Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sonic Robo Blast 2

Now here's an interesting 'new' (read: new to me) open source game... Sonic Robo Blast 2! A 3D-with-2D-sprites Sonic-inspired game, it seems fairly complete and, whilst not earth shatteringly good, the graphics look fun. There's even a full mod for the game called The Mystic Realm, among other addons.

Of course any game which uses commercial IP for it's content (i.e. the characters, like Sonic, are owned by Sega) is on a dubious legal footing but the game has been in development for nearly 10 years now and is essentially complete and still not been shut down. I also couldn't establish, at a glance, whether it is open source but I'd be surprised if it wasn't. However it is only available for Windows :-( but thanks to FG forum member NoMorePros for pointing it out nonetheless.

Back to more definitively Free Software matters, and the PlanetPenguin Racer revival effort is ongoing - they are trying to decide on a new name for the project to disambiguate their efforts from the now-defunct PPR project. I can't say I'm enthralled by the 4 names they are choosing from but to be honest I couldn't think of much better. Perhaps you - yes, YOU, you good looking son of a gun - could inspire them with a better alternative.

One of 3D Realms' older titles, Alien Carnage, is now available as freeware. Download link plus random blurb here, announcement with other download link here. It's an old school platformer and, from my youngers years, pretty good fun. Dosbox required but that's ok since Dosbox works on pretty much every platform going including my mate's 11 year old waterproof Casio digital watch. Y'know, one of those blue and grey plastic monstrosities. Ok, maybe dosbox doesn't work on it, but I bet it could if the developers tried - dosbox runs on everything! ;-)

I rambled a bit about the CuteGod challenge on LostGarden the other day. Well there's a bunch of prototypes to toy with, most of which come with the source code. Why is it that Java Web Start never f***ing works? Even on Windows. I don't know how Sun messed that one up so bad but I don't think it's worked more than 1 in 5 times for me on any machine I tried it on. Perhaps now Java is open source that might change? Who knows.

Finally for today, I don't think I've yet mentioned an article on Liberty Gaming about making money from Free Software games. It's a good article with some interesting ideas, but to me I think the way to make money from Free Software games is simple; produce your own games (don't be too reliant on giant community efforts), produce good quality games (original, innovative, not too complex), and you will get good steady web traffic. Then you have adverts and merchanising and you have a steady income stream without imposing much on your players or contributors. I really don't like the notion of premium content or asking for donations. I don't think it's necessary if you are creating quality of innovative content. For example, the Desktop Tower Defense game is very simple and free to play but the guy pulls in a high 9-figure revenue (after costs, I believe) from Google adsense and merchandising alone (up to 20 million hits a month). A simple, well executed idea will get you enough visitors to make a decent steady income from a game - and if you keep churning out good games, you'll be able to make a lot of money without ever charging your players.