Thursday, January 31, 2008

Updates Galore

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Iris2

There's quite a few updates that have not caught the public eye in the last few days:






NewCol


NewCol is, "a game based on a classic map engine displaying forests, rivers, mountains and seas with a textured relief map, gaussian random number generator and z-buffer like algorithm." It's obviously inspired a bit by colonization, but it looks very original in it's design. I wasn't able to find a direct link to the screenshots page so you'll have to go their yourself.



Finally, one of my favourite projects Scourge has seen some great improvements lately. There's a lot more people contributing to the game and, thanks to the increased visibility of Free media out there, has gained some impoved models. The SVN version of Scourge is pretty damn good and the game only really needs some decent character models to become one of the more impressive Free Software games available.



Do you want to find some open source media for your game? Then these are the two places you should start:





Uh... I posted way more than I intended to... I need a cup of tea!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mega Games Bumper Post

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Well, I was fighting with myself not to post twice in a single day, but I have so much good stuff to post and the last post was simply a rant so it's OK!



Topically, Extreme Tux Racer 0.4 has been released, bringing better graphics, a cleaner slicker ui, all new courses and more! You can find download information on the site. No new screenshots on the site yet though. I can't believe I've not seen this game mentioned anywhere else. (Who maintains the tome these days?! It doesn't even have an ETR entry!!!)





ETCE

XreaL


ETCE (full name yet to be decided) is an already-underway project to create a successor to the popular (and proprietary) game Enemy Territory: Castle Wolfenstein. They have [wisely] chosen Sauerbraten as the base for the game. They have a forum, development screenshots, and buckets of enthusiasm. Could the gameplay of one of the most popular online FPS games of all time soon be found in a Free Software game? Let's hope so!



Paintown is an awesome old school 2D beat-em-up game and version 3.0 brings some really neat features - new characters, network play, AI assisted play, and enemies explode into body parts. I'm going to definitely check this one out.



FIFE, the 2D adventure RPG engine, continues good progress. Nothing I can really single out but if you're into your development blogs and what goes on inbetween releases then worth a read.



Last but definitely not least, XreaL is an amazing project modernising the Quake 3 engine to bring it in line with Doom 3 or better. On top of that they are trying to make a game and (like most projects) are looking for artists. The visual quality is stunning. Not much more to say.



Already announced on the game tome but worth a mention:



  • MTP Target 1.5.15, a 3D distance jumping game, the latest release featuring teams, time records, new levels, and works on win/lin/mac.

  • Top10 0.4, a 3D kart racing game, this release includes new tracks and a track editor.

  • Really Rather Good Battles In Space 1.04, a nice looking 2D RTS game with fleets of spaceships. I played this the other day - good fun and well presented game.


Now, that's real open source game information. All these games are open source and work on Lin/Win and (mostly) Mac. Cheap bloody games lists... *grumble grumble*

A Rant About Games Lists

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Don't bother reading this if you want anything informative. It's a rant.



It's been a while since I had the lists on the blog, and they will return one day. Not least because I'm fed up of seeing list after list after list of ~7-20 open source games pop up in cheap attempts to get web traffic.



Often the lists just comb over the same popular games that most people should know about already and are much listed all over the net, but they still get dugg or fsdaily'ed or whatever-the-latest-craze-site-is'ed. The standards are often too low on these sites (in general). I'm sure people just click '+' without really reading.



What's worse is that these lists are usually poorly researched, such as this one (don't click unless you want proof - link). Very little info is given on each game, just youtube vids of the games most people are likely to already know about. The author states all the games in the list are open source, then puts America's Army in at #3 (AA was not open source last time I looked). And linking Tux Racer despite it being long ago abandoned? Why not do the world a favour and bother looking this up? I mean this information is not hard to come by - the Wikipedia entry covers the current Tux Racer king which is Extreme Tux Racer, and the ETR site is the 4th bloody result on Google for 'tux racer'. So all these people do is probably hurt ETR by directing traffic away from it to an old dead game. Meh.



Every "hey look at me I know 5 games" list I see has some kind of annoying issue like the above. It's disinformation, it's cheap crap, and it bothers me (probably more than most since I put a lot of time into getting correct information out there).



Maybe I'm just being a bit overly touchy about the issue, after all, the noise gets traffic to go to [mainly] open source games and that's a Good Thing (tm). However, the best thing people can do is raise awareness of the proper places to find such information. Next time you see a crap list, redirect them to LibreGameWiki or Qubodup's list or this list on the Ubuntu forums or perhaps even here.



I feel better now. Thanks for reading (or not).

