Friday, December 27, 2013

Torque3D seems to finally get a Linux port!

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Following the release of the Torque3D engine under the MIT license (latest release 3.5 here), there was a lot of back and forth regarding a port to Linux (the engine actually used to have a good Linux port, but that one was dropped a few years back). At some point there was even an official Kickstarter crowed-funding attempt, which however failed to reach the estimated funds (but nether the less more than US$10k were pledged). After that things quited down, but several people continued developing a OpenGL renderer and Linux port.

Now it seems like all these efforts seem to be near a somewhat usable Linux port or at least that's what I understand by following this forum thread.

Torque3D running on Xubuntu 12.10

In the short term the most interesting application of this Linux port is probably that the creator of RotC has announced on his currently running indigogo campaign to liberate (and update) the game, that now there will also be a Linux port.

Great news if you ask me, so don't forget to pledge some of that Christmas money you got towards reaching the funding goal (currently $388 out of $1500, with 36 days left). Let's make this happen!

Edit (nearly forgot): these two projects related to Torque3D might be interesting to follow: Project GREED and Zentense.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December RTS updates

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Merry Christmas from FreeGamer!

As a nice present from the 0 A.D. team, the new Alpha 15 Osiris was released today:



Lots of great new features and especially multiplayer games should be now much easier to do with hosting improvements and a lobby for browsing available games.

Another open-source RTS engine (using Mono/C# though) has also released a new version: OpenRA. Currently it is still geared toward running an assortment of older Command & Conquer based games, so you need to own these for the data. But this release adds lua scripting for the creation of custom missions, so maybe someone will come up with a libre game to run on this engine.

Last but not least, a new version of Warzone2100 was released about a week ago. This one actually includes some higher resolution textures, which is hopefully the first step to officially integrate all the awesome new art assets from the art revolution project.
Speaking of WZ mods: There is also an interesting new tower-defense mod currently being developed.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Let's Play Permissions for Open Source Games With Free Art

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Let's Play (LP) is an uprising form of previewing and experiencing video games.

While a review summarizes the experience, a LP allows to look a player over their shoulder and indirectly experience the game from one perspective in its entirety - if both Let's Player and viewer have the endurance.

LPs have many styles: non-commented, informational, humorous... And their production quality varies too, be it video, audio or presentation.

Example of a Let's Play video in its natural environment

Some creators of LPs ("LPers") earn money using YouTube's monetization features. When they do, YouTube's semi-automatic moderation process starts paying more attention to the videos' compliance with copyright.

Sometimes, LPers will contact game developers to receive permission to create LPs. To many creators of games, LPs are a welcome form of promotion and they will always say yes.

Clint Bellanger of FLARE released a Let's Play policy, which elegantly covers both the situation in which a game's art assets are CC-BY-SA 3.0 licensed and where all copyright belongs to one person.

FLARE is a collaborative effort of many artists who agreed to release their art under CC-BY-SA 3.0 and I think that FLARE's LP policy reflects the intention of the license very well.

A complicated case might be a game which contains art that is under the GPL, which could be interpreted in a way, that requires the resulting video, as well as video project files to be made available under GPL as well.

In theory, any LP could be considered "fair use". However, for-profit use and use of large portions of a work are often considered as not being "fair use" - for example by YouTube.

For game designers, I consider LPs to be a valuable resource, allowing to look up features or part-experience gameplay, where acquiring, installing and playing the game would be impossible, due to time restrictions.

I recommend looking up games that you have fond memories of or which you always wanted to try but the installation effort was too high on lparchive.org or just YouTube's search function with "let's play" in the query.

If YouTube's HTML5 doesn't work for you, youtube-dl will allow you to circumvent flash player issues (monetized YouTube videos appear to require flash).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Reminder: 1 week left to vote

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Voting for the Linux Game Awards January 2014 will come to an end in about one week (24th of December).



So if you haven't voted yet, don't waste any time!
You can read more about the award in this older blog entry.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tales of Maj'Eyal (ToME) version 1.1.0 and Steam edition

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The great roguelike RPG Tales of Maj'Eyal (ToME) is available as a new version (1.1.0) nicknamed "Full Steam Ahead". Here is a slightly older trailer for version 1.0.5.:



Release highlights:

  • New necromancer tree: Animus
  • All achievements now feature beautiful 128x128 images
  • Improved Alchemist interaction with its golem
  • Tons of fixes and balance adjustements
  • Many improvements for addon creators, including a way to enable debug mode and a tool (inthe debug menu) to register and upload addons to te4.org directly from the game.
  • Includes a Fez. Fezzes are cool!
Interestingly it has also been "greenlit" on the popular game distribution channel Steam, so if you want to donate to the developers you can also do it by buying ToME through this channel. The currently discounted version includes a DLC with an updated UI (and the hint for a Steampunk themed extension) which seems to me like a planned way of funding the development of the game in the future.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Help to ROTC:Ethernet to become fully open-source

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The creator of the nice, but pretty niche, freeware game (but with Creative Commons licensed assets) Revenge of the Cats: Ethernet has just informed us that he started a Indiegogo campaign (target US$ 1500) to liberate the game.




The current version still runs on an old closed source build of the Torque3D engine, but with the somewhat recent move to MIT licensing, it has now become possible to go fully open-source.

