Donovan's
VGA Planets Super Site

Armin "Nikita" Trott
Host - Spaceport Hamburg

orz.jpg (8738 bytes)I started hosting games in 1995. At that time, there were only a few hosts around, and I was offered only unattractive replacement positions. When I became more familiar with planets, I found out, that all host are either hosting pure default planets games, or simply used the all public D&D addons. First, I became a beta-test player for Nemesis, later I became a beta test host for Gryphon and Jupiter. Later, several addons have been written to my suggestions and have been beta-tested at my site. Anomaly and ABhost have been (almost?) bugfree replacements for the great Ahost addon. They have also been beta-tested on my site. Some other addons like "Centaurian Legacy" or "Return to the Natives" have been beta-tested at my site.

In fact, it was "VonHolios" "Unholy Alliance" game that has made me become a host who uses any addons he can get his fingers (or equivalent) on. It was always my intention to stretch VGA Planets to the maximum. the result are my power games, which do not only include a highly customized shiplist, but also a whole lot of addons. Beside that, I am always hosting games with addons you will hardly find on any other sites. I'd just like to mention Machines of Yore and Lurkers.

When I started hosting, your only chance to manage all the incredible work of mailing rst-files for dozens of games, and organizing incoming trn files, was to write your own programs and scripts to handle that job. Few hosts were willing or able to do that. The problems I had with joining a game have made me become a host. But that's past perfect. Today, everyone can get a robot host, and your only problem is to get enough players. The climax of my hosting career was in 1999, when I hosted more than 70 games. But due to an increasing number of hosts, I am now back to 40 games.

hamburg.jpg (11170 bytes)Beside that, the bad habit of players, signing up but never start playing or dropping after a few turns has made me re-evaluate my hosting. I want to say goodbye to mass-hosting. My nice startrekgame with 10 active players at turn 50 has proven that it is worth to put some extra work into a very unique game. I will continue hosting my Andromeda tourney, because it is a great place to play in a ladder system, with addon packed games. I haven't heard of anything similar, and I do not want to abolish this opportunity. But apart from the tourney, I only want to start unique roleplaying games.

ROLEPLAYING, that's a new aspect I want to add to VGA-Planets. I know, that there have been a few earlier attempts of roleplaying, but please compare them with http://www.nikita.org/treklist/startrek.htm. This is a page for a single game! Read the messageboard at http://www.nikita.org/treklist/mssg_st1a.htm. My nice helper Erik and myself are constantly tracing the game. We are giving the players certain tasks. We are calling ourselves "Q", and we are using selfwritten tools to manipulate the game data. (The VPC Campaign Editor is not able to do the great things we are doing!). Forgetting the score, contributing to the storyline, and using planets only as a tool for roleplaying, is something we all have to learn. Some players are doing that perfectly, others are still playing as if they were in a normal VPL-game. But the playeractivity proves, that the players are happy with that game.

Creating a Startrek scenario was pretty logical. Most races of Planets 3 are Startrek races. I have replaced the rebels by the Maquis. Nowadays, there are enough races in the Startrek universe to fill the 11 slots. But I did more than just rename the races. I have made a new shiplist, and the ships of this list have mostly authentical BMPs. I guess, any VPL playing Startrek fan must love this game!

But though it seems to be natural to create a Startrek scenario, there are lots of other possibilities. I am a fan of that wonderful "Starcontrol II" game. I have made a Starcontrol shiplist, and Oleg (the author of Jupiter) has made a Starcontrol addon for me. So we have made it possible to play Starcontrol in the Planets universe.

The good thing about using a movie or a computergame as a model is, that the players normally know what you have in mind. You still have to explain the game, but the players already have an idea about the story, and what they are expected to do. Once I made a scenario where two alliances had to organize a trade, with a wolfpack of pirates between them. Many players like roleplaying in their most favorite movies, but you can do roleplaying without that. No need to rename the races, no need to use BMPs from any movies. The amount of fun mainly depends on the work the host is ready to spend, and the readiness of the players to ignore their normal scorehunting style of play.

Anyone who wants to discuss this subject or has some good ideas, just write to armin@nikita.org


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