Wesnoth and me: 2021 edition

Hello again and welcome to my increasingly infrequent round-up of Wesnoth-related activity for the past number of years. Although the sparseness of my schedule in this case might actually work to my advantage — Wesnoth 1.14.0 went gold on May 1st 2018, and its feature release successor is version 1.16.0, released on October 25th 2021 merely two weeks ago!

This time around there are no big life-changing events in between — well, sort of — so I’m gonna spare you the pain of reading through an overdramatic intro and just skip straight to the nitty-gritty.

Continue reading “Wesnoth and me: 2021 edition

Wesnoth and me: 2018 edition

Hi.

It’s been quite a while since I last properly talked about The Battle for Wesnoth in here — years, really. Some people know that at some point in 2016 I mostly stopped contributing to the project, aside from some server-side stuff such as maintaining the multiplayer games server (wesnothd) and the add-on content server (campaignd).

Since then, a lot of people new to Wesnoth, as well as people not familiarized with Wesnoth, have heard about me, and they don’t really know what it is I’ve actually done over the years. So, I thought it would be a good idea to write about my involvement with this game since I happen to feel like writing walls of text stuff right now.

So, where shall I start?

Continue reading “Wesnoth and me: 2018 edition

Amethyst, and life updates

Oh hi there. Long time no see. Apparently I haven’t posted since February 2017, huh. A lot of things have happened in the meantime, it turns out. Some of those things are to blame for my general inactivity elsewhere, but when it comes to this blog I just can’t seem to come up with anything to say worthy of my trademark text walls, at least not ever since I joined Twitter several years ago— wait, wasn’t that in 2010? Time sure flies. I feel old. Okay, let’s face it, I am old.

“Iris” version 1.1.0 as of earlier today

In addition to it having been a while since my last post in here, it has also been a while since the last time I gave the website an overhaul, for what little use it sees nowadays. Because of that, plus some of my experiences designing the new website theme for The Battle for Wesnoth last year, I decided to try to modernize my own a little bit so it looks more in tune with my current practices. I also decided to spruce things up with a new colour scheme, like last time, taking things in a different direction to what I’m used to.

An attentive reader who’s been around for long enough might be able to tell that the “Iris” design last year did undergo a slight revision incorporating Font Awesome in order to make icons not look awful on high-DPI screens. This was a natural conclusion of my work designing and testing the Wesnoth.org theme on devices with higher pixel density. Plus it was precisely last year that I actually caved in and got a smartphone given to me by a relative, further highlighting all the inconveniences of designing things on/for 96 DPI these days. Other than that, though, the design remained mostly unchanged from what I made in 2014.

“Iris” version 1.2.0, aptly codenamed Amethyst for reasons that should be blatantly obvious, is mostly the same as before under the hood, but on the surface it hopefully looks shinier and more elegant and modern. Even though I am not using the site much right now like I mentioned above, I have a faint hope that the new look will motivate me to post more again.

Since there wasn’t a New Year post last year, or even the year before that, or uh... the year before that as well... actually I guess there haven’t been New Year posts in here since January 1st 2013. Oops. Anyway, I guess it’s time for a short summary of what I have been up to in recent times. Let’s see...

Continue reading “Amethyst, and life updates

Invasion from the Unknown 2.0.0

Nearly 11 years ago, I was checking out some of the free and open-source games included with the openSUSE distribution when I came across a fantasy turn-based strategy game called Wesnoth. I vaguely remember taking a quick look at it and dismissing it for some reason. It wasn’t until an OS update later the same year that I would actually give version 0.9.5 a proper try. Immediately upon doing so, I was enthralled by the game’s sheer quality and its surprisingly accessible gameplay.

Continue reading “Invasion from the Unknown 2.0.0

Invasion from the Unknown 2.0 RC 1 and After the Storm 0.9.16

Today, December 1st, IftU 1.99.0 (a.k.a. 2.0 RC 1) and AtS 0.9.16 have been released.

