News Archive

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This page contains archived news from this wiki.

Contents

2010

July

04 July 2010 Brendan

Our erstwhile Lead Programmer had to break a promise of a proof-of-concept demo for parts of the new architecture originally set for July 4th. But work continues. We trust Archwyrm to weigh options like the speed and concurrent handling of the Go! language versus the vast number of programmers familiar with the popular C++ language that has been our core. Our friends at the OpenMW project had to step back from a love-affair with the exotic D programming language in large part due to not enough people knowing it.

Art Dept. Lead del_diablo continues to generate results, which I'm very happy with. Immediately after discussing in last week's dev chat the need for published guidelines on the workflow for making 3D art assets and adding them to the game, he went to work on start-to-finish instructions for adding art to DungeonHack. If you, as a contributor, do something "wrong" and we haven't provided documentation to tell you the right way, that is not your fault, but ultimately my own. Having gotten my degree in management, I am determined to have as little be my fault as possible. So I thank del_diablo for his help in this.
We also have a human model rigging and animation video courtesy of ajuss. In addition this impressive recent creation, he has also made a newborn son! ...we'll be showing him the Blender beginner tutorial as soon as he's able to read.

I've been told that broodsugar, our Loremaster for Godhead, has been doing some writing on the character of Faoxin, the central leader of the slave revolts driving the Rat War, a secret proxy war among the landed nobles of Rhanesia who must appear unified in the face of an immanent invasion by their national arch-nemesis, Badaurang. And for the island that will be our first installment of Godhead, broodsugar invites you to create the people who will populate Hyalang.
His co-writer iburnaga has also been at work on pre-scripted dialog for our NPCs in our prototype setting Spider Forest. We're also working on quests that can be available quickly with the limited functionality we have so far.

And a Happy 134th Independence Day to our American devs and fans, which includes myself, Archwyrm, Leftiness, and some others.

May

15 May 2010 Leftiness

Oh, look at that... it's May!

Well, the human model is being textured and animated, and we've welcomed a new contributor, but the biggest news, by far, happens to come from the coders.

Maybe they realized they weren't getting any glory, but they really stepped it up since the last update! Work on the UI and the Linux client is notable, but the new architecture idea is huge! I won't even claim to understand half of it, but those who do are very excited as it seems this change will allow faster gameplay, an in-game editor, and even multiplayer possibilities!

There's also been thought on the future of Spider Forest, our short-term goal, and I can't wait to see what the more artsy contributors can do to reclaim the spotlight. Don't forget to watch the forums for the latest updates!

April

06 April 2010 Leftiness

March seems to have treated us well with new contributors and lots of contribution!

Work has continued on the Spider Forest module with some unique gameplay ideas, including trapdoor spiders, and a recent roleplay has loosely inspired a bit of dialog.

Most noticeably, or maybe just most visibly, we now have a fearsome modeled, textured, and animated spider, and the previously mentioned open-air shrine is all but completed! A sack, shelf, barrel, and more have been newly created, and a good number of usable art assets have been found on the web.

I'm sure the programming team has been up to something that hasn't been spotlighted, and there are murmurs around the forum about the beginning stages of a human model. Stay tuned!

March

14 March 2010 Brendan

We have made progress on our intermediate setting, Spider Forest, with work by Ajuss on the spider model originally made by Interrupt for early versions of DungeonHack. We also have promising work on a Rhanesian open air shrine for Godhead. This is based on concept drawings by Misha. In each case, our artists responded to an open call for a model to be done. We've glad to see the art pipeline is working smoothly, but we still need animators and texture artists ...or an expert willing to teach a few of us some lessons.

In programming, we've seen progress on many different fronts.

  • Montaray Jack has returned with some extensive performance profiling and discovered some oddities that likely explain our framerate problems. With our design choice of large-scale worlds with realistic populations (at least compared to post-2002 Elder Scrolls with 30-person "cities"), our long-term strategy requires effective optimization techniques. The end result of these reviews is The Big Picture.
  • We've begun fleshing out our AI strategy. This will be a major component of our engine and surely one of the most ambitious parts of our overall design.
  • There have also been some further discussions and planning on deep code architecture issues. I don't pretend to keep up, but there has been a lot of talk about "reflection" and how our C++ + Python scripting can best work together.

Last but not least Garvek is back!!!

In Lore, most of the action has moved to Spider Forest. We want this to be a fun, exciting, and heart-pumping lead up to Godhead (whether we place Spider Forest in the same universe as Godhead or not). But it by no means needs to be deep and thought-provoking like the themes in Godhead. But for a short, linear thriller, we still want to point toward the open-ended dynamic world we intend for Godhead as we develop basic functionality. We'd had to attract and just disappoint a fanbase for a different kind of game than we ultimately are making.

