Last revision: 28. 09. 2005


1. First installation
2. Updating
3. General instructions
a) Ork FAQ
b) Help
c) Entering values
4. Starting a new game
5. Processing one turn
6. Game report output
a) Technical remarks
b) Basic process
c) Printing configuration
d) Highlighting tribes
e) Printer output
f) E-Mail output
7. The Ork files
A. Error messages
B. Did you know that...

1. First installation of the Ork program

This description is based on the assumption that Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows NT 4.0 with service pack 4 is installed on the computer, and that the ZIP archive(s) has/have been downloaded from my homepage.

The following prerequisites have to be met for running Ork:

Windows 95. Ork's internal editor and viewer requires an encapsulated rich edit control DLL in the operating system, which will be present with Windows 95 b, or Windows 95 with Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher installed (with Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0 SP4 in any case)

32 MB RAM. Maybe less will do, but the software was tested only with 32 MB or more.

Internet access, if you wish to e-mail the game reports.

The installation is done as follows:

a) Create an Ork directory (e. g. "C:\ORK"). Do not use the same directory as for the DOS version of Ork.

b) Unpack the archives into this directory with Winzip or a similar program. Ork does not contain long name files, so even PKUNZIP.EXE should work.

c) Start Ork with Start - Run - ork.exe.

Now Ork starts. When Ork starts for the first time, some text files will be encrypted and indexed which might take a while, but some progress messages will give you the feeling that something happens. Also, after the first start an informational screen about Ork, registration, and the used program components of other guys will be shown.

In case of problems, please refer first to the FAQ or to the GM FAQ (further down in this document).

g) Leave Ork again by choosing "Quit" and confirming the following question with "Yes". Every time when you leave Ork, a file ORK.INI will be created or overwritten. Ork does not change anything in the Windows registry and does not place any files in other directories than your original Ork directory.

2. Updating Ork

See "First installation of Ork": You simple install the updated version over of the previous one. But please note the following:

a) If you have modified the setup file (ORK.STP), you should backup it first, or work with ORKSPEZ.STP instead (recommended; see Ork help for this), or stop the unpacking program from overwriting this file when it asks.

b) If you have modified the header file (ORK.KPF), you should backup it first or rename it to ORKFIRST.KPF. It will then be loaded instead of ORK.KPF (see Ork help).

3. General instructions for use


Some frequently asked questions are dealt with in the ORK FAQ. This document can be viewed by choosing "Online documents" - "FAQ" from the main menu. At the bottom of this document there is a GM FAQ.

b) Help

As every good Windows program, Ork for Windows has a help file with the inventive name ORK.HLP. You are urgently invited to read this help file. It is opened as usual with the F1 key or, from the main window, with the menu.

c) Entering values

Occasionally you will encounter a grid-like structure inviting you to enter values. For example, when the map is shown, you can use Ctrl-L to open a form for entering field data.

The following rules apply to these cases:

Boolean values (yes/no, true/false) are displayed by a "+" or "-". A double-click in the field will toggle the value.

If the alternatives for a value are fixed and limited, a double-click opens a selection list. The Escape key is used to abort the selection. Ork for Windows does accept valid entries only and will force an incomplete entry to a valid selection.

In numeric fields, only numbers can be entered.

All values in the grid are checked after the entry is completed, and forced into the valid limits if necessary.

4. Starting a new game

A new game is created with "New game" in the main menu. A map will be generated at random according to the preferences you specified.

a) Setting preferences, b) Viewing and editing the map, c) Saving, d) Creating a control file, e) Creating initial game reports.

a - Setting preferences

The preferences are initially set according to my personal liking. They are saved in the files ORK.STP and ORK.MSK. If you wish to permanently change the preferences, you have to create a file ORKSPEZ.STP containing a section "#EINZELDATEN" only, and the respective values in it.

I recommend 20x20 maps with 20 human players and 30 bit orcs. In general, not more than an eighth of the areas should be occupied by tribes.

b - Viewing and editing the map

After you have chosen "New game", a window will appear suggesting to save the new data set. The file name "SnnnZ---.ORK" is suggested, where "nnn" is the game number. I recommend not to change this name, because Ork for Windows supports the default name conventions with helpful functions.

