Moving forward from 1.0

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Dave
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Moving forward from 1.0

Post by Dave »

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Thank you to everyone who contributed toward the success of 1.0. Very few Free games get as far as we have come. I would like to say some words of thanks to a few contributors without whom, 1.0 may have never been reached. I list these contributors not to try to exclude anyone, but simply to note some exceptional contributions. I think something that has struck me about how supportive these contributors are is that they have always been supportive of the project, even when decisions are made which they might disagree with:

fmunoz -- who recognized Wesnoth even when it was incredibly ugly, and made the first steps toward making it something people would actually want to play
ettin -- for the thankless task of maintaining our web site, making interface suggestions, and sticking with the project for over two years (and he was even nice enough to make my wife and I a web page for our wedding!)
miyo -- for his counsel, supportiveness, and hard work doing the most thankless of tasks. If I had asked him to, I know he would have stuck with the project all the way until 1.0.
Jetryl -- for his persistence and dedication and refusal to accept mere 'average' quality
isaac -- for his dedication and hard work on the project over a long period of time, and great tolerance.
freim -- for his excellent work in an area that few people want to work in, as well as his generous donation of use of a server
Ivanovic -- for doing all he could do to push the project to 1.0 at a time when the energy of others waned
forcemaster -- for being willing to fix many bugs that he himself didn't cause.

This list isn't meant to belittle any of our other contributors, of course. It's simply a list of people I think should get a special mention.

Anyhow, I think it's time to discuss where we want to take the project next. I think the first question is, do we want to take it anywhere? One option would be to be happy with 1.0, and occasionally release a bug fix release, and be content to simply maintain the project. This is a perfectly respectable option: it wouldn't mean our project has died, rather, we've produced a good product, and are now happy to simply enjoy playing the fruits of our labors, as well perhaps as moving on to new projects.

I believe, however, that there are a substantial number of people who have the time and energy and want to contribute to Wesnoth to add new features that they would like to see in the game. Also, I think if we continue development, we will also attract new talent to join the project, and add their time and energy to it.

I, however, will not be able to contribute to the project as much as I have in the past. My wife is pregnant, I have a rather involved job, and eventually I might want to start a new project. I will have to pass much responsibility to others. I will still be able to help by making important decisions, and writing some code, but I won't be able to continue contributing at levels I have been.

I am appointing Jetryl in a role as a senior developer, ultimately in charge of most aspects of development. I will be able to veto decisions he makes if I want to, but usually won't, even if I disagree with them (if I did veto one it would probably be on the grounds of it being technically unsound, rather than me simply not liking having frost-breathing mutant turtles in the game). I have grown confidence in Jetryl's abilities in terms of game design, and I think he can do a good job. He has the combination of dedication, enthusiasm and ability that I don't think anyone else has, and I think he has earned the right to have his ideas tried in the game.

For those who don't like changes that we make to the game, we will be maintaining the 1.0.x (stable) branch, and backporting some features from the 1.1.x (development) branch.

Here are some changes I would like seen made to the game. Ideas with a '*' could be backported to 1.0. It's far from an exhaustive list of improvements we might make though.

* ability to skip replay when observing game
- multiplayer campaigns
* different rooms on multiplayer server
* interface for game management (mainly kicking out obnoxious observers and replacing sides)
* support for tournaments on multiplayer server
- removing most obvious cheating avenues on multiplayer server
- development of new campaigns which have higher production values than any existing campaigns. Having a team work on a campaign rather than one person with some contributors.
- revamp of some game rules including addition of new abilities and changing behavior of existing ones (perhaps removal of some abilities)
- continue refactoring code; try to make some sections of code modular enough so they could be easily reused on seperate projects.
- addition of Boost as a dependency
* addition of Zlib as a dependency and allow compression of saves and compression of data sent over the network
- make map generation and AI scriptable in Python. This would allow scenario designers to have far more control over the AI than previously. One of the big problems with the existing AI is that it is necessarily very general (must be able to play on any map, with any settings, with any faction). It is very hard to program a good general AI, but much easier to program a special-case AI.
- improvements to the map editor, and possibly the existence of a full-fledged campaign editor.

