VGA Planets

VGA Planets is produced as shareware from Tim Wisseman in version 1-4 a turn-based, strategic post-game for the PC ( Windows and DOS). According it is the most popular representatives of the play-by- email games and has as an inspiration for subsequent titles like stars! or XPACE served. VGA Planets has sold claims to have 65,000 times.

The implementation of Version 5 is the first MMOG browser game in VGA Planets universe.

Became known for VGA Planets 1994 with version 3, but has been played throughout the world since 1992 as version 2.2. It can accommodate up to eleven players. Each player takes one of eleven possible races, the known races of Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica are modeled. Each player starts with a home planet and must build spaceships, explore the galaxy, colonize other planets, promote raw materials, build industry etc.

The game is no victory condition, players must agree before it. In addition, a host ( a PC as a server ) is required. The host takes the moves of the player opposite, evaluates them and created for each player a new game. This process can be fully automated, and it is not a license for the host necessary. Local networks and online games were not yet widespread. Therefore VGA Planets was mainly handled as a post-game, the files with train data and Score were transmitted by e -mail, such as within the FidoNet network. Meanwhile, there are several extensions that allow a direct exchange of performance data over the Internet.

The game was quite popular in the mailbox scene. Other vendors have developed numerous extensions.

VGA Planets 3


VGA Planets is turn-based. Each action takes exactly one round to complete. However, ships and planets in the round can perform several different actions, activate the cloaking device, for example, invite colonists and move up to 81 light years.

Each player tries to expand his empire as far as possible and to break the resistance of the other players usually. This he achieved by combining a very simple individual activities that fit together to logistical strategies and military tactics.

There are four different raw materials ( Neutronium, Tritanium, Duranium, Molybdenum ), of which Neutronium is needed as fuel for spaceships.

The player decides for each of its planets on the construction of mines for the extraction of raw materials, factories for the production of inventories ( Supplies), number of defenses and a tax rate for the collection of money ( Megacredits ). If enough resources and money available, he can decide to use them to build a base on the planet, causing the planet in the future is able to better defend and build ships. The expansion of the planet is kept simple. The player simply decides on the number of mines, resulting in the degradation amount of the various raw materials. He does not have to decide for each commodity separately on the number of mines. In this way, each planet has five control parameters, namely, mines, factories, defense systems, tax rate of the colonists, tax rate of the native population. The construction of mines, factories and defense installations costs and inventories Megacredits. The number is limited by the number of existing on the planet colonists.

For each base is determined, which ship will be built at the base. For this purpose, commodities and money are needed, which must be in stock at the base. Each race can choose from more than 20 different types of ships. For each vessel, the engines, the beam weapons and possibly the torpedo tubes can be freely assembled. For each of ten different levels of technology are available with various features and raw material consumption available. When building a ship so it must be considered what skills should have a ship and how many resources the costs then.

For each vessel, the player with which charge it is to be provided decides ( colonists, raw materials, money, stocks ) and where to travel. With ships the player has two purposes. First, there is the logistical aspect, because he has to ensure that the produced on different planets raw materials and supplies are placed where they are needed for the construction of bases and ships. In addition, ships are of course also be used to defend your realm and conquer territories of other players. This is also minefields can be designed whose crossing for ships of enemy races with a probability leads to damage that is related to the distance traveled in the minefield.

Battle ships, two types of ammunition to be used: torpedoes and combat fighters. The construction of torpedoes is possible anywhere, fight hunters can only be built on base. Exception are some breeds that have the special ability to build combat hunters everywhere.

To colonize a planet, the player must unload colonists and provide supplies and money with a ship.


The players agree before the game to a game object. A proposal drafted and players are encouraged to attend - In general, the game master - so the person who created the game and the game configuration. Possible destinations are:

  • The most points after 80 games trains reach (different assessment criteria may be attached )
  • Conquer all other races
  • Whoever loses his home world, has lost immediately
  • Having more than 40% of all the planets
  • To have the most planets after 100 played down
  • Coordination among the players, as soon as the majority of which are still in the game players can agree on a majority winner

The player has very many ways to approach the game. A player can make the decision either to concentrate its resources in order to build strong ships as early as possible can or scarce resources to start of the game so use to colonize as many planets. The conquering foreign planet can only succeed with enough fuel and supplies. Also diplomacy to the formation of non-aggression pacts, alliances and trade plays a major role.

Individuality of the races

Each of the eleven races, which can participate in a game that has unique characteristics and individual types of ships, from which they can choose. Each race must reach the respective target game in their own way. There are breeds with tarnfähigen vessels operating in secret and can attack surprising. Against the great ships of other races they have to plug heavy losses in combat. There are only two races, the enemy ships can unmask one of their ship types. These ships are valuable trade under certain circumstances.