Monday, January 28, 2008

The early bird

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The early bird has to wait for the worm. And when he wanders off a bit bored, he gets back to find some other bird has poached the worm and his morning was fruitless. So, there you have it, you may as well lie in.



There's an update to Battle for Antargis, version 0.2.1.5 which is labelled a "developer release". The build system has been overhauled so the game should be easier to build. There have been improvements to the game too and the next version should be the first Antargis release to feature a storyline. I really like this project, Godrin is creating an entirely original game that doesn't conform to any particular standard mold.



Bos Wars pre2.5 is available for download. Improved graphics with beautiful particle explosions, new maps, and bug fixes. Sounds like this project is galvanising now that the developers don't have to focus on separate Stratagus releases.



Nimuh 1.0, "searching for the andalusian treasure". Interesting looking isometric puzzle game. I don't think the game data is open source but it looks like the engine is and the game is still free to download as a whole so, well, it depends on how ideological you are.



I came across an interesting site that seems to be collecting [links to] downloads for open source Linux games. It seems to be mostly Suse entries, probably saying more about the people responsible for the site than the fact that Suse is the most popular distro. Ubuntuers can always go to GetDeb for a few game options.



Want awesome 3D effects? FXExpression is an LGPL library for Ogre3D. Maybe you don't use Ogre3D but it's LGPL so surely some of it can be ported. Got some cool looking effects there.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saucey

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Sauce the Game is a new video review effort for open source games. His first review was of Tremulous, obviously a favourite game of his. It'll be interesting to see where this goes, good luck to him.



FreeOrion 0.3-rc7 was released. The changelog since 0.3.1-rc6 contains quite a few new features. I don't quite understand their versioning system. To me 'rc' means 'release candidate' which means, really, you shouldn't be adding features. Especially since this is a sub-1.0 codebase, why not just do 0.3.1, 0.3.2, ..., 0.3.n? Oh well, I should be thankful that version numbers count for much less than effort and there's plenty of effort in this game which really looks lovely.




Sauer NYC


Lots of action in the Sauerbraten forums if you ever look. Somebody is trying to recreate New York City and doing it in style.



Other stuff focuses around trying to remedy the problems causing Sauer to be rated the worst FPS shooter - which in fairness it probably is. It is, however, by far the best open source FPS technology and platform, as evidenced by games like Blood Frontier and Eisenstern. If they can polish the default gameplay of Sauer itself, it's a bonus. Blood Frontier has seen a number of feature additions that may or may not go back into Sauer SVN, but it'll be a great advert for Sauer when it's done.



Battle Tanks now has a level editor. It's a fun little game.



Short n sweet today. Adios!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Singing in the rain

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Ok, ok, I know, I've been a bit rubbish lately. I'm struggling with the same problems that afflict many, many Free Software developers. Firstly I over-committed myself and the blog is lower priority than the various Free Software projects I should be working on. The blog is, if you like, the end result of far too much web surfing indulgence. If I can't indulge, the blog material quickly dries up. It's why nobody else does it; you can't do it if you don't do a lot of research and research takes a lot of time. Fortunately, over the last year a few other sites have come up. Libregamewiki, the FreeGameDev site (the forums, the awesome art search site and wiki) have materialized and the Linux Game Tome has been somewhat resurgent now it has reliable hosting. I like to think that in some small way I somehow caused the new waves of Free Software gaming that's hitting the beaches lately. Butterfly on freegamer, tornado on alpha centurai or something like that.



I don't believe in making dramatic statements, but if there's no new material here it's because I'm out conquering the world so you should leave some comments of worship so I look upon you favourably when I'm in power. Er...



Somehow I forgot to mention it before, but Glest 3.0 is in beta. Info is scattered around the Glest forums. Here's SVN instructions for the brave. Glest is now on moddb which gives convenient listings of the main mods.



Do you like Globulation2? One of the main contributors is offering 6 months of full time development at a very cheap price (as developers go). Details from the mailing list where one guy has offered to double all other offers in order to make it happen.



Are you making a 2D game? Want a level editor without having to write one? Tile Editor.



Want a simple 2D pixel art program for making sprites? JDraw is for you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

UFO:AI vs Apricot vs Glest vs... crikey

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Quite a lot to cover, simply because there's a lot of small items that have backed up in my little "FG updates" list which I've been waiting to pool together.



