Archive for the ‘opendungeons’ Category

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.

May the source be with you

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

I’m a big advocate of the phrase, “Release Early, Release Often.” I think it is by far the best way to keep or gain community interest in a project.

Of course, that simple phrase doesn’t quite sum up what you actually must do – simply uploading a release and announcing it on your mailing list is unlikely to attract interest. For example, who knew about Lincity-NG 2.9beta in lieu of the intended Lincity-NG 3.0?

Lincity-NG is in a bit of a mini-crisis. A victim of the shutdown of the Berlios developer services, all the web material is in a bit of a mess. Its home page is now on but still links back to the defunct Berlios page. There are entries on Google Code and Github that are up to date with the source, as well as an imported Sourceforge project* which is the only place you can currently find the beta, however all are unofficial / back up for now.

(* Not to be confused with this redundant redundant project)

Another game project which suffered was Battles of Antargis. It has re-emerged on Github and development seems to have resumed with C++ replacing the Ruby bits which previously encumbered the game. For a web presence, you have to use the Internet archive for its old Berlios page or external sites e.g. the LGBD entry or on Libregamewiki.

Battles of Antargis

It’s not just Berlios that throws a spanner in people’s works. Sourceforge has setback the oft-setback Extreme Tux Racer by closing down their hosted apps. The main communication medium was phpBB but now it is completely gone. They did manage to get an updated 0.6.0 release online before this, at least.

Since there doesn’t appear to be any project communication channel for ETR, I have contacted them suggesting a FreeGameDev forum.

Speaking of FGD forums, there’s plenty of activity amongst the projects there. Stunt Rally continues to gain more strings to its bow. Sci-fi hovercrafts! That ought to be interesting. Despite being one of the prettiest open source games and incredibly put together almost by one person, CryHam – well, not quite; it took VDrift‘s physics and Ogre3D‘s jazz – the project doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves.

Sci-fi overcrafts now in Stunty Rally

You can browse the tracks online. Check out this fun looking track with pyramids and chasms galore.

Another project gaining momentum is OpenDungeons. It’s had its ups and downs, but seems to have gotten its footing now with regular test releases and several active contributors. The new website is coming along, but more importantly so is the game as especially Yohann Ferreira aka Bertram (of Valyria Tear fame) has come in and steadied the ship. I look forward to seeing creatures like this golem trudging dark, damp and dangerous dungeon corridors.

Of course the reality of open source game development is that it is not an overnight job. It takes years of perseverance to realise the goals of many projects. Over the course of that time, occasionally the rug may get pulled from under you. You just have to be prepared to dust yourself off, get up, and keep going.

Or you could just call it quits.

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.

Cry for programming help!

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Ok, we don’t normally do these kind of recruitment posts (don’t send us emails about that!), but for the following two FOSS game gems we will make an exception (and it is officially sanctioned by our boss Charlie 😉 ).

So which ones do I mean? Well these:

Link to homepage; example video
Link to homepage; example video

In recent months both games have stalled in development and people are starting to become quite pessimistic about the future (1,2).

Strangely enough (for typical FOSS projects) it is not the artists who lack (there is actually an active group of contributors for both games, who are eager to see their artwork in the game; examples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, all CC-by-SA licensed) but a severe lack of programmers.

An example of not yet implemented OD graphics

So how can you help out and dig into the code, and why am I posting about both games the same time? Well both are actually build on a somewhat similar base, utilizing OGRE3D for graphics and CEGUI for the GUI elements. Now I have to admit, given my very much lacking C++ skills, I am aware that that is probably where the similarities end, but have a look at their developers pages (1, 2) and source-code yourself if you are interested.

Now why would one want to merge the code-base of two completely different games (the one being a strategy game, the other an ARPG)? Well surprisingly enough they would complement each other quite well, with a similar theme and the nice prospect of using the OD mechanics also as an in-game editor (which is really lacking for SumWars).

In addition to that it would open up the possibility of a really cool multiplayer/COOP game mode as I explained here. This comic sums up the idea (minus the Wii-U):

Copyright: Penny Arcade

So warm up your OGRE3D coding skills and give these projects some help, preferably including a merger! THANKS in advance!