How long did it take to program the engine of wesnoth until it worked? How many worked on it?

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Iceblade
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Joined: June 19th, 2014, 1:35 pm

How long did it take to program the engine of wesnoth until it worked? How many worked on it?

Post by Iceblade » July 3rd, 2019, 4:38 pm

'bit curious how long all the programming took, without the campaigns work. 'guess would be allright too.

I was looking for web programming information, with JavaScript (and Java) and I was thinking if it really makes sense to use those web programming languages, since those are interpreted and probably very slow compared to compiled programs.

Once there was the term "man years", and I was wondering if it makes sense to use it now. A lot of people worked on wesnoth, or not? IIRC it wasn't without external libraries. Still a monster effort, quite possibly. Do you think it makes sense to make a bussiness application out of it, if there are Companies/Groups that could use this, although modified?

The security aspects would be important, though.

Tad_Carlucci
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Re: How long did it take to program the engine of wesnoth until it worked? How many worked on it?

Post by Tad_Carlucci » July 4th, 2019, 1:11 pm

The answer to your question is sort of slippery. What constitues "written"?

Most programs like this start off rather small and quickly develop into a proof-of-concept, usually written by just one or two people, then expand to a small group of for comments, many of whom will help. The timing of this varies greatly.

An example is Minecraft, one of the top half-dozen selling games of all time (I think they're up to number 2. now), which just celebrated its 10th birthday. It is written in Java by two guys over a weekend. That was a very early pre-alpha version, which they distributed to anyone interesting in trying it out and helping. If I recall, it took a couple more months to have an actually playable game. New versions popped out very quciking after that (sometimes a month or two, sometimes just days), and the program has been in continual development ever since. For the full story, check out the landing page of the official Minecraft wiki. I think you'll be surprised at the pace of development in the early days.

Wesnoth went through a somewhat similar process but, since it's never been sold, nobody has ever actually tracked its sales numbers. And, being written in C++, has a harder time moving onto new platforms. The early history of Wesnoth is somewhere on its wiki pages, too (but a lot harder to find). Dave White is still around, too, although not very active. My guess would be it took him about a month to put together the initial proof-of-concept. Soon after it was moved into a source code control system, and eventually moved to GitHub.

The choice of programming language is largely a personal preference issue. Library availability is a big issue. As is the size of the talent pool.

Back in the day, interpreted languages were noticably slower than compiled. Now, I'd not consider it. Some intepreted languages come quite close to compiled languages in performance. One thing to consider is the time spent waiting for compiled languages to compile. Let's say Minecraft would be 1% faster as a compiled language. It's been around 10 years. If I played it daily for all of them, I'd have wasted around 36 days I'd have back if they'd have used a compiled language. But I'd have waited a month or so for that first version. So, all-in-all, it's a wash. It makes no difference at all. I could have done about the same work over the past decade, the difference is the start date.

Finally, you seem to imply that someone might take the core Wesnoth "engine" and try to make it into some sort of commercial, paid-for product.

Legally, that is not possible.

Frankly, (having actually read the code), there are far better products out there, already. Which is why some of the Wesnoth team is trying to put together a proof-of-concept conversion to one of them, and jetisoning the ancient mess, all the headaches supporting evolving hardware and software support, and easing movement to new platforms.

I'll ignore that last comment about security because it's off-the-wall and, lacking any context, there is no way to speak to it.
I forked real life and now I'm getting merge conflicts.

Iceblade
Posts: 13
Joined: June 19th, 2014, 1:35 pm

Re: How long did it take to program the engine of wesnoth until it worked? How many worked on it?

Post by Iceblade » July 5th, 2019, 12:29 pm

Thank you for the insightful answer.

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