May 10, 2011

(In)visible improvements and addons

So, what happens for the time being in the exciting world of SuperTuxKart? Well, we're on our way to a 0.7.2 release, and while we can't give any dates for when it will be released, things look good. The previous releases had a few nasty bugs, mainly related to memory usage, so if you've found yourself short on memory after playing for a while there's reasons for that. Those should hopefully be fixed for 0.7.2.

The porting of the Blender scripts to be compatible with the Blender 2.5 API has also been prioritized, as well as misc fixes such as a recent audio code cleanup and an improved GUI layout algorithm. So while there's been less visible changes to the game lately, activity has continued in other areas. One pet peeve of mine related to the "Random track" button has been fixed - before you could often get the same track twice in a row, whereas now you'll always get a different one. And icons in the GUI, such as the zipper icon, will appear much smoother across various resolutions in the next release.

While I stated that less visible changes has occurred, there hasn't been a complete abundance either. Check out this funky new flying saucer in Star Track:

And this new version of Snow Peak, courtesy of samuncle:

As far as I understand it, samuncle intends to do some more work on the new Snow Peak. Thanks a lot for your continued effort on refreshing our tracks, samuncle. :)
While this is a very good improvement for a number of reasons, I still like the old track, so I will be sad when the old one gets thrown out. But I don't despair, stkaddons is here! sj04736, or Stephen for short, and hiker has been working a lot to ensure a better experience for addon makers and consumers.

So, what is this stkaddons anyway? will be the site where addon makers can upload their creations (or others, if the licensing is correct), making them available for install from inside the game itself. The integration between stkaddons and the game will hopefully make it easier for artists to show off their work, and users will be able to install additional content without any kind of manual interaction. The addons will be moderated and checked for content and licensing before they become available in-game, so you will be able to let your kids play STK without fear of nasty surprises in the form of explicit addons. There is still no guarantee that stkaddons will be 100% safe (for example from malware), but we will do our best to ensure a good experience.

Will stkaddons allow for any license whatsoever? No - since we get free hosting from the awesome TuxFamily network, and they only do this for free software projects, we require all addons (including every texture and object in an addon) to be under a free license. To stay on the safe side, we recommend to use DFSG-compliant licenses. You are still free to share your "he told me it was okay to use it" type of addons, but not on the addons site we're supporting, and thus it will not be available to install without leaving the game. So please, consider licensing before you start on an addon.

Does STK "phone home" to stkaddons? Not yet. We might introduce some additional features such as ratings of addons, requiring some data to be sent from your computer. This would however remain completely anonymous. And for the time being, this is not an issue since it hasn't been implemented.

Is the site ready for uploads yet? Technically yes, but we would like you to wait with that since it isn't 100% ready. It will most likely be ready for 0.7.2, so when that is out, please share your (properly licensed) creations there.

Lastly I will mention that the domain points to the domain, while points to this blog. Hopefully a bit easier to remember and more convenient. :)