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[Nel] Greetings! And some questions / comments

From: Sal
Subject: [Nel] Greetings! And some questions / comments
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000 16:18:21 -0500


First a little rant to explain my being here: :-)

    I am also a Worldforge developer, like Bryce.  Though not nearly as
famous ;-)   I stumbled upon Nevrax the other day and am very interested in
its development.  My goal a few years back was to help create a free,
massively multiplayer online RPG system, one that I could enjoy myself and
that others could build from to make their own persistant online worlds.
And a commercial effort such as Nevrax could be a powerful force in helping
to achieve such a goal.

    Most opensource projects that start up have caught my eye, the first
being the Ultima online emulator scene which  I was a part of for a long
time, coding admin tools, NPC ai, network code, etc. Whatever seemed the
most challenging task.   I got soon fed up with having to deal with the idea
that all the hard work might not even turn out to be legal, and all the
problems that OSI provided for the emu scene I didnt care for.  So I then
came across Worldforge, and that is where I am. Finally a totally free
opensource project that met, if not exceeded my own standards for an online
gaming system.

    So I took on the responsibility of developer XClient, a 3d client.  The
root of its homepage is here, if anyone's interested:

    Some shots of its recent developments (a terrain engine) are here:
    (Its very early in development)

    Some old out of date client shots:

    And lastly, a goals paper that I've recently written to illustrate what
the goals are in XClient development.  This one I recommend reading above
the others.

    I've also created a Map editor (XEdit) a UDP networking library based
off of the GPLd quake code (XUDP) and a simple test server (XServer).  All
of this and XClient are in Worldforge cvs for those interested.  If there
are questions about any of these things, please ask!

    Anyhow, yes there is a point to all this.  It seems that a lot of
Worldforge's goals and development are in tandem with Nevrax's.  So,  I
thought it would be worth it to see  1) how compatible our projects are and
2) if we might be able to help each other out in any form, whether it be
artwork, code, or knowledge.  3) how much interest, if any, there is in
sharing efforts.

    So if I could ask a few questions.  I tried finding out some information
through the website, but some questions remain:

1)  I understand that Nel will be a library to create games, but is this
project also developing a specific game that uses the library?  If so what
details of it are known?  As far as ruleset... gameplay...

2)  What is the development strategy?  For example Worldforge will be
developing several smaller diverse games in succession (Acorn, Mason... etc.
etc.) until we reach the final goal, entitled 'BelchFire'.  Will you guys be
doing a similar thing?

3)  What features/goals are there for the 3d engine?  What's being targeted
(high end/low end hardware)?  What rendering APIs?  Software mode?

4)  I get this question a lot :-)  Why develop a 3d engine from scratch? Why
not use/build from an existing engine, such as Crystal Space?

5)  What are the capabilities of the current codebase?

6)  Is development open to outside influence? Or are you following an
internal-only plan, and just opensourcing the results?

7)  Was there knowledge of Worldforge when this project was started?  And if
so,  why was it deemed necessary to start another,  independant effort with
the same goals?

8)  Would it be possible to get a brief description of what Nevrax will use
in the following areas:
                - Protocol (UDP? TCP/IP?)
                - Mapfile format (Custom? XML? Binary? Database-Driven?)
                - Mapfile editors (What existing tools will be used, if
                - Model format(s)
                - Texture format(s)

9)  How the heck do you guys manage to pay a full development team off of
free software? :-)

    Thats about all I have for now.  I'm sure more will come up in the
future.  You might want to put a few of those in the FAQ, I've noticed its
in need of some fulfilling... and other people may have similair questions.

    Anyhow, thanks in advance, and Congratulations and Good Luck in your
efforts.  Its a challenging and rewarding goal that we are working towards.
I look forward to exchanging thoughts and ideas in the near future!

- Sal

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