TradeWars Blog

TradeWars Blog

TWGS v2 is out!

Wow, that took a LOT longer than I intended.  I started working on a new version of TWGS a little over a year ago.  I announced I was done sometime late last year.  Well, I’m finally done.  At least, I’m ready to release what I have.  I don’t think I’ll ever be “done” with this game :)

My initial goals with this release were to enhance the functionality of TWGS, making it easier to manage games, and also to address all of the bugs reported for both the server and the game.  I have achieved those goals, but along the way I decided that it was necessary to rewrite some of the game’s core engine code to optimize the game and provide the mechanism for locking in the pace of gameplay.  TradeWars has always lacked an internal timer that determines the pace of actions in the game.  This is unusual, because most games run under strict timing.  Imagine if Pac Man was written to run at a particular CPU speed, without any time-based pacing.  If the game was run on today’s CPUs, the ghosts would be a blur on the screen.  It would be unplayable.  This is the case with TradeWars.  The game once crawled along at the pace of pre-386 CPUs and 2400 baud modems.  On today’s systems and Internet, a script-driven game can complete hundreds of commands per second.  Not only does this make the game unplayable for most (bots do well, but humans can’t compete), but it also allows a player to hog the server’s CPU by pushing the game to its limits.  By establishing timings for every action in the game, I hope to restore some sanity to the game, and to keep bots from bringing a server to its knees.

In the process of adding these pace timings, I rewrote the way TradeWars processes events and input, making it much more efficient and responsive.  I also added two editor screens related to game timing.  One is an emulation screen where you can choose the speed of input and output bandwidth, as well as a connection latency (ping).  It defaults to 1 mbps broadband and a 150 ms ping, but you can set it to emulate old modem rates (as low as 1200 baud) and adjust the latency to get a feel for how the game might have run “back in the day”.  The other edit screen introduces a whole new set of delays to the game.  TWv3 (following the changes introduced by HVS for MBBS TWv2) provided delays for ship movement and attack that depends on the ship’s turns per warp.  The new options will allow gameops to explore new delays like ship transport, porting and departing, landing and taking off, planet movement, etc.  Most ways that you can interact with the game will have an optional delay that can be configured here.  If you’re frustrated by the insane pace of bot-driven games, the delay editor will greatly enhance your ability to restore balance to your games.  Rather than impose my own delays, I am leaving it up to capable gameops to explore these delays on their own.  Eventually, I plan to include some presets of popular settings so all gameops can benefit from the efforts of a few.

I hope you enjoy this new version.  Let me know if you have any comments, questions or would like to learn more about the game’s history, current state, or future.

You can download TWGS v2 at

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