Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Winter Shorts 3: PyWeek #16 in April, Rainbow Rooms, Valyria Tear on OS X

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PyWeek #16 in April

PyWeek logo

PyWeek is a game jam that obviously goes on for one week and requires the use of Python. It takes place online and there are overall winners in team and solo categories, as well as awards. The dates of the 16th PyWeek challenge are 00:00 UTC April 14, 2013 to 00:00 UTC April 21, 2013. Registration opens on 15. March 2013.

There is a message board for the community and there are interesting methods to publish Python games as HTML/JavaScript using pyjs, as demonstrated by the PyWeek #15 entry Kaos.

License Requirements: At least Shared Source required. Free software licenses recommended.

PyWeek #15 Entry: Rainbow Rooms


Rainbow Rooms is a physical-nonsense-maze puzzle game based on libtcod.

Various fonts are being used, some of which might be problematic license-wise for including in for example Debian's official repositories but it should be possible to replace them in less than two hours including research and documentation.

Code License: GPLv2
Content License: Unclear

Valyria Tear: "Final Release of Half-Episode I"

New Valyria Tear GUI screens

Valyria Tear Half-Episode I has been released, which I suppose we can take as 50% of Episode I's acts being complete.

The release brings new graphical interfaces and development is ongoing.

An OS X version can now also be grabbed from the OSX thread.

Code License: GPLv2
Content License: Various (DFSG approved)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Asylum: Free-as-in-Freedom Horror Adventure, Successfully Crowd-Funded

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This is a guest post by Hythlodaeus on an interesting FLOSS game engine project, being developed by a professional games company.



I guess I should take a few paragraphs on this article to explain my stance on crowd-funded game projects. I've always been turned off by most Kickstarter game projects for a very simple reason: after personally inquiring a plethora of developers on their stance for Open-Source and Free Software, I was generally met with negative replies, half-baked excuses, bitter retorts or complete silence.

Now, although I recognize it is every developer's right to pick the license and the conditions for the usage of their own work, it strikes me as a very odd attitude for people engaging into crowd funding projects to be so unwilling to provide any other warranties to their prospective backers and future customers other than “we will make this happen if you give us enough money”. From this point, let's make something clear: pledging on a crowd-funded game project isn't exactly the same thing as buying a video game. From the backers' part it's an investment and a risk. It's about depositing your faith on other peoples' words, in hopes they will eventually deliver what they promised. When you buy a game, be it good or bad, you at least know that you're dealing with a finished product. When you pledge on a crowd-funded project, completion is only a possibility regardless of the campaign's success.

So, in my personal opinion, I've always thought crowd-funded game projects should strive to provide the level of trust they request from their backers. In this case,  that means allowing people to have access to the game's source code under a permissive / Free Software license, preferably starting right at the end of the campaign. Why? Simply because that allows for a tighter control of what's going on in the development backstage, and will allow every contributor to provide better feedback on the work being done. Raw engine code also gives backers something that can eventually be picked up and used for other personal purposes, if the project happens to fail for some reason.

With that said, let's talk a little about this project, which is, after all, what lead me to write this post. Asylum is the brainchild of Agustin Cordes, the Argentinian developer behind Scratches, a horror game that managed to get some degree of attention way back in 2006. The project aims to create a Lovecraftian-inspired horror point-and-click adventure game that will focus on an intense and immersive atmosphere, followed closely by engaging storytelling. From the trailer and screenshots provided so far, it seems like a rather professional endeavour, but for me the most pleasant surprise, was that the developer's in-house engine, Dagon, will be Free and Open-Source. On top of that, Cordes himself actually took the time to explain why he believes the engine should be free, and how such a decision aims not only to help preserve Asylum for future generations, but also to empower other indie developers by providing an open platform anyone will be free to use.


Since there is no information available about specific licensing on the project page, I actually went on to ask the developer about which specific license was being used for the Dagon engine:
Me: Hello. I have one question regarding Dagon. You already stated it's going to be free and open source, but exactly under which software license are you going to release it?
Agustin Cordes: Hi! We're currently using CDDL but I'm expecting to re-license with the more popular MPL 2.0 very soon. Cheers!
Me: Fair enough. Do I have your permission to quote this conversation in a news blog about Free Software gaming?
Agustin Cordes: Absolutely! :)
“MPL” referring of course to the Mozilla Public License, which despite not being a strong copyleft license, it is both Free Software and GPL compatible. So perhaps Dagon can motivate a new generation of graphic adventure lovers to innovate upon the work started by Asylum. We can only hope future Kickstarter projects and indie developers adopt a similar perspective on Open-Source development.

With little less than a few days to go (I'm ashamed to say I only heard about this project very recently), Asylum is already fully funded, but if you still wish to contribute to this genuinely FLOSS project, or simply purchase the game for a special price, you still have a chance. Extra funding goals have already been set, and some additional rewards may also seem worthy to you.

