Archive for the ‘rpg’ Category

Freeablo is that Diablo engine remake we’ve been wishing for, is currenly looking for contributors (and general ravings about Diablo. In fact, mostly that)

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Freeablo engine in its early stages
Who doesn’t love the original Diablo? When it was first released in 1996, this game set a notable landmark for making the RPG genre more accessible to a broader audience, while still keeping many gameplay aspects of classic Rogue-derived RPGs, that kept the game fresh and unique even after being completed several times. This bridge between classic and modern aspects combined with an incredible attention to detail, a uniquely crafted atmosphere that still gives me the creeps, and a gameplay pacing and length that is just the right balance between level progression and grinding, has helped making Diablo one of my all time favourite games. Well, that and Battlenet, of course, we can never forget how Diablo was one of the first to make it so easy to just go dungeon crawling with a couple of friends online.
There is, however, one thing that I don’t like about Diablo. One thing that annoyed me all over these years of repeated runs and occasional multiplayer meetups. And that is how Blizzard itself decided to neglect its maintenance and compatibility completely and practically drop all active support for it, despite keeping the Battlenet servers online. Yes, you will have a tough time trying to buy a fresh copy of this game nowadays, because Blizzard cares so much about their legacy games they don’t even sell ‘em anymore in their official store. But even if there still are plenty of used copies available online for cheap, running the game on modern systems can be a whole a new quest, given that the last patch is dated from 2000, which means no performance maintenance, no improved graphics compatibility, in fact, not even additional screen resolutions, and certainly no stability updates whatsoever. 
The first Cathedral levels loaded and randomly generated in Freeablo
As a matter of fact, Blizzard has a whole tradition of being disrespectful to legacy fans. They refuse to let resellers touch their games (physical Diablo II and Starcraft copies still go by $25 nowadays, with no Steam or GOG versions in sight), they frequently discourage and hamper any type of mod support or mod attempts, other than whatever’s produced under their little walled garden editor-type programs and, obviously, they never ever released the source code of any of their games, just to make sure us, the plebeian fans, would never touch their precious abandoned heritage with our filthy paws.
Luckily, this might just be about to change, with the coming of a bold, new engine remake project most aptly named Freeablo. This project aims to rebuild and expand upon the original Diablo engine, keeping it fully portable and compatible with modern systems, as well as making it adaptable and moddable for anyone willing to modify the game. All of this while still paying due respect to Blizzard and requiring the original game files in order to run the game. Now isn’t this nice? 

As of the current 0.1 release, there is still much to be done, which is why the project is open to contributors of all sorts. Hopefully, with enough time and effort, we can all free Diablo one day from the clutches of proprietary software and greedy corporate execs who are still stuck in a 90s mentality on how to commercialize and support video games.

Code License: GPLv3

Assets License: Relies on original proprietary data files

Official Website
Source Code (Github)

Zelda can now be free as in freedom

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Not only from the clutches of Ganondorf, but also from the dominion of proprietary software. All thanks to the magnificent Solarus Engine, a GPLed, SDL-based, 2D action RPG engine. This amazing project aims to provide a stable and easily customizable platform for users to create their own Zelda-like games, and so far, I must say, I am darn impressed by what I’ve seen. The engine already has two incredible launching titles, named The Legend of Zelda: Mystery of Solarus DX, and a parody of the former, Mystery of Solarus XD. Both are true love letters to the classic SNES RPG, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and amazing and enjoyable games on their own.

Mystery of Solarus DX

But hark, the mere words of a mortal make no justice to the grandiosity of this undertaking. Sheathe thy sword, get thy green cap and ready yourself to adventure! You can start by marching straight to the Solarus download section, or, if your intentions are more creative, you can check the various sources here, and the quest editor here.

Code License: GPLv3
Mystery of Solarus DX Artwork License: Mixed  (original Solarus assets under CC-BY-SA, but the game also uses spritework taken directly the A Link to the Past rom)

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!