Preparing for yet another year

It’s almost over. Time flies even faster as we get closer to the end of 2010, and apparently there’s a lot to summarize despite we’re not in the finish line yet!

This has been a particularly difficult year for me in a more personal sense, and I’ve faced some trials I won’t speak about and then some, but I’ve also learned new things in the road — things that may be of greater use to me in the future. There’s really a lot that could be said about this year but I’ll restrict it to computer stuff to avoid boring the audience too much bore the audience as much as possible.

Via such projects as Rei 2 IRC Bot, Wesnoth TC/RCX and the Wesnoth-UMC-Dev Project’s Registry Model implementation, my handle of C++ and Perl has further improved and I’ve learned the basics of the Qt 4 application framework, upon which KDE 4 has been built, and dabbled in object-oriented programming with Perl.

After spending time in the freenode IRC network’s support channel I became interested in improving the network’s usability for foreign speakers by starting the Spanish translation for Atheme IRC services, the network services software powering freenode. Just a day ago, Atheme 6.0.0 was released as the new stable version and I hope that freenode can consider upgrading to it some day.

During the last few months I’ve also regained some of my self-confidence and hacked a bit more on Wesnoth to solve bugs, complaints and feature requests, and even managed to give the GUI2 transition a well-deserved help.

Of course we can’t forget my work on Frogatto designing a bunch of levels for mainline. It is easy to underestimate the work of a level designer, but it ultimately requires a lot of energy, creativity and skill to create high quality levels like ours. I’ve currently postponed further work on Frogatto due to some lack of motivation to work on it, but I don’t plan on permanently abandoning it. Making levels for platformer games has always been particularly fascinating to me, perhaps because the first computer games I ever played were part of this vast genre, and the Frogatto team has given me the opportunity to unleash my creativity while having fun and helping software development at the same time.

If you haven’t played Frogatto yet, why not give the free PC/Mac version a try now? 😉

This has also been a busy year for me as the forums admin. Since late 2009 I wanted to delegate forum moderation duties to normal users from the community in order to create a less intimidating relationship with the board administration, although my plans didn’t come to fruition until April, when I decided to make a step forward on my own.

With time, moderators have left the forums and others replace them accordingly. After Turuk’s departure we’ve seen the arrival of Ken Oh, Sangel, Gambit and the return of Thrawn to the team. They have all been doing a splendid job and I have tried hard to follow Turuk’s principles for administrating the board. So far it seems to have worked.

In a more educational note, this year I’ve been conducting reviews of the earliest Wesnoth versions known to us, and they are being collected in their own section in this very site, under Articles. It wasn’t trivial to get started with these due to technical complications, but in the end I settled for using Wine on Linux to run cross-compiled Windows builds of Wesnoth 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 and “Wesnoth-00,” all after applying some patches of my own to make the reviewing process easier for me. If you are curious about the beginnings of the Battle for Wesnoth Project, the Wesnoth Evolution series may prove to be educative and entertaining.

The deployment of the Registry Model for the Wesnoth-UMC-Dev Project marks the first time I have built a Perl-based CGI application from scratch and integrated it into an existing website.

Around the same time, “Dorset3” was deployed on my personal website, making heavy use of HTML and CSS tricks to achieve a modern and clean appearance that’s visually pleasing and lightweight on web browsers. Nowadays runs with Dorset4, a subtly tweaked reincarnation of the same website layout.

While it’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread, the Wesnoth fortunes database interface (codenamed “Asuka”) is a useless but neat little application I put together in my spare time. As the self-declared official maintainer of the Wesnoth fortunes database I plan to make sure it’s always up to date with SVN trunk, just for fun.

It’s been a long way up here, but the journey is almost over and a new year approaches. I hope to continue to hear fantastic news of my favorite open source software projects, and to continue contributing back to some of them as mentioned above. It’s been a fascinating experience, even more so now that I have stable access to the Internet and I don’t have to worry about blackouts and such. 😉