Stendhal is a fun, friendly, and free open-source multi-player online adventure game (MMORPG) with an old-school feel. It is written in Java by the Arianne Project, which was awarded project of the month Mai 2010 by SourceForge.
As a typical multi-player online adventure game Stendhal features a rich world in which players can fight monsters and explore towns, buildings, plains, caves and dungeons. By fighting monsters and completing quests provided by NPCs player gain experience and money. The money can be used to buy new items and improve the armour and weapons. Gaining experience allows the players to fight stronger monsters and explore more parts of the world.
Players start in the old village of Semos. Semos is the central hub from which players start to explore the outside world and dungeons. There is a Google Maps-based atlas available to help players on the outside world. The Stendhal wiki has in-depth descriptions of the regions and dungeons.
Cities in Stendhal
- Semos City
- Semos City is the town the workers of the nearby Semos Quarry once settled. It is populated by 40-50 persons. The defences of Semos is now abandoned and moved to the capital Denirian. Semos' current weak state has forced them to make an emergency notice about heroes wanted with the help of town defence.
- Semos Village
- Semos Village is the ancient town of Semos. It is now mostly abandoned, as most people moved to the newly founded City of Semos in the east. Nishiya the sheep seller, however, still lives here. Semos Village is the place where new players start the game.
- The rich coast city Ados is in a food crisis right now, since the farm town Semos is suffering constant attacks from monsters and thieves. Ados now pays high fees to good heroines and heroes that can help protect the town Semos and the food caravans that go between Semos and Ados.
- Near Ados there is a haunted area where a famous battle took place. The area is now populated by some spirits of those who died there. Take care because they don't rest in peace.
- Nalwor is the main city of the elves located south-east of Semos in the Nalwor Forest. Be careful as elves do not like humans and the soldiers will attack everyone they spot. The civils elves living there, however, may sell valuable items even to humans.
- Southern Cities
- South of the river there are the cities of Fado and Kirdneh.
NPCs in the cities and world ask players to do the task for them, such cleaning the storage from rats and snakes or investigate dungeons. Some quests are simple and short, but others are quite long and tell a story as the player progresses. A quest log keeps track of steps done by the player and promises made. Furthermore, it warns about tasks that might be too dangerous for the players current level of experience.
Players can earn in-game money by doing quests and killing creatures. In-game money can be spent on buying equipment and items, such as potions.
Players can trade items with other players by using a trade GUI if they are next to each other. Furthermore player can put up items for sale at the Harold NPC in Semos Inn.
Stendhal is completely free and open source in the real world. There is neither paid content nor paid items. Its open source nature allows anyone contribute to the game. It is developed and run by volunteers.
There is a number of mini-games all over the world:
- Magic Maze
- Wishing wells
- Diece game
In addition to those minigames, additional minigames are available during the annual Mine Town Revival Weeks festival:
- Reverse Arrow
- Nine Switches
- Tic Tac Toe
- Become a friend
For special holidays the main cities are decorated in Stendhal and special NPC roam the world: Easter bunny and Santa Claus give presents. On Halloween, Stendhal celebrates the Mine Town Revival weeks. It is a fair with many mini-games and dressing up.
There are raids, some of them are done by the game automatically and some are organized by game masters. Players often celebrate weddings or organize raids and quizzes.
Stendhal is based on ariannexp which was born in 1999. The initial release of Stendhal was on March 3, 2005. The first playable version was released on April 4, 1999.
In October an automatic updater for the client was implemented. This solved the problems of having to install new releases frequently because of the "release early, release often" development approach. Halloween was celebrated in-game as "Mine Town Revival Weeks". The original Revival Weeks were motivated by development reasons to populate the huge city of Ados over the release time of three versions. But since then it had mutated into a recurring event.
In 2007 the cap at level 100 was removed in March. In May the first large quest chain was implemented. It allows players to organize their marriage to another player in the game. Pets and housing have been introduced that year. Sometime during this year, a new website was created which includes information from the game, like item stats and a hall of fame.
At the beginning of 2008, the NPC chatting system was reworked to allow players to talk to NPCs in a much more natural way.
At the end of 2008, the battle system was completely reworked to prevent players from camping for hours in game without paying attention to the screen. The new combat systems made fights a lot quicker but also decreased the impact of stats gainable by camping. Because of that change a fork of Stendhal with the camping-favouring combat system was created. This fork, however, died before the end of the year.
A research project called Player-like world was developed based on Stendhal to create a controlled environment that is used in online games research.
In 2009 the replacement process of the artwork by images created by the Stendhal developers themselves. A continuous integration environment was set up to ensure the quality of the source code by executing automatic tests on a daily basis. In September instanced fighting zones were implemented.
In early 2012 a day and night cycle was added which supports directed lights. After 7 years of development, Stendhal 1.00 was released on May 17, 2012.
Stendhal is developed as a totally open source project. This means that unlike other games the source code for both the client and the server is available. Because of its history, the Stendhal projects is very skeptical about graphics found on the net that claims to be free. Therefore most of the artwork is original.
The development of Stendhal is coordinated using the bug tracker offered by Source Forge and the IRC channel #arianne on Freenode. People willing to contribute can do this in a number of ways, starting from reporting bugs and ideas about new features, keeping the documentation in the wiki up to date, to contributing graphics and code.
Stendhal is using "release early, release often approach" which lead to release roughly every four weeks. For every release, a branch is created in the code repository. Starting with the day of the release, only serious bugs are fixed there to ensure a stable release branch while development continues in the master branch.