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XSHIP - Experimental Ship Simulation. On-line BBS Door.
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XSHIP – Experimental Ship Simulation. On-line BBS Door.
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Contents of the XSHIP.DOC file


XSHIP - Experimental Ship Simulation
Beta Documentation Version 3.2
Release Date: 01/05/91
Copyright (c) 1989, 1990, 1991 by Eric R. Markgraf


Foreward

XSHIP was something that I started on a whim durring the
1989 Christmas Holiday. It was meant as a platform for
programming multiple video types however, it is quickly becoming
one heck of an online bbs game. I have to admit that I have
stolen a lot of ideas from Second Conflict, but XSHIP was built
around the now defunct and never finished Space Empires. If
anything, being able to play around with XSHIP sparked some new
life into Second Conflict. That however is another story.

As of today, there are still several things that I would
like to see done to this program before I decide weather or not
to "release" it to the general public. The more notiable would
be the addition of Windows and Menus in the various graphic
modes. Plus "computer player logic" (esspecially for the
standalone version).

A year later this still holds true, but the game has grown
considerably durring this time.


Introduction

XSHIP is a game of Space Exploration and Conquest. It is
designed to be played by two or more players. Each player starts
on one of a fixed number of space stations with a limited number
of resources. The objectives of the game are simple: 1. Build
ships with which to travel between other Space Stations and
Star Systems; 2. Gather resources from Star Systems to be used
at Bases for new ship construction; 3. Gain control of as many
of the Space Stations as possible while denying this to the other
players.


This document was written from the prespective that the
reader is playing the online door version of the program.
The standalone version works somewhat differently.

Table Of Contents

What's New
Unit Types
Turn Sequence
Order Entry Phase
Movement Phase
Combat Phase
Commands
More About Movement
More About Combat
More About Bases and Base Systems
More About Planets
More About Ships and Ships Systems
More About Troops
More About Missiles
Random Events
Scoring and Victory Conditions
Morale and Combat Odds
Technology Levels
Hints, Tips, and Other Miscellanous Stuff
Installation as a Citadel-86e Door
Designer Notes
Credits and Other Such Things


What's New

Those of you who are new to XSHIP may skip this next section
unless you are intersted in a little evolutionary history of the
program.

Planets have been changed from a single world to a Star
System of multiple worlds.

Bases have been beefed up allowing more Shields and Beams at
higher technology levels making them more formitable in combat.

Planet Control and Combat has hopefully been improved for
the better. If another player besides yourself has troops on a
planet, then that world is said to be contested. You can not
load points or population from a contested world.

Missiles where added solely to enhance planet combat.

Random Events were added and expanded to include a little
background noise. Expect future additions of event types on a
regular basis.


Unit Types

There are several basic unit types which can be controled
both directly and indirectly by the players. Bases, Ships,
Troops, Missiles, Population, and Points can be directly
controled by the players. Star Systems and their Planets can
not be. Ships are the only moble units that can move under
their own power. Although Population, Points, Missiles and
Troops can be transported on Ships.

BASES: Bases start the game at a fixed location. Each Player
will start the game with control of a single base. The remaining
bases are inactive until they are captured by a player. Bases
have Shields and Beams for defenses just as ships do. They can
also take damage. Bases can hold resource points, population,
missiles and troops. The troops will defend against hostile
boarding parties should the bases defenses fail. Bases are also
the only place where new ships can be constructed.

PLANETS: Planets start the game in fixed locations just as
bases do. However they can never be directly controled by a
player. Planets have no defenses against a space born attack,
but they can play host to multiple troops from the various
players. Planets begin the game with a starting Point and
Population level. As the population goes up, so does the
chance of producing more points. Of course as the population
goes down, so does point production goes down as well. Troops
can be 'recuited' if the player already has troops in place,
but this will lower the population and potential production.
Missiles are produced on planets by the rate of one missiles for
every three troops.

