Post news RSS ZX 8.3 (9.0?) progress report

It's been almost a year since the last update, but I'm working on 8.3 (or might be 9.0)...very slowly.

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Hey folks.
The mod ain't dead. I'm working on an update-- have been since 8.2 dropped, actually. Life stuff's gotten in the way, and what with depression and constant pain at the state of the world (slava Ukraini, women's rights are human rights), work's been very slow. I've been incrementally changing things, making little tweaks, adding spit and polish...and then I went and just made it a major update like 8.0, 8.1 and 8.2 before it. I'm actually tempted to jump a full version number because there's some considerable under-the-hood changes-- thus instead of being 8.3, it'd be 9.0.

The main obstacle to the next version's release is finishing the game info menu; more specifically, the monster descriptions. There's a bunch still to go-- I haven't even finished all the zombies yet. However, apart from that, ZX has had a complete file system rework and integration of the Weapon Wheel addon into the base mod as a result. Resultant mod file's a bit bigger, but not terribly so, only a few megs.

Gameplay's seen some tweaks, as always, there's a few bugfixes, and as of this upcoming update, the mod *will not* be compatible with GZDoom 3.6 or .7 anymore; the new minimum required version will be LZ 3.8.2 or GZ 4.2 on up. As always, the latest release is preferred and is what the mod is developed on and ultimately for.

I've gotten a few complaints about the compatibility...and I'm sorry to say that I'm actually being *really* generous on that front with a mod still in active development. Most mods will require much newer builds of GZDoom, especially anything running on ZScript instead of DECORATE. If you're fretting about not being able to run the GZ GL 4.x renderer, there is LZDoom and its GL 3.x renderer. I still can't guarantee you'll be able to run this thing on ten-year-old hardware; I'm lucky I can run my own mod on the rig I'm using (a 10-year-old, long-suffering laptop which stays viable only because it's got a discrete GPU). Also...I list the engine requirements plain-as-day, right out in the open. If you don't heed them, the mod will not run. No ifs, ands or buts. I CANNOT do what I want with the mod on older engines, and I'm not about to back all the way up to GZ 1.9 just for Zandronum. I've got plans down the line for a Zandronum-friendly multiplayer mod (tentatively called QuakeStyle Arena), but I have no idea if I'll ever make the damn thing or if I could pull off convincing QS gameplay in multiplayer with Zandro limitations.

As for a development roadmap...frankly, there isn't one. 9.0 isn't going to be the last update by any means, but I don't have much else I care to put in at the moment. I have a couple of concepts in mind, but that's all they are-- concepts. The main one I had in mind was a concept called "soul weaponry"-- basically, it'd be a way to incorporate the Soul Cube, Hellheart (aka the Artifact) and the Crucible in some way while mostly preserving ZX's tried-and-true gameplay loop.

I can't promise much, but I do hope you stick with me. I'll try not to fix anything that ain't broken.
-Xterra

EDIT 8/6/22: So I've settled on a few things. One, it's definitely gonna be v9.0. I talked with Scarlet Mango about this, and the considerable under-the-hood changes (including a complete file system migration) merit a full version number. Two, the file size will actually be *markedly* smaller, by over 10MB, thanks to converting all the sound assets above 5KB to Vorbis files. I would recommend all Doom modders do this; it saves SO MUCH space. Three, you should expect some audio improvements in this update; I've been messing around with the sounds again as part of the whole move to Vorbis files, and I've been cleaning up and improving my mixes where feasible. Four, after this update, don't expect the weapon roster to grow in number. I've got 100 weapons even (including the class weapons)...there's actually more weapons than there are monster types at this point; I'm gonna set about fixing that in 9.1, in addition to a couple new gameplay mutators for those who want to throw balance out the window. So...outside of *possibly* that Soul Weapon concept I talked about, any new weapons will come at the cost of existing ones. More than likely it'll be the class weapons that take the hit. With all the new menu aspects, adding in weapons and monsters has become a markedly greater effort than before, as I've got to write up menu blurbs for them...and that's harder than you'd think when you're a depression-riddled Aspie who's spending most of his time running Discord servers and serving as a streaming sidekick. Anyhoo, I'm glad folks have stuck around this long and still (largely) appear to be enjoying the mod. Thank y'all. -Xterra
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