G'day Bryan,

There is torpedo target tracking in the server.  Plasma torpedoes have a
level of tracking that is standard.  Ordinary torpedoes can probably
have this tracking turned on through configuration of ship parameters in
the etc/sysdef file.  I've not checked recently.  Enabling full tracking
on a ship (which can be done using "xtkill SLOT sA") generates torpedoes
that are useless for anything except random spraying.  They turn toward
the nearest enemy.

Changes to the server can be negotiated in the protocol using the

The client key "l" sends a CP_PLAYLOCK packet to the server, which
causes the server to set flag PFPLOCK (not PFPLLOCK) and the ship
navigates towards the selected other ship.  Often used for docking to a
base.  Rarely used for locking on to a ship that you suspect may
cloak, since the lock is retained after cloak is begun.  Often used by
new players to target an enemy in a way that allows the enemy to most
rapidly kill them, since their vector is predictable and straight-on.

The same client key is also used when observing; it causes the observing
client to display the view as seen by the observed ship.  The
CP_PLAYLOCK packet is handled differently for server slots that
represent observing clients.

You should evaluate the code quality in Vanilla and Paradise before you
pick one based purely on available features.  We've worked hard to bring
many features into the Vanilla code, as selectable options.  I can't
give you an opinion on Paradise code quality.  I'm not aware of any
other actively used server source apart from these two projects.

No, my client does not currently work with Paradise, and avoids listing
Paradise servers obtained from the metaserver.

Regarding the technical question you had about how data from the server
is processed:

1.  client.py dispatches packets based on the packet type to server
packet handlers (they all start with SP_ and are in __init__.py),

2.  the server packet handlers then call into the model objects, such as
galaxy, ship, planet,

3.  the model objects call into the view objects, such as the ship and
planet sprites to update certain details,

4.  when the data from the server has apparently finished for the
moment, the view objects, or sprites, are redrawn on screen, in
PhaseFlight and descendent objects.

The constructor of the server packet handlers creates a hash or
dictionary which describes the packet lengths and handling function.
The functions contain packet decoders using python struct semantics.

You can find the pystruct stuff also in the server, in file
include/packets.h ... this file also answers your question about
protocol documentation; it's the best documentation we have, and it is
kept in the code for rather obvious reasons of synchronisation.

James Cameron