Archive for the ‘2d’ Category

Ancient Beast: HTML5 Hexagonal RTS’ First Release

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
Ancient Beast is a FOSS game project that has been in development by Freezing Moon for a couple of years, tantalizing everyone with top notch concept art and 3D models. 
After a rather large restructuring in game scope, where they changed from attempting to create a 3D RTS in the Blender Game Engine, to a 2D hexagonal TBS built on HTML5, they have delivered a promising gameplay prototype that offers a mix of Heroes of Might and Magic and Magic: The Gathering’s gameplay. 
Gameplay currently revolves around summoning creatures and using their abilities to defeat other summoners
Still in heavy development, the game still needs to implement the entirety of its sizable bestiary, as well as adding animated creatures by utilizing the models they have created.
So, if you have any skills in web development, jump aboard and help them complete this awesome game!

All Maps of Bos Wars 2.6.1+ (svn r10193)

Monday, December 3rd, 2012
I filled a recent craving for playing a sci-fi real time strategy game by re-discovering Bos Wars and playing every single player map.
image: Bos’ level of art, many screenshots indicate a much lower quality.
The game runs on low-spec computers and can be quite fast-paced. I quite enjoyed playing it in a tower-defense/tower rush style. The last release of Bos Wars has been over two years ago, but development is not frozen, the last commit was on 2012-08-09.
The three biggest issues I personally had are:
  1. Some maps are aesthetically displeasing.
  2. For a beginner, it’s hard to decide what map to play.
  3. Many units and buildings don’t have voices/sounds.
  4. The interface is confusing in regards to resource quantity.

Visual style of old maps

image: most likely the first map you play in Bos (because it’s selected by default)
To address issues 1 and 2, I hope that this blog post will help. The screenshots at the bottom show the game start screen at 1280×1024 for every of the “Start Game” single player maps. If you see a level that you’d like to play, right-click and “open” the link or image, to see the level name in the file name of the screenshot.
An in-game solution to issue 1. would be to create a map folder called “old” and move all levels in there, when the rendered ground texture clashes with the units, buildings and resources.
This suggestion might be seen as disrespectful insult to the original map makers, but having the current map selection structure is a barrier for new players, who need some guidance to get started without having to open random levels first. They are likely to assume that the first level they play is representative of the visual style of the entire game, which can be quite wrong, as you can see by the different-looking screenshots at the bottom.

Map selection screen

image: Bos Wars map selection screen

To solve issue 2 in-game, a preview of the mini-map, as it is seen with “non-revealed map” would help. This might be a non-trivial UI/in-game-rendering task if it has to work fully automatic.

Missing/repetitive sounds

In regards to issue 3, I started by contributing a patch with some voices and sounds. If you would like to help as a voice actor or by turning voice lines into soldier/pilot/driver voice/effect mixes, please feel free to comment in this blog post, if you would like to coordinate this with me and other potential contributors. Female voices are especially welcome (source).
Feedback on my patch is welcome too. Watch/listen to the video below, to see what kind of voices are missing and what kind of voices are being used multiple times in Bos Wars.

Resource UI

I’m not sure I have figured it out completely but here goes nothing.
image: how I interpret Bos’ resource info
Without having thought this through in detail, this is what seems to be missing:
  • Resource icons.
  • Absolute value of resources in stock, rather than divided by ten(?).
  • Color coding of income/spending.
  • Display of the sum of income and spending – in a prominent position, individual display of income and spending in a non-prominent position.
  • Indication of resource effect by buildings when selecting buildings and when hovering them in the build menu.

Starting screens of all Bos Wars maps

If you see a level that you’d like to play, right-click and “open” the link or image, to see the level name in the file name of the screenshot.
gallery: All Bos Wars maps

A tale of two Hexagons

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
This is a guest post by user Hythlodaeus, discussing open source clones, indie game community behavior and developer’s apologies.

Vee Software’s Open Hexagon is a very, very recent game, but even in its short existence, it has already managed to stir up quite an amount of controversy, the matter being that Open Hexagon is none other than a free software clone of the popular iOS/Android game Super Hexagon, created by the equally popular indie developer Terry Cavanagh.

