Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

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Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Dave » August 17th, 2016, 5:24 am

For some time now, myself and a few other developers have been working off-and-on on a project we are calling "wesnoth2". Normally I don't like to discuss projects I work on when they are still in a fairly speculative phase, because many projects in this phase end up not working out, and I do not like to get people excited about something which may or may not pan out.

However, I have received some questions about wesnoth2 -- specifically what it is, what direction it is going in, and perhaps most importantly what it means for Wesnoth. So I am going to talk about it a little here.

Wesnoth has been a very successful project. It has allowed many people to come together and collaborate on a fun Open Source game. Wesnoth2 is an effort to see if we can do that all over again -- make a fun Open Source strategy game which is driven by a wonderful community. It would use modern technology, opening us up to many new possibilities, be much more flexible, and use some lessons learned from Wesnoth to tweak its approach slightly.

I want to begin by saying the name "wesnoth2" is simply a name we are currently using for it. It might end up being a true successor to Wesnoth and earn the title "Wesnoth2". It might end up being a different game that uses many of the principles we learned on Wesnoth, and end up with a different name. Currently we are experimenting with possibilities.

So what are we working on, more specifically? We are importing many of Wesnoth's assets -- terrain graphics, unit art, sounds, etc, to be used in Anura, the engine that has been developed by myself and some others, and on which Frogatto, Argentum Age, and several other games have used.

We are working on making a game prototype for a strategy game. Rather than re-implement Wesnoth's rules directly, we thought it would be more exciting and fresher to build a new game with new and different mechanics. It will still be a hex-based fantasy strategy game with much of the feel of Wesnoth, but the mechanics and rules will be different.

We want to progress in a similar manner to the way Wesnoth did. Distribute the game. People who enjoy it can improve it. Build a community around it. Allow for user created content. And we want the engine to be powerful and flexible enough so that Wesnoth1 can be fully reimplemented in it. As long as we are successful and there is interest that is something we definitely would like to do.

There are some things we would do a little differently, a few lessons we have learned from Wesnoth. I will list some things here:

- wesnoth2 is being developed on the Anura engine which is available under the zlib/libpng license which is GPL compatible. It is more permissive than the GPL.
- The actual gameplay code for wesnoth2 will most likely be made available under the GPL though we haven't made a final decision on this.
- We would like to move art and music and other content to a different license, such as a creative commons license. A code license such as the GPL makes no sense for content.
- Importantly, we want to clarify that while wesnoth2 is committed to being a community-driven open source effort we see the benefit of being able to have monetized distribution in some markets. The App Store, for instance, has been highly beneficial for Wesnoth. To allow for this, we will ask contributors of core code and content to license their code and content to Wesnoth, Inc in a way that ensures we can do this.
- We want to drive more experimentation and rewarding of new ideas in Wesnoth2. We want to try new game mechanics. New approaches to presenting storyline. New graphical effects. In Wesnoth1 there has been a problem where the amount of prestige associated with a developer is how long they have been with the project (seniority/tenure) and how many commits they have. Newer contributors have struggled with not feeling like they are "core developers" or can effect change. I want to change this with Wesnoth2. I'm not sure we have all the answers on how to change this, but one component is building it using a technology where contributors can try things out without having to rely on a C++ developer to implement things for them, and where things can be modularized better.
- In reference to the previous point we want to have a culture of "If You Implement It, We'll Try It". What does that mean? Suppose someone comes along and says "hey guys the randomness in Wesnoth is really frustrating. I can implement a system with less randomness that I think will make the game more fun." Rather than reacting with disdain and contempt and an explanation of why our amount of randomness is good. This person could implement their scheme -- protecting it with a flag so the old way can still be used -- and then we can turn their feature on by default for at least one development patch. People can try it out, see if they like it. Give feedback. That way the idea gets a fair shot rather than people just immediately rushing to reject it.

What does all this mean for Wesnoth1? I would say at this point, nothing. Wesnoth2 is still an experiment, nothing more. Hopefully it will grow to something one day, but that day isn't here yet and I don't have a time frame for when it will occur.

Now perhaps one day Wesnoth2 will grow to subsume Wesnoth1. But if it does so it will only do so because it deserves to -- if all the experiences that you can get with Wesnoth1 are made available with Wesnoth2. Otherwise they may just remain as different games, both standing in their own right.

