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Topic: presentation of widelands b19

freem
Joined: 2012-07-03, 08:25
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Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2016-08-29, 18:47

Hello.

Since widelands entered a feature freeze state, I would like to write a presentation for it for linuxfr, a french website dedicated to free softwares and stuff related to linux. From what I have seen there, there was only 1 article about widelands, dated from 2005, so I plan to just write a global presentation, not to focus on the changes since that time (I didn't event knew about widelands 11 years ago). I'm not a very good player at widelands, I'm not active at all on forums or in the code, and I never even tried to play a multiplayer game, so my article won't be perfect, but I hope it will attract at least some interest on a game which is not known enough for me.

Now, the fact that the wideland's next release is close makes an easy excuse and some easy content, so I plan to take some time presenting the new things since b18, but to be honest, I can't really see them, and the changelog does not talk a lot to me. It does not even mention the migration to SDL2, or at least I can't grep it. Ideally, something like what wesnoth does, the player's changelog, but I know that it's a lot of work, especially since widelands builds take a lot more time (less manpower after all) so just global tendencies would be ok. I could work on that.

This is where I would like a little help: except the bug fixes what have changed from a player's point of view? It is not that I minimize the bugfix importance, and many linuxfr's readers will be able to understand what means the number of bugfixes, but exposing new features and enhancements is more susceptible to attract interest.

Also, I haven't played settlers 2 since ages (always preferred the 1 anyway), so I wonder if there was seafaring (I know it's not a b19 new feature but it is the most spectacular new feature since I know the game. Which reminds me that I should test the b19 AI on a seafaring map before mentioning that, in hope it know how to build ports now)?

kaputtnik edit: Fixed link to linuxfr

Edited: 2016-08-29, 22:13
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SirVer
Joined: 2009-02-19, 15:18
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Posted at: 2016-08-29, 19:27

That sounds really awesome!

I agree that the current changelog is a bit too detailed and an easier to digest version is required. We will properly write a summary of the new things in b19 for the release candidate - but that is another 3-4 weeks away I guess.


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Tibor
Joined: 2009-03-23, 23:24
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Posted at: 2016-08-29, 21:18

Well, you can mention changes in AI, f.e.:

  • Now it is not prone to block itself with abundance of trees (it stops ranges if stocks of wood are high)
  • Now it can use ships, including colonization

But under the hood AI was almost completely reworked, but there are a lot of small changes, no single big point...


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kaputtnik
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Joined: 2013-02-18, 20:48
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Posted at: 2016-08-29, 22:03

Yes, promotion face-smile.png

  1. New road images: Each tribe has his own set of roads, paths and build out (busy) roads
  2. One World: More flexibility when creating maps
    2.1: It is possible to use terrains from each of the four formerly worlds (Summer, Winter, Wasteland, Desert) in one map
    2.2: New Terrains: Each world type (Summer, Winter, Wasteland, Desert) has now tree friendly mountainous terrains
  3. Overhauled graphics for some of the Barbarians buildings

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GunChleoc
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Posted at: 2016-08-29, 22:57

We also did a lot of UI improvements on the menus etc., and improved translation/internationalization support. And an internal engine change (not very interesting to the end user right now) that will allow us to implement trading in the future.

And an improved in-game help (tribal encyclopedia now has info on buildings, wares and workers, and there is an editor help).

Graphics engine overhaul too, the graphics load a lot faster now.

A bunch of new building animations for the Barbarians. New Empire unit "Vintner".

For more info, best look at the development reports in the News Archive.

Thanks for taking this on!


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freem
Joined: 2012-07-03, 08:25
Posts: 26
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Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2016-08-30, 04:03

SirVer:

Do not worry, I intend to put my article here first (in english), under licence CC-0, or maybe MIT, or whatever is the most permissive. I never contributed after all, and I don't think it will change even if I can write c++ code. I just don't play often enough, and am not good enough for AIs, which are the main problem for current build imo. Well... if I except the lack of campaigns scenario, but this is another subject, on which I can't really help since I can't see where the storylines would go.