Now, video game clones are not a negative or uncommon thing at all, and have pretty much existed since the beginnings of video game history. However, Open Hexagon developer, Vee, has recently found himself the victim of some serious flak, the reason behind this being that he decided to release his own game clone before the much anticipated PC/Steam version of Super Hexagon. This resulted in a legion of rabid Cavanagh fans rushing in to accuse Vee of being a thief, a liar, and quite a variety of other unpleasant names and insults.

To make a few things clear, Open Hexagon is not only 100% free software, programmed from scratch using C++ and SFML (unlike Super Hexagon which is primarily based in Adobe Flash, with the PC port being completely redone in C++ as well), as it is also available for absolutely zero cost. It is not geared as a competitor for Super Hexagon, and it’s certainly not trying to profit from its original concept at all. If anything it’s actually attracting more attention towards the original game. If that wasn’t enough, the developer actually took the time and decency to ask permission to Cavanagh himself to create his game, while he had no obligation to do so at all.

image: tweets between devs

What ensued was a deep and long-winded apology from Vee, to all Super Hexagon fans, and the subsequent approval of his game by Cavanagh, despite the fact that he was never against the idea, since day one. I guess all’s well that ends well, but even though Cavanagh’s reactions were fairly reasonable from his part, I still can’t stop thinking that issues like this could have been easily avoided altogether, had he, and other indie developers such as him, made habit of releasing the source code of their own games, something that has, in fact, been done successfully in the past with surprisingly positive results.

Call me crazy, but I find it troubling that this new, so-called generation of “indie” developers and their supporters, heralded as the avant-guarde of video game originality, and as a counter-cultural movement that opposes industry stereotypes and its negative practices, shows so little knowledge and sensibility on matters of software freedom, and how it can be used to help and empower other amateur / independent developers such as themselves. The result is the accidental propagation, to their followers, of the gross misconception that for some reason, game concepts are the exclusive property of their authors, and that copying and innovating over other people’s ideas is a wrong thing to do. Coincidently, Vee himself has shown some great eloquence on this matter in his written apology, which really makes me wonder how come there aren’t more people like him in this new indie circle:

As a independent game developer, I wanted to create my own tribute version of the game, not only as an experiment, but also as a completely new experience: I wanted to make the game fully open, both as a free open-source product, and also as a customizable and scriptable game, in order to let people share their creations and have fun.

Now, the game itself is quite simple. You are a triangle spinning around a hexagon. Incoming polygons want you dead, so you have to dodge them. Sounds easy enough, right? It turns out it isn’t. And it could be a lot more if you’re whiling to help, because unlike Cavanagh, Vee crafted his game thinking of customization and the freedom to easily script, paint and construct your own levels in any way you wish.


image: Open Hexagon ad

Version 1.3 is out now, with updates pouring in, on a nearly daily basis, as Vee is still trying to shape his game into a more unique experience, a process in which you can take part as well! So if you have a mind for quick-reaction puzzle games and enjoy crafting your own personal conundrums for later enjoyment, or even showing them to your friends, by all means, download Open Hexagon, play it, and share your own levels with others!

Engine reimplementation day!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
This is a guest post by user Hythlodaeus, discussing GPLed video game engine reimplementations, and presenting several projects related to the topic.

I thought I should take some time to discuss in detail one form of project that has been sometimes featured here, on FreeGamer, and is generally quite popular in the FLOSS gaming world: engine rebuilds / re-implementations.

Rather than being wholly original projects or Intellectual Property-free clones of more popular games, engine rebuilds (also known colloquially as “engine clones”) are essentially an attempt to completely reconstruct and improve upon the features of a given original game, without going trough the trouble or replacing original game art assets and without creating a new whole, free-of-restrictions and copyrights IP. Thus, engine rebuilds merely reproduce the rules, mechanics, and game logic of the original game, while still being dependent on some other form of original data.

