We decided to release new development build. It contains a number of interesting features for players and testers. However, no full release is planned at the moment. We are waiting for complete AI coming in following months.
We have reached another milestone: since this build, all creature combat abilities are handled. You now can use all your creatures in the same way as in original SoD.
Of course, all these abilities can be quite complex, so they need thorough testing.
Another interesting feature is improved pathfinder. Now it can find a way through subterranean gates and ships as well!
Additionally, a number of new useful test maps are included in the package.
Manual has been updated to version 0.87. All previous links leading to it should stay alive.
There’s something about a new release that attracts people… like a freshly cooked bread next to those which have been there on the rack for quite a while. Even if I wouldn’t have had time for games these days, I kinda forced some (including cutting from my sleep - I know, not good :p).
But just so I know for the next couple of days: does this mean we’ll have a 0.87 release on Tuesday? I’m asking because normally I do have some works at the house I need to do soon, but I can put some of them on the side for a couple of days to do some more testing tomorrow & Monday, but I’ll do it only if necessary (i.e.: only if we have a release on Nov 1st).
And a more general question: are you still planning a “big cleaning” before 0.9? I know Tow mentioned once there might be a “bug hunting” effort at some point, but depending on how busy you guys are, I can imagine it may not be so certain that will happen. Now that all objects, abilities (and so many other elements) are completed, we could have a (moderately, given the AI state) proud 0.9 release. But if next to the incomplete AI, there’ll also be a lot of bugs, I’m not sure how people will receive it.
Not likely, unless Warmonger convinces me otherwise.
Too many known bugs, I’d say.
Well, I’m very busy now and I’ll be at least till mid-December. The good news is that adventure AI is one of the projects I’m developing. I aim to have its basic parts finished and published in December or January, then I’ll need some time to integrate AI properly with VCMI. (Many GUI parts still doesn’t handle well AI actions.) I’d say the AI won release-ready before February anyway.
I’m determined to do the big cleaning before 0.9. In January and February I should have some free time. I’d like very much for 0.9 to offer a basic single-player gameplay (with new adventure AI and new/improved battle AI). The “round” numbers tend to get bigger attention, so we should present our best.
As for now, I’d postpone 0.9 (we can still issue 0.88 and even 0.89) till it looks nice rather than rush it out as soon as first version of adventure AI is ready.
However, all the abilities on the spreadsheet should me marked as handled. They are supposed to work even if some issues may be found.
Stone gaze could be “partilaly supported”, as it misses graphical effect.
As to releases, I expected 0.9 to be more or less complete game, with online support. Once everything from original game is ready, we can focus on fixing bugs and adding some basic script / mod support before the beta somewhere around 0.95.
Either way, most of thing I could implement for original game are there and there’s not much more for me to do in the meantime than just fix bugs. Or add new features, such as WoG. I’m hoping someone else (Dragon) is going to add missing battle features.
Also, according to TODO list, we miss full campaign support and a bunch of menu screens. I count here for Ivan or new devs (Yupsi, Ori.bar, BeeGee).
@Tow: Thanks for the updates. It’s more or less what I imagined. I support postponing 0.9 until some serious bug cleaning. As for 0.87, I would have been fine in a way to see it released tomorrow (I’m a ‘fan’ of frequent releases), but I admit I haven’t played 0.86c enough to have a good idea of how stable it is.
EDIT: After testing a bit more today, there are indeed some often recurring bugs (like #833 & #834), which make the game experience quite frustrating, so as long as they’re not fixed, Nov 1st is indeed not a good day for a new release. Less annoying, but still notable, is #829 - music support, which didn’t work for a long time, 0.86 finally solved that, only to fail again now. On the more positive side, I got the chance to experience the new Pathfinder. Awesome work! Took a short while getting used to, few times gave the feeling I’m having a bug… but after that I loved it. Great enhancement. Thanks!
@Warmonger: I’m not sure if I read your post well, but I wouldn’t wait for 0.95 to focus on bug fixing. I’m fine spending 90% of the time I dedicate VCMI doing “what has to be done”, but the gamer in me would like to be able to spend at least 10% of the time just playing, that is simply grabbing a map, building, exploring, fighting (maybe report some bugs on the way, or making notes on AI or what not) and ultimately being able to complete that map. There was a time soon after victory conditions were implemented, that we actually had a good chance to get that far. All the changes and new features implemented since however, have also come with some bugs… which slowly added up, to the point that now I consider myself fortunate if I manage to have a week pass without running into a crash or annoying bug. I feel it would be nicer if, instead of one big cleaning around 0.95, we actually had one big cleaning now, before 0.9, and another before 1.0.
@Ivan: as much as I support any effort to halve the number of bugs we have now open, I wonder if the use of “Target version” would not feel too ‘aggressive’ towards the people reports are assigned to. I mean, if people don’t mind it, I’m fine with it as well. But otherwise perhaps it would work out if the Coders’ Team would simply decide at some point to “let’s make this a month of intensive bug fixing”… and then each of you choose whatever reports you’d like to start with, rather than ‘being told’ what your priorities should be. There are very few bug reports which should be fixed asap… More annoying than a few specific bugs, is simply the long list of issues, so whichever bugs will be fixed soon, it’ll be a welcomed effort.
I’ll have a programming pause for the next three months. No commits by me till February next year. But after the time has elapsed I’ll continue to work on fixing battle bugs especially those known graphical glitches and on implementing missing battle siege features. If someone wants to do it now, feel free to do it. =)
The latest thing which I developed but not uploaded were time based animations for stack movement in battle. Unfortunately, I don’t think that it’s complete because battle attack/defend animations and spell def animations should be updated too. Stack movement pace which is dependent on creatures is also half-the-way implemented, but again not committed.
Implementing the campaign stuff should do someone else as I have never worked at those pieces of code.
As Zamolxis said, the next step to do is that we should fix remaining bugs and polish meticulously the program to achieve the same experience as in OH3. Think about the fading menu transistions and the fade-out effect after picking a resource.