Monday, February 28, 2011

Dev-Corner: the challenges of developing long, plot-heavy FOSS games

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Xenogear: Fighting Elly's Gear

Xenogears is one of my favorite games of all time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it was a Japanese RPG for the Sony PS1 in 1998. Not everyone agrees that it was an amazing game, but it's undeniably one of the longest, most plot-heavy RPGs ever made, especially given the fact that most of the plot is in the form of the main story line as opposed to random side-quests that have very little to do with the overall goal. Xenogears is particularly interesting in that each time you play it through, you'll pick up more and more little plot details that you missed the first time around. This is because not only does it have a massive main plot, it also has a massive back story spanning several thousand years, which is only really revealed in small details that are only apparent once you're already familiar with the main plot.

By this time, some of you are probably wondering why I'm raving about a proprietary console game on a FOSS gaming blog. Well, there's another interesting fact about Xenogears that makes it very relevant to the topic of developing games with long, linear plots: it was never really finished. There's all sorts of speculation as to why this might have been; my own pet theory is that upper management decided they'd been waiting too long and paying too much, cut the project short, and told them to shove it out the door as-is. This becomes very apparent when you reach the second half of the game -- it goes very abruptly from a deep, plot-heavy game to an irritating scene where they briefly summarize massive amounts of plot that would have added about thirty to fifty hours of gameplay, before finally releasing you back out into the world to do a few last quests and fight the final boss.

So Xenogears, the Unfinished Symphony of JRPGs, is as example of two really important points:
  • It's difficult to predict the real scope of a project until after you've already committed to it, and...
  • Even big teams with large amounts of money often have trouble finishing ambitious projects in a timely fashion.
Painfully, these issues apply in even greater force to non-commercial game projects (a category that the vast majority of FOSS game projects fall into). On average, FOSS developers tend to have less time and be less reliable than people working on large, proprietary, commercial projects. This isn't because they're less reliable people in general, but because they're real people with real day jobs who are largely doing their FOSS coding work on a volunteer basis. Hence, developers and artists tend to come and go, and even when they're with the project for a long time, they tend to have a wildly variable amount of time that they're able to devote to it, depending on what else is going on in their lives. As such, maintaining a level of coding an artistic consistently equal to that of a large, heavily funded project is a tremendous challenge, because in general you're working with smaller units of work from a much larger team.

So as I see it, if we as FOSS developers want to create the sort of plot-heavy games that I'm referring to (be they JRPGs or whatever else), the odds are stacked against us from the outset. So here's what I'd like to discuss:

FOSS software development undeniably has certain strengths that closed development lacks -- the sheer volume of ideas, as well as the fact that, since FOSS development is primarily done on a volunteer basis, you aren't limited by time or budget in the traditional sense -- your project can continue as long as people remain interested and dedicated, and there's no one in upper management to tell you it's time to throw away your efforts. With this in mind, I'd like to pose some questions for everyone, and hopefully get some discussion going:
  • How can we, as a community, apply these strengths to the sort of project that requires a large development team and a grand, unifying vision?
  • How do you go about convincing a large number of people to join an ambitious project? As someone who has been following FOSS game development for quite a while now, overly ambitious projects tend to make me very skeptical. How do you overcome this skepticism and convince people to help you out, if you're dealing with the sort of project where it's not practical to start small?
  • Once people are on board, how do you keep the quality consistent? How do you keep a ton of people interested in working on a grand plot line that's already been fleshed out essentially from start to finish? FOSS developers need (and deserve) to give input to the projects they're helping with. How do you maintain a vision while simultaneously leaving room for input?
  • One bit of advice I find myself giving out over and over is not to be too ambitious to start with. Sometimes, though, you need to be ambitious in order to make a project work. How can you divide things up in such a way that you can be ambitious yet still start small enough to get your project going?
Anyway, I'm serious about these questions. I've been giving ambitious projects (not a particular ambitious project, but rather the idea of them in general) a lot of thought lately, and I'm hoping that maybe we can put our heads together as a community and come up with some sort of strategy for tackling them.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Peace,

Bart K
Founder, OpenGameArt.org

Thursday, February 24, 2011

When three became two - Glests Uniting!