The source for Asylum's engine, Dagon, can already be found here, currently licensed under CDDL (Thanks to Evropi for pointing this out).


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Winter Shorts 2: Physica, SkyRiot, OpenMW

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Physica screenshots


Physica is a very simple casual platformer game where the goal is to drive a square through game levels from its starting position to his goal, avoiding hazards and without falling down.

SkyRiot screens

SkyRiot is available for free for Android on Google Play and was released under open source and free content licenses on SourceForge.net [forum post].
SkyRiot is a 2D flying shooting platform action game for Android devices. Fly a hoverboard and use an assortment of weaponry as you, an anarchist, single-handedly wage war against a totalitarian regime. Full 360-degree aiming along with total freedom of movement will keep you glued to your device for many hours as you blast your way across over 10 game maps.




OpenMW 0.21.0 has been released. Changelog:
  • Various dialogue, trading, and disposition fixes and improvements
  • Torch flickering improved to better match vanilla Morrowind
  • Fix for attribute fluctuation when infected with Ash Woe Blight
  • Adjusted activation range to better match vanilla Morrowind
  • Fixes for the Journal UI
  • Fixed crash caused by Golden Saint models
  • Fix for beast races being able to wear shoes
  • Fix for background music not playing
  • Fix for meshes without certain node names not being loaded
  • Fix for incorrect terrain shape on inital cell load
  • Fix for MWGui::InventoryWindow creating a duplicate player actor at the origin
  • Added video playback
  • Added support for escape sequences in message box and dialogue text
  • Added AI related script functions, note that AI is not functional yet
  • Implemented fallbacks for necessary ini values in the importer, unused in OpenMW as of yet
  • Implemented execution of scripts of objects in containers/inventories in active cells
  • Cell loading performance improvements
  • Removed broken GMST contamination fixing mechanism

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Winter Shorts 1: Word War Vi Laser Edition, Space Nerds in Space

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SNiS Engineering screen
Stephen Cameron, one of my personal heroes of game development (Be The Wumpus), made Word War Vi support color laser projectors using the openlase library [blog post].


Another project that our forum users were allowed to follow in this thread is Space Nerds in Space:

So this game (when it becomes a game) is very much inspired by Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator
See: artemis.eochu.com The idea is you have a game which is played much as the actors in the Star Trek TV series played their roles on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. There are a number of "stations": Navigation, Weapons, Science, Communications, etc. and each player assumes that role. Each station has it's own laptop or other computer which communicates via network to a central server which simulates the game universe. So it's kind of a cooperative multiplayer network game... No reason not to have multiple teams in multiple starships inhabiting the same server/universe either cooperating or doing battle.
Mine is different than Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator in that it is:
GPL'ed.
Linux/gtk
Probably uglier (lol).
Probably more scalable (yay vector graphics.)
Not even close to finished.


It will probably be a while until I'm in a room with enough Linux users to test play this game but when the time comes, I shall be prepared!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cube2 engine keeps on expanding!

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While the recent new release of Cube2: Sauerbraten didn't bring any really big changes, the network of friendly forks keeps expanding. But before I go into more details, here is a new feature trailer of Cube2: Sauerbraten:



The maybe most prominent and fully FOSS fork RedEclipse is still working on the promised new 1.4 release, with them doing some silly and some cool enhancement projects in the meantime... so yeah:

Red Eclipse in Valve Time tm
Octaforge still has a few day to go in order to avoid missing their estimated release "this month", but when browsing OpenGameArt.org, I came across an interesting fork of the Sandbox Game Maker fork, called Lamiae with the RPG game Kelgar:


Kelgar Gameplay 0.8 - Indie DB

According to their github page, content seems to be libre (CC-by or CC-by-SA) but information is a bit scarce. Even less information is available for this other fork, called SabiCube, but you can download and test their alpha.

Oh and a bit older, but also interesting: the emscripten powered HTML5 port of Cube2, called Banana Bread, has also really picked up since the main emscripten developer was hired by the Mozilla foundation. Here you can see it running a multi-player game (very recent new feature), and with the upcoming (also Mozilla powered) asm.js Javascript speed-up, it will probably run at near native speeds in the not too far future.

Ok... I hope that is all... if you know of other interesting Cube2 powered projects, please comment below!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SuperTuxKart Development News

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First, after 12 years of development, SuperTuxKart is a candidate for the March project of the month at Sourceforge. This is a huge honor and a significant boost for the project, so please vote for us here.