Limited fleet

With the Timhost the game is limited to a maximum of 500 ships. A special version of Timhost PHost and allow the use of up to 999 vessels, however, the default configuration is set to 500 boats.

Upon reaching this limit, the player can not build as many ships as they could actually due to the number of their bases. New ships will only be built if old clear the square. This is done either by destruction in battle or by the intended scrapping by the owner.

Game Client

For VGA Planets 3 different clients are available that allow the players to make their moves. Since a host is used for the implementation of the commands, all clients are working offline and give only a file with the commands to the host ( via e -mail or via upload).

Originally designed for VGA Planets game client is still widespread in the community, although there are some new developments that give the player a better overview and have some convenient features that you can control his empire easier.

The Stefan Reuther developed Planets Command Center ( PCC ) is strongly inspired by the client of Tim Wisseman. However, it is provided with many extensions and more configurable. In addition, Stefan Reuther provides on its website nor several tools available with which one can make his moves better and more fun. There is a VCR Viewer ( PlayVCR ), which can be used can be represented Battle Reports beautiful ship and a list viewer ( CCSHIPS ), which represents all ship characteristics clearly. Especially in connection with alternative ship lists CCSHIPS is an indispensable tool.

The client VGA Planets Assistant ( VPA ) has a greatly enhanced from original client representation. Throughout the play time is shown in a large area of ​​the screen, the star map, while accompanying information is displayed from the selected game elements in a column at the edge.

With two game clients described can create plays for Timhost and PHost.


The first provided by Tim Wisseman host ( Timhost ) defined the core scope and the main gameplay of VGA Planets and has been frequently updated. He is alive and well today.

Due to the limited configurability and the fact that Timhost will only run on Windows, a portable host ( PHost ) was developed. This provides significantly more configuration parameters and is more flexible by the play structure as Timhost ago, he also has been compiled for Linux systems. PHost follows its own rules, in principle, however, was largely observed in the development of care to maintain the functionality and the calculations of Timhost and to provide other optional rules by configuration parameters. PHost is therefore flexible, but can largely configure so that it almost entirely reflect the behavior of the Timhost.

Form of distribution

The game is distributed by the author as shareware. There is no time-limited use of the game, but an unregistered player only has six of the ten levels of technology.

Since 2010 you can VGA Planets 3 web- based play, purely through the browser. Similar to the licensing of the original treatment, known as NU version is free up to the seventh level of technology.

Host provider

There are various websites that offer the hosting of VGA Planets partly free. Some of these are well attended and are very popular:

  • Planet server (host provider with English website offers PHost games that offers games for version 3, ranking system )
  • Planets NU ( browser based version of VGA Planets 3 ) with its own interface, with costs from technology level 8, and provides THost own add-ons, ranking system )

VGA Planets 4

Since 1999, the first version of VGA Planets 4 was released, the game was in the constant ( further) development, as well as in VGA Planets 3 The development of version 4 was completed in 2005.

Many new rules make VGA Planets 4 to a standalone game and therefore incompatible with its predecessor. To name the most important ones: Up to 30 players can join now, the size of the cards ( playing surface ) has also been increased as the number of selectable races. The match tactics for the individual races also differ now also much more clearly from each other. Many breed combinations ( in an alliance ) complement one another in different ways. Much more important than in the 3 version of the interaction has now become with others. There are also compared with the old version, a myriad of 'fine - tuning' opportunities for the various activity areas; Struggle and the economy. The latter is one of the criticisms of the 4 version ( "too much micro - management " ), but this did not diminish the popularity of the game. Also, the increased influence of the player community has on the development of the game helped to increase the playability.

VGA Planets 5 - StarCube

The version 5 with the nickname " StarCube " is based on version 4 of VGA Planets. The player sits down instead of with a few now with thousands of other players in a MMOG browser game apart. This can be both turn-based as played in real time.

For version 5, the graphics of the game was completely revised. Is this the new Microsoft Silverlight technology, which allows the player with his spaceship in a three dimensional universe to fly and perform various actions as basis. In order to remain faithful to the original idea of VGA Planets, despite some changes to the game concept, Tim Wisseman works directly with VGA Planets 5.

VGA Planets Nu 2010

Planets NU is a browser-based remake of version 3, which has proved to be the far most popular version of VGA Planets. Established in 2010 provides the NU version in addition to a purely web- based platform, a redesigned user interface, and has since become the world's largest providers of VGA Planets. As with the license of the original can be played for free up to the seventh level of technology here, for technology level to 10 fees. Periodically championship games will be played under the winners of each species on Planets NU.


  • History of Space Empire Games ( Bruce Geryk ) of 8 August 2001 ( 15 pages, accessed on August 1, 2008)
  • game idea to VGA Planets 4 of 5 April 2004 (double sided, accessed on 17 July 2008)