Friday, October 14, 2011

Why is the next JADE release taking so long?

Those of you who have befriended me at Facebook or subscribed to my updates will know it, but since there are a lot of people out their who dislike Facebook I also felt it necessary to post an update here.

So: Why is the next release of JADE taking so long?

Because I actually decide to break my own JADE rule "Release early, release often" for once. And that is because I felt the need to not wear your interest out with a constant release stream of "non game version of JADE". Therefor the next release takes a little longer.

The next release is going to be JADE 0.2.0 and JADE 0.2.0 for the first time will be a "complete enough" game. It will still be a far stretch from being ADOM but at the current development speed I would hope to reach the level of ADOM detail within about 12 months. The JADE API right now really is "clicking" and I progress at a rate that surprises myself quite often. Here is a glimpse at the new features that are going to be in JADE 0.2.0 (and the JADE 0.2.x series will fine tune a number of the most basic playability and balance issues - but at that point we are back to "release early, release often" - promise!):
  • You will be able to play as a fighter, thief, commoner or tinker (4 professions). Oh, and there is multi-classing :-)
  • You will be able to play all the races known from ADOM.
  • There's more than a 100 new items (plus variations due to the high random customizability of JADE items).
  • There's a couple of dozen new monsters in the game with all kinds of new abilities that in the future will be reused everywhere (e.g. desolidity, flying, swimming, ... and the player can get all that, too). The whole ability system a lot more powerful, flexible and available to the player than anything ADOM ever had. Additionally there now are monster templates that right now are used mostly for undead but that will get a lot more attention in the future. Ants and bees are back, too.
  • There is a new system for liquids in the game (water, lava, acid, blood) that has many interesting effects on the environment. ADOM never had that.
  • There is a whole construction system integrated into the game that allows you to build things. Right now the number of construction plans is still somewhat limited (walls, doors, floors, bridges) but this will get a lot more attention, too. ADOM never had that.
  • There is an item processing system in the game that allows you to convert items into other items (e.g. logs into wooden plans, iron ore into iron ingots into nails, etc.). Naturally these things can be used for building things. ADOM never had that either.
  • It is possible to imbue items and things with power and even initiate a kind of magical black powder chain reaction of connected mana blasts that can trigger other things at a distance. Again something to be heavily extended for future versions. ADOM never had that either.
  • And a lot of other details.
So what's the gist of JADE 0.2.0?

JADE 0.2.0 will be a playable game (even though still a very simple one compared to ADOM) but it will be a lot more fun to move forward from that point onwards. And there will be two other surprises following (probably with JADE 0.2.1) that I yet don't want to speak about.

When will you get JADE 0.2.0?

My guess right now is "at the end of October" since I keep getting sidetracked by cool (and necessary) new features (see above) - I'm working my ass off to get the next release out as soon as possible - that's also the reason why the blog is more silent than usual. Stay tuned!

Thomas Biskup

P.S.: The JADE codebase has been growing by leaps and bounds. The actual Java codebase (ignoring tons of comments and whitespace) has already now grown by about 25% (something like 15.000 lines) compared to the last release. There really is a lot of great stuff coming... and it will be even greater to extend that stuff in the future.


  1. I have a small favor to ask. Would it be possible to hook JADE up to the java accessibility API? I've tried to run JADE through my screenreader (JAWS for Windows) and all I'm getting is illegible gibberish.

    I know that it's a feature that will be used by a very, very miniscule percentage of your userbase, but ADOM out-of-the-box was so well designed and accessible that it was no problem for my blind girlfriend to play it via the screen reader. It would be cool if JADE would be available to blind players as well, and hooking up JADE to the java accessibility API would enable just that. Oh, and the return of the "l"ook command :)

  2. I need to check that. I have to admit that so far I have no experience with the Java Accessibility API but I will look into it...

  3. Can't wait!

    I am, however, a little worried by the fact that the game is going to have even more superfluous race/class combinations and huge (almost MMORPG level as it seems) length at the same time. In most roguelikes I've had any experience with, the very beginning and the very end are the hardest parts of an ascension. Usually that would mean that, once you're past the initial lack of resources, the victory is mainly determined by your skill, patience, and wit, not race/class/equipment combination. In ADoM, there are several intermediate difficulty spikes highly reliant on luck and equipment, such as ToEF, which is one of the hardest parts of the game—and ending your game there several times in a row really makes you not want to waste any further time on sidequests with rewards that barely make any difference against heat.

    So I at least hope there will be risk/reward shortcuts available for experts/speed-oriented players to avoid going through superfluous hoops until it's time to visit really challenging main quest areas. Will it be possible to ascend in a few hours' time if one is really up for it?

  4. I understand your reasoning for delaying the next release, and I think it's a good idea!

    We've been getting a lot of updates, and you've been working seriously hard on JADE. It would be unfair of me to ask much more from you than that!

    I'm not so keen on following game development on Facebook - I'm not sure why, really. It just seems like a blog is a better medium for this particular thing. I comment here, but I only read the updates on facebook.

  5. Thanks for looking into it - that's more than I was hoping for.