I've had a lot of people ask me about when certain features of the game will be implemented, when we'll have a next release, etc., so here is the development roadmap.
The launch version of the TribesNext patch was RC1 (with sub versions RC1a to RC1e). The features included in that version were:
- A Ruby 1.8.7 interpreter integrated with the game.
- In-game account creation.
- In-game server listing.
- In-game chat via IRC.
The current version of the TribesNext patch is RC2. The features implemented in this version are as follows:
- An upgrade to the Ruby interpreter to version 1.9.0, and significant improvements to the interpreter interface (it will now properly process newlines, enabling use of just about any Ruby script).
- A basic error handler for Ruby, so errors aren't swallowed into the abyss.
- Support for dynamic in-memory modification of the native game code.
- The Ruby interpreter process dies properly when the game closes unexpectedly. No more issues with dozens of unused processes anymore.
- Server side support for DCE certificates. DCE certs are used to indicate current name (if the account has been renamed), current clan, and all clan membership. This is the game-server component of the browser/clan system.
- Client side support for handling DCE certificates. None of the UI or centralized system integration is in the RC2 release, but certificate handling is in anyway as part of bug testing the server side implementation.
- Early version of the anticheat framework.
- Minor modifications to the authentication server protocol. This will prevent any more bad RSA keys from being incorporated into accounts.
The following features are slated for the RC3 release:
- An overhauled IRC client.
- A Linux/MacOSX distribution compatible with Wine and CrossOver Games. A pre-RC3 testing version is available here: http://www.tribesnext.com/forum/index.php?topic=2095.0
- Reactivation of the community features, including T-Mail and the browser. The current plan is to also make T-Mail and browser functionality available from a web browser and in-game, so you will be able to manage clans and such without having to open the game.
- Revised version of anticheat. This will include client version checking by the server, and a handful of improvements over the RC2 anticheat test. Fully customizable anticheat will be in RC4.
Implementation status of the community features:
- Crypto signing and verification functions: 100% implemented and debugged (done)
- Session control for challenge and password entry: 100% implemented and debugged (done)
- Interface to the account server: 100% implemented and debugged (done)
- "Current" Image issuer: 100% implemented and debugged (done)
- Backend tmail implementation: 95% implemented and debugged (functional, but minor additions left)
- Backend browser implementation: 100% implemented and debugged
- JSON data interface for mail: 97% implemented and debugged (functional, but minor additions left)
- JSON data interface for browser: 97% implemented and debugged (functional, but minor additions left)
- T2 data interface for mail: 97% implemented and debugged (functional, but minor additions left)
- T2 data interface for browser: 97% implemented and debugged (functional, but minor additions left)
- Web based browser user interface: 0%
- Web based mail user interface: 10%
- T2 in game browser user interface: 92%
- T2 in game mail user interface: 100% implemented and debugged (done)
The following features are slated for the RC4 release:
- A comprehensive and customizable anti-cheat system. This will be provided as a black-box set of server-side APIs, and a sample implementation comparable to the capabilities of Defense Turret. The exact properties of the anti-cheat will be up to the individual server operators, and it will be purely optional.
- API for constructing and analyzing ZIP files. This will be used to create custom resource packages for players as needed by servers, without allowing executable code, or other undesired data transfer to the client.
The following features are slated for the RC5 release:
- Addition of a UPnP client to the DLL to implement IGDP (Internet Gateway Device Protocol). For users with UPnP enabled firewalls/routers (most of the consumer grade equipment is UPnP enabled), this will allow the game to automatically configure port forwarding for you. This should reduce the number of complaints by people who can't figure out how to properly configure forwarding/firewalls manually. UPnP will only be invoked if the listing server reports a forwarding problem.
- Modification of the TribesNext executable code loader so that the on-disk copy of the Tribes 2 executable is unmodified. This will be in the form of an IFC22.dll replacement, which ordinarily handles the immersion force feedback support (that nobody uses anyway).
I'll keep this thread up to date as items are completed, or things are added.