2009-03-17

BZFlag 3.0 = vaporware

As most of you know, I'm a developer for the online game BZFlag. I recently had a conversation with one of the project managers that went something like this:

When is bzflag 3.0 going to be released?
When it's finished, tested, and bug-free.
Ok, when do you estimate that will happen?
When it happens.
Right, but could you give me an estimate as to when it will probably happen?
When the developers have time.
--- At this point, I start to get a bit frustrated. ---
Ok. Based on how much time the developers have had so far, when would you estimate it will be out?
When it's done.
--- I'm so close to spamming the guy until he bans me or something ---
So could you estimate to the nearest number of years when it will be out?
Yes. Within the next 100 years.

I've asked and asked, and no-one has an estimate as to when it will be out. The last release that changed a lot of stuff was over 4 years ago, and people are sick of waiting. To the BZFlag developers: Please, for the sake of the players that want to see the improvements made in 3.0, fix up the few major bugs that are there and release a beta version of 3.0. That way, people can actually download and try it, and I won't have to put up with people pestering me to find out when it will be out.

Until this happens, I'm going to regard 3.0 as vaporware. The really cool new version that would improve everything. The really cool new version that wasn't actually going to be released.

2 comments:

brlcad said...

Instead of just wanting and asking when it will be released and complaining about getting an honest albeit indeterminable hypothetical possible future release date, CONTRIBUTE. The reality is that the release date isn't set until most issues are taken care of so to tell you anything else would be a lie.

More importantly, though, you have the ability to directly help.

* You can identify bugs.
* You can verify reproducible bugs.
* You can actually help fix bugs.
* You can organize a list of issues that need to be addressed before a release can be made.
... and so much more.

Even if you can't code, there's plenty that can be done. Step up.

You don't have to be a developer to be a positive impact on the project and help make a release happen. If you are a developer, then shame on you -- open source puts the onus and power in your hands.

javawizard2539 said...

I am, indeed, a developer, under the SF username javawizard2539. However, the last change I made broke so much stuff that JeffM reverted it. I'm really not experienced enough in C++ to contribute to fixing bugs and such.

On the release date, it is true that a release date is not set in stone, since it is, after all, an open-source project. What I've been wondering is how long it will be until the release of 3.0 if the developers continue coding at their current rate. I haven't even been able to get an estimate out of anyone, except for rather large ones that are clearly meant to shut me up.

If I recall correctly, there is already an organized list of bugs in one of the files in the 3.0 trunk. I can't remember which file it is at the moment, but other developers (I'm thinking it was JeffM but I could be remembering wrong) have said that the items in that list are the ones that need to be done.