These projects frequently arise as a form of preservation: the need to ensure and expand compatibility of a proprietary game out of its original borders, and to make sure the target game will not only be able to run on future systems, but also to be ported to different platforms where it wasn’t originally available, without damaging the profits of the original developers or breaking any form of copyright. Better than that, engine rebuilds are a great way to fully enjoy many video game classics in a purely free-as-in-freedom environment, while still rewarding the original developers by purchasing the original game. As of now, I have four particular projects under my radar which I would like to talk to you about.

VCMI

VCMI is an engine re implementation of New World Computing’s turn-based strategy classic, Heroes of Might and Magic 3. It aims to replicate the original game, and introduce many new features that will make it a more pleasant and customizeable experience, as well as providing a platform for scenario building, mod making, and even the creation of completely new games.

VCMI has also been noted for its portability outside of the desktop computer environment, with some developers outside of the main dev team apparently creating an Android port, and other similar mobile versions.

With the recent release of version 0.90, and bordering closer and closer to the 1.0 release, VCMI is the brightest hope for the huge Heroes of Might and Magic fan community which still holds HOMM3 as its all-time favorite game in this long-running series, and whose official releases and reeditions tend to run poorly on modern operating systems, including Windows.

FreeSynd

The second project is the Syndicate reconstruction known as FreeSynd. For those that are too young to have ever played the original game, Syndicate was a dystopian organized crime simulator, in which the player controlled a team of cybernetically enhanced zombies (!!!) in a campaign to achieve complete global domination.

Syndicate was known for its fast-paced, guns-blazing gameplay, and, after many years since its original release, it’s still highly regarded as one of former British developer Bullfrog’s best titles. FreeSynd is currently on version 0.6, with updates oozing out slowly, once in every few months.

The goal of the developers is to replicate the original game as it was, when released, with further upgrades and improvements coming only after version 1.0 is finished.

At its current form, many missions can be fully played, but the game still has many bugs and much to is left to be made. However, as a fan of the original game, I still felt it was my duty to talk about it and maybe motivate some of you to lend some help to what promises to be a fantastic game. Naturally, you will still require the original game data to run FreeSynd.

NXEngine

Next up we have NXEngine. So far, I’m really surprised how come this one escaped most people’s attention, especially at the FLOSS gaming sphere. NXEngine is none other than a free, open source recreation of the legendary freeware game Cave Story. Now the original game is not only freeware, it has already been ported to as many platforms you can shake a stick at (including GNU/Linux). However the game creator, Daisuke Amaya, AKA “Pixel”, always requested people in charge of porting the game to never share the source code, due to the deal previously signed by Pixel to distribute the game commercially. This, however, did not stop programmer Caitlin Shaw from rebuilding the whole game engine from scratch, requiring only for the user to download a copy of the original freeware version, and extract all art and music assets from its bowels.

As of the current version of NXEngine (1.0.0.4), the game runs flawlessly, even more swiftly than the freeware original. Having played both in their entirety, I can say the only slight inconsistencies going for NXEngine, are a couple of enemy attack patterns which are slightly different, and barely affect game experience in any way. All in all, it’s Cave Story, running free-as-in-freedom. And that’s a great achievement by itself.

OpenXcom

Finally four our fourth project, we have OpenXcom. Many of you might be familiar with the game it is based on, as it was considered many times as one of the best PC games ever made. OpenXcom is a full reconstruction of this great tactical simulator, once again aiming for expanded compatibility and a more stable, smoother gameplay, along with many improved features and mod support planned along the way.

If you disliked the Firaxis remake, maybe you should keep an eye on this one. It’s pure, classic X-COM with all the rough edges trimmed, and even at its 0.45 release, it already seems like an impressive achievement. If you feared for the future of X-COM, fear no more. OpenXcom is here.

That’s all for now! I’m sure there are other great engine rebuild projects around there, many of which have been discussed here on FreeGamer previously. Feel free to post your own suggestions or comment on this matter.

