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Topics - Lastmerlin

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General / Future developement of sumwars
« on: July 02, 2012, 10:24:44 PM »
Hello to all,

I am sure that you have noted, that I was more or less completely absent and inactive during the last weeks or months. I am annoyed of myself a lot in this regard, because just disappearing is not my usual style. Recall, that I always complained about those who are just gone without a word.

However, harsh truth is, that I wont return to active contribution soon. In fact, my current state could be described as severe lack of mental energy. Many people would just call it unmotivated. I myself would not say it this way, because I have still a strong interest in further developement of this game. At the end its still me who invested by far the most time into this project. Nevertheless, I have no ressources to contribute at this time.

As for the reasons: I have to speculate myself here. For a long time, I did not know where I got the power from, I threw into several projects, now I have no idea where I lost it. One point might be, that I have already invested tons of time and energy during the last 4 years. So at a certain point, a project looses its *thrill*. However, I doubt that this is the real problem. In fact I have noticed that the quality of my work diminished in other voluntary jobs I do as well. Moreover, I face the same issues at my job - I am researcher, which means that quick perception and professional level creativity are my daily bread and butter. Lately, I have caught myself reading the same article several time without getting the core idea or staring at some problems which arise without any *motivation* to tackle them instead of the *yeah some challenge* attitude I used to have. Some personal issues (which will not be discussed in detail) definitely contributed to this state, but in my believe they stand next to other unidentified reasons.

Whatever, my consequences are clear: If the overall pool of ressources shrinks, you have to set priorities and cut expenses. In my case, the priority is my job. I have a lot of other hobbies, including sports, a lot of music and just meeting friends. No idea how I would weight Sumwars against these ones - this is the sort of decision nobody wants to make. At the end, Sumwars looses first, because its the most direct rival of my professional work.

I can immediately understand, if someone is upset about this sort of decision and yells at me *but you have a responsibility here!*. Yeah, I know I have. In fact, this burden of responsibility might be a central reason why the developement lead grew more and more expensive for me. Be assured, that nobody would hate it more, if this project died here. And yes, I am aware, that I am most probably the person that must never leave here. Nevertheless, you can not invest something you do not have. I can understand if someone is severely disappointed or annoyed. I can only say sorry. Unfortunately, programmers are not just devices converting coffee to code, as a really old and lame joke claims, at the end.

So in one short sentence: Summoning Wars needs a new lead developer. I can't do it anymore.

What I can do is to offer any help I am capable of providing. Concerning legal issues, I can give any rights or whatever required (you know, I never really valued this licensing stuff ;) ), as long as my name stays somewhere in the credits. I can continue to pay for the webspace.

This is becoming a quite long and quite personal post. I hope you excuse the first and value the second. In my opinion you deserved this sort of rather elaborate explanation. Even though the majority of us never met in person - we share a common hobby and we invested a lot of time and I would also claim we had a lot of fun. So as a final remark I want to thank you, thanks to everyone who contributed something and thanks for everything we accomplished. Whatever happens next and however the future of Summoning Wars looks like - we can be proud. We did an awesome job.

Best regards,

Hans aka Lastmerlin

Off-Topic / Absence
« on: March 25, 2012, 09:00:26 PM »

I will be on a conference the whole week and attending choir rehearsal weekend afterwards. In other words: I am completely unavailable for the next 7 days - just to make sure that  nobody wonders where I am. I hope to invest a bit more time after this conference - however, during easter weekend, I will be away again x(

General / Plans for 0.5.7
« on: March 08, 2012, 08:35:35 PM »
OK, lets collect plans for the next release. I will start with a list to be extended:

- Improve Mapgenerator (placement of templates, flexibility, interface)
- Fix translation issues
- To be discussed: Implement potion timer (I dislike that you can drink potions at arbitrary speed)
- More testing and improvement for network (again ;) )

- Editor for creating new maps
- Improvement to the content integration tools

GUI/Graphics programming:
- Verification of shadows (almost surely a lot remaining work here)
- Minor improvements to GUI (like changing the close buttons)
- Visualizing of region exits
- Improvement of the timer visualization
- Hopefully: Improvement of the minimap

Graphics content:
- Integration of the all completed meshes (I dont even know how much of Psychos work is not ingame yet..)

- Implementation of the greengecko quests
- Hopefully: Finally start extending the story after the Lich

I will create tracker issues later, to enable easy tracking of the progress.

OK, open for discussion :)

General Discussion / Version 0.5.6 Released
« on: March 04, 2012, 10:56:09 PM »
Version 0.5.6 is finally complete. As usual, later than expected :D . A big thanks to all those who contributed to it. Moreover, we had significant changes in the internal structure and developement toolbox. Even though (or rather, especially because) these changes are not directly reflected in the list below, I want to thanks for all the work done there.