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So, to all those familiar with the Glest project...

Not familiar? Glest is a popular 3D RTS that wowed the Free gaming scene with it's high quality graphics and polished gameplay back when it was released in 2006.

...it has evolved into 3 distinct codebases, with differing features:

  • Glest
    The original Glest, which is barely developed any more and suffers from significant issues that will likely never get addressed, and lacks many features compared to the continuations.
  • Glest: Advanced Engine aka GlestAE
    A community-led continuation of Glest by adding features and rewriting significant portions of the Glest codebase.
  • Mega Glest
    With frustrations growing about the lack of stability of early GlestAE work, and the length of time between releases, a prolific modder started to add key features such as improved multiplayer, a 'mega pack' of mods (which inspired the name), and port useful changes back from GlestAE - the result was MegaGlest.

For some good videas of both forks, go to player UltiFD's youtube channel.

My impression of the different development approaches for MegaGlest and GlestAE is that MegaGlest development is driven by a "whatever works" mentality to make rapid improvements and bring more features to players. GlestAE development seems to be based on a much longer term outlook, with most work being fairly significant in nature and few basic improvements.

Where are they now

Both MegaGlest and GlestAE have remained much lower profile than perhaps the efforts of the developers have deserved. Whilst Glest remains popular, and enjoys many downloads due to high Internet profile, there is no mention of MegaGlest and GlestAE on the homepage and only people diving into the forum will discover them.

Lacking features and stability, players who fall away after trying Glest may have stuck around if they encounter MegaGlest or GlestAE, but they are unlikely to ever try them. Hopefully this will change now MegaGlest has an amazing website and will start to gain an Internet profile of its own.

Another issue is the increasing amount of time spent porting improvements between the two forks.

A further issue is that, since GlestAE has features that MegaGlest doesn't (and, to a lesser degree, vice versa), there is an increasing divergence in the modding communities.

Glest forms to join forces?

Well, the story may yet have a happy ending. After a brutal conflict, with bloodshed, riots, toppled dictators, eathquakes and... wait, I'm looking at the wrong screen...

After much pressing by Internet trolls and well wishers, it seems that a joining of efforts is in the offing.

Even if the efforts do merge, they may still remain separate entities. Reading through the post, there's talk of official liasons between the projects and all sorts. It seems a bit more complicated than you might expect.

There's even a distant hope that the resultant efforts of the GlestAE/MegaGlest merger may result in Glest 4.0 if the community finally takes over the now-abandoned Glest project.

In Other Glest News

Glest forks (MegaGlest, at leasT) now can have cliffs! This opens up a lot of possibilities when it comes to map design and gives the game a bit of vertical depth, making it look cooler (in my opinion - and I am incredibly cool).

Somebody with a peculiar middle name is making a fully-3D Glest-inspired game called GlestNG - it will use Glest assets but otherwise be completed written from scratch using Ogre3D. Will it ever become playable? Who knows, but it's intriguing nonetheless. So just when two forks merge, another project arises to take the spare seat. Hah!

A completely cool mod Annex Conquer The World (moddb) has been teasingly dangled in front of us, with acclaims already including: "Easily the best Glest mod since the original Magitech!!"

Let's hope it gets released as Free software! ;-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Engines of War: Not dead!

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I made the mistake of writing the Spring DOTA-like game Engines of War off as dead the other day; I could not have been more wrong. In case you are unfamiliar with the term DOTA-like, the gameplay basically consists of controlling a single hero "Engine" unit and battling waves of AI controlled units, as well as opposing player controlled Engines.



They released a playable alpha a couple of weeks back with a very un-TA like UI and gameplay (take that Julius :P). So yeah, check it out!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lugaru animations, maps and skeletons are free (ShareAlike)

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Remember when we talked about Lugaru getting ripped?

