Cheating and Host Declarations

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James McGuigan

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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I wish to get the concensus of the group on the validity of the following "bugs"/features in stars,
when these have not been mentioned by the host.

Chaff

Split Fleet 0.2% damage

Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)

SS pop steal


Obvously if a host specifically states theses are banned/allowed then they are banned/allowed, but
if a host failed to mention one of these before the game, which of these tatics would/should be
considered cheating/allowed.

I want to get a group concensus here, so as to have a guideline for hosts as to what needs to be
mentioned and what goes without saying.


--
Rules are written for those who lack the ability to truly reason,
But for those who can, the rules become nothing more than guidelines,
And live their lives governed not by rules but by reason.
- James McGuigan

Elliott

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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In article <3cqC5.11183$uq5.2...@news6-win.server.ntlworld.com>,

"James McGuigan" <Jame...@ntlworld.com> wrote:
> I wish to get the concensus of the group on the validity of the
> following "bugs"/features in stars, when these have not been
> mentioned by the host.
>
> Chaff
>
> Split Fleet 0.2% damage
>
> Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)
>
> SS pop steal

I feel:
Chaff is allowed unless specificly disallowed.
The other 3 are disallowed unless specificly allowed.

--
- Elliott Kleinrock (mailto:ell...@inorbit.com)


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Leonard Dickens

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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> Chaff

OK.


> Split Fleet 0.2% damage

Not OK.


> Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)

Not OK.


> SS pop steal

Not OK.


-Leonard
leonard @ dc . net

overw...@my-deja.com

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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In article <3cqC5.11183$uq5.2...@news6-win.server.ntlworld.com>,
"James McGuigan" <Jame...@ntlworld.com> wrote:
> I wish to get the concensus of the group on the validity of the
following "bugs"/features in stars,
> when these have not been mentioned by the host.

> Chaff

Allowed

> Split Fleet 0.2% damage

Not allowed

> Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)

Not allowed

> SS pop steal

Not allowed


- Kurt
--
"I don't pay attention to what men say, I just watch what they do."
- Andrew Carnegie
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
- Groucho Marx

The Random Leon

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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In an article called Cheating and Host Declarations
James McGuigan said...

>I wish to get the concensus of the group on the validity of the following
>"bugs"/features in stars,
>when these have not been mentioned by the host.
>
>Chaff
>

Legal

>Split Fleet 0.2% damage
>

Cheap, Re-gen the turn and warn the player.

>Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)
>

Very cheap, as above.

>SS pop steal
>
>

Very cheap and very nasty. Regen and warn the player, replace if
repeated.

--
The Random Leon

bob

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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<snip>

Exactly.

BTW If there is ever an upgrade to RC3 aren't they intending to remove
the SS bug?

Dan Neely

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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"James McGuigan" <Jame...@ntlworld.com>

what everyone else has said.

Leon

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Oct 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/3/00
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>Chaff


I like using chaff, so it's got to be good!

>Split Fleet 0.2% damage


I sure wish someone could tell me what this means?

>Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)


Same with this one, what does it take to overload the battle board

>SS pop steal


If a SS can get close enough to use this I think it should be able to.
Forces other players to do some more recon work and adjust your defense
accordingly.

Leon

Judge Dredd

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Oct 3, 2000, 9:12:04 PM10/3/00
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On Tue, 3 Oct 2000 20:13:09 +0100, "James McGuigan"
<Jame...@ntlworld.com> wrote:

>I wish to get the concensus of the group on the validity of the following "bugs"/features in stars,
>when these have not been mentioned by the host.

James, for what purpose is this "consensus"? (Note the spelling.)

It is entirely meaningless. Players can hardly whine that someone used
a feature which the almighty r.g.c.s. yappers declared was "wrong".

There are a lot more players out there than the dozen or so
self-absorbed Usenet dwellers that arrogantly try to decide what
features all other players may use.

I really hope you can see how elitist and egotistical your "survey"
is. It is also completely and utterly useless.

---
I am the law!

James McGuigan

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Oct 3, 2000, 10:20:20 PM10/3/00
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> >I wish to get the concensus of the group on the validity of the following "bugs"/features in
stars,
> >when these have not been mentioned by the host.
>
> James, for what purpose is this "consensus"? (Note the spelling.)
>
> It is entirely meaningless. Players can hardly whine that someone used
> a feature which the almighty r.g.c.s. yappers declared was "wrong".
>

The first reason was to find out for myself, what tatics where considered cheating and which where
considered allowed, when the host had not specifally statedanything about them.

Second, was that I had a little bit of doubt in the section of bugs/cheats in the FAQ.

Third, was so that other players and hosts know what would be considered cheating, if nothing was
specified.

This is not so much to ban tatics or restrict players, but to simply mean that all players are
playing by the same set of rules. The main reson for this is that if one player thinks it's cheating
but another doesn't then the first player would hold off using that tatic and not employ counter
measures against it.

I would advise all hosts to specifically state which of these tatics are allowed during the game,
but as this doesn't always happen I am just trying to establish a baseline or default to fall back
on when there is an uncertainty on the legitamcy of a tatic.

> There are a lot more players out there than the dozen or so
> self-absorbed Usenet dwellers that arrogantly try to decide what
> features all other players may use.
>
> I really hope you can see how elitist and egotistical your "survey"
> is. It is also completely and utterly useless.

What do you expect: I am the LAW!

But seriously, this does not say you can't use these tatics, all I am trying to do is establish the
general concensus on wheter using these tatics in a game which hadn't specifed anything about this,
would be considered cheating. It doesn't stop you, it just means unless agreed beforehand, you stand
the risk of becoming called a cheat. And that's not nice.

The survey was not elitist and egotistical, it was simply done to clear up a personal uncertanty
(esp on the advanced fleet splitting tatics - I personally though they might be considered valid),
and anyone was able to reply to this and state their views, this is the usenet you know, so it's not
elitist.

And just to stop you wondering, I wasn't thinking about you when I wrote that post. Just the whole
issue.

James McGuigan

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Oct 4, 2000, 12:34:55 AM10/4/00
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"Leon" <k...@mc.net> wrote in message news:39daab44$0$27...@wodc7nh1.news.uu.net...

>
> >Chaff
>
>
> I like using chaff, so it's got to be good!
>
> >Split Fleet 0.2% damage

You use ~100 alpha/beta torp loaded nubs, and split them into individual fleets. It takes advantage
of the fact that the minium damage a missle can do to armour is 0.2% of the total stack armour
regardless of actual damage. This is calulated for each slot in a token. So by spliting the nubs
into individual fleets you get (9 slots alphas * 100 nub tokens * min 0.2% damage = 180% damage to
any token = token dead). Putting multiple missles in each slot means there is an added chance of
getting a hit with that slot (as only one has to hit, both hitting doesn't increase the damage).

> I sure wish someone could tell me what this means?
>
> >Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)
>
> Same with this one, what does it take to overload the battle board

Take 129 chaff, mearge rest of fleet with chaff #129 (so it has the highest fleet number), and as
each player can only field 128 tokens per battle, any over this limit will not enter the battle. So
this could be used to dodge combat or keep your bombers and freighters out of the combat.

> >SS pop steal
>
> If a SS can get close enough to use this I think it should be able to.
> Forces other players to do some more recon work and adjust your defense
> accordingly.

The problem is that there is no counter to this tatic, and it can be very damaging and not only
hurts the enemy but adds all the damage inflicted to the SS. Thus you can capture enemy planets with
his own pop, despite a full fleet and starbase in orbit, and then use that planet next turn against
him. It's really a balance issue, and not the easyest of things to work out it's real effects. It
even gets me confused on occasion when trying to calulate all the variables into the equasion.

Dan Neely

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
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"James McGuigan" <Jame...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:DpyC5.12101$L12.2...@news2-win.server.ntlworld.com...

> "Leon" <k...@mc.net> wrote in message
news:39daab44$0$27...@wodc7nh1.news.uu.net...
> >
> > >Chaff
> >
> >
> > I like using chaff, so it's got to be good!
> >
> > >Split Fleet 0.2% damage
>
> You use ~100 alpha/beta torp loaded nubs, and split them into individual
fleets. It takes advantage
> of the fact that the minium damage a missle can do to armour is 0.2% of
the total stack armour
> regardless of actual damage. This is calulated for each slot in a token.
So by spliting the nubs
> into individual fleets you get (9 slots alphas * 100 nub tokens * min 0.2%
damage = 180% damage to
> any token = token dead). Putting multiple missles in each slot means there
is an added chance of
> getting a hit with that slot (as only one has to hit, both hitting doesn't
increase the damage).

corect until you've reduced the token to .2% armor, at this point, each slot
that hits kills a ship.

John

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
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James McGuigan wrote:

>I wish to get the concensus of the group on the validity of the following
>"bugs"/features in stars, when these have not been mentioned by the host.

I think you've been listening to the trolls too much.

