Saturday, February 20, 2010

Game sfx maker tool ... sfxr in flash!

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What's all this then? This is as3sfxr, flash port of sfxr. It makes sounds for your games. You only have to press buttons and listen and press buttons again.

This is great: no need to understand how sound synthesis works, ability learn a little about sound synthesis by pressing buttons/moving controls randomly, no need to download/compile/install anything either. Oh how I would wish for more tools of this kind, maybe specialized stuff like (non-8-bit) fire effect generators, ice effects, explosions... There are some sfx gens for pure data but it will take a little more time to get them running.

At the top of this post, there is an embedded flash applet. If you are a user of an open source flash player: do you see it? Can you use it? How many of you already knew of sfxr but only now did try it through as3sfxr?

I hope this 'no info about games' post does not shock you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pretty Warzone; What's to see in Linwarrior; Sauerbraten and content

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Warzone 2100 has pretty new textures! Oh wait, didn't I report this more than one year ago? Well.. the release after the next is supposed to feature them, finally.. But I *do* have news to offer: Building models are being re-modeled and re-textured! Slightly related: There is a tutorial on making models and texturing them on their forums.

 Warzone 2100: re-worked buildings

Hmm... I wish there were "tower defense" maps for Warzone 2100... and that moving units wouldn't be such a torture.. Speaking of torture, do you wish you could test WZ with new textures but don't have the time to figure out how to get the svn version? Well, maybe the following showcase video of the textures in-game will ease your pain. ^^

LinWarrior3D 2009_11_08 r15 was released a while ago. As a lover of the game that served as inspiration for LinWarrior, I'm compelled to like it. After all: you can shoot (and destroy stuff even!), you can move torso and legs individually and you have a wingman.

On the other hand, there is no mission goal and the game lacks any mech customization. Also I really miss a "STOMP STOMP" sound.. As for the game's name: well, at least they don't call it "FreeMech". :)

There's quite a bunch of new content in Sauerbraten's subversion repository, taken from Quadropolis, their community content sharing web site. However, [Insert expressions of discontent about licensing choices of others here].

I am quite surprised how much new content Quadropolis is attracting. On the other hand a discussion was started on OpenGameArt's forums, discussing the additional hardships of creating free as in freedom art, which kind of explains it. On the other, other hand, OpenGameArt is doing not bad as well, it attracts contributors who would probably never find a fitting project for their art and keep their works on their hard drive until the next disk failure should have separated them. I wish that projects would start telling their contributors to upload their works straight to OGA though.

I also hope that the community content sites set up for SuperTuxKart, VDrift and WorldForge will help contributors as they are supposed to.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Beautiful Open Source Puzzle Games

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The beauty of a (puzzle) game is not only what we see and hear, but also what we feel when pressing buttons and moving the mouse. Controls are important and I prefer them crispy.

No free software puzzle game has more flavor than Krank. The player piece is a string of circles, which follow the cursor to collide with smaller pieces, which need to be connected to static pieces in different combinations. Unfortunately I fail at recording videos of the game and screenshots can't communicate the feel of the movement and sounds.. Speaking of movement, the controls are not as sharp as they should be, according to my ideal. However, this seems to fit the game very much, slow music, slow pace, 'swimming' controls. At first I was frustrated, because trying to do precise movements quickly leads to disaster (or just a harder time finishing levels than if you would do it slowly) but then I learned to relax.

Anyways, you have to try the python-based game for yourself! Just listen! :)

Cuboid-Clone is a nice and simple Panda3D-based puzzle game. If I understand correctly, the levels are cloned 1:1 as well, which would be rather disappointing. If anybody feels like braining some levels, here are instructions.

Cuboid-Clone download link here. The code license appears to be BSD (let's assume 3-clause).

I always loved Zaz' sound effects and now it has prettier backgrounds, and as I believe, freely licensed music (although author info is missing). The replay-video generation function now works without stealing focus, but I advise against uploading the resulting .ogv file to YouTube. :)

If you're a web designer, you could help the developer out with building a web page for Zaz.

