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michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the blast-from-the-past dept.

Games 153

R Jason Valentine writes "Before Ogg was an encoding standard it was a verb. Before the internet enabled the masses to play against each other in Quake and Ultima Online, there was a cross-platform multiple player interactive online game called Netrek. Netrek can trace its history back to 1972. It's an interesting, though incomplete, read, that includes travels through places like Berkeley's XCF. Netrek generally peaked in play in the early 90's, from about 1992 to 1995 or so, and was popular enough to even get an article in Wired. With this explosion of players, several variations on the original style, called Bronco, emerged. These were Chaos (similar to bronco), Paradise, and Hockey. The Chaos and Paradise variants are all but dead, mostly due to lack of players and an expired Paradise-capable client for Windows. A Bronco pick-up game still occurs daily, and usually once or twice a week, there is a hockey game. League games still exist, and this is the 10th year of league play, with around 200 players registered for the 2002 draft league."

Valentine continues: "Though the graphics are subspectacular, gameplay is enveloping. Like chess, the rules are simple and comprehendable within the first hour of play, yet the game is difficult to master. After a 5 year hiatus, I returned to the game and found play still engaging with a healthy, though small, active community. The clients haven't had a major upgrade in years, and recent rebuild attempts remain unfinished. The development slowdown can be attributed to a decrease in interest and the aging of the original programmers, who now hold steady jobs and don't have an itch to update stable clients. If you've played before, but not in a long time, the game is worth revisiting. If you've never played, and don't have the latest greatest hardware to play the latest installment of the tired FPS genre, check out Netrek. Minimum system requirements are a graphics card that can do 256 colors at 1024x768 and an internet connection."

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phoasty (-1, Troll)

First_In_Hell (549585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501005)

frosty pist 1234567891011121314151617181920

Re:phoasty (-1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501058)

Towelie is the worst character, ever.

Re:phoasty (-1)

on by (572414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501161)


Slashdot was once a good website,
but now it is full of such bullshite.
so come to negative one!
let's have some fun!
troll with us under the moonlight.

(c)2002 on by enterprises inc. All rights reserved, no unauthorised reproduction. U.S. Patent 5,782,986.

Hello (-1)

Mao Zedong (467890) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501006)

This shemale movie on IFC sucks.

Re:Hello (-1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501048)

Sega! []

Re:Hello (-1)

on by (572414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501165)

Slashdot was once a good website,
but now it is full of such bullshite.
so come to negative one!
let's have some fun!
troll with us under the moonlight.

(c)2002 on by enterprises inc. All rights reserved, no unauthorised reproduction. U.S. Patent 5,782,986.

P.S. I would like suggestions for a better last line, I will gladly share the profits from the patent with any successful submission.

Um yeah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501012)

After reading some of this, all I can say to you now is: ... HUH!?!?!

In other words, SAY WHAT!?

WTF are you talking about man

Alternative Title for Netrek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501019)

Introducing a new crack... ;)

Re:Alternative Title for Netrek (0)

ovit (246181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501086)

So wierd...

A history by a guy I work with about a guy I used to work with...


Linux is fucking gay (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501021)

Any operating system in which "man touch" is a valid command has serious problems.

Re:Linux is fucking gay (-1)

Anal Cocks (557998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501035)

man touch
man grep
man strip
man fsck
man more
man more !
man more !!

Re:Linux is fucking gay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501054)

It is not a command it is a command and arg. Why not use "touch prostate" or "touch rectum and put finger in it" Just as valid

Re:Linux is fucking gay (-1)

on by (572414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501172)

please fuck off and die. k thx bye.

Other innovative early games (1)

Squalish (542159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501026)

I now know a lot about Nethack, Netrek, and others. What other kinds of early, innovative games that are still going on are there?

Re:Other innovative early games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501074)

TradeWars [] .

Re:Other innovative early games (-1)

on by (572414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501175)

Mansex 7.0

Comes as default on lunix.

try it sometime.

Re:Other innovative early games (-1)

Anal Cocks (557998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501187)

Personally, I prefer "man touch" or "man strip."

Re:Other innovative early games (2)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501220)

I fondly remember Empire [] . I haven't played it in about fifteen years. Perhaps that's because it caused me to almost flunk two classes.

It was similar in look to the classic Unix empire game, but for multiple players, with economics, military, diplomacy, etc. Pretty complex. It has balanced so that being constantly logged in had no advantage.

Mr. Frog was the diety, and every morning I would go print out the reports, stats, messages, etc. Then I would pore over them during lunch. Moves were made during dinner. And at night I would log in and make my moves.

One of these days I'll play again. I have a lot of vacation time acrued...

Bolo... networked Mac tank game (2)

green pizza (159161) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501252)

Works fine in Mac OS X under Classic, but a native port in much needed. Pretty popular game in some circles, at least a few dozen in my (rather small) city.

Re:Bolo... networked Mac tank game (1)

VikingBrad (525098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501269)

There is now a dedicated Linux server for Bolo, called LinBolo, and a Linux client is promised.

This is from the same guy who created the Windows client for Bolo, WinBolo []

Re:Other innovative early games (1)

killeroonie (577363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501290)

I remember playing NetTrek on the Suns in the computer lab in school, although I never got into it hard core. I actually spent more time playing MazeWars, which I believe is even older than NetTrek. My "golden years" though were spent playing on the CDC-Plato network on Empire, Moria, Labrinth and Dry Gulch. I would love to know what became of these games...are they still alive anywhere? That would be awesome to bring some of them back!!

Open Source Misconceptions (-1)

Anal Cocks (557998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501028)

By Serial Troller []

Myth: Open Source is written by heterosexuals.

