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c2nu to PCC2 adapter

This is a perl program to interface to the VGAP host and produce result files for use with PCC2 (and other client programs, such as VPA or PCC 1.x).

It can download result files and upload turn files, allowing you to play on your local computer.

Preconditions and Installation

c2nu is written in Perl and therefore requires a Perl interpreter. It requires the gzip program to decompress network data. Other than that, it has no external dependencies other than Perl standard modules. In particular, all network protocols are implemented internally.

c2nu does not require a formal installation procedure. Just drop the script somewhere convenient.


  • Make a new directory and open a command prompt in it.
  • Make a solo game on
  • Use perl login USER PASSWORD to log in.
  • Use perl list to obtain a list of your games.
  • Use perl unpack N to fetch data for game N.
  • Play the game using PCC2, VPA, etc.
  • Use perl maketurn to upload the turn file.
  • Use perl runhost to run the host.
  • Repeat from the unpack step as needed.


c2nu stores some persistent state in a file c2nu.ini in the current directory. This file includes the login credentials and the game number. Therefore, you typically invoke c2nu from a diffent directory for each game (like you would do for regular v3 programs).

c2nu is invoked as follows:

perl [--global-options] command [arguments...]

Global options can precede any command:

  • --api=host

    Set the host name of the API server. The default is

    This setting is saved in the state file.

  • --backup=0|1

    Enable or disable the creation of result file backups. When enabled, every downloaded result file is stored in a file c2rst_backup_PL_TRN.txt (where PL is the player number, TRN is the turn number).

    This setting is saved in the state file.

  • --dropmines=0|1

    When enabled, c2nu will remove obsolete minefields from PCC's starchart database ( When disabled (default), old minefields will remain in the database until the user manually removes them.

    This setting is saved in the state file.

  • --root=DIR

    Specifies the directory of a folder containing the standard VGAP files. This could be your planets.exe folder, PCC folder, Winplan folder, etc.

    See the unpack / rst commands for details.

  • --rst=FILE

    Specifies the name of the file where the Nu result file is stored. This option can be used to unpack a previous turn's result, for example. See "Theory of Operation" below.

  • --trn=FILE

    Specifies the name of the file where the Nu turn file is stored.


Many commands consist of two halves that can be invoked separately. One half accesses the network, whereas the other one operates locally. For example, unpack consists of unpack1 (download the data) and unpack2 (unpack it).

Command: help

Display a help screen. Does not access the network.

Command: status

Display the current state file. Does not access the network.

Command: login


(yes, this means your password on the command line.)

This will log in to the server. It obtains an API key that is stored in the state file. Following network commands will use that API key and do not require you to provide a user name or password again.

To log out, delete the state file c2nu.ini.

Command: list

perl list

List information about your games. This will show the game number, name, and race for each of your games. Use this to find out the game numbers for other commands.

Command: info

perl info [--option] [GAME]

Show information about a game. By default, shows the list of users on that game, the races they play, and their scores.

The game number can be obtained using list, but could also be a game you don't play in. If no game number is given, the one from the state file is used, if any.

  • --raw

    Show raw JSON result.

Command: unpack (unpack1, unpack2)

perl unpack  [--options] [GAME [TURN]]
perl unpack1 [--options] [GAME [TURN]]
perl unpack2

This command will download a Nu result file and convert it into a set of v3 specification files and an unpacked set of v3 data files. This is the preferred way to play with c2nu.

The most frequent usecase just specifies a game number:

perl unpack 123456

This will fetch the result file and also store the game number in the state file; future invocations can then omit it:

perl unpack

Parameters can be used to download a different result than the current one.

  • --player=N

    Download given player's result.

  • --turn=N

    Download given turn's result. Alternatively, specify turn number as second positional parameter.

  • --game=N

    Download this game's result. Alternatively, specify turn number as first positional parameter.

This command will create specification files (hullspec.dat etc.). Not all required data is available in a Nu result file; most notably, the ship image links are missing. The unpack command therefore uses preexisting specification files as templates. Those should exist in the current directory, or in the directory specified using the --root global option. If you fail to supply a hullfunc.dat file, your v3 client will not be able to show ship pictures.

The unpack command has two halves: unpack1 to download and unpack2 to unpack the file. To unpack a file you already have (a backup, maybe), you would use a command such as

perl --rst=my_file unpack2

Command: rst (rst1, rst2)

perl rst  [--options] [GAME [TURN]]
perl rst1 [--options] [GAME [TURN]]
perl rst2

This command will download a Nu result file and convert it into a set of v3 specification files and a v3 result file.

Options and footnotes for rst are the same as for unpack. rst exists mainly for historical reasons (it was there first); unpack is the better way if you actually intend to play.

The rst command has two halves: rst1 to download and rst2 to create the file.

Command: dump (dump1, dump2)

perl dump  [--options] [GAME [TURN]]
perl dump1 [--options] [GAME [TURN]]
perl dump2

This command will download a Nu result file and dump it to standard output in a nicely formatted way. This is mainly a developer feature.

Options and footnotes for dump are the same as for unpack.

The dump command has two halves: dump1 to download and dump2 to display the file.

Command: vcr (vcr1, vcr2)

perl vcr  [--options] [GAME [TURN]]
perl vcr1 [--options] [GAME [TURN]]
perl vcr2

This command will download a Nu result file and convert it into a set of v3 specification files and a VCR file. This is a subset of the unpack command.

Options and footnotes for vcr are the same as for unpack.

The vcr command has two halves: vcr1 to download and vcr2 to create the files.

Command: maketurn (maketurn1, maketurn2)

perl maketurn
perl maketurn1
perl maketurn2

This command takes an unpacked game directory as input, figures out your commands, and uploads them. Use this after you played a turn in a directory created using unpack.

The maketurn command has two halves: maketurn1 to generate the commands and maketurn2 to upload them.

Command: runhost

perl runhost

This command triggers the host run for a solo game.

Command: serve

perl serve [--options] FILES...

This command serves a set of Nu result files via HTTP.

This is a developer feature: using perl serve --port=N FILES... you can provide result files for download using perl --api= unpack.

You can specify multiple result files (c2rst.txt), but they must all belong to different games.

  • --port=N

    Provide the HTTP server on the given port (default: 8080).

Theory of Operation uses JSON data instead of v3's binary data. Also, the data is organized a little different.

The main data structure for playing is a Nu result file which is a large JSON structure that contains everything, specification files and your view of the universe. The Nu server also allows access to old result files. Because those files are self-contained, they can easily be backed-up (just one file, not playerX.rst plus utilX.dat plus xyplanX.dat...).

A result file also contains some undo information. For example, it might say that you have 20 factories, and 5 of them were built this turn. This way the client knows that it can scrap these 5 again. This information is organized totally different in v3. has some features that do not exist in v3. Not much effort has been made to emulate this, as it requires native client support. Therefore, c2nu can probably safely be used only in games with 11 standard players. The good (or bad) news is that the server got better in validating turn files over time.

Author Contact

Stefan Reuther,

Play v3 Planets on