Sauerfork Interview – Looking behind the scenes

UPDATE: SauerFork now called Inexor!

We already reported, that a name has been found and SauerFork is from now on called Inexor, therefore the contact data at the bottom is incorrect. Use the following links instead!

Inexor websitehttp://inexor.org  Inexor IRC channel#Inexor @ gamesurge Inexor @ githubinexor code repo

 


 

Interview:

Some weeks ago, we reported about a project called SauerFork for the first time. Back then, we also promised you to organize an interview with the developers. And as we never let you down, here you go:


SauerCom: Welcome, “SauerFork”! Some of our readers have probably already heard about your project, but for those who have not, could you quickly introduce yourselves? What are you working on?

supertux: Generally speaking we are a bunch of developers working on a fork of Sauerbraten, which tries to stay as sauer-like as possible while adding new features and renewing everything which blocks future progress and creativity. If you actually asked which features we’re working on, we could all throw in a single mysthic feature we’re currently implementing:

Hanack: Particles!
a_teammate: ingame content deployment!
sanitizer: web presence!
supertux: weapon system!
Hanni: visual scripting!
Fohlen: client-community integration!
Fatality: new gameworlds!
mapc: CEF!
nothing: Sound track!
Nooby: Free content!
killme: CMake!
PeterPenacka: XMPP!

nothing: Ok, i hope that was cryptical enough to let all your imagination run free!

 

How did the idea of creating a “new” Sauerbraten come up?

Peter Penacka: Over time we’ve noticed that many developers created features in their own mods while on the other hand the game itself has been stagnating and even struggles with a slowly decreasing playerbase. Most of these mods are very interesting; better editing, improved shaders, gui improvements, custom weapon models… even custom game modes. It’s a pity that all these ideas didn’t make it into the game. So we join our forces in order to bring this energy together. To keep Sauerbraten alive.

 

What is the practical difference between modding and forking the game?

a_teammate: Most of us have already gained experience in modding sauerbraten as well as the huge limitations we have. If you for example want to detect whether a match is a clanwar or a public game, it’s pretty easily done for a fork. Just a few lines of code. Modding the existing Sauerbraten on the other hand would complicate things a lot and would require implementing dirty work-arounds in thousands of lines of code.

Hanni: Summarized you can say a fork allows us to code cleanly and speed up the development. On the downside you can not connect to an old sauerbraten server with our next-gen client or vice-versa.

 

An important issue for the community has always been to contribute to the development of Sauerbraten. How much will the community be integrated into this project?

supertux: We want to make it as easy as possible to contribute and share new stuff, e.g. by making the game more customizeable.

a_teammate: Furthermore we see our work more as laying out the base. If the base allows creativity, the main input will come from the community.

sanitizer: Our upcoming website is going to be the place to connect all the people contributing to sauerfork. From decisions about features (e.g. in polls or suggestions), to a content showcase similar to quadropolis, it will allow people to participate in the developement.

Fohlen: We want to be fully transparent. We plan to blog about progress in the development of new features on our website. Furthermore we develop publicly on github in separate branches, so new features can be tested by everyone. On the Github wiki we document the new ideas, and then the implementation of those included.

 

We have already reported that you are currently looking for a name and people are encouraged to submit suggestions. When and how will you decide about the new official title?

sanitizer: Anyone can suggest a name at http://sauername.tk/ . deadline is the 26th of october. After that you’ll be able to vote for the final name!

killme: Though we probably have to shrink the list of names a bit which are open for the poll. Lets say 10-15 names. Still I hope for good name-suggestions which fit the game, or funny ones, crazy ones or just a stupid one. Go for it!

 

How else can people already contribute to the project?

Fohlen: Join our IRC channel, create a github account and go for it. There’s enough work in front of us for everyone!

Nooby: In my opinion one of our main issues is that we want to make sauerbraten completely free. Though Sauerbratens source is, big parts of the content are not. So we have to recreate a lot of things which are not freely licensed.

Fatality: On the other hand we have a fresh start, which means we can set quality standards which fit our time. E.g. reworked popular maps with improved textures and details.

mapc: We do not only need people who can create models, general contents, and developers, but of course also people who can do some blog stuff, test things out, and so on. Basicly everyone is welcome.

 

Do you want to tell us about some of the core features of the game?

sanitizer: I think (for now) the core feature is the developing structure. We are non-hiarchical, which means everyone can contribute. Of course every feature has to gain a majority vote to make it into the final release.

Hanni: We know this sounds new but it actually works! We always have to adapt and re-focus our energy, but we communicate a lot and have fixed meetings where we discuss which way the game is going to go.

killme: The good thing is that we all share a similar idea: sauer should stay sauer. Physics and game feeling stay, environment improves.

 

Many of us have played the game for several years and are used to the original Sauerbraten’s gameplay. Should we therefore be prepared for any major changes regarding gameplay in SauerFork?

Hanni: Most likely no. We understand even small changes can destroy the overall feeling. The gameplay in sauer is just fine in our opinion. Minimalistic and unrealistic on the one hand, but fun on the other. Why should we change that?

a_teammate: A phrase once thrown into our IRC-Channel was “Stays sauer, becomes better”. I think that’s really catching it. So no, there are no major gameplay changes planned.

 

Ok, so no “major” gameplay changes. However, there have been a lot of complaints about the weapon balance – not to say the lack of balance – in Sauerbraten. Are you going to address these issues?

mapc: Although every gameplay change is pretty controversial, we are open for suggestions. And if the suggestion is an improvement, it has a high chance to be accepted by the playerbase.

Hanack: Still, I think it’s understandable that changes have to be tested carefully. We will provide some servers for testing purposes, though we will need helpers for testing a good weapon arrangement.

 

Will the game stay compatible with the existing contents?

Fatality: New features may not be compatible with old maps, but we plan on making an importer for easily making old contents available. So yes, you can then play your old sauerbraten maps with sauerfork as well.

Fohlen: It will be possible to obtain all the old content from a backward package. But old content won’t benefit from new features of course.

Nooby: Still we encourage the content creators to adapt their work to SauerFork, and license it under one of the free content licenses.

 

What progress have you made so far and what’s the current stage of development compared to your aims?

Hanack: There isn’t one single goal, but development is a continuous process. Currently we are setting the development enviroment, the website, and are still recruting new team members. The first features are implemented but it takes some more time to get a first release finished. However, we have a lot of ideas and we are optimistic about getting a first alpha release finished soon.

 

When can we expect a first alpha release that we can try out?

supertux: A first alpha released is planned for the end of this year.

nothing: We furthermore plan to release in regular intervals, on a publicly announced date and with a thorough testing period. So stay tuned. :)

 

Thank you very much for this detailed and informative interview, SauerFork!


Reminder:

Preliminary Website: http://sauerfork.tk/

IRC: #sauerfork

Name Suggestions: http://sauername.tk/

Wiki: https://github.com/sauerbraten-fork/sauerbraten-fork/wiki

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