Fact: All Open Source development is done by raging homosexuals. The more flaming examples include Anal Cox, Linus Turdballs, Eric Ass-Reaming Raymond, and the entire Slashdot crew. The ringleader of the slashdotters, a man named CmdrTaco, engages in a practice known as Taco-snotting, along with his faggot-buddies Jeff Homos Bates and CowBoiKneel.

Myth: Open Source is written for heterosexuals.

Fact: Using Open Source software can cause suppressed homosexual fantasies to surface, leading to all out flaming faggotry within 6-8 weeks. Anecdotes of otherwise hetero men turning queer are far too numerous to count, but a few examples stand out. In one case, a man was arrested loitering outside an elementary school and making sexual overtures to several children: he quickly confessed that shortly after installing the Mozilla browser on his computer, he began to have uncontrollable urges to, to put it simply, have his cock sucked off by little boys. He soon met several other like-minded men through discussions on the Bugger Zilla mailing list (all already homosexuals), who together kidnapped a total of seven children whom they brought back to their apartment and sodomized. The other two men are still at large and believed to still be using Mozilla.

Myth: Open Source is multicultural.

Fact: Open Source is openly racist [] .

Myth: Open Source is democratic.

Fact: Open Source is controlled by a few narrow-minded zealots (mentioned throughout this post), most of whom are either Communists, Stalinists, Nazis, or Fascists. Additionally, Open Source supports terrorism.

Myth: Open Source is tolerant of religious preferences.

Fact: Open Source developers regularly engage in holy wars over the superiority of various Open Source projects, such as the Emacs program (preferred by Christians) versus vi (used mostly by neo-pagans and Satanists); or the KDE desktop (a favorite among Muslims) versus the GNOME project (particularly favored by Jews). Posts initiating crusades or jihads against other developers can be found regularly throughout the newsgroups and mailing lists.

Myth: Open Source is tolerant of sexual preference.

Fact: See above. Either you are a homo, you become a homo, or you never visit Richard Stallman alone in his office and hope to God you never meet him on the street at night.

Myth: Open Source is tolerant of political differences.

Fact: Open Source is an anarcho-communist philosophy bent on the destruction of capitalism. The very same Richard Stallman, a man whose name is disturbingly reminiscent of Stalin, has stated several times in public that his vision includes the subjugation of all who own intellectual properties under the jackboot of the GPL. The GPL is a pernicious piece of literature lifted straight from Karl Marxs Communist Manifesto, and is fortunately banned in many democratic nations.


© 2002 Serial Troller. Permission to reproduce this document is granted provided that you send all the bukkake porn you can find to [mailto] .

Re:Open Source Misconceptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501164)

I used to think slashdot posters were unusually stupid, but it appears to be that all linux users are unusually stupid. Check this post from usenet:

google link []

From: ECS Sales (
Subject: Egg Head( a.k.a. Egg Troll) is a liar and troll (was The GPL: Intellectual Protection or Intellectual Theft?)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
Date: 2002-05-05 13:54:52 PST

Just look at some of the other trollish posts by Egg Head(notice all of the
extraneous groups the message went to?):

Note: He also talks about writing the linux kernel in VB, and that he was
talking to several important players in the linux world, but he can't even
spell LT's name right! Also, sorry for reposting this idiotic post, but it
clearly shows how much of a liar and troll Egg Head is! Also, he talks about
how he doesn't write C, he writes VB, but in GPL: IProtection or I Theft, he
talks about using gcc, which as far as I know does not work with VB(duh.)
Then there is the marketing people at the monopolistic FSF, which he states
owns gcc, which we all know is an absolute lie. He also talks about Perl
being a dead language, which it obviously isn't. When Egg Head the
proverbial liar reads this, I would ask him to give me Alan Cox's phone
number, and I then will procede to either call him with that number, or find
his email address Get a life Egg Head.

From: Egg Troll (
Subject: C: A Dead Language
Newsgroups:, comp.lang.c, comp.lang.c++,
comp.lang.basic.visual, comp.os.linux.advocacy
View this article only
Date: 2002-04-27 16:23:44 PST

Gentlemen, the time has come for a serious discussion on whether or
not to continue using C for serious programming projects. As I will
explain, I feel that C needs to be retired, much the same way that
Fortran, Cobol and Perl have been. Furthermore, allow me to be so bold
as to suggest a superior replacement to this outdated language.

To give you a little background on this subject, I was recently asked
to develop a client/server project on a Unix platform for a Fortune
500 company. While I've never coded in C before I have coded in VB for
fifteen years, and in Java for over ten, I was stunned to see how
poorly C fared compared to these two, more low-level languages.

C's biggest difficulty, as we all know, is the fact that it is by far
one of the slowest languages in existance, especially when compared to
more modern languages such as Java and C#. Although the reasons for
this are varied, the main reasons seems to be the way C requires a
programmer to laboriously work with chunks of memory.

Requiring a programmer to manipulate blocks of memory is a tedious way
to program. This was satisfactory back in the early days of coding,
but then again, so were punchcards. By using what are called
"pointers" a C programmer is basically requiring the computer to do
three sets of work rather than one. The first time requires the
computer to duplicate whatever is stored in the memory space "pointed
to" by the pointer. The second time requires it to perform the needed
operation on this space. Finally the computer must delete the
duplicate set and set the values of the original accordingly.

Clearly this is a horrendous use of resources and the chief reason why
C is so slow. When one looks at a more modern (and a more serious)
programming language like Java, C# or - even better - Visual Basic
that lacks such archaic coding styles, one will also note a serious
speed increase over C.

So what does this mean for the programming community? I think clearly
that C needs to be abandonded. There are two candidates that would be
a suitable replacement for it. Those are Java and Visual Basic.

