Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quick & Dirty FLOSS Game Updates

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== Insert introductory text here ==

Strategy games

Civitas city

Civitas is a project of a colaborative educational game, where children from schools can cooperate in a network for the construction of cities.

This sounds/looks like a multiplayer OpenCity. Civitas is a GPLed project written in Java.

Thumbs up to kid/education-related game projects whose creators are brave enough to use standard free licenses!


Clippers is a board game designed by Alan R Moon that is an abstract island connection game based on clipper ships and the south pacific. This computer version is written in Java 1.5 and includes AI players.

Just like Civitas, I wasn't able to give it a spin. Sorry, Java issues. :(

The Spring Engine has a nice new homepage and a pleasantly clear list of games. (This is probably very old news but kind of new to me.) I was told that Kernel Panic is a 100% open source game for Spring, but unfortunately I am either too stupid or too lazy to make it work. :|

Role-playing games

FreedroidRPG 0.12.1 has been released [download]. The main game map has been re-organized to make more plot-sense. It does, but too many gameplay-useless rooms full of stasis chambers have been added. To my feel, the game is now a lot harder too. However, the controls feel slightly better compared to the last time I tried it. Unfortunately I experienced annoying laggy map-loading and a few crashes from playing too many sounds at once (might have to do with my sofware mixer though). Check out the full changelog for more details.

Rigged FreedroidRPG armor

I noticed that FreedroidRPG's image sources (.blend and .svg files) have been uploaded. an unsorted heap of everything visual that is used in the game [archive tree]. I must say that I like the graphics much better in high resolution. 3D game developers eying this pack will be glad to hear that everything that needs rigging is rigged. For 2D game devs, there is a rendering guide.

Cheese Boys [remember?] is still in development - and still looking for artist help... though maybe someone to scout OpenGameArt would even be enough?..

Ardentryst is being constantly developed - the 1.7 release was added three weeks ago.

Eating daggers in Radakan

Radakan 0.0.1, which can be currently described as "young Qt GUI-driven text RPG", was released. Future plans include graphical clients and such. Creating a system to allow writing the story/gameplay before starting work on a graphical engine is a playing-it-safe decision. IMHO a good idea.

The WorldForge client Ember now has real-time shadows [announcement].

By the way, WorldForge is in the Google Summer of Code 2009. [GSOC page] as are some other game or gamedev-related projects, as seen in this list.

Game makers/tools

Dungeon Mapper

Dungeon Mapper is yet another tile map editor.

Mokoi Gaming 0.4 was released. It now supports OSX and contains a Tetris variant [changelog].

Development on Opensource Game Studio has started. Features: 3D, Qt, Lua. It contains a small glxgears-like demo [video]. Nothing to see here yet. :)

The rest

The two-day game programming competition Ludum Dare #14 has ended a while ago. Unfortunately nobody except arcticum's and Flood of Air's authors cared to release their game as open source software (or I couldn't find them).

Armagetron Advanced [download] fixes color filters and crashes. [changelog].

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nexuiz 2.5 (taking my time)

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Nexuiz 2.5 has been released 6 11 15 days ago. (I *am* taking my time! O_o) You might have spotted the announcement on Phoronix.

Here is the 666 MB heavy download. In case you care about traffic more than graphics and sounds or have a weak system: An Arch Linux user created a ~60MB version for 32-bit Linux systems.

So what are the big selling points of 2.5 from the player side of view? According to the changelog: New HUD, new weapons, new racing game mode, improved look & sound, better bots. Nex is also supposed to be faster regarding processor and network utilization, I did not try to test this though.

Head-up display

Nexuiz 2.5 - more screenshots

I did not notice any revolutionary changes in the user interface - besides the better score board and noob-friendlier map voting system. Unfortunately the game menu part of the GUI is still slightly weird with its microscopic quit button.

Racing mode

Futuristic "Racetrack"

"Race" is a game mode, in which the player has to move as fast as possible using weapons and jumping techniques. As I understand it, this old concept developed from Quake elitists having too much fun with the game's movement 'physics'. It's an important mode in Warsow gameplay and I don't like it. However, I do appreciate that Nexuiz makes itself interesting for a wider audience of course.

