As V19 Stable has just been released, this development update is mostly concerned about what's been going on in the background recently and what we have planned for the immediate future. I think the first thing to do is to remind everyone of the huge amount of progress that has been made over the last three months since V18 Stable - there's been massive improvements to almost every aspect of the game (balance and AI most obvious amongst them), and it's easy to forget quite how much has been done.
The V20 series of builds is intended to be mostly polish, with an emphasis on getting the new UI installed / fully functional. The rest of the game will see more tweaks, but it's not likely to change quite as much as it did from V18 to V19. There will be further balance work, further AI improvement, new maps, reworking of the way jetpacks work and probably the Geoscape UFO intelligence too.
Aaron and I have been discussing internally and we would like to have the game finished for Christmas. Goldhawk is has never been particularly good at sticking to deadlines, so please do not take that as gospel...but we're hoping for a Christmas release.
The biggest missing component is the new UI. We've actually been working on this for a loooong time now (it's been keeping me busy) and it's basically complete in functionality terms. We're now working on finalising the formatting of each screen - making sure all the text is aligned correctly and all the scaling works correctly and so on. The only completely finished one is the Research screen, but they're 90% done at this point.
There also needs to be further work done on the existing UI, such as the Geoscape notifications, Main Menu screen, combat Inventory screen and the pop-up menus. A different coder is working on these, but they all need to be skinned correctly and set up so the text scaling and so on is no longer a problem.
It would be nice to have all of the game assets in place by the end of November - so all of the tiles are painted over, all the Xenopedia art is in the game, every UI background is painted and so on. I've been able to find a bit of time for the writing and I'm hoping to have a final Xenopedia complete next week, as I've now done about 65 of the Xenopedia entries and have another 23 to do. I know there have been delays there, but I'm just as keen as anyone to have that finished and locked down so translators can get to work.
All in all, we've had a really good three months and the game is really quite playable at the moment - so I'm hoping that with three months more we'll have a genuinely good game that will deliver on what we've been promising for the best part of four years.