Wesnoth Needs Your Help!

Announcements regarding Wesnoth and the Wesnoth Project.

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Wesnoth Needs Your Help!

Post by vultraz »

Greetings, Wesnoth community members.

Twelve years ago, David White sat down over a weekend and created the small pet project that we know today as The Battle For Wesnoth. At the time, Dave was the game’s sole programmer, working alongside another person, Francisco Muñoz, who produced the first graphics. As more and more people began to contribute in the years that followed, the game grew from a tiny personal project into the extensive one we know today. If you read the credits, you will find hundreds and hundreds of names who have dedicated tens of thousands of hours contributing toward Wesnoth’s continued development. To all the people on that list, especially those who are still active to this day, a sincere thank you.

Sadly, a hard truth must be faced: Wesnoth, as a project, is understaffed. At this time, there are fewer than half a dozen developers working on each new version of the game, and even fewer of them are able to work on the engine itself. We do not collectively have the time or skills to fix bugs as quickly as we should, or implement features as rapidly as we would like. The game itself suffers from an aging codebase and old software. As the gaming industry marches on and even the simplest games become more complex, Wesnoth has begun to feel outdated. Our internal organization is in need of improvement. The long length of the 1.11.x development cycle was caused less by us working on fixes or features than by an inability to successfully do these things in a timely fashion.

To put it bluntly, this ship is sinking.

Wesnoth has always had an incredibly dedicated and creative community of fans. Your bug reports and testing have been incredible in helping us polish off rough edges; without you the game would have died a quiet death years ago. But now we need your help for something more.

This is an official call for help to anyone, from within or outside the community, to assist us in the further development of the Battle for Wesnoth. Especially required are:
  • C++ programmers with intermediate to advanced knowledge of the language, preferably with prior experience in maintaining a large codebase. Having experience working on computer games on Wesnoth’s scale would be a plus. We are in particular need of more people able to help with development on Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X, both platforms where Wesnoth suffers from long-standing bugs that greatly impact the game’s usability.
  • Python programmers able to take over and maintain, and hopefully improve, our mainline maintenance toolchain, including wmllint, wmlindent, and wmlscope.
  • WML coders able to take over maintenance of any of the following unmaintained mainline campaigns: Heir to the Throne, Dead Water, Delfador’s Memoirs, Liberty, Legend of Wesmere, The Sceptre of Fire, The Rise of Wesnoth, The South Guard, Eastern Invasion, and Son of the Black Eye.
    In particular, Legend of Wesmere is in dire need of people willing to invest additional time testing and fixing its multiplayer port for both 1.12.x and 1.13.x, as it risks being removed in a future stable series otherwise.
  • Please note that any willing volunteers should have good communication skills and preferably be experienced with working alongside fellow members of a large project. We aim to maintain a friendly and open relationship between the development team and the community.
It is our hope that with your help, we will be able to take Wesnoth higher and expand its fanbase. We already have plans to release Wesnoth as a free game on Steam once we have an active enough team to quickly fix any reported issues as they come in. We hope to make that a reality, and possibly go even further. But again, we need your help to make this happen.

Anyone interested should join our Discord server or the #wesnoth-dev IRC channel on irc.freenode.net (either with your IRC client of choice or your browser via freenode’s webchat) and get involved with us in the Developers’ Discussion forum thread, which also contains helpful pointers for getting started.

Thank you!
Creator of Shadows of Deception (for 1.12) and co-creator of the Era of Chaos (for 1.12/1.13).
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