It's really very clear. A bug is something that's not intended code
behaviour. Don't abuse bugs.

>
>Chaff

No more a bug than CA instaforming or HP races. Instaforming is really a much
more interesting point since that damages the game. But they are all allowed
unless there are special rules.

>Split Fleet 0.2% damage


>
>Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)
>

>SS pop steal

All bugs. All cheating.

>I want to get a group concensus here, so as to have a guideline for hosts
>as to what needs to be mentioned and what goes without saying.

I thin kyou got one. Expect a troll and a newbie to disagree, but nothing
else.

--
Can I have a new cat now?

Matsons

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
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James McGuigan wrote:
>
> I wish to get the concensus of the group on the validity of the following "bugs"/features in stars,
> when these have not been mentioned by the host.
>

> Chaff

Thumbs up
>
> Split Fleet 0.2% damage

Down


>
> Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)

Down
>
> SS pop steal

Down
>

> Misread AR pop

Down

> Minefield Immunity

Up while it lasts, can't really prove that one being used as a cheat

> Race wizard file corruption

Down

> Obvously if a host specifically states theses are banned/allowed then they are banned/allowed, but
> if a host failed to mention one of these before the game, which of these tatics would/should be
> considered cheating/allowed.

Sorry, I got carried away.

>
> --
> Rules are written for those who lack the ability to truly reason,
> But for those who can, the rules become nothing more than guidelines,
> And live their lives governed not by rules but by reason.
> - James McGuigan

I wonder, James, what you mean by 'rules?' I like to think that you use
'rules' the way I use 'policy.' Correct me if I'm wrong. I've long held
that a thing could either be true or false, but not simultaneously.
Whether or not a thing is true upon examination can sometimes depend on
the circumstances. It was mentioned in another thread that Newton's
model was considered true until 1905, but that the model is still true
for the things that it was intended to describe. This being the case, I
think it a lofty goal to search for 'universally' true or false things,
those that are true or false regardless of the circumstances. The model
I learned referred to these things as 'doctrines.' 'Principles' are
then components, in a manner of speaking, of doctrines -always true but
not universally applicable. 'Policy' then is rigid guidelines that do
not necessarily hold universally. The 'Law of the Harvest' is a good
example of doctrine. (Last I heard there were no exceptions.) One
princple of it being 'Restitution,' you know, reap what you sow kind of
stuff. A policy application then might be 'Plant peas on New Year's day
to grow the most peas.' (Which is very true in Arkansas, but not so much
elsewhere.) Is this the kind of thing you refer to?

--
Benjamin Matson

Jan Dijkman

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
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On Tuesday, 3 October 2000, "James McGuigan" <Jame...@ntlworld.com>
scrawled the following message across the Holy Marble. Upon discovering
this gruesome sacrilege the priests screeched, "We have lost our
Marble!"

> I wish to get the concensus of the group on the validity of the following "bugs"/features in stars,
> when these have not been mentioned by the host.

> Chaff

Allowed

> Split Fleet 0.2% damage

Banned

> Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)

Banned

> SS pop steal

Banned

> Obvously if a host specifically states theses are banned/allowed then they are banned/allowed, but
> if a host failed to mention one of these before the game, which of these tatics would/should be
> considered cheating/allowed.

With that proviso, of course.

Sean

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
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>Chaff

Personally, I'd consider it a point of honor to have no more, in sheer numbers,
of Chaff than you have of main Battle Line ships. 8) Got 100 Beamer Nubians
for your attack? send in 100 "chaff" ... no more.

Unlikely, but for a more "gentleman's honor" style of play, a game with that
restriction could be interesting.

>Split Fleet 0.2% damage

As this does not even mimic anything approaching real-life conditions (which at
least Chaff _sort_ of does, barring that the firing ships hsould realise whatis
or is not chaff ... and fire at the better targets!), I agree, this should be
disallowed by default.

>Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)

Again, an artifact of the program, not the environment it attempts to model,
ergo, IMO, "bug" or "undocmented feature" ... a.k.a. should be banned by
default.

>SS pop steal

An acknowledged bug, ergo, should be banned by default.

-- Sean
-- GM Pax

Jeff McBride

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
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Please be aware that problems that have not been reported directly to us
with example files or reproducible steps will not be fixed in the k patch. I
only mention this because several of the "bugs" talked about in the Cheating
and Host Declarations thread have never been reported or reproduced by us.
Do not assume that just because you have talked about a problem in this
newsgroup that it is a real bug and that it is on our list of things that
need to be fixed for k. Bug reports sent in now will be archived until work
starts on k. We will also list the problems which will not be fixed and our
reasons.

Jeff

Jeff McBride

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
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"Loren Pechtel" <lorenp...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:39dbd018....@nntp.vegasnet.net...
> >>Split Fleet 0.2% damage

> >
> >I sure wish someone could tell me what this means?
>
> Any hit which hits armor does damage in increments of .2%. Thus
> 500 armor hits destroys *ANYTHING*. 500 hits with alpha torpedoes
> destroys 30,000 nubians.
>
> The first time I encountered this was a rather annoying suprise,
> and it wasn't even an attempt to cheat (the maid AI did it to me!).
> The target planet had been building a dreadnaught missile design and
> they weren't being merged into a single fleet. As after I had cleared
> the orbit, my fleet was going to stick around and provide guard for
> the bombers/OA's to follow next turn, a few % of damage didn't worry
> me one bit. Surprise--I took 4 times the damage I expected.
> (Although part of this was due to battle board movement--he got off
> one more salvo than I expected.)

This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
architecture of the original Stars! battle engine. If you don't want 500
alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your 30,000
Nubians all in one fleet.

Note: There are no similar limitations or arbitrary damage values in Stars!
Supernova Genesis. The battle engine is all new.

Jeff

Todd Rogers

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
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Jeff McBride wrote:
<snip a bit on the split fleet 0.2% damage "feature">

> This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
> architecture of the original Stars! battle engine.

In other words one of those "undocumented features." :)

It may be inherent in the battle engine and won't be changed, but
personally I would still consider it a bug.

> If you don't want 500
> alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your 30,000
> Nubians all in one fleet.

Hey, there's a thought :)

> Note: There are no similar limitations or arbitrary damage values in Stars!
> Supernova Genesis. The battle engine is all new.

Good.

--
- Todd Rogers

"I've been asked what I mean by word of honor. I will tell you. Place
me behind prison walls - walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick,
reaching ever so far into the ground - there is a possibility that in
some way or another I may escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a
chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross
it. Can I get out of the circle? No. Never! I'd die first!"
-Karl G. Maeser, Founder of Brigham Young University

Matsons

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Oct 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/4/00
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James McGuigan wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
> > > Misread AR pop (AR with obrm shows wrong # above some limit)
> >
> > Down
>
> Now how do you use this as a cheat, IIRC AR pop shows up as ??? for other races

> Now how exactly can you use this one to your advantage? Hack into his computer and corrupt his race
> files?

You don't. It's carry over.

> > I wonder, James, what you mean by 'rules?' I like to think that you use
> > 'rules' the way I use 'policy.' Correct me if I'm wrong. I've long held
> > that a thing could either be true or false, but not simultaneously.
> > Whether or not a thing is true upon examination can sometimes depend on
> > the circumstances. It was mentioned in another thread that Newton's
> > model was considered true until 1905, but that the model is still true
> > for the things that it was intended to describe. This being the case, I
> > think it a lofty goal to search for 'universally' true or false things,
> > those that are true or false regardless of the circumstances. The model
> > I learned referred to these things as 'doctrines.' 'Principles' are
> > then components, in a manner of speaking, of doctrines -always true but
> > not universally applicable. 'Policy' then is rigid guidelines that do
> > not necessarily hold universally. The 'Law of the Harvest' is a good
> > example of doctrine. (Last I heard there were no exceptions.) One
> > princple of it being 'Restitution,' you know, reap what you sow kind of
> > stuff. A policy application then might be 'Plant peas on New Year's day
> > to grow the most peas.' (Which is very true in Arkansas, but not so much
> > elsewhere.) Is this the kind of thing you refer to?
>

> The way I use rules here?
>
> Well here I mean the rules by which a person governs his actions.
>
> One set of rules is obvously the law, which states a set of things that can't be done or actions
> that have to be done,
> A more subtle set of rules would be those unwritten rules, like tipping a waiter,
> As it applys to stars it would mean following JCs advise to the letter always, or always using a
> perticular hold %.
>
> I am not saying that you should go against a rule just for the sake of going against it, but that
> you shouldn't following a rule for the sake of following it. And that reason should be used as a
> pure decider of action, not any rules.
>
> As for Newton's laws, the help to allow prediction of an event. The law here describes reality and
> is a mathermatical representation of it. The problem comes when people stop seeing it this way
> round, and start thinking that the Newton's laws govern reality, they don't, they just describe
> Newton's perception of it.
>
> And as for a universally true statement or set of rules govening the universe, I would say that they
> are in themselves simple and few, but in interacting with each other create a large number
> significances. Much in the same way that the simple one missle, one kill rule in stars has led to a
> large and complex area of chaff.


