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How to play Netrek on a Mac

1. Get Mac OS X. If you don't have Mac OS X, then you're nobody.
2. Get X11. http://www.apple.com/macosx/x11/ Apple's X11 (Beta) implementation needs Mac OS 10.2 or later

(according to the download page), although I was running the Netrek client prior to 10.1 on XDarwin (from the XFree86 and XonX projects). Unlike Apple's version, XDarwin could run in full-screen mode, which I prefer for Netrek. However, Apple's version is easier to install. It's like installing iTunes.

3. Configure the client.

You can start with my configuration file. Call it ".paradiserc". Put it in your home directory. http://www.msu.edu/~mooredav/netrek/.paradiserc The configuration options are explained at: http://paradise.sourceforge.net/ Click ".xtrekrc/.paradiserc options".

4. Play!

./trek -O

The -O option turns off double-buffering. That will speed up the drawing in case it's too slow. If you have Quartz Extreme, then you probably don't need to worry about the speed of drawing. All new Macs have Quartz Extreme (I think), but my little iBook does not. Both implementations (XDarwin and Apple's) are slow on my iBook. However, they are slow in different ways. On XDarwin, the problem is text scrolling. I discovered this when Just Us was in their macro-spamming phase. They sometimes caused my client to freeze for a half-second. Make your message windows small by splitting them into seperate All, Team, Inidividual, and Review boards. On Apple's X11, if you turn off double-buffering, then you'll be fine.

These speed issues are easily solvable with some minor programming effort. For example, the client could queue up messages and draw them in batches every .1 seconds. A five-line macro would be rendered five times faster.

Another solution is to simply wait for better hardware (any iBook now would have Quartz Extreme) or a better X11 implementation (Apple's X11 is currently in Beta).

I use another Netrek client for viewing recordings. You can get an un-blessed version of COW at: http://www.msu.edu/~mooredav/netrek/cow Enjoy!

Thanks to David Matthew Moore for typing these up.