VGA Planets™ is a classic turn-based, play-by-email space-combat strategy game.
The game was invented in the early 1990s by Tim Wisseman, who wrote the initial client and host software for MS-DOS and distributed it as shareware. The probably most popular version of the game is version 3.x, which is what the PlanetsCentral website is about.
VGA Planets deals with competition between space-travelling civilisations. Usually, players start with a small empire each, and explore the universe, expand their empire, and ultimately battle other empires. They can build starbases to build starships, and build starships and command them around, while planets produce resources to maintain the empire.
The game operates turn by turn. Every turn, you get a result file, play it with your client program, and produce a turn file. Turns usually run 2-3 times a week, so you have plenty of time to do your turns (and you don't have to stay up through the night to defend against armies from overseas). Then, the host takes all turn files and lets all action happen (almost) simultaneously, for the next turn.
Games often last several months, and games that took several years are not unheard of. This is not your average casual lunch-break game!
The technical nature of a turn-based, play-by-email game allowed a lot of software developed for the game. Its original author taught the host software new features over the time, and also produced a Windows 3.1 version of the client. A lot of third-party software was (and still is) written for the game as well. PlanetsCentral currently uses the PHost hosting software and a lot of infrastructure from the PCC2 client toolchain. However, we have a firm commitment to provide interoperability to every other VGAP 3.x software that exists.
Note that, as a gentlemen's agreement, all third-party software currently requires a license of an original client program to offer access to features that are only available to registered players of the original software.