Archive for the ‘Cube2’ Category

Progress on Octaforge

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

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:

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.

Cube2 engine keeps on expanding!

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

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!

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.

Intergalactic news (new Red Eclipse version)

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Somewhat related to the previous blog post (don’t forget to vote to give a VR kit to the Cube2 developers), I can bring you the news that you can now download a new release (1.3 Galactic Edition) of Red Eclipse. By the words of the developers this is mostly a bugfix release:

This release sees a semi-stabilisation of the gameplay in favour of implementing a variety of bugfixes and user requests. We’ve removed some old cruft and implemented a few new game types to replace them, like coop (humans fight high powered bots), and king-of-the-hill (control and defend one flag). Due to the popularity of the impulse/parkour system we have introduced a new “impulse vaulting”, where you can hold down your parkour key to “vault” over low obstacles, making it that much easier to navigate around busy levels.

But you can read up on the full changelog in the release thread on our forums. Oh and maybe you can help them out and create a new teaser video for their website?

On our forums I was also recently reminded of a Red Eclipse based mod called MekArcade (see more infos on their Moddb site), which as you can guess adds Mechs to the game.

Some MekArcade mechs

Information is otherwise relatively sparse (I couldn’t find any word on their media license for example… but given RE’s CC-By-SA licensing scheme I hope they sticked to the same), but they plan to release a first version relatively soon (Maybe they waited for the RE 1.3 release?).
The screenshots released so far look quite nice also and first released video gives off a Mechwarrior like vibe too, so I guess I am looking forward to their first release ;)

Vote to get Cube 2 devs a free virtual reality kit (Oculus Rift)!

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
Give Cube 2 some tech!

Vote here for Lee “eihrul” Salzman to receive an Oculus Rift for Cube 2 development!

Oculus Rift is the much lauded VR headset that was Kickstarted recently, making almost 10 times the initial goal in pledges. Unfortunately, it isn’t an open project, however, one of the big names in FOSS game dev, Lee “eihrul” Salzman has been nominated to receive a Rift dev kit in a giveaway competition, hosted by Oculus.

Eihrul is the lead developer of the Cube2 “Sauerbraten” engine, that has had implementations other interesting technologies such as the “3rd Space” force feedback vest implemented, making Cube2 an excellent project to provide Rift support.

Vote for him here