BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

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blast
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BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by blast » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:27 pm

The release of BZFlag 2.4.4 is approaching. This release will be compatible with the other 2.4.x releases and will include many bug fixes and feature enhancements. Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is a test release to see if there's anything left we need to fix before release. There have been a number of changes, which you can see in the ChangeLog.

Some highlights include:
  • Communication with the list server is secured using HTTPS/TLS, so your password isn't being sent plain text over the Internet, and it should also help with caching issues
  • A lot of additions to the server plugin API
  • Track shot stats (viewable by pressing the Home key in-game) for all flag types, even custom flags, and update the stats live
  • Do not count observers when sorting the server list and sort servers with the same amount of players randomly (should help some servers that are at the bottom of the list just because their name doesn't start with a number)
  • Various crash fixes and anti-cheat mechanisms
  • CIDR ban support (Uses the format x.x.x.x/y, which lets you ban specific blocks of IP addresses, which can assist with blocking large amounts of addresses with a single ban, or can allow more specific ban ranges than were previously possible)
  • Higher resolution fonts for systems with very high resolution displays
  • Radar size and chat panel size are now set individually
Downloads: This release also gets rid of the bundled third-party libraries, so building from source will be a bit different. Windows users that want to build from source can use the bzflag-dependencies repository. We have documented the requirements in the various platform specific README files (at least for our main three platforms, Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX).
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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by alpha-5H » Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:53 pm

any Mac 10.6.8 package?

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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by macsforme » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:05 pm

alpha-5H wrote:any Mac 10.6.8 package?
Unfortunately, no. The decision was made to use some C++ features only found in more modern compilers (and more specifically, the C++ standard library), so it currently appears impossible to compile BZFlag for Mac OS X 10.6.

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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by alpha-5H » Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:25 pm

I'd love to know what the new features that use this C++ special compiler option are. for the best part the game hasn't changed much from version 1, and there are somethings that seem better in that!
I personally wouldn't have thought compiler changes would affect the build that much, if you can run 10.6 you can run 10.6.8 I guess I will be forced again to upgrade my OS, I am guessing it runs on Windows XP still?

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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by netochka nezvanova » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:18 pm

nice..
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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by blast » Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:44 pm

alpha-5H wrote:I'd love to know what the new features that use this C++ special compiler option are. for the best part the game hasn't changed much from version 1, and there are somethings that seem better in that!
I personally wouldn't have thought compiler changes would affect the build that much, if you can run 10.6 you can run 10.6.8 I guess I will be forced again to upgrade my OS, I am guessing it runs on Windows XP still?
Yep, Windows XP SP3 should still work, though I haven't tested it. If you want to think about it in terms of what Microsoft/Apple are supporting, we're supporting the newest unsupported editions of both Windows and Mac OSX (Windows XP is unsupported by Microsoft and Mac OS X 10.7 is unsupported by Apple). I believe the main/only C++11 feature we're using is shared_ptr, so if someone really wanted to they could probably replace that with something else, like Boost, or possibly even std::tr1::shared_ptr (which was an earlier version that may or may not behave the same).
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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by Mopar Madness » Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:09 am

Not a fan of the observers not counting in 2.4.4 server list, league players chat and hang out in obs quite a bit, and having the league servers get bumped in visibility helps other league players know there's people online to chat/match with. Furthermore it does nothing to solve the problem of people manipulating sorting rules to get their servers on top. If observers aren't counted, then servers that want to manipulate the sorting will just change their names since it sorts by alphabetical name next. random.server.com:5154 will just rename itself 00000000.server.com:5154 and so on. Servers already do this (looking at you BZTank.net).

If you insist on not counting observers, then I propose, if its possible, that you just check how long an observer has be sitting idle on a server and stop counting it after a certain amount of time has passed, maybe like 6 hours or something. Observers that have been on a server for under that amount of time could be counted then.

Another option would be to let the user choose whether to count observers or ignore observer counts in the config.

Personally, if 2.4.4 was released with its current method of server list sorting with no changes, I would be sticking with 2.4.2, and while I can't speak for all league players, it would not shock me at all if a majority of the league players felt the same way. Being able to easily see accurately which league servers are active is too important of a feature to give up.

