Archive for the ‘genre-engine’ 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:

Asylum: Free-as-in-Freedom Horror Adventure, Successfully Crowd-Funded

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
This is a guest post by Hythlodaeus on an interesting FLOSS game engine project, being developed by a professional games company.


I guess I should take a few paragraphs on this article to explain my stance on crowd-funded game projects. I’ve always been turned off by most Kickstarter game projects for a very simple reason: after personally inquiring a plethora of developers on their stance for Open-Source and Free Software, I was generally met with negative replies, half-baked excuses, bitter retorts or complete silence.

Now, although I recognize it is every developer’s right to pick the license and the conditions for the usage of their own work, it strikes me as a very odd attitude for people engaging into crowd funding projects to be so unwilling to provide any other warranties to their prospective backers and future customers other than “we will make this happen if you give us enough money”. From this point, let’s make something clear: pledging on a crowd-funded game project isn’t exactly the same thing as buying a video game. From the backers’ part it’s an investment and a risk. It’s about depositing your faith on other peoples’ words, in hopes they will eventually deliver what they promised. When you buy a game, be it good or bad, you at least know that you’re dealing with a finished product. When you pledge on a crowd-funded project, completion is only a possibility regardless of the campaign’s success.

So, in my personal opinion, I’ve always thought crowd-funded game projects should strive to provide the level of trust they request from their backers. In this case,  that means allowing people to have access to the game’s source code under a permissive / Free Software license, preferably starting right at the end of the campaign. Why? Simply because that allows for a tighter control of what’s going on in the development backstage, and will allow every contributor to provide better feedback on the work being done. Raw engine code also gives backers something that can eventually be picked up and used for other personal purposes, if the project happens to fail for some reason.

With that said, let’s talk a little about this project, which is, after all, what lead me to write this post. Asylum is the brainchild of Agustin Cordes, the Argentinian developer behind Scratches, a horror game that managed to get some degree of attention way back in 2006. The project aims to create a Lovecraftian-inspired horror point-and-click adventure game that will focus on an intense and immersive atmosphere, followed closely by engaging storytelling. From the trailer and screenshots provided so far, it seems like a rather professional endeavour, but for me the most pleasant surprise, was that the developer’s in-house engine, Dagon, will be Free and Open-Source. On top of that, Cordes himself actually took the time to explain why he believes the engine should be free, and how such a decision aims not only to help preserve Asylum for future generations, but also to empower other indie developers by providing an open platform anyone will be free to use.

Since there is no information available about specific licensing on the project page, I actually went on to ask the developer about which specific license was being used for the Dagon engine:

Me: Hello. I have one question regarding Dagon. You already stated it’s going to be free and open source, but exactly under which software license are you going to release it?
Agustin Cordes: Hi! We’re currently using CDDL but I’m expecting to re-license with the more popular MPL 2.0 very soon. Cheers!
Me: Fair enough. Do I have your permission to quote this conversation in a news blog about Free Software gaming?
Agustin Cordes: Absolutely! :)

“MPL” referring of course to the Mozilla Public License, which despite not being a strong copyleft license, it is both Free Software and GPL compatible. So perhaps Dagon can motivate a new generation of graphic adventure lovers to innovate upon the work started by Asylum. We can only hope future Kickstarter projects and indie developers adopt a similar perspective on Open-Source development.

With little less than a few days to go (I’m ashamed to say I only heard about this project very recently), Asylum is already fully funded, but if you still wish to contribute to this genuinely FLOSS project, or simply purchase the game for a special price, you still have a chance. Extra funding goals have already been set, and some additional rewards may also seem worthy to you.

The source for Asylum’s engine, Dagon, can already be found here, currently licensed under CDDL (Thanks to Evropi for pointing this out).

Winter Shorts 2: Physica, SkyRiot, OpenMW

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Physica screenshots

Physica is a very simple casual platformer game where the goal is to drive a square through game levels from its starting position to his goal, avoiding hazards and without falling down.

SkyRiot screens

SkyRiot is available for free for Android on Google Play and was released under open source and free content licenses on SourceForge.net [forum post].

SkyRiot is a 2D flying shooting platform action game for Android devices. Fly a hoverboard and use an assortment of weaponry as you, an anarchist, single-handedly wage war against a totalitarian regime. Full 360-degree aiming along with total freedom of movement will keep you glued to your device for many hours as you blast your way across over 10 game maps.

