On Mon, May 07, 2001 at 10:06:16PM -0400, Jeffrey Nowakowski wrote:
> Dave Ahn <ahn at vec.wfubmc.edu> wrote:
> >
> > In this day and age I think it's silly to build a completely standalone
> > server that functions without an Internet connection.  Internet based
> > games are popular, and it is no longer unrealistic to expect people to
> > have some kind of active connection to play the game like it was 2+ years
> > ago.  Time is better spent building an on-line newbie training server
> > which would be less work.  Somebody just needs to write a smart robot.
> I think you underestimate the value of a standalone server:

I don't discount the value of it... I just think that there are better
ways of spending that enormous effort.

> a) People with dialups.

They can still connect to a server on the net at 200ms.

> b) Bad routes to hosts.

Inevitable.  But current servers run on two ISP's with multiple peering
points.  Bad routes don't happen that often.

> c) Firewall problems.

Portswap has been a big help, but addressing the firewall problem is not
that easy because Netrek uses UDP.  But we could, for example, change
the network code to piggyback on other, more popular UDP based services
like RealAudio.  TCP based tunnel or proxy support is another
option.  This kind of stuff is a lot more useful than a standalone
server which ultimately won't benefit the player if he can't connect
to a public server.

> d) Convenience factor when you are just learning.

You have a point here.

> e) Get them hooked by playing with friends locally.

If they are on an internal network, they can just as easily download
and install Vanilla.

> Documentation and web site are a waste of time.  People want to
> download and go.  Yet another clue or newbie archive is not the
> answer.

The current documentation and web site pretty much suck.  They cater
to people who already know how to play.  I agree that a slick client
with built-in tutorial and fancy graphics that installs with one
click is the way to go.  But until somebody invests the time to write
such a client, we should at least have some newbie-friendly docs.

Dave Ahn | ahn at vec.wfubmc.edu | Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Try to live your life
so that when you die, you will rejoice and the world will cry.  -1/2 jj^2