Having programmed in both for many years, I believe that VB has the
edge. Not only is it slightly faster than Java its also much easier to
code in. I found C to be confusing, frightening and intimidating with
its non-GUI-based coding style. Furthermore, I like to see the source
code of the projects I work with. Java's source seems to be under the
monopolistic thumb of Sun much the way that GCC is obscured from us by
the marketing people at the FSF. Microsoft's "shared source" under
which Visual Basic is released definately seems to be the most fair
and reasonable of all the licenses in existance, with none of the
harsh restrictions of the BSD license. It also lacks the GPLs
requirement that anything coded with its tools becomes property of the

I hope to see a switch from C to VB very soon. I've already spoken
with various luminaries in the C coding world and most are eager to
begin to transition. Having just gotten off the phone with Mr. Alan
Cox, I can say that he is quite thrilled with the speed increases that
will occur when the Linux kernel is completely rewritten in Visual
Basic. Richard Stallman plans to support this, and hopes that the
great Swede himself, Linux Torvaldis, won't object to renaming Linux
to VB/Linux. Although not a C coder himself, I'm told that Slashdot's
very own Admiral Taco will support this on his web site. Finally,
Dennis Ritchie is excited about the switch!

Thank you for your time. Happy coding.

Egg Troll

Re:Open Source Misconceptions (-1)

Anal Cocks (557998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501193)

Hmm, C is dead? I guess I should go rewrite the Linux kernel in Perl. Or maybe JavaScript.

69! (-1)

on by (572414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501182)

This is my 69th post on this account! w00t! I'll think i'll go install lunix now...

When's the next hockey game? (1)

brianosaurus (48471) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501032)

and is there a macosx client?

I haven't played in YEARS... ugh... I wonder if my old tcl bot code is still around somewhere...

Re:When's the next hockey game? (1)

47Ronin (39566) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501141)

I've tried to compile many different variations of the code but have failed during the make part of the build (under XDarwin). Remember this is an X11 game. Paradise doesn't have full sourcecode and I couldn't get the Java version running either. Most of the documentation is pretty cryptic so you're on your own in trying to set this up. At least Fink shows xscorch (Scorched Earth). Hopefully this article will drum up some renewed developer interest.

Darwin clients (2)

tap (18562) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501178)

I think someone has compiled Ted Turner for XDarwin, check the netrek ftp site here [] for the Ted Turner binaries, there is one for Darwin.

I also think I've seen someone playing with Paradise 2.99 for Darwin, but I don't see the binary anywhere. As far as I know, no one has ported COW or BRMH to MacOS.

Re:When's the next hockey game? (2)

mooredav (101800) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501228)

I've tried to compile many different variations of the code but have failed during the make part of the build (under XDarwin).

There is a PowerPC/Darwin binary available now. I've been using it on my iBook for months.

Waxing Nostalgic (2, Insightful)

mestreBimba (449437) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501033)

I remember countless hours spent playing NetTrek.... I was never much good but there were people in those matches that rocked.

Played it during the same era that I was heavily involved in MUDs.

Both prove a point, namely, good gameplay is more important than flashy graphics.

It would be worthwhile to update the client.....
any volunteers?

Bueller? Bueller? anyone?

OMG (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501034)

I finally realized this article is for seriously pimply faced dirty GNU hippies.

Isn't OGG . . . (2)

acceleriter (231439) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501042)

. . . the Caveman troll?

Don't mind me, just burning off some karma. Nothing to see here.

Re:Isn't OGG . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501053)

That's OOG. Ogg is the superior music format that nobody outside of a few hackers uses.

Re:Isn't OGG . . . (2)

Phork (74706) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501073)

nope, thats OOG THE CAVEMAN

I remember Netrek... (1)

Pahandav (245033) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501045)

Netrek was the reason I installed Linux back in 1996. It looked like a really fun game, but the players were a bunch of elitists who didn't care too much for newcomers. And so I stopped trying to play. Hmm, I didn't even realize that anyone was still playing it anymore.

Re:I remember Netrek... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501062)

Unix / Linux users are still the same way, unfortunately.

Re:I remember Netrek... (1)

b3kZ (192674) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501114)

heh play any Quake 3 Team Deathmatch lately on an east coast Speakeasy server? if not, then you have yet to experience "elitists"

err, of course Counter-Strike is more elitist .. but the passwords for the servers required to experience it are harder to come by ...

Re:I remember Netrek... (3, Informative)

sheldon (2322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501262)

A lot has changed since '96.

First of all, I agree that the game was pretty elitist back then. We were having a lot of problems with the eject command on the server being abused driving away new players.

Several of us lobbied to change that, and now eject is non-existant from most public servers. This has improved the atmosphere tremendously.

Another change occured in '97 when I began to actively maintain and improve a client for Windows. There had been a client in the past originally created by Jonathan Shekter and later modified by Shawn Collenberg, but it had numerous bugs. (some which would kick you out of the game if abused by other players which was occuring in '97)

You no longer need Linux/Unix to play, in fact something like 80-90% of the player base use Windows today. I'd suggest checking it out again as I think things have changed. My client is on my website, and Trent Piepho mentioned his Linux client(Paradise 2000) in another message elsewhere.

Re:I remember Netrek... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501458)

Well, it hasnt really changed that much. I played a bit again recently. Same old, same old - 1 guy insisting that if I went back to pick up, i was picking up _his_ armies and that we should all be escorting him. Best kind of escort is a player dragging several other players on the opposite team to another planet but no, HE was going to do the taking cos HE was the 'clue'. I just ignored him, of course, and we proceeded to geno but I had to put up with the old "you fucking twink" kind of abuse right up until I took their last planet (I had played quite a few years INL, and while slightly rusty was very far from being clueless). The problem is if people don't recognise your login/handle and you disagree with them you immediately get labeled a twink and have to put up with a lot of abuse. Fortunately there's no eject anymore. The old mirrorshade, sdfranks, arizzi eject mechanism can no longer function.

Minimum requirements? (1)

longword (2293) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501050)

256 colors? I was very happy playing it on monochrome (yes, simple black or white, no grey in between) monitors of Sun ELCs and IBM RS/6000s. Many a mis-spent hour of youth...