According to the author:
All I need is about a month's time and some cash to make it happen.
So lets give him the help he needs ;)

The only not so great part of it is that the Linux port of the Torque3D MIT engine is not yet available. Several people are slowly working on it, but after a failed attempt to crowd-fund it, there seems to have been some setbacks.
But optimistically speaking, this could give it the needed push to also motivate the finalization of a working Linux port.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Progress on Octaforge

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One of the newer engine/game projects I have been following closely is Octaforge. It is basically a fork of Tesseract, which in turn is an graphic improvement project by the makers of the well known Cube2 engine.

The main difference with Octaforge is that aims to become a game SDK and platform for easy creation of mods; And one of its prime new features for this is full scriptability with Lua.

Read about their progress on the latest beta here, which also includes this nice video showcasing the new player model and an test map:



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Zelda can now be free as in freedom

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Not only from the clutches of Ganondorf, but also from the dominion of proprietary software. All thanks to the magnificent Solarus Engine, a GPLed, SDL-based, 2D action RPG engine. This amazing project aims to provide a stable and easily customizable platform for users to create their own Zelda-like games, and so far, I must say, I am darn impressed by what I've seen. The engine already has two incredible launching titles, named The Legend of Zelda: Mystery of Solarus DX, and a parody of the former, Mystery of Solarus XD. Both are true love letters to the classic SNES RPG, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and amazing and enjoyable games on their own.

Mystery of Solarus DX

But hark, the mere words of a mortal make no justice to the grandiosity of this undertaking. Sheathe thy sword, get thy green cap and ready yourself to adventure! You can start by marching straight to the Solarus download section, or, if your intentions are more creative, you can check the various sources here, and the quest editor here.



Code License: GPLv3
Mystery of Solarus DX Artwork License: Mixed  (original Solarus assets under CC-BY-SA, but the game also uses spritework taken directly the A Link to the Past rom)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Linux Game Awards voting open now!

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Quietly in the background a group of open-source and Linux enthusiast websites (full disclosure: including FreeGamer ;) ) has developed a new platform for promoting open-source games: http://www.linuxgameawards.org/

One of its regular features will be a monthly award and a related promotion drive for the winner on all affiliated sites.

Project of the Month January 2014

As a start, our community came up with the first 10 nominees for the January 2014 award and you can now vote for your favorite game of those here.

P.S.: One of the nominated projects, SuperTuxKart, had a new release today also. Don't forget to check it out and vote for them if you like it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lips of Suna 0.8.0 released

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And another great new release :)

Our favorite work in progress & not quite serious anime RPG Lips of Suna bumps its release number to 0.8 (change-log).

I know what you are thinking...
Most notable changes:
  • New player model and animations contributed by gruntunbur.
  • Lots of sound effects contributed by qubodup.
  • More powerful animation blending.
  • Performance improvements.
  • Better eye, face and hair color customization.
  • Fixed the AI not being able to use many kind of weapons correctly.
  • Procedural map area placement and planning system.
  • Procedural dungeon generation with corridors, rooms, treasures and monsters.
  • Balanced the movement speed and physics behavior of player characters.
  • Terrain chunks close to the player character load much faster.
Comment away below or in our forums.

Addition (2013-11-21): Now there are also windows binaries available.

Monday, November 18, 2013

MegaGlest 3.9.0 released

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Since I am having internet troubles as of late, I'll keep it short and hope it will actually come through:

Megaglest 3.9.0 was released today, see changelog:

v3.9.0
- we hopefully now really solved the last out of sync problems for cross platform games.
- animated tileset object support. ( like trees moving in the wind )
- new tileset texturing possibilities
- new tilesets birchforest, desert4 and updated mediterran using animated objects and new texture system
- greatly improved textures and animations for the roman faction
- new maps
- better network game performance / management to handle slower clients.
- easier ability to download game content from host and masterserver( if available there ).
- new arranged options menu with several sub menus
- menu gui improvements
- attack hotkey toggles through all attack types
- single player games can be sped up incrementally in steps.
- color picking is greatly improved and the default selection mode now for better compatibility
- greater ability to translate game content into your native language. (including techtrees)
- Added Hebrew, Arabic, Vietnamese (and others).
- screenshots for savegames without annoying menu in screenshot.
- addition of google-breakpad to better track down bugs.
- many new lua functions for scenario modders.
- cell coordinates are shown in the mapeditor
- tilesets can set default air unit heights
- added ability for stand alone mod's to customize more of the engine like about screen.
- performance improvements.
- and as always many bugs were fixed
- improved textures for tech faction

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New releases from the Worldforge project.

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Yesterday saw the release of a new version of the client-side software "Ember" for the Worldforge project (an open-source MMO framework).


The focus of this version was to improve the world-editing features, and if not yet included, the GoSC 2013 improvements (for example an updated terrain renderer) should arrive in Ember soon too.

Speaking of the GoSC 2013: Another project benefiting from it under the umbrella of Worldforge was Ryzom Core, the open-sourced MMORPG engine behind the (older) commercial Ryzom MMORPG.

It seems like their OpenGL3.0 renderer is making good progress (see some videos here), and they seem to have finally decided to tackle the lack of proper Blender tools by hiring someone to do it (see paid job advertisement on Blender Artists). As it is an open-source project this seems to have been initiated by one of the developers only, so maybe we can get some people to pledge some extra funds to add to the bounty he is offering?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Quick reminder: Free The Monsters open game art crowd-funding

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We talked about it before here, but now there is only about 2 days left and even though all funds go to the team regardless of if the goal is reached, they are still a long way off what then would need to create a nice set of openly licensed fantasy monsters.

