VGA Planets Battle Simulator
Sean Martens, 1994.
AFSIM is essentially a menu-driven front-end to the VGA Planets VCR program.
You can use AFSIM to simulate any battle scenario that could take place in
the game itself. If it's possible in a battle then it's possible in AFSIM.
Battles involving up to 50 ships, plus a planet and starbase.
Battle-order determined by ship #id, friendly code, mission, and
Engine-tech shield bonus.
Race bonuses (such as Fed "Scotty" bonus).
Any race can use any ship.
Variable torpedo, fighter, and crew complements.
Battles that start with drained shields and/or hull damage.
The result of one battle becomes the input to the next.
Ships without fuel fighting or not fighting, depending on planetary
Transparent support for alternative race names, ship designs and
weapon setups (as in ALTLIST2, etc).
User-friendly, menu-driven capture screens.
Re-run battles as many times as you like.
Quickly edit battle set-ups to run multiple "what-if" scenarios.
Log battle results to disk.
Save battle set-up to disk for later retrieval.
Save time by importing your actual game data using INFORMER.
SOME COMMENTS ON AFSIM AND VCR
AFSIM uses VCR itself. If you have patched VCR to remove sounds or
explosions then AFSIM will still work...but faster. AFSIM shares hardware
with VCR and this will cause a small amount of "space junk" to appear on your
screen whilst running a battle. These graphic glitches are not a problem
and battle outcomes are not affected.
The chance part of VCR is generated by the Host generating a random integer
as an input variable to each battle. AFSIM duplicates this precisely...and
this is why it is a good idea to run all simulations several times in order
to build up an average picture of the outcome.
Because AFSIM uses VCR itself it also duplicates all of VCR's little
"features", such as beams that do not fire and Empire carriers that fail
to launch their fighters on occasion. Don't blame me...blame Tim!
BENEFITS OF REGISTRATION
AFSIM is shareware and can be used successfully without registration.
However, there are several features that are partially disabled in the
Limit of 4 ships
Limit of 60 defence posts on a planet.
Limit of 20 fighters on a starbase.
Fleet imports from Informer are allowed...but are pruned in line with
the above limits.
See REGISTER.DOC for prices and other registration details.
Copy the files from the AFSIM archive into the directory that also
contains your VGA Planets executable files. AFSIM only requires
VCR.EXE - but VCR.EXE requires various resource files that are
distributed with the game. To start up AFSIM, merely type AFSIM and
AFSIM CFG FILE
The editable file AFSIM.CFG is used to define variables, such as the
percentage by which engine tech boosts shield power, and also stores the
registration name and code (if applicable). The file, automatically
created by AFSIM if it does not already exist, has the following default
: An integer value from 0 to 100. The % by which engine tech
boosts shield power.
: YES/NO. Fed crew bonus. All Fed ships get a 25% shield boost
between battles. All damaged weapons are still able to fire.
: YES/NO. Enables or disables an special battle-end detect
algorithm within AFSIM. If a battle ends with a ship
exploding then the time taken to start the next battle, or
return from VCR to AFSIM, is greatly reduced.
: YES/NO. Append to AFSIM.LOG or overwrite old file.
An additional two lines of registration details can be added to
AFSIM.CFG manually, although AFSIM contains an internal registration
process that will update AFSIM.CFG for you:
The registration name and code are both case sensitive. The case
of the name will be exactly as you request when registering the
product. You can register "Fred Bloggs" or "fred bloggs" or "FRED
BLOGGS"...but only one name and one code will work in AFSIM.CFG.
Line order is not important in AFSIM.CFG. AFSIM will assume default
values for any line that is deleted. The engine tech and Fed crew
bonuses are variables that can defined in the Host by HCONFIG...and
are not available in older versions of the Host program. Simulation
results from AFSIM will only be the same as results from the Host if
these variables are the same as and .
AFSIM COMMAND LINE PARAMETERS
Over-rides quick battle-end determination.
AFSIM DATA ENTRY SCREEN CONVENTIONS
The following keys have similar functionality throughout all AFSIM data
[F5] Call up pick-list, if applicable (race type, ship hull
[F10] Process all data entered, and exit screen. You can press this
key no matter how few or how many fields you have edited.
[ENTER] Accept field value.
The "up" and "down" arrow keys are used to move from field to field and
work in the same way as the [ENTER] key if data has been changed.
Only data to the left of the cursor is accepted by AFSIM. Everything
else is trimmed. As an example, you can edit a crew of 480 to a crew
of 10 merely by typing 10 and then pressing "up", "down" or [ENTER].
All fields will default to the maximum allowable value if you type a
value that is higher than the maximum. For instance, if you enter 99
beams for a Golem Class Baseship the field will automatically revert
to 6 beams as soon as you press [ENTER] or move to another field
(assuming you are not using ALTLIST).
