A little more than two weeks after the release of version 0.6.0, After the Storm 0.6.1 is out! And just in time for Christmas Eve in Chile, too.
The last couple of weeks have been particularly productive, as I’ve continued to work on AtS Episode II with the help of my loyal assistants vultraz and Espreon, who have been a valuable help providing early feedback, play-testing, and proofreading. In order to keep people busy for a while, this release includes scenarios 4 through 7, and one cutscene-only scenario, adding up to five new scenarios in this version.
Version 0.6.1 was scheduled for this date immediately after 0.6.0’s release, but it was only intended to contain the finished scenario 4, which landed on SVN trunk on December 15th. Since I was left with plenty of time before the original deadline, I decided to continue working on as many scenarios as possible. E2S7 landed on the 22nd, 22:01 UTC. I would have continued working on E2S8 immediately, but since it requires one new unit baseframe, I decided to postpone it and aim for introducing all the final four scenarios in version 0.7.0 when it’s done (most likely by early to mid-January 2012).
For this version, I decided to increase the Wesnoth version requirement from 1.9.7 to 1.9.10, which was already recommended in the campaign description. While there’s no WML code or maps enforcing the version requirement yet, I’ll simply ignore bug reports against AtS 0.6.1 on 1.9.9 and earlier versions since the engine behavior changed a lot between 1.9.8 and 1.9.10 in some areas — it’s simply impossible to keep supporting old development versions now that mainline is releasing 1.9.10 and later as betas for the upcoming stable 1.10. Besides, as a mainline developer I must also encourage people to test the game and report bugs before 1.10!
Should this inconvenience you, I may be able to provide support on a case-by-case basis given a good reason to do so. My general recommendation if your Internet service isn’t good enough to download the bi-weekly Wesnoth 1.10 betas is to just download the latest one and keep it around until 1.10 final is released. By the looks of things, odds are this won’t happen until January.
The changelog for this version of the campaign is unusually long, even though I deliberately omitted some specific additions in the art department — six new baseframes, all made by myself and awaiting revisions in the near future — and unit WML. Since those are tied to the new scenarios, I decided to not spoil it in the changelog.
* Increased minimum Wesnoth version requirement from 1.9.7 to 1.9.10.
* New or updated unit graphics: Sylvan Warden (chained).
* Various prose grammar fixes.
* E1S3 - Civil War in the North:
* Removed deprecated flower terrain.
* E1S5 - Bay of Tirigaz:
* Removed deprecated flower terrain.
* E1S6.2 - Elves of a Different Land:
* Fixed a dialog line wrapped in double parentheses.
* E1S9.1 - The Triad (part 1):
* Don't set Elynia's initial status to slowed.
* Fixed animation glitches.
* E1S9.3 - The Triad (part 3):
* Fixed animation glitches.
* E2S2 - The Heart Forest:
* Increased turn limit.
* Reduced initial gold amounts for enemy sides.
* Set initial gold amount for the player.
* E2S3.2 - Revelations:
* Corrected unit facings.
* E2S4 - Shifting Allegiances:
* New scenario.
* E2S5 - The Eastern Front:
* New scenario.
* E2S5 C - The Eastern Front cutscene:
* New scenario.
* E2S6 - The Voyage Home:
* New scenario.
* E2S7 - Proximus:
* New scenario.
* Increased Dryad's HP from 43 to 46.
* Increased Forest Spirit's HP from 37 to 40.
* Simplified Sylvan Warden's animations WML, making her less of a resource
After the Storm 0.6.0 has just been released, despite the original deadline I set for myself just a few days ago being Christmas Eve. As a consequence, that day will be the deadline for AtS version 0.6.1 instead, which should include a working scenario E2S4 (i.e. fourth scenario of the second episode). Of course, if a major bug arises in the meantime, that tentative version number will have to change.
Apparently, I work faster when I feel the need to deliver within a specific time frame. In this case, the need stems from fear of public humiliation. Probably.
The changelog for this version follows:
* Increased minimum Wesnoth version requirement from 1.9.5 to 1.9.7.
* Reworked character recall logic.
* Episode 2 (Fate):
* Scenarios 1 and 2 completed.
* Scenario 3 completed, consisting of two cutscenes.
* Reduced Sprite's required XP to advance from 70 to 40.
* Reduced Fire Faerie's required XP to advance from 100 to 70.