So please head over to their indiegogo fund-raiser page: "Free the Monsters" and donate.

Friday, October 18, 2013

DevCorner: jMonkeyEngine SDK 3.0 (stealth) release

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The maybe most user friendly and complete FOSS game engine jMonkey Engine 3, has recently released the final version 3.0 of their very nice SDK.

Here is a list of the full changes:

Engine
- LWJGL base now works on MacOSX 10.7+ incl. Applets
- Hardware Skinning
- Shader Nodes
- Better Character (beta)
New LOD Generator!
TangentBinormalGenerator was refactored
- Better physics debug view
SDK
- Now bundles a compatible version of the JDK
- Now bundles a version of Blender for conversion and more
- Shader Node Editor (!)
- Code completion for assets
- Texture Atlas creation and packed texture handling
- External editor mesh updates for j3o files
- Seamless 3DS and Collada import through blender
- Improvements to model import tool, allows to locate and import textures
- Attach custom AppStates to the SDK editor scene
- New help and error log system, look for the monkey in the bottom right!
- Improved Font Importer
- Improved support for using other IDEs for code
- Improved obfuscation support for protecting your applications code

Besides general advanced of this Java based game engine, some changes of the list of new features are especially interesting! I think that for example their graphical editor of GLSL shaders is something that could benefit even projects not using jMonkey3 itself, and it is definitely something that was lacking as a FOSS game-dev tool (the half-heartily implementation for something like this in Blender has yet to reach the level of real usability).

Check out the link above to learn more about this shader node editor!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Frogatto & Friends looking to be "greenlit" on Steam

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We have mentioned in the past a few times that it is a common misconception that FOSS games need to be also "freeware", and in fact the opposite can be quite beneficial to the overall development of a game or the engine it is build on.

The 2D jump & run  Frogatto & Friends has been for sale on mobile platforms for a while now, and its really high quality game-play and graphics are definitely a notch above most other open-source games:



All of it is possible through the use of their awesome open-source engine Anura.

Now they are looking to sell their game also on desktop computers through the very popular Steam digital distribution platform. You can vote for inclusion here.

As far as I am aware this is the first open-source game that actually aims to be sold through this channel, but recently another one, Warsow, was actually approved for inclusion as a freeware title.

As a launch of their "greenlight" campaign, the creators of Frogatto & Friends have started a Q&A session on reddit, where you can learn more about them and their awesome game(s).

Unrelated to that: please also check out our own "sub-reddit" about open-source gaming :)

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Breaking news: The Dark Mod 2.0 stand alone version out now!

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I guess quite a few people were waiting for this to finally happen :)

Have a look at the release announcement here and the full change-log here.

They also did a nice introduction video a few months ago:



Haven't got the chance to try it myself yet, but this is high on my list of open-source games to play!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Blender Game Making Challenge starts on the 20th of this month

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While not necessary only for FOSS games, all will be done with the Blender3D included game engine (BGE). Check out their website here and/watch the video below:



The overall theme will be announce on the 20th when the contest starts.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Valyria Tear 0.6.0 released

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I have to admit that we are a bit slow on reporting the news on FOSS gaming projects with we actually host ourselves via the freegamedev.net forums. Valyria Tear is sadly no exception, and their new 0.6.0 release has been out a few days already. Sorry to all whom this may concern.

For those not in the loop, Valyria Tear is based on the engine of Hero of Allacrost and aims to be an all FOSS jRPG. To give you a better idea of the game-play, here is a (slightly older) cool video of it done by some Linux enthusiasts:



(Thanks also to Rootgamer who reminded me of this news).

If you like the new release, give them some praise on our forums!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fundraiser: Fantasy Creature under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike

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Free the Monsters! is a collaborative Indiegogo campaign to create and share five fantasy creature 3d models under CC-BY-SA 3.0


5 3d models and 10 works of concept art will be released if the goal of USD5000 is reached.

Perks include t-shirts and voting rights. Voting will be based on short creature descriptions. The top 10 will be turned into concept art and of those, the top 5 will be turned into 3d models.

Two additional creature concepts and models for each additional USD2000 will be produced.

Justin Nichol will be creating the concept art. You can find his past contributions to the free and open pool of game art on his OpenGameArt profile page.

Jonathan Williamson - partner at CG Cookie (aka Blender Cookie) - will be creating the 3d models.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stephen Cameron: Space Nerds in Space Interview and Crew Gameplay Video

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A 15 minutes long video profile of Stephen Cameron was published on YouTube by Jack Younger - hacker (presumed) at TX/RX Labs.


The video includes an interview of Cameron's about his latest project Space Nerds in Space including inspiration and actual authentic gameplay video footage of the crew (highlights at 08:30).

Video thumbnails

Some of Word War Vi's history also is covered in the video (4:00).

Do I need to spell it out? Press that like button if you can! :)

Source: Announcement on the FreeGameDev forums

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fundraising for GPL game Plee the Bear

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This is a guest post by Julien Jorge, developer, artist and musician behind the open source indie games Plee the Bear and Andy's Super Great Park, here to present the fundraising campaign he launched for the former.

