February 24, 2010

Towards alpha 2

As you may have noticed, I'm not Magne (Arthur_D) ;) This is because he had hardware failure, and was thus unable to publish a blogpost in reasonable time, therefore I offered him to make one. So here we go!

I can now officially confirm it to everyone, we are planning to release an Alpha 2 of SuperTuxKart "soonish"! The main reason is that many bugs/limitations were found in the track format used in alpha 1; therefore, we will release Alpha 2 so that artists can keep up to date with the changes.

So what's new since last post?

First of all, support for Grand Prix is now back in STK 0.7.

This is not visible on this still, but the image shown for each grand prix is actually cycling images of the tracks within the grand prix.
When you click on one GP, you get a further description of it, just like for tracks :

EDIT: Oh, the screenshot above features a track name "Nolok's castle", but don't get too excited, it's a small test track I did to get familiar with the track exporter, I'm not much of a 3D artist myself ;)

Now, along with GP, I wanted a nicer ending than what we had in 0.6. Here is what it looks like now (not that it can't change) :

Apart from Grand Prix playback, the "3 Strikes" battle mode is also back, with a new battle arena by Thomas Oppl and Wayne Dennis (Pixel_2ACF3) : The Stadium

Furthermore, Joerg started adding support for end-race animations.

It is not yet sure what form this will take in the release; but for now, in the latest development version, you can see the elephant wave his arms and trunk in the as he wins the race

Finally, one minor thing, I added a 'loading' screen, so that the game does not seem unresponsive when loading a big track (which was especially annoying in GPs, when you clicked 'next' and it seemed like nothing happened)

To conclude, there were other misc changes :
* Fixed compilation issues caused by spaces in the font's name
* Conversion of files from LISP to XML format, including Grand Prix files and music files
* The track format has another change : removed support for 'description', added 'designer' instead
* Many fixes to Follow-the-Leader game mode
* Added back the infamous plunger-in-face attack from 0.6
* Added support for camera-far value to be exported. This was used in the mines track, to get a few more FPS by not rendering far away geometry
* Added back bullet debug view. Debug view can now be switch on and off during a race (ctl-F11). This debug mode will be useful to debug physics.
* irrlicht 1.7.1 was released, which fixed potential performance issues (though nothing huge was measured in STK so far)
* Many translations were updated
* And of course much code cleanup and bug fixes!

February 5, 2010

Feature chest, track exporter, new weapon ++

Okay, very much happening lately, so sorry if I forgot anything. I will try to summarize without leaving out important details - just notify me if you think I missed something.

New 'feature unlocked' animation

Looking for the treasure everywhere, even in the darkness of outer space, you finally got what you were looking for. The Beach track! :)

The track exporter has been updated again with most notably this feature (quoting the commit log message):
The lap counting line is now automatically taken from the first line of the main driveline.
This avoids problems of the kart order being inconsistent (if the driveline edge and
new lap line were not identical).
This means the current tracks probably got two lap counting lines now, and that would need to be fixed at least before the stable release.

The translation "mother-file" has been updated as well, to include a few strings that were missing. Furthermore, translations for Ukrainian and Simplified Chinese has been committed to SVN.

What's this?

Well, I can tell you. It's an improved version of the Lighthouse track, with actual light coming from the lighthouse! :D
But it's not only that. Presenting a new weapon (drum roll): the item swapper!
It works in this way: when using it, all good items (bonus boxes, nitro bottles) are turned into bananas, and all bananas are turned into bonus boxes for a limited amount of time. It makes the tracks more unpredictable, something I personally like. Use it before your opponents collects bonuses, and they will find themselves eating bananas like monkeys. But be careful: it affects you as well!

Last, but not least, Irrlicht 1.7 has been released. It fixes a couple of graphical issues present with STK + Irrlicht 1.6. Many thanks to the Irrlicht developers for always cooperating well with the STK developers.