SHIPS: Ships are built at bases with points gathered
from planets. As you start the game with no ships, it would be
wise to build a ship suited towards transporting points. The
ships basic systems are it's Engines, Shields, Beams, and
Transports. A ships Mass and Speed are based on the number of
Engines. As you add more systems, the speed of the ship will
decrease. Ships can transport Points at a ratio of ten
points for every one transport factor, troops at a ratio of
two to one, missiles at the ratio of ??? to one, and population
at a ratio of ??? to one. Ships can be damaged and destroyed
as a result of combat.

POINTS: Points are found and produced on Planets. Points are
used for Ship Construction, Ship Repair, and Base Expansion.

POPULATION: Population reside on Planets. They are
responsible for Point production and they can be recuited to form
new troops.

TROOPS: Troops are used to recuit new troops and build
missiles on Planets. They can be transported on Ships and found
on bases. They aid in the defense of Ships and Bases when
another player trys to board a ship or base under your control.
They are used as Damage Control Teams on Ships and Bases to
repair Damage.


Turn Sequence

Player One Enters his orders.
Player n Enters his orders.
Movement.
Combat.
Random Events.
Turn Update.

For the online version, the turn will advance once every
twenty four hours or when sixty percent of the players have taken
their turn.


Order Entry Phase

Orders can be entered for Bases, Planets, and Ships. Certain
commands will only work if a ship is in range of a base, planet
or another ship. Other commands will not work if a Base or Ship
has been damaged. Ship Construction and Repair; Troop,
Missile, Population and Point Movements all happen during the
order entry phase. Targeting of weapons is also accomplished
durring this phase. Sensor Scans and Map displays show
Bases, Planets, and Ships before any movement has occurred.


Movement Phase

All units ships capable of movement who have orders, will
be moved durring this phase.


Combat Phase

Bases, Planets, and Ships will sustain hits and suffer damage
as appropriate. Ships and Bases Internal Systems may also be
damaged as a result of hits at this time. Ships sustaining too
much damaged will be destroyed at this time. Any cargo
onboard destroyed ships will be lost.


Commands

Commands are grouped into functional list. From the main
command list, you can goto the Base, Star System, Ship
sublist, et cetra. Each of these sublists works on only one
selected unit at a time. Each of the first sublists may have
one or more secondary sublists. Think of it as a tree
structure, as you work your way down one path, you must "exit"
back up to travel down another path. Most Command Lists
support the question mark as a quick list of valid commands.

The Command Prompt supports the following commands:
B - Goto a Base.
D - Display All Bases, Planets, and Ships we control.
F - Save and Restore File (standalone version only).
I - Status Information on the game.
M - Send a Message to another player.
O - Toggle Expert Mode On/Off.
P - Goto a Star System.
Q - Quit Game.
R - See Results of Last Turn and Read Messages.
S - Goto a Ship.
T - Tech Level.
X - eXit Turn.

The Base Prompt supports the following commands:
A - Add move Shields and Beams to the Base.
C - Construct a new Ship.
D - Display Base Status.
E - Long Range Sensor Scan.
I - Damage Information.
* N - Goto Next Base.
R - Repair Damage to a Ship.
S - Short Range Sensor Scan of surrounding area.
T - Select Target for firing Beams at.
V - View Map of surrounding area.
X - eXit to Command Level.

The Star System Prompt supports the following commands:
D - Display Status of Star System.
* N - Goto Next Star System.
P - Goto a Planet.
X - eXit to Command Level.

The Planet Prompt supports the following commands:
A - Attack eneny troops.
D - Display Status of Planet.
G - Govern the Planet (Change Name).
L - Lanuch Missile Attack.
* N - Goto Next Planet.
R - Recuit new Troops.
X - eXit to Star System Level.

The Ship Prompt supports the following commands:
B - Board a Ship or a Base.
D - Display Ship Status.
E - Long Range Sensor Scan.
I - Damage Information.
L - Load Cargo on a Ship.
M - Set ship Movement.
* N - Goto Next Ship.
S - Sensor Scan of surrounding area.
T - Select Target for firing Beams at.
U - Unload a Ships Cargo.
V - View Map of surrounding area.
X - eXit to Command Level.