Some years ago, with the help of three of my friends and anonymous people on the web, I have created Plee the Bear, a great platformer in which you play an angry bear whose son has been kidnapped by god. Here is a guy hard to brave! You sure will jump in this amazing journey to find and rescue your son. Because you want to rescue him, don't you? Or to slap him? Maybe both….

The game was a spare time project for a long time, then we recently decided to create a real, full, complete, fun and original version out of the prototype. We have thus created our company, Stuffomatic, published a first game and now we are launching a fundraising campaign for Plee the Bear!

The prototypes of the game have always been released for Windows and Linux as free software, available under the terms of the GNU GPL and the CC by-sa licenses. The latest version contains three levels of the storyline and four mini-games; and has already generated very positive criticisms (e.g. on The Linux Game Tome). Players loved the fun, the graphics and the music; other indie developers were pleasantly surprised by the technical skills and the details of the game; and people in the free software movement appreciated the overall process and the quality of the resources, remarkable for a free game.

All these feedbacks motivated us to complete the game and to launch a fundraising campaign to help the development. The campaign is organized in order to implement the new contents of the game one after the other, each time with a new fundraiser. So, for the initial one, the feature you are welcome to support is a complete refresh of the existing work. You can see the details on the project's page on OpenFunding but let me show you how the game will look:


To be compared with the current release:

(The screen is larger in the new version, it's not just Plee who is smaller…) 

The animations will also be reworked. For example, here is a comparison of the changes in the animation of Plee walking. The old version is on the bright stripes, the new one is in the black stripes:


If you are a game developer, you may have already used some free resources from websites like OpenGameArt.org or Freesound.org. If you are a gamer, you may have played games using the resources of such websites. In both cases, you are certainly interested by our process consisting of releasing each part of the game under a free license. Actually, we have recently started to supply OpenGameArt.org with our assets.

So, if you like our project:
This way, we will all go toward a fun and good game :)


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Alien Arena, with included alpha-demo of in development commercial spin-off

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Yes, it looks like the developers behind the long running idTech2 based AlienArena are going make a more slower paced & 'tactical' spin-off and try to sell it. As before the engine will stay open-source (GPLv2), but the assets for the spin-off will stop being free-as-in-beer.

Here is the official launch-trailer of the new update and the alpha demo:


Beside the new game-play mode, they have also finally updated the menu, and the new version of it is rather spiffy. You can see it in action and more of the regular game-play in this recently uploaded random YouTube vid (warning: goofy British accents and profanity). GamingOnLinux also recently had a small preview-article.

Last but not least (while we are on the topic of idTech2 based games), a small game-developer's advertisement of a new project currently unfolding in our forums. If you know your way around Quake(2) based engines and/or pixelish art, please join the effort ;)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Flock 2013, OLCP Games, Gamification through Badges on Linux

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There were some game development related events at Flock Fedora Contributor Conference, August 2013 in lovely Charleston, SC, US.

Trigger Rally Map Workshop 

So far my contributions to Fedora were merely a few wiki edits but my conference proposals were well-received.

Free Art Game Making presentation slide

I ended up speaking about making games using free art and leading a Trigger Rally level building workshop (video).


Fedora badges

At the conference, I learned about Fedora's badge program and that it is connected to Mozilla Open Badges.

Lemonade Stand (OLPC) Sugar "activity"

Another discovery: Lemonade Stand, which is an educational game developed by people from FOSS@RIT, who work on bringing Mozilla Open Badges to the OLPC.

Game development appears to be getting more and more of a foot in the door at free software conferences, so I encourage people working on open games to apply as speakers at conferences, talking about technical and social aspects of free, open source game development project leadership and contribution. (Not just at FOSS events, why not at general game dev events as well?)

If you have any relevant talks from recent events to point out, please do so in the comments!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Alpha 14 and a crowd-funding campaign for 0 A.D.

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Pretty interesting news from 0 A.D. today: They are having a Indigogo crowd-funding campaign.



Note that this is a flexible funding campaign, so even if they don't reach their goals all money donated will go to the project.

They also released a new Alpha version, codenamed Naukratis. Change-log would be too long to list here (which I consider a good thing ;) ), but here is a picture of some high-quality newly added building models:

New blacksmith buildings
So check out the new version and please consider donating to this top of the crop FOSS game project.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Today: Glamour, or how to hide irony about gender stereotypes very well...

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Or something like that... because as much as I think FOSS games should cater to the other ermm... 2nd out of three(?) gender, I am not sure if this is meant ironic or not (description of the game Glamour):

You are Maddeline, a young princess just turned 16. Now you're old enough to attend the royal balls and your fairy godmother will help you get ready for the most exciting dances.
Watch out your way while walking around this amazing city full of filthy foes. They may harm your look. You wouldn't like to reach the ball all covered with dirt.
Visit the Make-up, Shoe, Dress and Accessory Castle to find the most beautiful outfits and win the Prince Charming heart.
At least I see relatively little pink on that screen-shot...
Source-code is available here for those that wonder...

*stalkes slowly away*

But -BAM-... here is something clearly more manly:

Unvanquished Alpha 19
-BAM- check the alpha 19 changelog -BAM- Oh and the soon to released AlienArena Tactical also sound like a game for -BAM- real men!

