V3 Release Roadmap
V3 was announced quite some time ago, and I know a lot of you are wondering when it will be released. This thread will serve as an announcement thread, and I will also put some more detailed V3 feature information in here in replies later on.
As I've said previously, we are not looking for a "big shabang" release of V3. Releasing projects that way has its merits... but it also has serious drawbacks. There are a number of complete and cool games made with V3 RIGHT NOW, so its clearly in a useful state already, and we want to get it out the door as soon as possible, and then keep development going with rapid, successive updates. And obviously, we do want to keep the 'community momentum' going, too.
So here's how things are going to happen. Over the next few weeks, you will see some additional V3 projects released like Timeless
, with VC source included, to demonstrate what V3 is capable of. For the first "official" release of V3, here is what needs to happen:
- Dev-tools. Right now, we have a functional Windows-based packfile editor and a map editor which is obviously the most complicated/important dev tool. Maped3 is very close to having the minimum level of functionality necessary for release, and it will continue to evolve well after the first release of V3.
- Map/Entity system - There is a fully functional map/entity system in v3 from its .. prior incarnations. However it needs to be revamped and revised according to the new maped3 once it has implented all needed functionality. I expect maped to reach that level in the next week, and the engine-side system will catch up in the same timeframe.
- Documentation - this is one thing V1 had and V2 didn't have, and I think its no coincidence that V1 was really the more succesful engine. We do not intend to release V3 without thorough and quality documentation. I would say documentation is ~50% to where it needs to be.
- Pack-in game - we have a number of plans for this. I do feel that a pack-in game is important in drawing users, demonstrating V3's capabilities, and providing useful examples to help people learn the system. At the same time, it is a substantial project on its own that has the potential to delay a release significantly.
Additionally, there is this issue of 'V1 ease of use' vs 'V2 flexibility'. With V3 we fully intend to be more flexible than V2 and easier to use than V1. The ease of use comes largely from much better tools and development aids (we well as a better website and access to information and help), but we are also putting considerable effort into a "V1 RPG" VC library. It will be a holistic library that includes menus, battle system, and an assortment of standard RPG fare effects like spell animations, screen transitions, and map weather effects.
The flagship of this library will be what is tentatively titled Sully 1.5: The original Sully Chronicles, ported to V3, updated, and completed with the library battle sytem that V1 never had. Because this will be a substantial undertaking, we may release the first official version of V3 with a subset, incomplete version of this port, but only when Sully 1.5 and the V1 library are complete will we try to aggressively get the V3 news out to some relevant game sites and try to really 'advertise' VERGE again. In addition, a brand new Sully game has been designed, one which will use totally custom systems (not the "standard" rpg library) to show off V3's flexibility - but that will be developed AFTER Sully 1.5. And all this will be in addition to a small army of V3 demos like Timeless which will also be available.
That is what needs to happen before the V3 official release. We do plan to continue aggressive development after that point, of course. Here are some things that will NOT be in the first release, but are planned:
- Numerous additions to the VC API, such as netcode
- Runtime, in-engine VC debugging tools. This has been planned from the beginning and substantial infrastructure is in place for it, mainly its only the interface which remains to be written. With V3 having the VC compiler built into the engine, there are a lot of possibilities.
- Continued devtool development, and additional devtools. Probably the pack editor and map editor will be the only tools to make the initial release. A CHR editor and a V3 project manager application are also planned (and have been started on, to varying degrees) - there is presently a slightly grody command-line CHR tool like the CHRMAK type programs. A windows based CHR editor is a high priority, and aen might be able to adapt his Java editor quite quickly.
Personally, I'm really excited about Sully 1.5 - doing this for the primary V3 pack-in game works out so well. The "V1 RPG" vc library will be a very important tool for us to attract people with less coding experience, and porting the existing game allows us to get V3 out the door sooner without having to develop a new game from scratch, and at the same time correct one of history's greatest tragedies, the fact that Sully was never really completed. :D