Flight Data Log (FDL)
ver. 3.00 build: 040
release date: 21 Apr 2000
Created by: Mic Healey
(c) Copyright Mic Healey 2000
|Application File Contents||-2-|
|How to Use||-4-|
|Counters and SETDATA.EXE||-5-|
|Temporal Sub-Space Transceiver||-6-|
|Galactic Communications Consortium||-7-|
|Types of Received GCC Transmissions||-8-|
|Questions and Answers||-9-|
|Legal (Mumbo Jumbo) Matters||-10-|
Hello Commander and welcome to the Flight Data Log (FDL). This simple application is designed to help you record, compile, and distribute your Frontier Elite II (or FFE), game play experiences. Please understand from the start that this is a "stand-alone" utility companion to Frontier. It does not directly interface with FE2's program files or saved game files. You - have to do a little work to utilize this... It is a tool.
Requirements: This is a retro-programmed DOS application. You may run it from the DOS prompt in DOS 5.0 or higher. Windows users may run this application from the DOS prompt within Windows, or outside if you wish. The program should run fine on anything from a 80386 on up.
TO RUN PROGRAM: Unzip all files into a separate directory. Change to that directory. Type FDL at the command prompt.
MD C:\FDL 'Makes a directory called FDL
MOVE FDL.ZIP C:\FDL 'Moves FDL.ZIP to FDL directory
PKUNZIP FDL.ZIP 'Unzip's FDL.ZIP
CASH.DAT * Data file with total cash information
FDL.EXE Main -Flight Data Logbook- program
FDL-G5.EXE * Title Screen executable
FDS.TXT Flight Data Sheet, ASCII printable log entry form.
KILL.DAT * Data file for total kill information
LOG.TXT Logbook file, stored in ASCII format
MANUAL.HTM This file in HTML4.0 format
MANUAL.TXT This file in ASCII text format.
SETDATA.EXE Small program to set Total Kill and Total Cash values.
* not for user access
The program asks you a series of questions, then displays (optionally) a 'log entry'. Following your approval, the entry is recorded in a logbook file (LOG.TXT). Additional uses of the program, reopen the logbook and add entries to it. The resulting file is in standard ASCII format, thus can be utilized by nearly every medium or format without conversion.
In addition to logging navigational and comment data - FDL also will track your cash experience (profit or loss) and combat totals.
The easy to read format keeps a record of your travels throughout the galaxy. What makes the FDL even more special for you - is that the program provides for up to five comment lines per log entry. This allows you to describe what you have been up to - with a minimum of effort. The result for someone reading your log will be a nicely flowing sequence of events. In other words, a story outline.
If you are a Frontier Elite II veteran, you know there are many activities, things to do, places to visit, etc. - within the game world (galaxy). A player's "game-life" is often defined by the type of activity he pursues, (and where he pursues it) within the open format FE2 provides. The FDL is an attempt to standardize -a record of experiences- for conveyance; either perhaps to send to a friend, publish on a website, or simply keep for yourself to enhance the game play experience. It should also serve as a useful "writers-outline", should you wish to later expand your logbook entries into a full story format.
There are a couple of ways to utilize the program...
(1) You can have it running on a nearby system or laptop - to the one you are playing FE2 on. In this situation you can simply make logbook entries in real time. Yes, finally -- a use for that old system, or ancient laptop with the 20 meg hard-drive... Just squeeze it into your work space and boot it up! This program needs no mouse, no sound card, no CD drive, not even a color monitor (though I recommend it). FDL will even run directly off a floppy disk. Its something new for something old...
(2) Method two involves keeping a Flight Data Sheet(FDS), manually - which you later input into FDL (when not playing FE2). This may be the most common choice for individuals with one system, but does involve a little extra effort. To help you with this task, a printable form: FDS.TXT is included with this application. Simply print off this form several times (3 entries may be added to each sheet) and fill it in as you play, later you can enter the data into FDL.
(3) There is a third option, that being multi-tasking the FDL and FE2 within Win3.1, or Win95/98. Feel free to go ahead and give this a go, it may work for you. However, this option will not be discussed in the initial release of this application due to its potential to become a problem for non-advanced Win3.1/Win95/98 OS users. Multi-tasking more than one MS-DOS application can be tricky.