I just got reply (twice) from Wolfire that the licensing information described in this file is correct. [first ticket (img) | second ticket (img)]. Probably the permission was given in private conversation or in the hidden Wolfire forum.

I'm so glad they did license hard-to-recreate data as open content! Hopefully some completely free/open source project will come out of this. (There are many more steps/files to go though.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dev-corner: m64's Development Lessons and Agile in Free Open Source Game Development

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In his first Lessons from Bulletstorm post, m64 talks about the importance of Level Design, Editors, Core Gameplay and Mechanics Tweaking for open source games (although most is general gamedev related).

First, a disclaimer – Bulletstorm is a big, single-player heavy, action game. If your game is different, the observations might not apply. Some observations are shaped by how Unreal Engine 3 works and might not be easily applicable to games created with other engines. Some might be difficult to apply due to technical limitations of an Open Source process – like having to exchange data through the Internet. Without any further ado, here goes.
Speaking of development: PARPG is doing an Agile/Scrum-style one-month sprint. This means that the whole team is working towards a handful of goals and that there are 30-minutes progress and planning reports twice a week [announcement]. The main theme of this development month is "Player Character Creation".

I'm currently contributing as UI designer on the project and am very motivated by the feeling of 'single-mind development' - the knowledge that man people from different spheres work on one main task at a time. It's great to know that not only I finish a design task but that it's going to be working in-game soon.

One of the mockups I produced during the sprint [more mockups]

Please note that this is not a one man's work. I actually created no part of this image but only drew some lines and moved around existing images by other artists! See this file for a list of the work in the mockup.

Do you consider m64's suggestions relevant to free game dev? Are there any principles/structures you have seen in foss game projects that improved development? What do you think of applying Scrum to open source games?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Space Combat

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Space combat tutorial [MUTE (couldn't record audio on win)]

Space Combat is a low-end 3d space shooter/simulator and holds promise through it's low-entry-curve tutorial*, which features computer voice. The voice is obviously-generated, although I couldn't find out what software was used.

Asteroid Field in Space Combat

Space Combat runs on Windows (couldn't run it using Wine unfortunately [Linux port request here]).

The project has two positions to be filled:

Mission designer
  • Missions (and campaigns) are XML-files that contain lists of objects and scripts. You can also create own AI-scripts.
3D Modeller
  • The game is in need of 3d objects for space ships, stations, objects...
This makes me wonder: can any developer report success at using SF.net's Help Wanted system? (Even for getting art creators on board? :) ) Or do you perhaps know of other such listings projects could use?

*I didn't get much further yet ^^

Thursday, February 17, 2011

FAR Colony Funding & Kambi Engine Donations (Is it possible to make money with open source games?)

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The "Is it possible to make money" thread was revived recently. And then two projects I follow announced new funding-'features':

FAR Colony (First Autonomous Remote Colony) is "a game of exploration and space colonization being held in the 23th century". An 8 bit funding page was created [announcement] for it recently. The target is $800 in 109 days. A note at the bottom says:

Of course this project will continue to progress even if my goals aren't reached, it will be more slowly and limited without but will stay alive !
This makes me wonder: how to motivate donations towards open source games (besides making a good game ;) ).

Kambi (VRML) Engine has introduced a fundry.com page for project pledges, feature pledges and donations [announcement]. Fundry.com looks interesting and like an easy way to play the 'donation game', a concept I talked about long ago. Fundry currently accepts paypal only.

The only other open source game project to use fundry.com is the Construct SDK. Fundry has no API yet and writes "Contact us to let us know how you would use it." I think perhaps a Trac integration should be neat..

On a related note: sound specialists can earn $200 on this swamp sound task for Wesnoth.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Purity

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A long time ago, on the old FreeGameDev forum, I heard of Purity; an original game based on the idTech3 engine.
Recently, I was wondering what the project had become, and with the help of a few people on the irc channel, we managed to find the website, unfortunately, it appears the development stopped two years ago.
But the game is pretty cool, let me explain you what makes it interesting:
In Purity, there are no enemies! The enemy is the map, and you have to get you to the end.