Second, last month we were featured in Microsoft's IllumiRoom demo alongside Red Eclipse (another FOSS game) and Halo. For those who are interested, you can find the video in the last post. It's the second time STK has been featured in an unexpected place. The game has previously appeared in an episode of the show Friday Night Lights. The episode was critical of drug use and videogames, so downloads for the game probably didn't go up. I am not entirely sure why they chose a kart racer game over, let's say, postal 3, but licensing issues are likely to have played a prominent role in their decision. STK's permissive licenses mean, companies don't need to contact us before using it in media.
Development news
To try these new features out by compiling the latest source code from sourceforge page. Links are located at the bottom of the page.

Bubblegum:
The Bubble gum powerup currently can be dropped by a player to create a track obstacle. While not finalized, there is an idea to make it more useful by including a second phase to this particular powerup. The first phase occurs when the player activates the gum, it expands into a pink force-field which protects the player from enemy attacks for 15 seconds. If the player is hit by a weapon while the force-field is up, the shield is destroyed, and bubble gum shrapnel will hit any players within a certain proximity blinding them for a couple seconds. It will also leave a smear on the ground which if hit, will cause a moderate decrease in the players speed.

The second phase happens if the fifteen seconds pass without the shield being destroyed. It shrinks back down and the player can then drop it on the ground like in the current version of the game.
The new icon

New bubblegum icon       

Bubblegum icon 2

Planetarium:

Planetarium 2

Planetarium 1

This is a level Samuncle is currently working on.

Konqi's new kart:

Here's what will likely be the final version of Konqi's new kart. It now includes pedals and a steering wheel. It's looking good.

New Peripheral Support: Wiimote





Funto is working on adding wiimote support via the open source library “wiiuse” https://github.com/rpavlik/wiiuse. After 3 years it's finally coming together. Wiimotes now work on Linux and Windows (if you compile from the latest svn). It is not working on OS X yet, but Auria is buying a wiimote to try to get it working on her Mac. There are also some issues with tuning and steering that need to be worked out and we have not integrated support for motionplus, because only the external version was working. So wiimotes with motionplus built in will not work (older models will). We may add the motionplus functionality in later and we always appreciate help.

Game Tutorial:


Auria is developing a gameplay tutorials covering the core gameplay elements for new players. The tutorial takes place on a modified version of the track “Hacienda” and the player takes a single lap around the track. During the lap the game pauses periodically to explains things like how to control the kart, obtaining and using weapons and powerups, how to use nitro boosters and the skidding feature.

New WIP Game Mode: Soccer

Soccer mode is one of our developer funto's, pet projects. It's a multiplayer game mode where two teams fight to push an oversized soccer ball into the opposing team's goal. There is a test level derived from the Stadium arena. Currently, obstacles have been removed, but map makers could always re-add them. It's WIP, and the scoring system is not currently implemented and the system for making team's is still a WIP.

Other enhancements:



- Sparking particles now emit from the kart's wheel's while drifting. It's a welcomed addition. You can also compare Konqi's old kart (below) to the new one (above).



- Characters can now wear customizable hats. We'd love to see what people can make

You can test all these features out today by downloading and compiling the latest trunk of the SVN, located at: http://supertuxkart.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/supertuxkart/main/

How to compile from from source:
This is a guest post by Antoine Stroll.

Monday, February 11, 2013

To unknown horizons to forge worlds...

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I totally missed the rather big update of Unknown Horizons at the end of last month. The changes/updates are summarized by them as following:

  • Completely new tileset
  • New buildings: alvearies, barracks, blender, cocoa field, doctor, herbary, lookout, pastry shop, spice field, vineyard, vintner
  • Many new graphics for existing buildings
  • AI can now handle war and diplomacy
  • Vast performance improvements
  • New music track: Battle
  • Tons of bug fixes
  • Updated translations
  • Much, much more
Yesterday there was also a new 0.7.0 release of the 3D Worldforge client Ember:
Worldforge 3D client Ember 0.7.0
Graphics are starting to look rather nice, right?

Last but not least,the recently open-sourced AgentKeeper got a dedicated sub-forum on our messageboards and is looking for contributors:



So, if you want to help out with this brand new jMonkey powered dungeon tycoon game, check out this nice list of video tutorials.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Various follow-ups

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First off as a rather fast follow up on the last post:

Otherwise, as previously mentioned, Garage Games has now also released their 2D game framework under the MIT license:



Their 3D game engine also saw some nice updates lately, however sadly their crowd funding push to port Torque3D to Linux fell (not totally unsurprisingly) short of their 30,000$ mark (with about 10,000$ pledged).

Monday, February 04, 2013

Quick FPS updates

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I will keep it short today: Unvanquished Alpha12 released:

New rim-lighting options on alien scum
New releases of Red Eclipse and Alien Arena still pending, but really close (tm), not much news from War§ow either except that they are looking for a .deb package manager.

Xonotic's development seems to have slowed down a bit, but here is a nice road map of what is to come, and some current fragging fun can be seen here.

Oh and the developers of the Octaforge engine estimated that the first release might be this month :)