Wesnoth Philosophy II: Where Next?

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Wesnoth Philosophy II: Where Next?

Post by Dave »

I've been asked by Steelp (and others) to write something on where we plan to take Wesnoth next. So here is my opinion on where we should take Wesnoth next, as at version 0.8:

I am now happy with Wesnoth's game rules. I think it is a good, fun, simple, and addictive game. A game that is fun to play, and challenging.

I don't think we need any more game rules, or any game rule changes. The game has met and exceeded most of its original design goals.

We have met many challenges during Wesnoth development, but we now have a new challenge: making Wesnoth a polished and high enough quality product to declare it 1.0, and show it to 'the world at large'.

I think that we have a very real chance of failing. That we can continue adding features, debating changes, going sideways, and end up with a product that is too large, too bloated, too unstable to make it to 1.0. With a development team that is too burned out on adding features and debating insignificant changes to polish and debug the program enough.

I think we have to accept that version 1.0 need not have every feature imaginable. That we will in fact have to leave out good ideas in order to deliver a finished product.

I want to start moving aggressively toward a version 1.0. I think the longer we delay, the more developers and users will become frustrated at slow progress. My feeling is that the time is now to finish off all engine features, or decide that they will be left until after 1.0.

IMO the engine is now feature-complete enough for a 1.0. It'd be nice to add a few more features, but it has enough features to ship a 1.0 already. gettext support would be especially nice, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary.

I think that I would like to declare a feature freeze sometimes within the next few weeks. Features that are not added in this time will have to wait until after 1.0. I think we've been waiting long enough for this already, and I am unwilling to wait much longer. We have stayed in the very dangerous '90% done, 10% to go' state for far too long now. It is time to move toward 1.0.

To ensure that 1.0 is a stable program, we will take a number of measures. We will have a fairly long beta-testing period, in which time bugs will be hunted down and squashed. We will take a more rigorous approach to squashing every minor bug we can find than previously.

During this time, campaigns will also be completed, as will graphics, sound and music. Translations will be finished, documentation written, and balancing done.

I will discuss this further with developers, but IMO, campaigns that are not completed by 1.0 should be removed for the 1.0 release. 1.0 should be an entirely finished product, with no 'loose ends' at all.

After 1.0, I still don't think that we will have too many game rule changes. However, I would like to put some effort into making Wesnoth more flexible, to allow people who want to make forks to make their own projects.

Personally, I am mostly committed to getting the project to 1.0 at the moment. After that, we can decide what will happen next.

David
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Post by turin »

is there a date by which you would like to release 1.0? as in, next month, month after that, october... when?
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Post by MadMax »

By feature freeze, do you mean features like WML and game rules or does that also extend to other campaigns? Because the knalgans and drakes need a campaign too, or are they supposed to be minor races?
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Post by turin »

MadMax wrote:By feature freeze, do you mean features like WML and game rules or does that also extend to other campaigns? Because the knalgans and drakes need a campaign too, or are they supposed to be minor races?
factions, not races.

He means there will not be any more coding features added. Campaigns might be added, but probably only finished, high quality campaigns will be.
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Post by Dave »

turin wrote:is there a date by which you would like to release 1.0? as in, next month, month after that, october... when?
I would give a date, but then miyo will come and say 'IIRWIIR' :-p

I think I'd like to freeze around the middle of this month, and then I think we'd need at least two months for testing and fixes, maybe three.

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Post by Dave »

MadMax wrote:By feature freeze, do you mean features like WML and game rules or does that also extend to other campaigns? Because the knalgans and drakes need a campaign too, or are they supposed to be minor races?
Feature freeze means that there will be no addition of features to the game engine. I.e. features that require changing C++ code.

I don't understand this 'thing' that people have about each faction having/needing a campaign. Factions are a multiplayer concept, they're not a single player one.

Heir to the Throne is a campaign where the player happens to control mostly Elvish and human units. Eastern Invasion is a campaign where the player happens to control mostly human units. Etc etc. Campaigns will be considered for addition based on their completeness, quality, how fun they are, and how well they correspond to the development team's view for the history of Wesnoth, not on what units the player happens to control in the campaign.

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Post by turin »

Dave wrote:
turin wrote:is there a date by which you would like to release 1.0? as in, next month, month after that, october... when?
I would give a date, but then miyo will come and say 'IIRWIIR' :-p

I think I'd like to freeze around the middle of this month, and then I think we'd need at least two months for testing and fixes, maybe three.

David
Good. I hope to finish my campaign be early august (before school starts, anyway), and this will give me time to do this.
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Post by Elvish_Pillager »

What is the implication of this announcement in relation to missing unit graphics, etc?
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Post by turin »

Elvish Pillager wrote:What is the implication of this announcement in relation to missing unit graphics, etc?
they must all be done before 1.0 is released, IIRC.
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Post by Stosswelle »

hum
no new features...
means emphasis will be on graphics and units and campaigns and maps
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Post by Dave »

turin wrote:
Elvish Pillager wrote:What is the implication of this announcement in relation to missing unit graphics, etc?
they must all be done before 1.0 is released, IIRC.
correct.
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Post by Elvish_Pillager »

In that case, I'll do some right away!
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Post by torangan »

I'd propose to make gettext support a required condition. It's a large change and 1.0 should have easily translatable strings in it. It should especially be easy to translate user campaings which are not yet included.
IMHO, this is a major aspect of getting status: polished.
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Post by Dave »

torangan wrote:I'd propose to make gettext support a required condition. It's a large change and 1.0 should have easily translatable strings in it. It should especially be easy to translate user campaings which are not yet included.
IMHO, this is a major aspect of getting status: polished.
I would like for gettext to get in, however I refuse to make it a required condition.

We have had people starting work on gettext for many months now. These people have done nothing to make me confident that they will be able to integrate gettext into Wesnoth successfully. I refuse to make the project depend on something that I have no reason to be particularly confident about.

Gettext support would be great to have, and I hope it gets completed, but if it is to get in, it will have to be soon. We have already waited long enough for it to happen, and I refuse to have the project stuck in limbo while we wait for gettext support to emerge.

If Ayin were to commit to working on gettext, and give me assurances of its prompt completion, I would be willing to delay a little more, since I have confidence in Ayin's programming and internationalization skills.

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Post by telex4 »

I can absolutely understand a feature freeze on the game engine, since it does seem more or less feature complete. But I think there are still a few features that would really improve Wesnoth for a 1.0 release:


o The map improvements I suggested in this bug

o The 'Random campaign'

No doubt others may have theirs too. I'm thinking specifically of features that won't alter the gameplay at all, that won't take a lot of testing, and that give Wesnoth more polish.

Are these out of the question until after 1.0, or can we decide on certain (mainly interface) features that are worth getting in before 1.0?
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