News: Z-Net v1.2 Beta, and Other Projects

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Yesterday I released the first draft of the Z-Net I v1.2 Beta. I'm so happy it's finally at this point! It's been a long 3 months of work, and every time I thought I was finished, after a break for a few days I'd suddenly come back with more to do. It eventually seemed like this would go on forever and I'd never feel I was truly done. lol.

Looking back, it's funny how I started this next version working on purely the most minor of things. Things I felt wouldn't take much coding, time, or that weren't that big of a difference. I soon found that after my work on my IRC client and ZN3, as messy as the ZNI code was/is it was more comfortable to work with. This was due to it being more familiar and refined already, requiring less hassle to do anything with in part to the familiarity and thanks to my increased skill gained form my IRC client and ZN3.

At this point, it's hard to say how much I've gained this path few months. It's probably more experience than skill. Few things really gave me any amount of challenge or required me to delve outside of my comfort zone. Those cases are when I learn the most. However, with what I've done I've certainly improved in some areas as the most difficult to work with areas of the code from last year, are now a lot less daunting and much easier to understand. In fact, a lot of such code was completely rewritten and of course majorly improved. As things stand now, I don't think I any longer feel that some part of the code is the amount of headache I would have though it was a few months ago.

With my new outlook on the ZNI code, I still can't say what my interest in it will be for the future. I have no idea if this is going to be the last major update or not. I think I can say I'm much more willing to make small updates though to address issues. But it's very likely most of my effort will be going into other projects once ZNI is out of beta.

I still want to work on ZN3. And even with my most basic ideas for it, it will replace ZNI. I only stopped it because the work was so challenging for me, that it was draining my motivation. Well, that more beat me down until I got it to a point were I realized I wanted to completely scrap an idea I had already worked on a lot. It was then that I decided I needed to take a break from it.

Z-Band has been on my mind again like it often is. My work a few months ago on re-adding the Z-Band code to the Z-Net I code was a major step for that project in keeping it accessible. After 3 months of code changes to ZNI, a few days ago I tried to see if the code would still compile for Z-Band, and sure enough with few tweaks it does. As far as I can tell it still works, though atm I cant test it since I don't have the server code setup. Speaking of the server, as usual that's the real issue with that project. I don't want to work on the server code myself. I've really been wanting someone else to join the team and take the reigns on that. Sadly its seeming like that is never going to happen. So I'm realizing more and more all the time that I'm just going to have to push through as much as I can, and work on the server code myself to ever have any chance of the project seeing the light of day. But besides the server code, there's another issue with the server. The server itself. If I ever hope to have the project used publicly, free hosts won't cut it. The websites don't generate enough to pay for a real host, so even if the server code was refined well, I'm always going to have that fact in the way.

Looking forward, after ZNI v1.2 is out of beta, I think Z-Band is what I'll be working on again, for however long. I would like to refine some of the client code. Maybe add a new supported game, or something. I would really like to at least get it to a point were I can demo it, in a video, with select users, or maybe even a release. My thinking is that maybe getting the project out there more, in a more tangible way will help interest in it, maybe spark some server funding, or interest from a potential server dev.

Well, in closing I'll mention the Z-Net I v1.2 Beta again. It's semi public right now. I thought about doing a semi public beta like I did last year, requiring forum membership. But I figured I'd try something a little different. One of the big new features of this version of ZNI is the chat lobby. My hopes is that finally we will be able to start seeing a real community developing around group chatting. While not perfect sense, it makes sense to me that the release of this beta should focus around such a chat community and be released in the IRC channel. I guess my hope is that coming by the IRC chat room will hopefully help further jump start such a community ahead of the full version. I probably should make it a requirement to actually talk, as it's quite rude just to join, type the trigger, download the beta then leave without saying anything. Even more so when I actually catch such users on and say hello, just to be ignored. But such a requirement would be to limiting. It's going to be a delicate balance trying to get enough users who can/will actually help test it, but also limiting it from being used by to many people before its ready to handle them.

Check out my post on the Z-Net website if you want to know more about the beta, how to get it, and help.

Z-Net I v1.2 Beta Info


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