Today, something rather special is happening. We are releasing an unofficial development build of Xonotic primarily for balance testing and as a special event to renew interest in the game.
There have been a lot of improvements since our last release, and we strived to listen to your suggestions and input for the directions we should take on the game. Most importantly we are attempting to make the actual configuration of weapons and physics something enjoyable by as many people as possible, from newcomers to experienced players.
Since this is only a development release, we can't guarantee stability or that it is bug free. Although we took about a week off from potentially unstable commits, dedicating ourselves to fixing bugs, there is still a chance a bug could sneak in. If you find one, please report it here.
What we essentially want you to focus on are two balance configurations, that are defined on the files balanceSamual.cfg and balanceXonotic.cfg. Each configuration affects weapons and player physics.
Right now, balanceXonotic.cfg (previously maintained by developer FruitieX and more recently shell clan with other collaboration) remains default until we come up with a decision. The current standing proposal balanceSamual.cfg (maintained by developer Samual with collaboration of other developers and players) will be reviewed along side it. If one balance isn't specifically preferred over another or there is some lingering issue, then a compromise will be made to work around it.
You can switch between the balance configurations on local servers using temporary keybinds created for this release: F7 for Samuals balance, and F8 for FruitieXs balance. For multiplayer you will have to search around for a server with the proper configuration you want.
Other weapon upgrades/removals are pending until after the balance is chosen. Other things simply aren't finished yet and would be too buggy for this release, for example the lightning gun is being recoded into a new separate weapon (potentially called the Arc Cannon) which will definitely be there in a later release. This means that for now the lightning gun is absent from balanceSamual.cfg as it does something else with the electro, but it will be included in the future.
Weekend In Testing
The second part to this release however is the announcement of an upcoming event for testing... *drum roll*: Xonotic Weekend In Testing (hereby known as XWIT) will take place between Friday April 29th and Sunday May 1st where the goal is to gather as many people as possible who can play on new servers with updated clients. We intentionally chose a date 2 weeks away so that people can have time to download the development release, and so that players have the ability to plan it out and make time to play.
By all means we want you to play before (and after) the event as well, just make sure you can get as many people together as possible on the weekend.
Another useful thing about this event is that we are going to use it to test the backend of our statistics system and actually generate a good amount of data for it.
We will already have quite a few official servers, both EU and NA, setup and ready to go. Some will be private and competitive, but most will be public spreading across multiple game modes. These official ones are mainly going to be hosted by Samual, divVerent, and Antibody with the support of edong23 and merlijn. Note: These servers can't be expected to be 100% set up until the XWIT event, it generally will take time so be patient.
We encourage Nexuiz server owners to get involved here as well and direct traffic from their Nexuiz servers just to give Xonotic a shot. Several have already agreed to this (such as HOCTF: The largest public American CTF server in Nexuiz - or DCC: A European based community) Before and during the XWIT event, they will be directing people to download Xonotic from here. Who knows about afterwards, but it is possible some other servers (DCC for example already wants to do this) will stick with only Xonotic and never go back to Nexuiz.
If you want to host a server, please keep in mind the whole purpose is to focus upon the balance configs, so if you are playing with other physics or such modifications then please do it with a private server. We don't want to confuse players who are looking for a chance to try the current default settings and the newer proposed settings. There is a config provided (annoy_balance.cfg) which allows you to notify the player which balance is being used by sending them an info message - It can also switch between the balance at every single end of a match to keep testing time fair between the two... That CAN be disabled however to dedicate the server just to one balance by a simple modification to the file. If you wish to do balance testing, we strongly recommend you use this script so people know exactly which config they're using.
Outcome of the event
Shortly after XWIT, we will create a public balance survey where you can give feedback about the two balances and other such stuff which were tested. We want to finally settle the balance debate once and for all. With this survey we will decide upon the direction of balance in Xonotic, and stick with it. Once we have finished with that and other such decisions, we generally plan on creating a full beta release in the near future. ;-)
Basically this development release will be the single pivoting point on moving forward with Xonotic, it will give us the information we need to progress and continue producing on something you all have been wanting.
The packages linked below contain binaries (32 and 64 bits) for Windows, Linux, and OS X. You are free to mirror these and your link will be added to the list of mirrors.
Note: We changed how the textures are stored since the preview, so even though we added more art content the file size is actually much smaller. "
Along with the development release we created an unofficial map pack which would allow for easy addition of maps to your server/client It would also help with getting feedback for these maps and potentially getting them to be official Xonotic maps. Quite a few of the maps are still work in progress, so again feedback is welcomed.
Map pack - 332mb - 30 maps - 4/12/2011
Note: It is recommended to set up a curl site for the individual maps, or else your players will lack maps if they don't have the map pack.