Archive for the ‘mode-singleplayer’ Category

Free Orion 0.4.2

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

A few day ago a much improved version of the 4X space strategy game FreeOrion was released. Check out this cool set of introduction videos (Part 1, 2, 3):

Most notable additons:

  • Very much improved, non-cheating AI. Sometimes experienced 4X players loose.
  • Many GUI enhancements and shortcuts.
  • Galactopedia expanded with game mechanics articles and many cross-links.
  • Batch production of ships now possible.
  • Improved sitrep notifications
  • Reworked stealth and detection
  • Almost everything has been enhanced, reworked, and better balanced.

So go and kick some alien butt ;)

Winter Shorts 3: PyWeek #16 in April, Rainbow Rooms, Valyria Tear on OS X

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

PyWeek #16 in April

PyWeek logo

PyWeek is a game jam that obviously goes on for one week and requires the use of Python. It takes place online and there are overall winners in team and solo categories, as well as awards. The dates of the 16th PyWeek challenge are 00:00 UTC April 14, 2013 to 00:00 UTC April 21, 2013. Registration opens on 15. March 2013.

There is a message board for the community and there are interesting methods to publish Python games as HTML/JavaScript using pyjs, as demonstrated by the PyWeek #15 entry Kaos.

License Requirements: At least Shared Source required. Free software licenses recommended.

PyWeek #15 Entry: Rainbow Rooms

Rainbow Rooms is a physical-nonsense-maze puzzle game based on libtcod.

Various fonts are being used, some of which might be problematic license-wise for including in for example Debian’s official repositories but it should be possible to replace them in less than two hours including research and documentation.

Code License: GPLv2
Content License: Unclear

Valyria Tear: “Final Release of Half-Episode I”

New Valyria Tear GUI screens

Valyria Tear Half-Episode I has been released, which I suppose we can take as 50% of Episode I’s acts being complete.

The release brings new graphical interfaces and development is ongoing.

An OS X version can now also be grabbed from the OSX thread.

Code License: GPLv2
Content License: Various (DFSG approved)

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 1: Word War Vi Laser Edition, Space Nerds in Space

Sunday, February 24th, 2013
SNiS Engineering screen

Stephen Cameron, one of my personal heroes of game development (Be The Wumpus), made Word War Vi support color laser projectors using the openlase library [blog post].

Another project that our forum users were allowed to follow in this thread is Space Nerds in Space:

So this game (when it becomes a game) is very much inspired by Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator
See: artemis.eochu.com The idea is you have a game which is played much as the actors in the Star Trek TV series played their roles on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. There are a number of “stations”: Navigation, Weapons, Science, Communications, etc. and each player assumes that role. Each station has it’s own laptop or other computer which communicates via network to a central server which simulates the game universe. So it’s kind of a cooperative multiplayer network game… No reason not to have multiple teams in multiple starships inhabiting the same server/universe either cooperating or doing battle.
Mine is different than Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator in that it is:
GPL’ed.
Linux/gtk
Probably uglier (lol).
Probably more scalable (yay vector graphics.)
Not even close to finished.

It will probably be a while until I’m in a room with enough Linux users to test play this game but when the time comes, I shall be prepared!

Various voxel engine ramblings

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

I have outed myself previously as not a big Minecraft fan, so take everything in this post with a grain of salt (as I obviously don’t really understand that genre).

Anyways… recently this sub-reddit for open-source games was pointed out in our forums, and while it isn’t really as lively as others (for example the Linux gaming one) it pointed out an new project called Iceball:

Pre-alpha Iceball screenshot

Seemingly made by people not happy with the recent commercialization of Ace of Spades, it’s an all FOSS remake, those early development you can follow here (or on their Github page).

Now maybe the graphics are lacking on purpose (see disclaimer above), but I couldn’t help to think: why for f***’s sake did they have to reinvent the wheel with their own engine instead of using for example Terasology:

Or Minetest, or the Ardorcraft API for that matter???

Ahh well, at least it made me aware that Terasology is still very much under development, and with its focus on DungeonKeeper & Dwarf-Fortress elements, it might actually become a game I would play (and doesn’t make my eyes bleed :p ).

Speaking of which… the guy behind AgentKeeper released yet another nice video and graphics are constantly further improved as seen here.