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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by blast » Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:16 pm

Mopar Madness wrote:If observers aren't counted, then servers that want to manipulate the sorting will just change their names since it sorts by alphabetical name next. random.server.com:5154 will just rename itself 00000000.server.com:5154 and so on. Servers already do this (looking at you BZTank.net).
I also said that servers with the same amount of players are sorted randomly. This means that the hostname no longer influences the sorting of servers. So if you have ten servers with 3 players, they will still show up lower than servers with 5 players, but they will be randomly sorted within each other each time the list loads. This will help bring other servers to the first or second page of the list that normally were buried 10 to 18 pages in.
Mopar Madness wrote:If you insist on not counting observers, then I propose, if its possible, that you just check how long an observer has be sitting idle on a server and stop counting it after a certain amount of time has passed, maybe like 6 hours or something. Observers that have been on a server for under that amount of time could be counted then.
Unfortunately the list server has no concept of how long someone has been on a server, nor does it even track who is on a server. It only has snapshots of "this is how many players the server has". It's something I would certainly like to fix in future iterations of our public services, but it's all we have right now.
Mopar Madness wrote:Personally, if 2.4.4 was released with its current method of server list sorting with no changes, I would be sticking with 2.4.2, and while I can't speak for all league players, it would not shock me at all if a majority of the league players felt the same way. Being able to easily see accurately which league servers are active is too important of a feature to give up.
Here's some possible ways that 2.4.4 could be just fine for you even with the observer changes:

Mark the servers as favorites (+ to add, - to remove) and then press f to show only favorites.

Or use the search function to search for GU or Ducati.

Also, speaking of the search function, there's actually a lot of powerful search functions that we don't actually document. For instance, if you search for:

Code: Select all

/op>=4
It will show you only servers with at least 4 observers ('op' short for 'observerPlayers'). And you can customize the search presets by modifying the config, and then switch to them with the 1 through 9 keys, with 0 returning to a blank search (showing everything).

Now, combine the 'favorite servers' thing with /op>=4, and you could do:

Code: Select all

/+favorite,op>=4
That would show servers on your favorite list with at least 4 observers.

Or you could search for servers with "GU League" or "Ducati League" in their description with more than 0 observers:

Code: Select all

/d](gu|ducati) league,op>0
So, let's say we better documented the list search, reworked our defaults to possibly include the last one above (or one that also included whatever the combined league will be called), and added a menu to edit these filters in-game (similar to that of the quick keys menu but with only one column)? Would that be acceptable?
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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by Mopar Madness » Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:27 pm

I have marked servers as favorites, but have not used the favorites feature. The obs search is a good idea, currently, I only use searches when looking for a specific empty server. I will give these suggestions a try once 2.4.4 is officially released.

Another idea for you: A lot of games have an option on the list page to only search for servers with people in them, removing all empty servers from the list.

By the way, just so its clear since I never really said it in my previous post, thanks for all you and all the devs do keeping this game alive. While I may not like this new feature, I do appreciate the work that has gone into making 2.4.4 and future releases possible.

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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by blast » Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:39 pm

I'll try to get something in for RC2 and will try to get your opinion of it then.
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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by hj » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:26 pm

Solid work, blast et al. One question about this:
blast wrote:Unfortunately the list server has no concept of how long someone has been on a server, nor does it even track who is on a server. It only has snapshots of "this is how many players the server has". It's something I would certainly like to fix in future iterations of our public services, but it's all we have right now.
Would it be possible to work in concert with strayers' site to see how long an observer has been on a server for that only-count-observers-if-they've-been-online-less-than-24-hours idea?
-hj

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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by blast » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:51 pm

hj wrote:Would it be possible to work in concert with strayers' site to see how long an observer has been on a server for that only-count-observers-if-they've-been-online-less-than-24-hours idea?
The problem with that is that people will keep gaming the system ("Oh, I guess I'll just run an observer client 12 hours a day during peak times"). I'd rather just implement the suggestions I made.
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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by TheEdge » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:05 pm

As somebody who has been playing this game for 13 years, can I say "Thank You" to everyone involved with the upcoming 2.4.4 release. I very much appreciate the effort in keeping this great game alive and moving forward.

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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by cidentan50 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:12 pm

blast wrote:[*] CIDR ban support (Uses the format x.x.x.x/y, which lets you ban specific blocks of IP addresses, which can assist with blocking large amounts of addresses with a single ban, or can allow more specific ban ranges than were previously possible)
This part made me wonder: how is IPv6 support in BZFlag?

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Re: BZFlag 2.4.4 Release Candidate 1

Post by blast » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:37 pm

Slinkwyde wrote:This part made me wonder: how is IPv6 support in BZFlag?
At this point, non-existent. It's definitely something we want and need to add.
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