>
> --
> Rules are written for those who lack the ability to truly reason,
> But for those who can, the rules become nothing more than guidelines,
> And live their lives governed not by rules but by reason.
> - James McGuigan


I think you need to change your sig then, because you're more concerned
with the unwritten habit rules and morays. I agree with you insofar
that all habits are bad. I do think that I understand your usage of
'rules' now.

How's this:
Those that cannot or do not reason for themselves are nothing more than
slaves to custom. Those that do find customs to be little more than
games.

--
Benjamin Matson

James McGuigan

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Oct 4, 2000, 7:44:32 PM10/4/00
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<snip>

> > Misread AR pop
>
> Down

Now how do you use this as a cheat, IIRC AR pop shows up as ??? for other races

> > Minefield Immunity


>
> Up while it lasts, can't really prove that one being used as a cheat

Well up or down, but then that's the only way you can go with it. But the ability to hide your
actions doesn't make them right. It's not getting caught that is the crime.

> > Race wizard file corruption
>
> Down

Now how exactly can you use this one to your advantage? Hack into his computer and corrupt his race
files?

> > Obvously if a host specifically states theses are banned/allowed then they are banned/allowed,


but
> > if a host failed to mention one of these before the game, which of these tatics would/should be
> > considered cheating/allowed.
>

> Sorry, I got carried away.

That's fine.

Judge Dredd

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Oct 4, 2000, 8:36:53 PM10/4/00
to
On Wed, 4 Oct 2000 03:20:20 +0100, "James McGuigan"
<Jame...@ntlworld.com> wrote:

>> It is entirely meaningless. Players can hardly whine that someone used
>> a feature which the almighty r.g.c.s. yappers declared was "wrong".
>>
>
>The first reason was to find out for myself, what tatics where considered cheating and which where
>considered allowed, when the host had not specifally statedanything about them.

The answer is simple: the game itself determines what is cheating. If
you are not using hacked files, you are not cheating.

>Second, was that I had a little bit of doubt in the section of bugs/cheats in the FAQ.

Bugs are one thing. They crash the game, or make it unplayable. The SS
pop-stealing feature does neither of those. It is a valid tactic.

>Third, was so that other players and hosts know what would be considered cheating, if nothing was
>specified.

That is what I find extremely arrogant. You presume to dictate to
other what features they can not use in the game. It's ego-centricity
taken to the extreme.

>Rules are written for those who lack the ability to truly reason,
>But for those who can, the rules become nothing more than guidelines,
>And live their lives governed not by rules but by reason.

Good point. Don't expect others to play by your rules. Expect them to
play by the rules the game sets out.

Loren Pechtel

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Oct 4, 2000, 8:59:07 PM10/4/00
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Varn

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Oct 4, 2000, 9:39:11 PM10/4/00
to

Jeff McBride <cri...@teleport.com> wrote in message news:iqQC5.18713

>
> This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
> architecture of the original Stars! battle engine. If you don't want 500

> alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your
30,000
> Nubians all in one fleet.

It may not be a bug Jeff, but that doesn't alter the fact that it stinks as
a limitation of gameplay. It's a limitation based on the low power of
machines that Stars was designed for - machines the no-one is using today.
Your solution stinks as well, and the correct workaround (which everyone
uses in every game I have ever played) is that you never build 500 alpha
torps and split them for battle; not that you split your main fleet 42 ways
and build tons of alpha torps of your own. Common sense really, which
usually prevails, fortunately for us all ;-)

> Note: There are no similar limitations or arbitrary damage values in
Stars!
> Supernova Genesis. The battle engine is all new.

Glad to hear it.

Regards,

Varn


James McGuigan

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Oct 4, 2000, 10:16:49 PM10/4/00
to
"Varn" <nevarn....@virgin.net> wrote in message
news:5WQC5.14261$L12.2...@news2-win.server.ntlworld.com...

>
> Jeff McBride <cri...@teleport.com> wrote in message news:iqQC5.18713
> >
> > This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
> > architecture of the original Stars! battle engine. If you don't want 500
> > alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your
> 30,000
> > Nubians all in one fleet.
>
> It may not be a bug Jeff, but that doesn't alter the fact that it stinks as
> a limitation of gameplay. It's a limitation based on the low power of
> machines that Stars was designed for - machines the no-one is using today.
> Your solution stinks as well, and the correct workaround (which everyone
> uses in every game I have ever played) is that you never build 500 alpha
> torps and split them for battle; not that you split your main fleet 42 ways
> and build tons of alpha torps of your own. Common sense really, which
> usually prevails, fortunately for us all ;-)

I actually don't think this one is as serious as the SS pop steal.

First is the issue of chaff, they are designed to soak up missle fire, and even alpha torps will
target them first, and then you run into the one missle, one ship kill thing. I don't think it takes
the 0.2% damage when calulating attractivness, as it doesn't count overkill into the equasion.

Second, is that building 100 alpha nubs isn't massively cheap, and quite weak against a few cheap
BMC crusers.

Third is that 100 seprate fleets does soak up quite a few of the 512 fleet limit slots, so can't be
used too many times at once.

Fourth, this tatic is available for use by any race, and has plenty of counters and
counter-counters.

Fifth, this tatic counters the inherent advantage of massive stacks. Spliting your fleet into
several smaller stacks reduces the effectiveness against this tatic by that amount.

Sixth, alpha torps still target the most attractive token, so as long as your main ship token isn't
the most attractive then it won't get targeted.

Seventh, there is another counter (might not always be possable), design a ship that is more
attractive to torps than the other ships in your fleet, but less attractive to capital missles. Thus
you bring along 2-3 in individual stacks to a battle, and it's sure going to take quite a few alpha
torps to take out a single nub. Though this could be countered with a few omega nubs to kill these
ships.

Eigth, the only races that are severly disadvantaged by this are CE races, due to the
unpredicability of fleet movement which makes splitting fleets for manourvers quite dangerous.


--


Rules are written for those who lack the ability to truly reason,
But for those who can, the rules become nothing more than guidelines,
And live their lives governed not by rules but by reason.

- James McGuigan

James McGuigan

unread,
Oct 4, 2000, 10:00:28 PM10/4/00
to
"Jeff McBride" <cri...@teleport.com> wrote in message
news:KUPC5.20221$XV.9...@nntp3.onemain.com...

Jeff then could you please post or link to a list of reported "bugs" so that we may see which ones
have been reported and which have not. This would enable us to report those not reported and not
waste time re-report those already reported.

James McGuigan

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 12:27:30 AM10/5/00
to
<snip>

> I think you need to change your sig then, because you're more concerned
> with the unwritten habit rules and morays. I agree with you insofar
> that all habits are bad. I do think that I understand your usage of
> 'rules' now.
>
> How's this:
> Those that cannot or do not reason for themselves are nothing more than
> slaves to custom. Those that do find customs to be little more than
> games.
>
> --
> Benjamin Matson

Firstly my one sounds better,

Secondly it's not just customs, and even of you consider the legal law to be a custom, the word rule
is still better as a rule is a defining yes/no thing whereas a custom is not and actually means
somthing othe than what I intend. It aslo applys to commands given to you (especally by an
authority), which is another form of a rule.

I personally try to live my life based purely on reson, but sometimes I see myself following rules
for the sake of it, or just paraphrasing another person (ie book writer or professor) in an
arguement without actually basing the argument on pure reason. And I kick myself for doing it, but I
am getting better.

But apart from the the usage of the word "custom", you seem to have the meaning of my sig.

But also I believe that even the laws of physics can be outright broken (not just loopholed), so at
a very advanced level you could even add the laws of physics to the definition of rule.

bob

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
Could you tell us what is on the list. Then the more helpful here can
start work on producing examples of those that aren't for you

Judge Dredd

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
On Wed, 4 Oct 2000 18:01:40 -0700, "Jeff McBride"
<cri...@teleport.com> wrote:

>This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
>architecture of the original Stars! battle engine. If you don't want 500
>alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your 30,000
>Nubians all in one fleet.

It's amazing how some people on this group wish to make their own
personal declarations about how not to play the game you designed.
I say, play the game the way you wrote it. That's the way it should be
played. If you wish to change some features in a later version, so be
it. But until then, the game already has its own very good set of
rules and features.

Innocence

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
On Thu, 05 Oct 2000 11:28:48 GMT, dr...@nospam.com (Judge Dredd)
wrote:

>It's amazing how some people on this group wish to make their own
>personal declarations about how not to play the game you designed.
>I say, play the game the way you wrote it. That's the way it should be
>played. If you wish to change some features in a later version, so be
>it. But until then, the game already has its own very good set of
>rules and features.

