Upgrading and Play By E-mail Help

These pages are designed to help the novice on-line gamer get set up and rolling with their first play by e-mail (PBEM) game unsing Campaign 1776. If you have questions or comments, or see something that should be added send me an e-mail.

Before you really get started with the game aspects, there are a couple things you should do to your system. First, you should go into Windows Explorer and make some setting changes. You can access Windows Explorer (WE) through the start menu or by pressing the "flying window" key and the "E" key at the same time.

The window that comes up should look similar to this:

Now depending on which version of Windows you have, or if you have Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher installed, the screen shots will look a bit different. My system is Windows 95b with Internet Eplorer 4.01 installed, but without the Active Desktop option.

Once in WE go to the "View" menu. Then go down to the bottom and choose "options". There are 2 changes I suggest making here. The first is to place a check mark in the box next to "Display full MS-Dos path in the title bar". The reason for this is it will help you understand how the directory structure works. This same information will be displayed in graphical format in the left hand window of WE.

Secondly I suggest unchecking the "Hide MS-Dos file extension for file types that are registered." What this does is it allows your computer to display the file extensions for all the files on your computer. This will be helpful when trying to find specific files. You may ask, whats a file extension? Well, it is the 3 characters at the end of the file. For example, you may have a spread sheet you created in MS Excell, and you named it bills. The actual name of the file would be bills.xls The .xls identifies to the computer the program that should be used to open the file. To something more relevant, PBEM files have a file extension of .bte and campaign files use .cpf.

The options box should now look like this:

Now click the "OK" button and that window will close.

If you have Windows 98 do the following: Once in WE go to the "View" menu. Then go down to the bottom and choose "Folder Options". Select the "View" tab. There are 2 changes I suggest making here. The first is to place a check mark in the box next to "Display full MS-Dos path in the title bar". Secondly, unselect "Hide File Extensions for known file types."

After making the changes, click on "Apply" and you should be done. Here's a screen shot of what you should see.

A few more notes here on WE and file management before we move on. It is very beneficial to really learn the directory structure of your computer, or in other words, where all your stuff is. ;o) There are other ways to get to this information, for example through the "My Computer" icon on your desk top. I just prefer using Windows Explorer.

During a game install I never accept the default path. I install every game I have into the C:\Games directory, and then a specific one for each of them. This helps group all my games together so it is easy to find what I am looking for, and keeps them seperate from the other various programs on the pc. So, my 1776 game is installed in C:\Games\Campaign 1776 You can set this information during the install of the game in most cases.

Ok, now the next thing you need to play the game via e-mail is a compression program. There are many of them out on the market, but I personaly use Win Zip. You can download a free evaluation copy from their web site at http://www.winzip.com/. I have been using this utility for years, both for gaming and work and it is very easy and reliable.

You may ask, why do I need this? The answer to that is, sometimes files become corrupted when they are sent over the Internet in an unzipped format. I have received files that just would not work, but I have also had ones embed themselves in the message so you get a bunch of code and a huge message. Granted, I have had a problem or two with a zip file before, but I would say the ratio is about 50:1. Zipping is much more reliable. Additionally, when you are playing bigger games the PBEM file can get big, in the several hundred kb's. Compressing it will speed transmition and download times.

Click here for a tutorial on how to use WinZip.

Now, on to actual game related things...

Versions...before you begin a game you should make sure you and your opponent are on the same version of the game. The most recent version as of this writing is 1.05. You can get a copy of it from the HPS Web Site.

I am going to assume you DO NOT have the latest version of the game and you need to download it. (note: you only have to download the program update, fortunatly HPS has separated the help files and documentation for people with slow Internet connections.)

To download the file, click on it. A window should come up that says "Save as..." in the top left hand corner. If not try it again, but this time press and hold the "shift" key. This will bring the window up. Now, before you click the OK button, choose where you want to save the file. I suggest saving it to the C:\Temp directory. You may have a place already where you save downloads though. Make note of where you save the file!

Once it is completed downloading I suggest you scan it for viruses. Some programs are configured to do this as you downlaod. If you used the "shift" method from above though, this was most likely bypassed. Check your program documentation if you are not sure how to do the scan.

The files HPS distributes patches in are called self extracting zip files. To run them all you need to do is double click on the file. A window will come up that looks like this:

Set the path to the location you installed the game to. For me it would be C:\Games\Campaign 1776. The default however is, C:\Program Files\HPS Simulations\Campaign 1776 Once you have set this information click on the "unzip" button. When the program has completed the operation this message will appear:

You are now done installing the patch and you are ready to begin your first e-mail game. Click here to go to the next page.

Return to main Training Center page.

This page updated on 07/31/02.