In Waymark, you move a piece around in turns, your paths are defined by static blocks, that keep you from falling over the edge of the screen. Collect other pieces and reach the exit is the goal. Thanks to Danc's lovely pixel art (which is freely licensed under CC-BY) and the fitting sound effects (license unknown), Waymark is a pleasure to play.

There is one big problem with the game: movement is way too slow. This confuses me, because I am sure that I played the game a few months ago and movement was very quick. The current version number is 2009-01-10, perhaps the developer forgot it's 2010 and recently released a new version? Or am I having troubles with running Java apps once more?.. In any case, I'll try to convince the developer that this game needs quicker movement. :)

EDIT: If you have trouble starting the game (version mismatch) read this. If you happen to have troubles with Java apps in general (because you are perhaps using a tiling window manager) tell me so in the comments and I'll add a solution to that to this post.

EDIT2: It appears, that I first tried the windows version and that movement in the win version is faster, than the developer intended. The bug was a feature, and a great one. :( Also the developer confirmed that 2009-01-10 is the correct date.

PS: I totally forgot JAG! One of the zagillion connect-four-based block puzzle games, I don't even know what it is a clone of or if it is original! In any case, graphics and sounds are far from programmer art. I'm enjoying this great game from time to time and my only complaint is that the bonuses (pay points to destroy all blocks of one kind and similar) are not properly introduced. Maybe they are described in some readme, but for such a colorful puzzle game, the only proper introduction is having a shiny fat arrow pointing at them when I have accumulated enough points to use them the first time. :)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Contributors, contributors, contributors

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The development structure of FOSS game projects can be a one-man show, it can be semi-closed by having a fixed team and little web presence, it can have lots of tasks without anybody knowing what needs to be done, or it can be plain frozen until a developer decides to pick it up.

Today, I will try to pick some of the open development ones that provide some kind of ordered task list and provide instructions in the case of media creation being the job.


Rocket Race in Syntensity [more]

Syntensity has some open tasks (having played the game helps understanding :) ), which involve tinkering with the Sauerbraten-based engine and JavaScript.

latest UFO:AI world view
I just found out on #ufoait that UFO:AI is soon to release the first version that allows you to win the game. This will make the squad tactics game be eligible to a line on our list of complete foss games! There are still a few tasks to complete before 2.3, a humble list compared to all the open issues.

PARPG developers wants to ship the first tech demo on 10th of March but could use some Python programmers' help. The engine used by PARPG, FIFE, just released 0.3.0, introducing internationalization as one of the features. One plan for a forthcoming version is to improve rendering performance.

Never mind the sidetracking, regarding PARPG programming: here's the first step (chat) of involvement and the second (forums). :) In case you're worried about setup complications: being on Arch Linux it has been no effort for me to install fife-svn and test the svn version of PARPG many times.

Current PARPG status

I told you about the problems of getting Bitfighter to run on my x64 system. Others suffer from the same and now the development team is looking for someone willing to take a look at our errors and their code in this thread. Should you happen to take a look and have an idea of what the problem is but are too laz.. busy to register at yet another forum, please do comment on this post. :)


Get the flash player here:

Racer r242 screenshots

Racer is getting prettier and prettier and hopefully the instructions for making cars, using the editor and creating visual themes will let some race track artists do their magic. I recommend the racer-dev group for getting in touch with the developer.

A list of wanted voice lines for NAEV was compiled. For brainstorming, a PiratePad was used, which is based on the FOSS collaborative web text editor etherpad.

jClassicRPG recently received a new voice pack but is still looking for more voices. If you are or you know someone who likes to put their voice to use and has a way to record it, go to/direct them to the updated voice acting instructions.

irrlamb documentation now features a wiki page on level editing. For questions and feedback use this thread.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A3P: Acquire, Attack, Asplode, PWN!

