October 31, 2012

SuperTuxKart 0.8 alpha released

We are pleased to announce the first pre-release version of the upcoming 0.8 release, namely SuperTuxKart 0.8 alpha.

Please note the following:

This is not the final version of 0.8 and thus contains more bugs, unfinished translations and is meant for testing and feedback. If you want a stable and polished SuperTuxKart experience, please download 0.7.3 from our website.
If you have installed SuperTuxKart previously, you will lose your previous highscores and challenge progress. Do not install this version in the same folder as any previous installations, and do not install a previous version in the same folder as this version.
When reporting bugs, please check if it has already been reported and remember to add the necessary details to your report (whether you can reproduce it, under what circumstances you can reproduce it, operating system and hardware details, whether you were sober or not, and so on and so forth).

The most important changes from 0.7.3 are:
  • Story mode and new challenge set
  • Improved AI
  • Skidding and better collision physics
  • Reverse mode
  • New Green Valley track and Blackhill Mansion track (thanks to their authors Wolf and samuncle)
  • Updated tracks XR591, Fort Magma and Amazonian Journey (thanks to Auria and samuncle)
  • Updated main menu

Besides general feedback we are especially interested in the following areas:

  • New skidding: Note that the skidding works completely different from the old 'sharp turn' key, and that it will take time to get used to it. Please try a while before you form your opinion, you might have to "unlearn" the sharp key handling! In certain curves it is now necessary to brake in order to take them. If you skid for a while you will get a boost when you stop skidding, so this has to be taken into account.
  • AI levels: The AI is significantly stronger now, so much that we actually had to make it easier, since we were struggling to beat the AI on Expert. We particularly have problems with judging the Novice and Intermediate AI, but are very interested in every level. Expert level is expected to be quite a challenge, whereas Intermediate should be challenging but not frustrating for the average player and Novice should be suitable for new and younger players.
  • Challenges: The challenges are now integrated in the story mode, and support three difficulties for each challenge. Again it's very difficult for us to see which challenges are adequate, and which aren't. So we are highly interested in people doing a complete play-through of all challenges at a certain level, and provide feedback on which ones you think are too difficult, too easy, or if they feel right.
We expect 0.8 to be final in 1 to 3 months, depending on how much bugfixing/tweaking is necessary. Meanwhile, you can help with testing (especially, feedback is welcome on challenges at all difficulty levels) and help complete translations. For feedback and discussion, please use our forum or mailing list (comments on the blog may be read but not necessarily answered).

Download SuperTuxKart 0.8 alpha for Windows (XP and newer), Linux, and MacOSX (10.5 and newer).
French translation available here

Happy testing! :)
Your STK team

October 13, 2012

Supervillain Superpowers : It's Hammertime!

What would a cartoon game be without a villain? Not much! But fortunately we have Tux's nemesis, the evil Nolok, and the next version will feature an epic race against Nolok. He won't release the poor Gnu that easily, of course : you will need to make him do so. And as any respectable bad guy, he gets his own powers. See for yourself :

Nolok's special weapons

Avoiding taking a hit of that hammer on the head will save you some headaches for sure! And Nolok is too evil to use pink bubblegums, really : he prefers spiky green slime, it would seem.

On other topics there has been work on improving the intro and end cutscenes, with many sound effects and now even some voice acting! The synchronisation of animations has also been improved. Don't worry though, the story is short and can be skipped.

More work has gone on skidding. It is now easier to control than before. For people that have tried SVN versions or nightly builds, an important source of frustration is that the AI is now almost impossible to beat. Indeed there have been many improvements : not only does it skid quite well, it also now tries to avoid bananas and bubblegums, and collects gift boxes. Do not worry, while we are making the AI good first, the next step after that will be the tweaking to make it not so frustrating to fight against :)

The overworld where story mode takes place and the challenge set have both been worked on and are starting to provide a complete set of challenges for story mode (including back Grand Prix challenges).

Suzanne approaching a challenge

Thanks to OzoneOne for providing the music for the overworld and the work-in-progress BlackHill Mansion track that will replace Crescent Crossing, and also thanks to Bollen, another musician, who has work in progress songs for a few tracks.

Meanwhile Samuncle has been continuing his work on the new XR591, as well as a better castle for Nolok in Fort Magma

So, the next question is, when the 0.8 release? We are not quite ready yet, however we still hope to provide betas late October or (probably more likely) early- to mid-November.