Archive for the ‘Free Gamer’ Category

Best Open Source Top-Down Space Shooter : Super Space Invader

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Lasers, rockets, shields, health regeneration, pixels. You know. The good stuff. Just nicely packaged with levels of just the right duration and hardness, persistent upgrades, shaders, reverb…

Two buttons are enough to play, since that was one of the themes of Ludum Dare #34, in which the game came #74 among 1638 jam entries.

Supser Space Invader was made with LÖVE (v0.9) and thus runs on Linux, OS X, Windows.

The source is available on GitHub under zlib/libpng.

SuperTux 0.4.0 Milestone 2

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Over ten years after the last stable release of SuperTux (0.1.3 released July 2005) the SuperTux team have announced the release of the first stable version in the Milestone 2 series.

Compared to 0.1.3, this release features:

  • a nearly completely rewritten game engine based on OpenGL, OpenAL, SDL2, …
  • support for translations
  • in-game manager for downloadable add-ons and translations
  • Bonus Island III, a for now unfinished Forest Island and the development levels in Incubator Island
  • a final boss in Icy Island
  • new and improved soundtracks and sound effects
  • new badguys, bonuses and power-ups (air-, earth- and ice-flower)
  • a halloween tilemap
  • new graphic effects (glowing objects, particles, …)
  • levels and worldmaps are scriptable using squirrel
  • much more game objects: trampolines, switches, portable stones, wind, moving platforms, … – most of them have scripting APIs
  • improved statistics
  • many invisible changes, like unit tests, efficiency improvements and more bugfixes
  • much more…

And of course we updated the official levels to make use of all the new features.

SuperTux 0.4.0 Overworld

It has been a long road for the project, and a lot has changed as the engine seems to have been largely rewritten to make it suitable for more advanced graphics and scripting. Whilst the existing content has been updated, it would seem that the one area in which the project is short is new tilesets and levels, with only a partially complete 2nd forest overworld of the (originally planned) 7 desired worlds.

That’s where the community comes in though. With a stable game to work with, hopefully players and artists can combine to extend the game and make it enjoyable for generations to come.

My own 15 year old son remembers SuperTux 0.1.3 fondly as, he says, the best game he played as a young child.

3 Super Monkey Ball Alternatives – Open Sphere Rolling Games

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Marbles have fascinated the population of the blue marble for centuries. Today, we take a look at three digital variants that are open source and playable cross-platform.

Veraball

The newest addition to the group of open source ball-rolling games is minimal and was made using the Godot engine.

Rock and jazz music accompanies your through the only two levels so far. None of them are super hard, making Veraball the most beginner-friendly game of the bunch.

Windows (both portable and installer) and Linux releases are available but since Godot Engine runs on Mac OS X, you can play it on that platform as well using the source.

irrlamb

A magical engine powers the blue sphere from the inside, allowing it to roll and jump without reasonable explanation. Its goal is to touch other glass balls filled with yellow light by balancing towards them.
You steer the blue sphere. But to what end? Deliver the coup de grâce to failed experiments? Free trapped spirits? Harvest sleeping souls to grow in power? Is it a grim prognosis about the effects of future commercialized space travel and interplanetary colonization?
Welcome to irrlamb. The atmosphere is mostly dark and dungeon-like, sometimes abstract, always at least a bit magical. The two skater parks feel clinically sanitized (no graffiti).

There are around 20 levels starting from beginner-friendly to absolutely insane.
There have been two releases this year (0.2 and 0.2.1). Most of the changes were usability improvements and bugfixes, although some levels have been added as well.
irrlamb 0.2.1 is available for Linux and Windows. Windows users have to manually install OpenAL.
For creating own levels, there is an export script available for Blender.

Neverball

Neverball has been around for a while. There are easy levels, there are hard levels, there are levels that were apparently made to challenge the game’s developers.

Many levels take place in space, on grass squares floating under the sky, above the sea or above a city at night. Of our three games, this one is least suitable for those with acrophobia.

There is a lot of content (326 maps minus Neverputt levels) and only a small part of it is accessibly due to my lack of balancing skills. So I present to you the most and least favorite aspects of Neverball, as seen by a player with newbie skills:

Best: 1. The oh so many levels! 2. Different ball models available, some have character (by containing characters), making it easier to have some kind of emotional connection to the game. No animated cute animals though unfortunately.

Worst: 1. The old looking non-baked textures of the basic levels 2. The camera (does not allow you to zoom, moves in disturbing ways) and consequently the controls.

Conclusion

“If only projects X, Y and Z could join forces instead of trying to re-invent the wheel!” – what an annoying thing to say, don’t you think? I hope you got the chance to play irrlamb, Neverball and Veraball – and if not I hope this review brought you closer to them – so that you can appreciate the different feels to the gameplay and scenery.