The Board Prompt supports the following commands:
B - Board a Base.
S - Board a Ship.
X - eXit to previous level.

The Load Prompt supports the following commands:
B - Load cargo from a Base.
P - Load cargo from a Planet.
S - Load cargo from a Ship.
X - eXit to previous level.

The Target Prompt supports the following commands:
B - Target a Base.
D - Display Targeting Information.
N - Target Nothing.
P - Target a Planet.
S - Target a Ship.
X - eXit to previous level.

The Unload Prompt supports the following commands:
B - Unload cargo to a Base.
P - Unload cargo to a Planet.
S - Unload cargo to a Ship.
X - eXit to previous level.

The Add Prompt supports the following commands:
B - Add Beams to the Base.
D - Display Base Data.
I - Display Add Information.
S - Add Shields to the Base.
X - eXit to previous level.

The Tech Level Prompt supports the following commands:
D - Display Current Tech Level and Tech Reserve.
I - Increase the Tech Level.
X - eXit to previous level.

The Missile Prompt supports the following commands:
M - Launch Missiles at another players Missiles.
P - Launch Missiles at another Planet.
T - Launch Missiles at another players Troops.
X - eXit to previous level.

The Move Prompt supports the following commands:
B - Move to a Base (that you control).
L - Move to a Location (Column & Row).
M - Move Manually (Direction, Rate, & Duration).
P - Move to a Planet.
S - Move to another Ship.
X - eXit to previous level.

* The Next command will select the next Star System, Planet,
Base (that you control), or Ship (that you control) when you
press enter without giving a number.

Single letter commands will be accepted without pressing
return.


More About Movement

Movement is a two step process. Durring the order entry
phase, ships are given movement orders which will be carried out
during the movement phase. Ship movement is based on a
direction, rate, and duration of travel. The direction is a
number representing one of eight possible directions. The rate
is a number representing the desired speed of travel and this
number is limited by the speed of the ship being moved. The
duration is the number of turns that the desired movement will
last.

A damaged ships will have a dramaticly reduced rate of
travel, while heavily damaged ships can not move at all. A
direction or rate of zero means the ship is not currently in
motion.

4 3 2
\ | /
\ | /
5 - - * - - 1
/ | \
/ | \
6 7 8



More About Combat

Ship Combat is also a two step process. Targets are selected
durring order entry phase and combat is resolved during the
actual combat phase. Beam Weapons are range weapons is so far as
ships or bases can fire at ships moving toward or away from them
at a distance greater then one. Keep in mind that when you
select a target durring order entry phase that it may no longer
be within the effective range of fire after the unit has moved.
Weapons automatically track their intended target to the best
of their ability.

Every ship (or base) has a base chance of fifty percent to
hit its selected target. This is modified upward by the strength
of the attacking Beams and downward by the strength of the
defending Shields. All combat is simultanious, so it is use it
or lose it in the case of defending units who are grossly out
numbered. All hits scored are cumlative during the combat
phase. Any ship not damaged taking more hits then it has shields
will suffer internal damage. Any damaged ship will suffer hits
without benifit of ships shields for protection. Undamaged ships
taking hits fewer then it's shields suffers no damage.


More About Bases and Base Systems

Controlling Bases is the stated objective of this game.
Well, I lied. The objective is to use your bases to build ships,
rock n roll around the galaxy having fun, and capture other bases
as you go. It sounds simple except that bases are relatively
weak. They will require a large force of ships to secure
against losing them to the other players who are also
trying to acomplish these same goals.

Bases have Shields and Beams just as Ships do. They can
also suffer damage just as ships do. They do however have a
greater range on their sensor and weapons. They can hold an
vast number of missiles, points, population and troops. Plus
they can not be destroyed. They might suffer enough damage
to turn them into molten slag, but they will always be a base.

As you increase your tech level, you can also add to the
number of shields and beams protecting the base.

