Dec 31, 2023 • 8 min read
It's the last day of december, and with that, we're sharing another Monthly Recap, but this time it's a bit different!
This time we're not just diving into the happenings of December, but we're also taking a stroll down memory lane for the entire year. So, grab your favorite tea or beverage of your choice, get cozy, and let's embark on a journey through the twists and turns of 2023.
Throughout December, we have dedicated hundreds of hours to the ongoing overhaul of PaintSquad. Although we're still not a point where we have a playable build available, substantial progress has been made in refining the underlying systems and services that power PaintSquad and Xenyria as a whole.
Our focus included enhancing the Resource Pack Server as well as our internal services for distributing game data, ensuring both operates more seamlessly and also making the former take advantage of the latest functionalities introduced in Minecraft 1.20.4. Furthermore, we delved into a revamp of the pathfinding and entity physics system, addressing previous issues of optimization and functionality.
Lastly, we also took a closer took at the intricate details of communication among our services and servers. By reworking the logic behind data exchange, we're striving to achieve an increased level of scalability and significantly improve overall user experience.
Another Project we have worked on is Spotlight. This project steps in as a direct replacement for the Xenyria Interface Designer. The decision to introduce Spotlight came as a necessity, as the various changes we implemented rendered the Interface Designer obsolete and broken. Opting for a future-proof approach, we chose to build Spotlight, a fully-featured Minecraft UI & HUD Builder accessible via the browser, featuring real-time collaboration ‒ a groundbreaking and one-of-a-kind addition to the Minecraft scene.
Spotlight doesn't just stop there; it comes packed with additional functionalities, including localization tools. This means we're gearing up to extend our language support beyond English and German in future updates after the re-release, making the Xenyria experience even more accessible to more people around the globe.
While we can't share any screenshots just yet, rest assured that an in-depth article will hit our Developer Blog as soon as Spotlight is ready for its debut to face the eyes of the world.
Next up, we'll be turning our attention to another crucial aspect: Quality Control. We're ramping up our efforts in this department, building a system for automated testing procedures. This means we're gearing up to test thousands of edge-cases for every tweak we made to PaintSquad (and, later down the line, for Rush too!). But that's not all ‒ we're also planning various internal structural changes to how we handle human testing for improved results.
Why all the effort you ask? All this is about ensuring that our future updates roll out as smoothly as possible, with minimal bugs causing any hiccups.
Last but certainly not least, our endeavors in 2023 extended to a significant overhaul of the core of our website ‒ although much of it remains under wraps for now. The primary focus has been constructing a unified and consistent design system for our web platform, ensuring a seamless and harmonious visual experience as well as improving developer experience for building new features more quickly. The reasoning behind this effort is simple: we have the goal to transform our website from a mere landing page with basic information into an integral and interconnected part of the Xenyria ecosystem as a whole.
Now that we've delved into the details of December, let's step back for a moment and reflect on all the events that defined 2023 as a whole.
Following the release of PaintSquad 2.0 on December 23nd, 2022, our attention pivoted to Rush, resulting in the noteworthy release of version 0.9 on April 21st. This update marked an important moment in Rush's evolution, bringing forth a slew of significant changes. Kart customization, horn sounds, replays, the minimap, and an overhauled HUD were all introduced in this milestone update, collectively shaping the current state of Rush.
Im May, we rolled out something cool: XEEM, short for Xenyria Experience Enhancement Mod, along with our clientside modpack. XEEM brought in various neat features like Discord Rich Presence integration and automatic perspective switching for PaintSquad, leveling up the overall gameplay experience. Simultaneously, the modpack aimed to make Xenyria more accessible, especially for those running older hardware, thanks to a bunch of optimization and performance mods.
A few weeks down the road, in June, we kicked off our Pride Fundraiser on Tiltify. Our chosen cause was The Trevor Project, a charity organization dedicated to offering resources, crisis helplines, and an online forum for LGBTQIA+ youth. The response was nothing short of fantastic; we successfully raised $265.83 (USD), surpassing our initial goal of $150 by more than a hundred dollars. It was a great achievement for a wonderful cause.
