VGA Planets Super Site

Ten reasons why Phost sucks

Next to Tim Wisseman's own Host program, a bunch of people have written an alternative -portable- program to host VGA Planets games on non-MS DOS platforms. Over the course of time, there have been people stating that Tim's Host sucks, Phost rules, etcetera etcetera. So the friendly bunch here at your Federal HQ have deemed it necessary to display our opinion on the whole thing.

As the title suggests, the staff here at Federal HQ doesn't quite agree with the above-mentioned statements. Rather, we feel Phost sucks and Host rules. And yes, there are reasons for this statement. Following here are ten of those reasons.

After hyperjumping, the ship's friendly code gets reset. Not only useless (in Phost ‘special’ friendly codes never prevent fighting) but very annoying indeed. According to the Phost docs this is to prevent unwanted hyperjumps. In other words: "you are too stupid to switch the code yourself so we're doing it for you"

Bases set to unload freighters will also unload all allied freighters, whether desired or not. In Host you simply choose which freighters to unload and which not to unload by having them match the base’s friendly code or not.

Different order of actions: Amorphous worms eat clans before pillaging, making it harder for Fascists to drop a few (i.e.: one)clans and pillage the worms.

Different order of actions: minedecay is before minesweeping. Not only does this make it harder to move just within minesweeping range (you move within range, but before you get to sweep the next turn decay moves the field’s edge out of reach) but it also makes life much harder for the Colonials – now they don’t sweep before mines destroy mines anymore. (ofcourse, it’s a good thing for the Robots but we’re looking for things that suck here).

The early days-statement: "Phost is made by a bunch of VGAP – enthusiasts who have ported the game to other platforms, allowing more people to play the game".
A common later statement: "Phost is faster, better and better documented than Tim’s Host"
Basically, Phost is taken totally beyond it’s purpose (which was to make a Host program that could be ported to non-dos platforms) and has turned into a totally different program with different rules and new options.

Battles need to be viewed with an external program: the (P)VCR is incompatible with the official VCR and the official VGA Planets interfaces.

Phost-fans responding to questions in the newsgroup assuming the person asking a question is using Phost. Even though Phost is by no means the default hosting program.

Phost-fans responding to questions in the newsgroup that clearly concern Host ("I’ve got a question, we’re using Host 3.22.25 and Starbase+") with a happy "in Phost……" Or even worse: Phost-fans responding to questions in the newsgroup with a reasoning based on the Phost docs: "Well, in Phost it’s like this, and according to the Phost docs it’s different in Host, so in your case it should be like that….. And by the way, if you use Phost you can also do this, that, such and so"

Because of Phost, there is quite some confustion. People asking "What is Phost?" are not uncommon. To clarify matters a bit, numerous people are now referring to Host as Thost. Which leads to more confusion, as some "What is Thost? Is this some kind of new host?" questions illustrate.

The much heralded Phost docs suck, and suck bigtime. Yes, all the formulas are documented, but an awful lot of basic stuff is left out. If you don't believe me, try to find out through the Phost docs if a Fascist ship needs beams to pillage or not. Yes it is documented, but shouldn't information like this be in a more logical place?

Not all of the above reasons should be taken equally seriously. Also, I have nothing against anyone posting in the newsgroup who fits one or more of the  descriptions of reasons four, three and two. Over the past two odd years there has only been one person who willingly sidetracked most discussions into a Phost advertisement, and fortunately that person has not posted for a long time.

Final word:
If you disagree with me on this issue, think one or more (heck, probably all) of the above reasons are bullshit, Host sucks, Phost rules, Tim should thank team Phost on his knees for widening his potential market, I suck, my site sucks, I should get my head out of Tim's ass (where it isn't, by the way) and I shouldn't be putting down Phost because I obviously don't know what I'm talking about: mail me and see if I care. Or better yet, don't mail me and just take my word for it: I couldn't care less.

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