The only reasons these problems have been found is that Stars! is one
of the most throughoutly played computergame in the world. It the C64
of computergames, tweaked into performing something it was never
intended to.

When Mare Crisum wrote the game they never intended those things to be
possible - they occured as a sideeffect to the limitations of the
gameengine itself.

And THAT'S why you can't just say "play the game the way you wrote
it", because this isn't what they had in mind, iow. THIS IS NOT THE
WAY THEY WROTE IT! It's nonintentional sideeffects and SHOULD be
considered exploits, hence cheats.

And as a sidenote the SS Pop. Steal effect *IS* a J-patch bug - not a
new feature like you continue to postulate. They never intended to
reimplement this feature when it was removed long ago. using this bug
is clearly a cheat and you know it.

Of course you have the right to play the game anyway you want - but
unless you want to play it alone you'll have a hard time finding other
players who share your point of view on how to play Stars!

Sincerely,

0:) Innocence

benjami...@my-deja.com

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
In article <9pTC5.14313$L12.2...@news2-win.server.ntlworld.com>,

Well, yours does sound better, but that wasn't the effect I was after.
I meant that you seem more concerned with rules that aren't written but
your sig directly points to the written form.

As far as customs not being rules, maybe it's a Southern thing. Custom
here is often more highly regarded than law. Either way, I meant it in
a broad sense and tried to separate it from things like 'game rules' and
'court rulings.'

I think you'll find that the governing laws of the universe cannot be
broken. You might perform an operation that exceeds our understanding
of those laws, but you haven't broken the actual law -whatever it might
be.


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Elliott

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
In article <KUPC5.20221$XV.9...@nntp3.onemain.com>,

"Jeff McBride" <cri...@teleport.com> wrote:
> Please be aware that problems that have not been reported directly to
us
> with example files or reproducible steps will not be fixed in the k
patch. I
> only mention this because several of the "bugs" talked about in the
Cheating
> and Host Declarations thread have never been reported or reproduced
by us.
> Do not assume that just because you have talked about a problem in
this
> newsgroup that it is a real bug and that it is on our list of things
that
> need to be fixed for k. Bug reports sent in now will be archived
until work
> starts on k. We will also list the problems which will not be fixed
and our
> reasons.
>
> Jeff


I submitted a bug and directions on how to reproduce it, along with a
race file that triggered it.

I received no confirmation that Crisium had even received it. I had
assumed that it had been put on the list, and would not be looked at
for a while.

But since you say that unless the bug has enough information for you,
you will not work on it, I would like to get confirmation on bug
reports, at least an automated reply that 'yes we got your email'.
Better would be that 'yes you have provided enough information that we


- Elliott Kleinrock (mailto:ell...@inorbit.com)

Leonard Dickens

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
Jeff McBride wrote:
>[Split Fleet 0.2% damage]

>This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
>architecture of the original Stars! battle engine. If you don't want 500
>alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your 30,000
>Nubians all in one fleet.

Fortunately, in does not matter what you think is fair -- you do not
play the game. The community plays the game, and the community clearly
judges this feature unacceptable unless explicitly allowed by the host.
I think the only player that thinks this one is OK is Dredd, and he is
only saying that to get arguments. I do hope you rethink this.

It is counter-intuitive, for one thing. Thus you hurt newbies and make
it a less appealing game to try to learn. Imagine putting in months on
your first game, being poised to win, when your seemingly unbeatable
nubian stack you sweated long hours to assemble is defeated by a minor
power with a small fleet of archaic ships. Are you going to continue
playing, knowing that in your next game, a few months of work might be
wiped out in a jiffy, by some other player using some other tactic you
have never imagined because it is completely unexpected and
unexpectable?

Secondly, even given broad knowledge of this bug so that it is fair, it
interacts badly with the 128 fleet limit on the battle board, which
allows players to shield fleets from battle more or less indefinitely if
they want to. Mistakes would be extremely likely, causing accusations
of cheating or at best requiring turns to be regenned, delays, and
annoyance.

But the worst aspect of this bug, is that it requires players who accept
its use to make sure, every turn, to micromanage up to four main battle
"fleets" just-so. Want to move a "fleet" (actually, 100+ fleets working
as a unit) from point A to point B? Well, select one of them. Merge
the others. Order this fleet to B. Split off non-alpha ship fleet(s).
Check gas, merge back in fuel if needed. Split alpha ships. All that,
each turn, just to *move* four main battle fleets? Now add the ugliness
of trying to see where the enemy fleets are. You see a planet with a
large number of enemy ships. Is that a main fleet? Well, you can't
tell; the user interface does not show more than the first 50 or so
fleets, and they are all single alpha torpers. Is there a huge stack of
nubians down there, or just chaff? OK, call up the fleets window, sort,
correlate. Ouch. Each turn, every turn. It's a nightmare.

It is bad for any game to have features that not only encourage bogus
micromanagement, but *require* it if you are going to play to win. You
wonder why all the game mags derogate Stars as a "spreadsheet in
space"? This is, quite simply, poor game design.

The fix is simple. Keep the damage in increments of 0.2%, fine; I
strongly suspect that that is too deeply embedded in the game engine to
change in a patch. But round off damage when done, using a random
chance, so that N*0.2% damage to a hull does
floor(N)*0.2% damage with probability N-floor(N), or
floor(N+1)*0.2% damage otherwise.
So for example, an alpha torp hitting a shielded stack of 1000 nubians
"should" do 2.5/5000000, or 0.00005% damage. Instead of being
automatically rounded up to 0.2% damage (an increase in power of 4000
times!), instead make the damage be 0.2% just 1/4000 of the time, or 0%
the other 3999.

About the only protest I can see you having regarding that fix, is that
the RNG usage might be too much, perhaps for the battle board replay or
something. Well, in that case the best solution is to round off
damage. If it is at least 0.1%, round up to 0.2%. If less than 0.1%,
round down. I see little problem here, and it answers all the arguments
I made above, other than being slightly unintuitive (though, far less so
than the current situation).

BTW, I liked Bill's idea of getting volunteers to fix bugs. Get a
couple reputable programmers willing to work for nothing. Require them
to sign a contract stating that they will not release any code to anyone
but you. I would send a resume. I am sure I could hack this one up in
a jiffy. Whether you would accept it, of course, is a different issue,
but there are plenty of bugs we agree on that you obviously don't have
the time to deal with right now.

-Leonard
leonard @ dc . net

Varn

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Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to

James McGuigan <Jame...@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
news:8IRC5.14285$L12.2...@news2-win.server.ntlworld.com...

> "Varn" <nevarn....@virgin.net> wrote in message

> > It may not be a bug Jeff, but that doesn't alter the fact that it stinks


as
> > a limitation of gameplay. It's a limitation based on the low power of
> > machines that Stars was designed for - machines the no-one is using
today.
> > Your solution stinks as well, and the correct workaround (which everyone
> > uses in every game I have ever played) is that you never build 500 alpha
> > torps and split them for battle; not that you split your main fleet 42
ways
> > and build tons of alpha torps of your own. Common sense really, which
> > usually prevails, fortunately for us all ;-)
>
> I actually don't think this one is as serious as the SS pop steal.

The SS pop steal isn't a benchmark for determining whether or not a feature
is bad enough to consider as cheating, so your statement is irrelevant,
regardless of it's accuracy or otherwise.

> First is the issue of chaff, they are designed to soak up missle fire, and
even alpha torps will
> target them first, and then you run into the one missle, one ship kill
thing. I don't think it takes
> the 0.2% damage when calulating attractivness, as it doesn't count
overkill into the equasion.

Large, max tech empires with fleets of several thousand beamer nubs are the
main issue here, because those are the fleets that can be destroyed very
easily by using this cheat, but not otherwise. In games which have reached
that stage, everyone is using fleets comprised of 90%+ beamer nubians (other
than ARs), so chaff is largely a non-issue, and isn't always employed.
Suggesting it should be employed in order to make this cheat tactic more
acceptable is stupid.

> Second, is that building 100 alpha nubs isn't massively cheap, and quite
weak against a few cheap
> BMC crusers.

First, you don't need to use nubs to take advantage of this cheat tactic.
Second, people don't use BMC cruisers, generally speaking, at any stage of
the game. Suggesting people should use BMC cruisers in order to make this
cheat tactic more acceptable is stupid.

> Third is that 100 seprate fleets does soak up quite a few of the 512 fleet
limit slots, so can't be
> used too many times at once.

It doesn't need to be used many times - use it once and you destroy the
enemy main fleet. That's the whole point of it, so your statement is
irrelevant.

> Fourth, this tatic is available for use by any race, and has plenty of
counters and
> counter-counters.

Stating that a cheat tactic is acceptable simply because everyone can use
it, is just plain stupid. Everyone can hack races, everyone can overload the
battle board etc. etc. doesn't make any of that acceptable.

> Fifth, this tatic counters the inherent advantage of massive stacks.