OTHER AFSIM CONVENTIONS
Combat: Fight between two units.
Battle: One or more combats.
Two Outrider Class Scouts with lasers fighting each other is one combat.
When one Scout, after 2 time-outs, finally beats the other Scout, you've
had a battle with 3 combats.
AFSIM MAIN MENU
Options on the AFSIM main menu will appear and disappear as appropriate.
As an example, you will not be presented with the option "View log file"
when there is no log file to view.
The following menu options are used:
Add a ship
Review a ship
Delete a ship
Add planet to battle
Edit planet details
Edit starbase details
Save battle to disk
Load battle from disk
Delete saved battle
Run the battle
View log file
Delete log file
Enter registration code
"Add a Ship" allows a new ship to be added to the order of battle (OOB),
calling a data entry sub-menu with the following fields:
Field Name Values Picklist Comments
Race of owner 1-11 Yes May be different to race of
builder... you can simulate
captured or traded ships.
Ship ID 1-500 Least importance for OOB
Friendly code 1-999 Number 3 determinant of OOB
Primary enemy 0-11 Yes Number 2 determinant of OOB
0 = no primary enemy.
Mission set to Y/N Most important for OOB
Hull type 1-105 Yes The picklist gives a list of
races. Selecting the race that
can build the desired hull
gives a colour coded hull
Dark Grey = freighters
Beige = beam only hulls
Yellow = torpedo ships
Pink = carriers
Engine type 1-9 Yes
Beam type 1-10 Yes Remember that beam slot is not
always the same as beam tech
Beam count 0 or more
Torp type 1-10 Remember that torp slot is not
always the same as torp tech
Torp count 0 or more Number of launchers
Torp/fighter Number of actual torpedoes or
count 0 or more fighters on board ship
Shield strength 0-100
Damage 0-99 If greater than 0, automatically
determines max shield strength.
Crew 1 or more Defaults to the normal crew
number for the selected hull
Configuring a freighter with beam weapons or a carrier with torpedoes
will not have any effect.
In order to reduce set-up time, repeating the "Add a ship" process will
clone the previous ship edited.
The main menu "Review a ship" option will appear after the first ship
has been added to the OOB. Choosing this option will go straight to the
ship edit screen if there is only one ship in the OOB. Otherwise, the
OOB will be displayed and you can choose which ship you wish to edit.
The OOB displays Ship #ID, friendly code, primary enemy (as a number)
and hull type. Ships with mission set to "Kill" are coloured in Red.
The OOB will be recalculated each time it is displayed.
The main menu "Delete a ship" option will appear after the first ship
has been added to the OOB. If there is only one ship in the OOB,
selecting this option will delete the ship. If there is more than
one ship you will be presented with the OOB. Highlight the ship to be
deleted and press [ENTER]. You will be returned to the main menu.
If you have selected "Add Planet to Battle" then enter :
Field Name Values Picklist Comments
Race of owner 0-11 Yes A planet with Race = 0 does
Defence Units 1-500 Yes [F5] gives defence table,
showing relation between N of
units and N of beams, beam
beam tech, and N of fighters
Friendly code 1-999 All codes valid in VGA Planets
value Non-numbers can be used, including ATT and
NUK. Planetary codes can be
very important when you are
fighting alongside allies.
The main menu "Edit starbase details" option appears only after you
have entered details for the planet, and "Add planet to battle" will be
replaced by "Edit planet details".
If you have selected "Edit Starbase Details" then enter:
Field Name Values Picklist Comments
Beam tech 0-11 Yes Tech = 0 will remove the base
from the OOB...no matter how
many beams or fighters are
Defence Units 0-200 Yes Remember that starbase defence
can increase the N of beams.
[F5] gives a defence table
(offset by the number of bases
that you have already entered
for the planet) that will allow
you to explore this
At any time whilst entering the details of Ships, Planets, and Starbases
for a battle you can save the current OOB to disk. When you select "Save
battle to disk" you will be presented with 7 slots. Each slot is
accompanied by a text description of up to 35 characters. You will only
be able to save if there are available slots.
The main menu "Load battle" option appears only if there is a battle to
load. There are 8 load slots, the 1st slot being reserved for import
of data from INFORMER versions v2.3 and v2.35. INFORMER v2.4 has the
ability to work with multiple exports.
Loading a battle will overwrite all existing data. AFSIM will ask for
confirmation if any of this data has not been saved.
Note: you can import multiple OOB's from INFORMER v2.3-2.35 by a process
of load and save to new slot. If you run out of slots you can just
rename the saved OOB's: the files bear the names AFSLOT1.DAT to
The main menu "Delete battle" option appears only if there is a battle
to delete. The process is similar to the above.
