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Introduction Edit

Xtank is a multiplayer game for computers with the X Window System, in which players and robots drive their tanks around a top-down view of the map, doing battle and trading shots. The purpose of this Xtank Manual and Guide is to document how to install, play and use Xtank, especially Kernigh's branch of Xtank.

Upon one computer, you can start Xtank and play games against the robots. Upon a local area network, you can let Xtank connect to multiple X displays for multiplayer play. The game includes several different maps and tank models. The tank models feature different weapons and armor.

How old is Xtank? Edit

Xtank is more than twenty years old. It began at 1988 at the University of Maryland and spread over Usenet. Some players gathered in university computer labs for the multiplayer experience. Others programmed robots for the game. (Xtank tried to do simple multithreading and module loading by using various platform-specific hacks, during the days before Posix threads and dlopen(3) would have facilitated them.)

The year 1992, Usenet created two groups, rec.games.xtank.play and rec.games.xtank.programmer, to handle discussion of this game. Also at 1992 appeared the Xtank 1.3f release. The game ran above the SunOS, Ultrix and 386BSD machines of that era. Already though, potential new players had trouble obtaining the game or information about it, with "Where is the FAQ?" being a common question.

At 1995, the people at Pix Technologies Corp. integrated various bugfixes, patches and ports into an Xtank 1.4d release. After this, Xtank's community evaporated. Now the two Usenet groups are in disuse and few remember this game.

What are the releases and branches of Xtank? Edit

In the Xtank Manual and Guide, we refer to several releases and branches of Xtank. So far we have:

  • Xtank 1.3f (1992), the last release from umd.edu.
  • Xtank north (2004), a port of 1.3f to Linux.
  • Xtank 1.4d (1995), the Pix Technologies release.

Kernigh has created a branch of Xtank, with source code in a Subversion repository, to accompany this Xtank Manual and Guide. This is Xtank from Kernigh. There is no release yet; an Xtank 1.4.50 may appear in 2007.

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