Multiplayer Game Setup
You can have up to eight participants in a single game, be they human or AI players. Additionally, any scenario can be played multiplayer with any combination of players and AI taking up the playable slots, though not all slots will by playable in all scenarios. Scenarios can be played in "cooperative mode", but only if the scenario allows it.
Time limits can be set for both Strategic and Tactical turns, but they can only be changed on game load up. While other players are fighting their battles, you will have access to the strategic interface as well as the fleet management interface and the design interface, allowing you to plan your next turn as well as set formations for fleet and design new ships. Note that you are not allowed to give orders in the strategic interface until the new turn begins.
No additional hardware or software, beyond that which is needed to run SotS as a multiplayer client, is required to run a game host (server) for the multiplayer game.
There is no dedicated server for this version of SotS.
Multiplayer Save Games
The game is auto–saved locally on every client's machine at the beginning of every strategic turn. This allows for both voluntary and involuntary withdrawal from playing a particular game. Should the game be a regular weekly session lasting a couple of hours then at the end of the session each player has a copy of the game at the last finished state should they be required to host the game next.
If the server goes offline, the game will shutdown for the clients connected to it. Each client will have an auto–saved game file that they can use to host the game should the existing server become disconnected. The other clients can then connect to the new server as usual.
If a client goes offline, the AI will automatically take over for that client until the client can reconnect to the game. A disconnected client can rejoin the server without the server having to shutdown or restart. The disconnected player will have to start their turn from scratch — however the other players will be unaffected. Also, should a player wish to go AFK (away from keyboard), the player can tell the AI to take over, until they return.
Player positions can be password protected to prevent other players (including the host) from viewing your game. The host sets the password protection option on or off, per–session, and it will be visible in the lobby.
Sword of the Stars Networking
SotS uses a simple client–server network model. As with any client–server setup, it is recommended that the server be the computer with the fastest network connection.
The game browser will list both games that are staging and games that are in progress. This allows you to find a game easily if you dropped out of it and want to rejoin. Gamespy will be responsible for supplying game server lists. Sword of the Stars has also been added to Xfire so games will show up on their servers as well.
A minimum 56k modem is required to play SotS online. For Internet connected games the server needs a public IP address. Port 3369 is the default port for SotS communications, but you can specify another port if necessary. UDP protocol is used.
There should be no problems connecting within a VPN. While the game browser may not work with some VPNs, you can still connect directly with the server by specifying its IP address and port number.
SotS is currently using DirectPlay8. There are plans to replace DirectPlay8, however this replacement may not get done before release.
Manually Set IP addresses
You can use a direct wire connection, with manually set IP addresses, to play LAN games. If you are having problems (such as "Host Rejected Connection") or use private channels, the following should help:
These are the address ranges considered private by SotS.
- 10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255
- 172.16.0.0 – 172.31.255.255
- 192.168.0.0 – 192.168.255.255
Try using 192.168.0.100 and 192.168.0.101 or other addresses in these ranges and that should fix the problem.
Change Default Port Used
To change the port that SOTS uses to play multilayer open up the sots.ini file and add the following lines to the end:
[Network] HostPort=**** LanScanPort=****
Where '****' is equal to whatever port you want to use.
In game communications
There is an in–game chat function. Unless you have researched the language of the species of the other players then any chat from the other players will be displayed as appropriately stylized 'gibberish', thus restricting interaction.
- Note: v1.1.2 on have an added Lobby channel under Tell, which facilitates in–game communication regardless of race.
SotS is officially supported by XFire.
Be aware that there's nothing to prevent people from using other programs like TeamSpeak for in game communication and organizing between teams when playing highly competitive team games.