Later that same month, we dropped the curtains on PaintSquad 2.1. This update brought with it a plethora of exciting features, including the brand-new Invasion Map "Abandoned Mine," and a whopping 21 new weapon sets. Not to mention, three new original special weapons – Fountain Caster, Sonic Wave, and Blast Board – added a unique twist to the gameplay. We also streamlined the gameplay of Clam Attack for a more straightforward experience, tossed in a heap of new achievements, introduced weapon mastery levels, and implemented numerous other tweaks.
Besides this, Rush wasn't left out of the spotlight either, receiving its own share of enhancements in Update 0.10. The introduction of the Slipstream feature and additional options for private rooms added two small, but valuable features to the Rush experience.
Just a few days later, as part of a Paintfest, we unveiled a brand-new map, "Dragon Temple," in Update 2.1.1.
As July started, we faced the unfortunate necessity of having to put PaintSquad into maintenance mode. As outlined on our post, "PaintSquad Maintenance: Starting July 4th," a plethora of bugs and performance issues, some even leading to server crashes, prompted this decision. Faced with the choice of playing a never-ending game of buck whack-a-mole, we concluded that PaintSquad needed a comprehensive code rework, a process still well underway. We acknowledge the disappointment this brings. However, be assured that we share the same eagerness to revive PaintSquad and are committed to delivering an exceptional experience once it's back. The wait will be worthwhile, as PaintSquad is evolving into a smooth and polished experience.
Throughout the course of 2023, we brought you for Paintfests: Wealth vs. Fame, Movies vs. Games, Moon vs. Sun, and Foxes vs. Wolves. It's been great to see the substantial participation in each of these events, adding excitement to our community. Looking ahead, as we gear up for the re-release of PaintSquad, our aim is to establish a more frequent and especially predictable schedule for Paintfests. Moreover, we're working on plans to introduce a variety of other event types post re-release, ensuring there's always something fresh and engaging on the horizon.
In October, we proudly lifted the curtains on our new Xenyria website. Coded in Svelte with rapid speeds in mind, the website offers a great insight into the world of Xenyria. Beyond that, the update brings a structural shift, relocation various information previously found on our Discord to a more accessible and searchable format. With dedicated sections for news, developer blogs, and changelogs, we're making sure you can stay in the loop with ease.
In tandem with the launch of our fresh website, we proudly introduced Pixelground Labs. This is where we'll be cooking up new ideas for Xenyria (and also potential side projects down the line). Pixelground Labs is the parent company overseeing and organizing everything, as well as responsible for funding Xenyria.
In early December, we kicked off a new tradition by publishing our November Recap on our News Page. This marks the start of our monthly recaps – a direct line of transparent communication about what's cooking behind the scenes. While we spill the means on what we're working on, we're of course also keeping a few surprises up our sleeves, because let's face it, who doesn't love a good surprise? 🙈 It's our way of keeping you, the awesome community that shapes Xenyria, in the loop. 💚
Also in December, we've unwrapped the Rush Christmas Event. Players were treated to the joy of hunting for Christmas presents scattered across the race tracks.
This seasonal celebration was our way of giving back a little something to the community, especially during the PaintSquad maintenance period. But rest assured, this detour didn't divert our focus from the PaintSquad rework. It also does not match the scope of future events. The Rush Christmas event was just a little pit stop on the way to even more exciting things in the future.
As one of our final actions for 2023, we've spread the festive vibes by releasing the soundtrack form this year's Rush Christmas Event. Now, you can listen to the theme on almost all major music streaming services and outlets, spanning across more than 30 platforms.
Consider this a sneak peek into what will come in the future. This paves the way to more releases in the future... 👀
As we set our sights on 2024 around the corner, our aspirations extend beyond just Xenyria. We wholeheartedly wish for the incoming year to be a wonderful journey for each and every one of you. May it bring joy, prosperity, and countless moments of happiness. Here's to a fantastic year 2024 to all! 🌟🎉