Yeah, and while we're at it... (2)

VValdo (10446) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501060)

Wow. I totally forgot about Netrek...

So now who's up for a game of Bolo [] ?

Multiplayer angband [] ?

Ah, the classics...

Re:Bolo (1)

VikingBrad (525098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501247)

Bolo is still going strong and has grown beyond its Macintosh origins

It has since been totally re-written for Windows by an Australian fan. With permission of the original author he uses the original graphics (which if you know your history originated on a BBC Micro)

I used to play Bolo forever on my Mac now I can do the same with Winbolo []

There also is a dedicated Linux server version and the Linux client is supposed to be any day soon (but that was Feb 02 ;)

Cheers VikingBrad

Bronco pick-up game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501061)

A Bronco pick-up game

Where I come from, we call that "bitch crusing". It doesn;t involve netrek, though

Dose this mean...? (0)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501066)

That the oldest video game system is no longer PONG? ;);)

(stands back and waits for people to point out that spacewars was developed in 1969 or something....)

Wow, Xtrek -- those were the days... (2)

AJWM (19027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501087)

I remember much time wasted after-hours in the workstation room (we just had dumb ASCII terminals on our desks in those days) at work back in early 1987, when Xtrek was I guess about a year old. A lot more fun when your opponents are in the same room. That was X10 in those days. And I think mostly on DEC GPX's (something like a MicroVAX) because we didn't get Suns until later.

I briefly tried porting it to X11 when the company upgraded, but there were to many real-work projects going on and no time.

VAX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501167)


movl #5,r1

moval r0,(r15)
chme #2
sobgtr r1,lizz-oop

; Your comment violated the "postercomment"
; compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or
; less repetition. Comment aborted.

Re:VAX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501267)

whizz-oops! make that movl r0,(r15) fault, kids.

How Odd (0)

Saxerman (253676) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501089)

Ok, I'll admit it. I was playing netrek before I even knew what Linux was. A simple game that played fine on dial up bandwidth with 16 players, it was pretty revolutionary for its time. But... uh... thats the point. Netrek Paradise has come a long ways from the original game and I don't want to be one that puts down open source game development. But I've always thought Netrek has been a pretty niche market, and the number of players over the years reflects that. I've noticed a serious decline in interest over the years, which is why I eventually stopped playing. With fewer players it was getting harder and harder to get into a game, and Netrek basically needs around 8 players to make for a fun game. Much like the Halflife servers of today, full servers attract players and empty ones tend to stay empty. What I don't understand is why the sudden interest from Slashdot in Netrek? I admit I haven't played in a few years, but I don't see any breaking new developments in the game. As the article points out, the game has been around since 72, why is it worthy of a story now?

So, is this a history lesson, or a recruiting drive? Is it time to carry once again?

Re:How Odd (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501430)

Simple Answer: it's both a history lesson and a recruiting drive :)

And netrek is still the best game ever - or do you know another game you play for 10+ years straight.
I dont't :)

The problem is: netrek has a steep learning curve and ugly, ugly GFX, so people tend to walk away after their first session.
But anyone who ever played in a lab with 16 players sitting in front of their computers and screaming through the whole lab will never ever stop playing trek :)

link to something that actually works (1)

JoeMac (102847) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501095)

After doing a little searching, here's a link to a Windows client on another page on the site that actually works. The ftp server they list doesn't work properly []

actually the best windows client is sheldon's (2, Informative)

jbellis (142590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501183)

cow is a good client -- I contributed some small amount of code, years ago -- but it's a port of the unix version and "netrek xp" [] is better on windows.

Steve's server seems to be a bit flakey at the moment (imminent /.?) so I've mirrored it on mine [] for now.

Installation is as simple as unzipping. Once you connect to a server, "h" brings up a list of commands. There are a LOT, but to get started you need the speed (warp) commands (numbers 1-0 are enough to start with), set-course (right mouse button) and fire (left & middle buttons).

Enjoy the addiction. :)

Re:actually the best windows client is sheldon's (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501249)

Sorry. I was just notified the RAID array on my webserver failed, and they are moving the files over to new equipment.

They said 30 minutes to fix it, but that was 3 hours ago. :(

Re:actually the best windows client is sheldon's (2)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501336)

There's also a mirror at . Has several clients.

A /what/!? (1)

Your_Mom (94238) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501113)

A Bronco pick-up game still occurs daily

This is the game where one white ship travels across the board doing the speed limit, while 50 other ships pursue it.

Paradise was...Paradise (3, Interesting)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501120)

I remember coming in on HOLIDAYS so I could play. I missed entire days worth of classes to play. Netrek was so engrossing, even if you were only mediocre.

I always liked Paradise the best, though. You had high warp engines, better ships (does anyone else remember the Assault Base?) really well maintained statistics (I was the Kamikaze champ for about 6 months running, mostly due to my inability to pass up ogging opportunities) and far more interesting game play dynamics because of the system layout (ie. Suns and solar systems and whatnot.) Splashing a Jumpship or a Warbase was always the high point of a game, and I was one of those crazies that would ogg the base in just about anything. Scout, DD, didn't matter. Warp drives to full, and drop that torp load!

When Paradise died, I basically stopped playing. I occasionally miss it. If you've ever played a network FPS and liked it, check out Netrek, ESPECIALLY you Tribes fans out there.

Re:Paradise was...Paradise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501194)

I remember coming in on HOLIDAYS so I could play. I missed entire days worth of classes to play. Netrek was so engrossing, even if you were only mediocre.

So, it should have been called NetCrack. Oh wait... That's NetHack....

