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The Q

Authors: The Sharenet Trolls

......................THE Q

THE Q is the VGA Planets Artificial Intelligence for VGA Planets play. THE Q is THE computer player program for use with VGA Planets (Host3.2xx).

THE Q was designed specifically TO PLAY AS A HUMAN PLAYER would play VGA Planets. In this way, THE Q is unlike any C-Player type program ever developed for use with VGA Planets!!

You can raid THE Q's freighter lanes, attack its mineral deposits and even rob its ships of fuel. But be warned, THE Q will also rob, disrupt, attack and strategize to destroy you.

THE Q is NOT A BLIND C-PLAYER PROGRAM attacking anything that moves and driving blindly into minefields and alike. THE Q is a thinking, strategizing, planning, economy developing computer player that knows to attack when it has the advantage and to retreat when threatened, lay mines in the paths of enemies yet sweep to the edge of enemy fields, build economies in safer locations to support more volatile fronts, use its racial abilities to their best use while being very aware of enemy racial advantages and planning for them if that enemy is near, and THE Q reacts, yes reacts, to each situation by employing a long list of strategies (originally designed by some of the best VGA Planets players from world Tournaments and alike) that best deal with each situation. BUT don't think for a minute that THE Q is predictable - THE Q also works on percentages so its solution to a situation may be very different next time the exact same situation occurs. Can't let you anticipate or you would have an undeserved advantage :)

THE Q is the greatest for preparing yourself for human competition AND also serves as a perfect HUMAN-LIKE fill-in for dropped players in ongoing VGA games.

THE Q is a program by Alex Ivlev & The ShareNet Trolls.



THE Q exists within the many alternate dimensions of the Echo Cluster. Although sworn not to meddle in the affairs of the physical, they have come to this dimension to maintain stability so that the fabric of all the dimensions will be maintained. The nature of the physical Echo Cluster has been that races have periodically gone silent due to central leadership breakdowns. These silent empires can disrupt the balance of power in the Echo Cluster, the continuity of the Echo Cluster and thereby the fabric of the Echo Cluster's dimensional rifts and tidal flows. The maintenance of the Echo Cluster's dimensional rifts and flows are required for the existence of THE Q and the fabric of the very space and time in which they reside. Therefore, their job is clear!



THEQ_xxx.EXE is a self extracting install program that installs the following files into the directories you select.

REGISTER.DOC Doc file showing how to register
Q.EXE Main program
QCONFIG.EXE Configuration program
QPLAYER.Q Q player module used by Q.EXE
Q.DOC This Document
Q_WHATS.NEW A listing of changes/fixes
QNAMES.TXT List of Configurable Ship Names



When you run the EXE file for this archive (THEQ_xxx.EXE), the automated install program will search your hard drive to find a host directory. If it finds one, you will be asked if you want to install The Q into that directory. If you press <ENTER> the install program will simply extract all the necessary Q files into that directory. You may also choose to continue the hard drive search or interrupt the search at any time and manually enter a path for the install.

If at any future time you want to install The Q into another directory, you could copy all the Q files into that directory, OR simply run the archive (THEQ_xxx.EXE) again and enter the directory. The latter method is a preferred method since the automated install program will ensure all necessary files are copied.

Once the automated install program installs The Q into the proper directory, it executes QCONFIG.EXE. QCONFIG.EXE will scan your host directory and any subdirectories for game data. It will then prompt you for which directories (where it found game data) you would like The Q to run in (for QCONFIG.EXE to recognize a directory, you must first run MASTER). Simply press <ENTER> on the directory(s) you want The Q to operate in and toggle the races you want with the space bar. REMEMBER, the ShareWare Version of THE Q only enables races 1,2,10 & 11. Press ESC and that's it!! NOTE: Q will not run a race if there is a TRN already submitted for that race.


Also you may set certain configuration switches:

1) Aggressiveness Switch. Aggressive is the DEFAULT setting.
This tells THE Q that attacking and pressure on its enemies is the priority. It will consider attack over defence of its home systems. Non-Aggressive is what we recommend for when THE Q is used as a fill-in player. A non-aggressive Q race will consider defense of its systems its priority, thereby protecting itself much better than the aggressive version.

2) ShareWare Switch.
This simply sets the Q races to be limited by the constraints that a Shareware VGA Planets player would have. To be used in Shareware games.

3) Ally Switch.
Any Q race can be placed in one of 5 teams, human or Q operated. As part of this team, The Q race will treat members of its team as allies (making use of the Host 3.22.007 and later ally features). NOTE: THE Q will break an alliance that is abused by a human allied race.

End of Switches.


If, after installing The Q you want The Q to take over a race, simply run QCONFIG.EXE in the host directory and follow the above instructions. You can run QCONFIG.EXE at any time and add or remove The Q from your games (by toggeling the spacebar). QCONFIG.EXE configures The Q operation by simply editing the AUXHOST1.INI file for you (No edittin of the INI file is necessary if you use QCONFIG.EXE).