When you first start FDL, you will see the title screen, which will automatically advance to the Selection Menu Screen. (The title screen is displayed for about 5 seconds, if you want to express through it, simply press any key.)
At the Selection Menu you have five choices:
I realize you just did a -What???- with choices (4) and (5)... more on the Temporal Sub-Space Transceiver (TSST) later.
After entering a selection, the program continues. If you see the message "Redo from Start", you are probably not paying attention...read the instructions before you input... and input only from the choice options.
You will be asked the following questions:
Stardate: Format should be: 01-Jan-3201 (Same as in the game)
You may also append a time for example: 01-Jan-3201 12:15 GMT
Location: The location information is particular. You will be asked the following:
So, you should keep a record of:
A note on starport names: The TSST is rather particular with starport names. You should enter them e-x-a-c-t-l-y as they are written in the game. Also, you should use its full name for orbiting spaceports, and include the type - see below:
Example for orbiting or in space spaceports:
Example for planet based starports:
(Actually, you can input the data in any fashion you like. However, the TSST and the GCC require the data to be in a particular format for evaluation. Huh - you say? ...More on this below.)
In addition to the above, entering the starport type can add quite a bit of texture to your log and helps solidify places for the reader.
Star System Name:
The program next asks you the NAME of the star system you are in. Again, make sure you enter the name, EXACTLY as it appears in the FE2, including capitalization and spacing. The program will then ask you to supply to it some exact information regarding that system within the game...
GALACTIC MAP SECTOR CODE & SYSTEM NUMBER
(example of input: -1,0,3)
Every star system in FE2 is displayed on the galactic map. The galactic map uses a straight forward: X,Y (positive/negative ) grid system to chart star systems positions on it, with sector 0,0 being Sol. Sectors to the left and below Sol are negative; those to the right and above Sol have positive numbers. In addition to the Galactic Map Sector Code, there is one other crucial bit of information which is a little buried in the game...
That info. is the System Number. Each system, within any given sector is awarded a system number. To find the system number for the system you are in follow this procedure:
One nice feature of FDL is that it will remember the star system you are in on the second or more passes through the program after start. So, if you have more than one entry to make from the same system - before jumping out - you will not have to enter the same star system information repeatedly (while FDL is active). Additionally, Option -5- from the Location Entry Type Selection Menu allows for easy recall of locational data for additional log entries from the exact same preceding location (also after program start).
The location/geographical data is now complete.
FDL tracks two pieces of data from the game. Your Total Cash and your Total Combat Kills. The first time you utilize FDL it does not know what your cash or kills are currently at... Thus, you will proceed forward from default values of zero for each. However, if you are currently playing a game (and most of you will be) you can bring over your actual cash and combat kill values easily with a small auxiliary program included in this application called SETDATA.EXE.
SETDATA.EXE will set the counters for your current Cash and Kills. The current cash is easily attained within FE2 from your current game position, on one of several ship information screens. Please note that FDL will only handle an integer or whole number for the cash tracking routine. Thus, simply round up or down if your current cash value has a decimal component.
The Total Kills number is a bit of guess work however... Frontier Elite II keeps your total kills not as an absolute number, but as a rating. If you are within a particular range - you have that rating name. Below is a listing of ratings and their corresponding number of kills.
Within FE2, at the Commander Information screen (F3), you can get your current, rating. You can use this as your default starting number. The next time you move up a level (check often... if doing combat; and sometimes following a --Right On Commander-- notification) you can reset the kills with SETDATA.EXE to the near exact number. Running SETDATA.EXE is simple. Just type SETDATA at the command prompt, and answer the questions. Note: please do not use any commas in your responses.
(Ready to take a leap of faith? Okay, here we go...)
Congratulations Commander, incorporated into the FDL is a Temporal Sub-Space Transceiver or TSST. From the Selection Menu, the transceiver can be brought On-Line (option 4) or deactivated (returned to its default condition when you start the program) Off-Line (option 5).
When On-Line, the transceiver will up-link a copy of your current log entry (after approval) to the nearest Galactic Communications Consortium (GCC) relay buoy. These relay buoys (or comm nodes as they are sometimes referred to) utilize the latest advances in multi-dimension spatial temporal technology to transmit your log entry quickly across the immense distances between star systems and into that particular star system which is noted within your logbook entry.
