Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Point Of Origin work?

The Point Of Origin is the last symbol to be dialed in a gate address. It is always the same for each location i.e. if you dial an address from Atlantis the last symbol will always be 31. If you dial from Planet X then the last symbol might always be 12 (I just made Planet X & 12 up). The POO number can be changed in the XML file so you can emulate the dialing computer being used from a non Atlantis source.

Technically you wouldn't really want to change the POO number and instead would just change the Glyph graphic in the DHD library.  If you really want to use another of the current buttons on the DHD as the POO then you can change it via the DHDs config XML file.  Remember that you will also have to change all of your addresses to use the newly designated POO number.  If you are considering changing the POO symbol then please read How cannon is the Point Of Origin system in the simulator?

If you dial 6, 7 or 8 symbols and the last symbol isn't the POO then the DHD will auto-dial that symbol when you press the engage button.  This makes sense from a speed dialing point of view and also accounts for the way the series has shown both modes of dialing at different times i.e. one time someone manually dials the POO whilst another time someone does not.

How cannon is the Point Of Origin system in the simulator?

I'd say the POO system is pseudo-cannon.  In the original Stargate series the Milky Way galaxy DHDs each had their own unique POO symbol.  This is used to establish the starting point of the wormhole.  With the Pegasus galaxy DHD this does not appear to be the case.  Most of the verified addresses from the show end with the same POO but the one time (Season 1 Episode 9 "Home") we see someone dial Atlantis from a remote planets DHD it uses another of the DHD symbols.  The key point here is that it does not use a unique symbol, it is just a different one from the same set of buttons.  If this is the case then it means there would only be 36 points of origin in the Pegasus galaxy.

This doesn't really make logical sense although I have come up with a solution.  The solution is to simply say that each DHD does have it's own POO symbol and that the address of Atlantis being remotely dialed is incorrect.  Blame it all on the shows prop department.  I also noticed that the DHD used in outdoor locations has the symbols in a different order in different episodes.  You would think the Ancients would have them in the same order to make it easier to dial familiar addresses from different locations.

If you decide to take the pseudo-cannon route and want to change your POO then all you have to do is edit the g31 MovieClip in the DHD and Outgoing Gate Screen Flash documents.  This will update the graphic shown in that button slot to give your DHD a unique appearance.  The advantage of doing this is that you can use the default POO number for the gate addresses.

Can I use the keyboard to control the DHD?

Yes you can. As with most other things you can configure the keys via the XML file. Just look for the <keys> element and then change the relevant key binding. The numbers used are decimal keycodes which you can find in several places such as You can also press the lowercase k key to enable keyboard reading which will display the code for each key you press in the Status Panel. Press k again to turn it off.

How come nothing happens after I dial an address and establish a wormhole?

The wormhole may have been established but you still have to send either an SGA team or a MALP through. If you are on the DHD you should see the two translator panels on the left hand side of the screen. Those are the ones with scrolling ancient symbols. Each of those has a little triangular button. One sends a MALP and the other sends an SGA team. There are similar buttons on the Outgoing Gate Screen.

If you are viewing the sim within the main rotating cube GUI then when you select one of the two triangular buttons the cube should rotate to a new screen showing the content for that world. If you are viewing the DHD stand alone then you will need to open an instance of the gate_destination screen prior to selecting either of the Send buttons.

The original intention was to have a seperate MALP animation which would happen before the normal destination content could be shown. This was going to take the form of a mini-game where you could select either the normal MALP or the Air-drone MALP. Then you'd have to achieve some goal such as check the enviroment, detect enemies etc. Due to the sim constantly suffereing from scope creep I decided to skip this feature. That means that although one button is labled "Send MALP" and the other "Send SGA Team" they both just load the normal destination animation.

It takes me ages to manually dial an address, is there a faster way?

Sure you can. Open up the DHD and then press the "A" key to open the address book. Select an address from the scrolling list of titles to dial it. Click on the black border to close the address book without dialing an address. If it does not open then make sure the DHD has keyboard focus by clicking the mouse anywhere within the DHD screen.

What laptop do they use in the show?

