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David Lewis edited this page Sep 4, 2017 · 2 revisions

FreeCol FAQ

Next release

Q: When is the next release coming out?

A: This question is discussed on the freecol-developers mailing list. Anyone who wants a detailed understanding of the current issues in FreeCol is more than welcome to subscribe (see here). The list is low volume, and nicely illustrates that the real answer to this question is almost always `No one knows'.

Q: No, really, surely you have some sort of plan/roadmap/release schedule?

A: Not really. FreeCol is developed for fun, by a small group of volunteer contributors, at least some of which find the idea of a formal release schedule in a small volunteer project laughably impractical and/or not fun.

Q: Well, alright, can you at least tell us what will be in the next release?

  • A1: Bug fixes.
  • A2: Read the mailing list and you will know what we have been discussing.
  • A3: Follow freecol-commits and you will know what we have actually done.
  • A4: `Whatever catches the various developer's interest'


Q: The AI is lame! It did <stupid thing>! Why don't you fix it?

A: Because its a tricky piece of code which needs a lot of work and developer time is always limited.

Bug reporting

Q: I tried to report a bug, including the saved game as requested, but sourceforge would not upload it. What should I do?

A: Some workarounds for sourceforge's upload limits were discussed here.


Q: FreeCol hangs when I do <something>.

A1: Beware that there is a problem with dialogs disappearing behind the main FreeCol window which makes it look like the game has stopped. This is most noticeable on Windows and with full screen mode. See bug report #2328 for some discussion of workarounds. As far as we can tell this is a Java library issue, not something we can fix in FreeCol.

A2: Of course, it might have crashed. If you see evidence of a crash in the log file, a bug report would be welcome.


Q: The natives are too aggressive and unpredictable. They attacked my colony for no reason! What did I do to them?

A1: According to the Col1 manual:

    Natives are everywhere in the New World and are, in general,
    friendly peoples.  However, their cultures are alien to yours, and
    you must be very careful not to offend them.  Suspicions on both
    sides have a tendency to escalate into violent confrontations.  In
    general, the Indians are conservationists; they want things to
    stay as they are.  Clearing land, building large colonies, and
    bringing weapons into close proximity alarms them and can lead to
    trouble.  Many of the chiefs have good intentions but do not rule
    their young braves with an iron fist.

A2: They are indeed of a very different culture. If you are finding them unpredictable, then they are working as designed.


Q: Why are there no slaves in FreeCol? A1: Col1 did not have them. According to this interview with Sid Meier:

    Civilization doesn’t have slaves, and some have criticized the
    game for that glaring historical omission.  It’s a common trend in
    Meier’s works: although they cover history, they tend to omit the
    nastier parts.  That's just how Sid Meier makes games.  It's been
    that way from Civilization to SimGolf to any of the games he's
    worked on in the two decades since.
    "There's a conflict between an emotionally-charged topic and kinda
    giving the player this freedom of choice that really makes the
    game good," he said.  "One of the things we really try to avoid in
    our games is this kind of `this choice would be the right thing to
    do, but this choice is gonna help me win the game’ put the players
    in those kind of moral dilemmas.  That's not what our games are
    about.  We want you to feel good about yourself when you finish
    the game."

A2: There are slaves, they are called "Indentured Servants".

A3: The developers work on FreeCol for fun and do not need the grief.


Q: Why does it take so long for FreeCol to move a unit?

A: Usually it doesn't. If you are using X, there is a problem with pixmaps. According to the documentation

    The use of pixmaps typically results in better performance. However,
    in certain cases, the opposite is true.

There is now a client option to toggle the use of pixmaps. Try twiddling it, or fiddling with the "sun.java2d.pmoffscreen" property.


Q: I have found a translation problem...

A: We do not handle translation directly. FreeCol is translated by the volunteers at translatewiki. Please raise translation issues there, except in cases where you see messages containing percent-delimited words %like% %this%. These are coding bugs and belong on the FreeCol bug tracker, although once again there is an exception that if the percent-delimited words have been translated that was a mistake by the translator.

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