Next, the map of the new game will be displayed. You can browse this map and show a context menu with the right mouse button. If you are not satisfied with the map display, you can change it with the respective button.

Manual changes should be made with caution. At the moment, Ork does not check the plausibility of these changes, so that you will well be able to make Ork crash later when strange combinations are encountered (like Sambalia placed in a forest area, or a tribe in a water area).

Normally you do not need to make changes, so leave the map with <Esc>.

c - Saving

In the map, or after leaving it, in the main screen, the data set should be saved once again if you have changed anything (When you are in the map, <Ctrl><S> saves the file under the same file name).

All files of one game should be kept in one extra, dedicated directory.

Hint: The directory name should contain the game number (like ...\GAME43 for the game no. 43). This will make working with Ork easier.

d - Creating a control file

Back in the main menu, you now can start to create the initial game report. To do this, press F8 (Process). A deadline wizard appears. Here you can enter the deadline and also a text to be addressed at all players. This wizard automatically creates a control file. For the starting turn, this control file normally consists only of these two entries, so that there is no need to modify it manually, but you can if you wish.

A control file could, for example, look like this:

#ZAT Saturday, August 8, 1994 huedel
#A gm huedel
Hello everyone,

here we go again. Be nice to each other and don't let them suffer too much.
I have set the output format to HTML for everyone, and the Kiebel file is included.

e - Creating initial game reports

Press "Process" and confirm all following queries with <Enter>. Ork automatically saves a file named "SnnnZ000.ORK", where nnn again represents the game number. Now you can create the game report files for the players. How to do this is described below. After doing that, you are free to leave Ork ("Quit") and pursue other activities like playing with your children, torturing elves, or whatever you prefer.

It is important that the starting turn is processed, too!

5. Processing one turn

In this section we assume that Ork is played by e-mail.

a) The incoming e-mails are saved to the game directory, and preferably in a way that the file name already shows the player number. For example use the convention "COM013" for the commands of player 13.

b) When the moment of truth arrives and the game turn is to be processed, start Ork and load the latest game data set. You also can start Ork with parameters like in the DOS version, but I think this is not as practicable in Windows. Just in case, here is the description:

If you start the program with "Ork 43 /n", Ork starts and immediately loads the latest game data set of a game saved in a directory containing the number 43 in its name. (Ork is smart enough to ignore names like "GAME143" in this case.) This should be game number 43 normally. Hint: This also works with other numbers than 43.

c) Choose the option "Prepare control file" in the main screen. Ork now analyzes all files in the game directory (in our example "C:\ORK\GAME43") and checks if these contain moves. In a report you can see which files have been included by Ork into the control file, and which files are deemed to contain moves but not for the next turn. The latter will not be included by Ork; you have to check them manually.

Notice: Ork does not analyze all files. Files with extensions specified in the section "#EINZELDATEN" as "IgnorierExt" are excluded. This, for example, applies to file extensions used by Ork itself (like ".ORK", ".MLD", ".BEF", ".KFG", ".STP"), but others too, like ".BAK".

d) Open the editor ("Edit control file") and press Shift-F3 (or, more complicated, use the menu). This opens the control file prepared by Ork. Modify and complete it as you wish, for example with a "#ZAT" command. Save (<Ctrl><S> or <F2>) and close.

e) You now can process the turn ("Process", <F8>). Ork first opens the deadline wizard. If you have not already entered a deadline into the control file, now is an excellent moment to do so. Afterwards, Ork checks the player orders. In case of errors, Ork offers several opportunities to the gamemaster to step in which I hope are self-explanatory. As soon as the player orders are error-free, Ork checks for human players who have not submitted moves. Ork offers several ways of handling this, too. Normally, the default way is correct (create NMR orders and bit-orc orders). On the other hand, it might be wise to check if player moves have not been copied into the game directory or something like this.

Ork normally will only process error-free control files. You can try to foist a faulty control file on Ork but I could tell of no way to do this. If you did, Ork presumably will crash or work irregularly because faulty parameters are not checked anymore during processing.

f) After finishing processing, Ork automatically saves the new game data set. If a file of this name already exists, Ork queries you if it is to be overwritten. Depending on the configuration, Ork might present the GM report to you to browse in. You should read at least the first part of the GM report, because it also contains notices of new features not working, or the game end statement. Afterwards, the output screen is presented to you.

