Multiplayer Configuration

  • Multiplayer Configuration
    This article explains the basic setup of UA multiplayer; network configurations and relevant information for multiplayer matches.

    Gameplay tips, level guides, modified multiplayer contents and other such contents must not be included in this article.

    This article also does not apply to OpenUA, which uses different algorithms and protocols for its multiplayer.

    1 Information

    1.1 Basic Overview

    UA uses DirectPlay 7 for multiplayer. It is old technology and can be tricky to set up.

    All players should use the same game executable - for example, UA.exe (Original UA), Ua_xp.exe (MD Expansion) or ua_trial.exe (Demo). Otherwise they may be unable to connect due to version mismatch. The version check can be disabled via Nucleus.ini but it is highly not recommended to do so.

    If players have different game contents, a warning message appears. Any unofficial, arbitrary script-based game data modification can cause this problem, and at a high chance it may also indicate cheating. So always make sure to maintain the same dataset between the match players before starting.

    OpenUA now supports basic multiplayer functionality, but it is different from the original UA methods. It will be covered in a separate article later.

    1.2 Compact Disc Requirements

    The players need one compact disc for up to three players. The players need at least two compact discs for four players. Anyone playing a multiplayer game without a compact disc, must have installed a Complete installation.

    1.3 Connecting manually over internet (TCP/IP)

    This method is available in the multiplayer menu. It is the most basic and probably the most reliable way to set up a multiplayer game, but it requires the largest amount of configuration. The joining players must know the IP address of the host player to connect.

    The following ports must be available for incoming connections:

    * 47624 - DirectPlay 7 initial connection

    * 2300-2400 - DirectPlay data connections. The entire range should be available.

    Due to the nature of DirectPlay, all players must have these ports forwarded, not just the host. If these ports can't be used for incoming connections (firewall inaccessible to the user, carrier-grade NAT etc.), then other methods must be used for multiplayer.

    1.4 Using GameRanger

    GameRanger is a software that allows easy set-up of game rooms for many multiplayer games, including UA. It automates the connection procedure and it can often perform NAT traversal which reduces the amount of configuration needed. However, if you are behind a NAT router, it's still recommended to forward port 16000 for GameRanger.

    GameRanger does not support the Metropolis Dawn -env parameter, but mods are sometimes used to include MD content.

    Other disadvantages of GameRanger include the possible unrealiability of the initial connection (reported by many people) and the amount of advertisements in the software itself.

    1.5 Using Hamachi

    Hamachi is a program that can set up a simple virtual network for games. It has been used to play UA for a long time.

    1.6 Connecting manually over serial

    Multiplayer over a serial connection is mostly obsolete but might be fun as a retro project. It's usually available in the multiplayer menu.

    Two local computers with a serial port and a null-modem cable are required.

    If a real serial port is not available, a USB → RS-232 adapter should work as well. However, the DirectPlay serial interface seems to support ports COM1…COM4 only. If such an adapter registers itself as something else, such as COM10, you have to manually change the port number via Windows Device Manager.

    1.7 Connecting manually over dialup

    Dialup technology is mostly obsolete. It's usually available in the multiplayer menu.

    Only levels with the dialup tag (slow_connection parameter set) can be played over a dialup connection.

    1.8 Connecting manually over IPX

    According to the official Help files, UA supports IPX connection for multiplayer. However, the IPX protocol is mostly obsolete, and on modern systems, this option is usually not visible in the multiplayer menu.

    Should you have any other questions, feel free to ask at the community forums.