Archive for the ‘devcorner’ Category

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!

Four persons behind FLARE RPG development

Friday, July 13th, 2012
FLARE has an excellent new website and a series of contributor interviews:

The latest release is 0.16.

Dev-Corner: Inter Quake Model Format and Open Source Gamedev Collaboration

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The following is a guest post by Lee Salzman, a contributor to several open source game projects and the lead developer of such projects as the ENet networking library and Sauerbraten, introducing IQM (the Inter-Quake Model format), a simple model format designed to meet the practical challenge of animated content for Quake(-like) 3D engines and allow more sharing of modeling tools across various engines

As much as players or fans of various open source FPS games might view all these projects as competing, isolated islands, the surprising and hopeful truth is, we developers actually get together and talk about development challenges a lot. And in past discussions, one of those issues that stuck out like a sore thumb was content, especially animated content such as player models. We were all using our own various custom model formats or cast-off commercial formats (like id’s MD5 or Valve’s SMD formats) with related third-party export or conversion tools, with varying degrees of (dis)satisfaction.

Yet, what we all needed in this case was so eerily similar: we all just wanted a no-fuss, binary, skeletal animation format that was quick to load, had relatively small file sizes, and provided the commonly needed mesh data for Quake(-like) player models – not bloated with unnecessary “but what if…” features while remaining just flexible enough to fulfill the artists’ needs. Existing formats like MD5, SMD, Collada, and others had complex textual representations that make them painful to load and often require significant internal conversions of the loaded data to get useful, renderable animation data out of them, often with frustrating omissions such as no ability to directly export vertex normals. Engine specific formats worked around these issues to some extent, but often suffered from poorly supported tooling due to the difficulty of keeping it up-to-date with various modeling tools and artist requirements.

IQM Demo Model, Mr Fixit

Given those frustations, why did we not just throw our lots in together and make one format that could handle our needs well enough, so we all benefit from common efforts on reliable, shared tools? Sanity prevailed, and not much later, after input wrangling from various developers within the community, we hammered out a simple specification for a pair of formats that did just that: IQM, a binary skeletal animation format that provides easy integration into a game engine, and IQE, a textual format that makes it easy to quickly write exporter scripts and easily converts to IQM if one does not wish to write an exporter for it directly.

And what good is a specification without support? So again not much later, we went through the grunt-work of actually making sure the format was well-supported in the key tools our artists used and, of course, the engines we all developed. At the time of this writing, all commonly used versions of Blender have direct exporter and importer support via the IQM development kit, the model viewer and conversion tool Noesis can easily convert from and to the format, and the format has out-of-the-box support in various engines, including but not limited to, DarkPlaces (used in Xonotic, Steel Storm, and more), CRX (used in Alien Arena), Qfusion (used in Warsow), ioquake 3 (used in Open Arena and many more), Remake Quake along with its sibling engine DirectQ, and Cube 2 (used in Sauerbraten, Red Eclipse, and more). To ensure continued and future support by other game engines, the IQM development kit also provides example demos of how to easily load and animate the format, both on the CPU and also using shaders to animate the format on the GPU, for developers that are unsure of how to utilize skeletal animation or just want to see the nitty-gritty details of how the format operates.

Despite the format getting off to a great start thanks to the support of various developers within the gaming community, we still need your help and support to help this format be even more useful. If you happen to use some modeling tools other than Blender (as awesome as it is, people have their preferences) and wouldn’t mind writing a simple IQE exporter script for your modeling tool of choice, or even more sophisticated IQM direct export support, we would greatly appreciate your contribution!

To get started with the format, please check out the IQM development kit and other IQM/IQE format resources at: http://lee.fov120.com/iqm

LÖVE game programming course for kids/teens in Kansas City (August 2012)

Monday, July 9th, 2012

There will be a Lua game programming class for kids and teens in Kansas City by indie game developer Rachel Morris some time in August 2012.

LÖVE 2D game engine and Tiled Map Editor will be used. Both are open source and run perfectly fine on Linux systems.

Rachel is known for OpenArt and you can check out an interview with her or her GitHub repositories.

Feedback on the existing course materials and of course participants are requested.

Video Talk by icculus: Open Source Tools for Game Development (Devcorner)

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Ryan “Icculus” Gordon talked about open source tools for gamedev last month at Flourish! 2012 and we completely missed that. Enjoy the 1h video, he’s a great speaker and I’m sure most of you will enjoy the Direct X bashing. :)

Note: the first 2 minutes of the video have bad audio quality. The rest is crisp!

Liberated Pixel Cup is a go!

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

This weekend the Liberated Pixel Cup started its art contest, which will run until the 30th of June. You can check out the style guide and the existing assets here (includes a interactive HTML5 demo).

Reasonable prizes for the winners and runner-ups might motivate you to contribute, but judging will be only after the second phase of game prototyping, which ends on July 31st.

But even if you don’t win, you can be sure that your contributions will be a very valuable part of the resulting FOSS game content pack, so every small addition counts.

Good luck!

Dev-corner: JUICE up your game

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

I just happened to come across this nice presentation, and I guess a lot of FOSS games could also take this as a valuable advise:

The “game” they are presenting is playable in your browser by the way, try it here (hit esc for the menu).
Oh and believe it or not, source-code is available too ;)

So don’t forget to JUICE it real good!