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Xide

837209
Hits Since 4/6/2002
News
Xide - 17 March 2005 at 4:19 AM  (EST)
I've had a few questions fired at me about the future of this site, so I figured I'd better post some details up here so that everyone is aware of what is going on.

Currently the site is badly in need of maintenance. A recent upgrade of the webserver to Php 5 has rendered certain parts of the site (i.e. script reference) inoperable. Right now the site exists purely as a download page - the information stored here is not permanent and WILL disappear with the site.

I'm willing to archive and pass over an extract containing the forum message history and any additions made to the script reference to anyone who can prove to me they have the capability to host this information in a different forum or somewhere that is publicly accessible. I'd hate to lose this information as it provides many years worth of Q&A.

I want to extend a huge thankyou to Nazwes Chaiwind for providing web hosting to TWX Proxy. His support and expertise have been without parallel. I would definitely recommend anyone to him for webhosting - he does an efficient and professional job.

Don't panic - likely the site will be up for several more months, although I'm going to leave this purely in Naz's hands and he is welcome to pull the plug when it suits him. I make no promises!


Xide - 12 March 2005 at 5:51 AM  (EST)
TWX Proxy v2.03 and its full source have now been released. They can be accessed from the download page. I've thrown in a couple of extra scripts into the source compression for people to play with - including an overclocked world SST script and a human-bot control script. Good luck and happy development!


Xide - 5 March 2005 at 2:09 AM  (EST)
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT



As of the 12th of March 2005 NZT (1 week from now), TWX Proxy v2.03 and its scripts with their full source code will be released to the public under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This will also be included with a freeware release of the program binaries, compiled for the free usage of pack2 scripts without the need for an authentication server.

Along with this, I would like to announce my permanent (and long overdue) resignation from the online community of Trade Wars 2002.

I first started playing TW at the age of 12, 11 years ago, back in the classic days of dial-up BBSs and their door games. I never really completely understood the game, but I still played it enough to become addicted to its nature. Sadly in my city there was a lack of available servers (and competition), so I soon lost interest. At the age of 17 ( shortly after I started studies for my degree), I rediscovered that the game had been adapted to the internet and that it had a strong community behind it. I stepped right in and got hooked.

The first games I really participated in were on a board called "Merlins Keep". I quickly made some good long term friends here, and enjoyed many a long unlim turn game partnered with people such as Trahern and Zentock - who I found to be capable players and even better people.

In playing unlim games, I soon learnt the value behind automated play and how there was no way I could sit there and manually key every colonising run of my day. At this point in time, the most popular helper was TWAR for Windows.

Now I'm not going to spend too much time knocking TWAR around - I think it had great potential as a product. It had a well designed interface, a good following, and generally the right idea. Unfortunately it was loaded with bugs. The programmer had essentially turned his back on the project - and while he was still accepting registrations, the support was apparently non-existant. As I was still a poor student living with my parents, I didn't feel like fronting up with the money for a helper, regardless of how much time it could save me. So I decided I'd rig something up to take the tediousness out of the game.

The first 'helper' I ever wrote was a very simple VB application that would send keys to the active window. I would rig this up to send a simple macro to help me PPT between two ports, then turn it on and watch it fly. Naturally the program couldn't read anything of what was happening in the game, although it still allowed me do massive AFK colonising runs at high-speed. It wasn't long before other players in the game were asking me how I was managing to colonise 10 times faster than they were, even when I was living on the wrong side of the world on a 600ms connection!

The games I played on Merlin's Keep were definitely some of my most memorable moments in TW. I clearly remember one game that went for nearly 8 months, where Trahern and I spent months building a huge collection of planets and then taking on the entire board (and losing). As the competition started to get tighter, and my studies led me in the direction of more complex development, I started looking at ways of improving my helper. The first ever pre-release version of TWX was a simple Delphi proxy with basic 'send/waitfor' script support, and the ability to code in global triggers - similar to a messy autoreply.

I was amazed at the power of this simple program. Suddenly I could set photon traps that would react faster than any human ever could. Even on my 600ms dialup, I gave myself a huge advantage in combat. Most of the players around me still only had very limited knowledge of macros. Based on the success of this, I started dreaming of ways I could extend the program to process data from the server in the scripting language, and branch based on different situations.

I also felt myself at a serious disadvantage in the management of data. My helper enabled opponents were capable of ZTM, bubble finding, port finding, and all manner of data related activities. I couldn't do any of these. So, I added some very basic database support to TWX. It wasn't anything complicated - just enough to store some very basic sector data for analysis. Before long I learnt this could be used to reconstruct sector displays, and the terminal menu was born.

