With each new major version of Wesnoth released, a review at TuxArena undoubtedly follows. Battle for Wesnoth is one of the flagship open-source games, with a huge, dedicated community and an almost unmatched feature-completeness among the open-source games.
Started in 2003 as a small project, Wesnoth quickly expanded into a very popular, if not the most popular turn-based strategy game available for Linux.
Battle for Wesnoth comes with everything you could ask: single-player campaigns and custom games, multi-player games, scenarios and campaigns, great 2D artwork, well-crafted music themes and campaign stories, add-ons, scripting, a map editor, wonderful help system, and a dedicated community. It’s completely free and open-source, licensed under the GPLv2 and actively developed. New bug fix versions are released every now and then, and new major versions, with ground-breaking changes occur every two years or so.
Wesnoth 1.12 comes with huge, groundbreaking new features, including a redesigned interface, a new lobby, improved add-ons manager, improved campaigns and more. There are even plans on submitting it to Steam, which would probably be great. Let’s have a look at the major new features 1.12 offers.
What’s new in 1.12?
The interface has received major improvements, with redesigned aspects for the lobby or the add-ons manager.
The lobby looks more modern, and creating a new game now is in the form of a wizard-like creator with three windows. In the first one you choose the map, in the second you set up game settings and round limit times, while in the third you will set teams and factions.
Usually with each new major version of Wesnoth, there is a transition period in which players are divided between the old servers (for Wesnoth 1.10) and the new one. The new version will get its players in several weeks though.
The first thing that jumps into attention is the new interface, which benefits from a major design overhaul. There are changes in the add-on server, the new multiplayer game, the main screen background image, and even the look of the buttons.
The new interface is slicker now, with a new background map of Wesnoth:
The add-ons manager has received important new features and a redesigned interface as well, and filters have been introduced in order to find and group add-ons easier. Filters allow you to choose add-on types. You can also sort add-ons by various criteria, or display installed, upgradeable or not installed add-ons.
The multi-player online lobby has been rethought, and now you will have to create a new game by going through three different windows, one to choose the map, the other to set player spots and factions.
The hotkeys configuration window received an overhaul too, and now keyboard shortcuts are grouped in separate tabs depending on their category (General, Title Screen, Game and Editor).
The New Khalifate Faction
A new faction, Khalifate, has been introduced in this version of Wesnoth. Of course, when creating a game you can choose the Default Era only or Default Era + Khalifate. Since the included six factions already in Wesnoth were there since the beginning of time, players may find Khalifate not as balanced as the well-known factions, so offering it separately when playing a game is a good option. As always, one can download tens more factions and eras from the add-on server.
The new Khalifate faction does not use magic and relies only on brute force:
The in-game interface has been revamped, and now shows more detailed information, with different colors to help differentiate various categories of information. The minimap has a few buttons which will allow to enable or disable things like unit drawing, village drawing or terrain drawing:
You can also change the size of the playground using the scrollbar, which has the same effect as pressing 0, – or Shift++.
Campaigns have received a huge number of changes, fixes and improvements since 1.10. For example, Son of the Black-Eye is now considered the most difficult campaign after it was reworked for this version of Wesnoth.
The Back to Turn X menu entries disappeared now, being replaced with a single menu entry which, when clicked, will open a list of turns to turn back to. This is another cosmetic change which doesn’t clutter the menu when you have a big number of back turns available.
There is an Enter Blindfolded checkbox now in the online game browser, which, once checked, will not render terrain and units until a replay is over, showing a black screen instead.
Some unit portraits have been updated, but the general look and field of the battlefield looks pretty much the same as in Wesnoth 1.10. No major terrain tiles or unit sprites were introduced in this version. Some updated sprites include the Elvish Scout.
Installing Wesnoth 1.12 in Ubuntu 14.04
A PPA containing the latest version is not yet available, but this section will be updated as soon as this happens.
Installing from source
Download the source tarball from here, uncompress it, and to compile from source, use:
To install dependencies:
sudo apt-get build-dep wesnoth sudo apt-get install libboost-locale-dev
Change the current directory to wesnoth-1.12 and compile it:
mkdir build && cd build cmake .. make sudo make install