All I really want now are video tutorials for creating new levels…

Are there any open source games with similar mechanics that I missed? Are there proprietary games that developers should consider taking inspiration from other than Super Monkey Ball? Please let us know in the comments!

Warsow 2.0 is now almost fully FOSS!

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Great news for the FOSS enthusiasts: after many years of constant nagging the latest release of the great parcour/arena FPS Warsow has now most of it’s artistic content under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 license (with a few remaining but clearly marked ones under CC-by-ND).

Also updated particle effects in Warsow 2.0

You can find more screen-shots in the above link and the full changelog here.

Rendering speed was also increased (claimed to be 30-50% faster) and a movement tutorial is now included.

So far I always recommended Xonotic over Warsow as the coolest (=most competitive; Red Eclipse is also cool, but much more casual) open-source arena FPS, but I think I might reconsider this now…

Happy fragging :p

Top 3 Open Source Pinball Games

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The first flipper pinball machine was released 68 years and 1 month ago and yet there is only a handful of open source, cross-platform pinball video games available! Oh well, let’s take them for a spin, shall we?

UPDATE
 Dec 1st, 2015: 1. Added Libre Pinball, see Honorable Mentions below. 2. Added conclusion section.

UPDATE
 Jul 17th, 2016: Updated Emilia Pinball links

Nexus Pinball

Started only a month ago, Nova Pinball‘s simple sole 2D table is a lot of fun and development has made good progress.

Emilia Pinball

The ancient 3D Emilia Pinball project has a recent fork on GitHub that adds more tables (the last official release had only 2, the new one has 5). The code is the ancient but consistent original SourceForge project and some new tables are flowing around patches/mailing list posts https://sf.net/p/pinball/

The game has 4 perspectives (F5-F8)

The models are very low-poly, which is fine and fast but the textures are sinfully low-resolution. However editing textures appears to be simple in existing tables, simply by overwriting them with higher-resolution files, as demonstrated with the angry gnu head in the screenshot above.

Creating new tables requires an editor, which I unfortunately was not able to compile yet (possibly due to lack of old Qt libraries).

There is a zombie/horror/Halloween table, which unfortunately contains non-free content.

Linball

The 2D Linball table is crazy fast but suffers from some sounds ripped from proprietary games (maybe there’s more non-free content).

Honorable mentions

Libre Pinball (thread) is very atmospheric but has no missions and only very few table elements right now. It was made using the Godot Engine.

Sadly, Visual Pinball only runs on Windows (wine page).

Vector Pinball for Android unfortunately has no instructions for desktop/Linux compilation.

Devil’s Pinball is a Blender-made pinball table. It’s quite buggy when played in recent Blender and there is no license information.

Conclusion

I find the open pinball games on Linux more entertaining than I expected them to be. The major downside is decoration and context: while the themes of some tables are intriguing, they unfortunately exist in a widescreen world without a proper background that adds to the experience.

And of course some accessible (video) documentation on how to create new tables would be a huge plus.

Got theme ideas for open source pinball tables? Write them in the comments!

Naev, Valyria Tear, Wyrmsun, ReTux

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Wymrsun 1.6.0 was recently released (announcement on our forums and on Steam). Wyrmsun is inspired by the original Warcraft games and many reviewers on Steam compare it to Warcraft II. The project continues a steady development pace which is always a good sign so I encourage RTS fans to try it out.

Wyrmsum

Naev 0.6.1 has been released. After a long period without releases until release 0.6.0 appeared in March, this follow up release indicates a return to regular progress for the project. Naev is a 2D space trading and combat game.

I couldn’t find a more recent video but here’s a bit of a development log of some features for the 0.6.0 release.

Speaking of resurgent projects, Valyria Tear has some news.

The most noticeable change is that I killed a few days ago a very nasty bug that was there from the beginning, making the lua threads never freed from memory. This means the game won’t end up anymore swallowing gigs of memory for nothing and crash due to some memory overflow.

Well that does sound like a bit of a killjoy, so good to see it fixed. Other changes are in the blog post.

Onto more things slightly more dubiously open source in nature…

ReTux 0.2 has been released. ReTux is a new Super Tux inspired game. It is a completely rewritten (in Python) codebase although uses many of the assets from the original Super Tux so naturally people will mistake the two despite the significant differences. I already covered the IndieGoGo campaign in a previous article.

ReTux

I’m not really on board with the way the developer Onpon4 is now soliciting $20 for access to the code. I think he’s both hurting himself by limiting exposure of the game (you need a password to access the downloads) as well as asking for a fairly significant sum in an age where AAA games are of a similar price a year after release (and regularly on offer, as any Humble Bundle or Steam user will know).

I would say he should just get it on Steam, sell it there, and be open source outside of that. Perhaps have additional levels in the Steam version but accept that charging for the source code is as pointless as it is ineffective.

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.