Monday, October 23, 2006

TA:Spring Rewrite

There's a storm of comotion in the TA:Spring community after the lead developers announced intentions to rewrite the entire Spring engine stating unclean code and a desire to utilise external libraries like OGRE to both reduce the codebase size and introduce new features already expertly handled by said libraries.

The two major debating points were the critical "what about the modders" and the ever-so-important "what name should we give the not-started barely-planned mod". In all seriousness, the modders are the essence of the playing community and really make TA:Spring the eye catching open source project as it is - without them it would just be an engine for commercial content. They give the project the massive momentum it currently enjoys and the developers really need to listen to their concerns, which fortunately it appears they are doing.

Some of the highlights of the proposed rewrite are dynamic lighting, inbuilt C# scripting, and the engine being a generic RTS engine (as opposed to a TA-oriented one).

Ground-up rewrites are normally a really, really bad idea. However, this may be one of the exceptions. Not only are there several motivated developers and an enthusiastic community pushing them, but it does seem that there are several trends in the current codebase that make iteratively rejuvenating the codebase an unrealistic prospect - or at least more work than a rewrite. Still I hope they make rapid progress towards basic features rather than creating some grandiose vision that will not be attainable.