Which is exactly why it is so unacceptable. Hello?

>Spliting your fleet into
> several smaller stacks reduces the effectiveness against this tatic by
that amount.

And makes your fleet more vulnerable to enemy main fleet action, whilst
still being somewhat vulnerable to this cheat tactic.

> Sixth, alpha torps still target the most attractive token, so as long as
your main ship token isn't
> the most attractive then it won't get targeted.

Your main ship token will be the most attractive in the majority or relevant
cases. However, whether it is or not doesn't make this cheat tactic in any
way acceptable.

> Seventh, there is another counter (might not always be possable), design a
ship that is more
> attractive to torps than the other ships in your fleet, but less
attractive to capital missles. Thus
> you bring along 2-3 in individual stacks to a battle, and it's sure going
to take quite a few alpha
> torps to take out a single nub. Though this could be countered with a few
omega nubs to kill these
> ships.

You've already realised yourself that this doesn't work, so did you why
bother posting it?

> Eigth, the only races that are severly disadvantaged by this are CE races,
due to the
> unpredicability of fleet movement which makes splitting fleets for
manourvers quite dangerous.

Wrong again - the races that are severely disadvantaged by application of
this cheat tactic are those with superior main fleets to their enemies.

Regards,

Varn

Loren Pechtel

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
>>Second, was that I had a little bit of doubt in the section of bugs/cheats in the FAQ.
>
>Bugs are one thing. They crash the game, or make it unplayable. The SS
>pop-stealing feature does neither of those. It is a valid tactic.

Bugs can give you unreasonable advantages, also.

Consider a *VERY* old game for the TRS-80. Put your tank in the
right spot, put a weight on the space bar and go to bed. Come back to
a high score. Is that not a bug???

Loren Pechtel

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
>This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
>architecture of the original Stars! battle engine. If you don't want 500
>alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your 30,000
>Nubians all in one fleet.
>
>Note: There are no similar limitations or arbitrary damage values in Stars!
>Supernova Genesis. The battle engine is all new.

I agree that it's part of the architecture. Why does it have to
be, though? Track damage points per point when doing damage
calculations, round off afterwards. The higher precision number does
not need to ever leave the routine, it doesn't break the rest of the
data.

Sean

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
>
>Bugs are one thing. They crash the game, or make it unplayable. The SS
>pop-stealing feature does neither of those. It is a valid tactic.

Do a deja search ... I seem to remember a Crisium official post to this
newsgroup, acknowledging that "feature" _was_ indeed, unequivocably, a BUG.

>That is what I find extremely arrogant. You presume to dictate to
>other what features they can not use in the game. It's ego-centricity
>taken to the extreme.

He presumes no such thing. He presumes to seek out what OTHERS would _already_
consider, by consensus, to be cheating, when lacking a specific declaration
beforehand, byt he game's host.

He's not enforcing diddly on anyone. He's _asking_ people to DISCUSS the
issue, and perhaps come to a _mutual agreement_ on the matter at hand.

>Good point. Don't expect others to play by your rules. Expect them to
>play by the rules the game sets out.

The consensus obtained here won't be "his" rules they woudl be "our" rules.

Sean

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
>This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
>architecture of the original Stars! battle engine. If you don't want 500
>alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your 30,000
>Nubians all in one fleet.

Then it is a design flaw, laid directly in your lap, sir.

That is UTTERLY unrealistic and implausible. Weapon damage should be constant
per weapon, with no minimum limit. If a weapon gets 1 point of damage onto a
5,000,000 armor-vcalue stack, then ONE POINT should be subtracted from the
armor value of the target stack ... not 0.2% of the actual value (IOW, not
10,000 armor!).

>Note: There are no similar limitations or arbitrary damage values in Stars!
>Supernova Genesis. The battle engine is all new.

In other words, you realised the "bug" imposed by your prior design was
incorrect, and _fixed_ it in the new battle engine.

Wether an unavoidable consequence of the engine, or an unanticipated result of
said engine, or an actual, honest error in coding ... a bug is a bug is a bug.

Sean

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
>Fourth, this tatic is available for use by any race, and has plenty of
>counters and
>counter-counters.

Alpha-torpedo Frigates, flown by an IS race (3 torpedoes per FF), with either
Croby Sharmor or Fielded Kelarium (or even an MT armor+shield part). Cheap as
hell, doubles as (mildly expensive) chaff, has shields to a small degree, and
250 stacks of 10 frigates per stack wouldn't be a nice thing for the uber-tech
Nubian-wielder to face. How many individual stacks of them could he KILL,
after all, with his 1 or 2 stacks of Nubians ... ? Enough to save BOTH stacks
of Nubians ... ?

benjami...@my-deja.com

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
In article <20001005153844...@ng-cr1.aol.com>,

gm...@aol.com.xa (Sean) wrote:
> >Fourth, this tatic is available for use by any race, and has plenty
of
> >counters and
> >counter-counters.
>
> Alpha-torpedo Frigates, flown by an IS race (3 torpedoes per FF), with
either
> Croby Sharmor or Fielded Kelarium (or even an MT armor+shield part).
Cheap as
> hell, doubles as (mildly expensive) chaff, has shields to a small
degree, and
> 250 stacks of 10 frigates per stack wouldn't be a nice thing for the
uber-tech
> Nubian-wielder to face. How many individual stacks of them could he
KILL,
> after all, with his 1 or 2 stacks of Nubians ... ? Enough to save
BOTH stacks
> of Nubians ... ?
>
> -- Sean
> -- GM Pax
>

You can't put all 250 stacks on the battle board . . .

James McGuigan

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Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to
"Varn" <nevarn....@virgin.net> wrote in message
news:L12D5.15827$L12.3...@news2-win.server.ntlworld.com...

<snip>

I take your points, and if used against an opponent not expecting it could be nasty.

But if used in a game where both sides where fully aware of it and "expecting it" then I would say
it adds just another element of stratergy to the game, but without unbalancing it. This is pretty
much like chaff, the first time anyone ever used it, the other guy wasn't expecting it and probably
lost a bit of a fleet.

My basic arguement is that this bug doesn't in itself unbalance the game, but it's more of a case of
shifting the tatics and stratergys of the game (in a similar way that chaff does). This tatic does
partly undermine the strength of a massive fleet, but is counterable and places the empisis no
longer on soley the biggest fleet. And if treated like chaff, makes it another element of startergy
to consider.

The only real argument I can find against it is that it it is MM intensive and in a game would be
required to win if allowed.

But this would also be a reason to only include it as an opt-in measure, so that the players know
what they are getting themselves into when they sign up.

Dan Neely

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/5/00
to

"tryagain" <trya...@magma.ca> wrote

hi bones.

> Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)
>
> -(this is a simple battle order effect that is easy to counter)
> -Try a large fast (2.25) ship with high init, gatlings and max damage
> orders.

nope, you'll kill the 128 chaff he used to protect his mainfleet from
combat. nextyear, there's nothing to prevent him from splitting off
annother 128 chaff. This one largely repairable by a software patch. put
the 128 most expensive fleets in a battle, NOT the 1st 128 in the game. to
an extent this could still be worked around, but doing so would become very
expensive. and the fleet limit bug would make it very difficult.

replying to points in a different order.

> SS pop steal
>
> -Sounds unbalancing in the hands of a skilled player but seems to be
> INTENDED(reason to buy a new game- Jeff?) by second hand accounts on
> this ng.
> SS = BORG!

IIRC Jeff originally said he had no plans to change that, but later annouced
that it would be addressed in the K patch.


> >Split Fleet 0.2% damage
>
> -What's the matter - forget to bring enough chaff?

> Chaff:
>
> -What is the point of even having jammers? If you need them, it means
> you
> f***ed-up and didn't bring enough chaff.

chaff rarely lasts more than 2 or 3 rounds before being fried by beamers

> -Chaff adds nothing to playability and increases MM as everyone has to
> build it.

If you weren't spending the resources on chaff, you'd spend them on bombers
or BBs, and have the same MM to do, gating them to a mergepoint and
combining them to your fleet.

> -all chaff seems to do is encourage beamer-only development, slow play
> (or lack of defensive response) until max tech has been reached.

it encourages the use of mixed fleets, beamers to fry the chaff, missles to
finish the fleet.

> Battle Engine Design Anomalies
>
> Shield stacking - why not armour also?
> -This only contributes to more decisive battles.

armor stacking would only make this worse. neither would be my preferance,
and I think the SN engine will simulate ships individually, instead of in
stacks, so that won't be an issue.

> Might I also remind you that the only reason we even know about these
> game behaviours is because Stars is capable of being heavily analyzed
> (and has) and the Jeffs have been the MOST open to making game
> mods I have ever heard of!

mods? there are mods for stars! ??? where?

> How about the old mineral beam-up trick.

whats that?

> Transferring ships to other players to help a Starbase get a shot at
> bombers due to
> initial battle board player placement.

