Open source game Wesnoth reaches version 1.0

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Although there are many open source games in development, few development teams have the motivation and expertise needed to mature their game from beta status, indicated by version numbers less than one (0.6, 0.7, etc...), to "1.0". This remarkable milestone was accomplished recently by the developers of the computer game Battle for Wesnoth. Wesnoth is a turn based strategy game set in a fantasy environment reminiscent of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings literature, featuring unit types like Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and even tree people.

Development of the game began over two years ago when creator David White released the first development version, 0.1, on June 18, 2003. All code and contents of the game were released under the GNU GPL license, and all versions were distributed freely over the internet. The game was also packaged for various GNU/Linux distributions such as Debian and many others. Wesnoth's ability to run on Unix and Linux, Mac OSX and Microsoft Windows systems and solid playability earned it popularity among the open source community. The game drew not only players, but also programmers, artists, and campaign writers; developers who create stories and scenarios using the mechanics and art of the core Wesnoth engine. The quick pace of development and early popularity considerably increased the number of people working on the game in their free time and allowed it to reach a quality and completeness not often seen in GPL games.

"1.0" contains several campaigns of varying length, in which you play alone against computer opponents. Wesnoth also offers various multiplayer modes, from a hot-seat mode for multiple players on one computer, to an online lobby where you can play games with players from all over the world. In this case, multiple players can either play in teams against others, or join a team against the computer opponent.

There is also a campaign server accessible from inside the game where players can download many additional user created campaigns, maps, and even units. Almost all aspects of the game are scriptable using an HTML-like language which allows users to easily create their own content and contribute it to the campaign server.