Hmm BAM?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WebGL dungeon crawler Moonshades now FOSS

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More browser-based RPG goods for you today: the developer behind the game Moonshades recently indicated on the Opengameart.org forums that this neat old-school (ok not as old-school as Heroine Dusk) dungeon crawler is now fully open-source.

Have a look at the alpha game-play:


It seems the entire game (including the source-code) is released under the rather art focused Creative Commons Attribution (cc-by 3.0) license, but since that is pretty compatible even to the GPL, this shouldn't really matter at all.

Have fun playing!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Browser based MMO: Ironbane

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I wanted to write about this browser-based MMO game called Ironbane for a while, but never actually got around trying it (it's easy though, no need to register for the alpha currently, just hit play; but for me under Linux with Firefox 23 it just kept loading and loading... could have been my very slow connection though). Luckily the creator got into contact with us to remind me about it.

Here is an slightly older video of the tutorial level:


The code (GPLv3) can be accessed on Github, and there is a nice contributors guide. The author also confirmed that there are plans to release all the artworks under CC-by-SA soon, so it can be called a proper FOSS game.

But regardless of that, I feel they need to work on the huge pixel (ok actually texel) density spread, e.g. the strongly different size of individual pixels on the screen ;)

We also asked the creator about any longer plans to commercialize it and this is what he got to offer in that regard:

When we reach beta we would like to offer optional stuff like houses, special clothes and other things for donations (nothing that can give an unfair advantage). So in a way this can be classified as F2P, yes.
Which I guess sounds like a good idea to fund further development and hosting costs.

Anyways... unless you live in the same internet darkage like me, there is no reason not to give it a try!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Assault Cube reloaded, version 2.5.8

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I'm a bit hesitant to cover this game, as media licensing is a complete mess, but well some might enjoy playing it and the source-code is there ;)

Here is a longish game-play video of Assault Cube Reloaded:



You can follow the latest development and see the change-log here.

P.S.: Funny to see some of the Red Eclipse artwork and Xonotic sounds (I think) reused, but I wouldn't want to open the can of worms in regards to them being copy-left licensed...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lips of Suna 0.7.0 released

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After a long hibernation a new version of the 3D RPG Lips of Suna was released today!

Take that you, ermm brown something?

More screenshots here, and there are quite a few great new features:
  • New terrain system.
  • More responsive controls.
  • Real single player mode.
  • New spell and enchantment systems.
  • Many graphical improvements.
  • Added limited scope game modes.
  • Improved script performance.
  • Extended character modeling support.
  • User interface improvements.
  • Improved mod loading.
  • Major code cleanup.
  • Several less interesting changes.
Looks like the developers are back at it full-force, so give them some encuraging feedback over here!

Friday, August 09, 2013

GSoC 2013 pushes SuperTuxKart forward!

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If you follow our planet, this is no news, but the recent advances in graphics, networking a other stuff from SuperTuxKart are quite nice. This is basically a result of them being accepted to this years Google Summer of Code.

Not showing most of the new features yet is this nice video featuring the mascot of OpenGameArt.org as a new player character:



But their blog has many interesting technical details (and other screenshots + videos) to show off the new features.

So if you like to also contribute, or just want to praise the great work, have a look at their FreeGamer hosted forums :)

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Stunt Rally 2.1 released

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My luck... I do the reluctant once in two weeks post to keep the blog alive, and almost the next day is an unexpected big new release of a cool game ;)

Ahh well... Stunt Rally 2.1 seems to have ventured into even less realistic spheres now:

Awesome alien worlds in Stunt Rally 2.1
A lot more (mostly more conventional) new screenshots can be seen here.

All I need now is a nice unrealistically spongy arcade style vehicle handling, and I am happy :p

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Much activity for Zero-K and some other news

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Zero-K, the probably coolest fully FOSS offspring of the SpringRTS engine has seen at least two new releases since it last crossed my mind to check their page... a pity actually as the new features of version 1.1.7.0 (and prior) seem quite nice.
And for those not into the game (yet), there is now a channel with commented multi-player matches like this one:



Just a pity that the game-play doesn't really allow much zooming in to see the graphically really nice units ;)

In unrelated news:

Hmm, there is probably much more... so please comment below :D

Sunday, July 14, 2013

DevCorner: Open (Game Art) Bundle

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An interesting mixture to "pay what you want" and "ransom funding" has recently surfaced with the Open Bundle:



You can buy all the offered game art and use them under the CC-by license and if the total threshold is reached (10k, 1 day remaining, 9.3k already pledged) all the game art (2d sprites and music) will be officially released under the CC0. A split of the funds is btw. shared with the EFF and Creative Commons.

For those wondering: no, it is not done by our friends of OpenGameArt.org, but they think it is a good project anyways. Interestingly the creator is also thinking of expanding the idea:

Do you want to host your own "public domain ransom"?
I'd love to help you! Email me at nick@commonly.cc
P.S.: While we are on last day notices: Today ends the registration period for the Unvanquished summer tournament. Also check out their latest Alpha 17.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead, funded!

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The self described open-source rogue-like survivalcraft / driving game in a sci-fi zombie apocalypse has successfully reached its goal on Kickstarter, and one of the developers will now be able to work on it full-time for a few months to implement for example a back-end for proper graphics.

But see and hear about it yourself:


The first stretch-goal is close too, with 12 days remaining to pledge money towards this cool project.