I was very annoyed by the racetrack being in the new single-player campaign and wanted to record a video showing how I struggle with it but when I recorded the demo, I surprisingly won! I still think it should be kept out of the campaign or at least it should be possible to skip it - many Nexuiz players will want to finish the campaign but not even know about the advanced movement techniques it requires.

New weapons

I can't help but being overly subjective here (again): Nexuiz has more than enough weapons! Then again, the new weapons are optional (at least I think so) and that makes them okay. The grappling hook was already in the last version (just not as a weapon) and I don't like it, but I know a lot of people do. The portal gun is fun, but not interesting for long if you ever played Portal.

The rifle, however, makes my eyes twitch. It needs to be reloaded! Reloading weapons in a Quake/UT-like game. This is so stupid. No further comments.

Take a look at the weapon models: Grappling Hook, Port-O-Launch, T.A.G. Seeker, Heavy Laser Assault Cannon, Rifle.

Improved look and sound

Sharp new flag model

My favorite part of this review! This is where the 2.5 release shines. The new map desert factory [video] looks great! Even though it seems too large, it plays well and is a nice alternative to the mostly narrow Nexuiz in-door maps.

The new organic-style weapon models fit unexpectedly well. Especially the good look of the shotgun is important, as it's the default weapon.

One issue though: the rocket explosion smoke is so dark, I can't see through it. This means that each explosion animation serves as a visual shield for the enemy. It's so sad and funny when one has to disable effects to be able to play better for other reasons but processing speed...

I wrote a poem about how the rocket explosion smoke annoys me:

Rocket smoke

So dark I can not see!

Why do you torture me?

Ain't I grand? Next up: voices. I love the new voices! Not only there are more different tracks but now teammates verbally protesting against friendly fire. Yay for audio improvements! (Oh, speaking of audio.. is dead [backup])

As mentioned above, there is a new single-player campaign, which introduces new weapons, maps and game modes. It is rather chaotic though. Two capture the flag rounds in it are meant as 'tutorials' (endlessly boring plus bots suck). I hope in the future the Unreal Tournament approach will be chosen: campaigns should be separated by genre and tutorials should be optional.

Portals: still ugly

I have few complaints about the visual quality: portals and player models need better textures also the machine gun looks weak compared to the other weapons. This will hopefully be improved in the future. (If you're a 3d artist, you know what to do ;) .)

Better bots

I red the changelog only after I tested Nexuiz 2.5 for a while. I was confused by the "bots are better" claim. They stand around, walk against walls and fail to capture flags/domination points next to them. Increasing their difficulty seems to only make their aim annoyingly good, but they are not getting any smarter.


All is well, nothing is perfect. Since a lot new things were added, 2.5 might even be fun to those that did not like previous versions. Nexuiz players that don't care for new stuff will enjoy the updated graphics and voices. Single-player mode players will like the new campaign, even though it does have its faults. Now it's time for you to enjoy the video(s) below!

Nexuiz 2.5 wannabe-promo - OGV download

Note: If the HD YouTube version slows down your computer, I recommend downloading the OGV video and watching it with VLC.

I created above video using Nexuiz' awesome video recording tools, Cinelerra and this helpful thread. On the game's homepage you will see a video that concentrates on the new features more.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Commerce & Open Source Games: Libre Music, Tremulous Shirts

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Here is some commercial free software gaming news, which I partially failed to deliver on time.

Paul's Music Liberation Experiment is a product of jClassicRPG's lead developer following his passion for composing music. He releases music tracks under the gratis but non-free BY-SA-NC license and visitors can donate to specific tracks, which in return will be released under the free BY-SA license.

The money earned from this will be covered to cover Paul's expensive music software purchases and hopefully a proof that at least small bucks can be made with freely licensed media. It's called "experiment" after all. :)

I am a big fan of this project! I detest the non-free Creative Commons licenses, but this method is perfect to illustrate just how many people think that being free is more important for media rather than just being gratis.

