Archive for the ‘Free Gamer’ Category

Anticube 2 – a game within a game

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

So, as I sometimes peruse various forums, the occasional gem pops up. This is one of the best hidden gems in Open Source gaming.

Anticube 2 is a map for Tesseract / Cube 2 that is inspired by the game Antichamber and NaissanceE. If you are unfamiliar with those, that means it is an abstract FPS puzzle game where things are not quite what they seem. Or, as the creator Lord Kv probably better explains:

Anticube 2 is a puzzle map for Tesseract. You’ll find yourself in an interactive, dynamic, non-euclidean world. Supported by 5000+ lines of Cubescript and GLSL code, this map will do things no other Cube 2 / Tesseract map has ever done before.

Here is the trailer:

There is also a gallery of screenshots for you to check out. I won’t include them here because, to be honest, the screenshots won’t mean much for this kind of game.

I’m calling it a game, even though it is just a map for a game. You can tell it is worth checking out because of the reactions it elicits from the Tesseract developers (warning: NSFW language). Here’s what developer ImNotQ009 had to say about it:

Whoa, I would NEVER have though I’d see anything like this on BARE Tesseract.
This is one hell of an astonishing piece of work, the music is great, the whole atmosphere and the aesthetics are really good as well. With the exception of a little bit lousy looking (compared to everything else) terrain on the very last part but nevertheless I genuinely couldn’t stop “wow-ing” through out the whole thing.

Anyway, check it out, let us know how you get on. This definitely deserves more attention than it has gotten up until now – but then again how does this kind of thing get more eyes on it when it is just a game within a game and one which is currently suffering from a severe lack of a player base? Hopefully we can change that starting here. :)

Games with G (Gorynlich & Gigalomania)

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Great news for people who like GGGGames 😉

The author of the new action roguelike dungeon crawler kind of darwen mayham game Gorynlich was so kind to inform us his game. It comes with this funny trailer (and some great programmer’s art :p ):

The code is licensed under the LGPL, while the assets are only freeware right now. But the author seems to be open to look into replacing the assets with Creative Commons licensed ones if someone is interested in doing so.
Gorynlich is done by the same author as the ASCII game Goblin Hack by the way.

Another nice game starting with G, is the awesome remake of the oldie Megalomania, appropriately called Gigalomania!

The author is still looking for improved art asset contributions, but the game itself is already quite playable (even on mobile devices and a bunch of other rare systems!). Also check out the other two cool games by the same developer: Erebus RPG and Conquests (a Civ like game).

Stunt Rally 2.6 and Irrlamb 0.2

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Stunt Rally 2.6 has been released, with new features including pacenotes (i.e. corner speed/severity hints) and a rewritten sound system with reverberation (changelog).

Stunt Rally is a sandbox racing game with a huge number of tracks (172 in 2.6) and lots of cars. It was originally forked from VDrift and features Ogre3D as a graphics engine instead of the custom (and less sophisticated) graphics engine in VDrift.

A video is worth a thousand pictures and a picture a thousand words so, instead of me writing a million of those, I invite you to check out the gameplay in the video that accompanied the release:

Also recently updated is Irrlamb. Those with incredibly good memories will recall this physics-based game originally appearing many years ago. I originally wrote about Irrlamb over 8 years ago on Free Gamer, and the previous release (0.1.1) is over 5 years old if I’m not mistaken (it is hard to check since things have moved on since then i.e. Google Code where its development was originally hosted).

This release adds new graphical capabilities, new levels, gamepad support and various fixes – see the announcement for more details.

I’ll also write a really lengthy… wait a minute! Let’s link a video instead. 😉

OpenDungeons and FreeOrion updates plus ReTux

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

A couple of long standing open source game projects have received significant updates.

OpenDungeons, an open source dungeon management game, has seen release 0.6 make it out the door. Release highlights from the changelog:

  • New spell logic with cooldown, targets and cost management
  • Fancy new spells: Heal, Explosion and Haste
  • Particle effects!
  • Reworked library logic and made research order configurable
  • New creature overlays that show the creatures’ mood
  • Customisable creature sound effects!
  • Doors to better block enemies and macromanage allies
  • In-game settings menu support!
  • New claimed walls graphics and various other graphical improvements
  • New minimap camera with real-time rendering
  • Dedicated server support with command-line parameters

There’s plenty of screenshots in the announcement on the frontpage of the OpenDungeons website (but no direct link for the announcement, frustratingly).

