April - This Month in Minetest (03)

This Month in Minetest

This month, engine development picks up with regular meetings, NodeCore gets a 24/7 livestream, and the Minetest Blog is now official!

Engine News

Regular Meetings and Triagers

Engine development has suffered from too many issues and Pull Requests compared to available developer hours for a long time. At the start of April, the engine had over 130 Pull Requests (PRs) and 1.1k issues. In order to resolve this, and to speed up development, Minetest developers have started fortnightly meetings.

Core dev meetings provide a time when multiple core developers are around to discuss issues, changes, and the development direction. As Minetest is an open-source project, it’s important that the development is done publicly and transparently. Meetings take place on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and are publicly logged, allowing anyone to watch or participate. Meetings follow a plan arranged prior to the meeting; meeting plans and notes can be found on the dev wiki.

Another organisational change is that Zughy has joined the team as a triager, labelling and managing issues. The triager system was introduced a couple of years ago but was never actively used. Zughy has already made huge progress in organising older issues, and we’re likely to be adding more triagers soon.

Last Month’s Development

April saw 30 PRs merged and 75 issues closed.

Development largely consisted of bug fixes, minor features, and continued improvements to the graphics pipeline. One major change was adding proper transparency sorting, this has fixed many glitches related to viewing transparent materials through other transparent materials, such as liquids, glass, and leaves.

Upcoming Development

Work is continuing on improving Minetest’s User Experience (UX).

New users are often confused about how to sign up for new servers. In 5.1.0, a “confirm password” dialog was added in an attempt to make new account creation more straightforward; however, this change was ineffective. Users were still confused by account creation, and the dialog did not abate that.

To resolve these problems, core developers have decided to change the UX to include separate register and login buttons. You can still log into a server as before, but a new register button will take you to a new dialog. Pro users need not worry; there’s a setting to return to the previous behaviour.

Split login and register
Split login and register
New register dialog, replacing the confirmation dialog
New register dialog, replacing the confirmation dialog

Another feature currently under review is sfan5’s async modding API. This will allow mods to run code on multiple threads, speeding up calculation-heavy tasks like precalculating mapgen or Advanced Trains train routes. There are caveats: writing async code is harder than writing sync code, and the async API cannot access most data including the map and players. It’s mostly for offloading calculations from the main thread.

Game News

Repixture 2.0

Wuzzy has released Repixture 2.0. There’s no player-facing changes, but there’s been a lot of work to redesign the structure of the game to reduce technical debt and help future development.

RealMoon Beta

Realmoon, a lunar survival game, has received an update, bringing some changes to geology, minerals, and crafts.

Mod News

Perlin Explorer

Wuzzy has released Perlin Explorer, a mod that allows you to test and experiment with Perlin noises. This is especially useful for game and mod developers who want to fine-tune the noises in an efficient manner. It’s also helpful for discovering useful noise parameters for the various mapgen settings in Minetest.

Perlin Explorer's dialog
Perlin Explorer's dialog

Mesecons becomes game-independent

Mesecons is one of Minetest’s most popular mods, but until now has been entirely dependent on Minetest Game. TurkeyMcMac is making mesecons independent from MTG, which means that you’ll be able to play it with more games soon.

Balloon Bop

Theres a new Arena_lib minigame: Balloon Bop! It’s on ContentDB and on A.E.S minigames. Bop balloons into spikes to pop’em and rack up points! Based on ExeVirus’s Ludum Dare game Balloon Bash.

Beduino

Joe7575 has just released Beduino, a CPU/computer simulation (virtual machine) with a programming environment. It’s based on the older mod VM16, and features C-like and ASM languages to program in-game with.

Heres an intro video:

PA28 Plane

Another plane has rolled onto the tarmac from Apercy’s hanger. The PA28 is a small passenger plane that can fit up to 4 passengers. Like all the other planes, it is paintable too!

The PA28
The PA28

Studs

Lego fans may be interested in erlehmann’s Studs, which turns all non-natural blocks into lego blocks! But be aware, this may reduce performance - at least until 5.6.0.

Lego, anyone?
Lego, anyone?

SkyGen

the_raven_262 posted a new mod for customizing skys based on biomes. SkyGen lets you define sky colors per-biome, while it automatically handles the size of celestial bodies and cloud properties based on the heat and humidity of the biome. It comes with support for Minetest Game’s biomes, but more biomes are easy to add.

Northern Sunset
Northern Sunset

Art and Builds

Fire and Water
Fire and Water

A ruinous, apocalyptic spawn building in close contact with nature and with a hint of draconic mythology; quite fitting for the server, “The Last Survivors”. It exudes the toughness that players will embody as they build society from the ground up.

'Warehouse', by SB66
'Warehouse', by SB66

Server News

From YourLand: Easter is Almost Over

your-land.de:30000

The Easter event is almost over!

Soon, we will end the Easter Event and return spawn to its old glory. You can use the the last week to try your luck in the labyrinth.

Our next major event will be the monthly birthday celebration, for all those who have a birthday in May. It takes place on May 28th; more details will be announced on Discord.

From NodeCore Community: Automatic Livestream

nodecore.mine.nu:30000

Warr1024 has created a 24/7 livestream of his NodeCore server. The livestream is entirely automated, choosing camera angles and players to focus on.

A preview of the livestream

NodeCore is a game about emergent behaviour and exploration:

A surreal dream-world where everything is possible but nothing is easy. Peaceful and Zen. Brutally obstinate. Prepare to unlearn everything you thought you knew about voxel sandbox games.

The livestreaming software consists of Docker services to run and stream Minetest, and a server-side mod to control the camera. The mod chooses an angle to look at the player, and assesses whether it is viable based on distance and line-of-sight.

From Minigames Galore and A.E.S. Minigames:

minetest.eticadigitale.org:30010

A.E.S. Minigames and Minigames Galore! are teaming up. Minigames Galore will shut down, and move all our minigames onto A.E.S. This will hopefully mean more people online to play minigames, as well as a central minigame community. We are also interested in getting someone to organize events for A.E.S. If that sounds like your cup of tea, join our matrix room and chat with Zughy and MisterE.

In Other News

The Minetest Blog is now official! It has also received a redesign, thanks to rubenwardy.

Sorry that this post is a week late; we try to keep an approximately monthly schedule but sometimes life happens :)

Edit 2022-05-09: updated Repixture description, fixed some typos.

Thanks to our post contributors this month: rubenwardy, MisterE, Warr1024, dew, Ineva.