2013: year in review

Over the course of 2013, we’ve made a monumental amount of effort. This has been our first full year of releases, considering that in 2012 our very first alpha release was made on Leap Day (now normalized to March 1st) of that year. For each month of 2013, we’ve provided you with a new alpha release to download, test and play. Our community has grown, our site has improved, new developers have joined our team, and we’re even running on different forum software after ditching vBulletin. We ran a summer tournament that brought back clans from Tremulous, as well as giving some new faces a chance to get themselves seen. Project structure has solidified, we have milestones and long-ranging plans, we’ve made clear goals and we’ve met them. The project is stable, the project has a future, and the project will reach that future. We have proven ourselves through a reliable, steady release cycle that has spanned nearly two years of alpha releases. The message is clear. Our project is the future that Tremulous has waited for, and where the others have fallen short, we will try our best to exceed your expectations. For many, we already have. I know that we have surpassed our own.

As the year comes to a close, it is time to look back upon our efforts to see where we stand. We have come a long way from where we’ve started, and there is a long way yet to go. 

Alpha 11

For our January release, we added a new beta of Plat23, updated the layouts of Yocto and Parpax, added a new renderer feature in the form of bloom, refined our bot behavior, optimized GLSL shader generation, added the German and French translations, and began to build our own Ubuntu/Mint packages after PlayDeb began to go down.

Alpha 12

The February release saw the addition of two new renderer effects in the form of rim lighting and motion blur, the complete overhaul of our bots to use a behavior tree system, an early look at the resource mechanic that now forms an integral part of our new gameplay, an updated installer to address your woes, and rewrites of menu and console code to make them more attractive and usable.

Alpha 13

March had new releases of Plat23 and Parpax, fixed high-resolution textures on the human model to give him a more distinct appearance, further updates to our behavior tree bots to improve steering and prevent them from getting stuck in wacky locations, and further improvements to our new console.

Alpha 14

Yet another new renderer feature was added to our April release in the form of color grading, numerous improvements were done to address bugs present in prior releases, maps loaded faster after calculation of vis was optimized, GLSL shaders began to be compiled on game start, most numerical game constants were moved to config files, and the Spanish translation was added.

Alpha 15

May saw another renderer effect in the form of heat haze added to certain weapons, as well as a new cleaned-up version of Thunder that resulted in a performance increase for those that had the hardware to play that enormous map, and further work was done to make maps load faster in general.

Alpha 16

The June release saw the introduction of a long-requested minimap feature, improvements were made to color grading to allow it to be used regionally as well as through first-person effects on things like having low health and tyrant trample, irritating bot bugs involving the flamethrower were squashed, and the momentum game mechanic saw its first public appearance.

Alpha 17

July introduced another long-requested feature in the form of shadows for the GL3 renderer to replace the old blob variety, Plat23 and Thunder both saw updates for the tournament we held starting that month, we added the first release of our Unvstats system on the website, the universal zip was created for the first time, mappers were provided with new NetRadiant packages to support our new entities and image formats, and we added the Galician translation.

Alpha 18

August had the marauder, reactor, and medistation models released, not to mention the final update to the human textures to give him a more distinct color scheme, as well as support for the gloss map texture type and a fix that drastically reduced memory usage for Thunder and other maps.

Alpha 19

September was a significant release in that we merged our new gameplay branch into master for the first time to make a fundamental shift in our gameplay progress, as well as performance increases to our renderer, new first-person hand textures for the human, and the addition of the Russian translation.

Alpha 20

The October release had yet another merge in the bots branch becoming part of master for the first time, as well as the addition of FXAA as a new anti-aliasing option, multi-threading support for the renderer through SMP, geoIP support, an upgrade to SDL 2, indicator crosshairs, and a new firebomb weapon for the human team.

Alpha 21

November featured numerous gameplay changes such as the breakup of the old Tremulous armor types, rewrites of damage knockback and credit rewards, updates to the HUD to support our new gameplay features, as well as improvements to shadows and lighting.

Alpha 22

The latest release in December had a whole new map by Supertanker, Snowstation, as well as an update to Plat23, the first merge of the engine-upgrade branch to add in some of our C++ rewrites to engine code, a modified jetpack that works more like one would expect a jetpack to, and some other assorted gameplay changes.

Of course, the release features mentioned above only represent a fraction of the work we’ve done. There was a large assortment of concept art that we’ve completed, which you’ve had a chance to look at over my article series covering the month of November. A very large number of commits were made over the prior year to our various branches, representing the efforts of our broad and diverse coding team. New models are being worked on as always, new maps are in production, and new engine features are being planned out, which you can keep track of through our Git repository and our development channel on IRC.

For some statistics on 2013, Google Analytics reports 48,328 unique visitors since January 1st of this year, making 477,282 pageviews with an average of 4.92 pages per visit and with an average visit duration of 04:57. New visits made up roughly half of this amount. In addition, our Git repository received 3,257 commits, up 37% from the number of commits made during the course of 2012.

Now that yet another year has come to a close, I would personally like to give my regards to our development team, some of whom are former Tremulous players, others being new to the community. Without all of you, we would never have made this project happen. I would also like to give my sincerest thanks to Michael Larabel of Phoronix, for his articles have provided us with steady coverage and increased awareness in the broader open source community. Finally, a game is meaningless without its players, and to those that have downloaded our alpha releases and played with us at our development games and posted on our forums, you have my utmost respect and adoration.

Happy holidays, and let’s make a great 2014!