Ahoy the list.  Zach recently reminded me that Netrek is still struggling
gamely on, and I've been re-discovering how much fun it is to play.

Unfortunately, it still looks like total ass, even with the latest NetrekXP
client, and configuration through netrek.rc is an absolute pain, even if
you've done it before.  I've started work on a simplified 3D bronco client,
an announcement which, being old and cynical myself, I know will be met with
a resounding "Meh" from everyone (else) who's heard it all before, or at
best a "A multi-windowed 2D client representation is an implicit part of the
game. IMPLICIT!".

And yes, I know that a "3D" representation will for the most part be used to
just display a top-down or nearly top-down view, but it *can* be used to
produce beauty shots, and beauty shots can be put on websites to lure in
unsuspecting noobs to feed the DD runnerscum, particularly if we can trick
them into using some god-awful chase cam mode. ;)

So, and purely FYI, the plan is:

1) Get NetrekXP compiled as C++, because we're in the Future now (done).
2) Run a single-window display-only 3D representation on the game alongside
the classic windows (in progress, using Irrlicht because life's too short to
write yet another a 3D renderer).
3) Take input from the 3D window, making it fully usable.
4) Once the game is fully playable in the 3D window, excise all the1980's 2D
windows gubbins.  Burn it, BURN IT, I say.
5) Remove all the other legacy code supporting OSes and features that maybe
2 people in the world still use (and still can, using their 1992 clients on
their monochrome DECs), and replace it with an actual menu system with a key
configuration screen.
6) Refresh as fast as possible, projecting (uncloaked) ship and torp
positions between server updates to make it look less horribly stuttery.
7) Bleat and whine like a punctured bagpipe then give up in outraged disgust
because nobody wants to model 40 ships that will end up looking pretty much
like 2D bitmaps anyway when viewed from high above.

With failure built right into the plan, I can't fail to fail, even if I


The primary R of this RFC is for suggestions about how to incorporate enough
salient information for 95% of players into a single window.  Take a moment
to scream the requisite "OMG, INFOBORG HAXXORZ!", then we can go on.

My intention is to have the tactical fill the whole window, with the
playerlist overlayed in the bottom left, a single unified message window
overlayed in the bottom right, and a (relatively small) galactic window
overlayed in the top right.  As normal, the galactic area will be usable for
sending events.  I intend to put as much known (i.e. not "infoborged")
information on the screen as possible by default, to reduce the requirement
to keep infoing planets and players.

I feel that I may also want a full-screen galactic mode, as the galactic is
the most important window.  I mean, apart from the message window, which as
we all know is the most important window.  The most important apart from the
playerlist, obviously.

The other major possibility is to have the tactical fill a square viewport
on the left 3/4 (or 9/16ths) of the screen, with the other 1/4rd or 7/9ths
of the screen being used for galactic, playerlist and message-list stacked
vertically.  A square tactical avoids issues with aspect ratios or freaky
camera frustrums, although I don't want to get too cute in a first version.

Right, that's me done expounding the Grand Plan.  "Meh", "Implicit!", "OMG
INFOBORG HAXXORZ", or a world weary silence would all be appropriate at this

Kind regards,

-Colin MacDonald-
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