Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Colonel Mustard with the pipe in the study

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Mystery semi-solved. Whilst the domain appears gone, the Open Racer forum and wiki are still online although just a bit (a really big bit) harder to find. Oh and it's still not open source, which is kinda lame.



Meanwhile check out a racing game that is good and exists and Free Software. Like TORCS (solid game, upcoming 1.3.1 release), or Ultimate Stunts (freeform driving fun), or VDrift (potential amazing). There are a few others, but I'd recommend those 3 first. What's your favourite Free Software driving game?



Curiously, also, Open Racer was the name of a dead fork of Tux Racer, which now lives on as Extreme Tux Racer, which itself was a fork of PlanetPenguin Racer, also a dead fork Tux Racer. Fork that. You may be forgiven for thinking that the Tux Racer project is cursed, but fortunately the ETR guys are doing a bit better and the game has landed in Ubuntu. A new physics implementation is in progress, and 0.5 should be around sooner rather than later. See developer discussions for more details.




Leadgolem's Inventory Concept

Scourge Outdoors

Ilya's Inventory Concept


Scourge development has been a hive of activity lately. There's proposals on a new inventory system, lots of optimizating, and in general the game is looking very cool. Does anybody know much about animation systems? Think having a human model and dynamically overlaying parts of armour or clothing and how that would all tie together with animations etc in 3D. If you know about that, contact the Scourge team as they are looking for advice.



There's been a lot of nice new features added to Scourge this year - outdoor areas, cutscenes, new storyline, graphical enhancements galore, and lots of cool models of armour etc. The one bit limitation at the moment is the limitation in model format support, especially character models - currently just md3 is supported. The whole armour-character combination could be a compelling enough reason to see a move to a better format. I like the project a lot and hope to see a few more contributors when such limitations are overcome.



Tikiwiki does suck though. Usability nightmare.



On a related note, Scourge contributor Ilya created a lovely 2d inventory system which won't be used in Scourge but is really nice. Screenshot on the right, more information and images here. If you have an alternative project please suggest because it'd be a shame to see such lovely pixel art go to waste.



Development of netPanzer has been active lately and the current developer is looking for input on the development direction. If you have any affinity for the project, it would be a good time to chime in! Me? I'd love to see single player. I downloaded it... multiplayer only... off. That's a cold and simple truth.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Foobar

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iSoccer Concept

Open World Soccer


iSoccer ist und... wait... I'm English, why am I sprechen sie Deutsch? Must be Q's influence...



iSoccer is a promising project to create an arcade football game in the vein of Sensible Soccer and Football Glory. It was started in April by members of the iTeam project. It's early days but the concept (right) looks beautiful. I hope they can pull it off.



The "other" Sensi-like project is Open World Soccer (by the creators of the now discontinued Yoda Soccer project).



Fans of the genre should check out both projects and fans-with-skills (aka programmers) should contribute because an awesome little soccer game is sorely missed on the FOSS game scene.



On a more ambitious front, Open Football is alive and kicking and had a steady stream of commits over the summer. It's still in concept phase but it's not far from having the foundation to become a playable game. Trying out the SVN version is already quite interesting with quite a few different tests of the engine, although only 1 shows the signs of being a football game (you can run a player around and dribble with the ball).



Who is up for a solving a mystery? There's this game, Race Racer. It's a supposedly open source game, definitely exists, but any links of any use are dead (the forums, wiki, www.openracer.org, www.raceracer.org all down). Videos (eg1, eg2) were posted as late as October 2007. It's this promising open source game... just there's no source about? I'll donate a packet of chocolate chip cookies to whomever can get to the bottom of it.



Oooo almost forgot. There's a new Allacrost release. All the juicy gossip is on the website, hopefully this signals a recovery for the project that had somewhat stalled over the summer season.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kazama, Retribution Engine, LPairs, OpenAnno and Mono.XNA

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Kazama

Kazama is a Pygame-based fighting game engine. [video] It's young and performs rather slowly and the license status of the media included in it's first release is somewhat dubious.




In case you had problems following Freedroid(RPG)'s development: they now have an RSS-feed for their updates, which we added to the FreeGameDev news planet.




Retribution Engine's level editor

There has been an update of the First-person shooter Retribution Engine: Some weapon tuning and two maps. To my knowledge the game still only compiles on windows machines which is unfortunate, as it appears to include a map and a model editor, which might be worth a look.




LParis

LPairs is a memory game which uses graphics of the Tango Desktop Project. It's just as exciting as every other memory game and I must say that the best thing about it is the user interface library (pretty fading menu fonts). This is something all the LGames shine in.



I also just found out via the news planet, that OpenAnno appears to have it's first playable release! And they made a video!!


OpenAnno 13 Sept 2008


Mono.XNA is an open source, cross-platform implementation of Microsoft's XNA gaming framework. So far I had to ignore the 84 SourceForge.net-hosted XNA-related projects. This might change now. Thanks to SiENcE for the tip!



[Edit] On the other hand, the project doesn't seem too active really. Last SVN commit Jul 25, 2007.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

English transcription of "Hobby Game Development" (neues, 3sat)

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Narrator: On first sight it looks like the commercial online role-playing game Ultima Online. On the second the viewer might spot one or another change. Maybe even something special, which doesn't even exist in the original game.



This game is named Iris 2, built on top of Ultima Online and is freely available online. It was developed by hobby game developers.



