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VPA features

Since host 3.22.036 (august 4th, 2001), the host program comes with a new configuration option to allow or disallow features that were previously only possible with the VPA client if a player had the RSTs of two races. These orders, normally considered illegal in host.exe (the hostconfig switch defaults to no), may now be enabled.

If disabled, it is pretty simple to 'try to cheat' through VPA or, in cases of intercept, through recent Winplan versions when allied through the FFX code ('second level') because they will allow you to give orders that are considered illegal by the host program. It is important to know host will not carry out those orders unless the VPA features are enabled. In short, people using VPA and Winplan versions better than 3.22.021 should pay attention when:

  • Intercepting a ship only your ally can see
  • Transferring cargo to a cloaked ship
  • Transferring cargo and then loading up your own cargoroom again

When you have an allied RST loaded into VPA or are allied through the FFX code ('second level'), you can intercept ships that you cannot see yourself, as long as your allies can see the intercept target. Whether or not the intercept orders get carried out or not depends on the on the 'vpa features' configuration setting. If this is set to it's default no, you can not intercept any ship you were not able to see yourself when you gave the intercept order. If this setting is set to yes, you can intercept any ship that you could see through your ally that is not cloaked or out of reach. For example, if your ally has a cloaked ship over an enemy planet, you can order your ships to intercept any ship orbiting that planet - even though you wouldn't see those ships without your ally there.

With the VPA features disabled, host.exe checks wether or not you can actually see the ship you are trying to intercept yourself. If not, you will not intercept the ship even if it moves to a location where you can see it in that turn. Your ship will be on the intercept mission but it will not move, it's waypoint leading to where the enemy ship was seen by your ally. If the VPA features are enabled, you can intercept any ship within intercept range, as long as it is not cloaked and you know it's ID number (to give the intercept order).

Transfer cargo to a cloaked ship
With your allied RST loaded into VPA or with a recent Winplan version when allied through the FFX code, you can see all your ally's ships and interact with them. You can even tell your ship to transfer cargo to a cloaked allied ship. However, when the VPA features are disabled this is considered illegal and thus the order will not be carried out - the cargo will be put back into your own cargohold. Also see next point dealing with transferring and loading up your own cargohold again. With the VPA features enabled, you can transfer to cloaked ships belonging to your allies (both 'normal' and 'strong' allies), normal transfer rules (see below) still apply.

Transfer and load up cargo again
In VPA and in recent Winplan versions (3.52.023 and better) it is possible to transfer cargo to a ship not belonging to you and then load up your cargohold again (transferred cargo is held in the transporterbeam, so to speak). If the foreign ship does not have the cargoroom to accept the transfer, the cargo is placed back into your cargohold. Which leads to problems if you loaded up your cargohold again: the ship will be double-loaded. How host.exe handles this depends on the 'vpa feature' setting in the hostconfig. If it is set to no, host.exe uses the following rule: The sum of the cargo on your ship plus the sum of the cargo in transit may not be greater then size of your cargohold. If you break this rule, cargo you are trying to transfer will vanish even if the foreign ship has enough room to accept the transfer. If the 'vpa features' are enabled, cargo will be placed back onto your ship, your ship will be double-loaded for a while and then trimmed to it's maximum cargo capacity during the first moment in the hostrun that this is checked. When you have various types of cargo, trimming is done proportionally (a LDSF with 1200 clans and 1200 supplies is trimmed down to 600 clans and 600 supplies). People using VPA should pay extra attention when transferring and loading cargo. Winplan users can turn on the 'transporter safety' in Winplan's "options" screen to make sure they don't give any illegal orders.

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