TradeWars Helper Help Doc v8.8

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Graphical User Interface Versions
of Trade Wars Helper
Release 8.8

Copyright 1994
Just FUN Software
All Rights Reserved


This zip file contain two specialized versions of Trade Wars Helper that
incorporate the Graphical User Interface. The data files are totally
compatible between these two version and the standard version.

The two version are called the "Real Mode" version and the "Protected
Mode" version. The real mode version requires at least a 286 machine.
The protected mode version requires a 286 or better machine with
extended memory (but you should really have a 486 or it will be too
slow). Both require a VGA monitor and pointing device (mouse) to
utilize the Graphical User Interface (GUI).

Using the GUI is optional and requires a special registration code.
Users who initially registered a release prior to 8.3 must pay a $5.00
upgrade charge to receive the GUI key (see ORDERGUI.TXT file). Users
who initially registered release 8.3 or later already have the GUI key
since they paid a higher registration fee.

Read this document and make every effort to use the Real Mode version.
When in text mode it runs as fast as the Standard version and when in
graphics mode it has all the advantages of a GUI.

Even if you are not registered you can look at the GUI. To do so enter
TWHGUIRM to start the program, enter a 1 to select the EXAMPLE data
file, and click a mouse button to activate the GUI. When done enter /q
to quit the program. You could also start the TWHGUIPM program to be
sure the protected mode version operates on your machine. The /w
command will display the amount of memory still available.



INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS

Unzip this ZIP file to the \twhelp directory. Respond with an A to the
"Overide..." message.

Create two batch files (TWHRM.BAT and TWHPM.BAT) in the directory of
your communications program like below. They changes to the twhelp
directory, executes the appropriate twhelp w/GUI version, changes back
to your communication program's directory, makes sure the monitor is in
text mode and then exits the DOS shell.

TWHRM.BAT TWHPM.BAT

cd \twhelp cd \twhelp
twhguirm twhguipm
cd \(comm-prog-dir) cd \(comm-prog-dir)
mode co80 mode co80
exit exit


(comm-prog-dir) means the name of your communications program directory.

Although not required to view the example data file, program modules
from the standard versions archive (TWHELP88.ZIP) are normally required
for these versions to operate.

You may wish to print out the IMPORTANT GUI POINTS of this file and
read them over from time to time.

If you would like assistance installing Trade Wars Helper w/GUI call
(801) 272-6238 10:00am to 8:00pm Mountain time (not always available).

Using the protected mode version essentially puts another layer of
software to work which increases the overhead (i.e slower performance)
and the likelyhood of failure. Obviously if it runs too slow for your
tastes or does not work on your machine then use the standard version
or, with enough conventional memory, the real mode version. If it does
fail to run on your machine, I would appreciate a call so I can learn of
the situations in which it is failing and hopefully take corrective
action at some time.



RUNNING INSTRUCTIONS

Run your communications program, login to a BBS and start the Trade Wars
door. When Trade Wars begins building its title screen, shell to DOS
from your communications program and enter the batch file name
appropriate to the game you are playing.

Once TWH has sent and processed it orientation commands (the TW G, V
and I commands) press a mouse button to activate the GUI. Press the End
key to return to text mode.


VERSION COMPARISONS

The following is a summary of the three versions.

Version Name: Standard Real Mode Protected Mode
Batch file name: TWH TWHRM TWHPM
Minimum machine: 086 286 486
GUI available: No Yes Yes
Maximum sectors: 5000 4000-5000 5000
16550 UART required: No See below Yes
Commands available: All Most All
Performance: 100% 85% 70%
Extended memory: No No Yes


Notes related to above summary:

The maximum sectors for the standard and real mode version is dependent
on the conventional memory available. Read the "Insufficient Memory"
section the README file if you are unable to use a large data file.
Since the protected mode version uses extended memory, there will
almost always be sufficient memory available for a 5000 sector universe.
If you get the "Loader Error 0001 - Out of Memory" it means you don't
have enough extended memory available for the protected mode version
which requires about 700-800K. Try allocating less to smartdrive, etc.

Because protected mode programs run slower than real mode programs you
should try to use the real mode version for a game first. Users with a
maximum of conventional memory will be able to play in a game with 5000
sectors using the real mode version while those with a minimum of
conventional memory may not be able to use the real mode version in even
a 4000 sector game.

