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15. November 2016

 

First off, I apologize for the pun, I felt obligated to make it.  In a nutshell, Godot 2.2 won’t be happening, so stop waiting for it.  Don’t worry though, it’s for a good reason.  They just posted a status update on Godot game engine development and they have decided to skip the planned Godot 2.2 release and instead focus on Godot 3.0 development. 

In a nutshell, Godot 3.0 is going to have some pretty major low level changes (including new renderers) that would result in a great deal of the features expected as part of 2.2 to require reworking.  So instead these features will be delayed until after the release of 3.0.  So, what features were included in 2.2?  The marque features were C# support, Visual Scripting and the rudiments of networking support.  Don’t worry however, these features are still coming, simply delayed.

The main motivation for changing the roadmap is to release Godot 3.0 sooner. Within the Godot development team, our priority is always to work on what the community needs most at a given point in time - for the past year and a half, the focus has been on greatly improving the usability of the editor, as well as enhancing the 2D tools. Nowadays, Godot is a great engine for making 2D games, and the interest of the growing community is starting to move on to 3D, with corresponding needs for improvements.

For more than a year, Godot 3.0 has been promised to our users as the version that will bring a new state-of-the-art 3D renderer (albeit compatible with a wide range of graphics drivers, hence our choice for GLES 3.0 instead of Vulkan for the time being), and solve many issues and requests users have formulated regarding the current 3D renderer in Godot 2.1.

By skipping the 2.2 release, we allow ourselves (and mostly Juan, our renderer expert) to avoid a lengthy bug fixing and stabilization period on 2.x features. We are therefore aiming for a release of Godot 3.0 in early 2017, which would not have been possible if we had to focus on 2.2 right now.

 

Frankly I agree with this approach.  Most of the features of 2.2 are “nice to have”, while the functionality of 3.0 is more in the “need to have” category.  Fortunately there is some good news as well.  We should expect the 3.0 release to happen faster.  Lead developer Juan Linietsky has been hired full time for 6 months to work directly on Godot thanks to a Mozilla grant:

Last but not least, you might know that we were awarded a hefty sum by Mozilla as part of its MOSS Mission Partners program. This award was aimed at helping us improve Godot's HTML5 export by implementing the brand new WebGL 2.0 and WebAssembly technologies. As the former is basically the same API as GLES 3.0, it's best for us to work on both of them at the same time, so that we can ensure that GLES 3.0 / GL 3.3 and WebGL 2.0 will behave similarly.

Therefore, we decided, together with our non-profit home Software Freedom Conservancy to hire Juan Linietsky full-time for 6 months to work on the objectives funded by the MOSS award. This encompasses in particular the new renderer that will be done for 3.0, and extensive work on the HTML5 platform that might be done partly for 3.0 and in full for 3.1. As Juan is the project leader and our more prolific contributor, this will enable Godot to grow even faster than it has over the last couple of years.

 

Considering how much this guy has managed to accomplish when *not* dedicated to development, just imagine what he can do focused full time?

 

One last piece of bad but somewhat expected information in this update… Godot 3.0 wont be perfectly backward compatible with Godot 2.x and earlier.  I’ve always been pretty impressed with how well they’ve managed to support backward compatibility till this point.  Some of the underlying changes are unfortunately going to break compatibility.  Thankfully they will be providing tools to mitigate this as much as possible:

The new 3D renderer is the opportunity to do some important refactoring of Godot's internals. We also want to use this opportunity to revamp, homogenize and enhance some parts of the API, to make Godot 3.0 a solid base for the further development of the engine and of Godot games.

What does this mean for users? Moving from Godot 2.x to Godot 3.0 will require porting the existing projects to take into account the API changes and the new way resources will be setup in 3.0.

We will provide tools to help with the conversion as well as extensive documentation, so do not worry. You can continue (or start) using Godot 2.x already, as most of the API and workflow will still stay the same, so 98% of what you are doing in 2.x will still be relevant in 3.0.

 

If you were currently waiting on C# or Visual scripting support, this news might be a bit of a let down.  Over all though, I think everything announced makes a great deal of sense.

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