Your logbook entry transmission is then received by the local GCC comm node, and forwarded to the nearest GCC office within that system. There, system government officials, and or, the local GCC representative in that system, will review the content of your log entry.
Depending on a variety of factors such as (but not limited to): the star system receiving your entry, the content of your message (regarding new kills or cash profits/loss), the location data within your entry, the nature and performance of those reviewing your log entry, and or - the policies of the local government with respect to the GCC and its initiative, you - MAY - receive a reply.
This response, if received, will be automatically appended to your stored logbook file, preceded by the comment... RECEIVED TRANSMISSION:
The unique nature of the temporal sub-space transmission creates a phased time dilation effect to incoming transmissions (or replies). Though difficult to fully comprehend (to those not versed in multi-dimension non-linear phased temporal mechanics), responses are often received at relay buoys seemingly -before- the initial log transmission are up-linked. Due to this situation, a reply may be stored in a comm node's message cache, pending the appropriate initialization activity. - Confusing I know.
The end result however is quite nice, as you will experience - no time delay - waiting for a reply. If you receive a response, it will be appended and stored to your logbook immediately after you first input the entry. If you hear an additional audio chime, to that of the typical audio feedback pending log entry acceptance, you will know a transmission has been received. To review a received transmission, simply open and read your logbook (option 3 or 6 at the selection menu) expressing forward to the desired date.
You are undoubtedly curious as to what is the GCC and its initiative. So.. I will take a moment here to fill you in a bit (If you are aware, or part of the GCC, you may choose to skip this section).
The Galactic Communications Consortium grew out of the Royal Wayward Society of Rogue Travelers (RWSRT) - a three century old organization based in London, on Old Earth and established in the year 2893. The RWSRT provided funds, available through general application to the secretary, whereby social establishments could be created and supported for the recreational utilization of its members; throughout colonized systems in the Core sectors. The concept was a success and these establishments, known as "Commander's Clubs", began to spread to distant spaceports, even gaining acceptance in Imperial space. The clubs supported rogue pilots, and their endeavors. Ultimately, these places became filled with many an interesting character... and their tales.
One of the evolving duties of the RWSRT became keeping records of these unique individuals; their travels, stories, experiences, and lives as they crossed the cosmos. Initially, much of the information was collected by "word of mouth" within the Commander's Clubs by RWSRT "Watchers" - as they were know... but this soon proved unmanageable. A new method of gathering and reviewing data had to be created.
Meanwhile, as the volume of stories continued to grow, so did the assets of the RWSRT. It seemed that a majority of rogue pilots, having no true home or family, willed their estates directly to the society and the Commander's Club establishments. With the addition of the RWSRT approved "Pilot's Lounge", Commander's Club - variant - in 3197 (a club format which provided female companions for visiting lonely members), incoming assets though willed donations simply went - ballistic.
Late in the Fall of 3199 (too late to be included in your manual's printing, Commander), the RWSRT, created a subsidiary non-profit organization called the Galactic Communications Consortium(GCC). Using the RWSRT's deep pockets, the GCC has begun deploying highly advanced communication relay buoys throughout the core systems and beyond... GCC's objective is to utilize this network to keep in contact with its members and record their travels. Unfortunately, politics being a fact of human life, the GCC has had to allow local system government access to this network - in return for allowing placement of comm nodes within their systems. The GCC Network is a developing system... you will have to wait to see what happens next.
So, what started as simply "writing down of the tale" has become the impetus for the advent of interstellar sub-space communications.
Though initially the exclusive realm of the GCC, the network is quickly becoming a valued means of communication between star systems and ships throughout known space. As such, you should expect to receive a variety of messages. These can originate from local governments or spaceports. Officials, individuals, and GCC reps who have access the system can send you a message. Also, there is a variety of automated traffic which may occur under certain conditions. Remember, to receive a transmission, the Temporal Sub-Space Transceiver (TSST) must be active or On-Line... when you input the log entry. Also, note: having the TSST active is in no way a guarantee you will receive a signal... its a big galaxy.
<!-- Paste in your complete logbook file HERE -->
The author accepts no liability for any damage, either direct or consequential, no matter how it comes down. By installing or running this software you agree to these conditions. The author disclaims all warranties as to this software, whether express or implied, including without limitation any implied warranties of merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose. As the end user (You), are totally responsible for this program and what it does. By using this software, you agree to all of the terms and conditions in this document.
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