AFSIM contains a checking mechanism that will only display the "Run
the battle" option when there is a battle that can be run.
To illustrate, if you have entered 10 Empire and 10 Bird Man ships and
none of the ships are set to "Kill" (or have the appropriate primary
enemy set) then you've got a party...not a battle. Also, you can call me
warped, but I do not believe that freighter vs freighter counts as a
battle - no matter what VCR thinks to the contrary.
Selecting "Run the battle" option will run through all combats until
there are no ships left that are capable of fighting. You can interrupt
this process at any stage merely by pressing [ESC] once or twice. The
battle will be logged up to (but not including) the interrupted combat.
When the battle simulation is over, you are automatically returned to
the main menu where you be presented with "View log" and "Delete log"
options. The log file is called AFSIM.LOG, and can be viewed with any
text file viewer or editor.
The log is displayed in AFSIM with 1 screen = 1 combat. You can move
from combat to combat using the "up" and "down" arrow keys and from
battle to battle using [Pg Up] and [Pg Dn]. This second feature is not
applicable if you are not using the logging option.
Below is a sample log screen:
Batavia a GORBIE CLASS BATTLECARRIER Owned by The Evil Empire
10 Heavy Phaser
It had 250 fighters
Starting damage : 0 Starting shield : 100
============================== vs ========================================
Tugela a DETH SPECULA CLASS FRIGATE Owned by The Bird Men
6 Heavy Phaser
4 Mark 8 Photon with 35 torpedos
Starting damage : 0 Starting shield : 100
============================== The outcome ================================
==================== Status after combat ==================================
It had 238 fighters remaining
Ending damage : 0 Ending shield : 73
If you are not using the option, selecting "Delete log" on the
main menu will delete the entire log file. If you are using the
option, you will be presented with a list of the logged battles
and will be able to mark individual battles for deletion (processing
The main menu "Config options" choice is used to temporarily change
any of the options in AFSIM.CFG. AFSIM.CFG is not written to. This
gives you the ability to do things like:
Set up a battle
Run battle without logging
Edit battle and re-run battle until you are happy.
Run battle with logging
The "Enter registration code" option is self-explanatory. See
section on AFSIM CFG file for rules on capitalisation of your
name and the code.
Program Author: Sean Martens
Program Docs: Mark Symons
The Rhino: Lisa Martens
Ship Names: British vessels lost at sea 1939-45 (HMSO)
The Conquest of Gaul (Julius Caeser)
Various rivers in Zululand
...Because anything's gotta be better than "USS Dave"
The Customer: That's you! The development of AFSIM would have ceased
long ago without all of the encouragemnt I have received
WHERE TO GET THE LATEST VERSION
I will always try and upload new versions of AFSIM and INFORMER to
the VGA Planets ftp sites at colostate...and berlin if I have time.
You can find out if a new version of AFSIM or INFORMER has been uploaded
by sending an email query as follows:
To: [email protected]
You can then retrieve a file using the following email message (using
AFSIM v1.4 as an example):
to: [email protected]
get afsim14.zip ; 5 files max
I also upload new version to the following South African BBS's:
AECI BBS +27 11 608-1516 ($18/annum subscription)
Fast! BBS +27 11 706-1749 (Free download).
AECI BBS gets all Beta versions of my software...because that is where
the Beta testers hang out.
A final word...
I hope you enjoy using this utility and find it a help in planning and
executing your conquest of the galaxy. I welcome any and all feedback,
suggestions, and bug reports.
Order of battle is often the most critical aspect of a successful
simulation. The following text is an extract from Tim Wisseman's
HOST315.DOC and may help explain things...
"All ships have a new attack order.
They will now fight in an order that depends on three things:
the mission, the primary enemy and the friendly code.
The friendly code can give an attack value from 1 to 999.
To use attack values your friendly code must begin with a
number value. The attack values will NOT affect the way in
which a ships fights, it only effects the battle order.
Your enemy's attack values will NOT effect your battle order.
A attack value of 1 is the lowest possible attack value.
Here are examples of attack values base on some friendly codes
where "x" is any non-number character.
Friendly code Attack values
The ship with a "KILL" mission & the lowest attack value will
attack first. If two of your ships have the same attack value
then the ship with the lowest ID number will attack first.
The ship with a "PRIMARY ENEMY" set and the lowest attack value
will attack after all the "KILL" mission ships are done.
Ships with their mission set to "KILL" will fight as a first group.
Ships with a mission other then "KILL" and the primary enemy
set will fight as a second group.
All other ships will be protected by the "KILL" and primary enemy
ships until those ships are destroyed or captured.
Ships that are not on a kill mission and don't have a primary enemy
set will defend themselves in an order based on the friendly
code attack values."