If anyone is interested in seeing what we have for wesnoth2 at this time they are welcome to do so. Here is the Wesnoth2 design document, describing the current ruleset: https://github.com/anura-engine/wesnoth ... n-Document

Wesnoth2 code is available on github: https://github.com/anura-engine/wesnoth2/

You will need the Anura engine to run it: https://github.com/anura-engine/anura

If anybody wants to get involved in a game project at this early stage (noting that it's quite a different experience to developing on a mature project like Wesnoth1) we certainly welcome help. Let me know and we can help you get set up.

Finally, I recognize that there has been a good deal of misunderstanding, lack of transparency, and general anxiety in the community around the development of Wesnoth and its relationship to our corporate setup, Wesnoth, Inc.

When we first started Wesnoth, Inc, it was designed to manage the revenue from the App Store, and we had a board, consisting of myself, Turuk, and Noy. However, Turuk and Noy are barely around anymore.

So, I want to re-establish a board of three members, with me as president. These three members would be nominated by the community with a recommendation vote from which I will select the three board members.

Wesnoth, Inc will establish a charter, describing its goals -- which will largely be to further the interests of Wesnoth, and other open source games we may develop (such as Wesnoth2).

Board members will be up for re-election once per year, but as long as they are fulfilling their duties well and want to continue I would expect to keep the same board members.

The board will make any decisions such as where to spend Wesnoth Inc's finances, and any markets (such as the app store) to distribute our games on (free markets such as Linux/OSX/Windows/etc would not require the board's approval, only markets which require signed agreements etc).

I hope this clarifies things for people. I am happy to answer any questions.
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Pentarctagon » August 17th, 2016, 6:34 am

Neat, thanks for posting this. The default gameplay sounds like it would be somewhat more interesting than current wesnoth, with the extra mechanics, though assuming modding (or a setting) allows it the first thing I do will be disabling critical chance. Getting unlucky misses or an enemy getting lucky hits is one thing, but an enemy getting a string of lucky crits would be even worse :lol:
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Andrettin » August 17th, 2016, 6:36 am

Looking at the GitHub repository, one thing which immediately caught my attention was a data file for elvish buildings. Are buildings going to be taggable or buildable (apparently the latter since it has a hitpoints variable)?
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby ForestDragon » August 17th, 2016, 6:45 am

neat idea! btw, is making addons going to be still in WML (but with the ability to create new mechanics like you said)?
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Dave » August 17th, 2016, 6:58 am

Pentarctagon wrote:Neat, thanks for posting this. The default gameplay sounds like it would be somewhat more interesting than current wesnoth, with the extra mechanics, though assuming modding (or a setting) allows it the first thing I do will be disabling critical chance. Getting unlucky misses or an enemy getting lucky hits is one thing, but an enemy getting a string of lucky crits would be even worse :lol:


So, I don't really want to get into a discussion of what will/won't work before people have had a chance to try things out. I think a big thing with Wesnoth2 is asking people to keep an open mind and try gameplay mechanics.

However I want to note that the idea of the critical chance system is to have some randomness with much less than in Wesnoth1. The idea is that in Wesnoth you might have 60% chance to hit. A string of misses feels really bad. In Wesnoth2 you might end up with 100% chance to hit and a 10% chance to deal a critical hit (double damage). This will provide a much more consistent outcome than Wesnoth1 while still allowing the winds of fate to shift a battle a little and the unpredictable to happen.

Andrettin wrote:Looking at the GitHub repository, one thing which immediately caught my attention was a data file for elvish buildings. Are buildings going to be taggable or buildable (apparently the latter since it has a hitpoints variable)?


Buildings are covered in the design doc I linked. :)
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby ForestDragon » August 17th, 2016, 7:00 am

some of the current rules remind me of Era of High Sorcery, but most of them seem like ripoff-over-complicated-ness (guard mode for example), well, buildings can easily be implemented in wesnoth-1 too using WML, so i don't see much new in this
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Dave » August 17th, 2016, 7:14 am

ForestDragon wrote:neat idea! btw, is making addons going to be still in WML (but with the ability to create new mechanics like you said)?


We will have add-ons but with a new language/system for implementing them, which will be more flexible than WML.
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Dugi » August 17th, 2016, 7:20 am

Dave wrote:However I want to note that the idea of the critical chance system is to have some randomness with much less than in Wesnoth1.

These criticals are a great idea. Adds a lot of surprises into the game. In Wesnoth1, if your unit was to be attacked by a unit with a 7-3, you could be sure that the unit shall take no more than 21 damage. In Wesnoth2, a series of criticals can happen, causing the unit can take up to 42 damage with a low probability. Makes protecting your critical units a great challenge. Amazing. [/sarcasm]

Dave wrote:We will have add-ons but with a new language/system for implementing them, which will be more flexible than WML.