Februrary

14 February 2010 Brendan

Happy Singles-Awareness Day!! I hope you've made time to appreciate the single people in your life and, unless you're having to deal with Valentine's Stress, the joys of being free to do what you're happiest with. I know my girlfriend doesn't dwell on what happens on one day with me but on the day-to-day together.


Our Lead Programmer Archwyrm has been working on what we are determined to make the last ever major refactoring of our code. Many projects have entered a death spiral by repeatedly refactoring as programmers come and go and hate the last guy's work, and we're keenly aware of this.

But we are embracing a component model to the codebase. What this means is that we're abandoning hierarchical inheritance which often forces duplication of code having to be updated in multiple places (easy to lose track of). Archwyrm has laid out his favoring a component system of code in the forum thread I just linked to.

January

24 January 2010 Brendan

Happy New Year!

Last September and October I had a series of successful interviews with a business software company in a far-away Scandinavian country. I'm now working as an International Product Manager. This is my first corporate job and fresh out of university.

It has been a very busy time for me, for months, and I haven't been around much. In my absence, Archwyrm has provided direction and motivation to the team. As always, he's handled these extra responsibilities admirably and progress has continued. He's not the only one who has taken on extra work in maintaining our progress, and I'm thankful that ours is a strong and supportive community. There's honest and blunt criticism, but really this is a very encouraging place to collaborate.

New Direction: to ensure that Godhead remains fun and replayable even as we develop functionality for a dynamic social and physical world full of interaction possibilities, we've adopted a short-range strategy called "Spider Forest". The further you get from the Rusty Ogre Lodge, the more randomly spawned spiders you will encounter. In each of our two dungeons you will find zombies.

This is a much more combat-oriented gameplay, which isn't what our game design ambitions emphasize. But it is indeed fast and easy to do (which has something to do with why so many RPGs are just about killing). But it's something we can add quickly and provide more of interest than just a once-through demo.

We also have some excellent new music from Paul "timong" Illes, lead developer of the FOSS RPG JCRPG:

Our next Developers' Chat will be this Sunday, January 31st, at 1900 GMT at irc.freenode.net #DHackers. If you don't have an IRC client program on your computer, you can click here.

2009

December

November

18 November 2009 Archwyrm

Time for another news update! There is still a lot of activity in the project, but most of it is ongoing at this point. However, there is still news and a number of finished products worth mentioning:

  • Forums have been re-organized to reflect our (current) concentration on a single agreed upon setting for DungeonHack. This has in turn made room for discussion of future settings, or world modules.
  • Also speaking of communication, we have been testing out Google Wave as a tool for collaboration that would unify and perhaps replace communication by forums/IRC/e-mail/voice chat. Good things have already come out of this, but the system (and protocol) as a whole still needs work and we as users must also find the best way of using the tool.
  • As visible in the screenshots section, we have a nice new sign from Phlogios. Makes all the other models in the game look bad to be honest. However, properly shading it is a work in progress as we currently lack anyone with extensive shader/graphics programming expertise.
  • Our lore team has been busily penning rich descriptions of their world. This stuff can be read in the lore forum, but is not recommend reading if you want to be surprised while playing the game (contains no major spoilers, however).
  • Work on our Python scripting system has been underway and the first thing to be added is Python powered tree dialogue (something that many people will find familiar from other RPGs) and this completes another roadmap item. We aren't set on using tree dialogue forever as it is the most work for writers (while also being the richest form of dialogue), but we certainly will for the time being.

October

17 October 2009 Archwyrm

Well, it has been quite long enough since we last updated the news. In past months this has sometimes indicated a lack of progress, but since release we have been quite busy completing a number of things, and have simply forgotten to keep this space current! Since we have had a little prodding about this, we have resolved to do a better job of more frequent news postings. This should make keeping up with the project easier for more infrequent visitors. Otherwise, there is a ton of traffic going on in wiki changes, history, and of course the forums.

Here is what we have been up to since the last release:

  • Upgraded to Ogre 1.6
  • Identified or had reported a number of bugs and rough spots and some of these have already been resolved.
  • Interior doors have been restored (still needs tweaking)
  • Mostly completed a restructuring of our entity hierarchy as well as an improvement of encapsulation and organization. Also we have renamed a number of classes to more comfortable names and names that make better sense for their purpose. Not real visible work, but important nonetheless and the benefits will be great.
  • A few new art assets have been created and will appear in the game soon.
  • Improved the look and usability of the roadmap (in large part thanks to the Blender wiki)
  • Tasks for the next release have been re-organized a bit as we have begun our switch from XML to YAML. This is because 0.11 will require a good deal of flexible data input. Most NPC AI tasks have been delayed.

