Still in development?

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mrmatteastwood
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Still in development?

#1

Post by mrmatteastwood » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:41 am

Hello, Zandronum community! I was wondering whether Zandronum is still in development? 3.0 works fine, of course, but I keep wondering whether there will be a new version at some point in the future, which e.g. incorporates the latest GZDoom, which has evolved a whole lot in the past 2-odd years.

I know this is a passion project that people do in their free time, and it probably takes a lot of time and effort, and I have no skills to contribute to the project myself... So please don't think I'm feeling entitled. I would completely understand if the devs simply had no more time to keep working on Zandronum. I'm just really hoping that's not the case and development is still going on somewhere.

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Sean
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Re: Still in development?

#2

Post by Sean » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:52 pm

mrmatteastwood wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:41 am
I was wondering whether Zandronum is still in development?
Yes
mrmatteastwood wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:41 am
3.0 works fine, of course, but I keep wondering whether there will be a new version at some point in the future
Yes
mrmatteastwood wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:41 am
which e.g. incorporates the latest GZDoom
EventuallyTM
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mrmatteastwood
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Re: Still in development?

#3

Post by mrmatteastwood » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:13 pm

Brilliant! That's literally all I needed to hear. Thanks for all your awesome work!

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Fused
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Re: Still in development?

#4

Post by Fused » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:53 am

Sean wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:52 pm
...
???
Are we looking at the same repo?
A commit once a month for minor patches does not get you anywhere near modern GZDoom, I'm afraid.
Or is there some super-secret repository none of the developers tak about in order to give the illusion this port is dead while it really isn't?


mrmatteastwood wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:41 am
I was wondering whether Zandronum is still in development?
Yes and no, because it does receive patches, but no new features. So for players there won't be anything new and exciting, and there doesn't seem to be plans for it.

mrmatteastwood wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:41 am
3.0 works fine, of course, but I keep wondering whether there will be a new version at some point in the future
Probably, but like I said above, don't expect Zandronum 4.0. And even it it would release it will still be many years behind (G)Zdoom like it always has been.

mrmatteastwood wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:41 am
which e.g. incorporates the latest GZDoom
This will never happen because there has always been to focus on this goal, which caused development to halt due to it (probably) being way too complex.

In short, Zandronum is dead unless proven otherwise because that repo says enough about activity. You're better off preparing for GZDoom client-server support if that ever happends because Zandronum hasn't gotten an update to catch up in over 3 years.

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Re: Still in development?

#5

Post by The Toxic Avenger » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:43 am

Your post screams snark and I'm going to have to tell you to drop it.

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Re: Still in development?

#6

Post by Fused » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:38 pm

The Toxic Avenger wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:43 am
Your post screams snark and I'm going to have to tell you to drop it.
Nope, I'm serious. If there's honestly something I'm missing here then feel free to fill me in, but I already got most of my questions answered on Discord so it's all good.

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Re: Still in development?

#7

Post by StrikerMan780 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:32 am

I hate to be pessimistic, but the extreme lack of activity or response to tickets in the tracker, among the lack of activity in the repositories screams that Zandronum is pretty much dead. Unless a group of people take the reigns, whom have the free time available, and can make important decisions about the port's development without being dependent on any one person, it'll likely stay that way.
Spoiler: question (Open)
Correct me if I'm wrong: Everything hinges on if Torr is around, not busy, and has the time to put into Zandronum, right? (This isn't a knock on Torr, I appreciate what he's done- as without him, we wouldn't have Zandronum. Just seems like quite the bottleneck in development having only one person who can "greenlight" anything, so to speak, especially if they have to juggle a job, irl responsibilities, etc. I imagine it's stressful for him as well if this is the case; It's lot of responsibility to shoulder.)
The unwillingness of the playerbase to download and run test builds, and help get the issues on the roadmap ticked off the list is disappointing. I've tried many times to get this ball rolling, but turnout is usually non-existent. I've been using the dev builds almost exclusively for the last few years for my own purposes, and think at this point it's solid enough (save for a few issues that are fixed in the sandbox repo) for a release, but I know the devs don't want to gamble on that without the current open tickets being closed. That's understandable.

The likelihood of GZDoom getting C/S anytime soon isn't looking bright either. The branch stopped getting commits some time ago, and from what I've been hearing there's not much interest in working on it again.

Ideally, someone should fork (or contribute directly to) that branch, talk to dpJudas and Rachael about what major roadblocks there are/what needs to be done, get the netcode in a reasonably playable state, then implement as many Zandronum-specific actors and features in ZScript as possible, followed by implementing Zan's features that can only be done so in the engine itself. Those are my thoughts, at least.

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Re: Still in development?