I think they use a Dell Inspiron 8500. I five fingered a bunch of screenshots of this particular laptop model which you can see here. You can compare them to various show laptop screenshots in the concept art section. I based most of my hunch off the Communications section.

When I run the main SGACS GUI it fails to load the desktop, what's wrong?

This could be due to a Flash player local security issue. To solve this:

  • Visit the Adobe Settings Manager webpage. This is a page on the Adobe site which allows you to edit the advanced settings of the Flash player on your system.
  • Select "Global Security Settings panel" from the top right navigation. This will take you to the security settings page. The graphic below the main title is actually a swf which lets you change the settings, it is not a still image so be careful.
  • Click on the "Edit locations" dropdown and choose "Add location".
  • Choose the "Browse for folder" option and navigate to the directory that you are running the sim from.
  • That's it, you've now given the sim a trusted security state which means it can now load the child files succeffully. You can close the Flash settings webpage now.

How come I can still dial when there is no power?

If you look at the full sequence of outgoing gatescreen screenshots then you can see that one of the messages is "Insufficient Power To Complete Dialing Procedure". There would be no way they could receive that message if they had been unable to dial with too little power. This implies that with too little or no power you can still attempt to dial. This makes sense when you take into account that the power to maintain a gate connection can come from either the caller or the receiver.

How does the power system work?

The power system is something that has been in there from the beginning although it has been changed in numerous ways to take into account new ideas about how it should function. The entirety of this logic is based on what has been seen and mentioned in different episodes. The current way it works is simple. The actual screens themselves will always work. They are run on computers and laptops brought from Earth and therefore run off their power source. Power as you can control it within the sim is actually control over the four potential ZPMs that you can connect to the system.

In the lower right corner of the DHD are four power bars. Each one of those corresponds to one of the ZPMs that can be connected to the Atlantis system.  Wait a minute, Atlantis can only use three ZPMs right?  Well yes, but obviously the humans from Earth would want to connect up their own backup power system.  For the sake of simplicity this is also measured in ZPM time.  I'm just going to run with the idea that they use a forth ZPM as their backup power source.  Very convenient.

Atlantis uses each ZPM at the same time, taking a bit of power from each one.  In the episode "Before I Sleep" Weir has to manually change a ZPM every 3300 years.  This is to extend the life of each one.  It is not explained how this will help.  This is how I derived that Atlantis draws power simultaneously from all connected ZPMs.

ZPM power is measured in time (milliseconds) since that is the only fairly solid numerical basis we have to work from. The system uses several constant variables that indicate how much power is used for each action. An example would be that if a Wraith Hive shoots and hits Atlantis then roughly 129600 milliseconds of power will be drained from the first connected ZPM that has power.

The following is how I arrived at those values and can be skipped by 90% of the people reading this. According to Wikipedia "10,000 years under the pressure of thousands of feet of water with only three ZPMs used in sequence. Unlike other shields that deplete over time the Atlantis shield is impenetrable as long as sufficient power is available to its generators."

A single ZPM running a shield under minor load will last:

  • 3333.3333333333333333333333333333 years
  • 1217474 days
  • 1217474 days * 86400 seconds in a single day = 105189753600 seconds.
  • 105189753600 seconds

So say that the shield being active under a constant pressure added a quarter to the total value. A single ZPM load will last:

  • 4166.66668 years
  • 1521842.5 days
  • 131487192000 seconds

Having the shield running under minor load drains a total of 26297438400 seconds from the total life, that's 304368.5 per day. So, the shields under minor load drain 304368.5 seconds per day.

"The shield draws a substantial amount of power when under strain. The shield could only be sustained by a single ZPM for just days when under heavy attack from a Wraith fleet"

Let's say "just days" means three days. Say that was constant hits from a space bombardment, probably underwater to be defensive. We take our maximum ZPM lifespan: 131487192000, subtract 3 days of "minor load" from having the shields active under water: 131487192000 - (304368.5 * 3) = 131486278894.5, then we divide that by 3 for the three days under "heavy strain": 131486278894.5 / 3 = 43828759631.5

So we sucked 43828759631.5 seconds of power out of the ZPM per day during a three day wraith attack. That totally drained a single ZPM. Now let's say that the city is being hit once every two seconds (43200 hits per day) under almost constant bombardment: 43828759631.5 / 43200 = 1014554.621099537037037037037037

So we can say that each wraith hit on the shield drains 1014554 seconds of life from the ZPM. Total: 131487192000 / 1014554.621099537037037037037037 = 129600.90000625004340307918804992 seconds. So a single ZPM can take 129600 hits from a wraith ship until it totaly drains.