There are a bunch of other things in the works that aren't quite done yet, so we'll save those for another news post.

September

09 September 2009 Archwyrm

DungeonHack 0.10 released!

We are happy to announce the culmination of many months of hard work as we offer our first release since the 2007 demo. A number of important changes have happened since then, such as:

  • Native support for Linux
  • CMake build system implemented
  • Ported to Ogre 1.4 (from Ogre 1.2)
  • Physics system changed to Bullet Physics
  • GUI changed to MyGUI
  • Scripting system changed to Python
  • Sound system changed to OpenAL, ALURE, and OggVorbis
  • Much code has been restructured, rewritten, and documented

We are particularly excited about these changes because we are now in a better position to extend gameplay functionality and engine features than we were before. We will also now be able to "release early and release often". So, stay tuned for more releases in the near future!

For those of you not familiar with the old demo, here is an excerpt from our README which describes what you should expect in the release:

This release features procedurally generated, foliage populated terrain, along with one inn location and two dungeon locations. There are monsters to fight and one quest to take that is managed by the Python scripting system.

Please see the download page for the source tarball and the Windows and Linux binaries.

August

23 August 2009 Brendan

  • Work slowed to a trickle as the Project Leader was trying to nail a real-life management job and the Lead Programmer was on vacation in Europe. Brendan now turns to entrepreneurial ventures on his own schedule with room for the project, and Archwyrm has returned to his day job and us.
  • Ajuss has been working on rigging and animating human models loaned from Better Bodies for Morrowind by PsychoDog Studios. Rigging and animation are both very rare skills in the indie game dev scene, so we're more than glad to have ajuss helping us. His latest work is in our Gallery. But what we wouldn't give for a few more animators aboard...
    • New things posted in the Gallery, and some new screenshots.
  • The final hurdle to the 0.10 demo release is the Bullet Physics powered kinematic character controller. Bullet's performance is commercial-grade, but the system has proven too arcane for most of our programmers. Only Archwyrm has spent enough time to have learned how to work with it. If you're familiar with Bullet + Ogre and wanting to work with an appreciative, constructively abusive team, drop us a line in our programming sub-forum.

July

12 July 2009 Archwyrm Welcome to the new host for our project. Our wiki and forums have moved to our SourceForge webspace as we had a database outage with some corruption over at UESP. While preparing to make this move, the database server has gone down yet again. Unfortunately this means that we are missing a couple days of data and for that we apologize, but it was basically out of our hands. However, now that we have moved to a much more reliable host (and there have been numerous non-critical outages over at UESP long before now) control over our web resources are most definitely in our hands, and you can blame us for any future problems. ;)

Along with the move we have updated the forums to phpBB3, which has quite a few features that we think will help make working on DH more productive and also easier for us to administrate. Enjoy!

Meanwhile, we are still working hard on getting our 0.10 release out the door despite this setback.

June

02 June 2009 Brendan The project slowed down in May as all our lead developers and most major contributors were faced with end-of-semester exams. We also have to honestly admit that some difficult, hairy bugs have brought coding progress to a crawl. Crawling is something warriors have to do from time to time.

  • Congrats to Archwyrm on getting his Bachelor's degree in Computational Linguistics!
    • Now get back to work!!
  • Phlogios has some new blades in the gallery. And now he's turning to some more everyday fixtures and furniture.
  • echo has returned and is working out an installer script to build DungeonHack on the popular Ubuntu family of Linux distributions. It should also work on all Debian-based distros once completed, which it's not yet.
    • This will make DH more accessible to the Linux community in general, which includes a high percentage of programmers and other potential contributors.
  • newcomer Valtur Naa has been churning up the gameplay idea threads. It may be a little much to read through.
  • Broodsugar and his crew have been busy adapting for DungeonHack part of the "Harran Realms" world he's been writing and developing for some years. This is the strongest candidate yet for a lore to replace the Bethesda-owned material in Daggerfall which originally inspired our community.
  • Added the GeSHi syntax highlighter extension to the wiki. This provides formatting to source code examples to make them easier to read, just as most IDEs and programmer-oriented text editors do.
  • Lead Programmer Archwyrm has been wrestling with some performance damaging bugs with loading foliage in the terrain. Part of his solution is implementing the Paged Geometry library for OGRE and he's optimistic about having it working soon-- watch the forums.