Explosions! Spells! The research tree

The project has some very regular contributors (both programming and art) and the game has multiplayer support which the developers test with the occasional weekend virtual lan party. OpenDungeons has certainly gone from strength to strength in the last year.

FreeOrion version 0.4.5 (announcement with changelog) wraps up the last year’s worth of development. Much of the work seems to have been motivated by trying to make the game more fun to play — “performance, responsiveness, AI, balancing etc.” —which is nice to see. At some point a project has to stop pushing new features and work on improving the game experience.

I couldn’t find any screenshots of 0.4.5 to share, but here’s a recent gameplay video posted on YouTube which should give an idea, although he’s well into a game at this point:

Finally, and a little too late unfortunately, here’s some coverage of ReTux. At first glance, it would seem somebody has taken Super Tux and tried to profit off of it. However, author Julian Merchant (onpon4 on the FGD forums) has written a new engine from scratch in Python. Whilst there are the obvious similarities with the original Super Tux, due to ReTux using many of the same graphics and sounds, there are a number of notable gameplay changes many of which can be seen in the ‘Concept Castle’ video (I really think his IndieGoGo campaign should have used this video at the very beginning of it).

Julian only raised $378 in the 30 days the campaign lasted, which was very short of the $50,000 goal. Reasons for this will be likely poor coverage (no FG article!) but also probably the perception that it was basically the same as Super Tux. For example, the IGG page starts with a video which the first 2 minutes or so (aside from the change to the fireflower) could easily be recreated by substituting the Super Tux logo for ReTux.

I do think avoiding the more popular media sites (e.g. no YouTube video) hurt the campaign. I can find little-to-no mention of ReTux when searching for it.

It also highlights one of the problems with developing Free games i.e. generally there’s no money in it. Julian is obviously passionate about the concept, having done so much work on it already, and I hope he continues with it. As to where he goes from here? I would suggest perhaps trying to get it greenlit on Steam or another platform where he can solicit a small fee from players whilst still maintaining the open source status of the project – a great example being Tales of Maj’Eyal which is also selling well on Steam.

Don’t give up Julian. Persistence is the key to success with any endeavour. You just have to find the right path.

Devcorner: Macros Are Evil

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

The joys of programming – hours spent scratching one’s head whilst trying to figure out why the seemingly correct code does not produce correct results.

Hi, Charlie here. I used to post often.

Where was I? Ah, yes, this nugget of brain fudgery from the VDrift forums posted by NaN:

So I’ve spent some time today try to figure out why cars are still flying off in random directions when hitting curbs sometimes.

It turns out it is a bug in Bullet, to be more specific in the SIMD_DEGS_PER_RAD macro.


#define SIMD_PI           btScalar(3.1415926535897932384626433832795029)
#define SIMD_2_PI         btScalar(2.0) * SIMD_PI
#define SIMD_HALF_PI      (SIMD_PI * btScalar(0.5))
#define SIMD_RADS_PER_DEG (SIMD_2_PI / btScalar(360.0))
#define SIMD_DEGS_PER_RAD  (btScalar(360.0) / SIMD_2_PI)

The first one to spot it gets a virtual cookie.

For the answer visit the thread, I won’t spoil it here. Instead, I’ll post a screenshot, also sourced from said forums and taken by Stunt Rally author CrystalH.


For those who don’t know, Stunt Rally is a friendly fork of VDrift.

Xonotic 0.8.1 released & related news

Monday, August 31st, 2015

For those that are not keeping up to the latest development branch (via the autobuilds), the Xonotic developers have released a new version with various smaller changes and new official maps.

From the user “Antibody” (known for his duel commentary videos) comes this nice video overview of the new features:

(please note that due to video capture performance reasons the graphic settings are pretty low, and the game can look much nicer with different settings)

On the longer term horizon of Xonotic development, there is the very exiting news that they are currently porting their game to run on the same engine that Unvanquished uses. With this the future of Xonotic is indeed much brighter, as their current engine has not seem much development lately. See more details in this thread.

Oh and while we are talking about FOSS arena FPS: A short while ago Red Eclipse also released a new version. Changes include updated to the AI Bots and a build in universal updater to easily follow the latest releases.

