April 27, 2024

On the way towards 1.5... and 2.0!

Some history

SuperTuxKart 1.0 was released 5 years ago, on the 20th of April 2019. With the introduction of online multiplayer, among many other changes and improvements, it marked a pivotal moment in the history of the game.

Afterwards, it was decided to commit to a policy of version compatibility: instead of making breaking changes that would prevent online play between different 1.x versions or would make it impossible to compare records between versions, game mechanics and tracks have been kept functionally identical, with very few exceptions (such as expanding some checklines).

Instead, the focus of development has been centered on improving all the other aspects of the STK experience. Releases from 1.1 to 1.4 have featured, alongside numerous bugfixes and UI improvements, many significant enhancements.

Some of these were very visible, such as the release of new arenas and kart models, all tracks included inside mobile releases, the introduction of render resolution scaling, a basketball minimap indicator, a brand new cartoon skin, customizable font size, new respawn animations of track items, etc.

Others have been more discreet but no less important, such as support for IPv6 servers or the adoption of SDL2 (improving compatibility with gamepads, simplifying ports to new platforms and more). The overall changelog contains more details.

SuperTuxKart 1.5 is coming this summer

A year and a half after the release of version 1.4, SuperTuxKart 1.5 is finally around the corner. The list of changes that will be included is not yet finalized, but it brings some notable improvements, such as:

  • Allow to configure STK’s maximum FPS within the game’s options, instead of being limited to a maximum of 120 (30 for Android). The game’s physics, running independently from the framerate, remain at 120FPS.
  • New LoD (Level of Detail) settings to reduce "popping" for a minor performance cost. As STK is fairly easy to run on modern systems, this is an appreciable quality improvement.
  • A new benchmark mode
  • Finer control of the game’s audio levels
  • And of course the usual minor bugfixes and improvements
The new framelimiter configuration and integrated benchmark

There are always many further enhancements and fixes that we would like to see in the next release, but the STK team wants to bring all the existing improvements to the players sooner than later: the release of STK 1.5 is expected this summer.

But this is not the most significant announcement in this blog post.

SuperTuxKart 2.0: an ambitious project

After the release of 1.5, development efforts will officially switch towards SuperTuxKart 2.0, featuring major gameplay changes and more significant track updates than any single STK release in the last fifteen years.

A 1.6 release featuring some backported bugfixes and improvements may happen, but providing a new major release will be the project’s priority.

The 2.0 version will feature a minimum of five new high-quality standard tracks, improved versions of all existing tracks, alongside considerable changes and improvements to all the elements of gameplay.

A substantial proportion of these changes already exist in an experimental branch I created at the end of 2023, coming back from a long break, to start implementing and testing them. This branch, which will be merged in the main development codebase after the release of 1.5, already features major revisions, such as three brand new powerups and a new kart class. Future blog posts will elaborate on the various changes and features coming for 2.0.

An early showcase of one of the new powerups

On the track-making side, efforts are led by Sven Andreas Belting, our lead artist and designer of Black Forest. He is working on several new track projects (many already quite advanced), as well as updates to several tracks, be they graphical or, in coordination with myself, related to gameplay. Typhon306 is also providing significant help.

A preview of two of the new tracks

Our aim is to significantly raise the standard of visual quality for tracks included in SuperTuxKart 2.0, while also providing improved polish and gameplay.

As versions following STK 2.0 will also follow the compatibility principle, we aim for a particularly high-quality for everything that will remain the same in 2.1 and other 2.x releases. Beyond the kart properties, physics, powerups, and obviously standard tracks, this includes things such as a new AI, more fun to play against, and a brand new Story Mode. Nonetheless, we would also like to lift other parts of the game; for example better performance from the engine and progress on the Vulkan renderer, improvement of non-racing modes, refreshing the GUI, featuring some new musics, or an improved addons system.