Tradewars 2002 anyone? (1)

EMIce (30092) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501123)

I never played netrek but I do remember playing Tradewars 2002 game "door" on a couple local bulletin boards. It was a role playing game where one was a space trader. You had to trade fuel Ore, organics and equipment to try and become as successful as possible. Different sectors could be warped in and out of, with any one sector possibly having warps to a number of other sectors. Anyone else remember this?

Re:Tradewars 2002 anyone? (1)

hazyshadeofwinter (529262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501536)

Yeah, that was a cool one. Blacknova Traders [] is a web based version of the same game.

Anybody remember Empire? Not the game mentioned in the Netrek history, but a conquer-the-world strategy game door that ran on Amigas... Always wanted to have a decent wack at that one, but the only guy I know of who ever ran it took it down and put up a Citadel BBS in its place a coupla weeks after I found it :-(

(Nothing against the Citadel scene, mind you, I just wanted to play the game...)

Netrek has had lots of influence and history. (5, Informative)

Unbeliever (35305) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501125)

Wow. Netrek made it to the front page. Took long enough *grin*

Netrek has had quite a bit of history and influence on many. Not only has had a long history since Empire as listed in the above history link, it has had many of its programmers and players go on to bigger and brighter things.

For example, Kevin Smith, one of the 2 original writers of the modern netrek client now works at TiVo, and Dave Taylor (of id, and now Transmeta) did a lot of borg writing.

Netrek has also been used as a model for other games. Most recent was when Quake was opened up and people were trying how to prevent cheaters. A few groups came to the Netrek community to ask about our "blessed client" models. And Netrek was even used as prior art to convice a stupid patent holder that they shouldn't pursue litigation. Dave Ahn and I (as current developers) consulted with the defendants on a case where somebody tried to patent client/server game communication with information hiding.

I've been playing Netrek since Summer of 1990. I discovered Xtank and Netrek at the same time, but Netrek had the staying power. Its a game with so many levels, from deep strategy, to mindless fun, all in the same session. Although I never got into Paradise or Chaos, I found ample time to waste on Bronco and Hockey.

There are 2 active leagues(INL, WNL), 1 draft league, and 2 leagues on hiatus (A hockey league and a Euro leage). Games usually have players from all around the world.

Its a fun game! You should all try! Just be patient enough to get over the initial learning curve. For more info go to or

... and (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501133)

... and who the fuck cares? Those games are around, yes. but I doubt that you'll get anyone who hasn't already played them involved. Only the old school people who are already into the game want to play it.

Check em out.... (-1)

niXter (122409) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501136)

New shirts at [] !

Freeware update to Netrek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501137)

There's a really cool freeware Netrek inspired game called Stellar Frontier.

It has a pretty huge community of volutneers that keep the game going and it completely expandable (almost all the servers are custom made by fans).

Try continuum (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501139)

Continuum [] , almost 7 years in development if you include sniper and subpsace as its parents.

Re:Try continuum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501481)

Actually, just to clarify: The game is called Subspace. The client used to play Subspace is called Continuum. It's a very addicting game.

For a few more sites regarding the highly addictive multiplayer space game:
Subspace Central []
Subspace Spectrum []
Subspace Zone [] [] []

Mizery De Aria, []

Re:Try continuum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501486)

Argh...I posted as a coward.

Re:Try continuum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501495)

Argh. Something is wrong with the cookie handling. I'm using Opera 6.01. Not sure why it's not accepting my login.

New clients for Netrek (3, Interesting)

tap (18562) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501152)

It's not quite true that there have been no client changes in years. My client has had new versions come out every few months since 1999, with lots of new features in each version. A new version of a windows client just came out too, but it's not nearly as nice as my client.

<plug mode>
You can read more and download the software from my web page for Paradise 2000 [] , the ultimate Linux netrek client.

It has a nice sound system and can use IBM's ViaVoice for linux to do speech synthesis of messages and macros. Getting the IBM ViaVoice TTS package for linux is hard now, maybe /. should do a story on that.
</plug mode>

One problem Netrek has right now is lack of servers. The one popular server is often full. It also has had bad lag for most people recently, since it is a redhat and openoffice mirror, both which have released major new versions.

Rawk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501159)

I remember playing Netrek years ago. Then last year, in the tangential haze that is the internet, I stumbled onto a Netrek client. I fired it up, there were enough people for two teams and I was off... I sucked but God it was fun. It's one of those rare truly communal phenomenons in the world of computers. Lovely.

When did Ogg become a standard? (3, Informative)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501166)

Sorry to break it to you, but Ogg is not an encoding standard. Merriam Webster [] defines a standard as (3) something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example. Or (4) : something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality.

Note; I didn't say it was useless, unloved or without redeeming value, but it's hardly the measuring stick my which every other audio format is judged. And as for mass acceptance, you tell me the ratio of Ogg to MP3 on Bearshare, Kazaa and the others. I would submit that while our humble writer is obviously an Ogg fan, MP3 is the benchmark by which the other formats are judged, including Ogg.

Re:When did Ogg become a standard? (1)

cscx (541332) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501184)



Why did I see that one coming.... (1)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501219)

I didn't even say MP3 was better. It's just the standard. Ogg, like betamax, is destined for that gravyard of niche products, regardless of how good it is.

Re:Why did I see that one coming.... (1)

killeroonie (577363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501304)

I don't think you can compare Ogg with Beta as far as being DOA goes; Ogg is serving a very different purpose , that of providing an mp3-compatible encoding standard that's not encumbered by a patent. Are you aware that an opensource/free/shareware program that *encodes* mp3's STILL requires the author to pay a licensing fee of at LEAST US$50,000?! That's insane. THAT is why Ogg has a future.

Overview of Netrek (4, Informative)

mooredav (101800) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501189)

After 5 years of playing Netrek, it is now my sole computer recreation. Netrek liberated me from any desire to play other video games such as Civilization, Warcraft II, etc.