In order to do that, you have 4 weapons:

-The PULS attack : a red rocket.

It allows you to activate red switches, and it allows you to jump. Right, in purity, you have no "jump button". You wanna jump? Shoot your feet, and you'll be sent in the air.
There is no lives or damage in purity, so it is not a big deal to shoot right between your feet.
You can also shoot the walls while you're in the air to project yourself higher. People who know DeFrag won't be surprised by this technique.

-The TRASE attack : a blue laser (Allows you to activate blue switches).
This laser works a bit like a hook : you can drag yourself to blue surfaces.
You can also repulse yourself from some other special blue surfaces.

-The BOM attack : a green grenade (Allows you to activate green switches).
This grenade implodes rather than explodes : if you are in the range of the grenade when it explodes, you'll be dragged to the center, and when the explosion finishes, you'll keep that speed, so you can use the BOM attack to project you to a other place.
There are also special surfaces where the grenade sticks.

-The SPHEER attack : a white shield (Allows you to activate white switches).
The SPHEER attack allows you to bounce like a bouncing ball.
Activating the SPHEER attack while you are running makes you dash, which permits you to jump over some short holes.

Combinations :
combination of bom+trase
And what makes Purity really great is that you can combine these attacks:
-Shooting a BOM attack with a TRASE attack makes it explode
-Activating the SPHEER in the range of a BOM attack makes it explode
-Using the TRASE attack on a PULS attack drags you to the rocket, basically letting you fly (I think this combo should be less powerful, maybe even removed, to make the puzzle game interesting)
-Activating the SPHEER while catching up a PULS attack makes it explode and projects you in the air

What still needs to be done in Purity:
-Audio needs to be redone, sounds are horrible and there is no music (though there is one really good in the video on their website)
-Some graphic effort could be made : some surfaces aren't really pretty.
-MAPS! Purity only has the 8 maps that train you to use the weapons and their combinations. Other maps available are training grounds with no end, just for practise.
Try and beat this!
So, I beg mappers here, please do some puzzle maps for Purity, it's all it lacks to be a great FOSS game!

PS : If you are an archlinux user, I made an aur package that allow you to install it easily in /opt : http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=46512

Monday, February 14, 2011

Developer Interview: Jared "Deraj" (Radius Engine/Avoision/Falling Blocks Game 2)

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Avoision & FBG2

Avoision and Falling Blocks Game 2 were reviewed 5 weeks ago in the Simple & Polished post and I got curious about the perspective of a small-foss-games developer (the interviews we have had so far were rather with big project developers). Their developer Jared "Deraj" agreed to a short interview.


Hey Jared! Where are you from? How's the weather? What do you do in life?

I'm from Washington (USA). Right now, it's cloudy outside, but somewhat warm (considering it's winter here).

I work in software development for a large technology company.

Did you create Radius Engine as a first step towards a game you want to make or was it more of a programming exercise? What is the next step? Adding engine features?

The Radius Engine as it exists today is indeed a stepping stone towards my eventual goal of creating an extensible scrolling shooter ("shoot 'em up"). Avoision and Falling Block Game were both games I wanted to create, but they were also both attempts at ensuring that the Radius Engine has the features I'll need down the road.

Additionally, the entire process was a great learning experience for me (e.g. I had never really written audio mixing or collision detection code before).

Did you ever contribute to any foss game projects?

Other than the ones FOSS games I've created, I think my only (very minor) contributions have been to a (formerly?) defunct emulator many years ago. Does moral support count? :)

Sure does! Ever heard of LÖVE? It's a 2D Lua-based game engine. Did the knowledge of LÖVE affect Radius engine development in any way?

Unfortunately, I had not heard of LÖVE back when I started working on this project (originally in 2003, but then I started over in 2008), but it looks like a great engine with a permissive license, simple programming language (Lua), and comprehensive feature set.

Having recently completed two games using a simple OpenGL+SDL+Lua game engine (Avoision and Falling Block Game), I can safely say that LÖVE sounds like a great idea for a game engine (and one that I need to look at more closely).

