Monday, January 15, 2007

Scourge 0.17

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Scourge
Up on scourgeweb.org is the announcement for Scourge 0.17 which introduces proper save-game support, earthquakes, more storyline and game media, as well as bug fixes. Scourge is a 3D adventure game, similar to Baldur's Gate with a Nethack flavour. Earlier versions were frustrating to play as there were problems controlling your party but these problems have pretty much all been ironed out in the last two versions.

Cultivation 7 is also available. This is an interesting and original game, but I don't think I can beat the Freshmeat description so here's a quote:

You lead one family of gardeners, starting with a single individual, and wise choices can keep your genetic line from extinction. While breeding plants, eating, and mating, your actions impact your neighbors, and the social balance sways between conflict and compromise. Cultivation features dynamic graphics that are procedurally-generated using genetic representations and cross-breeding. In other words, game objects are "grown" in real-time instead of being hand-painted or hard-coded. Each plant and gardener in the game is unique in terms of both its appearance and behavior.

This is the type of game that just couldn't be made commercially as it's not going to sell [where's the violence or thrills?] but at the same time it is completely fascinating and full of potential.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mechanized

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Remember Mech Commander 2? Well, you might not, because I was originally thinking of Mech Warrior 2 when I saw it [I loved that game] but Mech Commander 2 looks cool none-the-less and Microsoft have released it [some time ago] under their own shared source license [whatever that means]. No free download on the page other than a source download so I don't quite get what the point of that is. The only place I know to grab the source is on the liberatedgames.com page for Mech Commander 2. So I guess this is only for fans to fix bugs as I get the impression the game media/data is not under a 'free' license. However there is scope for a Linux port if somebody were so inclined.

I did not know the original GTA and GTA2 were freeware these days. Grab them from liberated games. I don't know whether they work in WINE. It was quite nostalgic running over people in a stolen car in top down chases.

Atomic Tanks 2.0 final is out. Woo!

FIFE 2007.0
is also available. They are pining for a developer to focus on the level editor so that people can start making custom mods for FIFE rather than it being limited to just playing Fallout on Linux. Speaking of game engines, the GemRB team (for playing Inifity-based games like Baldur's Gate) keeps grinding away and released 0.2.8 recently. There's also a new Linux installer for GemRB so it should be a bit more conventient to use.

Freedriod RPG 0.10 came out a week or so ago. It's a good Tux-themed isometric RPG although I find it quite confusing in terms of what your purpose is other than wandering around fighting robots when I played it a year or so ago.

In another news snippet, one of my favourite FOSS games SCOURGE is heading towards a new release. It's starting to gather a bit of a community so starting to become a little less rough around the edges. There's a new official website - www.scourgeweb.org - and now 10 chapters of storyline to play through.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blobtastic

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Blob Wars: Blob and Conquer 0.8 just got released, including boss battles. I haven't yet played it but it looks fun and a nice departure from typical FPS styles.

I came across BallDroppings the other day. This is less a game and more a toy - although aren't games just a form of toy? Self-described as an emergence game, you draw lines off which balls bounce to create sounds. Imagine cross-breeding a bouncey ball and a music keyboard, this is probably what you would get.

Somebody else has started an open source game blog, opensourcegames.blogspot.com. Competition? :P

I got one of my less tech-savvy friends playing UFO:AI over Christmas. He only found out it wasn't a commercial game or complete when he "finished" the game and it popped up a message explaining this. So congratulations to the UFO:AI developers! It says something about the quality of a Free game if uneducated players rank it alongside commercial counterparts.

Speaking of commercial(ish) games, AstroMenace looks great. It's completely free to play on Linux (yay) but Windows users will have to pay (haha). It's a stylish space shooter - a contemporary Xenon. Does anybody remember the Bitmap Brothers? They created some awesome games. And on that tangent, I shall end.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Open Source Gaming Sites

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I just came across two new(ish) open source gaming portals: www.OSGamer.org and www.OpenContentGames.org

I also spotted this "royalty free" media resource site: www.omnetwork.net

It's great to see more sites cropping up that are dedicated to open source / Free Software gaming, so go and use them and help open up the world of Free games to the masses. It's a snowball effect - the more people work on consolidating the community the more the games will get noticed.

Also early in December OpenArena 0.6 was released. Originally a TC for Q3, it now is a standalone game using ioq3. I missed it. I missed a few other things too but I haven't yet remembered those.

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's Been Brutal

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Happy New Year everybody! I apologise for the lack of Free Software game commentary over the festive season but I was busy damaging my health in fun ways.

Anyway.....

Brutal Chess 0.5.1 is out! Brutal Chess is a game inspired by the ancient Battle Chess. A quick follow up to the strangely-not-mentioned-on-happypenguin 0.5.0 release which introduces a new codebase, AI of various difficulties, md3 support, and generally lots of other major-update-goodness. The simpler 3D chess game glChess released 1.0.1 on New Year's eve.

I am having a strange sense of de-ja-vu here because I have written this all before only I was under-the-influence of several substances and Blogger does not autosave drafts as I am accustomed to with GMail. Please implement this Blogger people!

Atomic Tanks 2.0-beta2 is also out. Despite the "2.0" in the version number, I don't believe there is that much different between the 2.0-beta2 and 1.5a but it got the game mentioned on Free Gamer so it must be worth it.

The ambitious Free Ryzom project failed to get the rights to the game. They were not able to compete with other commercially-rooted offers to take on the flagging MMORPG so were overlooked by the court deciding what happened to the company behind Ryzom.

The freeware and free-to-play MMORPG Eternal Lands released version 1.3.3 of their client with new monsters and maps. One of my friends played EL extensively. It looked very social but very boring. Lots of slow and repetitive menial tasks to level up seemed to be the order of the day but it could have been because he was playing the game in a daft way [risk-free levelling instead of fighting].

And finally in a move a tiny bit off-topic for this site, I'm going to plug musikCube. This music player/manager for Windows went 1.0 a few weeks ago and I've been enjoying it ever since on my work machine. I'd long been looking for a music player other than Winamp [I don't understand why people like Winamp so much - if you have more than 3 songs it's crap for managing them] or iTunes [barf]. The previous version of musikCube was good but had a few minor problems and development seemed to be stalled but it seemed the author was simply working away quietly instead of flagging noisily. Anyway, it rocks so if you have to use Windows then I highly recommend this Free Software music player. I think musikCube has a very bright future.

I'm sure I had some more games to talk about but I forgot..... :P