Tibor:

AI global improvement is a great thing. The public I will try to present widelands is used to technical stuff, so it will be sensible to AI improvements. I will have to play on seafaring maps against AI to be convinced enough to be convincing, though. But if an AI can build a port, it will probably impress enough people who are gamers: we all know that AI does not manage easily water and fly easily, even on commercial games.

kaputtnik:

Yes, I noticed the road changes on atlanteans, but, I must admit I would have forgot that point. Not that I think it's useless (otherwise I would not have noticed the fact that there are points after every section end/start, which means potential flag, right?) but nice stuff simply tends to seem normal. My apologies for that, and thanks you for the reminder. Also, I must admit I have not used a lot the map editor: not that I don't wan't to, because I wish I could be able to contribute to campaigns, but in practice, I'm not, and I have not spent enough time to understand how to build a simple one. And finally, since I am in love with atlanteans, dunno why, I didn't noticed the barbarian graphics improvements. Anyway, all those points have to be in my article.

GunChleoc: I have not seen UI improvements, sorry. Or at least, not directly. See, I think that b18 did not had options to prefer stronger warriors in military buildings, or did not allow to kick a specific worker. But, I am not sure, and it might because I sometimes played some dev build... Yes, I don't lie when I say I follow that project silently, some people might even have seen me around here once a year :p To be honest, this might be minor in term of general UI, but all those small improvements make the game a lot easier and less boring. You are right, I have to mention them. I do not use often the statistics, so if something changed there, feel free to explain it. About the other stuff, I'm sorry, I didn't noticed it, but again, noticing failures is easier than noticing improvements.

Finally:

Thanks for taking this on!

I am very grateful for you all to maintain such a great game, and I did nothing to help since so many years. Now, I only ask for help to show what you did, not what I did. It is only fair that this project should be more known, and speaking about it is not the hardest thing to do. I could at least try to fix bugs, but I don't.


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king_of_nowhere
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Posted at: 2016-08-30, 10:16

As many mentioned already, AI is a lot stronger than it used to be. Still nowhere near a skilled human, but ages ahead of that of b18, and it is fairly good at rushing. Also, there is the possibility to introduce easier difficulties for beginners. And there is the trading outpost start condition, though it does not affect much unless one does actually run out of something vital.

A change nobody mentioned is that trees were reworked to adapt them to the "one world". Also, the values of growth were adapted to give each climate the full range of possible terrains (i.e. each climate has terrains where trees grow more or less well)

And something that is not really a game change, but there are a tons of new maps since 2005


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GunChleoc
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Posted at: 2016-08-30, 10:21

The most significant changes in the UI are outside of the actual game play - check out the new map selection, more information when loading a savegame/replay, tabbed options screen (instead of the clunky "Advandec Options" that we used to have.

Bigger in-game UI changes include the building statistics (buttons rather than a clunky list) and the message window, which now allows for filtering according to message type. Also, we show the objective for normal games (used to be there for scenarios only). And the in-game help has gotten a huge improvement - you can now get help about buildings without having to build them first, for example, and all values in the help system are read from the actual configuration files to make sure that they are always correct. In Build 18, there was no help on worker units at all.

Oh, and one other important point: We now have 4 tutorials instead of just the 1.

And a new win condition: Artifacts. And a new easy starting condition: Trading Post.

Regarding the translations, we fixed a lot of truncation issues, and also have font support for non-Latin scripts. support for Arabic script has also been added, but there is still work to be done on the user interface for full RTL support.

Edited: 2016-08-30, 11:18

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freem
Joined: 2012-07-03, 08:25
Posts: 26
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Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2016-09-01, 03:36

king_of_nowhere wrote:

As many mentioned already, AI is a lot stronger than it used to be. Still nowhere near a skilled human, but ages ahead of that of b18, and it is fairly good at rushing. Also, there is the possibility to introduce easier difficulties for beginners. And there is the trading outpost start condition, though it does not affect much unless one does actually run out of something vital.

