are the same, but play other races.

The author of the game, Tim, has managed a very good game balance, given all those different capabilities, but he is not a very good programmer. As a consequence, his "encrypted" data structures have been broken long ago. This resulted in a set of additional client programs, releaving the bad features and omissions of the original clients.

Together with the low price of the registered client, and friendly responses from Tim on most types of questions, this has shown some behaviour not unlike the Free Software movement (except VGAP itself is not free).

Utilities for Players

Note: all my software is written for DosPlan 3.x, not for WinPlan.

Speed is no longer an issue for VGAP. Whereas Tim's software used to be slow, Moore has taken away the problem. 500 planets and 500 ships is not very much, even when you multiply by a couple of dozen fields.

However, portability remains an issue. All my utilities run at least on Linux, but most on more systems (typically the entire *nix suite). JVPC runs on any JVM I have tried, so has even more hardware to run on.


New in my series: Ruby VGAP Viewer which attempts to give an overview of data on the starmap (currently only planets, but already shows minerals, natives, temperature, MC, supplies and colonists. Interesting is the query feature, as well as the host simulation that will take additional user-set data into acount).

Blitz games

Using a stand-alone blitz client (or plugin with JVC)
See the blitz page.


Still active (though considering to put the effort in Lars Dam's JVC instead)
See the JVPC homepage (beta software; all basic features available); jarfile provided).


Older stuff, for which I'll handle bug-reports, but are not otherwise maintained:

Programs for hosts

Some Specifications

When I made my utilities, I found a lot (I hope all) about the data format of the result, the turn and the player files (all DosPlan). The format of the player files can be found in the PlanMap header file of A.M. van den Bos, updated by Christopher Croughton and me.
The result- and turn- formats are mine. Next to that I found the formats of some other files

Stefan Reuther has an overview of manymany datafiles involved on the host- and player-side, DosPlan and WinPlan. Even some 3rd party datafiles are described.

A series of TimHost messages to help people write parsers for them.

The VGA-Planets Programming Ring

Need more information than I have? This webring contains some other sites with utilities.

(I've been thrown out? For no apparent reason? No reply to my mail? What's going on? Now I've moved my page, too!)

Some VGA-Planets Pages

Additional Useful Links

As you might suspect, I work with UNIX and use a lot of GNU-software. That is open source software and there are even versions for DOS ( djgpp (version 2) and make (file gmake*.zip); there is other usefull stuff here).

For JVPC, we also test Kaffe, a completely open source Java environment (except the DOS release, which is proprietary).

Furthermore, we use Jikes, a java source-to-bytecode compiler written in C++ by IBM. It is much faster than javac and handles our source perfectly. It is also open source, be it a little different from GPL.

All available help in PLANETS.EXE in text format (and then zipped) is here
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