6. Game report output

a) Technical remarks

You do not need to know the following. It might be interesting for people only who like to know how a program they are using works.

For turn output, Ork uses three files: the control file which was used to create the turn, the game data set itself, and the message file. These three files have certain names which should not be altered (otherwise Ork would not recognize its own files). The name convention is the following:

SnnnZxxx.BEF - Control file
SnnnZxxx.ORK - Data set
SnnnZxxx.MLD - Message file

(nnn is the game number, xxx the turn number)

There are more sorts of files with other extensions, but these are not required for output.

If you do not need to print the "command file" (this is synonymous to "control file"), the control file can be left out. If you do not need the sections "Your advisor reports" and "World News", you might also leave out the message file. The game data set is needed in any case.

The message file contains all messages (hence the name) to the players generated while processing. Most of the messages start with a number sign (#) followed by the player number and, if applicable, by parameters. For creating the actual output to the player, Ork looks up the message identifier in the ORKEXPL.DAT file and determines the text. [Translator remark: this ingenious structure made translating Ork from German into English actually feasible.] Unfortunately (giggle) the texts are encrypted in ORKEXPL.DAT so that some features may remain an eternal mystery. The parameters, if any, are placed into the text at the appropriate points.

If a message does not start with a number sign, the text after the player number is displayed directly to the player. I will remove this kind of messages in future to make Ork ready for translation [Translator remark: it seems you already went a long way].

The player number 9999 represents "messages to everyone" and the player number 9998 "messages to the gamemaster".

b) Basic process

The output is started by pressing the nice colourful button with the dagger and the moneybag in the "Output" tab of the maintenance menu. It is important to choose the correct printing configuration first (see below). Then, one of the many mailer options has to be chosen. All options other than "internal", "none", and "undefined" are included only for compatibility reasons; they no longer have any practical relevance. This is because Ork is able to send out mails itself nicely.

For all players marked with a tick in the list on the left of the tab, a game report is issued.

The output is always created on the harddisk, normally (if you did not change that) to the directory where the game data set you just processed or saved came from.

c) Printing configuration

An important requirement for game report output is the setting of the printing configuration (another tab in the maintenance menu). Here you specify the parts the game report is to consist of and the sequence of these parts. The sequence is changed by dragging rows up or down with the mouse.

If a printing part is set to "always", it is a mandatory part of the output. Every player receives it. Exceptions: a) the part cannot be created (for example if a tribe is pillaged and has no tribe data any longer), b) a player explicitly unsubscribes from this part.

If a printing part is set to "possible", the player will not receive it by default. However, he can request it with the "#DRUMF" meta command. A frequently used example: The tribe list ("#DRUMF 13 SV huedel").

If a printing part is set to "never", a player will in no case receive this part, even if he could request it normally.

Printing configuration sets can be pre-defined. They are saved to the file ORK.INI. If Ork does not find pre-defined printing configurations there, it generates them.

Ork tries to assist forgetful gamemasters as much as possible. If you do not change the default names of the printing configurations, Ork chooses as a default the "first turn" printing configuration if it is a starting turn of a game, and "standard" if it is any other turn.

d) Highlighting tribes

Tribes with a tick are printed out, others are not.

e) Printer output

You can print out directly from Ork to the printer. To do this, uncheck "HTML output" in the "Output" tab in the maintenance menu, and then click "On the screen". From the listing module, direct printing is possible. The printing routine is not perfect but I am working on it. Advantage versus HTML: The page breaks are correct. Disadvantage: Underlining and printing preview do not work perfectly.

f) E-mail output

The simplest thing to do is using the internal mailing module of Ork. To do this, choose the option "Internal mailer" on the "Output" tab. When generating output, Ork will then insert the e-mail address and file data into the ORKEMAIL.DAT file. This is done until you click "Send e-mails" on the output tab. In this way, you can process several games (in several sessions of the Ork program if you want) before actually sending out the results by mail.