Less rosy does it look for the previously featured Data Dealer project. With only 48 hours to go, but still about 10k missing it will be a close finish if at all. They got some remarkable press lately though and jumped up about 10k in the last days, so it is still possible. So if you haven't done it yet, pledge here.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Open Source Never Dies

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The beauty of open source is that projects never officially die as long as the source is available.

Some classics simply keep moving forward because of this.  They get written off, domains expire, progress seems non-existent, but then somebody with a bit of knowledge and drive does something and the project is alive again!  That is the beauty of Free / Libre & Open Source Software.

Super Tux

The last Super Tux release was 0.3.3 in March 2010; that isn't even labelled stable.  The last stable release was, y'know I couldn't even find out.  It was before 2007, that's all I know.

Progress is slowly made though behind the scenes - something more obvious since the project recently acquired a forum with FreeGameDev.  There are several 'clones' (a GIT term) that have been worked on in the last year or so, with the master branch receiving plenty of love this year.

One of their problems is that some things are hard to find out without quizzing the developer(s).  For example, the editor for the development version is a separate project (as explained here), but that doesn't appear to be documented for the time being.

Status: Release required, Web News or Blog required

Extreme Tux Racer

Now here's a blast from the past.  Extreme Tux Racer, long ago losing its domain/forums, has come back to life seemingly from the brink.  With the forums moved to Sourceforge, there's been a stream of development activity.

(I even helped by managing to acquire admin access to the project in order to give it to the new developers.)

And it isn't just background noise; version 0.6 beta1 has been released!

Still, without a website or much PR beyond the forum they could do with a few fresh faces.  Forums can be quite closed communities - if you don't check it, you wouldn't know of this release.  I bet they would appreciate some feedback, so check it out if you can.

Status: Website required, Outreach required

Other News

Are there any other open source games that look stalled on the surface but are coming back to life?  Comment!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Data Dealer, an interesting project to fund!

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The the last Kickstarter game project we featured was sadly not successful and with only 11 days to go it doesn't look too good for Data Dealer either. But this HTML5 and CC-by-SA licensed game project comes with a pretty cool idea and is quite playable already.



It centers around the idea that services like Facebook & Google really arn't in the business of bringing you a good service (aka "If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold") and makes a ironic game out of that.

Here is game-play trailer to give you an better idea:



Or try the current demo on their webpage.

Now of course as we have all recently learned (or at least got confirmation about), the reality is even more twisted than just the private business side of things. But over the revelations of the mass surveillance by the NSA & Co., we should still not forget that all those big internet companies arn't victims by far either.

P.S.: My best wishes go out to Mr. Snowden! You are a hero of our generation.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Unvanquished summer tournament

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Given the often quite small online communities around FOSS games, one has to become creative on how to keep players and attract new ones. Regular tournaments are one of those good ideas, albeit one that is a lot of work organizing.
One of the games that is still struggling to attract a stable player base is Unvanquished, even though the game is based on Tremulous and thus quite well developed game-play wise.

Don't hide from the Aliens
However for those complaining about it being the "same old" just with fancy graphics, they have implemented an all new resource and base building system, which will be also used in the tournament! To quote them:
Your tactics may need to change to compensate for this, but you can always test out the new gameplay on our development server beforehand, as well as by attending and observing our weekly development games on Saturdays. An explanation of the differences between our gameplay and the classic Tremulous variety will be explained in a helpful guide that we will provide to you shortly. Most notably, camping is no longer a desirable tactic, and map control is the new focus.
They said "no more camping" !"§$%&/!!!
So where can you learn more about this tournament? Well follow the previous link ;) The event will begin in the middle of July, with the first matches held on the weekend of Friday, July 19th through Sunday, July 21st.But if you manage to pass those rounds, you will have to plan for some matches on the following weekend too.
Registration starts on the 1st of July and you will need at least 3 other people on your team. I would naturally suggest a FreeGamer team, however due to my current bad internet connection, it is sadly not possible for me to join. But I hope some of the matches will be recored so that we can cover them here on the blog too :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

DevCorner: Underapprechiated game engines

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In my never ending search for a FOSS game engine that is usable for game modding with out having to reinvent the wheel (nor requiring to be a C++ code master) & having decent tools for content creation (because I am spoiled and think that is a minimum requirement for a game engine) I have become quite disillusioned lately. That is because *spoiler alert* sadly there is none so far... but a few are close luckily.

The usual contenders for 3D action games are your mixed assortment of idTech based engines, most notably ioQuake3. There are a few upcoming contenders like Unvanquished's Daemon engine (which is a mix of ET:Wolf, ioQuake3 and Xreal) and a yet to emerge idTech4 based champion (my uninformed guess is that it will be dhewm3). But all of them lack a decent game-play scripting function.
On the other side of the idTech spectrum, there is the idTech1 based granddaddy DarkPlaces, which while having advanced to an quite impressive feature set, suffers a quite a bit from its nut-bolted & mostly undocumented client side add-on on the already a bit arcane script language QuakeC.