In my opinion, the primary reason why Netrek hasn't grown in the past 5 years is simple: nobody has written a comprehensive tutorial to the game (a useful one that actually answers the correct questions). It could be easy to learn, but the casual newcomer will inevitably hit a learning roadblock. Consequently, everyone who plays now was introduced by a mentor.

The main activity during play is "visual planning". You look at a strategic map that overviews the positions of all players and planets. Then you surround and trap enemy ships. Or you set a screen for a friendly ship to pass through (much like basketball). Or you escort a fellow ship through enemy space. The best strategy depends on the particular circumstances of the situation. Unlike most computer games, it is never redundant.

The combat system rewards the first person to the action, so anticipation is crucial. The combat itself is minimalist, but fun. For example, there are tractors and pressors that push and pull ships in an equal and opposite reaction. Push your enemy into your teammate's torpedos, or pull a friend out of harm's way. Or push a friendly ship from behind to speed his progress.

Player's personalities are remarkably transparent. e.g. there are selfish players, and there are cooperative ones. The friendly players are the ones who win games.

Re:Overview of Netrek (2, Insightful)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501211)

This looks like loads of fun... But being the first time I've ever heard of it and not being a networking genius of any sort (targeted average Joe gamers, I suspect), it looks fairly intimidating just to connect to Netrek. I mean; "First, you need to get a client binary for your machine..." and "Once you have the binary, rename it to something logical like 'netrek' and run it with 'netrek -m' " (Netrek FAQ) ...Huh? Client Binary? Did I see command lines in there too? Didn't those go out with DOS??? (chuckle). You could argue that's to keep the riff-raff out through elitism, but I think it also answers your question on Netrek's lack of growth, looking so fun and all. I mean my first thought was ' looks fun, but way too much trouble to setup, let alone play.' Just a thought.

Re:Overview of Netrek (3, Insightful)

sheldon (2322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501244)

It's not purposeful, but more of a lack of programming effort.

Every time this comes up I say... I should do something about that. I spend about an hour, end up playing games and then forget about it for another six months until someone else mentions it. :(

I'm going to try again to see what I can do tomorrow. :)

Re:Overview of Netrek (2)

tap (18562) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501450)

More like a lack of documentation effort. I remember reading those exact same "download a binary and rename it" docs when I started in 1994! By now they are like 10 years out of date.

To install paradise 2000, which is on linux, you just unpack the tarball, copy a config file into your home dir, and run the program. Pick your server from the window that pops up. It has an INSTALL file that describes everything. It's a lot less trouble than installing quake and qspy and mesa libraries etc. I was going to create a RPM package, but this article caught me (and all other netrek developers) by surprise.

It's like the software and FTP list, which lists servers that dissapeared years ago, but not the new ones. If you look on the site, clients like trekhopd and BRM are listed right along with COW, netrekxp and paradise-2000. There is no mention that some clients are from the late 80s and some from this century.

Re:Overview of Netrek (4, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501449)

  • It could be easy to learn, but the casual newcomer will inevitably hit a learning roadblock. Consequently, everyone who plays now was introduced by a mentor.

There's a whole pile of things wrong with Netrek now:

  • Non-intuitive default keymap.
  • Horribly complex .rc file (which turns Windoze users right off)
  • No basic tutorial: there are plenty of FAQ's and strategy guides, but they're aimed at veterans and developes. There's no ten-point howtos for your first session.
  • Abusive players.

This last one is what will kill Netrek. Cooperation and communication is core to the game, and one idiotic abusive player (no matter how good) is a liability. For example, I jumped into a pickup game a few months back. As Ensign Rogerborg, I made a point of reading the message board, watching the galactic, and detting like a bastard. One guy on my team picked armies, then flew around for close to ten minutes, screaming for help for most of it. He received escort after escort, but never made a drop. Eventually he went too far, screamed again, and cloaked. I came in (alone) at warp 9, saw an enemy ship firing torps near his cloaked position, and smacked it with a torp volley. The explosion took him out.

Can you guess the response? "fucking twink, he was out of fuel fuck off and get a clue"

It gets worse. When I questioned what I'd done wrong, he got more abusive and the rest of the team backed him up and told me to shut up and get a clue. None of them told me what "get a clue" meant, or what I'd done wrong.

Thing is, I hadn't done anything wrong. The ship was torping when I came on screen, so it wasn't out of fuel. The carrier was cloaked and moving at warp 1 or 2, so the situation was critical. I took out the enemy with a single torp load, which wasn't (granted) my intention, which had simply been to get his attention.

The reason that I knew all this was because I played Netrek for 5+ years, captained an ENL team for two, and wrote a fully featured RSA-busting borg. I know Netrek, and I know that when an Ensign receives abuse for reading the message board and being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing (with an unlucky result) then we can basically give it up and go and wait for Doom3. The good coop players are all playing FPS team games now; all Netrek has left are a (very few) old men and a bunch of arrogant children.

It's sad to acknowledge that a much loved game has died through neglect, but Netrek should really get its tombstone carved.

Incidentally, for those putting their faith in the RSA check, it's easy (not trivial, but easy) to get around. Compile a client, add the server socket.c code to it so that it opens a listening socket, forward all packets from the client and "server" sockets, and connect a blessed client to the "server" socket to perform the cluecheck for you. The trick is that the RSA response has the result of a "getpeername" encoded into it. There are plenty of ways to trick this. Hack your kernel, write a wsock32.dll that passes through everything except getpeername to the real dll, -assert your own .so under Solaris, or (d'oh) just change the FQDN name of your machine to match the server.

The RSA scheme was a good attempt. but the real strength of the netrek network architecture is information hiding. Even a near-robot client gives you very few benefits. Vector torps are practically a liability against clue players, and you need low lag to be able to use perfectly aimed phasers. The biggest benefits of a borg are info features (like watching army pickups and tracking carriers) and that's just replacing the clue that comes with experience. The netrek model of information hiding should be required reading for anyone writing a network game.