Firstly, the "big" news in that UFO:AI 2.2 got released. There's plenty to write home about, tons of new features, and it's an awesome game. I'm not a great fan of some of the micro-management although it's part of the original X-COM games so understandably part of UFO:AI - I would like to see some automation aids (auto-assign ammo etc) - but that aside this is a really, really good game. If it was released as a commercial game it'd be respected, and because it's Free Software it's only going to get better. Here's a video:





So, the Apricot project is gaining pace. They have still to decide on what type of game they are making. I hope they make, out of their choices, a platform game. I must say, I really disagree with some of their assertions. If a platform game is "heavy on the engine" then I feel sorry for the engine - platform games have very little landscape on-screen at any one time and a good 3D engine should be able to isolate displayed content from off-screen content in order to retain speed. "Lots of work" to create levels? Out of all genres platform games really lend themselves to tile-based layouts with lots of reusable content, so with a half-assed level editor map creation should be pretty easy even if level design is a fine art (but isn't it with any genre).




Spring 1944

Glest: Domineonic


How cool does that look!?



Spring 1944 is a world war II mod for TA:Spring and it looks F<censored/> ACE! With Spring and Spring mod installation getting easier in recent releases and some mods really coming along with their content, there's a lot to be excited about. :-)



Talking of open source RTS games, Glest and it's mods are moving along nicely too. There's the 2nd SST:LD release (think I covered it a while ago, but no harm repeating it), a Norseman mod (beta), and an upcoming Domineonic mod (alpha). The Domineonic mod especially looks very, very promising.



Too much to go into detail with really... ;-)



Last but not least, Privateer Universe made a release and quickly followed it with developments meaning they no longer are a "mod of a mod", breaking away from the old Privateer Remake and updating to use the latest version of Vega Strike. That's all still in SVN (compilation instructions) but they are making good progress.



Privateer Universe aims to expand upon the original Privateer universe in contrast to the strict canon remake that is Privateer Gemini Gold.



TOOMANYCOOLTHINGSHEADABOUTTOEXPLO..........



(Think of a dead dial tone)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Four New Free Games

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Of course, when I say new, I mean new to me. New to me means, generally, a bit off the radar in the Free Software game community. So, with the post title qualified, let's start...



Top10 is a realistic kart racing game for Windows and Linux. It reminds me of Karting Race, which is fairly inevitable since they are both kart racing simulations, but Top10 is GPL (yay!) whereas Karting Race is freeware (not-so-yay!) so it already has that going for it over Karting Race. (See, I believe that being open source is a significant strength for a freely-available game.) It's quite playable already although still undergoing heavy development. Less words, more video:





Opposite Lock is a racing game for J2ME platforms, originally written for mobile phones. The author has released the engine under a GPL license with 3 free tracks, and is planning to release the game tools including a tile-based track editor, as open source too, and eventually his game tracks under a CC license. It looks like a really fun game, is a complete game, and could be great for the GP2X or maybe OLPC or similar platforms. It's a bit like the original MarioKart but with cars. See the video:





Thanks to Andrew for bringing that one up in the forums.



Teewars is a cute 2D deathmatch game. It's a bit of a cross between something like Quake and Metal Blob Solid. It's very similar in scope to the Liero-style of game, an open source version being OpenLieroX. It looks full of potential although it's probably going to be multiplayer only. However, there is a caveat. It's under a rather strange open source license.





How am I doing? That's 3 so far. I've got one more. OpenClou! is an effort to keep the genre of the burglary simulations alive. It's 3D, it's open source, beyond that and the following video, and the obvious ethical debate on whether we should promote or glorify theft, I can't really say much more!





That's it for today. Very video laden! :-)

Friday, January 11, 2008

SimCity open sourced for One Laptop per Child

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Remember me?

SimCity, open source. The news is nearly a year old, but now it has been released and you can try to compile it. Download the source or get it via git: git clone git://dev.laptop.org/
projects/micropolis-activity
. Unfortunately neither version wanted to be built on my machine. =(


The name SimCity was removed from the game, along with the plane crash disaster. The new name is Micropolis. According to a text file in the release, child-friendly graphics are wanted for the OLPC version.


Update: Micropolis has now it's own home page.


There is a list of games for the XO, can you think of any, that would fit that list?



Spring surprise

In other news, Spring 0.76b1 has been released. The Changelog reveals that for example installing mods is now easier. Hopefully it'll work for me, until this day I was only able to run the engine tech demos. Let's go get it then!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy Gnu Year

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Well, well, it's 2008. Happy birthday time! Thanks to Qubodup for posting, and I'm sure he'll be doing so regularly this year.



I'll just catch up with a few of the other game releases over the festive period that snook under the general radar, and suprisingly so too.




Simutrans 128


Simutrans 0.99.17 got released on December 20th. It's a "stable candidate" due to the increasingly few major bug reports the developers are receiving. The game has improved immeasurably over the last year. Given that Simutrans is now Free Software, it's a bit of a shame that it doesn't get as much publicity as OpenTTD which (people forget) still requires proprietary data. They also have a new website at simutrans.sourceforge.net in addition to the community site www.simutrans.com. And, whilst OpenTTD engages in a still far-away effort to create a hi-res version of the game, Simutrans is already playable in 128x128 tile textures and looks fantastic. And you can play it on BeOS!