Interestingly the idTech2 based engines get little attention though. I have highlighted a few nice game projects based in it in the past, but it is probably due to the fact that each project is hacking on their own engine fork, that none has gained prominence as a game engine on it's own. But feature wise the engines behind AlienArena, Overdose and Warsow are probably the most advanced.
The last one of these, has been probably the most overlooked, with the game itself not exactly open-source friendly and the engine being developed more or less behind closed doors. It seems however that this has changed now, although given recent project news it is unclear what made them change their approach. But an all new version of it is now on Github with the main developer mentioning a few really nice changes here. Let's hope it isn't just a "source-drop" of a dying project, as after digging into it a bit (the documentation is really fragmented and lacking) I have to say that it includes a few really awesome features not commonly seen in other FOSS engines:
Besides being really performant, it is fully scriptable and has some quite unique multiplayer features like awards, friendlists and persistent game statistics. It also seems to make good process in having easy to edit GLSL shaders, which I have realized is a much rarer feature than I originally thought. Last but not least it has a really modern looking and fully scriptable menu and HUD.

Ah and before I move on to non-idTech based engines I should mention Engoo for those looking for a modernized software rendering engine based on idTech1 (there was some controversy over it, so I am trying to show some support for its further development here).

Ok, that covered, what are some maybe under appreciated non-idTech 3D engines?
First of all I should probably mention the well known ones for the sake of completeness: Cube2, Ogre3D and the new big player Torque3D. All of which are IMHO still failing to provide a good platform for easy game creation (mainly due, following the same order: in-fexibility & lack of scripting; huge mess of independent parts & bad toolchain; lack of Linux port & buggy and overly complicated toolchain).

One of the shining but lesser known examples of trying to improve the status quo is the jMoneky3 engine. Even though it is still a bit bare-bone (e.g. lacking game frameworks) the nicely integrated SDK and the great new node based GLSL shader editor keeps on attracting my attention. Similary the BlenderGameEngine sure has a few great advantages due to its tight integration. Sadly it seems to be the unliked stepchild of the Blender3D project though, which some quite serious limitations and awesome additions like the candy branch never reaching the the main release.

Then there are the still very much alive big names of the past: Irrlicht and Crystal Space. I am not exactly sure why those never quite reached the required mass to become the engines of choice, but I guess the license mess around Irrklang (and other non free but more or less required addons) and the CS Yo Frankie disaster might have to do with it. But at least Crystal Space was accepted as a hosting organization for this year's GSoC again, so they must be doing something right.

Last but not least, I would like to give a mention to a relatively new contender: Octaforge, which has supplied a steady stream of updated betas lately. The interesting things about Octaforge is that it takes all the good things from Cube2 and combines it with a much updated renderer (Tesseract) and full lua script support. But sadly it isn't quite there yet, and the move to a scripting language required the removal of all the nice game-code that it inherited from Cube2.

As closing remarks I have to admit that this article was rather lopsided towards FPS game engines (and more general purpose ones). Of course there are many great other game engines in the FOSS sphere that focus on RTS or (MMO)RPG games etc. I do however feel that many of the grievances voiced here probably apply there too, but maybe it isn't quite as frustrating there as in the FPS genre.
But if you have some better insights into those type of engines feel free to comment below!

tl;dr: the author (as an old school modder) is frustrated that after all these years there still isn't an FOSS FPS engine that can be modded as comfortably as the Half-Life2 engine or UDK. Don't miss the new qfusion stuff though.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lost Sky Tactical J-RPG [PyGame]

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Lost Sky is a PyGame-based Tactical J-RPG that runs on Linux, OS X and Windows.

To play on a system that has mercurial and pygame installed, run:

hg clone https://bitbucket.org/featheredmelody/lost-sky-project-public
cd lost-sky-project-public/Story\ of\ a\ Lost\ Sky/
chmod +x srpg.py
./srpg.py

Lost Sky screenshots


Story of a Lost Sky is a Turn Based Strategy RPG with gameplay that is similar to Fire Emblem. Units are placed on a tile map and each side takes turns moving and attacking. Outside the battle map, the player is able to customize their characters and equip new spells and traits.
This project was discovered by seeing a link banner on Valyria Tear's blog. Yay networking!

Code License: New BSD
Content License: Various: PD, CC-BY 3.0, CC-Sampling+ (non-free), Unknown

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Xonotic 0.7 released

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After an agonizingly long wait, I am happy to report that a new official release of the premier FOSS arena FPS Xonotic is available to the masses.

Here is a nice (but slightly older) game-play video for those not having played Xonotic yet:



Changes are quite extensive compared to the last official release... most notably an extensive update the the CTF mode, some neat additional features for competitive gaming and an assortment of great new maps.

New maps in Xonotic 0.7

On the technical side of things, the engine DarkPlaces got quite a few performance improvements (mainly due to the fact that the creator now works at Valve software and thus has direct access to Nvidia's and AMD's graphics hardware divisions) and that an all new script compiler is now in use. That it runs on SDL 2.0 might also increase it's usability a lot for some.
There are also finally an animation bending feature for the player-models and creation of new characters has never been easier now that the iqm format is used.

You can comment on this release over at the Xonotic forum release announcement thread (or of course here in our comment section).

Also check out these two still under heavy development mods for xonotic:
  • Overkill is a mod that attempts to combine the best of minsta gameplay and TDM/CTF. It also has some nice vector shaded new weapons and player models.
  • DotC is an DOTA like but in 1st person view type of mod.
Last but not least, the awesome all new level editor for quake based games, Trenchbroom is making great advances and should soon allow easy mapping for Xonotic out of the box.

