LinuxTag 2000

June 28th - July 1st in Stuttgart, Germany.

The LinuxTag for the first time took place outside the University of Kaiserslautern, where the LinuxTag was born five years ago - and originally it had only be a single day, thus the name.
The previous year had shown that the University could not afford enough place for over 7000 visitors, also many interested companies had to be rejected because of the lack of space for exhibition stalls. So this year the LinuxTag was held in the congress center in Stuttgart which offers enough space. Since years the concept of the LinuxTag is to let the commercial companies pay a fee for a place at the exhibition and to use this money to sponsor stalls for all open source or free projects.
This year, in contrast to the last year, the calculation did not work out as expected because many companies had not been too gracious. So Worldforge got a big stall (roughly 4 meters wide), but we had to bring our own computer hardware.
Very probably the next year we will be better, since Pegasus was very active on the exhibition in searching and finding companies which are willing to provide us with hardware and support the next year. (namely Transtec and HP)
Well at least we have now some phone numbers were we may kindly ask for sponsorship.
Stefanus, Karsten, Shaman, JamesWe set of to Stuttgart around 1:00 am at Wednesday night as Karsten had been away the days before. It was not too bad to arrive in Stuttgart in the middle of the night, because driving in Stuttgart city at days time is a nightmare !
After a short sleep in our hotel we reached the exhibition center in the morning and met Stefanus who was already there, a bit tired as well, because of his 12 hours flight from Brunei.
Then the usual fun of plugging together the PCs, installing Linux, compiling UClient and configuring the network started.
We had brought our own PCs in addition to the machine of Meinrad Fiedler, a colleque of Karsten. The installing of everything took nearly the whole day, but the first UClient showed up at about 1:00pm and Pegasus had decorated the stall with her posters even earlier ! During the day James arrived as well, so our Worldforge team was complete then.

Beosil (center) and Karsten (right)The next days could be summed up by:

*) This was by far the most stressing part :)

The interest for Worldforge was quite high. Mainly we showed Acorn, because we though it would be important to present a "product", something that people are able to get hold of and once we had arosen their interest we could explain the project's intension more detailed.
We think that this concept worked out well because many visitors asked much more then "When will it be playable and how can I get it ?"; most people were interested to understand who we are and what we are aiming at.
Many RPG fans were fascinated about the idea to have access to a free system which allows them the creation of online RPGs. Strange in some way, however, was the fact that we had to explain to many irretated visitors: "No, we do not directly earn money with this. Yes, it is free. Yes, most of us do it for fun."

From this and from the fact that more commercial companies than open source projects were present at the LinuxTag, one can tell that the LinuxTag has become quite commercial.

Shaman (left) and KarstenBesides this PR work, which also involved the distribution of roughly one thousand flyers, the days had been very productive: Stefanus, James, and Karsten coded on UClient and Atlas while Pegasus reworked the Agrilan map which got showed inside UClient for the first time on the LinuxTag.
Even a simple collision detection had been temporary added to cyphesis.

We should not forget to mention that Shaman and Beosil showed up. Shaman and Stefanus installed our webcam which we mounted on a rotating fan in order to provide live images from Stuttgart in the web.
Webcam and Karsten

Alan Cox !But LinuxTag was not only an exhibition; there were several lectures and talks covering product presentations, tutorials and general talks. The most interesting talks were surely those held by Richard Stallman and Alan Cox (see him inside the red circle).

Summed up we think that our presentation at the LinuxTag was a success and we hope to have arosen many people's interest. We are looking forward to the next year.

Spiel 2000

October 26th - 29th in Essen, Germany

A general games exhibition showing mostly board games, where RPGs were mainly associated with Pen and Paper games. We went there for a day because of general interest but mainly in order to meet the people from FOGI, who had rent a stall there. Clement Knoell from FOGI had offered on @general to lay out some of our handouts on their stall, which we did. We had a long discussion with the FOGI people about the different aims of FOGI and WF. The people from FOGI want above all to create a MMORPG (where the emphasize lies on GAME) and for a faster development they do not code the tools themselves but use existing solutions, namely 3D-Gamestudio (TM Conitec). This tool is a complete 3D online game engine which offers a proprietary scripting language for the actual game implementation. With this FOGI managed to create a demo with some simple NPCs and environment interaction like tree cutting within two months. Worldforge needed for a comparable product about one and a half years, but WF is not bound to the options offered by a single product. Not to forget that you do not need to pay for special software if you want to contribute to WF.

Very interesting were the discussion about the used 3D engine and the used models. The FOGI people are using comparable low polygon models for their player characters, as it cannot be controlled how many players are at one spot - in contrast to NPCs. So if using high polygon modells for the characters the number of polygons to display in one scene could explode in case of a grand come together. FOGI uses models with a about 500-700 polygons.
They also restrict the texture size to 256x256 pixels in order to also support low end 3D accelerators; from their impression most RPG players do not own high end machines.

Currently the future of FOGI is unsure; regarding to Clement FOGI lacks active developers. Besides this the interest in a common media archive is high. FOGI has already collected lots of 3D models fitting into a fantasy world; these could be useful for WF as well. In return FOGI is interested in our texture collection.