What are the chances of you abandoning Radius and becoming a LOVE2D developer? (Completely hypothetical :) )

Heh, interesting question. Given that I haven't had the time to fully dig into LOVE2D, that's a tough call to make. I'll certainly look into that since it looks like LOVE2D is fairly mature already.

How come Avoision and FBG2 have such smooth controls? Lucky shot or days of tweaking?

Both :)

Do you have a laid out plan for making progress towards your shmup project?

I have goals in mind (namely extensibility/modding), but only a very rough plan. Since I'm mostly doing this for fun, I tend to work on whatever seems fun/interesting at the time.

Soo... how about a sneak peak?

Screenshots are really all I have at the moment. I try to participate in Screenshot Saturday each week. You can watch my progress on Twitter (#RadiusEngine).

Jared's super secret shmup WIP screens

Got any questions to Jared aka Deraj? Ask them in the comments, perhaps he'll answer! :)


Also, this link will let you browse all the interviews on Free Gamer so far.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

OpenMW 0.9 and DungeonHack Progress

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OpenMW 0.9 is now available for download. Features:

  • Exterior cells - loading, unloading and management
  • Character Creation GUI
  • Character creation
  • Make cell names case insensitive when doing internal lookups
  • Music player
  • NPCs rendering

No screenshots I'm afraid!

DH concept art from the "clothing the Estonian" thread

DungeonHack will have a new software architecture [git repo], estimated to be showcased very soon. [announcement]

I noticed that both projects have a "Contributions Wanted" link which leads to their milestone/roadmap tickets (on a wiki page) [dh/owm]. I get the feeling it's time to start using trac, as does PARPG for example. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

ProFlightSimulator: Commercial FlightGear Fork (Weak)

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ProFlightSimulator ad on Free Gamer

A reader pointed out a hilarious coincidence: an ad of ProFlightSimulator, a fork of FlightGear on top of the Ripping-off open engine games post.
ProFlightSimulator is an open source stand alone Flight Simulator. As always disclosed this is a split / branch from the FlightGear community and has been set up for a very specific reason. It's different from FG due to the many major changes to the game.
This info is placed in Disclaimer/Terms/IsThisFlightgear?.

The text "Source code available in members area" is part of a background image in the footer of their homepage. There is also a .7z file containing "Source code of these images, content and files(244MB - For a list of the file's content see here).

Why PFS is not FlightGear

The FlightGear team is aware of the for-pay forks and wrote a FlightGear-Professional explanation of the situation.

I have an ethical problem with there not being a "for every (final) purchase, we donate $1 to the FlightGear project" commitment. Maybe the improvements/code changes are at least useful to the FlightGear project, if any of the devs went through the trouble of buying PFS.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ripping off Open-Source-Engine Games: Lugaru

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Lugaru is a proprietary game. The Lugaru source code was released under GPL. The Lugaru game data was released under a "freely redistributed for non commercial purposes" licenseHere's an explanation by Wolfire but it's basically just like Quake, only that the Quake game data was never released for free and never with the engine code and that they used a zip file, not a repository.

Recently, scammers sold the game Lugaru on Apple's App Store. They had this to say:

"we have every legal right to market and sell the software"
"the license we were granted allows for non-exclusive redistribution of the source code or the compiled product, modified or unmodified, for a fee or free of charge."

Wolfire wrote a blog post when they found out about this and another one when the cloned product was finally taken down.

The implication, according to Wolfire:

"While released source code in no way makes it legal to sell someone else's game, it is apparently enough to make scammers think they could get away with it, and that may be enough to discourage other developers from risking it."

STK on ebay

SuperTuxKart is the project I first knew about is being sold by third parties although I can't find any discussions on that topi any more (see comments for info from their side). SuperTux' archives contain a bit of reading material about what problems they had.

ILLUSION MAGE!!! THIS IS NOT BLENDER!!