If you finally click "Send e-mails", Ork first shows which file is to be sent to which address. If necessary, you still can step in here and change data. With Ctrl-Y you can delete entire rows in the grid. You cannot, however, insert new rows. In difficult cases it might be useful to edit ORKEMAIL.DAT directly and restart Ork. But no difficult cases should occur.

Make sure that you have specified your SMTP server and your own e-mail address. Without these specifications, Ork cannot send out anything. Like every other basic information, this is saved in the ORK.INI file.

If you do not wish to use the internal mailing module or any of the other mailing options, choose "Pseudo" as mailer. In this case, Ork creates files named by the pattern "OnnnSxxx.Zyy" (or "OnnnSxxxZyy.HTM"), where nnn is the game number, xxx is the player number, and yy is the number of the turn. The extension may also be ".ZIP", or ".TXT" when using long file names, or anything else chosen manually by the player. The actual output depends on the configuration.

A mailing list like the one needed in earlier versions is no longer necessary. However, you can create a list of e-mail recipients. You have to use the format "<number> <address>" in this list. <number> is the tribe number. The list has to be named SENDnnnn, where nnnn is the four digit game number. If this file is present, Ork will import the addresses as soon as you enter the maintenance menu.

7. The Ork files

Please refer to the help files.


A. Error messages

a) Runtime errors

Runtime errors will cause a program abort and a message like "Runtime Error <No> at <error address>". They are most ugly and caused either by programming mistakes or weird values fed into Ork. "Weird" values are unexpected values in the setup file or other files edited directly (e. g. ORKSTD.SPL). "Weird" values could be, for example, negative numbers where only positive numbers make any sense, or strings instread of numbers, numbers too large etc. Normally I have made sure that all kinds of possible errors in these files are intercepted. But numbers outside the long integer range (+/- 2,147,418,112) will be critical.

However, when you edit the game data set ("Map" tab and then Ctrl-L, Ctrl-S, Ctrl-H, or Ctrl-A) it will be easy for you to make Ork for Windows crash or at least seriously suffer. For example, assigning actually nonexistent treasures to a hero will produce beautiful results. So please be careful when editing.

b) Intercepted errors

If the program beeps and a window appears with a message making more or less sense, like "something not found", please try to get help with F1 first. If the program aborts, the error is critical, even though I anticipated it (and hoped it would not occur). There are certain cases like this within Ork. If the program does not abort, the resulting game reports should be treated with a grain of salt. This might indicate that I once thought the game report will be usable even with this error, but nobody can be sure that I was right.

c) Error handling

Please give me a detailed notification of every error. In case of runtime errors, I would like to know the error number and the immediately preceding screen messages and/or user actions. In case of other errors, I need the exact text of the error message, and also the preceding screen messages and/or user actions. Please do not send tons of data without that I asked you to do so. If I need them, I will tell you.

If, however, I ask you for turn data, I will require the previous data set and the command file, so that I can process the game myself and, hopefully, reproduce the error.

B. Did you know ...

that you can use the right mouse button to invoke interesting context menus occasionally, particularly in the map?

that you can "toggle" boolean values with a double-click?

that an "ork 73 /n" command will load the latest data set for game 73 with the program start, if the game data for game 73 are saved in a directory below the program directory, and the directory name contains the number "73"?

that individual setup files do not need to include all sections, but only those you wish to change? And that the "#EINZELDATEN" section only needs to include the definitions you wish to change?

that F4 duplicates the previous line in the editor?

that in the "messages to everyone" part, the GM can use all formatting options of Ork, and that there is a document on my homepage explaining this?


I have a DOS version of Ork and wish to install a Windows version now.

The Windows version should be installed into another directory. Theoretically, the Windows version could be installed "over" an old DOS version. But in this case, several files no longer needed by Ork for Windows will remain in the DOS directory. Ork for Windows, for example, no longer needs configuration files (like ORKKONF.KFG or S043.KFG), printer configuration files (like ORKPRT.DRT) and special character files (*.STZ). DPMI16BI.OVL and RTM.EXE are no longer needed as well.

Can I process old files with Ork for Windows?

Yes. Game data sets can be used when they have been created, or last processed, with a DOS version of Ork higher or equal to 2.60. Up to this version I am also sure about setup files and so on. Earlier files are, at least, doubtful.