In my opinion, and I suspect the majority of players and hosts would agree
is cheating, and grounds for a regen.

> Upgrading ship designs already in the Q to bypass the stardock 200kt
> limit.

I thought this was fixed a number of patches ago.

John

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 4:28:10 PM10/5/00
to
Jeff McBride wrote:

>This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
>architecture of the original Stars! battle engine.

That wasn't very clear. All bugs are part of the architecture. We know this
is caused by a limitation i nthe code. It seems like it's just having to few
numbers measuring damage. That would qualify as a bug, which you say it's
not.

Then. Is this something you implemented intentionally?


>If you don't want 500
>alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your 30,000
>Nubians all in one fleet.

Can't do that. Would get battleboard overload.


--
Can I have a new cat now?

James McGuigan

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 8:11:08 PM10/5/00
to
"Sean" <gm...@aol.com.xa> wrote in message news:20001005153844...@ng-cr1.aol.com...

> >Fourth, this tatic is available for use by any race, and has plenty of
> >counters and
> >counter-counters.
>
> Alpha-torpedo Frigates, flown by an IS race (3 torpedoes per FF), with either
> Croby Sharmor or Fielded Kelarium (or even an MT armor+shield part). Cheap as
> hell, doubles as (mildly expensive) chaff, has shields to a small degree, and
> 250 stacks of 10 frigates per stack wouldn't be a nice thing for the uber-tech
> Nubian-wielder to face. How many individual stacks of them could he KILL,
> after all, with his 1 or 2 stacks of Nubians ... ? Enough to save BOTH stacks
> of Nubians ... ?
>
> -- Sean
> -- GM Pax
>
>

There's a maximum of 128 token per board, and the 0.2% is not worked out after each missle but after
each salvo.

A salvo is defined as a ship slot on a token. So a token of 10 frigates with 3 alphas, would shot a
single salvo of 30 alphas. This salvo would do a minimum of 0.2% damage.

The only real way to take advantage of this bug to do mega damage is to use individual nubs with
about 9+ slots missles. So each token (single nub) fires 9 salvos. But the logic of having several
missles per slot is to ensure each salvo hits. If the shot misses then it does no damage to armour.

Your split frigate fleet could only do 128 * 1 * 0.2% = 25.6% damage.
A split nub fleet of 100 * 9 * 0.2% = 180% damage.

Though I believe that chaff might provide some form of defence against this tatic. As once the chaff
is damaged enough for a alpha to kill a chaff, you are still left with the one missle, one kill rule
and no dead chaff.


The actual reason that this "bug" happens is due to the way armour and shields are stored by the
program.

Armor is stored in 2 variables: Total fleet armour + damage % (rounded to 0.2%). This makes it
efficent for the program and easy to calculate repairs (damage% - repair%). This carries through to
the battle board.

When damaged fleets merge, it works out a new total armor figure and damage % based on
(fleet1_damage% * fleet1_armour + fleet2_damage% * fleet2_armour) / (fleet1_armour + fleet2_armour).
Thus a heavily damaged fleet could repair itself quite quickly by merging it with a fleet with much
higher armour, as the damage is spread among all the ships, and any repairs would be based on a % of
the (now much larger) fleet armour total. Then just split the ship off from the fleet.

Shields are stored simply by total fleet shields. And as this is instanly replenished there is no
need to store it in a % and is stored as an intger only during battle.

This only has implications when specifially abused as stated above. A nubian has 5000 base armour,
0.2% of this is 10. And as it is calculated on a per salvo basis, so when dealing with a stack of
1000 nubians, the 0.2% is rounded to 10,000 damage, but an opposing stack of 1000 nubs would be
firing salvos of 3000 ARMs (236,250 damage at base acuracy 30%), and when dealing with that
quantity, rounding to the nearest 10,000 damage is a minor point.

And even against alpha frigates, even 128 salvos (all hitting) could only do 25.6% damage. And any
fleet that size could take them out in a single turn. Then it just takes a turn or 2 to repair the
damage if for some reason these frigates got the init and fired first.

And damage is repaired at the following % rates:

<ripped from the help file>

Ship location Annual rate
Moving through space. 1%
Stopped in space. 2%
Orbiting but not bombing an opponent's planet. 3%
Orbiting a planet you own, with a space dock. 20%
Orbiting a planet you own, with a starbase but not a space dock. 8%
Orbiting a planet you own that doesn't have a starbase: 5%
Orbiting a planet you're bombing. no repair
Stopped or orbiting, with at least one Fuel Transport hull in the fleet. additional 5%
Stopped or orbiting, with at least one Super Fuel Xport hull in the fleet. additional 10%

tryagain

unread,
Oct 5, 2000, 10:41:17 PM10/5/00
to
/BEGIN_RANT

>Split Fleet 0.2% damage

-What’s the matter – forget to bring enough chaff?
-Only remember hearing of two accounts of it used on the ng.- It would
only seem to
be effective against rather large stacks.
-Easily countered with your own chaff.
-Split that huuuuge stack of nubians.
-Perhaps this is the downside of ship stacking – safety in numbers
doesn’t always
apply ;)~


Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)

-(this is a simple battle order effect that is easy to counter)
-Try a large fast (2.25) ship with high init, gatlings and max damage
orders.


SS pop steal

-Sounds unbalancing in the hands of a skilled player but seems to be
INTENDED(reason to buy a new game- Jeff?) by second hand accounts on
this ng.
SS = BORG!


Chaff:

-I left chaff till last because it is the worst offender with the
weakest
justification.
-Chaff is an exploit of a SERIOUS flaw. I assume its intent was to
select the
juciest target.
-I think it is ridiculous that a starting tech level 0 ship is 100%
effective at
stopping a W26 torp for a fraction of the cost of the W26 torp in both
resources
and minerals. Chaff is not really reusable (salvage) but this does not
really
matter if the battle is decisive (as they usually are).


-What is the point of even having jammers? If you need them, it means
you
f***ed-up and didn’t bring enough chaff.

-Chaff adds nothing to playability and increases MM as everyone has to
build it.


-all chaff seems to do is encourage beamer-only development, slow play
(or lack of defensive response) until max tech has been reached.

Chaff detracts from playability and the fact that people accept it is
unfortunate!


Battle Engine Design Anomalies

Shield stacking – why not armour also?


-This only contributes to more decisive battles.

Initiative/firing for each individual ship/slot.
-I’m sure it is very annoying to have a whole fleet of missile BB’s with
the same
init as an enemy fleet not even get a shot off due to a random first
shot.
-Why do slots in a stack all fire together (kill as one).
-In reality, if a large number of ships were targetting a large number
of enemy
targets – each enemy ship may be targetted by more than one friendly
ship.

I suspect the reasons for these battle engine anomalies is that they (by
design)
simplify and speed up turns.
Otherwise, we’d have slow generation and turn files would get real big
real fast.
Do you really want to find out how long a battle with 10000 beamer nubs
on each side
would take if movement/initiative/targetting/firing/damage/repair
were on an individual ship/slot basis???


Might I also remind you that the only reason we even know about these
game behaviours
is because Stars is capable of being heavily analyzed (and has) and the
Jeffs have
been the MOST open to making game mods I have ever heard of!

These design decisions were also made several generations of PC chipsets
ago - and yes,
it may be feasible to change them given time - but I'm sure the Jeffs
have real jobs
that actually pay real money, (these patches certainly aren't)
so exactly how long do you want to wait for Supernova?


Battle Orders

Why can’t mixed ship fleets have different orders.
Why don’t battle orders recognize that starbase weapons have 1 extra
range.
Why don’t the battle orders all work for that matter.
Why isn’t there a smarter battle engine or orders to fire at ships of
higher
rating, capital ships, …
The battle board overload is simply a result of the battle orders.


While we're at it - here are some other old questions.

Why do you need colonizers to recolonize a 100% world that has just been
vacated?
Why do waypoint 1 orders to drop pop on a AR controlled world colonize
the world
without a colonizer the turn the AR station is destroyed?

Building newer ships on the same ship hull.


How about the old mineral beam-up trick.

Multiple packet launch from a planet in one turn.


Transferring ships to other players to help a Starbase get a shot at
bombers due to
initial battle board player placement.

Upgrading ship designs already in the Q to bypass the stardock 200kt
limit.

Ship/fleet limits.
Minefield limits.
Rounding errors.
RanDUMB number generator.

The list is, well, long. (there are many more)

/END_RANT


>Chaff
>Split Fleet 0.2% damage


>Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)

>SS pop steal

All of these are exploits of known design quirks/undocumented features:

Either live with ALL of them or NONE of them.
The host should state UP FRONT, BEFORE the game starts what rules and
features are
allowed – NEVER assume.
BTW - Some players feel using packets as weapons is cheating.

Question.
I would like to know why most of the outspoken people here believe chaff
to be OK
but other battle engines quirks are cheats???
-hypocritical?