It's their hobby, just like others knit pullovers in the evening. Florian Fischer and Iwan Gabovitch develop games in their free time. What's the thrill of developing games on your own?



Florian: It's just fun to be creative and to express this creativity. Games are super for that.



Iwan: First I stopped playing commercial games and started searching for new, interesting games. I found many freeware games and then came across the open source scene, where also games get developed, where
it's easy to contribute, without having to get involved too much.



Narrator: Most developers are not professionals but they have lots of potential and ideas, which they want to share and to put into practice with others.



Free software is being used, which is available gratis online. For example to create graphics of special effects.



For the 3D visualization, Florian works with OGRE. OGRE is open source software, which can be copied, distributed and used without limitation. Working with free software excites the developers.



Florian: Others can download our code, can compile games on their own, can try own things and can improve the programm. The principle of open source is nice: I give something and, as I use open source tools, I also take something.



Narrator: Usually each developer works seperately on his computer but once a year the hobby developers meet live.



The event Dusmania was initiated so that developers could exchange experience, but of course there has to be some actual development too. In nine hours, they had to develop a game. The group of Iwan and Florian created "lalalove", a game in which sounds have to be generated to make people happy.



Iwan was responsible for the graphics in lalalove. First he sketches the images, before layouting them on the PC.



Somebody who invests so much love and free time into game development could work for commercial game producers, but this doesn't interest the community.



Florian: We don't have to follow any rules, we can implement every idea and we can throw it out too. We can be as creative as we want to be and this is fun. We can create prototypes of games and then say "we like this game principle" or maybe someone else in the community likes it and develops it thurther. I find this freedom fascinating.



Narrator: One who wants to experience developing games on his/her own, finds a lot of tips on the web. Beginners are also able to get into the scene easily.



Free Gamer is an online community for hobby game developers. It consists of a blog, a forum and a wiki. The forum is for discussions. On the wiki articles can be published and freely edited. For example there is a list of open source 3D game engines, which everyone can use for his own games.



If someone prefers to play rather than develop, won't be disappointed. Games of all sorts are available on the net. For example the cute SuperTuxKart. Instead of Mario, a penguin drives against the tree.



End of transcription. Please not that all text by the Narrator is not freely licensed and it's copyright is owned by 3sat.



Please note that simplification and generalization are unavoidable if you want to squeeze a topic into four minutes. There are of course people who are interested in commercial application of open source and there are open source game developers who would like to work in non-free, commercial game developer companies.

Monday, September 15, 2008

qubodup and SiENcE on German TV

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Left to right: SiENcE, qubodup


Update: The video can be viewed on YouTube (the part about us starts at 18 seconds).



Hello friends.



Today's post is just a quickie: I (involved in some stuff) and SiENcE (involved in both Iris 2 and OGRE) were interviewed by Cornelia Rettig for 3sat's neues (in German). We talk about open source and hobby game development, visit the Free Gamer blog, the FreeGameDev forum and wiki and show Iris 2, OGRE and SuperTuxKart.



I am ever so excited.



If I understand correctly, you are able to watch the full show inside a time frame of two weeks. Here's a direct link to a asx (windows media player steam file, Kaffeine was able to play it for me.)

You can read these news in the Iris 2 blog too! Also there's an article on 3sat's homepage and you can read an auto-translated English version (using google tools).



In case there's interest in an English version of a transcript of the show, I guess I could do it...... just tell so via the contact link at the top of the blog or via posting a comment in the blog or in the forum. A longer post by me is coming up soon by the way. :)



One step closer to world domi... ah, that joke is getting weak. :p

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tumbleweed

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Well there was some, but let's tidy it up for a bit.



These days following Free Software game news is much easier, since we have planet.freegamedev.net. That place is ace but it means that the motivation to post here has dwindled. Still, for addicts, I suggest you tune in to there. I know I do.



For instance, if you did, you'd know that there's an updated version of Yo Frankie! (of Apricot project fame) available for download. Funnily enough, the post is no longer up as there was a problem with it (at least there was for me). Still, here is the download URL, and it uses 0launch which I'm afraid to say I really dislike.



You can also check out FreeCol 0.8-alpha2. I like that they are releasing early, releasing often. Future maintainers pay attention!



Another project that adopts that practise is Battle for Wesnoth. 1.4.x and 1.5.x updates are out with lots of polish. One wonders how much polish will go into that game before it loses momentum. There was hope that some of the community energy that goes into Wesnoth may move into the Silvertree project but at the moment it's somewhat stalled that did not happen and the lead developer is busy with some Frog-platform-like game called Frogatto (googlecode).




JCRPG


JCRPG looks ace these days. Lots of updates on the planet for that one. I love the pixelization on this shot :lookright: which enhances the "classic" (old-school) nature of the game experience. It's one of either a magic monkey brush or a depth of field shader. With loads of optimization lately as well means JCRPG won't need a mean machine to run.



Penultimately, why not take TORCS 1.3.1-test1 out for a test drive? There's a lot of momentum with TORCS development lately and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised how fun it was the last time I played it. It's a good game.



Finally, project admins, did you know that now Sourceforge offers a service called Hosted Apps - that is, they host MediaWiki and phpBB for you, all integrated with SF.net logins. Check out the announcement. Damn, all that effort of mine for nothing.