A labor of love

We are very excited for this, in the genuine sense of the word exciting, that soulless corporate-speak sometimes makes us forget. It is difficult, however, to provide a solid estimate for when this major release will happen. The SuperTuxKart project is alive, has a clear vision and is moving towards some important milestones, but it is also a project of passion carried by a small team.

It is still moving forward because contributors (most having spent more time playing the game than we would like to admit) want it to become better. Its free software licensing allows interested people to contribute.

But this also means that, unlike commercial games, the STK project cannot pay dedicated full-time developers and artists. It often feels better to do something for free, willingly,  for the sake of a work well done, than to do it for a paltry amount of money; and recruiting freelancers to do some things while key contributors investing much more time get nothing also seems wrong. Raising enough funds from the community to truly change this approach has always seemed too far-fetched.

The story of STK is that of the successes of free software games, but also of their struggles.

Hence, to make SuperTuxKart a better game and to reach the 2.0 release sooner, the most important thing we need are new contributors, be they helping with a few specific things or with many. Artists who could contribute new textures, 3D modelling, music, icons; developers who could implement features, fix bugs, improve the code structure or work on the engine; contributors willing to improve documentation, create content advertising the game or meticulously report bugs: there is no shortage of things that could help.

Final words

This blog featured no updates since 1.4’s release, as the activity around the project slowed down until my comeback, and other contributors of the project were not inspired to write. We want to avoid such a hiatus happening again.

I will try to provide in this blog, every one or two months, an update on SuperTuxKart’s progress: future plans, detailed presentation of a new feature, etc.

November 1, 2022

SuperTuxKart 1.4 release

The SuperTuxKart team is happy to announce the release of version 1.4. Below are the important changes:

Restore macOS <= 10.14 support

We fixed a bug in the macOS dependencies package which leads to Gatekeeper crashing, players from macOS 10.9 to 10.14 (Mavericks to Mojave) can enjoy this wonderful game again since 1.3 was released. Our great community helped greatly throughout the process!

SuperTuxKart 1.4 in macOS 10.9

Soccer fields improvements

The starting positions and item placements on all official fields has been adjusted, so that it contributes to a fair game play regardless of player count (even 1 vs 1). Field lines are also added for a better strategic game plan.

Complete list of changes can be found here. Download the latest release now, we hope you enjoy the 1.4 release!

September 20, 2022

SuperTuxKart 1.4 Release Candidate 1 available!

We are happy to announce the release of the first release candidate for STK 1.4!

This release mainly focuses on visual changes, notably our collectable items now have a more dynamic and polished way to interact with players:

Huge thanks to Semphris for this great contribution!

Our wonderful artists Typhon and Ai_ZAQraven also updated some karts and tracks for us:

Battle Island and Cave X now have received a revamp done by Typhon

Konqi now has a newer and maturer look and the newly added mascot Godette demonstrated Ai_ZAQraven's impressive and sophisticated way to create lively characters. Godette is the mascot of the Godot Engine.

Visit his Youtube channel and there are some making videos for the above karts.

Last but not least this release features an experimental Vulkan renderer, based on our research and testing we have made sure it works on a variety of (rare) devices. We tested so far:
  • RPI4
  • Apple iPhone simulator (MoltenVK)
  • Dozen (Mesa Vulkan on DirectX12 driver, latest Git build)
  • ... and much more
Great job Microsoft!

Anyone who would like to give it a try can either:
  • In a networking lobby type "/vulkan" ("/gl" to revert) and restart STK
  • Start supertuxkart binary with the argument "--render-driver=vulkan"
  • Edit config.xml in configuration folder and change "gl" to "vulkan" for the "render_driver" setting
We hope you enjoy this release, get it here now!

September 28, 2021

SuperTuxKart 1.3 release

The SuperTuxKart team is happy to announce the release of version 1.3. Online play is still compatible with the previous 1.x versions. Here are the changes compared to release candidate:

Clickable URLs in text

After feedback, we made URLs in text on STK UI clickable! It uses native functions, some of which are powered by SDL2 SDL_OpenURL, to determine a suitable application to open links too:
Telegram links can be opened in Android
You can open the walkthrough videos as well!