May

April

25 April 2009 Archwyrm

  • While we are behind schedule on making our next release, we are actually ahead of schedule in replacing a few libraries. First off, we have replaced FMOD with ALURE/OpenAL for sound. Work is ongoing with these libraries, but our implementation is mostly complete. We would very much like to thank Chris (author of ALURE and OpenAL Soft) for assisting us in reworking our sound system.
  • Now that we have substituted both Netwon and FMOD, DungeonHack uses only free software / open source software libraries. These changes have come about for both philosophical and technical reasons and we believe that DH will become a better game because of that.
  • Our scripting system now uses Python 2.6, which is known for being easy to learn and quick to develop with. Our intent is to make much of DH script driven for ease of development and customizability while doing all the "heavy lifting" in our C++ code. Initial threading work has been completed in order to support Python, which has laid the groundwork for more extensize thread usage throughout the whole game.
  • All of these library changes have been made possible through the hard work of our very busy developer, Garvek. If you happen to see him on the street, buy him a beer. ;)


March

29 March 2009 Brendan

  • The 0.10 demo announced a while back was delayed. Software is a complex thing, and delays common. But more than anything, I had faith that our coders could work it out. So it's with pride I announce they've solved the problems that cropped up while switching from the physics system DungeonHack was originally hardcoded to use! DH with Bullet now builds on Win32 as well as Linux (which always built fine)!
  • Our lead modeler Phlogios predicted that once the project was gaining steam, we'd see a steady stream of 3D artists to create the ambitiously large amount of optimized art assets our strategy calls for. He's been right! We don't have enough yet, but aside from the "Lund Longship" crew he's recruited locally, we've seen a steady upward trend in new modelers coming aboard DH.
    • We have a particular need for animators. If you understand rigging, weight painting, and other such things, you will score so many scones here! We will love you.
  • The chilling effect from Bethesda's legal refusal to endorse a remake has had our creative vision for the game (beyond being Daggerfallian at heart) in tumult for a long time. This has left artists unable to know what exactly to create. The strongest lore contributor to date is working on an impressively well considered setting and, despite some creative differences, has been flexible and committed. We may be very close to decisions that set the framework within which the broader group of lorists on the team can contribute their own aspects of the whole picture.
    • This is awesome.
  • Developers' chat this Sunday, Mar. 30, at 19:00 (7pm) GMT, @ irc.FreeNode.net #DHackers.

09 March 2009 Archwyrm

  • Our Subversion repository has been re-organized to support not only our game code, and media, but also media source files and external world generation tools.
  • For the world generation tools, we plan to create a toolchain or suite that automates creating massive worlds in high detail (land masses, vegetation, flora and fauna, nations, world history, etc) with optional user/artist input and tweaking at any stage of generation. These tools are designed not to be specific to DH, so may be used for any project which wishes to quickly build a large world. Our hope is that other projects may take an interest in using and helping to expand these.
  • We already have our first two tools in active development in the repository: Roshathra's worldgen and Explorer's vegetation prototype (for local cells). A win32 build for worldgen is available here (Update: *nix compatible version can be built from SVN).
  • Work towards our release continues steadily and hopefully we will have good news in this area soon!

February

19 February 2009 Brendan

  • Wiki Update! | Updated our wiki and are using qubodup's great DungeonBook skin custom-made for DungeonHack!
  • Software bugs have a way of cropping up, and that has happened to our upcoming demo. The delay is estimated in weeks due to real-life work schedules and some complexity. Meanwhile, we're keeping it honest for you and polishing our recruitment plans.
  • Our SourceForge now has a Trac installation for tracking bugs, feature requests, and tasks. This provides a nicer source code browser for SVN integrated with the tracker and a timeline for keeping up with the latest code changes. Public access for submitting new tickets is available, but you will need a SourceForge account and to follow the https link.
  • Developers' chat this Sunday, Feb. 22, at 19:00 (7pm) GMT, @ irc.FreeNode.net #DHackers.

05 February 2009 Brendan
We are about to make our next demo release!
This is a point of pride for the whole DHackers team, but the lion's share of the praise rightfully goes to our dynamic coding duo, Archwyrm and Garvek!

  • Developers' chat this Sunday, Feb. 8, at 19:00 (7pm) GMT, @ irc.chatspike.net/ #DFWorkshop. You can find more information on connecting to IRC at ChatSpike.Net.
  • Lead Modeler Phlogios has a growing legion of mesh-makers and is focusing on texturing.
  • Build_Instructions continue to be refined as many contributors have given feedback from compiling DungeonHack from the [SVN].
  • Avatar galleries added to the forums, as well as other changes.
  • Implementing Bullet physics engine is close to complete but presenting a few problems.
    • Archwyrm is exploring functionality in Bullet to provide kinematic character movement.

