Friday, July 06, 2007

Privateer Parallel Universe

Parallel Universe, a modification of Privateer Remake, has gotten itself a rather smart website and community forums. There's a good bit of work going on over there and the feedback on PU is generally pretty good. Definitely worth a look for space game fans. It is also part of a rather complex development scene based around Privateer & Wing Commander games. I'll get back to that in a bit.

A couple of Ubuntu users have posted their first serious effort at a game, Slingshot. It's a fairly simple 2D affair, take it in turns to shoot at each other, your shots being affected by the gravity pulls of planets.

I've mentioned Egoboo Resurrection a few times - a continuation of the classic game Egoboo. I've not really mentioned that it's only released for Windows despite the original predominantly being a Linux game. It just comes down to a lack of Linux based contributors. However there's another "branch" called Egoboo 2.x which has binaries for Mac OS X and Windows. I'm sure eventually a Linux guy will pop up and help out but until then it seems us Lusers are a bit stuck when it comes to getting an Egoboo fix. I guess there is always SoulFu. Anyway, to encourage contributors one of the Egoboo Resurrection devs posted a development bundle which comes with game editing tools as well as the source.

There's now a Mac OS X binary up for the latest Warzone 2100 release, 2.0.7. Good day for Mac users, eh? :-)

Back to PU and a bit about the scene which PU comes from, and it's all a bit complex, rotating around the Vega Strike engine. Some of the VS devs (herein called the 'devs') made Privateer Remake. This got noticed by the Wing Commander nuts at (herein called the 'canons') who are dedicated to their cause. Some less fierce but equally obsessed WC fans (herein called the 'non-canons') at the same time started forming Wing Commander Universe, a super-mod that encompassed all things WC, a lot of which started making it's way into PR. Unhappy at the way PR was not completely true to the original Privateer, the canons - with help from the devs - created Privateer Gemini Gold, a fork of PR. The canons publicly denounce WCU. The non-canons decided that not only was the limitations imposed on gameplay in PGG not conducive to a fun game, but they did not go far enough, so created Parallel Universe, something even less true to it's WC heritage that embraces fun over accuracy.

So you now have a triangle of groups - the devs with VS and PR, the canons with PGG who gets help from the devs, the non-canons with WCU and PU who collaborate with the devs on PR. It's quite an interesting thing to follow. It's quite a caustic atmosphere between the canons and the non-canons. At the end of the day, not everybody can always get along, and the canons are abrasive at best, with questionable forum policies and immature moderation the last time I encountered them.

Anyway, my point was that PGG is the most well known of all the projects. However, feedback isn't that great on the latest release 1.02 which new players are finding incredibly hard with a high starting difficulty. The PU team could flank PGG in terms of community by being a more fun game to play so attracting more players and contributors. And there's PR in the middle that will no doubt continue to, well, be in the middle.

I hope I got that all correct. Whilst it was a stormy path to the projects we have today, I think each project serves a niche and they can coexist harmoneously. It may even turn out to be one of those situations where the existance of one is what spurs on the other - Yin and Yang etc. :-)