#8

Post by Sean » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:56 pm

StrikerMan780 wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:32 am
Correct me if I'm wrong: Everything hinges on if Torr is around, not busy, and has the time to put into Zandronum, right? (This isn't a knock on Torr, I appreciate what he's done- as without him, we wouldn't have Zandronum. Just seems like quite the bottleneck in development having only one person who can "greenlight" anything, so to speak, especially if they have to juggle a job, irl responsibilities, etc. I imagine it's stressful for him as well if this is the case; It's lot of responsibility to shoulder.)
Torr is officially the one that makes releases, but all developers can commit to the repo as they please.
StrikerMan780 wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:32 am
The unwillingness of the playerbase to download and run test builds, and help get the issues on the roadmap ticked off the list is disappointing. I've tried many times to get this ball rolling, but turnout is usually non-existent. I've been using the dev builds almost exclusively for the last few years for my own purposes, and think at this point it's solid enough (save for a few issues that are fixed in the sandbox repo) for a release, but I know the devs don't want to gamble on that without the current open tickets being closed. That's understandable.
This is why TSPG ended up forcing 3.0 dev builds back when that was in development, and why it looks like we'll do the same for 3.1 sometime soon. The only way to get people to test is to force them to test.
StrikerMan780 wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:32 am
Ideally, someone should fork (or contribute directly to) that branch, talk to dpJudas and Rachael about what major roadblocks there are/what needs to be done, get the netcode in a reasonably playable state, then implement as many Zandronum-specific actors and features in ZScript as possible, followed by implementing Zan's features that can only be done so in the engine itself.
Which is a humungous amount of effort that no volunteers are going to do unpaid in their free time. Not to mention the fact that the effort would never end as it would need to constantly catch up with GZDoom's ever changing codebase. If you think Zandronum's development is bad, now imagine if someone had to do it all from scratch...
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Re: Still in development?

#9

Post by Blzut3 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:01 am

StrikerMan780 wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:32 am
followed by implementing Zan's features that can only be done so in the engine itself.
Most of (although perhaps not all) the features in Zandronum that aren't in GZDoom are that way because GZDoom would never implement them. At least not without completely rethinking how they work and limiting their scope. That's why Zandronum is a fork of GZDoom.

When Zandronum forked from Skulltag there's been a goal to reduce the delta between GZDoom. While merging the ports would be great from a maintenance point of view, I don't think it's realistic to ever get there. But Zandronum can always be a lighter fork.

The whole "Zandronum can never catch up with GZDoom" argument comes from the tunnel vision perspective of mod authoring. Completely ignoring the practical reasons why Zandronum is behind: When everyone has to use the same version of the client you need to stop somewhere and keep that version for a period of time. Not everyone is interested in daily updates. Additionally Zandronum players are less tolerant to release regressions since rolling back isn't an option unless everyone decides to roll back.

While not to make adapting new GZDoom versions sound trivial, since it's not, the issue has never been one of possibility or unsolved problems, just developer time. I mean people have been saying this even when Torr was maintaining a branch that literally tracked GZDoom master.

Ultimately it all comes down to time and if Zandronum had a regular development cycle no one would care if it was consistently one or two GZDoom versions behind. Sadly everyone seemingly ran out of time around the same time so we never saw that happen.
Sean wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:56 pm
Torr is officially the one that makes releases, but all developers can commit to the repo as they please.
Not really, Torr has always been very conservative about the official repository. Which is understandable when you consider the state of the code base when he came on board with Skulltag. I do believe Torr would hand the project over if someone with free time started contributing at a rate where he's the bottleneck though. Ultimately it's all just semantics since DVCS basically means the official repo only really matters for releases anyway.

I don't want to comment much more on the state of things since I haven't really been involved in years.
Sean wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:56 pm
This is why TSPG ended up forcing 3.0 dev builds back when that was in development, and why it looks like we'll do the same for 3.1 sometime soon. The only way to get people to test is to force them to test.
When you force testing, it's no longer a testing release now is it. :P Not saying it isn't the right thing to do, but I've always hated "beta in name only." But that goes back to conservatism and regression tolerance. I don't know the right answer or even if there is one.

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Re: Still in development?

#10

Post by mrmatteastwood » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:04 am

I'm glad you guys posted your insights and takes on the state of development. I'm learning from this thread. For what it's worth: I play through megawads with a friend over in Canada regularly in co-op using Zandro 3.0, several mods (Brutal DOOM and a few others) and Doom Explorer. I'd be more than willing to use that time to also test builds and report back here.

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Re: Still in development?

#11

Post by Torr Samaho » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:02 pm

There is no secret repository, development just has been very slow. All devs seem to be busy with other things, so not much development has been happening. If anybody wants to change that by joining our dev team, just get in touch with me. I do check my forum PMs regularly. While I still like to check what's ending up in the main repo, I don't think this is a real bottleneck for now. If that actually should happen, I'm sure we'll find a solution for this.

In addition to Blzut3's good description of Zandronum's connection to GZDoom, there is one thing to mention. As far as I can tell, ZScript is inherently incompatible with Zandronums (aka Skulltags) c/s design, which is the reason why I stopped the Zandronum branch that was tracking GZDoom's master.