The trading outpost is something to talk about, indeed. In settlers 1, I can remember there was a different kind of security, which was to always keep enough resources to build what was needed to produce the base economy. Was useful for beginners, and saved me more than once :D Now, settlers 1 and widelands have almost nothing in common, so not sure it could help someone, except maybe if someone only have a storehouse after having beaten? Can someone confirm? Also, about storehouses, is it still impossible to actually keep soldiers in hq? Hum, I think I'm going out of topic here.

A change nobody mentioned is that trees were reworked to adapt them to the "one world".

I thinks I read something about that in the forums or in changelog, not sure... the "one world" is the merge of all worlds there were before, so that any map can use all terrains? I'm not sure at all.

GunChleoc wrote:

The most significant changes in the UI are outside of the actual game play - check out the new map selection, more information when loading a savegame/replay, tabbed options screen (instead of the clunky "Advandec Options" that we used to have.

I guess I do not play often enough to notice those changes, my excuses (and I know how boring it is to program UI, so I really mean it when I say I want to apologize).

Oh, and one other important point: We now have 4 tutorials instead of just the 1.

Really? I should have a try to those tutorials, just to check. But, to be honest, I think the various campaigns are simple enough to be considered tutorials, especially the barbarian ones.

And a new win condition: Artifacts.

Yes, noticed it, I think it can really make games more interesting.

Regarding the translations, we fixed a lot of truncation issues, and also have font support for non-Latin scripts. support for Arabic script has also been added, but there is still work to be done on the user interface for full RTL support.

Worth mentionning, even if I can't notice.

Thanks for your helps. I'll wait for the official release but you gave me a lot of materials about things to speak about. I hope it will interest people face-smile.png

Edited: 2016-09-01, 03:46
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GunChleoc
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Posted at: 2016-09-01, 09:56

freem wrote:

Now, settlers 1 and widelands have almost nothing in common, so not sure it could help someone, except maybe if someone only have a storehouse after having beaten? Can someone confirm? Also, about storehouses, is it still impossible to actually keep soldiers in hq? Hum, I think I'm going out of topic here.

The original idea bout the Trading Post was to give the AI an edge against skilled players. It can also be used by inexperienced players though, because they can't run out of logs etc and end up with a stalled production. Also, Atlanteans can deadlock themselves when there is no spidercloth left and spidercloth production hasn't been set up yet - won't happen with Trading Post.

Soldiers will automatically enter a warehouse of headquarters when there is no military building for them but you can't assign them yet - that's a feature on our wish list.

A change nobody mentioned is that trees were reworked to adapt them to the "one world".

I thinks I read something about that in the forums or in changelog, not sure... the "one world" is the merge of all worlds there were before, so that any map can use all terrains? I'm not sure at all.

Exactly - you can now have lush green fields, ash, desert and snow in the same map.

GunChleoc wrote:

The most significant changes in the UI are outside of the actual game play - check out the new map selection, more information when loading a savegame/replay, tabbed options screen (instead of the clunky "Advandec Options" that we used to have.

I guess I do not play often enough to notice those changes, my excuses (and I know how boring it is to program UI, so I really mean it when I say I want to apologize).

I actually enjoy working on the UI face-smile.png

You can see the changes if you install Build 18 as well and compare, then it becomes obvious.

Oh, and one other important point: We now have 4 tutorials instead of just the 1.

Really? I should have a try to those tutorials, just to check. But, to be honest, I think the various campaigns are simple enough to be considered tutorials, especially the barbarian ones.

Yes, the campaigns also function as tutorials. The Barbarian campaign scenarios have also been reworked to get rid of some duplication with the basic tutorials.

Regarding the translations, we fixed a lot of truncation issues, and also have font support for non-Latin scripts. support for Arabic script has also been added, but there is still work to be done on the user interface for full RTL support.

Worth mentionning, even if I can't notice.

The truncation issues you can, just start a game in Build 18 in French and open the message window, and you will have a button and some table headers where the text doesn't fit right there.

The font issues you can see in the language selection list.

Edited: 2016-09-01, 09:56

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