After a while, I realised the limitations of the logic of unlimited turn play - resources seemed to be controlled far more by the people that could spend extra time at the keyboard or in running their scripts, as opposed to by strategic choice. I decided to learn how to play limited turn games, in preparation for entering into tournament play. I read all the tutorials on how to churn up profit as a red, and started to get focused on the mechanics of the game. I have to say that in these two months of research, I learnt more about the technical nature of TW than I have at any other time in my TW history. I downloaded an evaluation copy of TWGS and studied it to death. I analysed pod escape paths, attack methods, cashing methods, the works. I never considered myself to be a world class player after learning these things, although I felt I was ready for some competition.

The first tournament I played was HHT 2000. I was the CEO of a team of players from Merlin's Keep. I clearly remember corping with Zentock, Nobody, Trahern, Rebel, and Creme Puff. It was a team full of unlimited turn players, and we were totally dismantled by the opposition. I don't think any of us even survived a week. We were hunted down and terminated by the likes of hELLCAT and Rolodex.

I continued to build on my capabilities as a red player, and worked out systems for making money. In one of my experimentation games, I met a player called 'Notorious Killer' (Bud) - who at the time was pretending to be one of his best friends, hELLCAT. I learnt alot from Bud, and from Rolodex. I learnt the value of having blue players support reds, and how to work an efficient team. Rolodex also introduced me to the concept of CIM comparisons, which I very quickly refined into an effective hunting technique.

Not put off by the HHT 2000 disappointment, I entered into the solo tournament run by Soul (sysop of Silver Wings TWGS ), called 'Top Gun'. There was some heavy competition in this tournament, but I was determined I wanted to do well in it. The game was dominated by Rolodex, who in playing under alias had made good use of his knowledge as a solo red in hunting down and destroying other players. Later in the game, he was found guilty of teamwork with a blue player and was deleted. This was enough to shift the balance of power to put me on equal ground with other people in the game. It was a bloody and aggressive match, with many complaints made against the administration. Eventually I set up a lockdown and eliminated the last of the competition. Top Gun 2000 was the first tournament I ever won.

TWX v1.1a was first released (low profile) to the members of Merlin's Keep in November 2000, 3 days after my 18th birthday. It had support for basic trigger-enabled scripting, databases, and a simple interface. It was so popular that soon it had spread to dozens of people, and before long I was playing against my own program. I made promises to extend the scripting capabilities, and eventually include a commercial script package that would be well beyond anything currently publically available.

My success in the Top Gun tournament put word around about me, and I was asked to partake in USO 2001 with the likes of Bud, Night Hawk, Speedy and two others (whom I'm having trouble remembering, sorry guys). This tournament was an absolute blast. I was still on a dialup connection, at 600ms with often badly timed disconnections. It was the first tournament where I was part of a productive team that was able to support itself, and looking back on it I think my corp did very well. Bud (CEO) decided to place me in a position as corp killer, and I did my best at putting our red resources to use. 3 weeks into the game, I finally fused myself into self destruction with a total of 24 confirmed kills. Our corp lost quite badly, but it was the most fun I've ever had in a tournament.

The year 2001 was packed with TWX Proxy releases. I decided to extend the name from being simply 'TWX' to 'TWX Proxy' as the TWX name was already far too heavily in used and I was concerned about being beaten up for it by other community members. There were too many references in the code and documentation to just 'TWX', so I had to keep it in there somewhere. The releases kept flying, from 1.04 to 1.05 and eventually 1.06 - the first release containing the offical pack2 scripts. At this time I was under alot of pressure to put out a release containing the scripts, as players had been expecting them for a while and many wanted some way to donate to the project financially. The release was a massive success - it was the best month for registrations ever. I felt very appreciated at this point and it threw me even deeper into the world of TW. Working on the spark of an idea, I dedicated myself towards writing the first ever world SSM script.

The world really wasn't ready for this script. I looked at it in marvel as it tore in many millions of credits in such a short space of time. I put it to use in unlimited turn games, where I realised it allowed me to literally conquer in one day what many people had been building for weeks (if not months). I gave the script to friends, who in breach of my trust gave it to other friends. Before long, the leak was uncontrollable. I blamed myself for the destruction of the logic of unlimited turn play, and tried to publish ways of self-destructing the script.

The script became so widespread that the demand for TWX Proxy soared. People wanted the program just because they needed the script to compete in unlimited turn games where they were being dismantled by other players that were using it. Eventually I bit the bullet and improved on the script, added an official tag to it, and made it part of pack2.

Shortly after the success of World SSM, I found more inspiration and started work on World Trade. I did this because of the limited support that was available for automated trading, and because I wanted TWX Proxy to be capable of it. At time of completion, this script became the most complex script I'd ever written. I trusted it to a friend who promptly leaked it.