OpenMW 0.21.0 has been released. Changelog:

  • Various dialogue, trading, and disposition fixes and improvements
  • Torch flickering improved to better match vanilla Morrowind
  • Fix for attribute fluctuation when infected with Ash Woe Blight
  • Adjusted activation range to better match vanilla Morrowind
  • Fixes for the Journal UI
  • Fixed crash caused by Golden Saint models
  • Fix for beast races being able to wear shoes
  • Fix for background music not playing
  • Fix for meshes without certain node names not being loaded
  • Fix for incorrect terrain shape on inital cell load
  • Fix for MWGui::InventoryWindow creating a duplicate player actor at the origin
  • Added video playback
  • Added support for escape sequences in message box and dialogue text
  • Added AI related script functions, note that AI is not functional yet
  • Implemented fallbacks for necessary ini values in the importer, unused in OpenMW as of yet
  • Implemented execution of scripts of objects in containers/inventories in active cells
  • Cell loading performance improvements
  • Removed broken GMST contamination fixing mechanism

D3 BFG source drop, and new hosted forum

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Hot off the press is the news that id software has released the source-code to their Doom3 remastered BFG edition. Have a look at the code here. It seems like Mr. Carmack has back-ported a few nifty things from idTech5, so this is potentially quite useful for upcoming idtech4 based FOSS games.

In unrelated news, I am happy to report that we are now hosting the forums for the nice off-road racing game StuntRally. Join the discussion here.

Old StuntRally screenshot, too lazy to find another right now ;)

One of the really awesome features of that game is the track-editor by the way… have a look at some awesome video tutorials here. Given the Techno-style music in these and the awesome spline-based tracks, I actually think that a WipeOut like modification of this game would really rock, join the discussion I started on that here :D

Engine reimplementation day!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
This is a guest post by user Hythlodaeus, discussing GPLed video game engine reimplementations, and presenting several projects related to the topic.

I thought I should take some time to discuss in detail one form of project that has been sometimes featured here, on FreeGamer, and is generally quite popular in the FLOSS gaming world: engine rebuilds / re-implementations.

Rather than being wholly original projects or Intellectual Property-free clones of more popular games, engine rebuilds (also known colloquially as “engine clones”) are essentially an attempt to completely reconstruct and improve upon the features of a given original game, without going trough the trouble or replacing original game art assets and without creating a new whole, free-of-restrictions and copyrights IP. Thus, engine rebuilds merely reproduce the rules, mechanics, and game logic of the original game, while still being dependent on some other form of original data.

These projects frequently arise as a form of preservation: the need to ensure and expand compatibility of a proprietary game out of its original borders, and to make sure the target game will not only be able to run on future systems, but also to be ported to different platforms where it wasn’t originally available, without damaging the profits of the original developers or breaking any form of copyright. Better than that, engine rebuilds are a great way to fully enjoy many video game classics in a purely free-as-in-freedom environment, while still rewarding the original developers by purchasing the original game. As of now, I have four particular projects under my radar which I would like to talk to you about.

VCMI

VCMI is an engine re implementation of New World Computing’s turn-based strategy classic, Heroes of Might and Magic 3. It aims to replicate the original game, and introduce many new features that will make it a more pleasant and customizeable experience, as well as providing a platform for scenario building, mod making, and even the creation of completely new games.

VCMI has also been noted for its portability outside of the desktop computer environment, with some developers outside of the main dev team apparently creating an Android port, and other similar mobile versions.

With the recent release of version 0.90, and bordering closer and closer to the 1.0 release, VCMI is the brightest hope for the huge Heroes of Might and Magic fan community which still holds HOMM3 as its all-time favorite game in this long-running series, and whose official releases and reeditions tend to run poorly on modern operating systems, including Windows.

FreeSynd

The second project is the Syndicate reconstruction known as FreeSynd. For those that are too young to have ever played the original game, Syndicate was a dystopian organized crime simulator, in which the player controlled a team of cybernetically enhanced zombies (!!!) in a campaign to achieve complete global domination.

Syndicate was known for its fast-paced, guns-blazing gameplay, and, after many years since its original release, it’s still highly regarded as one of former British developer Bullfrog’s best titles. FreeSynd is currently on version 0.6, with updates oozing out slowly, once in every few months.

The goal of the developers is to replicate the original game as it was, when released, with further upgrades and improvements coming only after version 1.0 is finished.

At its current form, many missions can be fully played, but the game still has many bugs and much to is left to be made. However, as a fan of the original game, I still felt it was my duty to talk about it and maybe motivate some of you to lend some help to what promises to be a fantastic game. Naturally, you will still require the original game data to run FreeSynd.

NXEngine

Next up we have NXEngine. So far, I’m really surprised how come this one escaped most people’s attention, especially at the FLOSS gaming sphere. NXEngine is none other than a free, open source recreation of the legendary freeware game Cave Story. Now the original game is not only freeware, it has already been ported to as many platforms you can shake a stick at (including GNU/Linux). However the game creator, Daisuke Amaya, AKA “Pixel”, always requested people in charge of porting the game to never share the source code, due to the deal previously signed by Pixel to distribute the game commercially. This, however, did not stop programmer Caitlin Shaw from rebuilding the whole game engine from scratch, requiring only for the user to download a copy of the original freeware version, and extract all art and music assets from its bowels.