PS – I think stars is a Great game, Jeffs.

Judge Dredd

unread,
Oct 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/6/00
to
On Thu, 05 Oct 2000 17:38:34 GMT, lorenp...@hotmail.com (Loren
Pechtel) wrote:

> Consider a *VERY* old game for the TRS-80. Put your tank in the
>right spot, put a weight on the space bar and go to bed. Come back to
>a high score. Is that not a bug???

No. That's a boring way to play a game.

The SS feature does not make Stars boring. It provides a useful way
for SS to steal enemy planets.

Judge Dredd

unread,
Oct 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/6/00
to
On Thu, 05 Oct 2000 14:09:06 +0200, Innocence
<inno...@stofanet.DOT.dk> wrote:

>When Mare Crisum wrote the game they never intended those things to be
>possible - they occured as a sideeffect to the limitations of the
>gameengine itself.
>
>And THAT'S why you can't just say "play the game the way you wrote
>it", because this isn't what they had in mind, iow. THIS IS NOT THE
>WAY THEY WROTE IT! It's nonintentional sideeffects and SHOULD be
>considered exploits, hence cheats.

Then why do the elistists not consider chaff a cheat? Hmmm? Answer
that one.

>Of course you have the right to play the game anyway you want - but
>unless you want to play it alone you'll have a hard time finding other
>players who share your point of view on how to play Stars!

Irrelevant, except for new games starting where the players agree to
ban certain features. I don't go around telling other people to ban
the use of fielded kelarium in games. Keep your nose out of other
people's games.

Judge Dredd

unread,
Oct 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/6/00
to
On 05 Oct 2000 19:34:53 GMT, gm...@aol.com.xa (Sean) wrote:

>>This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the

>>architecture of the original Stars! battle engine. If you don't want 500


>>alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your 30,000
>>Nubians all in one fleet.
>

>Then it is a design flaw, laid directly in your lap, sir.

Sean, you're arguing with the game designer. He's got you outgunned a
million to one. You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.
He designed the game, not you.

Go howl at the moon.

Judge Dredd

unread,
Oct 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/6/00
to
On Thu, 05 Oct 2000 11:40:29 -0400, Leonard Dickens <leo...@dc.net>
wrote:

>Jeff McBride wrote:
>>[Split Fleet 0.2% damage]

>>This is *not* a bug and will not change for 2.7k. It is part of the
>>architecture of the original Stars! battle engine. If you don't want 500
>>alpha torpedoes to be able to destroy 30,000 Nubians, don't put your 30,000
>>Nubians all in one fleet.
>

>Fortunately, in does not matter what you think is fair -- you do not
>play the game. The community plays the game, and the community clearly
>judges this feature unacceptable unless explicitly allowed by the host.

What arrogance! You should be ashamed of yourself. If you can't have
any respect for the game designer, at least show some politeness.

No wonder why so few game designers post on Usenet, with so many
uncouth egotists like you.

Jeffrey Hoyt

unread,
Oct 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/6/00
to
On Fri, 06 Oct 2000 12:24:12 GMT, dr...@nospam.com (Judge Dredd)
wrote:

>Then why do the elistists not consider chaff a cheat? Hmmm? Answer
>that one.
>
I do.

:o)

Lighten up,

Jeff

Leonard Dickens

unread,
Oct 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/6/00
to
Dan Neely wrote:
>[Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)]

>put the 128 most expensive fleets in a battle, NOT the 1st 128 in
>the game. To an extent this could still be worked around, but doing
>so would become very expensive.

Give the player anything he can predict, and he will exploit it.

I agree that using resources would be much, much better than the current
system. (Using mass might also work). I think a better solution, would
be to choose the fleets for a battle randomly, if there are too many.
This prevents the player from controlling what is there.

>Chaff rarely lasts more than 2 or 3 rounds before being fried by beamers

So? 2-3 rounds is often a large part of a battle. The point is that
chaff drastically affects how Stars battles work.

The way to deal with chaff is simply to fix the targetting algorithm, to
properly take account of overkill. It is stupid for a 525 point missile
to think that it is going to do 1050 points of damage to a scout with 20
points of hull.


>>Chaff adds nothing to playability and increases MM
>

>If you weren't spending the resources on chaff, you'd spend them on bombers
>or BBs, and have the same MM to do, gating them to a mergepoint and
>combining them to your fleet.

No, not the same. Chaff is most efficient in a battle in just the right
amount. Send in too much, and it is all fried anyway, and you have
wasted resources and minerals. Send in too little, and your fleet is
hurt more than it should be. You need to know just the right amount.
To know that, you have to calculate exactly as possible what the enemy
fleet is.

By contrast, with most ships -- BBs, say -- almost always more is good.
If you will win the battle, you will win even more cheaply by adding
more BBs.

Another way chaffs adds MM is that it only goes warp 9 without losses,
it tends to need auxiliary gas, and it cannot take mine hits. So there
are additional things to think about when manuevering.

Chaff is also annoying because it makes starbases much weaker than they
already are.

One more bad thing about chaff: the presence of large amounts of
supercheap ships exacerbates another feature/bug in the software,
movement-phase minesweeping. IMO, minefield reductions should take
place following movement, not during it.


>>all chaff seems to do is encourage beamer-only development, slow play
>>(or lack of defensive response) until max tech has been reached.
>

> it encourages the use of mixed fleets, beamers to fry the chaff, missles to
> finish the fleet.

Currently people use 10:90 torps:beams because of mineral limits. If
you encourage the use of torps by removing chaffing, I think that will
rise little if any. It does mean that the torps will be somewhat more
powerful. Really, the only players this helps much would be ARs.

Chris Schack

unread,
Oct 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/6/00
to
In article <39ddc333...@News.CIS.DFN.DE>,
dr...@nospam.com (Judge Dredd) wrote:

<snip>

>What arrogance! You should be ashamed of yourself. If you can't have
>any respect for the game designer, at least show some politeness.
>
>No wonder why so few game designers post on Usenet, with so many
>uncouth egotists like you.
>
>---
>I am the law!

Well, there's irony for you...

*plonk*

Chris Schack
(first killfile entry here...)

tryagain

unread,
Oct 7, 2000, 12:41:55 AM10/7/00
to
<snipping as well>

Dan Neely wrote:

> hi bones.

Ah, ...No - bones != magma, but we are proud? of him, I think? (not that I have
a choice)

>
> > Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)
> >
> > -(this is a simple battle order effect that is easy to counter)
> > -Try a large fast (2.25) ship with high init, gatlings and max damage
> > orders.
>

> nope, you'll kill the 128 chaff he used to protect his mainfleet from
> combat. nextyear, there's nothing to prevent him from splitting off

> annother 128 chaff. This one largely repairable by a software patch. put
> the 128 most expensive fleets in a battle, NOT the 1st 128 in the game. to


> an extent this could still be worked around, but doing so would become very

> expensive. and the fleet limit bug would make it very difficult.
>

Sorry, my mistake, I was thinking of another tactic.
I never bothered to upgrade to the J patch given all the problems.
I assume this problem is the result of trying to correct the 256 fleet per
battle problem.
Can each player (of up to16) now have a maximum of 128 ships at a battle?


> IIRC Jeff originally said he had no plans to change that, but later annouced
> that it would be addressed in the K patch.
>

> > >Split Fleet 0.2% damage
> >
> > -What's the matter - forget to bring enough chaff?
>
> > Chaff:


> >
> > -What is the point of even having jammers? If you need them, it means
> > you
> > f***ed-up and didn't bring enough chaff.
>

> chaff rarely lasts more than 2 or 3 rounds before being fried by beamers


>
> > -Chaff adds nothing to playability and increases MM as everyone has to
> > build it.
>

> If you weren't spending the resources on chaff, you'd spend them on bombers
> or BBs, and have the same MM to do, gating them to a mergepoint and
> combining them to your fleet.
>

> > -all chaff seems to do is encourage beamer-only development, slow play
> > (or lack of defensive response) until max tech has been reached.
>

> it encourages the use of mixed fleets, beamers to fry the chaff, missiles to
> finish the fleet.
>

The fact that there is MM doesn't justify the creation of more
and the exploitation of what everyone considers a design flaw.
Mixed fleets have always provided more utility. The most effective
Missile BB fleets would typically be accompanied by fast, high init
shield sappers and beamer skirmishers to control the midfield.

>
> > Battle Engine Design Anomalies
> >
> > Shield stacking - why not armour also?


> > -This only contributes to more decisive battles.
>

> armor stacking would only make this worse. neither would be my preferance,
> and I think the SN engine will simulate ships individually, instead of in
> stacks, so that won't be an issue.
>

Definitely, I agree. But everyone accepts shield and ship stacking without
complaint.
In fact without stacking, many battles would less decisive - battle would be
more
costly due to attrition and people would be even less willing to build a fleet
before max tech.