After this, I decided to make a policy that no unrestricted script would ever leave my computer again outside of an offical release. Many of my closer TW friends were disappointed, many more tried to push me into giving my work away or conning me out of it.

On the tournament front, I jumped into WTC 2001. This is one of the most memorable tournaments I ever played in. In particular, I remember that it seemed to go on forever (6 months I think?). I'm not going to elaborate on this game too much here, as many people have already documented it and it would feel like telling a life story. I met many interesting new players here, such as Space Ghost, Nazwes Chaiwind, Prestone, hELLCAT, Res Judicata (unfortunately), Kitty Moon (later known as Rave), Tweety, Hekate, and many many more. This tournament was the most technical I've ever played in - where many new tricks were discovered and creativity ran amok (as it often does with Naz in the game !). The megacorp I played in conceeded in the end. We simply weren't interested in continuing a game without an end in sight.

Following this game, I entered BOTE 2001 as CEO of an adept team, consisting of Hekate, G-Dawg, Sir Lancelot, Kendrake and Gravedigr. I remember this being a difficult and frustrating game. It was the first game I ever attempted to make use of SDF bots to push up a red advantage. My team did well, although we were muscled out by Team FEN, who managed to secure a warpable early on in the game via Ferrengal. As usual, I died early - mostly due to my own mistakes. The most significant part of this game was my introduction to Gravedigr, who ended up as my corpie of choice for many further tournaments. Gravedigr and I fit together like perfect teammates - he remembered all the things I'd forget, he was always around to save me whenever I photoned myself.

Following the loss of BOTE 2001, I entered HHT 2001 as CEO of an aliased team, including Gravedigr, Bud, Nazwes Chaiwind and Grim Reaper. This would have to be one of the best corps I've ever played in. It was a vicious combination of players and we put this to use in what would probably have been one of the most aggressive strategies ever used in tournament play. We stretched our resources to the limit, fueling 3 full time hunters in a killing frenzy. It was a decisive win - my first ever in a team tournament.

2002 saw the release of TWX Proxy 1.09b. This release extended the capabilities of the program to the point where it was becoming difficult to compete without it. It was also a very stable release, the last before a major rewrite. The release featured many more scripts designed to assist in turn limited games, such as well developed SDT and SDF routines. I had created a series of template subroutines that were distributed through the scripts - and this gave a modularity that allowed much more complex development.

In 2002, I also graduated and started full time work. No longer having the flexibility of my student hours made TW very difficult to fit into my life. I entered USO 2002 as CEO of an experienced team, consisting of hELLCAT, Rave, Hekate, Speedy and Gravedigr.

USO 2002 was an ugly game, and I didn't enjoy it. The game ended up being far more political than strategic, with the leading corp being removed for breach of information sharing rules. Again, I'm not going to elaborate on this - it was a complicated issue that has already been discussed and chronicled to death. It was a hollow win, but a decisive one.

I remember skipping out on WTC 2002. At this stage it was becoming increasingly more difficult to fit TW around life, as I had moved into a flat situation and it was rare to even have time to reply to email, much less spend two hours running my turns. I made an attempt at partaking in BOTE 2002, but only ended up disappointing my team (Chicken Coup) by not providing the commitment I had warned them not to expect.

However, somehow I continued to find time to work on TWX Proxy v2. Inspired by many of the things I had recently learned as a professional programmer, I designed a script compiler/interpreter and put it to good use. The compiler opened many doors in scripting capability, and I exploited these by adding proper support for included subroutines and scripted warp calculations.

I entered into HHT 2002 with an aliased corp in an attempt to keep the title. I didn't take up a CEO role with this team, instead it was worked by general concensus. It was a strong team consisting of Dr Bad, Nazwes Chaiwind, Tweety and Gravedigr. There are many details I can't remember about this game. I do remember tough competition and a decisive win. The edits were in favour of a short game, and we built our strategy around this.

I took an extended break from tournament play for the duration of 2003, deciding I didn't want to disappoint anyone else by playing short hours. Instead, I continued to work on TWX Proxy v2, rewriting large parts of the program in favour of a more modular and object-oriented framework.

TWX Proxy v2.00 was released in April 2003. It was the first version of TWX Proxy to ever require an authentication server for the pack2 registrations. I soon learnt that the system required to support this was quite complex and I spent many late nights working to get it functional for the promised release date.

v2.01 and 2.02 were kicked out very soon after the release to fix problems with the authentication system. A few new features and fixes were also included. Overall, TWX Proxy v2 was a definite success in its feature-set and it soon attracted other experienced scripts who began writing their own quality script packs (such as Cherokee and SupG).

