One year later

Did you know that the anniversary of our first release is coming up soon?

Nearly one year ago, on February 29th, 2012, we released the very first alpha of Unvanquished. The culmination of months of effort, stretching back to the late summer of the previous year, it was the public unveiling of everything we had done up to that point. We managed to port Tremulous to a different engine, we had a few new models to show off, and even a new map, which was the very first version of Plat23. Having just left pre-alpha, the game itself was in a very rough state, and prone to frequent errors and crashing. Our models at the time weren’t that polished, and we didn’t have the fancy new HUDs that you may have become acquainted with by now. Yet, despite the odds being stacked against us, we continued on that long march that brought us to this day.

Over successive releases last spring, we established ourselves as being seriously committed to our monthly alpha release cycle, building up confidence in both the community and ourselves that we would regularly be able to deliver new content each month, taking us further towards our goal of becoming the successor project to Tremulous. Our second release brought extensive fixes to bugs that plagued our initial alpha, and made the game much more playable for broad swathes of the growing community. In addition, we began adding new models, as well as fixing up the existing ones. If you were around back then, terms like “christmas dragoon” and “lipstick dretch” would have been familiar to you. On the other hand, if you weren’t, perhaps it’s best not to ask.

It was during last summer that we began to define ourselves, adding in new models and beginning work on new maps and engine features that weren’t part of the pre-alpha development cycle. An earlier version of our bots were added to the main servers for the first time, allowing players to practice against them whenever they felt like it. Our first big moment came when we were featured on Phoronix for the very first time, after someone from the community responded to an article posted there regarding the pitiful state of artwork in open source games. We were beginning to be noticed, and for this, I am profoundly grateful for the attention given to us by the readers of Phoronix, as well as the continued coverage of our project’s releases by Michael Larabel.

Once we hit fall, we had a new website up, and again released some new models, including the human. In addition, we added several more entries to our group of Unvanquished maps, bringing us up to four: Plat23, Thunder, Yocto, and Parpax. The graphical style of our game was starting to emerge, with an eerie, futuristic setting. Our artwork has taken on the direction of being realistic whenever possible, with human equipment showing heavy signs of usage, and aliens being organic in their own creepy fashion. By then, most of the glaring bugs had been fixed, and between October and November, we saw the highest number of visitors that our site had ever seen. We expanded onto Mod DB, and we regularly began to be featured on various gaming sites, even including the French version of Gizmodo.

Now, as winter comes to a close, we can look back at some of our recent efforts, too. We’ve added new graphical effects to the renderer, and we’ve renovated the console and menu system. In addition, we’ve been laying the groundwork for even more intensive work over the coming months, from putting together concept art for new models, to integrating libRocket into our codebase for a complete restructuring of our UI system. People have been regularly playing on our servers now, and games are spontaneously forming without us having to prompt them. Our playerbase is growing, and it won’t be long until we can start setting up events like tournaments. We have come to define ourselves as a project, and with our direction in mind and our goals in clear sight, we will move onwards, to a new future of Unvanquished.