If you remember the WEB and e260 comment here!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501200)

Welcome to the Web.. now go home!


Re:If you remember the WEB and e260 comment here!! (1)

chiapet (122502) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501230)


dogfight and bztank. (2)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501207)

NetTrek was one of three games I fondly recall from my undergrad days.

The other two were "dogfight" and "bztank". I'm told that "bztank" is still popular, but as far as I can tell the only incarnation of "dogfight" that exists is a binary-only package that runs on SGI machines.

Are either of these games still being maintained? Are either of these games distributed as source? If so, where? :)

[Google didn't help, before you ask.]

Re:dogfight and bztank. (1)

Unbeliever (35305) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501227)

NetTrek was one of three games I fondly recall from my undergrad days.

Ah, yes. That and Stats are inversely proportional to GPA.

Re:dogfight and bztank. (2, Informative)

izto (56957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501297)

Maybe bztank is the predecessor to bzflag:, a really addictive 3D tank game. Reminds me a lot of my early days with Netrek :-)

I learned network programming from Netrek (5, Interesting)

Joe Rumsey (2194) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501215)

Netrek taught me all of the basics, and some not-so-basics, of network game programming:

Client-server network models
Dealing with packet loss

and more.

I can honestly say, and have said before, that I owe my career to Netrek more than anything else. I work professionally as a game programmer, primarily writing network code. Without Netrek, I don't know what I would have wound up doing, but probably not that.

I wrote a large chunk of code for the Amiga client eons ago. I wasn't the original author of that port (that would be Randall Jesup, who worked for Commodore) but I did spend far too much time in which I probably should have been studying (though in retrospect, it was probably the right thing to have been doing with my time after all!), poking and prodding at that thing until I knew basically all there was to know about it. I eventually wound up porting the Paradise version of the client to the Amiga, and contributing code back to the main Paradise branch (Please note however: Paradise was for twinks. I just ported it because I wanted to see it for myself. :-) as well as a little bit back to the Vanilla server (if you look for CLOAKER_MAXWARP, that's my invention. It's why you don't ever see incorrectly cloaked or uncloaked ships on modern netrek clients/servers. The FEATURE_PACKETS system that let us do that without breaking older clients was also my idea, but to give proper credit, Tedd Hadley helped write it too.)

Maybe twice a year I'll still get on a netrek kick for a couple of days. It's still just about the best internet team game out there, however graphically primitive it might look compared to modern games. It is not primitive at all under the surface, and was way ahead of its time in many ways.


Re:I learned network programming from Netrek (5, Interesting)

jesup (8690) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501292)

I indeed did write the Amiga client, which was a pretty cool trick for the day, since the Amiga didn't run X11, and all the clients were Unix/X at the time. Win32 came much later (after Win95, of course). This was around 1990 or 1991. I just wrote wrapper routines for every X11 call made in the program (and all the input focus stuff).

I added one feature still missing (I think) from all others: it would read all the messages to you so that you didn't have to look down at the message window. Important when dodging torps! The Amiga speech device made it easy.

One of the great thing about the game was that it rewarded a number of different strategies and playing styles. Also, league play was and is VERY different than pickup.

At first at Commodore we had no net connection, so we played internally Mondays at 5:30pm. After we got a 64K link, I and 1 or 2 others would play on the net (3 was about the limit). I joined a league team (the Buddies) and played for a couple of years.

As mentioned, we were one of the first to make use of signed clients and things like that (the wonders of RSA).

I can't imagine the number of hours I spent playing, often coming in for 8-16 or more hours on weekends to play.

Every once in a while I'll fire up a client. One additional problem last time I looked was that the metaserver (again, greatly predates gamespy/etc) moved or was down.

-- Randell Jesup, ex-Amiga OS group

Re:I learned network programming from Netrek (2)

tap (18562) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501428)

I added one feature still missing (I think) from all others: it would read all the messages to you so that you didn't have to look down at the message window. Important when dodging torps! The Amiga speech device made it easy.

I've added speech to Paradise 2000, my pardise client for Linux. It's somewhat better than the amiga version. I have special case code for things like bombing messages, dooshes, kills, etc. The RCD macros can be configured too, for example you say "voice.generic: %?%S=SB%{help base&}" and you'll just get the message "help base" spoken too you instead of a line of numbers with the base's status.

Re:I learned network programming from Netrek (2)

Joe Rumsey (2194) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501460)

Netrek had a wrapper around all the X11 calls already, all the OS specific calls (other than networking) were in x11window.c, you added amigawindow.c with the same functions. I made a lot of changes to it in the paradise port, but it was still largely yours. The best thing I did was put scaled windows in. The game was designed for 1024x768, but the best resolution I could squeeze out of my Amiga was some odd number like 752x536@50Hz. I set it up so I could make the galactic window small enough to fit half the galaxy and still have a full main sized window, then rotated the galaxy to show the two races in play. Plus I made all the window borders 1 pixel instead of the Amiga default. All that was much better than scrolling the virtual screen around all the time. I also put some 16 color bitmaps in, including little rotating planets. It was fun working on that stuff!

I remember I sent my code to you once, and you were aghast that I'd reformatted it all to match Paradise's indentation style. I think that was about the extent of our communications. :-) I actually got the code by way of Eric Mehlhaff, who'd done the DNet networking version, which is what I first used.

I loved the speech synth. When I finally stopped using Amigas regularly, I tried hacking an rsynth version of it into a Linux client, but I never got it to work very well. I didn't put a lot of effort into either.

The metaserver has moved a couple of times since the last version of the Amiga client, that's for sure. But there's still one running, it's now, oddly enough.

Sorry I misspelled your name, and thanks for the reply!

