Archive for the ‘platform-osx’ Category

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.

Open-source head-tracking

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

So unless you are living under a rock, you have probably heard about the new VR-google craze soon to hit every hard-core gamers cave (e.g. Occulus Rift). We talked about the FOSS engine getting Occulus support before, and now that id software promised to release the Doom3 BFG Edition source code too, it looks like VR in FOSS games will become quite common soon.

However, hidden in the (flight-)sim genre another quite nice system has been developed, using only a (sufficient frames per second) webcam:

The video is shot with FlightGear, everyones favorite open-source flight-sim. More details how to get it running with FlightGear can be found here, the system itself is not FlightGear specific though.

The source-code can be found here to be adapted to to your game (any 3D game that doesn’t require too fast head-movement is basically suitable). The face-tracking is based on OpenCV, which will take some juice from your idling quad-core CPUs ;)

Less resource demanding are infrared LED tracker version, which do not need to follow a face and also work rather nicely in a dark room. For those, some propitiatory solutions have been available for some time, but you can also find Linux compatible open-source code for such a system here (instructions for FlightGear here).

Personally I was always to lazy to build myself a proper 3 dot LED cap, so I think the face tracking solutions are more convenient. If you are into non-FOSS games on the Windows platform, I can thus also recommend the partial open-source FaceTrackNoIR software, which supports quite a few really nice flight-sims, racing games and even FPS.

Force: Leashed – GPL First-Person Gravity Not-Like-Portal

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Force: Leashed is a free first person gravity fiddler. To advance, you need to guide rockets to their targets using spherical potential fields. And no, it’s not like Portal. That much.

Force: Leashed was started as one of the 2012 7DFPS prototypes. It is based on GPL-licensed Darkplaces which for example also powers Xonotic.

Force: Leashed is available for free download for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows from its website.

The art asset license status is unknown. Watch this tweet for further information.

Scavenger: Atmospheric Open Source 2D Space Exploration

Friday, October 26th, 2012
Image: Scavenger in-game credits

Scavenger is a simple space exploration game set in a large debris field, created by Fiona Burrows in December 2009.

It is polished, very atmospheric and expresses a subtle sense of humor inside item/object names.

Scavenger was voted 2nd place in the “overall” category at Ludum Dare 16 (48 hour dev jam). It recently was released in a github repository under MIT license (both code and art!).

The code is written in Python and runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

Video: Scavenger

On her blog, Fiona writes about her development process:

  1. Pick a simple idea and roll with it.
  2. Never leave an unfinished feature.
  3. If anything can be polished then do it – If an animation can be added to something then do it, if a small particle effect can be added here then do it.
  4. Don’t stress over running out of time. When it doubt, pretend this was the plan all along.

Aleona’s Tales (Stratagus game)

Monday, October 15th, 2012
Small retro-style quick news today, so that you don’t hear the crickets here on FreeGamer:

There is a new game available for the FOSS classic engine Stratagus (read up on the history of it here). It is called Aleona’s Tales:

Looks very familiar, right? Yes Grandpa!

You can download it here (only windows builds) and discuss with its creator on the Stratagus forums. Graphics are sadly a mix of various Free and non-Free licenses… but at least you get it for freeeee…

Major Unvanquished update (Alpha 8)

Monday, October 8th, 2012

UPDATE: Here is a nice video of the (Note: Alpha) gameplay:

Yesterday (following their monthly release cycle) a new alpha from Unvanqished was released. For those with bad short term memory: Unvanquished is trying to revitalize the RTS/FPS hybrid Tremulous.

New Unvanquished human player and weapon model

Besides the changes already mentioned previously, they have also replaced some more weapon models and now also have a really nice new webpage!

Still lots of things to do… but big thumbs up for the progress so far!

Promising Open Source jRPG: Valyria Tear

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Valyria Tear [blog, GitHub] is making stable progress! One new code contributor on GitHub, one new art contributor on OpenGameArt, a stable commit history.

If you are looking for a free, open source jRPG and are done with Fall of Imiryn, then this is the place for you to test, develop and contribute!

git clone https://github.com/Bertram25/ValyriaTear.git
cd ValyriaTear/
cmake .
make
./src/valyriatear

Valyria Tear is easy to compile with CMake and features about 30 to 60 minutes of gameplay so far.

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 ;)

Shorts: FreeOrion 0.4.1 and Xonotic Vehicle Gameplay

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

FreeOrion

image: Moving a fleet around in FreeOrion

video: FreeOrion testplay (best viewed at 720p HD)

FreeOrion 0.4.1 has been released a month ago. There still is no manual ship combat mode and there is a certain sluggishness regarding GUI responsiveness but the beautiful audio and graphics and consistent writing are definitely worth a try.

You can check out a preview of current 3d ship combat tech demo in this video (7m30s in).

Xonotic

Unsealed Trial 2 - Xonotic1233544-00
image: Sniping a Hovercraft on Unsealed Trial 2 in Xonotic (more screens)

I have been playing Xonotic on the [MoN] Vehicle Gameplay server and quite enjoying it lately. Just recently, a first version of Unsealed Trial 2 (screenshots) has been released there.

Some helpful vote commands:
vcall timelimit 600 (for when the time is draining too quickly)
vcall gotomap unseal (for when you realize that Unsealed Trial is the only playable map ;) )

If you’d like to record your own videos, all you need to know is on Xonotic’s Democapture wiki page.