26.5.06

DemoDictMod b8


I.) Mod Idea
I'm a little bit bored that more than 95% take Uni. Uni is simply too strong in 1.31. Therefore this mod wants to help the dict and demo races by better MapBalance (III.), availabe Morale Techs (IV.) and new Racepick costs (V.).

II.) Installation
1. Find the Install.exe on your Moo2 CD and double click it to start the DOS installer. (INSTALL.EXE....NOT setup.exe or the autoinstall. If u dont have install.exe on your Moo2 CD use the win-installation and copy this rkernel.com file in your moo2 directory and proceed.)
b) Apply the v1.31 patch
c) Apply the v1.40 patch
Unzip the DDmodb8.zip into your moo folder. NO BACKUP IS NECESSARY! The new files (different file names) can coexist with the 1.40 patch.

Test the Oriondd.exe ---> Singleplayer should work already.

2. Multiplayer via DosBox:
Instead of orion2~1 (last line of step 8 in this guide, btw that is the exe name of the1.4 version) you can simply paste the exe name of the mod:
oriondd

III. Map Balance
The Orange Mod is quite popular recently and it is even used in the ladder. I have implemented some of its ideas in DDb8, mainly to help techbased races which cannot afford to build outposts at start:
a) Brown Stars are defacto Red Stars now.
b) I have removed all unguarded UltraRich planets. (They are rich or abundant now.)
c) UltraRich planets have now a basic prod of 7 per worker instead of the previous 8.
d) Tiny and small planets are now slightly larger. Basic Gaia size for tiny and small are 5 and 10 in regular moo. In this mod they are 8 and 12.
e) I have slightly increased the climate modifiers besides Terran and Gaia.
The effects of the mods d) and e) are summarized in the following table.

DDb8 MaxPop Values (click it to enlarge):

See this post for details how the max pop values are calculated.

IV. Techs
Just 3 small changes with respect to Morale Techs, 1.31 values in brackets:
Holo Sim 400 (900)
Virtual Reality Network 900 (4500)
Psionics 650 Sociology (2750 Biology)

Additionally, Neural Scanners and Telepathic Training were swapped. (Otherwise it is too painful to tech holo sims.)

V. Racepicks
The AI Races and Racepick costs are identical to the DC Mod.

DDb8 AI Races (click it to enlarge):


DDb8 Racepicks (click it to enlarge):

25.5.06

23.5.06

Moo2v140b23 released

LordBrazen released a new version of his 1.40 patch. You can find it in his download section.

New fixes:

Corrected several problems with the /nohousing switch.
Fixed the Black Hole Generator bug.
Fixed several problems with the display redraw. (For example: Tractor Beams bug fixed now.)

Details

BTW, I will update several mods in the next days.

21.5.06

Master of Orion II Demo

A new kali player told me that a MOO2 demo is again available:

Download Master of Orion II Demo

14.5.06

DosBox Guide


DOSBox supports IPX since version 0.65 and it improved significantly the efficiency of MOO2 MP Online Games. Keep in mind that by using DOSBox also Linux, 2k, Vista and even Mac users are now able to join our Multiplayer Games. Therefore, DOSBox is now considered as the de facto solution for multiplayer. In the meanwhile, the IRC channel irc.quakenet.org#moo2 (This link works for FF+chatzilla/Opera users. IE users should use the client at the top of the sidebar) is the new meeting point for MOO2 Online Games. It was introduced in August 2006 after most MOO2 players started to use the new DOSBox version.

Before the guide starts, I'd like to add a small FAQ section.

A) Why should I use the DOS version?

First of all, regarding multiplayer the DOS version orion2.exe is far superior to the WIN version orion95.exe. When you have ever tried to setup a MOO2 network game you may have observed this already: The orion95.exe lags extremely. Up to several minutes between the turns. You may ask for the reason, let me therefore quote the developer Rob Corell:

"It [MOO2] was definitely developed under DOS. I did the DOS network support, and don't even remember any Win95 testing for MOO2."

To sum it up: Network games under orion95.exe are considered unplayable but the orion2.exe provides appealing results.

B) I have installed the Windows version orion95.exe. Why should I read this guide?

First, most MOO2 CDs contain both versions, i.e. orion95.exe and orion2.exe. Second, even if you own just a "Windows only" release (e.g. the Atari Download version), you should take into account that there are just minor differences between Windows and DOS version. It is patchable with the last official 1.31. Proceed with step 1B in this case.

C) DOSBox is just too slow. Do I have to use DOSBox?

There are alternatives to DOSBox, but I don't recommend them any longer (there are far too many problems involved on modern hardware). Actually, the newest DOSBox version (with default settings) works pretty fast on modern computers. So you have probably just an old DOSBox version (just update DOSBox in this case) or an older computer. In the latter case you should read step 7 to speed up DOSBox.

DOSBox Guide for MOO2 Multiplayer:

1. There are two ways to "install" the DOS version orion2.exe. In any case I emphasize to use the default folder. Users with a different folder name should take notice of this important NOTE. This 8 character limit under DOS is the main error of most DOSBox users.