Egoboo 2.7.5 came out. It's the biggest update since the original release of Egoboo, however it doesn't work in Linux so we'll go into more detail when 2.7.6 comes out. Windows users should check it out regardless.



VDrift "Christmas edition" is available for download. There's a rewritten physics engine in there, among many other improvements. Also, now the VDrift community has attained somewhat of a critical mass, instead of including all available cars and tracks (of which some were of dubious quality) this release only includes those that are of a high standard. It's pretty awesome looking but I don't understand drifting so I couldn't drive around corners. I hope they provide an arcade racing mode in the future.



I'll wrap up with Sauerbraten "assassin" edition. Released just before Christmas, this release brings hud guns amongst many, many small iterative improvements. Sauerbraten recently got rated 7th out of 7 popular Free Software shooters. The reason being that, despite it's community-map-editing innovations, most of the content isn't so great and there aren't many people playing online, so it's more of a tech demo. I'd say that's fair, but something Sauer does [other than innovative technology] that other games don't do is provide a platform for creating new games, such as Blood Frontier and Eisenstern. I have a feeling that 2008 will be a great year for Sauerbraten and it's mods, where the effort of the last few years comes together very nicely.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Updates, updates, updates... woha!

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Just a tiny snack this time!


One of the Christmas presents this year was Battle Tanks Xmas Edition. It introduces more interactivity (very GTA-like stuff) and a lot of fixes.


No kidding, this is the biggest update we've ever done to our little game.

Sounds promising.



Warzone 2100 2.0.10
Warzone 2100 2.0.10 was released shortly before 2008. It fixes ATI 3D graphics and Vorbis 1.2 sound support and should make the game fully playable for some who were not able to run it with sound or at reasonable frame rates. Also terrain rendering is supposed to be faster and produce prettier results.
The ex-commercial project is for me the best free strategy game available. It was GPL-ed, excluding videos and music and I hope that it will soon feature some cool tracks to make the click-action even more pleasant.


Stormbaan Coureur 2.0.2 is available for linux systems. It features a new model, which I think is sexy, although I don't understand how the rear axis is physically possible (you'll see what I mean.) Another feature is a terribly low frame rate in comparison to former versions. =( Anyways, take a look at the official video!




Dead Justice
It's quite impressive what you can find when browsing SourceForge's project list... quite impressive... What I found is Cat Mother Dead Justice, a Directx-only 3rd-person shooter, which is a stopped and open-sourced commercial project. It has good graphics and does run stable. The best part for me is: The art is under GPL. This hopefully means that we can expect some imported pretty/prettier models/maps/textures in games like Nexuiz or OpenArena, though I think any 3D game could profit from it, for example JCRPG, which could use some fully-animated models - new textures would do the trick! Maybe even someone would care to port the currently windows-only Cat Mother Dead Justice...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Making sounds, building models, playing games

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Hi there, I'm new here but let's get straight to the point.


sfxr

While browsing through the Ludum Dare contest's blog, I found a nifty little tool which generates 8-bitish sfx, without me having to know anything about sound synthesis. It's called sfxr and was made by Tomas Pettersson. License unknown. You can download it for win32 and *nix (run 'make') systems.

The other awesome thing is the first FreeGameDev.net modelling contest. The mission is to create rts industrial-style buildings under free licenses. The competition ends when February begins. Ironically, I tripped over a similar contest in a forum, where I told about the FGD contest.


Hex-a-hop

Yesterday I realized, that Charlie never mentioned (oh snap he did, under the name Hex-a-pop) the totally awesome puzzle game Hex-a-hop. It's homepage is dead, but the game survived at Debian. I also was able to retrieve a half-broken archive (linux source/build) using the Wayback machine. Try the game or at least give it to your kids!

Charlie once mentioned AstroMenace, but did he tell that Viewizard released it's source and media under the GPL v3? It works like a charm, copying some files, 'cmake .', 'make', './AstroMenace' and I see a game menu with spaceships flying in it's background on my display.


OpenAstroMenace

The game looks sharp and the gameplay is impressive for an top-down (or down-top?) arcade. I also have to mention that my subwoofer likes the explosions' sounds. My neighbours noticed it too.

I sure hope that some arcade freaks will soon take the game and improve it (Menu gui is a bit confusing, levels could contain a bit more diversity, enemies could drop temporary upgrades.) But for now: go get it!