January

09 January 2009 Brendan Happy New Year!

  • Developer Chats continue to be held regularly, week after week, going strong
    • Next Dev Chat: Sunday, 11 December, 1900 GMT on irc.chatspike.net #DFWorkshop
  • Please see our project Roadmap for details on our next release
  • Garvek has been making steady progress ripping out hard-calls to CEGUI and switching us over to a lighter and more nimble implementation of MyGUI using code recovered from ex-DHacker Tegan
  • Thanks to several new fans on the forums, one compiling issue after another has been beaten by our coders
    • a freelance project like ours uses many outside libraries, and they can be troublesome to integrate
  • Preparations are being made to integrate popular scripting language Python after our next release
  • Forum discussions are ongoing about a database format for items that allows for inheritance and extensibility

2008

December

28 December 2008 Brendan It has been a busy holiday season. Alot of work has been done, but we often lose focus on updating the news page...

  • Interrupt's terrain has been suddenly resurrected after straightening up the code for some weeks to implement PLSM2. Archwyrm is leaning toward extending our code instead of relying on the less-than-active PLSM project.
  • New member Garvek has done extensive work on documentation of the code and also integrating Tegan's long-lost code in MyGUI.
  • Archwyrm has been officially elected Lead Programmer

02 December 2008 Brendan

  • Archwyrm has PLSM2 terrain working but was delayed in getting OgreNewt physics working, thus our walk-test demo release is targeted for next weekend
  • Roshathra has had to research architecture to more properly design his "building builder", but has reworked existing code to make a 2D nation map generator
    • Textures and door and window models are requested for the building builder
  • Our next Dev Chat is this Sunday, 7 Dec. 2008.

November

26 November 2008 Brendan

  • HAPPY THANKSGIVING Americans and others who like an excuse for feasting!
  • The latest Dev Chat summary is up
  • Roshathra is working on a procedural generator for 3D buildings based on his previous and successful 2D building placement generator
  • We'll be upgrading our MediaWiki version soon to support qubodup's custom-designed DungeonBook theme, which will become the new default.
  • Archwyrm expects to have the new PLSM2 terrain system and our physics plug-in working by next Sunday!
  • We're aiming for a new demo release by next Sunday!!

16 November 2008 1Samildanach

  • This has not died.
  • No, really, it hasn't.
  • Archwyrm, after trying to wrestle the old terrain generation code, is working to integrate Paging Landscape Scene Manager 2 (PLSM2).
  • Tegan has returned (now with a four week old daughter) and resumed work on the GUI system.
  • Roshathra, a recent arrival, has started some promising work on a town generator, which has potential to be applied to a range of other tasks.

October

September

23 September 2008 Brendan

  • The recent freeze in development is this much closer to thawing as Interrupt steps aside, inviting new blood to take over as Lead Programmer
  • Some lay-out changes to the wiki
  • Anonymous edits disabled (suck it, bots!)
  • Did I mention we have a whole team ready to back a new Lead Programmer? (it's kinda like getting your own war-band at the beginning of a tactical game)

04 September 2008 Brendan

  • Dev Chats moved to Sundays!!
  • Dev Chat this Sunday, September Seventh, 19:00 (7 pm) GMT, @ irc.chatspike.net/ #DFWorkshop. Please see the AGENDA!

August

05 August 2008 Brendan

  • Dev Chat this Saturday, 19:00 (7 pm) GMT, @ irc.chatspike.net/ #DFWorkshop. Please see the AGENDA!
  • A "cascading shadow maps" system is being implemented with VSM for interiors and a hybrid of LiSPSM and another solution for outdoor scenes
  • Texture and polygon budgets nearly set. Optimization tutorials being written.

02 August 2008 Brendan

  • Dev Chat TODAY 19:00 (7 pm) GMT, irc.chatspike.net/ #DFWORKSHOP. Meeting Agenda.
  • Copyright page written up -- please review it and post any questions or comments on its discussion page.
  • Lots of editing, linking up, and re-organizing of the wiki has been done.
  • New member Tegan is doing all kinds of amazing things, reorganizing the source code, with Interrupt's blessing.

July

28 July 2008 Brendan

26 July 2008 Interrupt

  • Spent today fixing issues with the water and cleaning up the GameTerrain class. Also added another pass into the texture generation to generate textures based on terrain details like height and steepness. Using this for the shoreline right now, grass and trees no longer grow underwater.


News from earlier dates are stored in the News Crypt


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