Mini Sci-Fi Open Source Tower Defense Game

Monday, August 10th, 2015
Purely by chance, I found an obviously abandoned but still fun to play mini tower defense with a skippable tutorial level and two playable missions, beautiful graphics and performance settings.
To be a master is to spam en mass
So you place towers and the shoot enemies that move towards your base. I know this! Being an impatient player type, I skipped past the tutorial and was annihilated in level 1.
Short enough messages in a hard enough tutorial level
The degree of my destruction was such, that I was thankful for the tutorial being there at all. Even though I did die in it, it taught me enough about the all-or-nothing early game (which some might refer as to “unbalanced”) to get my strategy right.
Turn off for speed. Turn on for awesome!
You get 3 towers: that allows you to build more tower, one that allows you to shoot more and one that shoots. You can block paths and create mazes. There are no tower upgrades and that’s okay.
All the plot. Space to continue. Take that non-skip-able intro video AAA games!
Mission #3 is not possible to win (prove me wrong) but it was a great experience to find that I was able to beat the tutorial mission after all. By deviating from the given instructions! If that’s not freedom (besides being open source) then I don’t know what is!
Yeah right…
Come to think of it, the ridiculousness of level 3 practically speaks “dear player, you should totally fork and make new levels!”
Made with love2d

The last commit to Turres Monacorum was in May 2014 and the game was made at a game jam. My experience dictates that this won’t be picked up by the original developers any more but to any player with love2d installed, it will come as a wonderful, visually polished snack!
Download the mini tower defense game from the github release page and enjoy!

Limit Load, new arcade combat flight simulator

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Stealth development might not be very “open-sourceish”, but it sometimes makes for some nice surprises in our project showcase forum.

This time it was the completely new open-source game Limit Load, self described as:

A cockpit flight game that is more of an arcade than a sim. The game is built on the Panda3D game engine. It is similar to the ancient games like the classic Wings or the very good Strike Commander. The story and the atmosphere are important elements of the game, so a lot of focus is placed on that too.

Here is some in-game action and it seems quite polished already for such a new game:

Licensing of assets is still a bit of a grey area it seems, but they are fully aware of it:

The game code is licensed under GPL 3, and custom-made game assets under CC-by-SA 4.0. Some of the assets were taken from “free” (as in “not sure in which way”) sources on the Internet, so their licensing situation is unclear. Eventually these should be cleared for use or replaced.

So where is my VR kit? 😀

Old school 2D RTS Wyrmsun is looking to be greenlit

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

We were kindly made aware by the main developer of the 2D RTS Wyrmsun that he is currently looking for support to get this game on the Steam platform (link includes a game-play video).

Here is a description of the game we got from him:

In Wyrmsun, humans, elves and dwarves all seek to carve a place for themselves on their different homeworlds, with humans living on Earth, dwarves dwelling on Nidavellir, and elves inhabiting Alfheim. In the game’s missions, each world follows separate storylines, but the various civilizations can be mixed and matched in custom games.

Wyrmsun features:

  • Retro-style graphics
  • 2 playable civilizations, and a number of non-playable ones
  • 18 quests to play, earning technology points which can be used to obtain new units, buildings and technologies
  • 38 units, 30 buildings and 14 technologies
  • Units that can earn experience, being able to upgrade to new unit types or acquire new abilities upon level-up
  • Persistent heroes, who carry over their level and abilities throughout scenarios
  • Personal names and traits for units
  • Cave, Conifer Forest, Dungeon, Fairlimbed Forest and Swamp tilesets
  • 33 maps of real and fictional locations to choose from, as well as random maps
  • Living environment, with fauna reproduction and predation
  • Very moddable game, with mod-loading capability built in
  • Grand strategy mode, where production is resolved on the strategic (world map) level, while battles are resolved on the tactical level
  • In-game encyclopedia, allowing players to learn more about the units, buildings and other elements of the game, as well as their historical and mythological sources of inspiration.

For those more inclined to help out with the code, there are two code repositories: one for the game and one for the modified Stratagus engine.

P.S.: Yes FOSS games can be on Steam as long as they don’t integrate with closed source steam integration libraries; And it can be a great way to attract more users to your game and maybe even collect some donations or sell add-ons (preferably in a “release freely when sufficient funds are gathered” style). See this game for an successful example.

New FOSS 3D RTS Engine, OpenRTS!

Friday, April 24th, 2015

I had been following this really awesome looking tile based RTS 3D engine project (think Starcraft2 like) on the jMonkey Engine forums for a while, and it is now fully FOSS including the arts assets.
Don’t expect a playable RTS game, but as you can seen in this video of the in-game level editor a lot of work has been done already:

You can contribute to the MIT licensed source on their github page (the author asks for help) and/or head over to the website of engine it uses, jMonkeyEngine, a great project written in Java.