Wesnoth-TC 1.5.1, and the future

Wesnoth-TC 1.5.1 has just been released... or maybe not. It has actually been tagged for more than 24 hours already.

This version is really just a bug-fix release, which is why it’s not 1.6.0. In fact, it only really addresses some build-time issues that have cropped up over the last couple of years.

Both distributions come with a README file, and the source code distribution also includes an INSTALL file with detailed instructions for configuring, compiling and installing Wesnoth-TC. The Windows binary distribution doesn't require any installation besides unpacking it into an appropriate directory — which you may optionally add to PATH.

Long ago, this came into existence. At the time, I needed a quick way to preview my own team-colored unit sprites without going through the hassle of starting/restarting Wesnoth (or its internal cache), loading a saved game, and creating units in debug-mode. That was my initial motivation for writing Wesnoth-TC, and since it was tailored to my specific needs, it was born as a console application. I later decided to publish and extend it, hoping that someone else would provide a good full-featured user interface for it.

Actual artists prefer using graphical user interface applications on Windows and Mac OS X, and with good reason. That’s the software interaction paradigm that suits visual types better for obvious reasons, and that’s why I took it upon myself to write a larger GUI front-end for Wesnoth-TC that could be built and run on the three major platforms from a single code-base.

That front-end quickly became an adaptation of the original back-end code. And thus Wesnoth RCX became an entirely separate project sharing little more than a bit of history with Wesnoth-TC. And most importantly, Wesnoth RCX became the first GUI (Qt 4) application I have ever written.

Over time, my needs and personal preferences have changed. Wesnoth-TC now feels largely inferior to RCX merely because of the lack of a native front-end for it. RCX has also recently gained visual palette and color range editing capabilities, which renders Wesnoth-TC’s definition file system somewhat obsolete. Furthermore, RCX has continued to compile and run correctly over time regardless of the Qt 4 version currently installed, whereas Wesnoth-TC has broken in a few occasions with newer development environments.

Wesnoth-TC truly feels like a relic now, one I don’t really want to continue developing at this time when I feel RCX is more fun to improve and work with. I had plans to eventually integrate a full-fledged implementation of the Wesnoth Image Path Functions mechanism, but that seems over-ambitious right now.

So, yeah, Wesnoth RCX is the future. Stay tuned for version 0.2.0, coming soon with more features and improvements.