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 Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy 
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
The great thing about TradeWars is it has appeal for the casual as well as the hardcore fan. Speaking as a hacker who runs Linux and writes software all day, I love the scripts and malleability of the game that puts the player in charge of their destiny, but speaking as a lazy bastard who owns a Wii and a Macbook, sometimes I like something simple that just works. What I think TradeWars hasn't done well is provide a game for the casual user, which would be just as competitive but not require the constant attention, elaborate setup, and scripting prowess that TW requires today. I'm trying to explore what changes would be involved for my latter self :)


Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:57 am
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
Hehe. Good luck.

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Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:24 am
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
mrdon wrote:
The great thing about TradeWars is it has appeal for the casual as well as the hardcore fan. Speaking as a hacker who runs Linux and writes software all day, I love the scripts and malleability of the game that puts the player in charge of their destiny, but speaking as a lazy bastard who owns a Wii and a Macbook, sometimes I like something simple that just works. What I think TradeWars hasn't done well is provide a game for the casual user, which would be just as competitive but not require the constant attention, elaborate setup, and scripting prowess that TW requires today. I'm trying to explore what changes would be involved for my latter self :)


The problem is that many of us are hyper competitive and will put in time just to get one player SD, and others will play 30 minutes to an hour and feel like they should be winning with their "effort".

I do not think the game in its current state will prevent scripting or enforce the game-in-a-box scenario. There is a "version" of Trade Wars that is basically a game-in-a-box complete with graphics that is being developed, but I haven't played it and probably won't.

If a helper could be designed with graphics that had the speed of Zoc, SWATH, or ATTAC then you would have more of a chance of getting the eye candy crowd. I believe if you had the graphics and some decent bundled scripts (that still allowed the use of TWX) then you might have a very good chance at growing the game. I had thought about trying something like this with DarkBasic, but I am not a programmer - script in TWX just well enough to get by (sometimes).

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Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:18 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
Promethius wrote:
I had thought about trying something like this with DarkBasic, but I am not a programmer - script in TWX just well enough to get by (sometimes).


Such a wise, humble man...

he he he

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Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:20 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
Promethius wrote:
If a helper could be designed with graphics that had the speed of Zoc, SWATH, or ATTAC then you would have more of a chance of getting the eye candy crowd. I believe if you had the graphics and some decent bundled scripts (that still allowed the use of TWX) then you might have a very good chance at growing the game. I had thought about trying something like this with DarkBasic, but I am not a programmer - script in TWX just well enough to get by (sometimes).


My thought is it would be cool if every board could basically create its own client either from scratch or by modifying a standard, open source one. Yes, helpers are a lot of work (believe me, I know), but I'm working on a few things to make them much easier, especially if you have something like TWXProxy available on the server.


Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:26 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
You do realize that TWXproxy will have to be rewritten to handle CPU and memory usage a lot better, right? Practically every script out there, at some point, causes major CPU usage.

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May the unholy fires of corbomite ignite deep within the depths of your soul...

1. TWGS server @ twgs.navhaz.com
2. The NavHaz Junction - Tradewars 2002 Scripts, Resources and Downloads
3. Open IRC chat @ irc.freenode.net:6667 #twchan
4. Parrothead wrote: Jesus wouldn't Subspace Crawl.

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Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:06 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
Singularity wrote:
You do realize that TWXproxy will have to be rewritten to handle CPU and memory usage a lot better, right? Practically every script out there, at some point, causes major CPU usage.


I'll know more when I do my load tests after the first prototype is done, but there are ways to limit CPU, by time and percentage, and memory usage by process on the Linux platform at least, so I'm not too concerned about it. If the server controlled the scripts, there no reason you couldn't rewrite the data crunching bits in a more efficient language, because remember, we are talking about a game meant to be played on 386's...I'm fairly confident we can write something to handle a few concurrent players on a modern, 4gb multicore box.

Of course, the proof is in the pudding :)


Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:26 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
Game may've been meant for 386's, but any number of things can tax a modern machine in twx script. When I run the data miner my CPU usage goes to 100%.

So you'd have to port TWXproxy to linux, make serious changes to it, rewrite all of the scripts you plan to implement (with little knowledge of how modern scripts are used or made), along with writing a client and a resource manager. All with no hope of a serious financial return and very little organized or dedicated help (probably none, to be honest).

Ambitious. I can't even get JP to fix a half-dozen bugs with a over a year's notice. I'm sure it can be done from a technical perspective, but the real-world issues... well, I'll believe it when it happens. ;)

So, when are you planning to start this endeavor?

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May the unholy fires of corbomite ignite deep within the depths of your soul...

1. TWGS server @ twgs.navhaz.com
2. The NavHaz Junction - Tradewars 2002 Scripts, Resources and Downloads
3. Open IRC chat @ irc.freenode.net:6667 #twchan
4. Parrothead wrote: Jesus wouldn't Subspace Crawl.

*** SG memorial donations via paypal to: dpocky68@booinc.com
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Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:02 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
Singularity wrote:
Game may've been meant for 386's, but any number of things can tax a modern machine in twx script. When I run the data miner my CPU usage goes to 100%.