Regarding the version requirement increase, it’s not so much because of changes in WML syntax but rather because of a new terrain added in 1.9.7 that’s used in E2S2.
The idea of continuing and developing the Invasion from the Unknown storyline further was in my mind from the beginning, and I apparently started to work on a sequel on May 2008, if the Wesnoth-UMC-Dev registry is anything to go by.
After the Storm’s development has been repeatedly impacted and put at risk by various “real life” issues.
Earlier this year, I decided to go back to work on the campaign after a long hiatus — so long I don’t remember how long anymore — but my attempt ultimately failed anyway. I promised a delivery, but the delivery did not happen.
Until I rediscovered the fun in video games. Then, magic ensued.
I said I would try to finish the first episode of the campaign before December. I am glad to say that mission has just been accomplished. After the Storm 0.5.0 is out in the Wesnoth 1.9.x add-ons server, with the first episode (that’s 13 scenarios) complete!
For those who’d rather read a terse piece of text with no emotive speech in it, the changelog for this version follows:
* 09 - The Triad (part 3):
* Fixed problems with the final cutscene on Wesnoth 1.9.8 and earlier.
* 11 - Return to Wesmere (part 2):
* New scenario.
* Completed episode I.
* Removed Skirmisher ability from Elynia.
* Spawners have a small chance of deactivating themselves after spawning a
I have tried to make sure AtS remains playable on Wesnoth 1.9.8, but my primary development target is still 1.9.9 and support for 1.9.5, 1.9.6 and 1.9.7 is mainly theoretical at the moment. If you encounter any “Invalid WML errors” or such, and you are using Wesnoth 1.9.7 or earlier, try with Wesnoth 1.9.8 or 1.9.9 instead if you can, and give me some feedback in the forum thread so I can address any such issues as soon as I may.
I take this opportunity to remind you that you can also find and follow me on Twitter as @irydacea or join my personal channel ##shadowm in the freenode IRC network.
After a record break of 6 months I got back to work on scenario 9 of After the Storm and completed it, in a fairly different fashion than I originally planed. Still, it’s another step towards completion of Episode I. Version 0.4.0 is available for download now in the 1.9.x add-ons server and SourceForge.net.
I think I have avoided to spread many spoilers about AtS’ plot since day zero; there were, of course, some early storyboards circulating around the forums and IRC at the beginning, but as I’ve been saying for quite a while, they are no longer canon and I am departing from the original plan on purpose.
I am fully aware that some people will not like my choices in 0.4.0, and they may even seem blasphemous, but the truth is I scattered enough foreshadowing everywhere to prepare them for the time being. What are these choices I speak of, anyway? Too bad, you’ll have to play the campaign to find out!
Today, after Wesnoth-UMC-Dev reached its most important milestone, I have decided to step down from the project administrator position to leave the decision making and user support tasks to Espreon and AI0867, who have done an undeniably good job in my absence the last year while I was busy working on other projects.
This does not mean that I’m completely breaking my ties with this exciting platform for add-on development which ESR and I founded. I’ll continue to take care of infrastructure matters such as the website design, content and coding, the Registry tools and miscellaneous utilities whenever I have time; I’m not going to abandon After the Storm either, since I continue to be a user of the project either way.
I mentioned that I’d be following up the official r10000 announcement with the history of the Wesnoth-UMC-Dev Project. Most of the content below is taken from an interview I recently had with BfWEthnographer which eventually touched this subject.
As I resolved to do last New Year, I’ve been progressing with After the Storm slowly at irregular intervals of time. During these last three days I’ve given it a bit of thought in regards to the future development plans and the road to 1.0.
I have settled for the following milestones:
0.3.0 — Ep. I, first act completed (scenarios 1 to 5)
0.4.0 — Ep. I, second act completed (scenarios 6 to 9)
0.5.0 — Ep. I, third act completed (scenarios 10 and 11)
1.0.0 — Ep. II completed
Right now AtS is about to hit the last set of changes needed for the 0.4.0 release. The first part of the ninth scenario is already finished in SVN trunk, and the second part is a work in progress. There are two art issues pending, but I plan to proceed with placeholders for now if it’s needed to have a release before the end of April.
I have been thinking about some stuff to do during this year for a while, actually. It’s really hard to decide because I’m a person who runs into all sort of trouble while trying to get projects accomplished (including procrastination).