Tremulous T-Shirt Logo

Ministry of Frag (MoFrag) sells a Tremulous T-Shirt and 25% go to the Tremulous team. That's the short story.

The long story is that the project was first thought of 2006 and finally realized in December 2008. It started on the wish to «find some way to support open source games». Most of the people behind MoFrag are from the Tremulous scene.

Powered by the visual awesomeness of Plutocracy's [remember?] lead developer Garoth, it's sure to make you feel sexy about supporting the open source game development.

The MoFrag definition of "open source" is slightly loose: «If your game "feels" open source to us, that is pretty much the only requirement» I was told on IRC. Also I feel a tiny bit insecure about supporting Tremulous, as there might be issues regarding the legality of some of its assets.

LÖVE mousepad
Never minding that, I hope that it will thrive and get involved with lots of cool projects (qubodup's list of cool open source game projects still pending). Do you have any suggestions? My instant thoughts are "LÖVE" (Which by the way has a Merchandise discussion going on) and "SuperTuxKart" (by the way, did you know that the project has an awesome new homepage look?) although last time I checked out STK, this little bit |___| of polish was missing for me to call it "polished enough for merchandise".

EDIT: Supposedly, the Blender Game Engine (BGE) will receive development support from a company using it to develop a commercial title.

I was super skeptic at first, due to Entertainment Arts Research Inc.'s flash page and its subsidiary Twilight 22 Studio's empty page. I Couldn't find anything online but the same press release and compared it to the EVO console scam. Now I'm just confused. Time will tell.

BGE looking awesome
So this turned out to not be a commercial blender update, eh? Aaanyways, about the Blender Game Engine (BGE).. I always thought the BGE was a weak, slow placeholder. I appear to be wrong: its power has recently been shown off in this sunrise thread. Note that this is not a Blender render, it's real-time Blender Game Engine action! Though I bet it's real slow. But hey, I haven't checked it out live yet. ;P

Thanks to Lamoot for the heads up!

Scott's satellite dish model

Newfound Room is Scott's continuation of the Low Poly Cooperative blog.
part of the intention of this blog will be to make some money for me and my family. I’ll be trying out any number of different ways of doing this, but the core of what I am doing here is providing you all with free stuff. The more I make off of it, the more time I can devote to making more.

So far, no sight of any revenue-gaining measures and no post for three months. Ads would make some sense, though not create much profit. Paul's "release-gratis, pay-to-free" method could be used. Although it does have an unfortunate non-free element in it.

Good night! And remember to brush your vaporware-sensors boys and girls!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tank-game, 3D game educational system, text-mode-pacman, wing update

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Diamond Fighters

Товарищи, Diamond Fighters is a tank arcade game that can be played alone or in two-player mode against computer-controlled enemies in a progression-based level system. I find it quite fun (it has upgrades & destroyable walls!) and good-looking (yay for pretty explosions!). Its source code is GPLed (no idea about art.)

iamar [home page, project page] is a project for teaching students how to make 3d games. It covers 3D modelling in blender and 3D game programming. The project consists of video material and the "iamar browser" which uses an in-house scripting engine called "semblis".

I have not tried to run it yet, but it is rather relevant to my interests, even though the "we made our own scripting language" deal does sound rather lame.

iamar has one huge advantage over Alice and Platinum Arts Sandbox: A 100% free software license (the GPL). (I'm especially confused about Sandbox' license.)


Geek game news time! MyMan (yo!) is a Pac-Man clone for the command line interface. Despite being a text-mode game, it doesn't look like crap! No horrible Nethack-like symbol clutter! (Yes, you're reading the words of an ASCII-hater right now! :P) It also supposedly has sound, although I have not tried to build it with it enabled.

Wing (the pre-alpha landcape generator, remember?) has now five more team members and aims for being cross-platfrom (formerly dx-only). Best of luck to their efforts.

PS: This blog will be shut down due to copyright infringement on April the 21st, Charles has decided to live computer-free from now on, raising sheep in the Highlands and I'm Steve Ballmer.