Archive for the ‘alienarena’ Category

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

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

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 ;)

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

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

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?

DevCorner: Underapprechiated game engines

Monday, June 17th, 2013

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.

Various follow-ups

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

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).

Some upcoming releases

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Looks like we will get some nice x-mas presents this year:

A bit delayed but probably right on time for the Mayan end of the world, we will see a long awaited new release of Cube2:Sauerbraten. Read about the release announcement here. Hmm, I wonder if it has already Occulus Rift support…

Also on the FPS front, AlienArena is having a major engine update, with a claimed massive 3-4 times speed increase in BSP rendering and more VBO improvements.

Mars meets CounterStrike?

Furthermore they announce a new game-mode to be added soon, which tries to slow down the game-play of AlienArena a bit and add a more tactical appeal. Sounds a bit like selling out to the CounterStrike/ModernWarefare crowd to me, but lets see how it will play ;)

Last but not least, GarageGames has announced that after the recent FOSS licensed release of their 3D engine Torque3D (see latest updates here, sadly no working Linux port yet), they will also open-source their 2D engine!

And in fact it will not only be a source-drop, but rather a significant update including a merger of their iOS code with the rest of the Torque2D one.

Also no Linux port yet, but just as for the 3D engine one will hopefully show up sooner or later.

P.S.: In case someone has missed it: SuperTuxKart had a very nice new release recently, bumping it up to version 0.8. See a video of it in action here.

AlienArena reloaded edition

Friday, July 6th, 2012

The PR machine behind AlienArena seems to have found out by rigorous focus-group testing and public surveying, that a re-branding of the idtech2 based arena FPS, was in order…
But here on the uncompromising last resort of free and unbiased game journalism we call it what it is: a nice new release, bumping the version number to 7.60; because as you should know… a higher number is always better :p

New alien spider bots!

Obviously it wasn’t just the number that changed, and the list of engine, art and gameplay improvements is actually quite impressive for this release.
Another thing they updated is their website (the old one was quite horrible), and while this is a open-source game only by its engine code and sadly not media, I really like their new slogan:

Open Sourced. Ever Evolving.

Which has a certain ring to it ;)

Speaking of PR efforts, there is now a dedicated PR team for War§ow and the long awaited 0.7 release is slowly moving forward and you can see (incl. many nice screenshots) what kind of changes you can expect here.

Screenshot from the War§ow 0.7 changelog thread

There is also an BETA release of the version 0.7 (which according to standard version naming schemes should be a beta itself I guess ;) ) which can be downloaded here.