Thursday, 17th November 2005
The meeting started at around 20:15 GMT and finished around 22:30 GMT. Present developers / contributors included: Bjarni, Orudge, TrueLight, Darkvater, Peter1138, Tron, MiHaMiX, Alltaken, Luca, LordOfThePigs. Issues discussed were official PDA support, what to do with SourceForge, a developers mailing list, donations, the future of the game, NewGRF support, a new system for submitting patches, the long awaited new map array, combining the save game major and minor version, coding style, and lastly, the next release.
Official PDA support
The developers would like to be able to support various PDAs, assuming they can get the hardware needed. Various people have offered to donate a PDA, but these are outdated models. A few newer models actually run Linux, and have a wider screen - so all that needs to be done is to support the compiler. Older models though have more problems, as they have a smaller resolution, and there is little SDL support, so a new graphics driver would be required.
Money donations are also accepted (see http://tt-forums.net/viewtopic.php?t=21863), and the kitty currently holds €10. When it reaches around €100 one of the developers will buy a PDA with this, funding whatever is needed from their own pocket. Although it may take a while before it reaches this. Another idea raised was to approach big companies to ask whether they would donate a PDA, but this would probably mean they would like some banners / logos in return, although it was later agreed not to go via this route.
Due to the slowness and user unfriendlyness of SourceForge, there was talk about moving parts away from here. This would allow the developers more control over the system, and even integrate it into the site, but SourceForge does help the project gain users and interest. Suggested replacements for the bug tracker were Flyspray, GForge, Trac and Bugzilla. Again a vote was held on which system to begin testing, and Flyspray was the favourite. Testing will commence shortly.
The developers would like their own mailing list, where they can ask each other questions and where discussions can be made. This will be a moderated list, so only the developers and various contributors will be able to discuss issues. There is currently one on SourceForge, but this is never used, and well, it is SourceForge. There wasn't really a clear answer whether this would be set up, due to the old one never being used, so why may this one be used?
There is some confusion over donations, so Orudge decided to clear it up. The current plan is for him to accept the donations, mainly because everyone on the forums knows and trusts him, and then in a developer meeting (or the mailing list? :D) figure out what to do with the cash. Currently there isn't really much of a need for donations, as hosting is provided by TrueLight, and sponsered by his ISP, and the rest is taken care of by MiHaMiX. This will be discussed further over time, and for now Orudge will keep hold of the money and carefully record all donations.
The Future of Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe
At the moment there are hardly any clear aims of what is planned to happen to the project in the future. These will affect dicissions such as whether or not PDA support would be viable, and whether NewGRFs will continue to be supported. The main points for some point in the future (with the standalone release) are a new name, a new GUI, new graphics (see the graphics forum). This was about all that was discussed about the future plans, but an Objectives page and forum topic have been set up.
Currently NewGRF support is rather limited, but recently thanks to Peter1138 it has been increasing by leaps and bounds. There was not really any discussion, but in the future the main aims are going to be increasing new vehicle support, and a wiki page desciribing what actions are currently supported.
There is some confusion over what will happen to NewGRF support when 32bpp support is added. According to Alltaken, using his test 32bpp build, NewGRFs work without much of a problem. Later though a proper converter will be needed to increase the size, due to bigger tiles being used. This will probably be run when the game starts up to avoid performance issues.
Currently most patches are submitted to SourceForge, and then not much really happens. There also also patches put onto the forum with binaries that are often built incorrectly. TrueLight suggested setting up a new page where people can easily submit patches and make comments on them. This could also be linked into TrueLight's compile farm, so that binaries are build correctly, which should increase accessability, and patches could be tested better. A proof read section could also be added for when developers have read through the patches. This was generally accepted by everyone, and most of it is already there (the compile farm already is web based) so look out for this new feature soon!
New Map Array
Very little has been done to the new map array recently. It still needs to be thought through how it will be coded, what features there will be, etc. The first plan was to make functions to access the current map array, and then change these when requried to be able to access the new map array. LordOfThePigs has already been working on doing this for m1, but little work has been done for the other parts. It was decided not to branch the project anymore, due to previous experience, as such little things will be done, like LordOfThePigs patch after the next release.
Save Game Version
Currently there is minor and major version of the savegame, but only the major is really used. The minor verson is limited to 255, and the major version is limited to 65535 (there is some confusion in the code with this, but this number is correct), so eventually we will run out (after a long time). The plan was, and still is, to merge the major and minor version into one. The plan is to rename the current save / loader, SLE_, to SLE_OLD_ (or something similar), where SLE_OLD is a wrapper to SLE_, converting the old savegame numbers, and SLE_ works with the major and minor versions combined. To then make it nice and simple, we would start from save game revision 5000.
Currently there isn't really a clear coding style that is enforced. This leads to various issues, such as making it hard to read patches. Darkvater will be putting up a page soon clearly showing the style that will be used. Any patches not in this style will be rejected no matter how good they are.
There has not been a release for nearly half a year now, and quite a few people are desperately waiting for one. The next release will be 0.4.5, as elrails is not quite ready yet, and we are around halfway towards 0.5.0. Not much will be added for the release, a few fixes for autoreplace, and bug fixes across the show, and five or so good scenarios if they can be gathered in time. There was no date set for when the release should be, but it shouldn't be too long so hold on!