Level Shield Beam
----- ------ ------
1 500 500
2 1,000 1,000
3 2,500 2,500
4 5,000 5,000
5 10,000 10,000
6 20,000 20,000
7 30,000 30,000
8 40,000 40,000
9 50,000 50,000
10 60,000 60,000

Bases also have the ability to provide a map of the
immediately surrounding space. Other planets and bases will over
shadow ships so don't let the map fool you into thinking that all
is quiet just because you can not see any ships. To get a better
picture of what is going on, use the map in combination with your
sensor scan. The base that is mapping is always at the maps
center.

Base Senor Scan Ranges:

Level Short Long
----- ----- -----
1 10 20
2 12 30
3 14 40
4 16 50
5 18 60
6 20 70
7 22 80
8 24 90
9 26 100
10 28 110


More About Planets

Planets hold the resource points required to construct
ships. The also house the population that mines and refines the
resource points as well as providing recuits for troops.
Recuiting away all the population for troops greatly reduces the
number of new resource points made available each turn.

Planets can never be directly controlled the way a ship or a
base is controlled, but with enough ships in orbit around a
planet, a player can form a very effect blockade preventing other
players access to the planets reasources.


More About Ships and Ship Systems

Ships are the backbone and workhorse of this game. Even
though the stated objective is to capture as many bases as
possible, you need ships more then you need the bases to win the
game. Ships play two vital roles that will greatly determine
the success or failure of the game. As TRANSPORTS, they are
needed to shuffle Points and Troops back and forth between
Planets and Bases. In Combat, they are need to defend Bases,
Attack Enemy Shipping, and capture other Bases.

ENGINES: Engines determine the maximum mass a ship can be
and the speed at which the ship travels. Every Engine can push
twenty mass. So a ship with four engines can have a maximum mass
of eighty. A ship built to it's maximum mass has a speed of one.
For every twenty points smaller then the maximum mass, the speed
increase by one. Using these guide lines, ships can get rather
big in size as you try to design with a lot of speed and punch.
However, these ships can also get very expensive to build as
well. When a ship is damaged, it speed is restricted based
on the amount of damage compared to the total ships mass

SHIELDS: Shields provide Basic Life Support and overall
defense to a ship. They function in two ways. First they deflect
hits that would otherwise cause damage to the ship and second
they absorb hits which they failed to deflect up to the number of
shields. Anything over this limit is taken as damage to the
ship. A damaged ship shields will not function and the full
impact of the hits will be felt until the ship is either
repaired or it has taken it's maximum hits and it is destroyed.
Ships can sustain one point of damage for every point of mass
before they are destroyed.

BEAMS: Beams are standard energy weapons. They are also
range weapons in so far as they can fire and hit targets at a
distance greater the a range of one. They will automatically
track their intended target. The greater the number of beams,
the better the chances that a ship will score a hit on it's
intended target.

TRANSPORTS: Transports are the cargo carrying capacity of a
ship. Currently, ships can carry twenty resource points for
every one transport unit. They can also carry two troop units
for every one transport unit. Troops carried can be used to
assult and capture Bases and Ships. Troops will also defend
against assult if someone should try to board your ship.

FIRE CONTROL: When available at higher tech levels, this
system allows your ship to fire it's weapons twice a turn at it's
targeted unit.

TRACKING: When available at higher tech levels, this system
allows you to defeat the deflection ability of the trageted ships
shields if your ship has a higher tech level.

