Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, OpenBlox!

Okay, this post is late - 15 days late, to be exact. But better late than never, right? :)

Some of you may already know this, but on November 6th, OpenBlox officially turned 2 years old. This blog post is a little way to say "Happy birthday, OpenBlox!", look back on the past few years, and even look ahead into the next year. So let's get started!

Around 2 1/2 years ago, I - DangerOnTheRanger - came up with the idea of making an open-source ROBLOX clone while playing that game. I was curious as to whether other members of that community thought this was a good idea, and after asking around, got around 5-6 members to help me out with the initial development. We set up a dev site (that you can still view here), started brainstorming, and even wrote some prototype code.

Unfortunately, there were problems.

There were a lot of disagreements concerning things like who exactly was in charge (something I should have made clear before allowing those other team members to join), how OpenBlox should be designed, what language it should be written in, and other issues. All these disagreements eventually resulted in a near-flamewar via Jabber (an IM system), me developing OpenBlox by myself, and the other team members I originally recuited forking OpenBlox off. I would be "the OpenBlox team" for 1 year (more on that later).

Finally, in August 2010, OpenBlox had it's first release - 0.1. Unfortunately, it was horribly broken, to say the least; it was not installable on any system other than my own for a variety of reasons. To make things worse, I didn't even know it was broken - I hadn't tested OpenBlox on any machine besides my primary development machine, something you should never, ever, do. I didn't learn from this mistake until OpenBlox 0.6 (yes, OpenBlox 0.5 couldn't be installed either).

Then, on January 1, 2011, the first OpenBlox team member since the fork joined the project - brutustodd. He was a big help with testing OpenBlox on Windows (I develop OpenBlox on Linux), maintaining the OpenBlox website (this website), and offering support for users who need it.

Another major event that occured around is time is the induction of Bednesti into the OpenBlox team - one of the most active OpenBlox team members to date. Bednesti has been a huge help on the PR front, maintaining the OpenBlox YouTube channel, the OpenBlox store, and commenting on ideas in the IdeaBin. He's also helped out with testing OpenBlox on Windows and Linux - very helpful considering how little OpenBlox was tested back then.

The next big milestone came in Feburary 2011, with the release of OpenBlox 0.6 - the first version of OpenBlox that could actually be installed and used :) Right after the release of 0.6, OpenBlox really started to take off, reaching 1,400 downloads by March, probably due to the fact that one could finally use OpenBlox :)

The next major event in OpenBlox's history was the release of OpenBlox 0.7 beta, bringing a ton of new features and bugfixes, and pushing OpenBlox past the 2,500 download mark, too. Around this time, OpenBlox started to form its own small community, with a few ROBLOX users starting to play OpenBlox, too.

And that brings us to where we are now: Version 0.7 (with 0.8 just around the corner), 2,500 downloads, 76,000 website hits, and 16 recommendations on SourceForge - not bad for just 2 years, huh?

Now we've covered what's happened so far, let's take a look at what will happen down the road:

  • OpenBlox 0.8 will be released by the end of December at the very latest, and will introduce clothing, explosions, shadows, particles, avatar animations, brick surfaces (like Weld or Solder), multiple brick shapes, health, scripted GUIs, and a load of other new features into OpenBlox - a very exciting time :)

  • OpenBlox 0.9 will introduce mobile (iOS and Android) support, in-browser game playing, multiplayer support for OpenBlox - all very cool features

  • Beyond OpenBlox 0.9, the future gets a bit hazy. Expect things like improved multiplayer support, a weather system, and other fun things in the future :)

In conclusion: Happy 2nd birthday, OpenBlox - we all hope you have a lot more :)

(note: I originally posted this on OpenBlox's blog, but I'm re-posting it here in case someone actually reads this blog :) )

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