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Hey FreeGamer crowd, I hope there are still a few people around ;)
Today there will be only a short update, as I simply can't believe this gem of a game (see below) has not been featured on this page!
EDIT: Do not miss qudobup's post about FOSS engine news directly below this one!

A unique arena shooter

So someone had the balls (pun intended) and released a completely unique arena shooter with many nifty features, described by the creator as a mix of TPS/RTS/OMG/BBQ ;)
Check out A3P, if that has sparked your interest! At it's current version (0.5) it can be described as a third person arena shooter with some small RTS/squad command elements, and it is definitely fun to play:

The technical specs are rather interesting too: Based on the BSD licensed Panda3D engine (while itself being licensed MIT; the media license is unclear though) it has all the bells and whistles one can expect from a modern game (Full GLSL shader based rendering, networked ODE physics, even integration into your webbrowser).
Yet it was developed by ONE man in only ONE year! That makes us fellow free game developers look a bit bad, I guess :( Maybe that's because it was developed in Python!
Check out the development blog for further insight into this miracle ;)

Open Source 3D Game Engines Updates

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Crystal Space 1.4 is out. Features include improved animations ("integrating vertex based animation with skeletal animation") and terrain ("improves rendering and handling of large outdoor areas"), OpenAL for sound and an internationalization plug-in.

Engine screenshots are very informative. This is Panda3D by the way.

Panda3D has a prettier website, it released version 1.7.0 and apparently has a web-plug in. The new version makes it easier to crash the computer, but also gives a performance boost - with the magic of 'pointer textures'.

I have a little crush on Panda3D, because it gives access to 3D and audio with no complicated setting up through a scripting language (Python). On the other hand it requires 3D models to be in its own format and I find converting not very convenient. For example there have been problems importing animations into Radakan.

OGRE mascot

Ogre has a mascot, and it might even become freely licensed, somebody just needs to confirm this (by posting in the thread). :)

Besides that, 1.7.0 RC1 has been released, which is licensed under MIT license (before, it was LGPL). Here's what seems like a changelog.

OGRE wikis
Furthermore, the OGRE wiki moves from MediaWiki to TikiWiki. I suspect that a main reason is because a nicer OGRE style was made for TikiWiki, while the MediaWiki OGRE style looks bad. That may be a strange reason, but as long as it makes people use the wiki more, why not? Here's the discussion if you have an idea.

Just for kicks: a simple comparison of OGRE, Panda and Crystal regarding lines of code. What does it tell us? Well, that OGRE has the biggest codebase (even though it only handles graphics), that Panda3D is the most compact of the tree and that Crystal Space code size had strange ups and downs. Nothing more really.

Kambi VRML v2.0 is soon to be released, as is the final version of the demo game Castle (which will only mean additional eye candy to the game). What is more important, as soon as Castle 1.0 is released, work will start on Castle 2.

Castle 1 is a three-level game and I consider it hard (easy to die) and its controls to be rough. On the other hand the level design is great: the layout invites exploration the levels are linear, each with a goal to be reached. This way the levels actually are part of a game, rather than an open-ended tech demo. This is why I have a good feeling about Castle 2.0 already. Depending on whether the developers decide to work on Castle 2 on their own or to ask the community for contributions, we might see some more use of their forum.

Morrowind scroll loaded in OpenMW
OpenMW, the Morrowind engine implementation in OGRE switched from D to C++ (because of compiler availability and language popularity) and from svn+git to git-only (because of git-svn problems). Git clone instructions here. The next feature to be implemented are animations. A video was promised as soon as they are ready.

Old news: OpenGameEngine development stopped in October 2009, until a project manager wants to take over. The form in which the project is left is described as "usable" and "still too much work to make it worth the time investment".

Enjoy another ridiculous comparison of 3D (game) engines: OpenMW, KambiVRML and OGE. I just love diagrams. :)

We have a list of 3D engines on our wiki, if you want to dig some more. Also all FOSS game engine blogs that have feeds are included in the FGD development planet feed aggregator.