So you'd have to port TWXproxy to linux, make serious changes to it, rewrite all of the scripts you plan to implement (with little knowledge of how modern scripts are used or made), along with writing a client and a resource manager. All with no hope of a serious financial return and very little organized or dedicated help (probably none, to be honest).

Ambitious. I can't even get JP to fix a half-dozen bugs with a over a year's notice. I'm sure it can be done from a technical perspective, but the real-world issues... well, I'll believe it when it happens. ;)

So, when are you planning to start this endeavor?


The original purpose of this thread to explore what if, so any of this may or may not happen. I'm more interested in exploring what interesting things could be possible from a sysop and player perspective if a lot of the helper complexity moved to the server and what could help bring the game to the more casual user. What if every sysop could have their own, specialized client? If you didn't have to worry about scripting or data collection, what kind of client could you create? If you could add textual elements into the game itself like TWXProxy does, what would you add? What automated services would you provide for offline players to let the casual player play her 30 minutes then walk away in good conscience?

This diversion into technical feasibility is interesting as these are all things to think about but so far, I see no showstoppers - TWXProxy runs on Linux just fine via wine, server-side resources could be properly throttled, there are plenty of encryption techniques to lock out all but your client if you wanted to, TWXProxy is open source and very accessible thanks to the continuing work of ElderProphet, and I don't think one here has any illusions of TradeWars making anyone any money any time soon. Some people like to write scripts, some people like to play in the tourneys, some like to write helpers - I'm in the last camp, though scripts can be fun too.

If or when I get a prototype working, I'll let y'all know.


Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:58 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
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What automated services would you provide for offline players to let the casual player play her 30 minutes then walk away in good conscience?


Only way you could make it feasible would be to keep the user "logged in" even when they disconnect, and have some sort of automated defenses running. Otherwise there's no way any passive defense could survive a more dedicated player. Wouldn't be perfect, but an automated runaway script would at least keep them alive for a while.

_________________
May the unholy fires of corbomite ignite deep within the depths of your soul...

1. TWGS server @ twgs.navhaz.com
2. The NavHaz Junction - Tradewars 2002 Scripts, Resources and Downloads
3. Open IRC chat @ irc.freenode.net:6667 #twchan
4. Parrothead wrote: Jesus wouldn't Subspace Crawl.

*** SG memorial donations via paypal to: dpocky68@booinc.com
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Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:36 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
Only way you could make it feasible would be to keep the user "logged in" even when they disconnect, and have some sort of automated defenses running. Otherwise there's no way any passive defense could survive a more dedicated player. Wouldn't be perfect, but an automated runaway script would at least keep them alive for a while.[/quote]

That's the spirit! :) I've built a simple multi-user front-end proxy to TWXProxy, which could be used to spawn and manage TWXProxy instances. Either the main proxy could handle the simple keepalive scripts or TWXProxy could be slimmed down enough to be kept alive. Another technique I liked in Barren Realms Elite was the concept of investing and how it still helped you advance when you couldn't log in every day. It would be interesting to inject a new option into the stardock that adds investment to the galactic bank via scripting tedit behind the scenes.


Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:14 am
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
You have brought up some interesting ideas. I am assuming that the player can either connect to the front-end or they can still connect direct to twgs.

What would also compliment your idea is if we as sysops were able to control the connections of the twgs. For example, I would want to set our beginner game to only allow connections from your front end so players can use the server side twxproxy and deny connections not using the front end. The trick is how do you only allow scripts from the server side and not the client launching their scripts.

Either way, it sounds very interesting. I am interested in seeing the result.

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Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:22 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
Thrawn wrote:
What would also compliment your idea is if we as sysops were able to control the connections of the twgs. For example, I would want to set our beginner game to only allow connections from your front end so players can use the server side twxproxy and deny connections not using the front end. The trick is how do you only allow scripts from the server side and not the client launching their scripts.


Exactly. These more controlled games aimed at the casual user would simply compliment a sysop's offerings aimed at attracting a new group of players. The design I'm working on, which I'll more information available soon, use TWXProxy to handle scripting and even data collection, leaving the client able to focus on the user interface. This means the barrier to entry of creating your client goes way down, allowing for much more variation. Strictly speaking, TWXProxy wouldn't have to run on the server for this to work, but in order to prevent other clients, it would be necessary. Also, the game industry has been working on this problem of how to lock out third-party clients for many years now, so there is a lot of research and designs to draw from; all of which would need a smarter server in front of TWGS...the return of the BBS! :)


Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:47 pm
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
BTW, this thread is announcing the first step I've taken towards easier clients for TW, as it leverages TWX Proxy to encode structured information in the stream. I have a very simple Java client that consumes this data without having to parse it itself, so we'll see where this leads.


Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:06 am
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Unread post Re: Hosting with Bundled TWXProxy
I think you are on to an interesting thing here, and hope that you can get it to where you want it to be. Keep us posted. I look forward to seeing this in action.

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Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:16 pm
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