A Newbie in Netrekland: 23/10/99

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Part one | Part two | Part three | Part four

A FAQ, a FAQ, my kingdom for a FAQ!

Everything's downloaded, unzipped and put into the right directory. The Internet connection has been made. The tension in the air is palpable. I double-click on the Netrek icon in Win 98, and... nothing happens.

Huh. I try again. Still nothing. It seems that the 'metaserver' for Netrek isn't working. It's offline, or something. Oh well.

Metaserver: The metaserver is a server that the Netrek client connects to when you load it up. It's basically a list of all the Netrek servers - computers that you connect to to play Netrek - online at the moment, with how many people are playing on them, and what type of Netrek variety they're using.

Without the metaserver, I can't get anywhere. I don't know the addresses for individual Netrek servers, and even if I did, I wouldn't be able to do anything with them because I don't know the command line extensions to automatically connect to a specific server.

Confronted with this nasty situation, I have a look at the Netrek newsgroup, where I find that the main metaserver (metaserver.netrek.org) is offline for some reason. Someone helpfully had posted up an alternative address, which I go and paste into my Netrek client's configuration file.

Config file: This is the xtrekrc file in the netrek directory. I'm willing to bet that most people wouldn't even know what the Netrek config file was, which doesn't bode well for beginners.

Meanwhile, I find an alternative mirror site for the main netrek.org website, and go there to download all the Netrek FAQs I can lay my hands on. After all, if you want to succeed in Netrek, you've got to have a clue (i.e. know how to play the game).

And so here's problem no. 2. I can't download any of the Netrek FAQs, specifically the Netrek Newbie FAQ, or whatever it is. This is because none of the links to the FAQ are working. Hardly a good start, and I'm still wondering where I might be able to get it, because I really do need to read up on the basic tips.

With that, I call it a day. I've spent at least half an hour online and I haven't been able to play a single second of Netrek, let alone download any decent documentation. Yes, I know that there is excellent documentation out there for Netrek. It's just that I can't find it.

Problems to be solved

Make sure that the Yahoo links to Netrek actually work.

2. Upload working links for the Netrek FAQs
3. Put some very basic documentation in the Netrek downloadables so that if newbies get into trouble, at least they know where they can get help.


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