There is nothing noteworthy about AtS 0.9.16 whatsoever, but IftU 1.99.0 constitutes the first public codename Reconstruction release after several years of work. That is, not counting this year’s April 1st release (which apparently everyone simply assumed to be a hoax instead of actually downloading it from the trunk add-ons server).

I’m cutting this post short since — as should be painfully evident — I don’t really feel motivated to update this blog nowadays. Still, the announcement over at the Wesnoth forums has some more details about this first IftU 1.99.x/2.0 RC series release that are worth checking out if you are planning on installing or updating to this new version.

After the Storm 0.9.10

Version 0.9.10 is out.

Due to circumstances, it has been quite a while, and honestly I lost track of what this release was supposed to have besides a thing that requires another thing from another campaign that has not been completed or released yet. So let’s talk about what AtS 0.9.10 actually has.

Firstly, the minimum Wesnoth version requirement now is 1.11.11.

That’s right. Previous versions (including 1.10.x) are no longer supported. Ever since I moved to 1.11.x following the release of AtS 0.9.0, maintaining support for previous versions (including buggy development releases) required a series of unwieldy kludges that made the code uglier and harder to maintain and were, for the most part, untested beyond the classic “does it compile?” test. With all those bits gone, it will be easier to improve and optimize some aspects of the campaign, as well as work on the thing that requires the other thing I alluded to above.

For now, the first one such aspect I have worked on is converting several units to the 1.11.x animation WML syntax. Although some other people seem to prefer the new syntax over everything, I have chosen a more pragmatic approach for this campaign, so the set of units that I’ve converted in this release is rather limited. Hopefully more will follow soon, but I’m certain that there are a few for which the change hurts code readability. Plus, since most of my units are headbutters, the code size gains are marginal in the average case.

Finally, somebody reported to me of an issue with the player’s recall list and gold being discarded during certain key scenario transitions. It turns out this resulted from a change in Wesnoth 1.11.13 purportedly intended as a bug fix for MP campaigns. I was aware of the change and its implications at the time 1.11.13 was released, but I wrongly assumed AtS would not be impacted because I failed to take a tiny detail into account. Exactly three months later, I realized the sheer gravity of my mistake — but fortunately, it seems nobody else played AtS on 1.11.13+ in the meantime. (Thanks to RainerT for the report. This would have gone unnoticed for who knows how many more years months otherwise.)

As you can see, there is not a lot to talk about in this release other than the version requirement change. Since it’ll be a while before Wesnoth 1.12.0 is released, and AtS remains largely the same as it was the last time I posted in this topic, I believe stable version purists won’t be missing out on anything for now — at least not until the thing is done.

Also due to circumstances, this release is largely untested, so I would not be surprised if I accidentally broke a thing or two since 0.9.9.

The complete changelog for this version follows:

Version 0.9.10:
---------------
* General:
* Raised minimum game version requirement to 1.11.11. All existing
compatibility code for previous versions has been removed.
* Graphics:
* New or updated unit graphics: Sprite, Fire Faerie, Forest Spirit, Dryad,
Demon Shapeshifter.
* Scenarios:
* Added an option to certain scenarios to ensure Wesnoth does not discard
the player's gold and recall list under certain circumstances due to a
behavior change in version 1.11.13 and later. Affected scenarios:
* E1S9.3 - The Triad, part 3
* E1S11 - Return to Wesmere, part 2
* E2S0 - Transience
* E2S11 - A Final Confrontation
* E3S0 - Opening (Within)
* E3S6 - Divergence
* E3S8B - Destiny, part 1
* E3S11 - After the Storm
* Units:
* Balancing changes:
* Changed Leech's alignment from 'lawful' to 'neutral'.
* Decreased Leech's HP from 62 to 42.
* Decreased Leech's melee damage from 11-2 to 9-2.
* Decreased Leech's unit level from 3 to 1.
* Converted to the simplified 1.12 animation syntax:
* Dusk Faerie, Night Nymph, Nightshade Fire
* Sylvan Warden
* Sprite, Fire Faerie, Dryad, Forest Spirit
* Elvish Wayfarer
* Faerie Avatar
* Demoness Hellbent Tide
* Verlissh Control Spire
* User interface:
* Cutscene themes now use the 1.11.10 [theme] id attribute on 1.11.10 and
later.