Hm, to add some constructive criticism, maybe this could be a place to use something that would allow large add-ons to be developed comfortably, something object-oriented like LLVM, Julia or Java.

Also, why are you re-implementing a game that was sometimes criticised for having 2D graphics like games in the '90s again in 2D? Why don't you stick with Blender Game Engine or something? Without 2D graphics, units can share animations, gear parts and weapons easily, saving tons of time on spritework and allowing units to have large numbers of high quality animations.
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Andrettin » August 17th, 2016, 7:51 am

Dave wrote:Buildings are covered in the design doc I linked. :)


Oops, I missed that, sorry.

Dugi wrote:Also, why are you re-implementing a game that was sometimes criticised for having 2D graphics like games in the '90s again in 2D? Why don't you stick with Blender Game Engine or something? Without 2D graphics, units can share animations, gear parts and weapons easily, saving tons of time on spritework and allowing units to have large numbers of high quality animations.


But 3D art doesn't look as good as pixel art :(
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby ForestDragon » August 17th, 2016, 7:53 am

But 3D art doesn't look as good as pixel art :(

i kinda agree on that
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Aldarisvet » August 17th, 2016, 8:17 am

Dugi wrote: Without 2D graphics, units can share animations, gear parts and weapons easily, saving tons of time on spritework and allowing units to have large numbers of high quality animations.

Tons of work with sprites was already made for Wesnoth, you cant just put it into trash.
Also I pesonally do not like 3D in general, it is to complex to my eyes. The game where I liked 3D the first and only time was Deus Ex HR, but that is totally another game genre, for the turn based strategy you neednt 3D.
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Andrettin » August 17th, 2016, 8:35 am

Aldarisvet wrote:
Dugi wrote: Without 2D graphics, units can share animations, gear parts and weapons easily, saving tons of time on spritework and allowing units to have large numbers of high quality animations.

Tons of work with sprites was already made for Wesnoth, you cant just put it into trash.
Also I pesonally do not like 3D in general, it is to complex to my eyes. The game where I liked 3D the first and only time was Deus Ex HR, but that is totally another game genre, for the turn based strategy you neednt 3D.


Yes, and also; animations and equipment can be made reusable by multiple units by using layers (to make efficient use of them would require i.e. all dwarves to have the same size regardless of level though).
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby taptap » August 17th, 2016, 9:10 am

Kind of sad to see the creator of BfW undo a lot of the game design decisions that made Battle for Wesnoth the game it is. The anxiety regarding Wesnoth is due to pitching a completely different game as potential successor.
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby Dugi » August 17th, 2016, 9:16 am

Andrettin wrote:But 3D art doesn't look as good as pixel art :(
Very few people can draw it well. The others have to rely on frankensteining, recolouring and small touches. This means that many art contributions are rejected for being low quality, add-ons are bashed for having lots of 'bad frankensteins', many units don't get animated because the people who've made them only made the baseframes, ignoring the problem that they're the only ones with the ability to create an animation Jetrel would not reject. Wesnoth's percentage of animated units is going down on the long term. 3D could be a redemption.
Also, 3D art can also look very artistic, not all games have low polygon fixed function shaded models.
Andrettin wrote:animations and equipment can be made reusable by multiple units by using layers (to make efficient use of them would require i.e. all dwarves to have the same size regardless of level though).
And also have all poses identical. That's ridiculous.

taptap wrote:Kind of sad to see the creator of BfW undo a lot of the game design decisions that made Battle for Wesnoth the game it is. The anxiety regarding Wesnoth is due to pitching a completely different game as potential successor.
Yeah, this has the potential to remove the game's variety in order to make a few things simpler. Like the Diablo 2 to Diablo 3 transition which made all characters have identical gear requirements.
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Re: Wesnoth2, Wesnoth, Inc, and other things

Postby ForestDragon » August 17th, 2016, 9:32 am

taptap wrote:Kind of sad to see the creator of BfW undo a lot of the game design decisions that made Battle for Wesnoth the game it is. The anxiety regarding Wesnoth is due to pitching a completely different game as potential successor.

i guess this so called 'Wesnoth2' could rather be a spinoff than a sequel, since yeah, i agree with taptap, a sequel must not be an entirely different game with just some same art
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