Archive for February, 2010

You just haven’t earned it yet, baby

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update! We’ve got something exciting to announce today: the scheduled release date of the first public PARPG techdemo!

Project management department

But before we get to that, some important personal announcement from my side: I’m sorry to make this step, but I’ll have to take a temporary break from the project for the next two months to focus on my studies. There are still a bunch of papers that I have to finish and I’m incredibly bad a multitasking. Don’t worry, I’ll be back but for now I just need more time to sort out my life.

This said: fortunately PARPG developer shevegen decided to step up and will take care of project management duties for the time being. I’ll elaborate on the details below.

Project meeting

As previously announced here at the blog: we have held an IRC meeting last Saturday to discuss the most important current issues and to pick up some steam again. Thanks to everyone who took the time to actually be around and contribute to it. Here’s a quick rundown of the results of the meeting:

Developer activity

The sad news is: right now we’re extremely short of active developers who can help us moving the project towards a first public release. One major headache has been the lack of actual conflict resolution power in the different departments. Fortunately PARPG programmer maximinus is back from his baby break and decided to step up again, acting as senior programmer and head of the department. Having a formal lead hopefully helps to resolve conflicts in the future.

Transition to FIFE 0.3

Good news from the FIFE team! They’ve recently released version 0.3.0 of their isometric game engine and it looks like they’re on a good way towards more frequent release in the next couple of months. Unfortunately the view_performance branch improvements didn’t make it into this release but we’re still hoping that the changes get merged into the FIFE trunk before we ship our first PARPG techdemo.

One of the most important improvements of FIFE 0.3.0 is the more standard-compliant module import scheme. With the new release, you’re not bound to a hardcoded folder structure anymore but your FIFE-based game can reside anywhere as long as the engine is properly installed. Unfortunately the new module import scheme made some changes to PARPG necessary and as we’re short of active devs right now, Zero-Projekt developer chewie has helped us out by porting PARPG to the FIFE 0.3.0 architecture. Additional kudos go to pirum for providing the actual DIFF to apply and to maximinus for the patch review and bringing it into SVN.

Unfortunately there is still one unresolved problem with our PARPG map editor at the moment. We’re using a custom maploader and mapsaver for the editor and as FIFE doesn’t provide a clean way to utilize these custom loaders, we had to implement it with a rather hacky approach in the past. This approach does not work anymore with FIFE 0.3.0 so we’re currently investigating how we can fix it. FIFE will provide a clean interface for utilizing custom loaders in one of the its releases, but until then, we’re bound to finding some kind of hacky workaround again.

Techdemo release schedule

While open source projects often follow the principle of releasing early and often, it’s also natural that projects want to make a good first impression and therefore take some extra time to deliver a somewhat polished first public release. We’ll have to be brutally honest and admit that with the current lack of active developers, we won’t be able to pull off a polished first release even if we wanted to. Therefore our plans have slightly changed.

One of the few things we can hopefully address before we ship a first release is the status of the QuestEngine. It has to be extended so that users can actually play through our small quests without having to utilize the ingame console. Even in case we can’t make that happen until then, we want to annouce that the release of the first public PARPG techdemo is scheduled for Wednesday, 10th of March.

Here’s the plan: we’ll try to fix as many obvious bugs as possible (including the lack of QuestEngine functionality) until the end of February. After that we’ll move into release preparation mode and work out how to package what we’ll have at that point. A first public release will hopefully help to attract additional new contributors.

My temporary departure

As mentioned above: I’ll have to take a break from PARPG to sort out my life and to finally finish some papers for university. It’s not a topic I’m eager to talk about in detail but I can say that the last months should have been more productive studies-wise. Partially because of my involvement in this project and also because I terribly suck at multitasking.

The fine young lad shevy stepped up and will take care of my duties while I’m away. He has full access to pretty much the whole PARPG infrastructure so he can set up new SVN & trac accounts and take care of all the other tasks which are part of the project management position. I’ve compiled a list of important tasks to provide some guidance and I’m positive that he’s the right guy for the job! Good luck and kudos for stepping up 🙂

Full meeting log

In case you’re interested in the details, you can check out the full log of the IRC meeting, starting at the 2010-01-30T15:26:32 timestamp, here:

That’s all concerning PARPG for today.

Next news update will be brought to you by the fine shevy. See you back in April and all the best to the brave PARPG devs who hold the fort while I’m away.