An initially more time-consuming but safer method of locating roaming fighters such as Xannor or mercenaries is to use the computers port information (C;2) function. This works since the computer will not divulge any port information if hostile fighters are in the sector. The main advantages of this method when compared to the missile scripts is that no turns are used up, no information is given to the newspaper, and there is no risk of cruise missile retaliation from Xannor or other players.
Unfortunately, this method does suffer from two significant drawbacks. It will only reveal fighters in sectors containing ports, meaning only 33% of all the sectors you scan. You must custom create this script through some effort and every time the game is reset re-created as the exact sector numbers contain ports changes per game.
To create this script, run a port report using C;14;A and log the results to a text file. (for example in ZOC: Logging -> Set Logging File Name -> “TOHC.LOG”) Trim out all of the text except for the port numbers, and replace each character return with ;2; Finally space out the results into about seven segments of equal length such as seen in the sample report below:
Zero from Alcoholiday BBS created a python script to do the port data cleanup.
You can run this from a command line and copy the output right out of the terminal, or you can use “>” to pipe the output to a text file. The only caveat is that the capture from the BBS needs to be in plain ASCII — no ANSI.
To use the script:
- Start logging everything to a new text file
- Copy and paste all of the lines of the script you created into the terminal one line at a time
- Stop logging
- Open the text file and do a keyword search for “No information available.” to discover which port sectors contain fighters.
- Send 1 missile to scout or travel to check every sector number you discovered.
Investigating every difference may reveal a group of Xannor, but on the other hand may simply reveal a tiny group of mercenaries, the Xannor HQ, or a player-controlled group of fighters.
In a multiplayer game, another player can scan for your planets using a planet scanning script: C;9;1;9;2 … unless you have fighters in the sector covering your planets. If that sector contains a port, this port scanning script detects if you have fighters in a sector containing a port.
The only un-scannable method of hiding planets is to place them in sectors that do not contain ports, but are covered with fighters. This however doesn’t stop missiles or traveling players from detecting them.