Alpha 25 – feeling the squeeze

Less is more; new models, improved textures; humans are prey.

Two years since our first release!

What, already? Doesn’t time fly… we’ve seen many changes to the code base, new maps, new models… modellers have come and gone, coders and mappers have come and (usually) stayed…

Another big .pk3…

We’ve only gone and done it again. That’s two months in a row. We clearly fail!

Seriously, though, this time it’s because we’ve recompressed most images using formats which graphics cards natively support – basically, the DXTn family and derivatives. This improves loading times (one decompression step rather than two) and uses less memory – both main memory and graphics card memory. The base .pk3 is now some 70MB smaller than last month’s was, and that was itself smaller than the many pak*.pk3 which it replaced (though that was mostly down to removal of obsolete resources).

Our maps haven’t had the texture recompression treatment – yet…

New booster! New drill! Improved tyrant!

Warvinc’s drill and jdreyna’s booster. Oh, and a tyrant, with a higher-resolution skin.

We’ve also started actually using IQM for models.

One renderer to draw them all

We’ve removed the old OpenGL 1 renderer. This leaves the renderer formerly known as GL3 and effectively raises the minimum requirement to OpenGL 2.1. There’s also been a fix to some matrix maths which means that tone mapping now works properly – not that you’ll have noticed, though, since this was one problem which was in the way of us using DXTn etc.

If you’re using slower hardware and you were using the OpenGL 1 renderer, you may need to play with the graphics settings. In particular, that “Dlights, no fx” video quality preset which we added last month.

Light relief

That lighting bug which affects some Tremulous maps was fixed a few weeks ago. No more green overminds in Nano!

Gamma correction is done in shaders now, so everybody gets to play with it. And we’ve played with the player state colour grading effects: no more fading or colouring for low health or tyrant charge.


Basilisks and advanced dretches are gone. Instead, we have the mantis: it looks like a basilisk, it can pounce but it doesn’t grab and it doesn’t have a healing aura, or at least less of one. Its claws cause temporary slowing and will drain stamina.

Turret firing has been played with – damage done is affected by distance, and it’s bursty. We’ve experimented with dretch health and found that 35 seems to work well given the turret changes and various other factors.

Jetpacks are now useable even without enough stamina to jump. We’ve fixed a problem with the game thinking that you’ve landed due to having touched ground by checking for upward acceleration. Ignition cost is reduced.

Builders can build again without waiting for building completion, but some waiting is still needed (it’s currently set at 60% completion).


Writing of configuration files now goes via temporary files. This means that if there should be a problem when writing (partition full, for example), the old version will remain intact. The file which contains your identification details is private and, on Unix-type systems, is now created with appropriate permissions.

Packaging notes

As of this release, .debs are no longer being built for Ubuntu 12.10 (quantal). We plan to drop support for 12.04 LTS (precise) and 13.04 (raring) in June: this will leave Debian 7 (wheezy) as the oldest supported GNU/Linux release.