The protected mode version requires a modem or I/O card with a 16550
UART to insure data from the BBS is not lost. The real mode version
requires a 16550 UART only if you want to use the Channel, Commlink or
Page buttons to send a message while running a script. Otherwise the
likely loss of data will cause the script to abnormally halt requiring
that you press ESC to get out of it. There is no problem receiving
messages while running a script without a 16550 UART. And you can
continue to use the TW ' or ` commands to send your messages if you do
not have a 16550 UART but want to use the real mode version, however
your messages will not be display in the upper window.

The /a, /M and /V commands have been remove from the Real Mode version
to save conventional memory. Thus to merge another traders database for
example, use the Standard version then restart TWHELP using the Real
Mode version.

Performance is degraded when in graphics mode because characters written
to the screen are software generated as opposed to hardware generated
characters when in text mode. Thus the performance of the real mode
version will be the same as the standard version when in text mode. One
way of improving performance is to run with the TW Ansi color off.
Function key 6 can be used to toggle TW Ansi color off and on.

Programs running under Windows suffer a further performance degradation.
Thus running the protected mode version under Windows using the GUI is a
bit slow to say the least. WARNING! I personally experienced several
system crashes when running the protected mode version with Windows. At
this time I don't know if this is hardware or setup problem unique to my
system, a conflict between Windows and the Borland DPMI programs or a
problem with TWHGUIPM.



IMPORTANT GUI POINTS

The following are points related to the Graphical User Interface (GUI).

The GUI is activated by pressing a mouse button usually at the "Command"
prompt or pressing function key 2. To return to text mode press the
End key or any of the keys that display the scrollback buffer (Home,
End, PgUp, PgDn, Up Arrow, Down Arrow). Clicking on the Port and Land
buttons also returns to text mode.

It is recommended the TW animation be turn off in version 2.00 games as
the pictures appear garbled in the smaller GUI CRT area besides taking
extra time to display. Remember to press the ESC key or the ESC and
Enter keys a few time when things hang up due to TWH getting out of
synch with TW. Also if the GUI screen gets clobbered or you loose the
arrow cursor, press the End key then click a mouse button to refresh the
screen.

While in GUI mode you can enter TW or TWH commands using the keyboard as
in text mode or you can click on a graphics button or line showing the
TWH commands with the mouse. Most of the TW main commands and all of
the TW computer commands can only be enter using the keyboard.

The Port Button is the TW P command and the Land button is the TW L
command. The Pairs button is the /X command, the Trade button is the /t
command, the Goto button is the /g command, the Explore button is the
/2e command, the Attack button is the /A command, the Capture button
is the /20A command (see RTO 29) and the pursue button is the F12 key.
The Move button displays the TW move options, the Zip button is the TWH
/z command and the Scan button is the TW S command. They, like some of
the other buttons, are not active when offline.

Many of the buttons (Pairs, Trade, Go to, Explore, Move, Zip and Map)
and TWH commands perform their function for the sector number display
below the column of numbers in the upper right corner (mostly zero to
start with). The value in this digits display can be set by clicking on
one of the numbers above it using the left mouse button, clicking on the
current sector (left side of screen), clicking on a sector number in the
graphics map, clicking on a sector number in the columns displayed by
the various TWH database commands or by typing / then the number and
pressing the Enter key. The value in the digits display can be sent to
TW by clicking on the digits display itself. The values in the column
of numbers above the display can be set to the digits display value by
clicking on one of the slots with the right mouse button. The bottom
three slots in the column of numbers are set by TWH to the previous
values of the digits display when it is changed. The top two slots
should contain sectors 1 (set by TWH) and the Starport sector (set by
user by typing /number Enter, then click on slot 2 with right mouse
button).

The value in the digits display is equivalent to the value enter after
the / when using the keyboard. When this value is cleared (all zeros)
the current sector number is used. For example, to trade in the current
sector clear the digits display then click on the Trade button. To
initiate cross trading between the current sector and another sector,
make the digits display show the other sector number and click on the
Trade button. To show the fighters nearest a sector, make the digits
display show the sector number, click on the TW Database button and then
click on the /f command line. Commands that require two numeric
parameters such as /3,235h or /1245,123G must be entered using the
keyboard.

IMPORTANT: Because the digits display is used by many buttons and
commands, be sure to check if for a correct value before clicking on a
button or command line.

