Folks have asked me about using Croquet now, and looking at the source. I discussed part of the answer in Jasmine release, which discussed the currently available proof-of-concept. But there’s some more stuff that people should know.
We’re building Croquet using machines that actually exist now: I use a Mac laptop. But we’re not designing systems for the last war. Computers and networks are getting much faster all the time, and Croquet will take advantage of that. While I expect this year to be able to make real use of Croquet in specific environments, our overall time horizon is much larger. Think of it this way: nothing has substantially changed in personal computing software design since the Macintosh came out in 1984. We must consider these kinds of time scales for fundamental architectures.
To be clear, I am expecting Croquet to work on small cheap devices and networks, but I’m expecting small cheap devices and networks to be pretty powerful.
The purpose of the current version is to allow advanced developers to use the current snapshot of this work-in-progress. The folks giving us initial feedback are using high performance equipment (e.g., gamer’s graphics cards with perhaps 128MB of VRAM), and are taking the time to make sure it’s set up right (e.g., proper graphics drivers for running Open GL, not crippled by Microsoft for anything other than Direct X).
A consequence of this approach is that we don’t have a small download or CD available. You’ll have a long wait trying to download the system over dial-up.
Another consequence is that we don’t have a separate source code tree that you can browse on the Web or with a text editor. The source comes embedded in the Integrated Development Environment that comes with Jasmine.
Pruned deployment environments are good things: I’d love to see a small browser plugin that has just enough in it to bootstrap the Croquet world that you want to visit first. But that is not the focus of our efforts right now, and won’t be for quite some time.