System Cost Mass Maximum
---------- ---- ---- -------
1
Engines 25 5 500 *
Shields 5 5 500
Beams 10 10 500
Transports 3 3 500
2
Engines 20 5 1500
Shields 5 5 1500
Beams 5 10 1000
Transports 3 3 1000
3
Engines 20 5 3000
Shields 5 5 2500
Beams 5 5 2500

Transports 3 3 5000
Tracking 100 25 1
4
Engines 20 5 6000
Shields 3 5 5000
Beams 5 5 5000
Transports 2 3 10000
Tracking 50 25 1
Fire Control 100 25 1
5
Engines 15 5 8500
Shields 3 3 10000
Beams 5 5 10000
Transports 2 2 20000
Tracking 50 20 1
Fire Control 50 25 1
6
Engines 15 5 15500
Shields 2 3 20000
Beams 3 5 20000
Transports 1 2 30000
Tracking 25 15 1
Fire Control 50 20 1
7
Engines 15 5 18000 *
Shields 2 3 30000
Beams 3 5 30000
Transports 1 2 40000
Tracking 15 10 1
Fire Control 25 15 1
8
Engines 10 5 18000
Shields 2 2 40000
Beams 3 3 40000
Transports 1 1 50000
Tracking 10 10 1
Fire Control 15 10 1
9
Engines 10 4 20000
Shields 2 2 50000
Beams 2 3 50000
Transports 1 1 60000
Tracking 10 5 1
Fire Control 10 10 1
10
Engines 5 4 20000
Shields 2 2 60000
Beams 2 2 60000
Transports 1 1 60000
Tracking 5 5 1
Fire Control 10 5 1

* These ships engines are under powered.

Ships also have a limited Sensor Scaning and mapping
ability. Objects outside of the ships scanner range will show up
as a question mark on the map. Move the ship closer to find out
what the unidentified object is.

Ship Senor Scan Ranges:

Level Short Long
----- ----- -----
1 5 10
2 7 15
3 9 20
4 11 25
5 13 30
6 15 35
7 17 40
8 19 45
9 21 50
10 23 55


More about Troops

Troops can be used in a varity of offense and defense
combat situations. The most important of which is boarding and
activating INACTIVE bases. Of course, if a bases is under active
control of another player, it must first be defeated in ship to
base combat. Then troops can board the base, fight any enemy
troops, and if successful capture the base. Troops can also
board enemy ships, fight enemy troops (if any) and if
suscessful, capture the enemy ship. The last combat mission
troops can preform is troop to troop combat on a planets
surface.

Troops are also used as damage control teams on board Ships
and at Bases.

More about Missiles

Missile are constructed on planets by your troops.
Offensive Missiles can be fired at another players Missiles and
Troops on the same planet or at another planet within the same
star system. Defensive missiles defend against incoming missile
attacks against your Missiles, Troops, or the Planet.


Random Events

For the most Part Random events are limited to Planets for
the time being. As the game continues to grow and develop, I am
sure that I'll be adding more.

Population Explosion: One time growth in population level
because the birth rate is up.

Population Decline: One time srinkage in population level
because the birth rate is down.

Production Gain: One time increase in points due to new
exploration.

Production Loss: One time decrease in points due to natural
disaster.

Food Riot / Starvation: Population reaction to planet
overcrowding which may result in Population and Troop loss.

Troops Volunteer: Population voluntarily enlist in your
army.

Troops Surrender: Troops Surrender to another player
because of they are hopelessly out numbered.

Troop Desertion: Troops desert your army due to poor morale.

Civil War: Open warfare amongest population on more largely
populated worlds. Civil Wars last several turns, no production
takes place, and troops may be killed as a result of the
fighting.

Baby Boom: On moderatly populated worlds, Population and
Point Production experiance a surge in growth. Baby Booms tend
to last several turns.


Scoring and Victory Conditions

What is a game without a score? The stated goal of Xship is
to capture as many bases as possible while preventing the other
players from doing the same. So the more you have, the higher
your score. Conversely, the less you have the lower your score.

Please note that Points, Missiles and Population do not
count towards your score.

Also, as of this writing there are no Victory Conditions.
At some future date I'll check to see if someone has actually won
the game, but for right now you'll just have to decide for
yourself if you have won or lost.


Morale and Combat Odds

The morale directly equates to the number of bases that you
control.

Combat Odds on the other hand do nothing as of this writting.


Technology Levels

There are now Ten Technology Levels, each costing
increasingly more as the level increases. You do get benifits
for increased tech level in just about every aspect of the game.