Blender is also having problems with scammers. (Thanks to Peragro Tempus for the info)

Quite a few foss software on ebay too. This seller seems to be specialized in selling foss games and apps while trying to hide their name. Assuming all they do is sell open source software for $6.65, then they earned $14,277.55 in at least 2147 sales since November 2009 (about $950/month). That'd be kind of lame.

Side note: I just found a Lugaru fork, which claims the animation data is CC-BY-SA'd, which according to file size (didn't do a diff check) is the original data. The original Lugaru repository's license file states no such thing.

I wonder though, would have Lugaru's incident have happened, if they did not put code and data in the same repository? What do you think? And do you know of more incidents of this kind?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

LanPower's FOSS Games USB Stick

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The following is a guest post by the president of the French language gaming community LanPower [fr-en translation] which distributes game compilations.

Gamekey 2 games
The LanPower association is a French group of network game players. We contribute to Free Open Source ("libre") games by producing CD/USB compilations of games: "LanPower Games CDs" and "Gamekey".

The Gamekeys are composed of portables games. These compilations are for Windows but all the games also exist under Linux.

The last series are compatible with Linux thanks to Wine. Thus the Gamekey light serie 2 is the first compilation of portable and free open source games to be compatible with both Windows and Linux (as well as MacOS X and Solaris).

Links:

We intend to translate the Gamekey and the other compilations in several languages if we find the time or get translation help or donations.
An international (5 languages) version is in progress, and should be out in May.

Enjoy

contact : asso [dot] lanpower [at] free [dot] fr

What do you think of such downloadable game packages? Ever used one? Ever wished for one so you don't have to research/download games individually?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

FreeGameDev Wiki phpBB integration, propaganda & contributions

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FGD Forum + Wiki

As an anti-spam and pro-convenience measure, you can now log into the FGD Wiki using your FGD Forum phpBB account!

Please test this and comment on this post or start a thread if there are any inconveniences. :)

We're interested in a major re-structuring of the wiki by the way, suggestions are welcome.

Have you found the Free Gamer Blogger in you yet?
Join us...

By the way, you might not have noticed it but we also welcome guest posts! See this thread for information.

Propaganda time!

And if you feel like spreading the word about our community a little, you're welcome to use these gfx/templates.

Monday, February 07, 2011

PonySiege

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It isn't nearly fluffy enough... missing that horn on its forehead... and it's not riding on rainbows... This should be fixed
-lenir



What I'm trying to say there is (obviously) that FreeSiege (git repo herescreens here) is looking for help updating the assets (and they're looking for an awesome horse I think).

So if you know any freely licensed one.. can and want to model one yourself.. or perhaps want to improve the pony (see quote above).. here's the thread to go to. :)



In other news: GameKit 2 is now available on the Blender wiki.

Xenowar: Minimalist Squad Tactics (Android/Windows)

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Xenowar

Xenowar is simple turn-based squad tactics. It had one or two recent releases. Gameplay is not at all as deep as UFO:AI goes but quicker to get started with and fun too.

I tested it on a friend's HTC Wildfire [spec]: it was quite laggy and either the screen is too small or my fingers are too big. :) Or maybe I just lack touch-screen-experience.

Please excuse this laggy and kind-of-broken recording..

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Open Web Games, GameOn and Construct 2

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(edit: Construct 2 is going Closed Source, I'll either edit out this part or keep it for reference, but don't get your hopes up when reading this)

Scirra Construct is one of the few FOSS competitors to the proprietary GameMaker 2D game development suite (Gluon, Enigma and Game-Editor being the others). Unfortunately, the system has been limited to Windows since its inception due to relying on DirectX fiddlies, however, that has all changed...

Construct 0.x Showreel

Yesterday the long awaited Construct 2 project released a public alpha. No longer are Construct games chained to Windows; instead, games can be exported to HTML (5) which is pretty much on the opposite spectrum of platform-lockin.

Construct 0.x Interface
Now, one significant problem is that the editor isn't cross platform, and relies on a Windows GUI lib. However, seeing as the games are now cross platform, maybe the FOSS gaming community can show their appreciation by helping with the porting process? "Game Maker" like software is something that really lowers the bar of entry into game development, and Construct 2 fits that bill.