Umlauts, by the way, are no problem. Ork converts all umlauts in data sets, setup files etc. from OEM to ANSI.

I have downloaded the program and installed it over an old version. Now, when I start Ork, an index error is displayed.

It seems the system clock of the computer does not work correctly. Ork indexes several text files, but only if Ork believes that the index file is older than the file to be indexed. If the system clock does not return the correct time and date (e. g. future dates), this will lead to an error. Workaround: Delete all files with an "X" as the last letter of the extension from the program directory. Example: ORKEXPL.DAX. If such an index file is missing, it will be created anew in any case.

I have installed an update of Ork. The file ORK.KPF, which I modified, was overwritten. Was that necessary?

No. There are two ways to prevent this:

a) When the archive is unpacked, and the unpacker asks whether the existing file ORK.KPF is to be overwritten, answer "No".

b) Rename your header file to "ORKFIRST.KPF". Ork will load this file instead of ORK.KPF.

I have installed an update of Ork. Now, when I create a game report for an older turn, sometimes the message "Kaninchentext3 not found" or so appears.

This means that the phrase "Kaninchentext3" is no longer present in ORKEXPL.DAT. The content of ORKEXPL.DAT changes from one version to the next. In most cases, the file is upward compatible, but this is not guaranteed. The message is not really dramatic; the respective phrase in the game report will be missing.

The program says: "Command file not found"

Ork expects a file named SnnnZmmm.BEF, where nnn is the number of the game (three digits exactly), and mmm the number of the next turn (the turn to be generated right now). For example, S036Z003.BEF means that turn 2 is already there and turn 3 is to be processed, for game number 36.

The file name "ORKBEFS" accepted by DOS Ork is no longer accepted by Ork for Windows.

The program does find the command file, but cannot find orders for any player in it.

There are several possible reasons for this:

a) After the #BEF meta command, other # meta commands follow immediately, for example printer configuration meta commands or similar. Only after these other meta commands, the game commands follow.

The commands of a player have to be placed directly (DIRECTLY) after the #BEF meta command. As soon as another # meta command follows, Ork considers the game commands of a player complete.


#BEF 36 9 4 <password>
#DRUMF 4 SV <password>
vk 7 45
pl 30
hb 88 50 1000 3 78 68
kw 41 1000 30
sp 41 60

In this example, Ork will proceed as follows:

"#BEF 36 9 4 <password>" initiates the game commands of player 4 for turn 9 in game 36.

The line "#DRUMF 4 SV <password>" tells Ork that the game commands of player 4 are finished, since it is a # meta command.

The lines "vk 7 45" and following are ignored if they are not preceded DIRECTLY by a #BEF meta command.

b) The player commands accidentally have been written with a leading number sign. Wrong: "#VK 7 45". Correct: "VK 7 45".

c) The BEF meta command has two leading number signs instead of one, like in "##BEF..." instead of "#BEF...". Ork will regard this as a comment line.

d) Between the "#" and "BEF" a space was inserted, like in: "# BEF 36 9 4 hugendubel". The program will respond with beeping and error messages to such a line.

The game is finished. It had an official game number. Which data are to be transmitted to you in order to include the game in the hall of fame?

On the "Output" tab, there is a "hall of fame data" button. Please press it once. The game directory will then contain a file named ORKHIGH.TXT. This is what I need. Additionally, please give me the real name of the High King.

When the control file is created automatically, one of the text files containing player commands is obstinately ignored.

Some players send their command files in a UNIX format. Standard Windows or DOS text files contain line breaks consisting of two characters, carriage return and line feed (as numbers, 13 and 10). Unix only uses line feed (10). At the moment, Ork for Windows cannot process the Unix format. Workaround: load the file into an ASCII editor (like Wordtabs or my own editor, Khurrad's secretary, both to be downloaded from my homepage) and save it again. Most text editors will convert the format automatically.

The display of the area tables is unsatisfactory, somehow.

This can be due to the installed fonts. Ork for Windows expects a font "Courier New" to be installed, or the browser to understand the abstract parameter "monospace" (which in HTML syntax means a fixed font). If both is not the case, the browser might choose some inappropriate font. The setup file ORK.STP contains an entry "Defaulttabfont". Here you can specify another fixed font.