Here is a list of the changes that are visible for the players:

* Installation:
** Source is provided via Mercurial now
** Systemwide as well as standalone installation supported

* Gameplay:
** Improved Reliability of network gameplay
** Fixed AI to properly attack archers as mages
** Last selected player is now automatically selected on restart
** Map generation for regions is randomized now

* Graphics
** Added shadows (!) - experimental option, please report any issues
** Modified the Logo

* Story / Scripting:
** Added option to skip cutscene

Ok, now get it from the download page and have fun :)

General / 0.5.6 Release Candidate
« on: February 14, 2012, 11:09:46 PM »
We are almost done with the work for 0.5.6. According to the roadmap, allmost all issues are resolved and the last remaining could be postponed or attacked meanwhile. Therefore I have decided to declare changeset c5abf3f76c23 as release candidate.
The release files will be collected in the Wiki:

Wiki 0.5.6-rc Release

Currently, we only have the source package, as fusion is still struggling with the Win build. I will ask trapdoor to provide the Mac package as usual. Please help  by testing the package for some last-minute bughunt.

Changelog (WIP):

* Installation:
** Source is provided via Mercurial now
** Systemwide as well as standalone installation supported

* Gameplay:
** Improved Reliability of network gameplay
** Fixed AI to properly attack archers as mages
** Last selected player is now automatically selected on restart
** Map generation for regions is randomized now

* Graphics
** Added shadows (!) - experimental option, please report any issues
** Modified the Logo

* Story / Scripting:
** Added option to skip cutscene

General / Roadmap to 0.5.6
« on: January 12, 2012, 09:52:32 PM »

I am back with some organizational stuff. I have updated the roadmap to the next release. As usual, progress is much slower than we hoped, but I am still sure we will reach it. New date is the 29 of January.

Officially, whats left to do is stored in the bugtracker:
However, these are rather small remaining bugs. Several new features that are already (almost) complete are missing there. In fact, we are much further than 50% already. My aim is, to get one tracker entry for each substantial change to the game. This way, the tracker log also serves as changelog. Additionally, its motivating to see the percentage growing.

Therefore I propose: Please create an issue for each thing you are working on and close it, as soon as its complete and integrated into the game. Yes, this requires to write one or two scentences what you are doing and why you are doing it. Opening and immediately closing an issue because its already complete is perfectly fine.

Specific additional content that seems ready to be integrated is:
New particles by hirohito:
Shadows by dezGusty: (With an option to disable them ? )
Several work by Psycho: Sorry I am always loosing track whats complete and whats ingame. Thats why I am pushing this.
Some new music by West:

This list is most probably incomplete. Its just some threads that I've read recently. One reason for creating a sort current projects list in the tracker is exactly the point, that keeping track of all that by forum only it getting difficult.

If there are some problems with:
Bug tracker access rights: Ask Protogenes
Mercurial access: Ask me or perhaps even better, Kulik
Knowledge to get your art into the game: Ask the appropriate person in IRC

Ok, I will have a look at my remaining issues now ^^

General / Bugtracker
« on: November 26, 2011, 04:36:42 PM »
Thanks to Protogenes, we have a working bugtracker now:

Please create a ticket for _each_ issue you find and then fix it. This serves as documentation for the work done and is very useful if the problem reoccurs. If the bug is reported via forum, leave a short notice in the thread, that it has been tracked to avoid duplicate creation of tickets.

I will also add several tickets for planned new features. Perhaps the best practice is, that each commit is somehow related to a tracked issue. It will take some time to establish some comfortable workflow and appropriate rules here - but lets start now :)

As usual, this thread is not only a notification, but also a place for more comments, proposals etc ;)

General / Version control system changed to mercurial
« on: November 20, 2011, 12:35:13 AM »
As proposed, the version control system has been changed to mercurial. Please clone the new central repo. For a console client, the command is:

Code: [Select]
hg clone

Very important: Do not commit any changes to svn anymore !

General / Discussion: Aims for the next version
« on: November 06, 2011, 10:29:48 PM »
Now that we finally got the previous version released, we can start thinking about aims for the next release. 

In the past, I usually gave a list of aims and we tried to meet all of them - which took way to long usually. Especially the last release was a really harsh contrast to the often cited paradigm release often, release early. So my central aim is to get the next release earlier this time. The strategy I propose is: We collect proposals of aims for the version in this thread. Of course I will throw in my ideas as well, but I have heard (or read) several very good ideas in IRC as well - here is the location for collecting them. Then we choose one specific aim as the critical aim for the release - this should be something that can be done in 4-6 weeks. The release is done if this critical aim is met. All other aims are  worked on as far as we get. Perhaps we must define some stable substeps for these aims.  Obviously, some changes which create instable intermediate states are natural choices for the critical aim, because they must be completed before we can release anything.

