Been working on it most of this week. I have the configuration screen running, the desktop and a lot of the subsystems for driving IPX via a TSR. The screens look great because I have a custom font and icons built from custom characters plus special characters used to draw the interface.
I decided on a strategy for displaying graphics like diagrams and security maps - each module will be chained into a common environment with IPX running to keep the communications going, but I will put the program into a clean Mode-X 360x480 256 color screen for super high fast display of large virtual windows (like an overhead map of your shelter/retreat) showing status markers for any sensors you have defined. This Mode-X resolution is available on all VGA cards with or without VESA, so it will run on very old displays and systems and it looks incredibly good. If a major alert comes in over IPX, a flag will flash on the graphics display screen notifying you so you can exit back to desktop if need be.
I'm using the Bullet '99 B-Tree library for the multiuser database, it's awesome. Without a doubt the stablest and fastest database ever written. I'd like to add "for DOS," except I work in .NET all day long and I never got a query result back as fast from any Windows SQL driver written in the history of mankind. IPX flies like a bat out of hell, too - although my current setup is just a Pentium 200 desk PC talking to a laptop. Have to see what adding more traffic does to the IPX network.
Otherwise, it's a dream. Seriously. Windows should be this stable, simple and reliable. It isn't and never will be.