P.S.: If you have a really fast Android device, you can also try to run Xonotic on it via this newly fixed DarkPlaces port. Just don't expect to be able to compete online with touchscreen input :p

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

DevCorner: Liberate some great Blender game art!

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UPDATE: First set of files has been released (license CC0) and on my advise he added some stretch goals:

  • 600$ > 3 game ready Enemies! (models, sfx, animations, effects)

  • 650$ > Dynamic optimized lighting system! (rich dynamic lighting with low resource usage )

  • 750$ > 4 new weapons!(model, texture, sound)

  • 850$ > Triple the amount of the actual props! (interactive objects,explosibles, new walls, doors windows etc.)

  • 900$ > New player model (model, textures)

Currently it is standing at 530$ and there are 22 days to go, so chances are we will see some more nice stuff out of this.
------------
Way too many closed-source game projects never see the light of the day, and their code and assets are forever lost. Now at least one developer thought he could at least make a few bucks by liberating this content under the CC0 license:





There is some seriously nice stuff in that pack, and the 500 US $ he is asking for on his indigogo page is a bargain for it.

At the time of writing this, 200$ have been already pledged, so with your contribution it should be easy going to reach the goal. Update: 515$ contributed, thanks to everyone! Maybe the guy should think about strechgoals ;)

But I sure wish more developers of failed projects would release their assets like this.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Hedgewars 0.9.19 released

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Everyone's favorite clone of worm-warfare, Hedgewars recently got a rather big new release as one of the developers pointed out to us by email.

One of the new level themes for Hedgewars 0.9.19

The changes are quite extensive, so instead of failing to summarize them here, check out the above linked quite extensive original release announcement.

You can also have a look at this fan-made trailer if you enjoy cheezy stuff ;)

Friday, May 31, 2013

WIP "OpenFlashpoint"

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Here is another post about a project I found in the far ends of the internet ("here be dragons"), but which seems really promising never the less.

But first of all a disclamer by the original creator:

The screenshots you are about to see are not yet an eye candy, they're rather to be seen as a 'proof of concept' with lots of crappy placeholders. Work so far has mainly been done on the internal mechanics of game handling such as object interaction (player can carry gun which again can 'carry' a mag and the like), realistic calculation of trajectories, hit testing etc.
So what am I talking about? A (most likely) open-source Operation Flashpoint type of game running on the Irrlicht engine with the current working title OpenFlashpoint:



All there is so far is a thread on the Irrlich forums (with a few more details and development screenshots) and sadly the main developer seems to be bogged down by "real-life" ATM. But it seems like a worthwhile project to support.

Oh and get this: it is developed primarily for Linux :D

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Comprehensive lists of open-source game engines for proprietary games

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Recently came across these two very comprehensive lists of open-source game engines for proprietary games edit: and various clones and inspired projects:

I feel the latter has an a bit misleading title, as none of those are game clones (e.g. similar remakes) and most of those are based on the liberated original source-code also... but well I guess people get what the list is supposed to be about :) (Edit: see comments).

However talking about an actual engine reimplementation project: OpenMW has recently released a new update (0.23.0) with some impressive additions (as usual) and version 0.24.0 is already tested as a RC right now.



Feel free to comment about this release on our forums!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dead Morning, an open-source horror game

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Today I bring you news of yet another rather low profile Darkplaces engine game (e.g. the same engine that runs Xonotic), called Dead Morning:



As you can see in these other, more game-play oriented videos (1, 2, 3), it seems to be quite heavily influenced by another recent 1st person horror game...

The website mentions a fully open-source release at the end of this year, so I am rather intrigued what they will come up by then!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rhythos RPG Builder Kickstarter

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There seem to be not too many Kickstarter projects that promise open-source results (and I have to admit, incentives are lower if you don't get a copy of a cool game at a discounted price ;) ), but the Rhythos RPG builder project looks like one very much worth of support:



The guy behind it (don't miss the slightly goofy video on the kickstarter page ;) ) seems to be quite far along development already, basing the editor on a previous game of his and utilizing the Liberated Pixel Cup graphics.

He is also asking for non-monetary contributions, so check out his newly set-up community website to learn more about how to contribute.

While personally I don't see myself playing such 2D RPGs much, I contributed because it seems like a great platform for young game developers to start out with... and you have to catch them early as they say (no pedobear reference intended :D ).

Monday, May 13, 2013

Play FreeCiv in your browser (HTML5)

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FreeCiv is now available as a HTML5 implementation that runs right in your (modern) browser:


Load times are quick too, so give it a try. It even supports multiplayer.

Tip: Moving units is either done via the arrow keys (preferably the number key-pad ones as those allow diagonal movement) or by dragging a red line from the unit to the desired location.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Two times (0.)2.0

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(Yes, that is a rather thin common ground to combine these two news in one post ;) ).

Anyways, today there is one for the "FreeGamers", aka those that are looking for more or less playable games:
There is a new release (2.0) of StuntRally, and I guess I can quote Twain here too:

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!
Because it looks like development was not only resumed after the earlier announcement of a project hold, but even increased in pace :)

Anyways, here is a great video:


And the other one is for "FreeGameDevs":
And as they say: good things come to those that wait, and things are better late then never... so I am happy to also report about the Octaforge 0.2.0 beta1 release.

This friendly fork of the Cube2 engine, brings an impressive list of new features on the table, and should once it becomes more "production ready" be a strong contender for the easiest to mod FPS engine out there!