Much like 2013, 2014 was another major step ahead for us as a project. It’s been our second full year of releases, considering that in 2012 our very first alpha release was on Leap Day of that year. The project has matured considerably past its roots as a Tremulous mod, and we’ve made large strides in approaching our beta goals. For instance, at the start of the year, we were still shipping Tremulous maps as part of our repository. Since then we’ve fulfilled and even exceeded our beta goal of having six of our own maps to ship, with ten at the latest count, and we only ship our own maps along with convenient texture packs for community mappers. The user interface saw a huge leap forward with the long-awaited integration of libRocket, replacing our inherited system with a modern one based on HTML/CSS. Our coders have made progress on the engine upgrade, renderer, and gameplay fronts. New models have been implemented, and the game as a whole looks different and much better with each passing year.
The freshman year of our project, 2012, brought us into the world and secured our footing. Our sophomore year, 2013, gave us a goal and a unified purpose to work towards. Junior year, 2014, saw us mature into a significant open source project. Now we’ve hit 2015, and it’s senior year. It’s soon going to be time to graduate into beta.
But first, let’s look at what we’ve just accomplished this past year.
The first release of 2014 saw the new granger model, an audio system rewrite with usage of OpenAL everywhere, doppler and reverb sound effects added, support for the IQM model format that will eventually replace our usage of MD5, and a multitude of gameplay tweaks like the removal of the defense computer and the dropping of turret delay.
Our February release had a new telenode model, and the introduction of our new filesystem to replace the one we had inherited from ioquake3, with cleaner handling and stricter file naming requirements. There were also other small changes, like no longer saving configuration settings that haven’t been changed, improved mouse pointer movement, and a large batch of bug fixes.
For our anniversary release in March, we added a huge performance boost in the form of texture compression, which drastically reduced loading times and shrunk the size of our assets, leading to a smaller download. We also added the new drill and booster models, as well as higher resolution textures on the tyrant. The old OpenGL 1 renderer was dropped forever in this release.
April saw new, high resolution textures for the dretch, trapper, and acid tube, as well as renderer improvements like leaf surface merging and VBO vertex deformation being enabled by default, leading to more efficient rendering and handling of animated models. Lighting was improved. We slayed the dreaded ‘stuck key’ bug that came with the earlier introduction of SDL2.
The May release saw the dropping of QVM for the usage of Native Client binaries for gamelogic run by the server. Our new jetpack model was added. Maps saw a large upgrade in the form of compressed texture packs, meaning less to download, less resource duplication, and far better performance.
In June, we added another map to our collection in the form of a retextured, updated Spacetracks. Header compilation was added to provide a significant reduction in build time, and we cleaned up a lot of dead code that we inherited. Gameplay changes included stronger, more expensive turrets, and altered alien regeneration.
July had a huge new feature in the form of libRocket integration, which we had been working on for a while. This came with a completely redone interface, as well as a new UI based off HTML/CSS, which should make it easier for community HUD designers and modders. Another new map was added to the pool with a retextured, updated Station15.
Our August release saw us nominated (and winning!) the Linux Game Awards, and also introduced the new hive and armory models. The new beacon system was added, enabling visible notifications to teammates. We added vertex data optimization, bringing even more efficiency to our renderer. There was also weapon inertia, making first-person weapon models move more realistically.
For September, we added the new player model for our mantis, which replaces the basilisk. Gameplay changes included knockback being removed from most sources of damage and resources being stored in the appropriate resource structure to incentivize destroying them in enemy bases. We also removed and refactored a lot of code.
October had the new SMG model, in both first-person and third-person. The trapper was completely re-animated with more fluid motions. We also added a broad range of bug fixes to address lingering issues from the earlier libRocket integration, and other things.
The November release had new alpha versions of two maps, Forlorn and Antares, raising our stock map count to ten. Work was also done on particles for the release, with a public alpha of the soft particle renderer effect, as well as changing particle view orientation towards the view center instead of the view plane.
2014’s final release mainly focused on our coding efforts while we internally prepared assets and the new website for 2015. The CM_Inline bug was killed, doors no longer disappeared on Windows, and demos now handle better. SDL1 support was also dropped forever, along with other dead code.