Monday, 20 May 2013


It has been a while since the last blog about the development.
Those of you that follow the commit logs, know development has not stopped.
The main reason not to post anything is that there is not much to show to you. All changes are preparation for the next step, namely getting a roller coaster rolling. It looks like it's going to be a long ride with a lot of hurdles.

After getting all the nice coaster ride sprites from Richard, the first hurdle was getting them loaded in the game. The Python RCD file generator didn't want to co-operate, so I spent a month on ditching the thing. We now have a shiny new C++ implementation. Not only is the generation process faster (which will be useful with larger roller coasters, the number of sprites is going to explode!), it also means you don't need Python any more to build RCD files. This is very useful for whoever is going to enable development at windows.

The next hurdle was making room for coaster data inside the game. A roller coaster is a 'ride', just like the shop (with both, a guest enters, does something, and leaves again). Thus logically a coaster belongs next to the shop. The code however did not agree sufficiently, so I have been pushing it into a better shape for some weeks. The game can now load the coaster sprite data (it contains a lot more than just the sprite, the shape of every piece is also stored, and which piece can be connected to which other piece).

The previous hurdle is still causing some small trouble, but that's manageable. The next hurdle I somewhat expected, but yesterday I found out how large it was exactly. It is not a pretty sight :(

Once you can load pieces of track, the next thing you want is to allow the world to display it. (Basically, you want to be able to say "draw that track piece at this position in the world".) Displaying it is the stepping stone to making a GUI window for editing coaster tracks in the world. (And having a rollercoaster ride in the world is in its turn the stepping stone to adding cars, and adding physics so the cars move in virtual gravity.)

Unfortunately, the current display storage doesn't even look right. It will need a lot of restructuring to push it into any usable shape. It might be easier to just write the thing again. What's worse, there is a lot of code attached to that display storage. Paths decide how they connect, shops decide where they can be placed, guests decide where they can walk. A small change in the display storage has already a large impact, let alone a major restructuring like I need to do.

So this is what is happening. We're not dead, far from it.
There are 'just' an unknown number of hurdles in the way, and I am fighting with a big one for the next weeks or months.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Contributing and Info

It has become apparent that some people who would like to contribute to the project are unable to do so, as they do not know what needs to be done. Short answer: Everything!

Seriously. The project is still in its early stages, and any contributions are welcome. A guide to contributing is located at our wiki, specifically here. Hopefully all the necessary information is there. Comment below if you feel something is missing.

Also set up recently was a 'Google Group'. You should be able to use this to discuss things and future content etc. (Although what you'd actually usefully discuss is somewhat unknown at this time)

Oh, we also have a FaceBook page. It's, umm, quiet.

In FreeRCT development news, preliminary work is being done to add the first Roller Coasters!

Any other questions, leave a comment below!