It is NOT RECOMMENDED to manually run Q.EXE or call it from the Host batch file when using it with TimHost or PHOST 3.x (althought the latter may be not released yet). The Host program will automatically run Q.EXE. All you need to do is set The Q up with QCONFIG.EXE.

PHOST 2.xx users must copy the Q line from AUXHOST1.INI to the PHOST batch file and run PHOST in phases (see PHOST docs) with Q.EXE called between phases 1 and 2.



QNAMES.TXT is a simple ASCII file you can edit with any editor and was installed with this archive into your host directory. This file is used by The Q to name all its ships and can be modified by you. The file is broken into 12 sections. The first section is ‘Adjectives' followed by 11 racial sections.

Here is a small excerpt from that file :



When a new ship is built, The Q randomly selects an adjective from those listed in [Adjectives] and then goes to the [RaceX] (where X is the race Q is playing) and picks the noun at random. So, if The Q was playing the feds with just the above limited list, on possible name The Q might randomly select for any newly built Fed ship would be ‘Lucky Achilles'. NOTE: Q also at random will add ‘The' before the adjective making the above example ‘The Lucky Achilles'. You may add names as you wish, though an attempt was made by us to make the adjectives as general and universal as possible and the [RaceX] names race specific. These names will be assigned only to ships with default names given to them when they were built, like “LARGE DEEP SPACE FRE”.

You can customize the list of names at will. New versions of The Q will not overwrite QNAMES.TXT during installation, thus preserving your custom ship names.



The Q is constantly improving and new releases will continue to be released. If you would like to join a mailing list to be notified when a new version of The Q is released, send a message to red.troll@sharenet.com with a subject of ‘Q UPDATE'. (Note: this is an automated system and any message text will be ignored). You then will immediately be sent a short message that you have been added to the mailing list and what the current version of The Q is. Then, when any new version of The Q is released, you will be sent a note with the version number and locations of where you can get it. As with most programs, using the latest version will ensure the best results.



This version of THE Q has three distinct differences from human players that are inherent to all races played by THE Q:

1) THE Q has aquired Ram Scoop technology and has fitted all its ships with the Ram Scoop device. This a racial ability of THE Q and it cannot be acquired by capturing Q ships.

2) THE Q makes many of its decisions based on sensed planetary contents and sensed enemy presence. This information is gathered by THE Q not unlike Dark Sense. This is also a racial ability.

3) THE Q will assume defeat if the race it is operating ever begins a turn with 0 planets.

Other than these three Q differences, THE Q is bound by all the same rules and restrictions that any other VGA planets player is. In other words, it will operate in ALL RESPECTS AS A HUMAN PLAYER WOULD (of course, with the use of its own devious and thought out strategies that you better be ready for).



Many thanks to our over 160 beta testers and all the input from them. Special thanks goes out to Tim Wisseman and Mike Arrowood for all their help and constructive comments.



THE Q is not warranted in any way. If you use THE Q, you use it at your own risk. The authors are not liable for any damage or loss of data that may occur during regular usage of THE Q.



All comments and suggestions on Q GAMEPLAY may be submitted to:

Alex Ivlev, Black Troll or Red Troll by:

a) Visiting the ShareNet Web Site at http://www.sharenet.com

b) E-Mailing us at:

Note: All questions about Q registration should be addressed to either Black Troll or Red Troll.

Also, we regularly read the Internet's ALT.GAMES.VGA-PLANETS. and we frequent the #vgaplanets chat channel.



If you feel you've found a bug, write one of us above. You may also send us the *.QM *.HST *.LOG and *.INI files in a zip file for the game in question.



The Shareware Version of THE Q has the fully enabled strategical versions of the Fed, Lizard, Rebel and Colonial races. These races have full Q strategies for each race fully enabled and working. The Registered Version of THE Q will enable ALL 11 VGAP RACES!!!

See REGISTER.DOC to register.

Every Registered Version of THE Q will have a registration file called Q.REG. This file is directly tied to your REGISTERED NAME and your own UNIQUE FIVE CHARACTER REGISTRATION CODE. Simply place the Q.REG file in the same directory as Q.EXE and you are ready to go.


******* Registration Protection - VERY IMPORTANT!!! *************
******* VERY IMPORTANT!!! *************
******* VERY IMPORTANT!!! *************

******* *************
******* HIS SHIPS “Registration XXXXX” (XXXXX being your *************
******* five character code displayed each time THE Q runs) *************
******* will force every Q ship within 300 lys to instantly *************
******* surrender to him. DON'T GIVE YOUR Registered Q.REG *************
******* or the unique registration code to anyone or they *************
******* will have this ability to control THE Q with this *************
******* built-in cheat. Very Dangerous!!!! *************


We hope you enjoy THE Q. Alex and The Trolls

Visit us at the Den of the ShareNet Trolls at our web site http://www.sharenet.com or our ftp site at ftp://ftp.sharenet.com/pub/users/sharenet/vgap

Most of all. Enjoy this great game and thank Tim each and every day as we wake up each morning :)


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