I'm skipping all of the hyperbole here, to boil down a few facts:
When 2.55 is done, and we have default modules with fully-open assets, I've been thinking of creating an install/config utility for ZC to correct issues using DXGL as part of the install process on w8/w10; then putting the engine on Steam as a free download.
Users could potentially sell games (or modules) for a few quid a pop on Steam, either as DLC for the engine, or repackage the engine with their wn module and sell the module, prepackaged with the engine as a complete download, as long as they follow the appropriate license criteria to specify that a player is uying only the game/story, and not the assets, or the engine.
Thereafter, if all works out for 3.x, ands it solves the issues on modern OSes, then we can dump the deps. THis one is equally theoretical, as I do not et know how viable Allegro legacy will be, but either solution causes ZC ro run via OpenGL, which nullifies every issue that it has on WIndows 8, Windows 10, and some Win 7 systems.
WHile there are other tools out there to make games, nothing else is both a completely free engine, that does as much as ZC/ZQuest do at present. Further, there is nothing else out there on Steam that allows creating NES style games, which are popular-enough as the retro-genre to potentially allow people to profit from their creations.
As we expand the module base, perhaps people will make some sidescrolling or other interesting kit, to expand the base, and allow for more styles of NES-esque games.
Compare other tools, such as Pico-8. a commercial game development tool, with which you can create 8-bit computer style games--that requires scripting everything--and sell them as virtual cartridges; or RPGMaker (semi-commercial, or commercial now, I'm unsure); and GameMaker (commercial).
Name for me another tool that you can use at no cost, to develop games that you are allowed to sell at a profit.
People will be happy to play with designing games in a completely free an open engine, While this does have some drawbacks, it would allow monetising quests and modules, and further, the large library of legacy quests and modules available as DLC should help to regain some lost ppopularity, and fill the gap until users make new quests for the updated engine.
Incidentally, there's anoter Allegro 4 game going up on Steam soon-or it may already be up there, so ZC wont be alone, and I may wor with whomever is behind that product to see if he can give us a bit of advice on making ZC as compliant with Steam as possible.
I expect that this will all start to happen in late 2019, if ll goes well. Were very short-handed at present, so that causes delays. I'm probably going to cut off new features soon, because I don;t want it to drag on indefinitely. I'd rather finish up 2.55, and allow 2.56->2.60 or whatever to absorb some of the things that people want us to do in 2.55.
There is legitimately no end to what we could practically do in a new version, but I do not want 2.55 to become 2.0 mk II, and take 10 years to complete.
For the present, my goals are to get 2.53 into Gamma status this or next week, with a Win2 Release (Delta) by February. 2.53 is a LTS package, with four years of coverage (quest format) and general user sypport. As soon as 2.5 is released for any given platform, we will cut offical support for any version of ZC on that platform) for which 2.53 is capable of properly running quests.
That's why I have a strict goal of ensuring that 2.53 can run quests as far back as 1.90, and we may do maintenence releases of 2.53 LTS as-needed to fix issues that crop up. THose will end at the termination of the LTS policy.
Other platforms will follow as my ability permits, unless we can pick up some volunteers to do those builds.
I want to start wrapping up 2.55, having it in Beta status by mid-2019, and Gamma by the end of the year, in time for the 2th Anniversary of ZC. From there, we have a few paths to follow, notably better compatibility with modern hardware, expanded features, and other improvements. Those will follow 2.55 in much smaller bursts per release.
Ideally, i wanted to release 2.54, with far fewer new features, but it turned into another 2,50 project, with more and more being added, and that needs to stop so that we can perfect what we've added, and get it into Beta status, and thus, get it ready for services such as Steam, and for vqrious game competition websites.
Whatever opinion the naysayers have, wien it comes to creating an original game in ZC, that you want to sell, with 2.55, as long as you make it clear that you are not selling the engine, and you follow the guidelines on GPLv distribution, you'll be able to create commercial games. I'm planning to create some kind of module designer in the future, too, to simplify the process of skinning the ZC engine to suit the needs of the game developer. I have no clue when that aspect will be ready.
For the present, I advise anyone who may be interested in maing something of this sort to contact the dev team, or to post in the Development Forum to discuss how the modules system works, and to try 2.55, and the present modules for it. Compare the Classic Module to the Default Module for a glimpse of just how much you can alter the system to meet your needs--and this is only a minor and temporary version of that module, with mock-ups in place for the sake of demonstration.
I will not delve further into the Steam model until the revised engine is more ready for that kind of distribution.