The Map and Chat buttons allow the center window to be used for either
the graphics map or for chating on the MBBS Comm-Link, subspace radio
channel or paging. In Chat mode incoming and outgoing transmissions are
displayed in the window even while a script, such as trading or
exploring, is in progress. Also function key F2 toggles between Map and
Chat modes even while a script is running although you may need to press
it a couple of times. In an MBBS game, an outgoing message is initiated
by clicking on the Channel, CommLink or Page buttons (or pressing the
F3, F4 or F5 key respectively) and is sent when the Enter key is
pressed. The message can also be aborted or edited after pressing the
Esc key. To end a script when in Chat mode, click anywhere except on
the Channel, CommLink or Page buttons when the "Press SPACE BAR..."
message is displayed or press the Space Bar. *** Notice: A 16550 UART
is required to use the Channel, CommLink or Page buttons to enter a
message while having a script running at the same time. ***

The CRT screen area allows 8 lines of TW data to be displayed in a
scrolling mode. It runs slower than the full CRT screen that is used in
when in text mode. It is initially set at the fastest speed as
indicated by the gauge to the left of the Info button. On some fast
machine this may scroll by too quickly and can be slowed down by
pressing the {Alt-F2} keys, speed up by pressing the {Alt-F3} key or
toggled between fastest and most recent slow speed by pressing the
{Alt-F4} key. These function key can be pressed when TWH is idle or
waiting for the SPACE BAR to be pressed. The {Alt-F1} key display a
list of the various function keys. Use the End key and PgDn key to
display the scrollback buffer if some text scrolled out of the CRT area
you want to review.

The time and turn gauges are reasonably correct but the other readouts
on the left side of the screen may not be 100% accurate at all times.
For instance, the readouts are not updated while on the planet. Also
attacking without using the Attack button will leave the fighter and
shield information out-of-date. This is because TWH can only update
these values when they are sent by TW across the modem and it knows to
do so. When deemed appropriate, such as when leaving a planet, TWH will
send the TW I command to update the readouts but not show the
information coming across the CRT screen to increase performance. This
will cause a slight delay before you can enter a command after leaving a
planet. The program will light up the "Info" button when this is
happening - which you can also click on to bring these values
up-to-date. Do so when exact information is required! Also the
readouts in List 2 are only updated by the Info button.

When the "Press SPACE BAR..." message is displayed you can optionally
click a mouse button. Also while in text mode some of the processes,
such as pressing Enter at the RTO screen, can be exited with the mouse
button.



COPYRIGHT

Copyright laws apply to both shareware and commercial software, and the
copyright holder retains all rights, with the following exception. The
unmodified program files, complete with the files discussed below, may
be freely copied and distributed. It is in fact encouraged. If you
like this program, please tell your fellow players, even those evil
traders, about it and upload it to several BBSes. Of course,
registrations key may not be distributed.



DISCLAIMER

Trade Wars Helper is supplied on an "as is" basis. The author disclaims
all warranties, expressed or implied, including, without limitation, the
warranties of merchantability and of fitness for any purpose. The
author assumes no liability for damages, direct or consequential, which
may result for the use of Trade Wars Helper.



FILES

This product is made up of the following files.

README.1ST - Text file to be read each new release.
DOCGUI.TXT - The file you are now reading.
FILE_ID.DIZ - A description of this product for PCBoard systems.

TWHGUIRM.EXE - The real mode version of TWHELP w/GUI.
TWHGUIPM.EXE - The protected mode version of TWHELP w/GUI.

EXAMPLE.CFG - A configuration file for using the EXAMPLE database.
EXAMPLE.TWH - This file contains an example database.

RTM.EXE - These three programs are redistributed with permission
DPMI16BI.OVL - of Borland International and are required to be in the
BGI16.DLL - current directory for the protected version to operate.

This product may be distributed only when all the above files are
included in the distribution in unmodified form.

Program modules from the standard version archive are required for this
version to operate.



QUESTIONS, COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS

All questions, comments or suggestions of any nature are welcomed. You
need not be a registered user to ask questions, or make comments or
suggestions. Include the release number of the program you are using in
any problem description. Address correspondences to:

Attn: Mike Ingham
Just FUN Software
4790 Naniloa Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84117-5547

or telephone: (801) 272-6238 (preferred method)
or via Prodigy: NKJM79A
or via CompuServe: 71231,3727
or Internet: mingham@intele.net

If you wish to download the latest version of this program or any other
products from Just FUN Software on the first call, dial the Just FUN
Software BBS at 801-278-8839 and logon as "Just Fun" with a password of
"software" or set up your own account.
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