News: Ladies and Gentlemen: Build 16
Build 16 has been released
The release candidate worked smoothly and we only needed to fix a bug related to localization. So without further ado, here it is: build 16.
Some of the highlights of this build are:
- a new scripting engine that allows for complex scenarios.
- a new watch-me-do tutorial and a new scenario for the Atlanteans
- win conditions for multiplayer games which add variety
- !OpenGL renderer
- improvements to the user interface in many places
- more control over which wares are stored in ware houses
- team support in multiplayer
- shared kingdom for multiplayer, more than one player can control the same kingdom
- new maps
- new sounds
- extremely many new graphics and animations: there is no concept graphic in Widelands anymore.
As always, you can find the full release notes and Changelog on the very same page where you can also download this version:
Windows and Mac binaries and the source packages are already on the site. There will not be any Linux binaries as we had not much success with them in the past. Instead, we will continue trying to make compiling on Linux as easy as possible (it is already very easy, just see BuildingWidelands and try for yourself!).
Update: Mac binary is available now as well.
Happy playing everyone!
The road we came
This is the time for me to reflect on the things that have happened to Widelands and to us, the Widelands development team in this last period. Please stick with me as I reflect on our youngest history.
The work we did
Let's start out with a quick look at the bug statistics since build 15. You can click the image below to get a nice, vectored PDF.
When we moved over from !SourceForge we took our unmaintained bug tracker with us and this shows in the plot: we had roughly 170 new bugs that weren't categorized and very few bugs that we had really fixed in our repository. We quickly went to work and categorized the bugs and since then, we kept the number of new bugs low - so we weren't slacking in this regard.
The timeline then shows the bumpy road to build 15: two release candidates because a lot of critical bugs surfaced while play testing. That wasn't optimal and showed some flaws in our release cycle. We have worked on this issue and implemented a very rigorous schedule that we use for new releases. You can read all about this on ReleasingWidelands.
But if you thought that build 15 was a big step, take a look what has happened in the last year: We have found, fixed and closed over 250 bugs for build 16! And between the release candidate and the final release, only one bug needed immediate fixing. Definitively an improvement!
The only thing that concerns me is that the number of bugs and feature requests that we have marked as confirmed and therefore as worth to invest time into is steadily rising. No matter how quickly we close bugs, new ones keep popping up. But we stay vigorous and will keep making Widelands better!
Of course, the bug tracker is only an lower estimate of the work with did. There were new features implemented, new animations made, new sound effects produced that weren't mentioned in any bug report or feature request. For example, nearly all graphics got an overhaul or complete remake by our pixel-magicians for build 16 and this is not reflected in the bug tracker at all!
The fruits we earned
What did we achieve with Widelands so far? Obviously we produced ourselves a great game. But otherwise, let me summarize some (more) statistics:
Widelands is a success. So far, it has been downloaded 584.494 times from our hosters alone. This does not take into account all the Linux distributions that ship Widelands, all the download sites that offer the windows binary and all the magazines that offered it on their DVDs. To put this number into perspective: taking the mean, Widelands is downloaded roughly 150 times each day. Build 15 was a success as well. It accounts for 58.471 downloads, that is 11% of the total.
The Widelands website had 230.000 unique visitors in 2010, roughly 20.000 per month. 52% of those are windows users, 38% are on Linux and 8% are on Mac OS. Those statistics seem to continue in 2011 so far, but we had an outage in the statistics gathering process for a few months.
The transformation we underwent
After we moved to launchpad, we got both more centralized and more decentralized. And all of these developments are good. We became more centralized on this very homepage. The mailing list is loosing importance but remains for the moment the only way to reach all developers quickly. More development, design and strategic discussion is going on here and players and developers meet on equal terms. This site is now really hosting a community of people who enjoy Widelands and want to push its growth.
We became more decentralized and also fluffy regarding the concept of the development team. Before build 15, the Widelands development team was everybody who was subscribed to the mailing list and was able to push to the SVN. Now, between build 15 and build 16 this concept has transformed. It all started with the web based translations on launchpad: Suddenly, there were people who put their heart into translating Widelands into their own language and very often, they weren't vocal on this site or the mailing list. They only were visible through their good work.
Completely unrelated, other good things happened as well: Widelands now has testers that go to great length to try out features and document unexpected behaviours. We have forum angels that are answering technical or game related questions, sometimes over and over again. We have people who put great effort into maintaining the bug tracker, closing old bugs, checking if others are still valid. Wow. I mean... Wow. Thanks everybody!
The concept of the development team has become fuzzy around the edges and this is a terrific thing. The line between players and developers is much harder to draw. I love how people from the community always seem to find something useful to do with their particular skill set, helping out wherever they can. And this is so much appreciated: Every time, someone else files a bug or answers a forum post, no other developer has to do it. This leaves the hands free to do some coding, some drawing or some music making.
This concludes my review of the smooth road to build 16. Thanks to everybody who contributed his workforce and time for Widelands in this past year. And now, on to build 17!
9 comments Posted by SirVer on 2011-04-16, 18:23
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