Level Cost
----- -------
* 1 0
2 25,000
3 75,000
4 125,000
5 250,000
6 375,000
7 500,000
8 625,000
9 875,000
10 875,000

* starting Tech Level.

Bases can add addition systems at higher levels.

Bases and Ships can scan further at higher levels. Please
note that it also becomes possible to scan further then the
visual map window.

Ships can be built "bigger" with more systems at higher
levels.


Hints, Tips, and Other Miscellanous Stuff

Ships and Bases repair battle damage every turn that they
are not under attack and there are troops available to effect the
repairs. Optionally, a ships damage can be repaired at a base.
The trick is of course getting the damaged ship back to a base.

The galaxy size works on a fixed non-wrapping gride of
two hundred fifty by two hundred fifty. Any ship trying to fly
off the edge of the map will simply sit on the edge of the map.
If you were moving in a diagonal direction, then you will
slide along the edge until you get 'stuck' in a corner.

Once a ship reaches it's intended target, it is a good idea
to stop it's movement. Otherwise, it will go on forever for into
the depths of space unknown.

Planets produce population every five turns and resource
point production is based on the current population. The higher
the number of population, the more points that can potentually be
produced. Planets with zero population never produce.

Troops are recuited from the active population. The more
troops you use to recuit, the more new recuits you can possibly
attract. Of course, recuiting troops also lowers the active
population. It makes sense that since population effects
resource point production and limits the number of new recuits
available, that you wouldn't want other players also recuiting
troops from the same planets you are. To this end troop to
troop combat is available on each planet.


Installation as a Citadel-86e Door

In addition to XSHIP.EXE, XSDOOR.EXE is also required to use
XSHIP as a door program. The two programs must reside in the
same directory as the citadel program. XSDOOR can optionally be
supplied with a directory and an envirnoment variable on the
command line. The defaults if not are supplied are C:\XSHIP and
XSD. XSD can be set using the standard MS-DOS SET command to
either REGISTER or PLAY. The CTDLCNFG.SYS control statement for
the door looks like this:

#door "XSHIP" "XSDOOR" "C:\\MYDIR MYENV" "" redir

That command line will instruct XSDOOR to use the directory
C:\MYDIR and the envirnoment variable of MYENV. See the
Citadel-86e manual for more information. XSDOOR will call XSHIP
with the proper command line arguments when opened from Citadel-
86e.

The players must first register before a game can be played.
The SYSOP will have to manually generate the game as of this
writing. This can be accomplish by running XSHIP and generating
the proper game size with the player names in the same order as
the registration data. Then insure that the newly generated
XS.DAT file is in the directory supplied to XSDOOR.

If XSHIP complains that it can't find the file "XSHIP.CFG",
create a text file containing the statement "MODE = TEXT" in the
same directory as the XSHIP program.


Designer Notes

XSHIP is something that was made up off the top of my head.
Simply doing what seemed right or logical has been the only guide
lines. I basicly wanted to build ships and fly arround reaking
havoc. To this end, I have developed XSHIP.

It started simple in form and design, slowly growing and
evolving into the program we have today. I was not looking for
complexity or realism, I simply wanted a game that was simple in
design while being fun and easy to play. You might not always
know why you are doing something, or that you even need to do
something, but the choices available to you should hopefully seem
obvious.


Credits and other such things

This game is being developed as a door to run under
Citadel-86e on The BattleField North BBS. It will
however run standalone on any pc and can be played as any
normal game would be. Any questions, comments, or problems
should be directed to me there.

I started banging this thing out over the 89 Christmas
Holiday for lack of anything better to do. I don't know how far
this will go, but as of the 90 Christmas Holiday I am still here
plugging slowly away.

I would like to give a special thanks to Rhys The Hawk for
his many hours of play testing on-line with me over the past
year. His many comments and suggestion for enhancements to the
design, flow and play of the game have been greatly appreciated.


Eric R. Markgraf
Sysop, BattleField North BBS
(516) 669-0522


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