News: Widelands Development Report 2015
It has been a year since our last development update, so it’s high time that I wrote about the work that has been done on Widelands throughout the year. A lot has happened in the development version, so this will be a bit tl;dr!
A number of Barbarian buildings as well as the Atlantean blackroot fields have now improved or completely new animations. We have also replaced all worker icons with better versions, and there are new food icons and warehouse policy buttons. Also, the direction of water animations has been corrected to be uniform for all water types. Moreover, each tribe now has their individual roads textures.
Regarding our translations, a number of strings have been improved, and phrasing of help strings is now more consistent. Font sets are now automatically selected for each language, so the user won’t have to take care of this any more. We have implemented support for Arabic script and for Japanese line breaks. The switchover to the new and improved font renderer is still a work in progress - finished elements are text areas, sliders, buttons, checkboxes and spinboxes. Also, the positioning of elements on screen for right-to-left languages is still a work in progress.
The “Collectors” win condition is now default, and it will add the wares in ports to the players’ scores. The display of the status messages for this win condition has been improved. We also have a new win condition “Artifacts”, where you can go hunting for artifacts on the map. We have added artifacts to some of the official maps - you can filter for these when you select a new map to play.
On the graphics front, we have improved the engine in order to speed up the loading and rendering. Also, felled trees won’t get up any more. We have fixed a bug where multiple hunters could hunt the same animal, and the parameters for trees and their terrain affinities have been improved. The biggest engine change this year is the merging of the three tribes, which will give us more flexibility for future engine improvements as well as making life easier for modders. The hiding of carriers in the warehouse window is now handled dynamically, which allows modders to add a buildcost to carriers if they want. On the economy front, the routing of ships has been improved to be more efficient on average. New workers will now be delivered by the nearest warehouse.
When loading a map or savegame, both the filename and the map name can now be displayed. We have also added version information to replays, so you can see which version of Widelands you need for each file. We have implemented a rolling autosave, so that you can have more than one autosave file. The performance for closing and loading big and long games has been significantly improved.
The AI can now cope better with high game speeds. The decisions on when to colonize or which buildings to build have been improved, and the training of soldiers in training sites is now handled more intelligently. There have also been improvements to military decisions and seafaring. AIs now also get a personality assigned at random to make them less predictable, and we have redesigned the AI levels that the user can select from “weak”, “normal” and “aggressive” to “very weak”, “weak” and “normal”. The the balancing of these levels is still a work in progress.
During the game, players can now filter messages for their categories, e.g economy, military or seafaring. The size of the message window has also been reduced, while still allowing enough space for translations. The Building Statistics window has also been completely redesigned. Buildings’ “Out of resources” messages now depend on productivity percentage rather than a counter. Target quantity for wares can now be set to 0 in the economy, which means that warehouses won’t request those wares anymore - requests by buildings will still be fulfilled. The dialogues of the Empire’s campaign have been improved. Finally, spectators now have access to the “Show Building Spaces” function.
Due to the engine changes, the Wiki help for the tribe’s can’t be updated any more - unless we find somebody who has the time to rework the website code. So, the in-game help system has been extended to include workers and buildings as well as additional information about wares, and all buildings now have a “Purpose” help text.
We have a new terrain type “forested mountain”, which allows both mining and the growing of trees. The naming of terrain types has been overhauled to be more intuitive. The user interface for loading or saving a map, and for the map options has been overhauled. The editor also automatically adds/removes the “seafaring” tag when saving a map.
A big thank you to all who have helped us with coding, graphics, translations, testing, calculations and game design!
8 comments Posted by GunChleoc on 2015-12-18, 13:46
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