I would like to note that we are going to try to maintain our production values and methodology. KISS is still our core ideal. We are going to continue developing things in an evolutionary fashion: one step at a time.

Also, we are always looking for new contributors. If you want to become involved in Wesnoth development, there is no better time than now. :)

David
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Post by Glowing Fish »

I notice a lot of the plans that you want to work on will be dedicated to improving the multiplayer game.

As I understand it, most of the developers say that Wesnoth was and is designed for Single Player mode, with multiplayer being added as an extra feature. It seems that more and more new players are interested in the multiplayer aspect, though.

So, do you want to improve the multiplayer game because you think that will be just as important as campaign mode, or just because you think it needs more work done on it?
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Post by Oreb »

Glowing Fish wrote:I notice a lot of the plans that you want to work on will be dedicated to improving the multiplayer game.

As I understand it, most of the developers say that Wesnoth was and is designed for Single Player mode, with multiplayer being added as an extra feature. It seems that more and more new players are interested in the multiplayer aspect, though.

So, do you want to improve the multiplayer game because you think that will be just as important as campaign mode, or just because you think it needs more work done on it?
It is a bit like the game halo i think.

The Campaign is the main important bit, but the only way to have fun is playing against other people and kicking their butt i might add
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Post by Pythagoras »

The Raven wrote:
Glowing Fish wrote:I notice a lot of the plans that you want to work on will be dedicated to improving the multiplayer game.

As I understand it, most of the developers say that Wesnoth was and is designed for Single Player mode, with multiplayer being added as an extra feature. It seems that more and more new players are interested in the multiplayer aspect, though.

So, do you want to improve the multiplayer game because you think that will be just as important as campaign mode, or just because you think it needs more work done on it?
It is a bit like the game halo i think.

The Campaign is the main important bit, but the only way to have fun is playing against other people and kicking their butt i might add
Except in Halo, the campaign is fine and good, but there are no custom campaigns :).
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Re: Moving forward from 1.0

Post by Yogibear »

Dave wrote: I, however, will not be able to contribute to the project as much as I have in the past. My wife is pregnant, I have a rather involved job, and eventually I might want to start a new project.
David
Excuse me Dave for jumping in here, but i just can't hold myself back. You are extremely "optimistic" about your available time in the future. If you are really really lucky (or if you don't need any sleep at all) you might find some time here and then to do things beside your job. Otherwise you will find that children are very likely to eat up all the time you have (and also some of the time you don't have :P ).

I have two children and the last seven years have been the hardest ones i ever got through. But you will get plenty of reward for your efforts. There is nothing like watching children grow and helping them to find their way into life. I would always do it again if i had to choose.

So, congratulations to you and your wife. May wesnoth always be with you. :)
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Post by Elvish_Pillager »

(To the first post) Dave's judgment is excellent as always. :)
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versioning.

Post by irrevenant »

Looks good.
My only suggestion (at this point :) ) would be to make a more clean break with the version numbering:

* Battle for Wesnoth (v1.0+)
* Battle for Wesnoth II (v0.1+)

How appropriate this is depends on how different a direction you want to take Wesnoth II in. If it's essentially just a spit-and-polish, I'd say stick with the 1.x numbering.

Regardless, I would recommend abandoning the Linux-style version numbering. It's not an intuitive scheme. Most people who play (eg.) Wesnoth 1.0.9 aren't going to expect Wesnoth 1.1.0 to be a completely separate and unstable branch. They're just going to think "bigger number = better".
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Post by torangan »

And if you name it Wesnoth II they'll expect a much more different game. Just accept the fact that there'll always be people who don't understand it and live with it. Most should be able to learn and those who aren't were never part of the usefull audience. Wesnoth is no commercial game with the goal to be played by everyone. People with a certain amount of intelligence are preferred and those who actually contribute in a usefull way are most wanted. :D
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Post by Doros »

Congratulations on 1.0, and a big congratulations on your baby. Version 1.0 is thoroughly enjoyable, and though I would be content to keep it, I'm certainly looking forwards to the improvements in 1.1.

The most important new feature for me will definitely be multiplayer campaigns. I enjoy playing with other players, but I really enjoy cultivating a list of formidable units, and this feature would bring both worlds together.