Following the 2.02 release, I moved away from development and TW in general. I'd had enough of the politics of tournament play and was no longer willing to commit time to the game. I joined up with the first perma corp I'd ever been a part of - Space Tyrants.

I'd have very much liked to partake in many of the games of Space Tyrants, but I probably should have considered myself almost more of an 'honourary member'. I never had the time to help them with the tournaments they were involved in, even though they were probably the most capable group of players I've ever associated with. I finally had the opportunity to play a tournament with them when USO 2004 kicked off.

I expect this tournament to be quite fresh in the minds of many of the people active in the community today. There was a strategic hole in the game edits that allowed the early destruction of the stardock in such a way that would leave every other corp in the game under-resourced. We took full advantage of this. USO 2004 was essentially finished in 90 minutes. This was a big disappointment for many people, and I want to apologise for being largely responsible for this strategy even though it was far from easy seeing it through. It was the last tournament I will ever play.

And so ends my TW career. Its been 6 years of inspiration, enjoyment, glory, disappointment, frustration, change and satisfaction. I've met many interesting people from all over the world. The game has encouraged me to learn many new things that have helped me personally and professionally in ways that I find hard to describe here. I like to think that I've achieved alot as a part of this community, including:

Winner Top Gun 2000 (Solo)
Winner Top Gun 2001 (Solo)
Winner HHT 2001 (CEO)
Winner HHT 2002
Winner USO 2002 (CEO)
Winner USO 2004 (CEO)
Winner Tournament of Unlimited 1 (Solo)
Winner Tournament of Unlimited 2
Winner Tournament of Unlimited 3
Best Overall Player 2001
Best Strategic Player 2001
Author Best Helper Red Scripts 2001
Author Best Helper Blue Scripts 2001
Best Scripter 2001
Best Blue Player 2002
Best Killer 2002
Author Best Overall Helper 2002
Author Best Helper/Scripts Red 2002
Author Best Helper/Scripts Blue 2002
Best Scripter 2002
Member Best Corporation 2003
Author Best Helper (Data Management) 2003
Author Best Helper (Game Play) 2003
Author Best Script Set (Game Play) 2003
Author Best Helper (Game Play) 2004
Hall of Fame 2004

I can't thank everyone enough for the support they've shown of my play and the TWX Proxy project. I want to give TWX Proxy freely to the world where it can continue becoming everything that everyone has ever imagined it could be. All I ask is to be given recognition for work I've done and to be given the hope that others will learn from the source of the project to better improve their own programming capabilities. I choose to discontinue my involvement in this project in the hope that others will step in to replace me. I plan to start travelling soon and can no longer maintain it.

This is Remco Mulder (aka Xide), author of TWX Proxy, stepping down. Best wishes to you all.


Xide - 30 January 2005 at 10:32 PM  (EST)
I want to personally thank everyone that voted for TWX Proxy and myself in the 2004 TW Awards.

I'm utterly blown away to receive a HoF award. This was an award that I saw many years ago and never expected my name to appear beside it. I can't even begin to describe how good it feels to have my name written forever in TW history.

I want to thank the authors of the script packs available for TWX - especially SupG and Cherokee. The success of TWX has been largely because of their generousity and participation. I feel I owe a large part of this award to them.


Xide - 20 January 2005 at 5:30 PM  (EST)
Earth has been busy! He has just completed work on a new tool that allows real-time data synchronisation between TW helpers. This is the perfect tool for a competitive team. I will be adding support for this in the full public release of 2.03 due out within the next 2-3 months.

You can find more information here.


Cherokee - 13 January 2005 at 12:50 AM  (EST)
The 8th Annual Tradewars Awards are here!

The Tradewars Awards are back at The Lost Traders Tavern

Nominations are being accepted from now through Saturday, January 22nd, at 9:00pm eastern time.

Please help spread the word, and login to The Lost Traders Tavern to make your nominations!


Xide - 19 November 2004 at 10:06 PM  (EST)
TWX Proxy 2.03 Beta has been released as a public plaything. You should be able to find it on the download page. Some very nice juicy new features to experiment with!



Xide - 15 September 2004 at 7:07 AM  (EST)
I'm out of the country for the next 5 days, and will be completely out of contact. Sorry to anyone that needs to get hold of me - I will be back again on Wednesday next week.


Xide - 13 September 2004 at 3:06 AM  (EST)
My email address is now back online - so you can get hold of me through the usual link again.

If anyone has sent any email to me over the last two weeks, please send it again. Everyone stored on the server was nuked.


Xide - 1 September 2004 at 4:38 PM  (EST)
I've managed to set up a temporary email to process orders although my .clan.co.nz one is still offline. For anyone that wants to register TWX Proxy, you can now do so without problems. If anyone needs to get hold of me please make a post in the support forum.



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