Thursday, March 16, 2017

Ancient Beast updated and the Deceiver

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Ancient Beast 0.3 is here (blog post, forum announcement)! This gorgeously drawn game makes another step towards the vision of its developers.

Heya! It’s been too long since the last release, about 3 years; long time indeed.
We’ve finally repaired the prototype and added several new playable creatures, along with more features,
goodies and bug fixes, not to mention that all the old units have been pretty much revamped.
A ton of work, but it was totally worth it!

Ancient Beast is a player vs player turn based strategy game played online where you command all manner of creatures (3D printed! Beware the power of playing God!) in a battle for supremacy amongst the ruins of the apocolypse. Or something like that. Sounds fun. :)

Ancient Beast 0.3

Deceiver (formerly "The Yearning") has been rebranded in its latest update. GPL licensed code is available on github, and there's a steady history of updates going back 2 years, but the assets remain copyright of the developer.

So is it Free Software? Purists would justifiably say no. For example, no OS (Linux, BSD etc) distribution could include it without the developer's express consent. I can see the reasons for going down this path as the developer is now approaching publishers, and having anybody able to take his game and publish it externally would be an issue of contention. Which brings us back to an old topic of discussion - is it possible to monetize a Free Software game project without compromising on the licensing of any part of it?

Deceiver rain experiments
Some would say such a game shouldn't even appear on this blog, but given the relative inactivity of the blog you'll have to indulge me this once for discussion purposes if nothing else!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Fully Open Source 3D Killer Rabbit | Lugaru HD 1.1

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Lugaru HD, aka OSS Lugaru, is now fully freely licensed. November 30th, 2016, the license was changed to state that all Wolfire assets are CC-BY-SA 3.0 licensed.

Two weeks later, version 1.1 was released. My favorite change: modern screen resolutions (e.g. 1080p) are now supported!

1.1 Highlights
- Multiple campaigns support, making it easier to install and play mods!
- These Lugaru mods are included by default as alternative to the Turner official campaign:
-- Temple, by Silb
-- Empire, by Jendraz
-- The Seven Tasks, by Philtron R. (albeit with some engine-related issues)
- All assets (animations, textures, models, maps, sounds, etc.) of Lugaru HD by Wolfire are under a free and open source license (CC-BY-SA 3.0)!
- Window and input management ported from SDL 1.2 to SDL 2.0, improving the support for modern screen resolutions and fullscreen mode, as well as better input handling.

The bunny melee fighting game is hard to learn but once you figure out the controls, you can sear through the missions rather quickly. Just don't play on anything but easy as a first-time player!

Lugaru is a fast-paced meele fighting and 3d platforming action game developed by Wolfire, the company that brought us Humble Bundle and perfectioned open development.

Linux, macOS and Windows versions (an source code of course) are available for download.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Hexoshi - inspired by Metroid

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Hexoshi (forum thread) is a libre game generally inspired by the Metroid series, notably the older versions.

It is seeking funding using CrowdSupply for a budget of at least $1100 to achieve "Milestone 1" which involves fleshing out the first world of the game, including new enemies, player abilities, and 30-40 rooms, and the graphics for it all (which seems to be the bulk of the funding requirement).

It already looks quite well done, even though it is in the early stages of development. Smooth animations, accurate and responsive movement, and fun music all make it quite a compelling game and something the FOSS game scene doesn't really have.

Hexoshi is developed by Julie Merchant, aka onpon4 on the FreeGameDev forums. It is written in Python and SGE. Julie/onpon4 also developed ReTux (forum thread) - a project that received less credit than it deserved, likely because it looked so similar to SuperTux due to re-using graphics from the classic FOSS platformer. In my opinion, ReTux is a better and more original game than SuperTux and a remarkable achievement given it was a 1 man effort with a relatively short development time. However, when the developer tried to get ambitious funding for ReTux there seemed to be little response.