As of the current version of NXEngine (1.0.0.4), the game runs flawlessly, even more swiftly than the freeware original. Having played both in their entirety, I can say the only slight inconsistencies going for NXEngine, are a couple of enemy attack patterns which are slightly different, and barely affect game experience in any way. All in all, it’s Cave Story, running free-as-in-freedom. And that’s a great achievement by itself.

OpenXcom

Finally four our fourth project, we have OpenXcom. Many of you might be familiar with the game it is based on, as it was considered many times as one of the best PC games ever made. OpenXcom is a full reconstruction of this great tactical simulator, once again aiming for expanded compatibility and a more stable, smoother gameplay, along with many improved features and mod support planned along the way.

If you disliked the Firaxis remake, maybe you should keep an eye on this one. It’s pure, classic X-COM with all the rough edges trimmed, and even at its 0.45 release, it already seems like an impressive achievement. If you feared for the future of X-COM, fear no more. OpenXcom is here.

That’s all for now! I’m sure there are other great engine rebuild projects around there, many of which have been discussed here on FreeGamer previously. Feel free to post your own suggestions or comment on this matter.

Twine: interactive stories builder

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Twine is a tool for creating non-linear stories that can be played in HTML. Here are some examples. It’s available under GPL and runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

There’s also a tutorial available by a game designer I follow.

Beginning this Thursday, there will be a one-week-long Virtual Game Jam in a community of gamers that are feminist, queer, disabled, people of color, transgender, poor, gay, lesbian, and others who belong to marginalized groups, as well as allies. They have an IRC channel.

I will give this tool a try at the next Berlin 8-hour Jam.

Torque 3D engine liberated

Friday, September 21st, 2012

The people behind the always very indi friendly and well renowned commercial Torque 3D engine announced a fews weeks ago that they will release the quite fully featured engine and tool-box under the very liberal and FOSS MIT license.


Well, and today they made an release announcement and opened up their repositories!

Some of you might remember the engine from the good old days of Tribes 2, but as you can see it has advanced quite a bit since then. Sadly it also lost its Linux and MacOS ports along the way, which is something the creators hope to have restored more quickly in the open-source version. Other show-stoppers on non-Windows platforms are a few remaining to be removed propitiatory qt-lib in the editor framework and so on. So if you think you can help them with either or those problems, have a look at their git repo here (click on “zip” to download you local copy).

Hmm… what does that mean for the FOSS gamer (besides some commercial game ports to Linux probably soon)? Well Torque is a really good tool-set to create new FOSS games, and they really tried to keep the entry barrier low, which is something that sadly can not be said for most other FOSS 3D engines. So in the longer run there might be some cool new games utilizing it. But for now I hope to see a fully FOSS version of this little gem soon ;)

As always… we will keep you updated with our irregular posts ;)

OpenMW 0.17.0: Changes and Freedom(!?)

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The OpenMW engine re-implementation for proprietary RPG classic Morrowind brings fixes, a pause menu, camera modes and proper player control, potion usage, drain/fortify dynamic stats/attributes magic effects and other changes in release 0.17.0.

Work has also begun on an Editor and The Example Suite.

A Free-as-in-Freedom OpenMW game?

The Example Suite is going to be a small standalone game that does not contain any Bethesda owned art assets. Therefore, even those who do not own Morrowind will be able to play with OpenMW and test it.

The project uses the “Release early and often” mantra and so hopefully we will have an early build available for download soon.

If you can help with; skills in animating, music, sounds, modeling or are an experience modder please visit The Example Suite forum.

An editor for OpenMW!

The OpenMW Editor is necessary in order to implement the post 1.0 features that the original Morrowind engine isn’t capable of. It’s currently a one man project and he could use some help. Visit the OpenMW Editor forum.

Additional links:

Open Source Game Summer Screen Shorts 2012 #2

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Haunts: The Manse Macabre is a BSD-code/CC-BY-NC-SA-art Kickstarter-funded, turn-based RPG(?). There are still a few hours left to contribute to additional features.

Sintel: The Game, currently completely CCBY3-licensed, just had their first alpha release! They have original voice acting and all! (Although I did not manage to get it running on Linux yet).

Irrlicht-based cute Puzzle Moppet has been released under the WTFPL and I was able to replace all non-free textures and sounds. Now all we need is a repository coordinator.

Valyria Tear is a continuation of the jRPG Hero of Allacrost project with an active development blog.

Frogatto is a well-designed-code, beautiful-proprietary-pixel-art platformer. The developers started “making friends” on their blog by talking about projects they like.

idTech3 was reviewed in an extensive, illustrated article.

Summoning Wars, a 3d-visuals hack’n'slash needs a new lead developer.

A discussion about OpenGameArt‘s usability for game developers started on their forums. Improvements were recently added to the texture section and this is a chance to formulate enhancement to the other sections.