Also, I'm glad to hear that Jetryl is the new leader. I think he's a great choice. Congrats, Jetryl.

Thanks for a great game.
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Post by Syrion »

At first: Hi! I'm new here :)

Also congratulations for the great work by me. But more likely I should thank you. I didn't really know of Wesnoth until Thursday. But on Friday I went on a small LAN party with 2 friends. Usually we mainly play Call of Duty there. But guess what, I showed them Wesnoth, and soon it was the game we played most, although I thought they wouldn't like it. Now we're playing it again over the internet, and I can say, it's great fun.
I also appreciate that you seem to be concentrating on the multiplayer now. I'm still very new to this game, but at least now I'm by far more interested in playing this game in the multiplayer with my friends, rather then playing the campaigns (although I'll do that as well, for sure! :D).

So again, thanks for this game. I'm very sure I have a new great game I will play more often than most commercial games from now on.. :)
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Post by turin »

:? I must admit, Jetryl promotion suprised me, but in retrospect it makes sense. ;)

I really don't think multiple people writing a campaign is a good idea. It's like having multiple people write a book - it just wouldn't work. All the other goals seem good, though.

Onward!
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Post by nonobots »

turin wrote:I really don't think multiple people writing a campaign is a good idea. It's like having multiple people write a book - it just wouldn't work. All the other goals seem good, though.
I understood this as tools to help coordinate team of artists, scenarists, programmers and writers. Probably with someone responsible for the final calls - the 'owner' of the campaign.

A kind of CVS for campaign in development? Where you can commit WML and new art, but only a few people can commit to final release and control what ends up on the campaign server? It could be useful, and it could work very well.

As long as it remains optional, that someone can build a campaign by himself I'm all for it.
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Post by Woodwizzle »

Yeah, games are comprised of componnent parts than books; Like movies are. Many people work on films togehtor which also are comprised of more componnents than books and they can turn out great.
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Post by irrevenant »

torangan wrote:And if you name it Wesnoth II they'll expect a much more different game.
Wesnoth II v1.0 would be be a much more different game than Wesnoth (v1.0).

What we currently have (Wesnoth II v0.0) is just the first step towards the final product. It no more represents Wesnoth II than Wesnoth v0.1 represented Wesnoth I. My expectation is that in a few years we'll have a full-fledged sequel to Wesnoth with new art, sounds, units, campaigns and abilities. Something fully deserving of being called Wesnoth II. This is the start of that product, so we name it as such.

I doubt anyone would expect something called "Wesnoth II v0.1" to be the final product., but if it's a problem we can always use a transition name until it's sufficiently distinguishable from the current version.
torangan wrote:Just accept the fact that there'll always be people who don't understand it and live with it. Most should be able to learn and those who aren't were never part of the usefull audience. Wesnoth is no commercial game with the goal to be played by everyone. People with a certain amount of intelligence are preferred and those who actually contribute in a usefull way are most wanted. :D
Using a linear number system to represent branching versions is a bad idea, whether the "Wesnoth/Wesnoth II" naming approach takes off or not. If code branches, the version numbering should branch too. Whether it be "Wesnoth" & "Wesnoth 2", "Wesnoth" and "Wesnoth (Development)" or some other approach, the two branches have their own unique identities and the naming/numbering should reflect that.

Also, I think (and hope) you were joking but your narrow definition of "intelligence" excludes vast numbers of potential contributors to Wesnoth. People can contribute art, or music, or documentation, or translations, or bug reports, or ideas, or help with scenario balancing. None of these useful contributions require the ability to parse a pointlessly counterintuitive version numbering system.

As to the "Intelligent" people. They certainly can come to grips with a nonsensical counterintuitive system, but whether they want to or should have to is another story. Why make people jump hurdles for no reason?
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Post by torangan »

Yes, you shouldn't take anything dead serious. The fact remains though that any versioning scheme will be counter intuitive to some. The idea that there's a stable branch which is maintained and get's new versions along with a development version isn't common enough to be obvious. Whichever way you choose, it'll require some intelligence to understand and the 1.0.x + 1.x>0.y scheme isn't an idea out of thin air. It's used in other open source projects as well so it actually is the most intuitive way to some. (Obviously I belong to that group. :wink: )
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