> > Might I also remind you that the only reason we even know about these
> > game behaviours is because Stars is capable of being heavily analyzed
> > (and has) and the Jeffs have been the MOST open to making game
> > mods I have ever heard of!
>

> mods? there are mods for stars! ??? where?
>

read mods as patches.

>
> > How about the old mineral beam-up trick.
>

> whats that?
>

I haven't upgraded from the I-patch and this may have already been fixed.
You used to be able to beam up all remaining minerals to an enemy fleet
in orbit. If they did not have any cargo - all the minerals would cease to
exist.
In effect, people would use this to deny the enemy of any mineral spoils.
I considered that cheating, but it was impossible to prove without a 3rd party.
I was amazed at the number of times I killed off a 1WW (mid-game)
who hadn't build a fleet and had no minerals on the surface!

>
> > Transferring ships to other players to help a Starbase get a shot at
> > bombers due to
> > initial battle board player placement.
>

> In my opinion, and I suspect the majority of players and hosts would agree
> is cheating, and grounds for a regen.
>

Why is this a cheat? I've heard of this used both offensively and defensively.
This will really only delay an opponent. The use of chaff (or lack of it) can
significantly alter the results of a decisive, game deciding, battle.

You still haven't answered my REAL question.
Why do you believe chaff is OK and the other exploits cheats???

tryagain

unread,
Oct 7, 2000, 1:11:25 AM10/7/00
to
Leonard Dickens wrote:

> Dan Neely wrote:
> >[Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)]


> >put the 128 most expensive fleets in a battle, NOT the 1st 128 in

> >the game. To an extent this could still be worked around, but doing


> >so would become very expensive.
>

> Give the player anything he can predict, and he will exploit it.
>
> I agree that using resources would be much, much better than the current
> system. (Using mass might also work). I think a better solution, would
> be to choose the fleets for a battle randomly, if there are too many.
> This prevents the player from controlling what is there.
>

I think a player could still "pad" and protect most of their real fleet
with say 1000+ chaff.

Another suggestion might be to have the battle/movement engine
automatically merge all remaining fleets after the 127th into the 128th
and insert them into the battle with whatever orders belonged to the
original 128th fleet.

>
> >Chaff rarely lasts more than 2 or 3 rounds before being fried by beamers
>
> So? 2-3 rounds is often a large part of a battle. The point is that
> chaff drastically affects how Stars battles work.
>

Ooh, another dissenting voice that sees the apparent hypocritical incongruity.
Early battles can be over in 1-2 turns.

>
> The way to deal with chaff is simply to fix the targetting algorithm, to
> properly take account of overkill. It is stupid for a 525 point missile
> to think that it is going to do 1050 points of damage to a scout with 20
> points of hull.
>

Or perhaps a targetting algorithm that tries to destroy/damage the stacks
1) in range to do damage to your fleets; and
2) which will reduce damage to your fleets the most.
This would be close to a max dam/min damage algo.

>
> >>Chaff adds nothing to playability and increases MM
> >

> >If you weren't spending the resources on chaff, you'd spend them on bombers
> >or BBs, and have the same MM to do, gating them to a mergepoint and
> >combining them to your fleet.
>

> No, not the same. Chaff is most efficient in a battle in just the right
> amount. Send in too much, and it is all fried anyway, and you have
> wasted resources and minerals. Send in too little, and your fleet is
> hurt more than it should be. You need to know just the right amount.
> To know that, you have to calculate exactly as possible what the enemy
> fleet is.
>
> By contrast, with most ships -- BBs, say -- almost always more is good.
> If you will win the battle, you will win even more cheaply by adding
> more BBs.
>
> Another way chaffs adds MM is that it only goes warp 9 without losses,
> it tends to need auxiliary gas, and it cannot take mine hits. So there
> are additional things to think about when manuevering.
>
> Chaff is also annoying because it makes starbases much weaker than they
> already are.
>

or relatively stronger if the attacker has none.

>
> One more bad thing about chaff: the presence of large amounts of
> supercheap ships exacerbates another feature/bug in the software,
> movement-phase minesweeping. IMO, minefield reductions should take
> place following movement, not during it.
>

> >>all chaff seems to do is encourage beamer-only development, slow play
> >>(or lack of defensive response) until max tech has been reached.
> >

> > it encourages the use of mixed fleets, beamers to fry the chaff, missles to
> > finish the fleet.
>
> Currently people use 10:90 torps:beams because of mineral limits. If
> you encourage the use of torps by removing chaffing, I think that will
> rise little if any. It does mean that the torps will be somewhat more
> powerful. Really, the only players this helps much would be ARs.
>

This is late game, nub era.
Chaff can be even more unbalancing in the early BB era where offensive
systems are more effective than defensive systems, and movement is slower.

Dan Neely

unread,
Oct 7, 2000, 1:18:30 AM10/7/00
to

"tryagain" <trya...@magma.ca> wrote in message
news:39DEB236...@magma.ca...

> Leonard Dickens wrote:
>
> > Dan Neely wrote:
> > >[Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)]
> > >put the 128 most expensive fleets in a battle, NOT the 1st 128 in
> > >the game. To an extent this could still be worked around, but doing
> > >so would become very expensive.
> >
> > Give the player anything he can predict, and he will exploit it.
> >
> > I agree that using resources would be much, much better than the current
> > system. (Using mass might also work). I think a better solution, would
> > be to choose the fleets for a battle randomly, if there are too many.
> > This prevents the player from controlling what is there.
> >
> Another suggestion might be to have the battle/movement engine
> automatically merge all remaining fleets after the 127th into the 128th
> and insert them into the battle with whatever orders belonged to the
> original 128th fleet.

this could be exploited to merge indiviudually gated ships from accross the
empire together the turn they gate in.

> > Chaff is also annoying because it makes starbases much weaker than they
> > already are.
>
> or relatively stronger if the attacker has none.

for base killing, the attacker doesn't need any. kill starbases.

Varn

unread,
Oct 7, 2000, 1:37:52 AM10/7/00
to

tryagain <trya...@magma.ca> wrote in message
news:39DEAB4C...@magma.ca...

> <snipping as well>
>
> Dan Neely wrote:
>
> > hi bones.

The one formerly known as Sirius, I suspect.

Regards,

Varn


tryagain

unread,
Oct 7, 2000, 1:56:53 AM10/7/00
to
Dan Neely wrote:

> "tryagain" <trya...@magma.ca> wrote in message
> news:39DEB236...@magma.ca...
> > Leonard Dickens wrote:
> >
> > > Dan Neely wrote:
> > > >[Split Fleet combat dodge (AKA battle board overload)]
> > > >put the 128 most expensive fleets in a battle, NOT the 1st 128 in
> > > >the game. To an extent this could still be worked around, but doing
> > > >so would become very expensive.
> > >
> > > Give the player anything he can predict, and he will exploit it.
> > >
> > > I agree that using resources would be much, much better than the current
> > > system. (Using mass might also work). I think a better solution, would
> > > be to choose the fleets for a battle randomly, if there are too many.
> > > This prevents the player from controlling what is there.
> > >
> > Another suggestion might be to have the battle/movement engine
> > automatically merge all remaining fleets after the 127th into the 128th
> > and insert them into the battle with whatever orders belonged to the
> > original 128th fleet.
>
> this could be exploited to merge indiviudually gated ships from accross the
> empire together the turn they gate in.

True, the ideal solution would be to have an unlimited number of fleets...
but given that is unlikely...some other variant solutions could be:
1)Have the 128th fleet on the battle board but unable to fire or retreat.
2)Start merging the fleets with existing ones (e.g. 1+129, 2+130).
Still a merge, but better.
3)Merge two fleets already at the waypoint or arriving from the same origin
to make room for arriving fleets. If particularly vindictive, the algorithm
could
try to ensure that merged fleets are different ship types.
4)Have the fleets beyond the 128th on the board act as a (control limits)
reserve
and as other fleets are destroyed they could be activated.
5)A combination of 1 & 4 where fleets beyond 128 are tracked individually and
operate only as targets on the battle board.

I'm sure you can think of some others. I prefer #5 as a management penalty.
I'm sure this is moot anyway.

>
> > > Chaff is also annoying because it makes starbases much weaker than they
> > > already are.
> >
> > or relatively stronger if the attacker has none.
>
> for base killing, the attacker doesn't need any. kill starbases.

Yes, If you are expecting ONLY a starbase. Battles with kill starbase orders
can turn
out radically different from maximize damage ratio orders. This will not matter
much
in the nub era but will in the early BB era.


tryagain

unread,
Oct 7, 2000, 2:16:19 AM10/7/00
to
Wrong, tryagain...

Magma is a fairly large ISP spread over several cities.
You might try looking at the headers a little closer...

Are you guys getting paranoid after playing with the trolls?
Have you checked passenger manifests for familiar handles lately?

Innocence

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Oct 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM10/7/00