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Re: Still in development?

#12

Post by StrikerMan780 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:26 am

Sean wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:56 pm
Not to mention the fact that the effort would never end as it would need to constantly catch up with GZDoom's ever changing codebase.
If it was using version of GZDoom with completed C/S netcode as a base, and ZScript was used to it's fullest potential for the zandronum-specific actors and gametypes, that would mostly be made irrelevant for anything that wouldn't require touching the engine itself, as there's a very clear separation between the two. It would be much more maintainable, because a good chunk of it would essentially just be a mod. (Hope someone understands what I'm getting at here)

As far as the effort of porting the actors and gametypes to ZScript? Some of it wouldn't be *too* terrible, for example I've already started to make the runes so I can get some level of interoperability between GZDoom and Zandronum for one of my projects. Gametypes are obviously another story- ones that require resetting the map between rounds might need some engine features first. I dunno.
blzut3 wrote:But Zandronum can always be a lighter fork.
Kind of what I was thinking. A fork of GZDoom that's kept in sync, with some of the features (like databases and authentication) that won't be implemented in GZDoom itself.

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Re: Still in development?

#13

Post by dpJudas » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:47 am

StrikerMan780 wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:32 am
The likelihood of GZDoom getting C/S anytime soon isn't looking bright either. The branch stopped getting commits some time ago, and from what I've been hearing there's not much interest in working on it again.

Ideally, someone should fork (or contribute directly to) that branch, talk to dpJudas and Rachael about what major roadblocks there are/what needs to be done, get the netcode in a reasonably playable state, then implement as many Zandronum-specific actors and features in ZScript as possible, followed by implementing Zan's features that can only be done so in the engine itself. Those are my thoughts, at least.
I stopped working on that branch because creating and testing multiplayer framework code is a major pain in the butt, especially in the early stages. Stuff like the fact you can't just launch the game, but have to have at least two running at the same time. Then if something doesn't work you have to close both, make some change, start them again and so on. It is tedious work that gets boring quickly.

I haven't completely abandoned the branch though. In its current state I don't think anyone can pick up where I left of mostly because it isn't clear what my master plan for C/S is. However if I do manage to get it to the stage one day where that framework is laid you could see a major uptick in productivity on the branch. There are many that has a casual interest in GZD C/S, but which lacks that foundation to build it all on. Maybe I'll spend some time on the branch soon - it is xmas after all. All I need is a more pleasant testing setup for myself as alt-tabbing between multiple gzdoom windows when testing netcode really really sucks. :)

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Re: Still in development?

#14

Post by StrikerMan780 » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:13 am

dpJudas wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:47 am
I stopped working on that branch because creating and testing multiplayer framework code is a major pain in the butt, especially in the early stages. Stuff like the fact you can't just launch the game, but have to have at least two running at the same time. Then if something doesn't work you have to close both, make some change, start them again and so on. It is tedious work that gets boring quickly.
Been there, currently working on C/S netcode for EDuke32. The time it takes to get something tangible is discouraging. That and debugging corrupt communication between client and server, and vice versa takes it's toll.
dpJudas wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:47 am
I haven't completely abandoned the branch though. In its current state I don't think anyone can pick up where I left of mostly because it isn't clear what my master plan for C/S is. However if I do manage to get it to the stage one day where that framework is laid you could see a major uptick in productivity on the branch. There are many that has a casual interest in GZD C/S, but which lacks that foundation to build it all on. Maybe I'll spend some time on the branch soon - it is xmas after all. All I need is a more pleasant testing setup for myself as alt-tabbing between multiple gzdoom windows when testing netcode really really sucks. :)
Good to hear it's not abandoned at least. Once things reach a point where you want to start testing with other people, you know where to find me (Discord). Been sitting on a very ambitious project for years that'll need C/S and ZScript in combination to work out, so I certainly have the motivation to help wherever I can.

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Re: Still in development?

#15

Post by TDRR » Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:10 pm

In all honesty, all i want for 4.0 is full DECORATE and ACS support to the level of current GZDoom. Failing that, at least GZDoom 2.4's featureset.

ZScript is real nice and all that, but honestly the amount of effort it would need to be added into Zandronum appears to be gargantuan, and just mostly complete DECO+ACS is good enough at least IMO.
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Re: Still in development?

#16

Post by StrikerMan780 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:30 pm

On the subject of Zandronum development, I've replied to some tickets on the roadmap, giving some requested feedback. Hope someone can take the time to look at them, might be able to get some things that have been sitting on the list for over a year ticked off the list.

https://zandronum.com/tracker/view.php?id=3470#c21076 (Client fires weapon too early after respawning)
https://zandronum.com/tracker/view.php?id=3433#c21075 (Model Interpolation Fix)
https://zandronum.com/tracker/view.php?id=1564#c21078 (Missing \c-)

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