Updates from AgentKeeper

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I mentioned this nice new project that appeared on our forums some time ago already, and while the promised source-code isn’t available as of yet, a new and quite good looking video was recently posted:

Now as you can see, it shares quite a lot of graphics with OpenDungeons, which is not completely dead either, but there is at least some discussion to “jump ship” as AgentKeeper is progressing much quicker (with it being a University supported project).
You can follow AgentKeepers progress here if you fancy some nice dungeon management simulator ;)

P.S.: Stay tuned for an new version of Red Eclipse early next week.

Fresh versions of Stunt Rally and Warzone2100

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Just released today, there is a new version (1.9) for Stunt Rally:

Stunt Rally 1.9

It has a few nice new features, but probably the greatest update is a major change in the car handling physics, including an “easy” mode for those of us not wishing to practice for a career as a professional rally driver ;) and the guys would like feedback in the SR forum so let them know what you think.

A big collection of (partially quite crazy) screens can be found here.

Another great release that surfaced just today is Warzone2100 version 3.1.0. It cumulates all the changes made during the last 2.5 years, however if you tested the RCs already then there isn’t too much new. Most notably they mention the new and fully fixed netcode, so that “out of sync” is a thing of the past (unless you have a crappy net connection like me :( ).

Have fun playing!

Ur-Quan Masters HD released

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Happy new year everyone!

So today I found out about this really cool project to improve the graphics of the open-source (with freeware media) classic Ur-Quan Masters (aka Star Control 2):

Having played the SD version back in the day on my GP2X handheld (and it seems to be available for Android nowadays too ;) ), I can assure you that the game holds up very well to today’s standards, with a really cool and funny story and awesome voice acting. Higher resolution graphics thus can only make it better ;)

So, NO excuses now… give it a try!

All Maps of Bos Wars 2.6.1+ (svn r10193)

Monday, December 3rd, 2012
I filled a recent craving for playing a sci-fi real time strategy game by re-discovering Bos Wars and playing every single player map.
image: Bos’ level of art, many screenshots indicate a much lower quality.
The game runs on low-spec computers and can be quite fast-paced. I quite enjoyed playing it in a tower-defense/tower rush style. The last release of Bos Wars has been over two years ago, but development is not frozen, the last commit was on 2012-08-09.
The three biggest issues I personally had are:
  1. Some maps are aesthetically displeasing.
  2. For a beginner, it’s hard to decide what map to play.
  3. Many units and buildings don’t have voices/sounds.
  4. The interface is confusing in regards to resource quantity.

Visual style of old maps

image: most likely the first map you play in Bos (because it’s selected by default)
To address issues 1 and 2, I hope that this blog post will help. The screenshots at the bottom show the game start screen at 1280×1024 for every of the “Start Game” single player maps. If you see a level that you’d like to play, right-click and “open” the link or image, to see the level name in the file name of the screenshot.
An in-game solution to issue 1. would be to create a map folder called “old” and move all levels in there, when the rendered ground texture clashes with the units, buildings and resources.
This suggestion might be seen as disrespectful insult to the original map makers, but having the current map selection structure is a barrier for new players, who need some guidance to get started without having to open random levels first. They are likely to assume that the first level they play is representative of the visual style of the entire game, which can be quite wrong, as you can see by the different-looking screenshots at the bottom.

Map selection screen

image: Bos Wars map selection screen

To solve issue 2 in-game, a preview of the mini-map, as it is seen with “non-revealed map” would help. This might be a non-trivial UI/in-game-rendering task if it has to work fully automatic.

Missing/repetitive sounds

In regards to issue 3, I started by contributing a patch with some voices and sounds. If you would like to help as a voice actor or by turning voice lines into soldier/pilot/driver voice/effect mixes, please feel free to comment in this blog post, if you would like to coordinate this with me and other potential contributors. Female voices are especially welcome (source).
Feedback on my patch is welcome too. Watch/listen to the video below, to see what kind of voices are missing and what kind of voices are being used multiple times in Bos Wars.

Resource UI

I’m not sure I have figured it out completely but here goes nothing.
image: how I interpret Bos’ resource info
Without having thought this through in detail, this is what seems to be missing:
  • Resource icons.
  • Absolute value of resources in stock, rather than divided by ten(?).
  • Color coding of income/spending.
  • Display of the sum of income and spending – in a prominent position, individual display of income and spending in a non-prominent position.
  • Indication of resource effect by buildings when selecting buildings and when hovering them in the build menu.

Starting screens of all Bos Wars maps

If you see a level that you’d like to play, right-click and “open” the link or image, to see the level name in the file name of the screenshot.
gallery: All Bos Wars maps

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!