Minor tracks fixes

The unpopular Las Dunas Soccer Stadium has been revised thanks to feedback from the STK community and now features a new simplified and symmetric soccer pitch. We hope it gives the STK community another good choice of soccer field!

We also added lap line extensions, which makes sure the lap counting still takes place even if you drive a little bit off the road, to the following tracks:
  • Hacienda
  • Old Mine
  • Ravenbridge Mansion
  • Shifting Sands
Now, if you cross inside these 2 red boxes, your lap is still counted

Complete list of changes can be found here. Download the latest release now, we hope you enjoy the 1.3 release!

August 31, 2021

SuperTuxKart 1.3 release candiate available!


SuperTuxKart 1.3 release candidate is out!

After a year, here is the latest release of the 1.x series, let’s check out the new features!

Link: https://trailer.supertuxkart.net/1.3/trailer.mp4

🎮 Switch Homebrew Port

Thanks to SDL2 implementation done in 1.2, SuperTuxKart has been ported to Switch Homebrew, you need to have Homebrew installed: https://switch.homebrew.guide/, then you can play SuperTuxKart on your Switch instead of... Nolok Kart 8!

See https://github.com/supertuxkart/stk-code/pull/4491/files for details, as you can see SDL2 allows porting STK to any platform with little platform dependant code.

Also thanks to SDL2 haptic and Mary, SuperTuxKart now supports force feedbacks for controllers that have this feature. Get some "bzzz" when you get destroyed!

Congratulations to Mary for her wonderful works!

🏟️ New Arenas

- Ancient Colosseum Labyrinth 🏛️

This release features a new battle arena in a dark environment inspired by the Rome colosseum.

Dodge the dangers hidden in the labyrinth, outmaneuver your opponents, and discover the secret path below the Colosseum. Have fun!

Thanks to Typhon306 for this amazing new arena.

 - Alien Signal 👽

If you have received the donator package in the past, you may already know this arena, which is based on a real location of the SETI program… Now shipped in the main game, enjoy! Made by samuncle.

Both arenas support Capture-The-Flag mode which allows online players to have a greater variety of tracks to choose from.

🏎️ New Karts

Our artist ZAQraven99 has worked hard on revamping existing karts.

Sara the Racer has been replaced by the cute Pepper from Pepper&Carrot.

Gnu has got a new look, as well as Sara the Wizard who is now called Sara.

Adiumy and Emule also got a makeover.

🐧 GUI and Graphics improvements

- Render resolution

Another feature improving STK's performance can be activated via the "render resolution option" in the graphics settings.

The resolution can be lowered by up to 50%, which will result in better frame rates. It's now enabled by default on the Android port of SuperTuxKart.

- New high scores selection screen

Having been available only in the track selection or in the ghost replay menu (not even all), you can now find all your high scores in the same place in a new menu. There, your best times in normal races, time trials and egg hunts are shown. Thanks to Worldblender for this feature!

🐒 Blender 2.8

Blender is the official software used by STK artists to create tracks, karts, arenas and more.

Blender 2.8 broke compatibility with 2.7, so there are updated SuperTuxKart Blender scripts, by Worldblender.

Check out github.com/supertuxkart/stk-blender to learn more.

Download SuperTuxKart 1.3 release candidate now from https://github.com/supertuxkart/stk-code/releases/tag/1.3-rc1!

👊 Contributing

STK team needs your help! Check out supertuxkart.net/contributing.

If you can help us as coder, 3D artist (documentation will be updated soon for blender 2.8), translator, or in any other way, you are very welcome!

👉 Follow STK

Twitter: @supertuxkart

Instagram: @supertuxkart

☝️ Chat with us!

Matrix: #supertuxkart:matrix.org 

irc: #supertuxkart on libera.chat

Telegram: #STKInternational