Scavenger: Atmospheric Open Source 2D Space Exploration

Friday, October 26th, 2012
Image: Scavenger in-game credits

Scavenger is a simple space exploration game set in a large debris field, created by Fiona Burrows in December 2009.

It is polished, very atmospheric and expresses a subtle sense of humor inside item/object names.

Scavenger was voted 2nd place in the “overall” category at Ludum Dare 16 (48 hour dev jam). It recently was released in a github repository under MIT license (both code and art!).

The code is written in Python and runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

Video: Scavenger

On her blog, Fiona writes about her development process:

  1. Pick a simple idea and roll with it.
  2. Never leave an unfinished feature.
  3. If anything can be polished then do it – If an animation can be added to something then do it, if a small particle effect can be added here then do it.
  4. Don’t stress over running out of time. When it doubt, pretend this was the plan all along.

Aleona’s Tales (Stratagus game)

Monday, October 15th, 2012
Small retro-style quick news today, so that you don’t hear the crickets here on FreeGamer:

There is a new game available for the FOSS classic engine Stratagus (read up on the history of it here). It is called Aleona’s Tales:

Looks very familiar, right? Yes Grandpa!

You can download it here (only windows builds) and discuss with its creator on the Stratagus forums. Graphics are sadly a mix of various Free and non-Free licenses… but at least you get it for freeeee…

Promising Open Source jRPG: Valyria Tear

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Valyria Tear [blog, GitHub] is making stable progress! One new code contributor on GitHub, one new art contributor on OpenGameArt, a stable commit history.

If you are looking for a free, open source jRPG and are done with Fall of Imiryn, then this is the place for you to test, develop and contribute!

git clone https://github.com/Bertram25/ValyriaTear.git
cd ValyriaTear/
cmake .
make
./src/valyriatear

Valyria Tear is easy to compile with CMake and features about 30 to 60 minutes of gameplay so far.

Shorts: FreeOrion 0.4.1 and Xonotic Vehicle Gameplay

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

FreeOrion

image: Moving a fleet around in FreeOrion

video: FreeOrion testplay (best viewed at 720p HD)

FreeOrion 0.4.1 has been released a month ago. There still is no manual ship combat mode and there is a certain sluggishness regarding GUI responsiveness but the beautiful audio and graphics and consistent writing are definitely worth a try.

You can check out a preview of current 3d ship combat tech demo in this video (7m30s in).

Xonotic

Unsealed Trial 2 - Xonotic1233544-00
image: Sniping a Hovercraft on Unsealed Trial 2 in Xonotic (more screens)

I have been playing Xonotic on the [MoN] Vehicle Gameplay server and quite enjoying it lately. Just recently, a first version of Unsealed Trial 2 (screenshots) has been released there.

Some helpful vote commands:
vcall timelimit 600 (for when the time is draining too quickly)
vcall gotomap unseal (for when you realize that Unsealed Trial is the only playable map ;) )

If you’d like to record your own videos, all you need to know is on Xonotic’s Democapture wiki page.

Shorts: LambdaCube + StuntCarRacer, Naval Warfare, 0 A.D. Alpha 11

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
StuntCarRacer (last release 2006) got re-born as a demo for LambdaCube 3D, a Haskell-based rendering engine.

Naval Warfare is a game in progress being made at Universidade de Brasília, using Gear2D (Linux/Windows).

image: celtic settlement in 0 A.D.

0 A.D. Alpha 11 got released.

Some of these news have been powered by SourceForge’s ability to sort games by update date.

Simple & Quick GPLed Java Tower Defense Game

Friday, September 7th, 2012
image: github.com/godrin/TowerDefense screenshot

Just a simple, smooth and stable tower defense game by david kamphausen (godrin) & marc giersch (undermink).

Pro:

  • Quite fast-paced, no boring waiting time.

Con:

  • Drag-and-drop building placement sometimes fiddly.
  • Effect of upgrades not clear.

Download .jar: https://github.com/godrin/TowerDefense/downloads
Run via: java -jar defend-desktop-0.3.jar
Github: https://github.com/godrin/TowerDefense/