I already tried this strategy with the last release - and horrible failed. Of course you can also propose some different approach are give some hints what should be improved this time.

I will copy the proposals into this post from time to time and sort them by category (game core, graphics, GUI etc).

General Discussion / Summoning Wars 0.5.5 released!
« on: November 06, 2011, 09:27:43 PM »
Finally, I can announce the release of the version 0.5.5 of Summoning Wars. I know, we are a bit (by a few months) now, compared to the initial plans. But this is also the release with the most significant changes in a single version step. Here is a list of the most important changes:

* Installation:
   - Provided installers for Linux and Windows

* Gameplay:
   - improved stability of network gameplay
   - Changed number of inventory slots (5 big, 12 medium, 30 small, 5 belt slots)
   - Belt provides separate item slots now

* Story / Scripting:
   - added new underground part to the tutorial with some more fighting
   - provided questlog for the herbalist quest

* User Interface:
   - completely reskinned the GUI
   - created new layouts for all ingame windows
   - new main menu and character selection screen
   - new feature: assign alternative right mouse skill (switch with tab)
   - replaced most fonts

* Graphics:
   - added resetting graphics options (can be changed on next start of the game)
   - fullscreen and windowed fullscreen are supported now
   - dozens of new meshes for trees and bushes
   - several new meshes for boxes and barrels
   - new meshes for armors
   - new terrain texture
   - new icon

* Translation:
   - updates translations: German, Russian, Italian, Ukrainian, Polish
   - Changing language works properly under Windows now

* Sound and Music:
   - fixed issues with wrong sound format
   - added several new sounds of items drops

Currently two packages are available:
Source package
Windows binary

A Mac package will be provided later.

Thanks a lot to all contributors who helped with this release. And have fun playing :) !

General / Release Candidate 0.5.5
« on: November 02, 2011, 11:28:28 PM »
It seems that we are finally getting very close to our next version... :D

Here is the release candidate:

Source package

I will add further builds to this posts as soon as they are provided. This will be tomorrow, hopefully :D

General / License Policy
« on: October 19, 2011, 08:57:30 PM »
Please note a very important change to the license policy:

All source code must be released under GPL V3, as before.
All ressources and content must be released under CC-BY-SA 3.0. There is no option to chose a different license anymore.

General Discussion / Prerelease of Version 0.5.5
« on: October 06, 2011, 10:43:13 PM »

we have finally completed the prerelease for version 0.5.5. Right now, these packages are available:

Source package
Windows package
Windows installer
Mac OS package

Be aware of bugs - finding them is exactly the aim ;)
Please test these under as many circumstances as possible and report any issues.

As several bugfixes and small improvements have already been made this weekend, I also want to refer to svn:
Code: [Select]
svn co sumwars The latest version with fresh, unfixed bugs can be found only there, of course :D

Thanks a lot and have fun :)

General / Vacation
« on: August 05, 2011, 11:48:52 PM »

I just want to announce, that I am on vacation next week. Admittedly, I have been rather inactive last time anyway :-/ - but I wanted to make sure that nobody gets nervous when I am completely absent for the next week.

General / Open source game developement cooperation
« on: July 05, 2011, 12:35:38 PM »
At Sunday I attended an IRC meeting of several open source game developers with the aim to improve cooperation among game developers. As far as I remember, about 8-10 games were represented. The first meeting was essentially introducing the different projects.

Some first impressions: The majority of the games were unknown to me - and I already observed FOSS game developement scene for a while. Apparently, there are much more projects than you might expect and they are not that easy to discovers (and I suspect, they get not that much attention as they deserve).  My impression was, that most other projects had bigger and may also more experienced teams (especially in programming). However, we have one of the few projects that actually provide several hours of playable content, whereas many other projects are just great toolboxes and engines. In combination, this supports my permanent claim, that there are _way_ to much dead ends and wasted skill in open source game programming.

This initiative is something I highly value as an opportunity to reduce these problems. There are several things that can be shared: Code snippets, general knowledge with different tools, art content, story ideas, design principles and proposals, abstract information like toolchains, organization models.

One direct benefit I hope to get is an improvement to our Ogre code. Graphic programming is clearly one of our weak points. Even if we do not get someone who does direct programming, having someone who actually answers you question is extremely helpful as well.

On the other hand, we should discuss, what we can contribute to this cooperation. One option I thought about was offering to share models with other games. This also has the benefit, that we might get some new ones, as well. Of course, the individual artists will be asked first.

This is just some raw and unordered ideas for now. I should be working right now anyways :D . Some question I would like to discuss (naturally) are:
- Which form of cooperation could be established (apart from the already named ideas)
- What should we ask for, if we have the opportunity ?
- What can we offer ?
But of course, feel free to comment on anything you like ;)

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