A load of WML errors (Part I)

Wesnoth Markup Language (WML) is the primary source code language for all add-on and mainline content for Wesnoth. Creators like me write large amounts of WML to instill life into their user-made projects. Our wiki has a rich reference section for the various dialects of WML understood by the game in different contexts. Tools like wmllint exist to make sanity-checking and porting tasks easier for the few people who can tolerate its obtuseness us. There is a whole forum section in Wesnoth.org dedicated to assisting people with their WML endeavors.

With so many resources available, you’d think WML is the most fun thing to work with, right?

Continue reading “A load of WML errors (Part I)

After the Storm 0.9.9

Version 0.9.9 is out, just in time for the holidays!

Since I have tested and developed this campaign primarily on Wesnoth 1.11.x since the 0.9.0 release, this version promotes support for Wesnoth 1.11.8 to official status. Because most of the campaign makes use of 1.11.x-specific features (both from me and other mainline developers) when available, it is quite possible that I will entirely drop support for Wesnoth 1.10.x in a future release even before the first Wesnoth 1.12 beta arrives. I still intend to make sure certain additions and changes for episodes II and III land before the last AtS version supporting 1.10.x, if time permits.

This 0.9.9 release primarily deals with prose corrections and improvements, and various other ‘cosmetic’ changes. There are also various fixes for some instances of dysfunctional AI recruitment on Wesnoth 1.11.7 and 1.11.8 resulting from the recruitment_save_gold aspect being enabled by default in those versions (but not 1.11.9 and later).

There isn’t much in terms of new graphics since the prose and code changes (plus some mainline stuff) have kept me far too busy to do much more than some doodles. On the other hand, this release contains various animation fixes and improvements to the Aragwaithi units ported from Era of Chaos. There are also a handful of balancing changes affecting both Aragwaith and non-Aragwaith units.

Also featuring in this release are a number of WML optimizations intended to reduce campaign load times — especially on 1.10.x, which has a slightly slower tokenizer implementation than 1.11.x. Since the affected bits of code have been completely rewritten in Lua, it is possible that I accidentally introduced new bugs in the process that I may have missed during my playthrough, extensive as it was.

There is also a new secret feature that is not mentioned in the changelog. What is it, you ask? Well, if I told you, that would ruin the surprise. Think of it as a Christmas present!

Finally, from this release onwards, After the Storm is no longer part of the Wesnoth-UMC-Dev Project, and will be hosted on GitHub instead. Ever since development of the campaign started, Wesnoth-UMC-Dev provided SVN repository hosting for both After the Storm and Invasion from the Unknown, but over time that has proved to be an inefficient solution due to technical and organizational concerns. Although the conversion process was not easy in the least, I believe that this move will make things easier for me in the long-term, since I had been using git-svn to work on IftU and AtS since late 2008 anyway.

Release tarballs will continue to be hosted by Wesnoth-UMC-Dev for the time being, until I decide to phase them out entirely in favor of GitHub’s Releases page. If anyone is using them because they cannot normally download AtS or AtS_Music from the wesnoth.org add-ons server, I’d appreciate it if you let me know so I can make a more informed decision in the future (or point you to add-ons.wesnoth.org, that works too). For the time being, the tarball compression format has changed from Bzip2 (.tar.bz2) to xz (.tar.xz).

Special thanks to vultraz and 8680 for their proofreading assistance, without which this release would be about 1% less awesome. Also thanks to the current and past Wesnoth-UMC-Dev admins, AI/AI0867 and Espreon, for their continued support all these years — IftU and AtS simply wouldn’t be the same without Wesnoth-UMC-Dev.

