Xpilot Development -- The Cutting Edge

At the cutting edge of Xpilot, there are not only the efforts of the official developers, but there is a whole community of players and Xpilot enthusiasts who like to discuss, tinker with, and improve the existing code base.

Unofficial Xpilot development mailing list

Two years back, in the summer of 1999, I decided to start contributing to that process myself. Therefore, I started hosting a mailing list, xpilot-hacks@nslug.ns.ca on my LUG's server to support all of those Xpilot hackers out there. The archives of that list are here. This effort received the blessing of the official Xpilot developers upstream, and is now the principal arena for public discussion about Xpilot code development. While patches continue to be accepted at xpilot@xpilot.org, the developers watch xpilot-hacks as well and review patches submitted to the list for possible inclusion in the official source.

Xpilot developer and user community on irc

For years on Europe's ircnet there has been a channel #xpilot, and it continues to be visited, at irregular intervals, by developers and players alike.

Two of the regulars, U and Baron, are working on an improved version of the Xpilot server code which modifies the map format to allow arbitrary vertices instead of the fixed grid of cells in the official code. Looks very promising.

This channel is also where players rendezvous during Europe-hosted tournaments. Connectivity to ircnet is bad in North America, but irc.stealth.net:6660 works for me ... sometimes.

And now for something completely different ...

More recently, Bucko and Daedlaes were inspired to port the entire code-base to C++. At the same time, they are adding fltk widgets to a couple of new Xpilot utilities, xpilotedit (a map editor) and xpwhere (a server list, inspired by the Windows-only Xpwho). Why? Well, Bucko wanted to build smart bots, which seemed easiest if the server were redesigned in a language supporting a object-oriented style of programming, and Jarrod wanted to add fltk to his C++ map-editor, and then move from there to spiffing up the client with a new, platform-independent fltk-based GUI.

To help them along, I founded on irc.openprojects.net a channel #xpilot where we keep in touch. My contribution here is helping them alpha test the code and lend my hand debugging wherever it is not beyond my capabilities. We considered ircnet, but it's just too flaky for us North Americans. OPN (openprojects.net) is not perfect by any means, but it is an open-source development-friendly network, and that's a nice thing.

Smarter bots, anyone?

And then in another corner of the Xpilot universe, Ben Jackson is working on his XPilot/MOO hybrid. Using this Xpilot server, it is possible to teach the bots to move between any two points on the map. So, for example, a bot could respond to your radar blip and fly directly towards where you are, as a human player would.

Modest contributions

I have made some modest contributions to the official Xpilot code and docs myself. If you'd like to see my work, have a look through the release notes.

Omissions

There are plenty of other people playing with different aspects of the Xpilot code. I don't mean to slight them by leaving them off my list. This is but a sampling of Xpilot development projects I have kept tabs on or participated in recently. Comb the xpilot-hacks archives to find what others are up to.