Jump on their forums if you're interested!

Why HTML (5)?



So, some people might ask why Scirra is targeting this rather new platform. I'm most probably mistaken, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Construct 2 is the first "HTML 5 Game IDE", and definitely the only Open Source one. Among the Free Gamer blog team, we have a couple of writers who don't approve of the web being used as a game platform (you know who you are), personally I find it rather promising. The fact that open web tech is immensely cross platform, and has an ease-of-delivery that is second to none, I can only see benefits to developing and embracing it further.

Mozilla seems to have gone that route; they recently hosted the "Game On" competition where developers entered games that utilize open web tech; and FOSS web games won 2 of the categories ("Best Webbiness" and "Most Fun")!



Don't write HTML 5 games off to 2 dimensions either, someone recently posted a rather simple but fun 3D RPG game utilizing WebGL on OpenGameArt the other day,  it's rather cool :) Also don't forget about the Quake 2 WebGL port! (remember, these require a WebGL enabled browser, such as Chrome/ium and Firefox 4)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

OpenDungeons Progress

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OpenDungeons, a long-time Freegamedev project has been through a lot of changes since it started on the Freegamedev forums, going through a lead-dev swap and a major re-write. In the years since we last mentioned them, they've actually produced something playable: lots of new code and artwork has been contributed by a small but dedicated team of contributors and it has been shaping up to be an exemplary FOSS game.


There's still lots of work that needs doing though: loads of creatures that need concept art, models and scripting, room tiles that need textures and models, and game design work that needs finalizing. There's a lot of ideas floating around on the forums that need art and implementation


With all the work that's gone into the project, they're busy readying up another release. Unfortunately they've had a bit of trouble with ubuntu/debian packaging (and linux packaging in general), so if anyone out there would like to give them a hand, it would really be a boost to the foss gaming world :)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

RTS: The Romans VS. the Greek (+Chinese)

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I take it my comments regarding the Spring RTS engine were not taken so well... so I will present some (in my opinion) much better and less messy to setup RTS games ;)

One, I really like to come back to is Glest! The previously featured version/fork of that game, Megaglest (Edit: Now links to their awesome new webpage, how did I miss this ;) ), just released another version (3.4.0) with quite a lot of new features.





It now got a new build-in IRC client for multiplayer chatting, can transfer missing files from the server (useful for all those custom maps you can find ;) ), some performance and stability improvements as well as the usual assortment of new maps and map-themes. Ah and to come back to the headline: A new faction, the Romans were added ;)

The Contestant


Of course, adding Romans to the game is poaching in an other's territory... that of the Greeks ;) So lets have a look at the recent developments in 0 A.D.:


They are progressing quickly, and the game is surprisingly playable already, given it's early beta status. But you can still help them out even if you are not a real artist or a programmer:
Their previously mentioned donation drive is still running, and they are also having some sort of competition for creating a nice video trailer of the game.

The support crew



So who is going to win the battle about the Mediterranean? Well I fear the Greeks just got support by the fleet of the Chinese Emperor:

A mod team going by the name of Scion Development is making great progress in implementing a Chinese faction into 0 A.D.; Check out their development thread here. Oh and no worries, after some initial license confusion, they seem to have decided to go for a fully FOSS compatible media license :) Edit: Well it seems like they are still not quite sure, so I can't guarantee that they will go completely FOSS... lets hope they don't go for one of those atrocious CC-ND/NC licenses.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Contact: Tactical Squad RTS

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Another game from the well of innovation that is the SpringRTS community, Contact aims to be an Open-Source squad based RTS. It uses models from the DOTA-like attempt "Engines of War" which unfortunately never really got anywhere, other than a couple of nice mechs.





The Contact team released a beta on the 25 Dec last year, so it's not exactly breaking news, but the project is still moving forward and could use a couple of eyes if anyone is interested in it.

Forum Thread with more screenies