1.A Conventional Way (win95/98/ME/XP can use this way.)
Find the Install.exe on your Moo2 CD and double click it to start the DOS installer. For further details see step 1 and 2 in LordBrazen's guide. Note, that step 2 in LordBrazen's guide isn't optional! (I.e. without this step you will need to mount your CD drive, too.) And I recommend to use the default folder: C:\MPS\ORION2
Any trouble? Try it with 1.B then:

1.B Unconventional Way (Linux, MAC, Win2k users or users without install.exe/orion2.exe have to use this way.)
Just copy the entire CD onto the hard drive! Once again, I recommend to use the default folder: MPS\ORION2
If orion2.exe and/or rkernel.com file(s) are missing:
Unzip this rkernel.zip file in your MOO2 directory and proceed. No worries about orion2.exe: The 1.31 zip patch in step 2 contains the exe file of the dos version.)
Once all the files are copied you will possibly need to edit the 'ORIONCD.INI' file within the C:\MPS\ORION2 folder. Change the top line in the file to C:\MPS\ORION2

2. Apply the moo2v131.zip patch. Important! 1.4 will only work with the ENGLISH 1.31 patch. (German or multilingual 1.31patch won't work. But German or other versions are no problem after applying the above mentioned patch.)

3. Apply the v1.40 patch (Latest version - 1.40b23 (MOO2v140 patch FAQ) You should follow these instructions and an 1.4 desktop shortcut is quite helpful (see step 6).

4. Download DosBox 0.72 and install it.

The steps 5-8 are related to the dosbox.conf file. The default location of this text file is:
C:\Programs\DOSBox-0.72\dosbox.conf

5. Open your dosbox.conf file with an usual text editor and and enable IPX, i.e. edit the following entry
[ipx]
# ipx -- Enable ipx over UDP/IP emulation.
ipx=true

6. We need now the exact MS-DOS name of your MOO2 working directory. The above-mentioned 1.4 shortcut is now helpful, especially if you have a different folder than default. Therefore, right click the 1.4 desktop shortcut - Properties - Program tab and copy the entry of the Working field to the clipboard:

After following the steps under 1A or 1B, the default entry should be
C:\MPS\ORION2
Paste now (from the clipboard) this entry to the [autoexec] part of the dosbox.conf file. With the default entry the necessary lines are:
[autoexec]
# Lines in this section will be run at startup.

mount c c:\MPS\ORION2
c:
orion2~1

The first two bold lines represent the so called mounting, i.e. DOSbox will launch an exe file from this working directory now. The third line is the command to launch the orion2v140.exe in this folder.

NOTE: For those without this shortcut and/or different working directory: Keep in mind that the 8 character limit under MS-DOS truncates names. For example C:\Microprose\Masteroforion2 will be translated to C:\Microp~1\Master~1

This note is now slightly emphasized since ~95% of the problems are caused by incorrect mounting. Click now the DOSbox shortcut to test your setup:

MOO2 will be automatically launched inside DOSbox:


Use ALT+ENTER to play fullscreen. BTW there is also a DOSbox Status Window, which will list the incoming connections (see step 8 for details).

7. You will observe that DOSBox is a bit slower than usual Dos under Windows but you can speed it up by editing the dosbox.conf file. Following edits work nicely on my old computer:
frameskip=1
core=dynamic
cycles=auto

But you should test these settings in singleplayer. Some players need a frameskip of 2 or 3. See also the comments: Some players report improved speed by output=ddraw.

8. MULTIPLAYER COMMANDS

The [autoexec] lines for a singleplayer game were explained in step 6. For an MP game you need a further command. And it is important that you add it above the orion2~1 line. I recommend to add the lines as they are mentioned under 8.C but let us first look at the default example separately:

8.A JOINING MULTIPLAYER GAME

[autoexec]
# Lines in this section will be run at startup.

mount c c:\MPS\ORION2
c:
ipxnet connect xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
orion2~1

You have to add the IP of the host behind the ipxnet connect command (for example: ipxnet connect 83.239.211.21) Use http://whatismyip.com/ to obtain your IP.)

8.B HOSTING MULTIPLAYER GAME

[autoexec]
# Lines in this section will be run at startup.

mount c c:\MPS\ORION2
c:
ipxnet startserver
orion2~1

In this case you don't have to add an IP.

By playing against different players (different IPs!) you will have to change the DOSbox.conf quite a lot. I therefore strongly recommend to add a shortcut of your dosbox.conf file to your desktop:


8.C DOSbox.conf Fine Tuning

You may have noticed that the "#" is used for comments inside the dosbox.conf. It is a convenient way to disable unused lines inside your dosbox.conf. For example, my current dosbox.conf for singleplayer games looks like this:


When I am interested in an MP game I just enable one of the bold lines mentioned under 8.A or 8.B. BTW, I have also added further MOO2 Mods at the bottom which can coexist in the same folder with 1.31/1.40. Note, that there are also the so called switches (/nowh etc.) added. They are explained in the 1.40 FAQ.

The IP in this screenshot is just an example. When you try to connect to this IP you will get this error message inside the DOSbox Status Window:


9. The host needs to forward PORT 213 UDP (default), if he uses a router/firewall.

10. Inside Moo2 you have to click the following buttons:
Multiplayer
Network
Join Game (only the host has to click Start New Game)


11. Run the setsound.exe and choose the soundblaster compatible option there. See this post for details and further fine tuning.

12. Ahhhh.......you need opponents? Join irc.quakenet.org#moo2 (This link works for FF/Opera users. IE users should use the client at the top of the sidebar) and you will find some DOSBox players there. See also this post for further IRC clients.

13. Popular Settings/Abbreviations (click it to enlarge)


Don't forget to enable ship initiative (default in Online Games). It is the last entry in this menu:

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