Back in January 2020, VVVVVV creator Terry Cavanagh celebrated the platformer’s tenth birthday by making its source code freely available. A nice treat, I thought, but would anything come of it? Shame on me for doubting, because VVVVVV is about to get a major update, the first in almost seven years, with modern niceties and bug fixes. “Virtually all of these fixes and updates are due to source contributions,” Cavanagh says. Thanks be to the unstoppable fan contributors.
In last year’s announcement post for the source code, Cavanagh wrote, “Looking back through it myself all these years later, I find it really funny how much of it is basically just the same parts copy and pasted over and over, with the values changed. This basically makes it impossible to read and maintain ten years later, but back when I was in the thick of it, it made it really fast to iterate and add new things.”
Those qualities apparntly haven’t stopped VVVVVV contributors from digging in and getting their hands very dirty. Version 2.3 of VVVVVV is currently available as a beta branch for the game and it sounds like a big one.
“As well as generally making the game run better on modern computers, the update finally adds 60fps support, new editor features (like ghosts) and fixes a huge number of longstanding bugs,” Cavanagh says, crediting a large share of work to contributor “InfoTeddy”.
Another contributor, Ethan Lee, further explains the scope of changes that have been made in version 2.3. “We’re officially in the wrap-up stage, with a Git log so absurdly huge that I stopped tracking it after a while because it may as well be ‘rewrote basically everything that wasn’t core gameplay and the software renderer’,” Lee says.
It’s neat to see that VVVVVV’s source code was worth so much more to some than just a novelty to poke at. For the curious, the issue log is in fact impressively long.
If you want to check out the big upcoming changes yourself, you can find VVVVVV on Steam and opt into the 2.3 beta branch there.