I'll be on the IRC channel.  I'd like to discuss how to move the Windows
client (and by proxy other clients) forward.  In brief though, these are the
things I think we should do, in the order I'd recommend doing them.

1. Create a Main Menu/Title screen, with access to options, etc.
2. Integrate the external tools (configuration, cambot, tutorial) into the
main game exe, accessible from the main menu
3. Ensure that the UI conforms to Windows standards.  Namely, that the main
game windows have normal controls (close, minimize) and responds properly to
4. Integrate the metaserver UI into the game UI as the first screen you hit
when you start, rather than a separate window which pops up.
5. Examine the use of keyboard input on the login screen.  For example, ESC
should be used to quit the game (or bring up a 'Really Quit?' box) and a
more standard username/password UI should be implemented.

I believe these items will go a long ways towards making the game feel more
like a cohesive product than a scattering of applications and
poorly-behaving windows apps.  Later on I'd start to tackle some of the more
drastic changes:

1. Scrap the UI code, at least for Windows.  Not only is it messy, but it's
not flexible enough to allow the proper use of modern UI elements and
design.  Enable more significant 'themeing' capabilities.
2. Revamp the graphics system to use a mechanism more suited to modern day
graphics expectations that would allow us to significantly up-rate the
graphics in the future.  Probably something 3D.
3. Update the network protocol (along with the server side) to allow
event-based network updates.  Along with this would be client-side
extrapolation of movement for ships based on the last known speed/heading,
which would lead to MUCH smoother graphics. (this is non-trivial though
because of things like torp wobble and latency)
4. Consider if we could translate Netrek to a console, like the Xbox 360 on
Xbox Live.  This would be some serious work because there are issues
relating to input and communication which, at first look, are not compatible
with XBox capabilities.  However, there is a substantial market there for
potential new gamers, and it may be worth tapping in to.  Something to think

For Windows development, I would suggest moving to C#.  The reasons are
1. .NET is the future of programming for the Windows platform.
2. C# is very easy to pick up if you have done much programming in C++
3. It is very easy to develop in C#, MUCH less error prone than C++.
3. The development environment for it is mature now with all the tools
you'll need.
4. C# is portable to other platforms using Mono
5. The development tools for C# are free from Microsoft on Windows, and free
for Mono on the Unixes.
6. If we do elect to make an Xbox 360 version, C#, vis-à-vis the XNA Game
Studio, allows simultaneous development for Xbox and Windows with
essentially no code changes.

XNA Game Studio Express may be found here:


You'll need Visual C# Express first (even if you have Visual Studio 2005),
which you can get here:


I would be more than happy to talk with anyone on IRC or here about issues
with C# and instruct those who have not yet had an opportunity to learn it.
As someone who spent 10 years doing professional C and C++ development for
Linux and Windows, I can confidently say that moving to C# (or adding it to
your repertoire) is something you will not regret.

Oh, and P.S., I am willing to lead this effort on the Windows side of

-----Original Message-----
From: netrek-dev-bounces at us.netrek.org
[mailto:netrek-dev-bounces at us.netrek.org] On Behalf Of William Balcerski
Sent: Saturday, April 07, 2007 2:42 AM
To: Netrek Development Mailing List
Subject: Re: [netrek-dev] Set a fitting subject

On Fri, 6 Apr 2007, ChronosWS wrote:

> I'm not a big fan of over-organization, but there are common-sense, low
> steps which can be taken to facilitate a cohesive development strategy.
> wiki is a joke, honestly, as it's really just a collection of bullet
> with no one having bothered to distill or synthesize the ideas into a plan
> of any sort.
The wiki is a reference, not intended to be a todo list.

> If the group is really too lazy to bother to log into a forum (you know,
> a bookmark to your browser, it will remember who you are, just click it
> you are logged in) then may I humbly suggest that the group may not have
> what it takes to really reinvigorate the game to the level which you have
> professed to desire.  It's a serious task which is proposed, and even
> we are part-time developers on it does not mean we should be lazy about
> doing what is needed to pursue that goal in earnest.
I fail to see why we need yet another forum when we have 2 active mailing
lists, 1 code commit mailing list, 1 dead mailing list, IRC,
rec.games.netrek, and the forums at playnetrek.org.

> My goal here is to provide a means for organization and a mechanism by
> the leader(s) of it can communicate the actual plan and have that plan be
> readily available to all developers who will be referring to it during
> development process.  Having a single point of access for discussion and
> decisions means there is no need to know about mailing lists, wikis and
> in source control as separate potential locations of information - it's
> in one place, easily found, easily searched, and if people are doing their
> jobs, mostly up to date (and if the conversations are included in the
> forums, then even out-of-date information can be corrected by review.)
There is a single point of access for discussion, it's the IRC channel
Quozl mentioned.  Every active developer (except the mactrek guy) uses it.
And he would have benefitted from hanging out there (RSA fiasco anyone?

Perhaps I should lay out the state of netrek development.  There are 4
"active" developers working on code, besides akb who is working on the web
site.  There are also some people who contribute once every few months but
I wouldn't call them active.  Oh and I forgot the guy who ported COW to
a Nokia, but that was only in the last week :).

One of the devs (Narcis) does Mac client only - he works alone, no one
else is up to speed on Mac development.
Quozl, Karthik, and myself work on server development - we use IRC to pass
ideas/code back and forth.  In my experience, rarely have I needed email
to discuss the code, as the guru (aka Quozl) is around frequently.
I also work on the Window client, I work alone because no one else is up
to speed on Windows development.

We have ample infrastructure for communicating.  We have mechanisms for
task assignments (server has several TODO lists such as PROJECTS and
BUGS).  I have another TODO list for the client.  More developers are
welcome.  The barrier to joining development is low (server) to moderate
(client).  People on IRC are around to answer any questions to help
developers.  I would be thrilled to have another Windows developer.  Will
it be you? ;)

 > How far are you willing to go to bring this game to that huge pool of
> potential players?
We have paid advertising (thanks Joe), we have a high google ranking
(thanks Joe again), we have a list of ideas:
Any other suggestions on what we should be doing?


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