The complete changelog for this version follows:

Version 0.9.9:
--------------
* General:
* Removed Wesnoth development versions warning from the campaign menu entries
as support for 1.11.8 and later is now mature.
* New complete algorithm for calculating the relative direction between two
hex grid locations, handling all six intrinsic facing directions instead
of only SW and SE.
* Updated Aragwaith faction from Era of Chaos 1.3.1+dev up to commit
9dedeba7cddc2a027745c9994a917fdcb78ed341.
* Stripped optional whitespace from terrain map and mask files, decreasing
uncompressed directory size by about 62%.
* Graphics:
* New or updated unit graphics: Blood Core, multiple Aragwaith units, Demon
Grunt.
* Assigned a more dignified generic portrait to Cron (1.11.x only).
* Music and sound effects:
* Mitigated `[fade_out_music]` causing a portion of the previous track to be
heard at full volume at the end of the fade-out sequence. It still won't
help in all cases.
* Scenarios:
* Fixed additional bugs with hero ellipses on Wesnoth 1.11.6 and later
affecting Anya on every scenario and Durvan on scenario E3S7B and later.
* Use STARTING_VILLAGES_ALL instead of STARTING_VILLAGES with large numbers
to assign all villages to sides.
* Skip inclusion of death events for characters that are not present during
the first few scenarios of E1.
* E1S3 - Civil War in the North:
* Fixed the first defined on-map unit (usually Galas) becoming permanently
invisible.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E1S4 - Terror at Dusk:
* Balancing changes to make the scenario easier on Wesnoth 1.11.7 and
later, possibly connected to the new AI recruitment gold saving aspect
introduced in Wesnoth 1.11.7 and enabled by default.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E1S5 - Bay of Tirigaz:
* Made it so Mal Keshar speaks for bat units when investigating shipwrecks.
* Minor map tweaks.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E1S6.1 - Quenoth Isle:
* Fixed Elynia's ellipse reverting to a generic unit ellipse on 1.11.x
during the faerie fire cutscene.
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* E1S6.2 - Elves of a Different Land:
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* Extended map for large screens.
* E1S7 - The Search for the Past:
* Improved ending cutscene transition.
* Minor AI adjustments to make the undead minions recruit correctly on
Wesnoth 1.11.7 and later.
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* E1S7x - Resolutions:
* Minor map tweaks.
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* E1S8 - Fear:
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* E1S9.1, E1S9.2, E1S9.3 - The Triad:
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* Various cutscene improvements and changes.
* E1S10 - Tears:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E1S11.1 - Return to Wesmere, part 1:
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* E1S11.2 - Return to Wesmere, part 2:
* Fixed story text not appearing because of a missing macro inclusion
(long-standing bug that's existed ever since the scenario was first
released).
* Minor map tweaks.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E1S12 - The Queen:
* Balancing changes.
* Excluded time area for the E1S11.2 starting area on Wesnoth 1.11.7 and
earlier (including 1.10.x) due to a bug with time area ids not being
saved, resulting in a time area with local lighting that interfers with a
cutscene sequence after reloading from a non-start-of-scenario save.
* Fixed long-standing offset-by-one bug with a terrain mask applied near
the end.
* Minor map tweaks.
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* Various cutscene improvements and changes.
* E1S13 - Death and Rebirth:
* Minor cutscene improvements and changes.
* E2S1 - By the Moonlight:
* Minor AI adjustments for Wesnoth 1.11.7 and later.
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* Now the scenario lives up to its name.
* E2S2 - The Heart Forest:
* Fixed fog not being cleared correctly when Allyna first appears.
* Made it so Allyna introduces herself once three of the five bandits have
been killed rather than all of them.
* Minor AI adjustments for Wesnoth 1.11.7 and later.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E2S3.1 - Unrest in Raelthyn:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E2S3.2 - Revelations:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E2S4 - Shifting Allegiances:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E2S5 - The Eastern Front:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E2S6 - The Voyage Home:
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* E2S7 - The Voyage Home:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E2S8 - And then there was Chaos:
* Minor AI adjustments for Wesnoth 1.11.7 and later.
* Not-so-minor prose tweaks.
* E2S9 - New Hive:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E2S10 - The Betrayal:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E2S11 - A Final Confrontation:
* Maybe-minor prose tweaks.
* Minor cutscene tweaks and improvements.
* E2S12 - Fate:
* Minor cutscene tweaks and improvements.
* E3S0 - Opening (Within):
* Minor cutscene tweaks and improvements.
* E3S1 - Beyond her Smile (A Light in the Darkness):
* Minor map tweaks.
* Various cutscene improvements and changes.
* E3S2.1 - Return to Raelthyn:
* Minor map tweaks.
* Increased initial gold supply for the second human player side.
* E3S2.2 - Reckoning:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S3 - Amidst the Ruins of Glamdrol:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S4.1 - Outpost of Hell:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S4.2 - Gateway:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S5 - Pass of Sorrows:
* Minor map tweaks.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* Minor ending cutscene improvements.
* E3S6 - Divergence:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S7A - Dark Fire:
* Prevent crashing Wesnoth 1.11.8 due to a missing initial time of day
(part 1 only).
* Minor AI adjustments for Wesnoth 1.11.7 and later.
* Minor map tweaks.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S7B - Dark Sea:
* Minor AI adjustments for Wesnoth 1.11.7 and later.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S8A - Interim:
* Prevent crashing Wesnoth 1.11.8 due to a missing initial time of day.
* Minor cutscene improvements nobody could possibly notice.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S8B - Destiny, part 1:
* Minor aesthetic changes nobody could possibly notice.
* Fixed parts of the map being unintentionally uncovered upon entering
Hemérilyel's chamber.
* Made Hemérilyel more aggressive towards the player on Wesnoth 1.11.2 and
later.
* E3S8C - Breakdown:
* Minor AI adjustments for Wesnoth 1.11.7 and later.
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S8D - Destiny, part 2:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S9 - Dark Depths:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S10 - Blood:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S11 - After the Storm:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S12 - Destiny, part 3:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* E3S13 - Epilogue:
* Minor prose tweaks.
* Units:
* Balancing changes:
* Imps are now immune to the plague weapon special.
* The Protection ability affects own units of any lower level again instead
of only level 0 and 1.
* Affected units: Demoness Hellbent Tide, Aragwaith Shield Guard,
Aragwaith Ancient Banner.
* Physical endurance no longer resets statuses (poisoned, slowed, etc.).
* Decreased Lumeril Glyph Mistress' arcane damage resistance from -10% to
-20%.
* Decreased Fallen Faerie's cold ranged attack strength from 11-3 to 10-3.
* New or improved unit animations: Verlissh Matrix Core, Shaxthal Custodian
Drone, Shaxthal Queen, Verlissh Matrix Flow System, Verlissh Control Spire,
multiple Aragwaith units, Dusk Faerie line.
* Made it so the Falcon unit type and the lightfly movetype are only defined
if the mainline Khalifate faction is not present, by testing the existence
of core/units/khalifate/Falcon.cfg.
* Fixed a minor inaccuracy at the beginning of the Terror ability
description.
* The spawn controller code (used e.g. in Shaxthal hives) has been completely
rewritten in Lua. No behavior changes expected.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays, everyone!

Wesnoth.org post-migration status report

I posted a rather extensive report of the results of the asheviere.wesnoth.orgbaldras.wesnoth.org migration to the developers’ ML because Ivanovic wanted me to post updates to the ML for some weird reason. I am fairly sure the people who are actually subscribed to it skip them entirely.

Here’s a link to the email message.

Because I care about transparency and stuff, I pointed out an important thing there:

[…] the migration process went smoothly and now the wiki is running MediaWiki 1.21.2 instead of 1.16.1. Look up 1.16.1's release date and the branch's EOL date and you'll understand why I've been saying "not really optimal" and "deplorable" when referring to the wiki.

(Only after sending the mail I realized that I wrote MW 1.16.1 instead of 1.15.1. The version that was running on wesnoth.org is indeed 1.15.1, not 1.16.1.)

I don’t really have anything to add here, but I am providing a verbatim copy of the email after the break anyway, only because it’s a wall of text and I like those.

Continue reading “Wesnoth.org post-migration status report