Windows client... NetrekXP (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501234)

I'll just throw in a quick plug for my Windows client... NetrekXP(sort of a play on words, which I'll probably get sued for) available at

I've been doing some work with it recently trying to address known bugs, and finish some of my todo items. This will probably be the last time I work on it, and if someone is interested in maintaining it... I'm trying to finish build instructions and wrap up the source to put up for download.

But yes, maintenance of the game code has been sidetracked by real jobs, Starcraft and recently Return to Castle Wolfenstein. :)

A Lot Like... (1)

Warthog9 (100768) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501240)

... Star Fleet Command, LOVED that game and still have a lot of books, SSD's, maps, scenarios, custom ships, etc around. It was neat when they made Star Fleet Battles, very similar to SFC too... one thing that catches my eye is that these two (at least computer versions) seem a LOT alike. Mind you I have not taken up nethack and tried it, something I will now have to look at. But these games rock, I just wish they had more of a following... AND does anyone know what happened to the MMORPG version of Wing Commander Privateer? I WANTED that game to come out SOOOOOO badly, Wing Commander rocked, and I loved having matches with people in Armada, tons of fun!

-1 clueless :0 (1)

jbellis (142590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501254)

netrek has NOTHING to do with SFC _or_ nethack.

days of BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501243)

I was at Berkeley when Chris Gutherie developed Netrek on Ultrix, which was heavily based on BSD. Chris was also a BSD kernel hacker. Lots of good has come out of BSD. It seems most of that history is lost and not passed on.

heheh (3, Interesting)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501251)

> Minimum system requirements are a graphics card
> that can do 256 colors at 1024x768 and an internet
> connection.

These are the EXACT same requirements to play you needed ten years ago.

Problem being I only had a 486 at the time (bit less than 10 years ago I guess) and it simply wasn't capable of pushing 1024x768. The sheer amount of jockeying I had to do with the interface to squeeze all the important stuff into 800x600 was near epic. ;)

I couldn't understand why anyone made the game like that, because at the time, that kind of resolution was unimagineable to me.

Then a few months later I got my foot into the IT industry, sat at my first Sparc station, and learned why. ;)

Ahhh, yes I remember Netrek (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501264)

The greatest of all computer games has to be Netrek. I was first introduced to it at my first co-op job. Lunch breaks consisted of about 30 mins of Netrek, than 45 mins, then 90 mins, then 2 hrs of Netrek, followed by another half hour of "debriefing" where both teams discussed strategies and conquests. I still remember the "cloak" tactic that I developed when I realized you could sit quietly off on the side of the screen in an cloaked assault boat and wait for the other team to forget about you...only to sneak in and bomb the hell out of their home planet.

Alias, our old Netrek days came to an abrupt end when we "invited" a local university crew to the office to have an all out "Netrek" fest. Late that night we snuck a bunch into the office, and preceeded to beat the pants off of them. Lucky for us the next day when management found out about it we all weren't fired.

What the hell.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501284) this CRAP story doing on /.

PLEASE, we are not this hard-up for stories yet.
Why not do a story on the lint between my toes next?


That's what I did... (1)

anzha (138288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501299)

the nights of the summer of 1995. It was *FUN*. Simple and immensely playable.

The next summer, I had a gf I was living with...had better things to do. lol.

Then came Warcraft 2...Red Alert (summer 1997, ah, yes...that was crazy in the computer labs til too damn early in the morning...) Then Total Annihilation taht fall...and then Starcraft.

A prinkling of Diablo in there too.

Wow. Time flies...All started with netrek: Go Team NMSU. Desroyer captian Ranma here! Woo!

Ah memories of Netrek and my GPA (2)

derekb (262726) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501319)

Memories to back in the tiny, almost experimental UNIX lab with Sun IPCs and IPXs...

Of course we all sucked..

Paradise is NOT dead (0)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501345)

At around noon pacific time there is almost always a full game going on one server. See

And I know people.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501372)

..who still play Zork on archaic boxes that make me jealous (Because I bet my old AD&D goldbox games would run on them. :D Damned Athlons. :/ Oh, many a wasted night..).

SUE ME! Yes, AD&D Goldbox. They weren't too long ago. I tell you, damnit, if I had my C= 64, I'd still be playing Raid over Moscow. :P

At any rate, this proves that good games will never die. You just wait, in fifty years, when we have VR interfaces, people will use those flashy photorealistic graphics to recreate games such as these.

Nettrek is (or at least was) a great waste of time (3, Informative)

RNG (35225) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501461)

I first encountered Nettrek in 1988, during my Sophomore year at CMU [] . It was one of those things where you would walk into the computing center at 4AM only to find the hardcore Nettrekkies (for lack of a better word) battling it out with each other, sometimes yelling obscenities across the room.

Part of the addictiveness of the game stems from the fact that it is easy to learn; yet it takes a while to become proficient it it. The second really cool feature was that it allowed you to play against other humans (or robots) in real time. These days that's nothing special, but back then most multi-player games were turn based (one other notable exception to this (from memory) is/was xtank).

A few years later, when Linux showed up, I was delighted to find that Nettrek compiled out the box (actually, some minor Makefile changes were needed, if I remember correctly) and worked very well on my then brand-new 486-33. Unfortunately I wasn't connected to a university network (or any other network for that fact), so the human competition/element was missing for me.

While looking very dated (no 3D graphics, no colors, simple graphics), I think nettrek underscores the point that if your gameplay is good, the graphics are secondary. If you've never tried nettrek, check it out sometime; it's quite cool, especially when seen in historic context.

Talk about memories (1)

dapprman (98246) | more than 12 years ago | (#3501511)

Nothing affected my course work (read poor results) more thean the Paradise version of netrek.

Happy days - now to find a windows (ahem) binary to try it out again.

To me FPS games (Quake, HL, etc.)only caught up with the multiplayer intensity a few years back.

jfy tar jxf brick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3501535)

propz to homiez
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