Monday, July 10, 2006

Freecol vs Swecol

The 0.5 release of Freecol is imminent! I've been looking forward to this. Freecol is one of the best looking open source games with a very artistic interface. This will be the first really playable version of Freecol, and as such I expect it to take off as a project after this point. Good open source games always have a critical mass point where they blossom from one or two man efforts into community driven projects. This, I feel, is that point for Freecol.

However, there is a twist! Well, I'm just being dramatic, but another Colonization project has cropped up. Proclaiming to be Colonization II, copyright violations withstanding, Swecol2 profresses to be an open source sequel to the 1994 classic. There is even a teaser trailer.

On the face of things, Swecol2 looks promising despite being graphically (and seemingly gameplay-wise) inferior to Freecol. However, there is some cynism about and the fact that this is not yet open source makes is cause for suspicion:

...this is an open source project (the code will be released later on, right now it's [too] embarrassing to show anyone our code).

Still, I'm not trying to discourage a prospective Free game. I just feel developers should be open if they are going to be open source... it keeps people's expectations on a level with the reality of the game. Teasing players with trailers and promises of classic game sequels should be backed up by downloadable code so people can see what is going on.

In a slight departure from games, I'm going to mention Notepad++. If you use Windows, especially if you develop anything on Windows, this is an indispensable replacement for classic Notepad/Wordpad as well as an excellent lighter substitute for heavier IDEs. Notepad++ combines a small footprint with tons of features such as tabs and syntax highlighting. Really, I don't think I could stand using Windows without it. Wusers, check it out right now! I'll go as far as saying it's the best multi-purpose editor I've ever used on any platform.