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Developer interview #3 – Per

Filed under: English,Miscellaneous von Kreuvf um 09:15:20

After the last interview with EvilGuru I planned the next interview to be held after the release of 2.1. Unfortunately the release delayed and after some hints I decided to have another interview, this time with Per.

He did a Master in Philosophy and works as a system developer at a company that produces medical devices. Besides his participation in the WRP his hobbies are reading books, doing sports and playing board games.

Kreuvf: How did you find Warzone 2100 and since when are you part of the team of the Warzone Resurrection Project?
Per: I did play the original Warzone with some friends in 1999 or so, but was never really involved with any WZ community until after the source was released. I co-founded the WRP with rodzilla and I also was part of the redev effort or whatever its name was.

Kreuvf: And what was your motivation for founding those projects and/or taking part in them?
Per: It sounded like fun. I usually play games with other people, not by myself – I still haven’t completed the campaign from start to finish – and Warzone was one of the games we had a lot of fun with in our LAN gaming group.

Kreuvf: With your motivation being fun what were your personal goals for warzone?
Per: A solid network play: No crashes or out-of-sync issues. That’s priority number one. Improving path-finding and graphics would perhaps be the second.

I’d love to see more cloak and daggers type tactics in the game. I usually play the sneaky bastard side in RTS and RPG games and I find it rather unfortunate that there is only one side to choose from in Warzone, unlike games like Starcraft and Dune 2 and almost all the other RTS games.

One thing I have been working on is support for cloaking and electronic counter-measures to block sensors.

Kreuvf: How far did you get with it?
Per: I have some experimental code, but I have postponed work on it until after 2.1 and some other, more important work is done, like multi-threaded path-finding and a new savegame format.

Kreuvf: Most of the readers perhaps don’t understand what multi-threaded path-finding means and what it is good for. Could you explain that?
Per: Yes, I’ll do that. Modern computers now often ship with two (or more) processors. In old school games like Warzone, however, you run the entire game on a single processor. If you split out heavy work like path-finding into its own thread, you can utilise your other processor to do that work instead, freeing more capacity on the first processor. That way the game should run smoother and faster. And there should be less delay between when you issue an order to go somewhere and when it actually starts to go there. In games with lots of units and lots of things going on, you can experience often significant (several seconds) delay now.

Kreuvf: Oh yeah, I know this and it’s quite annoying. So it’s about multiple cores then?
Per: It is not only about multiple cores, actually. The code is also written in a way that allows you to utilise your processor better, even if you just have one. So all users should experience faster path-finding.

Kreuvf: So we can expect better path-finding and better performance of the path-finding in future releases? If yes, does this include 2.1 as well?
Per: I do not think we want to push this into 2.1. Writing threaded code is difficult and it is very easy to make hard to find and hard to debug errors in it. So for stability and testing reasons it doesn’t make it for 2.1.

Kreuvf: You are mentioning stability. Unfortunately past releases not always have been as stable as users may have wished them to be. Anything new on the quality front?
Per: Yes, past releases have not always been very stable and we wish to change that. One of the things we have been working on is adding unit testing and finding other ways to continually improve code quality. We have spent a lot of time improving things „under the hood“ and I think that will start to pay off in a big way in future releases as it becomes easier to make changes and easier to find bugs.

Kreuvf: Besides the changes „under the hood“ there are many others incorporated into 2.1 – what is your No. 1 feature in 2.1?
Per: Multiplayer stability is definitely #1, with the game balance fixes in a good #2.

Kreuvf: And what annoys you most when developing for Warzone 2100?
Per: What annoys me most? Hmm. Bugs! ;)

Kreuvf: One final thing: You have a Master in Philosophy which makes me curious about your favourite philosopher, if you have one.
Per: Oh, there are so many to like, but my favourite would definitely be Immanuel Kant.

Kreuvf: Okay then. Thank you for the interview, Per.
Per: You are most welcome.

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