Have you implemented the 38 minute rule?

"Under normal circumstances, a wormhole can only be maintained for slightly more than 38 minutes. Extending the wormhole duration beyond this requires tremendous amounts of power, such as that provided by a nearby black hole, energy beings or advanced technologies"

Yes. All I did was take the maximum amount of power (4 ZPMs) and divide that by 38 minutes. The end result is that keeping a gate open for 38 minutes will totally drain 4 ZPMs.

All is not lost though. Power for the connection can come from either side. The way this is handled is that the content file that opens when the connection is made should broadcast a power increase message back to the DHD. This means the DHD will be fed a small stream of power while the content is loaded.

Why T.S.A.C.S and not T.S.G.A.C.S?

SG is the military designation for the Stargate program. If you are talking about a Stargate as a piece of technology or as part of a show title then it would just have S as it's initial.

How many symbols can an address have?

Most addresses use 7 symbols, the 7th being the POO. In some cases you can dial 8 symbols although this requires considerably more power than a seven symbol address. There is one officially known 9 symbol address which is used to dial on to the Gate Ship used in Stargate Universe. The only time we see that dialed is when they do so using the Earth Stargate which uses a different symbol system. So you'd think the Ancients would have an easy way of mapping from one system to the other but I personally don't know what that is. Because of that there are no 9 symbol addresses in the sims address book but you are free to add your own. The sim can completely handle 7, 8 and 9 symbol addresses.

When I dial an address I'd like it to run a program on my computer, how do I do that?

To do this you must use the .exe version of the sim. The sim uses Flashes fscommand to call external exe files. For this to work you will need to:

  • Navigate to the fscommand directory and copy the file "proxy.exe".
  • Give the new copy a name like launchgoogleearth.exe
  • Now copy the proxy.bat file and rename that to match, so using the previous example this file would be called launchgoogleearth.bat
  • Open the new .bat file in your chosen text editor. It is just a standard Windows batch file with one line.
  • start "My Google Earth" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Google Earth\client\googleearth.exe"
  • All you have to do is change the "My Google Earth" to be whatever your app is called and then change the next argument, the file path to match your application.
  • Finally, open the /xml/addresses.xml file and find the address you would like to call this file. Add a new child node:
  • <batchfile>launchgoogleearth.exe</batchfile>

So when you dial the correct address the proxy.exe file you renamed will be called. That in turn will call the batch file with the matching name. That then uses Windows start command to run your chosen program.

Proxy.exe is an application written by Northcode Inc.

Is the Pegasus Galaxy real?

There are actually a two galaxies that have the name Pegasus. The one that the show is based in is apparently the Pegasus Dwarf Irregular Galaxy.

Can I add my own gate addresses?

Yes, it is quite easy. Open dhd/xml/addresses_custom.xml in a text editor. It uses the same syntax as the main address XML file. Each address has a name, a comma seperated list of symbol numbers, an animation file and a batchfile. The animation and batch file paths are optional.

      <name>Custome Stargate</name> <!-- Name of destination. -->
      <address>20,7,9,6,4,12,31</address> <!-- Address for this gate. -->
      <anim>athosia.swf</anim> <!-- Path to target swf to load. -->
      <batchfile>launchgoogleearth.exe</batchfile> <!-- batchfile name to load from within the fscommand directory. -->

Normally you would either have a swf or a batch file but not both. There is nothing stopping you from having both. If you plan to launch programs when an address is dialed then be sure to the FAQ "When I dial an address I'd like it to run a program on my computer, how do I do that?".

The original DHD sim had loads of screen shots from the show as well as loads more information, what happened to it?

The Stargate Atlantis Dial Home Simulator page is still there.