Archive for the ‘platform-osx’ Category

DevCorner: Blender Game Engine

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

While Blender3D is one of the premier FOSS projects out there, its integral part the Blender Game Engine (BGE) is often belittled as not a serious game engine.

While the criticism is certainly not completely unfounded  and the integration of limited “non-programming” game code creation (via logic bricks) gives it a bit of a “RPG maker” image, it really is a quite interesting platform to work on it seems.
Ok, probably as of now the BGE is really more of a rapid game prototyping engine, but previous experience during the Yo, Frankie! project has actually shown that at least compared to some other well known FOSS engines, it is a serious contender (that Blender Foundation project originally started on Crystal Space, and after many problems was implemented in the BGE in a few weeks only).

So what makes it so interesting? Well for one there is the full integration with a creation tool (obviously Blender3D) so that getting your content into the game is only a matter of making it. No exporters or anything needed… it just works. Then of course there is the fully scriptability via Python, also integrated tightly. Basically you never have to exit Blender, and testing your game can be done right in the editor with one click (no compiling etc. necessary). Oh and did I mention the great physics capabilities via Bullet, also build right in?

In addition your created game will be immediately available on any platform the Blender Game player has been ported (all major desktop operating systems, with an Android port under development and a browser plugin, too). In addition you can choose to publish your game as a single .blend file, giving the users a direct access to all the source files of the game; a wet dream of any true FOSS game developer!
The tight integration with the GPLed Blender Player, has been a major source of discontent with the predominately propitiatory game developing users of the BGE however. Thus there now exists also a few options to encrypt your game and/or run it on an external engine that can be kept close source (but I will not go further into that here). 

You can find a lot of (sometimes really awesome looking: 1, 2, 3) game projects on the Blenderartists.org forum. Now as I said, most of it is sadly closed source with propitiatory artworks, but I also have the feeling that some simply don’t know or care about the legal implications of their “freeware” game (which sadly shows that even many people who use a great FOSS tool, mostly care about the “free as in beer” aspect of it). 

One of the more interesting projects right now (which might or might not become a full FOSS game) can be seen in this video:

It shows the most recent work by Martinesh, who is basically BGE’s resident game art guru. Two years ago we already featured previous awesome work by him, but sadly that Air Race project is by now canceled.
What he is now working on is however rather a show-case for the really nice new graphical features in the BGE which he and others are developing in the so called “candy” development branch (on his blog there are also more details and nice videos from some time ago).

Another cool recent project it the rewrite of the the logic bricks visual programming idea via nodal logic blocks called Hive.

While not completely integrated into Blender yet, you can already try it via an external editor (the created python code works fine inside Blender). There are also some tutorials and a documentation for it.
Since my programming skills also lack somewhat, I find that an interesting tool… however most likely it is rather a nice way to do some level scripting, than actually programming the real guts of a game with it.

So where can you get started with developing your own game using the BGE? Well, the blenderartists.org sub-forums are always helpful, with some nice beginners video tutorials linked here, here, here and here ;)
There are even some books available (this one in particular is quite recent, which is a plus given the fast development of Blender3D) and there is of course the official Blender documentation.
Oh and a good source of content is (besides our friends opengameart.org of course) Blender Swap (nice interview with one of the creators here).

If you have further questions please comment below or ask over at blenderartists.org!

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!

Some upcoming releases

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Looks like we will get some nice x-mas presents this year:

A bit delayed but probably right on time for the Mayan end of the world, we will see a long awaited new release of Cube2:Sauerbraten. Read about the release announcement here. Hmm, I wonder if it has already Occulus Rift support…

Also on the FPS front, AlienArena is having a major engine update, with a claimed massive 3-4 times speed increase in BSP rendering and more VBO improvements.

Mars meets CounterStrike?

Furthermore they announce a new game-mode to be added soon, which tries to slow down the game-play of AlienArena a bit and add a more tactical appeal. Sounds a bit like selling out to the CounterStrike/ModernWarefare crowd to me, but lets see how it will play ;)

Last but not least, GarageGames has announced that after the recent FOSS licensed release of their 3D engine Torque3D (see latest updates here, sadly no working Linux port yet), they will also open-source their 2D engine!

And in fact it will not only be a source-drop, but rather a significant update including a merger of their iOS code with the rest of the Torque2D one.

Also no Linux port yet, but just as for the 3D engine one will hopefully show up sooner or later.

P.S.: In case someone has missed it: SuperTuxKart had a very nice new release recently, bumping it up to version 0.8. See a video of it in action here.

Video updates (various)

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Today I let the videos speak:
First of all a nice FOSS bullet hell SHMUP, called Shmupacabra:

Taisei Project is maybe also relevant if you like getting killed ALOT (hehe, insider joke for q).

Previously mentioned Cube Trains (based on Frogatto) has reached version 1.0:

You can support the developer of this nice puzzle game by buying the Expansion-pack for 2 Canadian bucks or more! Another option to try and fund FOSS game development… maybe there will be some sales figures published at some point?

Next on the list: open-source engine reimplementation project Corsix-th:

You will need the original game for the non-free artworks though.

And last but not least: 0 A.D. got a brand new website: www.play0ad.com! Celebrating this they also made some nice video tutorials for total beginners:

Have a look at tutorial 2 and tutorial 3 also.

Signing off :)

Edit: Small interview with the 0 A.D. developers.

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

0 A.D. and Megaglest updates

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Some assorted news from the FOSS RTS thematic area.

First of all, Megagest saw another somewhat bigger release (3.7.x), and someone also made a nice cinematic for them:

Sadly no news on the planned graphical update, as the merger with GAE seems on hold, but the new version adds a lot of nice usability enhancements.

Much more active on the graphics front is 0 A.D. on the other hand. In their recent development update #9 they talk about completely switching to their new shader based renderer, and the guy behind these renderer improvements recently gave a short interview too.

Some other interesting news include this recent forum posts of some modders trying to switch to the 0 A.D. engine for their modern warfare RTS called Rogue Republic.
Asset integration seems to work already as you can see here:

Rogue Republic assets in O A.D.

The thread over at the 0 A.D. forums has a few additional details, but no significant info on the FOSS status they are aiming at in regards to their media.
Never the less, it looks like it might become a RTS project to follow more closely.

Cinematic ZeroK trailer

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Busy for a while moving… and the crickets take over FreeGamer it seems *chirp* *chirp* :D
Anyways, I am partially back in business, so a warm HELLO from East Africa!!!

So nothing much to report right now, except that there is a really nice cinematic trailer available for the FOSS RTS ZeroK (which is based on the Spring engine):

They also released a new version not all that long ago, so give it a try if you haven’t so far.

Stay tuned, as I struggle to get into my regular FOSS-Games blogging habit again ;)

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.