One thing I’m already doing is learning some Japanese, for no particular reason at all — although you’ve got to admit that having multiple languages in your curriculum is worth a bunch of coolness points. 😛 Espreon is helping me along the way with his own recently gained knowledge. It seems quite fun to learn a language in a non-Latin alphabet, if not a tad overwhelming at times, especially with kanji.
It’d be a good idea to lose some weight this year, too. My addiction to sugary stuff isn’t quite compatible with my heart condition! (Nor is coffee, but… meh.)
Then there’s Wesnoth. I intend to finish the Second Act™ of After the Storm Episode I as soon as I may, even through the means of placeholders — I’m willing to do anything to rescue AtS out of Development Hell before the end of 2011.
Wesnoth RCX’s development is halted right now due to lack of interest on my part to invest energy on writing the rest of the new functionality (i.e. definition of custom ranges and palettes), but I know that once I touch Qt Creator’s awesome interface I can’t stop working for a while — so I may eventually get some inspiration to redesign the main window, which should inevitably lead me to tinker around with the rest of the code.
C# was the first “major” programming language I learned, not counting Visual Basic. I have some fond memories of my first experiments with C#, but after I embarked upon learning and using C++ I kind of forgot about it. I have been considering the possibility of writing an IRC client of sorts using C# just for kicks, and to not forget this language in case I ever need it again. Why IRC? Because clients for this protocol are simple and challenging to implement, both at the same time!
I’ve already started to learn a bit of Lua for my work on the aforementioned Wesnoth campaign — in fact, there’s already some released code within it written in this language, particularly in scenario 5! I have plans to rewrite parts of Invasion from the Unknown in Lua to clean it up a little, thus paving the road for future maintenance work by me or other people (don’t forget that IftU is still abandoned!).
Another software project I intend to tackle in the short term is Rei 2. Sure, she’s doing well and her main command handlers are many and useful enough for channels such as ##shadowm and #wesnoth-umc-dev, but her dependence on Irssi’s core might well be a curse for one of our use cases: Shikadibot (the Second), which runs on a resource-limited VPS where every drop of RAM has got gold value. I’m already brainstorming a possible abstraction layer (codenamed “API 3”) which could allow the Irssi core to be swappable with a custom, native IRC client core (codenamed “Anya”). There’s really not much in the current Irssi-based implementation of the internal interfaces (“API 2”) that make a dependency switch unfeasible.
Finally, I’m not going to stop producing useless updates for my website! Dorset5 0001 is already a reality, although there’s still much I want to do before replacing the current layout. This time I have placed an emphasis on readability and elegance that I don’t think the previous revisions have lived up to so far.
• • •
All in all, I always have so many ideas floating in my mind that I rarely carry to realization, so this can’t be considered a definitive list. There are other possibilities I’m contemplating for the long term regarding my personal life, but that’s a much more volatile subject to discuss so I’m avoiding it for now.
After so much work, codename “Hakone”, the new website layout and software powering the Wesnoth-UMC-Dev website is finished, bringing with it a series of changes to begin to renew the project for the upcoming new year.
Ancient, old, and new
The Wesnoth-UMC-Dev website has gone through three revisions counting “Hakone” — “Soradoc” and “Kalari” being its predecessors.
My emphasis during the construction of codename “Hakone” was placed on functionality, standards compliance at the web interface level, and a soft, elegant and modern look, all of which I think have been accomplished. Through the integration of technologies such as XML feeds using SimplePie, and the minimalistic yet extensible blog engine provided by Blosxom along with our homegrown Poison Ivy PHP engine, we have achieved our ultimate objective of establishing our own network identity as an independent, parallel project to Battle for Wesnoth.
We have also added an embedded IRC client using freenode’s neat webchat gateway, available from within the Contact section. This should pave the way for further coordination between developers and repository administrators using our official discussion and support channel.
In this opportunity I’ve also opted for standardizing the spelling of our short project name to “Wesnoth-UMC-Dev”, as opposed to the earlier “wesnoth-umc-dev” and “Wesnoth UMC Dev[elopment]”.
There are bugs that remain to be fixed though, which are related to the feeds handling within the various site components — but nothing that is going to matter for the moment due to our rather restricted audience.
So there goes another bit to add to my web design stories, an experience from which I’ve learned a lot of valuable information for my work on “Dorset5”.
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.