This time around, Hexoshi has no such problems with potential mistaken identity. The caveat is that the graphics do not exist for Julie to pick up and use. The crowd funding effort is already on track to succeed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Warsow down, FOSS Sauerbraten fork and maybe an unkown project?

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Assorted news from the vast realm of open-source FPS games:

  1. Sadly Warsow, despite recentish good news of open asset re-licensing, seems to have come to an end, with the lead engine developer stepping down and general chaos in its wake. Initially I thought it would sort itself out somehow, but after a few months things look still bad. And an forking attempt also seems to have fizzled. So, maybe YOUR chance to step up and take over a brand new fork? It includes nice relatively unknown game modes similar to Team Fortress and Counterstrike "bombing", so one could try to refocus and re-brand everything.
  2. Maybe old news, but it seems people finally got sick of the lack of development and restricting assets licenses of Sauerbraten, and decided to start a nice fork called Inexor. From the looks of it, engine development is quite active and new asset licensing should make the result fully FOSS. They even plan to back-port some nice stuff from Tesseract (sadly also very low profile development on that one).
  3. Not yet released, but projectUnkown is a cool one-man-show project, with extremely liberal game-code and assets licensing (CC0). It will utilize the latest and best of the Quake1 derived engines FTEQW, and has been recently showcased on the QuakeExpo2016.
  4. Another unreleased WIP is the Darkplaces based "A Dark Place" (sic) single player FPS. Check out their development screen-shots on our forums and on
  5. And last but not least it looks like the the Alien Arena (open-source Quake2 based engine with closed art assets) is getting yet another major content upgrade. Amazing how much endurance they have in updating this game...
That's it for a small summary update. If you have more recent open-source FPS gossip, please comment below :D

Monday, October 24, 2016

DevCorner: Exciting news from the Godot Engine project

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The Godot Engine ("the open-source answer to Unity3D") continues to make exciting progress with the recent stable release of version 2.1. Besides lots of small usability improvements to the GUI, the main new feature is a asset sharing store build right into the editor:

This should hopefully result in a lot of extremely easy to use assets, and I am looking forward to seeing a lot high quality assets from transferred into it ;)

In related news, it was recently announced that there is work going on to allow C# (a extremely popular game scripting language also used in Unity3D) scripting in Godot besides the current Python based custom language. So this should lower the entry barrier for indie developers significantly, and maybe we will even see a conversion utility for open-sourcing simple Unity3D games?

Furthermore they are also working on a visual scripting system akin to Unreal's Blueprint or what you can use in the Blender Game Engine. Yeah, visual programming systems are usually pretty limited, but they have their use-cases and definitely lower the entry barrier for artists (map events or shader scripting). Or to put it in the Godot Engine developer's words:
To make it clearer, it is not our belief that forcing programmers to write code with visual blocks will result in a more efficient workflow. We know other game engines and solutions try to sell you this point of view, but rest assured that this is not our view or intention. We stand by programming and still believe it's the best.
So then, again, why visual scripting? Our goals with it are the following:
  • Provide a way for non-programmers to experience what developing in Godot feels like, by ensuring they have a way to manipulate their game's logic.
  • Allow programmers to set up their scenes, AI, etc. in a way they can expose the coarse parameters and logic to level designers or game designers. This way, they can do tweaks without bothering programmers.
  • Allow programmers to expose how data is organized in a visual way. Godot's VisualScript has so much flexibility in how the graph flows that it allows creating dialogue trees, coarse game flow, event handling, etc. with small effort.
Please understand it as just an extra tool, not as a replacement to programming. It will be possible to use both GDScript and VisualScript as complementary tool in a same project.
Sounds pretty good doesn't it?

Oh and last but not least, after long waiting the first version of the Godot based point and click adventure framework Escoria has been released. It is based on the work done for the pretty cool commercial game developed by the original team behind the Godot Engine, so it should be quite powerful. You can find the source code here and a nice manual here.

P.S.: There is also work on-going on a higher level networking support for Godot, which should really help with multi-player prototypes.