Crikey, it's been a while. What can I say, life gets busy, and games sometimes just can't be a priority. I know, it's crazy talk. I meditated long and hard, facing many demons, moments of utter despair, but I couldn't get past the conclusion that sometimes Free Gamer won't be on my list of things to do. Fortunately Q has been on top of things so it's not silent when I'm off the radar.
Today is a temporary reprieve, brought on somewhat by enjoying the current development pace of the Scourge project. Timong, of JCRPG fame, has been taking a break from Java coding to indulge in his new found passion for music composition. You can listen to the new main theme music he has composed for Scourge, one of many he has contributed lately. I think it sounds pretty damn good. Meanwhile you can now roam around a massive persistent outdoor world in Scourge, with generated villages and NPCs as well as varying climate and weather conditions. It all sounds quite impressive.
On another dungeoneering frontier, Iter Vehemens ad Necem (aka IVAN) is probably the most challenging and addictive nethack variant I ever played. (Although I only ever played a couple.) It has surprisingly good 2d graphics, which aren't done justice by the screenshot, but alas development stalled after 2005. The IVAN community seems to be filling the void left by the developers who[se motivation] seem[s] to have met some kind of gruesome demise - perhaps their brains turned into banana flesh by a vindictive god.
There is the IVANX project which seems to pull together a lot of the popular community contributions, and should be more likely to compile on Linux. There's also LIVAN which stands for Linux IVAN, thus should compile on Linux. Neither compiled for my Fedora laptop, somewhat thankfully as it means I can't play it and thusly be more productive! \o/
Of extra interest is IVAN 3D which turns it into a bit of a funky pixelated adventure. There's obviously quite a few challenges to overcome when transposing a totally 2D described game into a 3D world without it looking a bit other-worldly. Still, I don't think pixels are a bad thing. After all, it's a game, not a life simulation!
Hey look, Open World Soccer is moving steadily towards being a modern Sensible Soccer clone. Impressive looking! However the AI doesn't do too much yet, just keeping the two teams level with the ball.
Raidem is one of those vertical scrolling shooters, a nice classic pixel explosion fest. It is surprisingly well done, but it's also bloody hard - I never survived more than 20-30s. From the intro screen, it looks like the author needs an additional graphic designer but other than that it's a very nice looking game. No development since 2006 though so I guess it's to be taken as-is.
Another game that is surprisingly well done is Abe's Amazing Adventure. It looks weird, really weird. However the animations are very smooth and the game plays pretty well, far better than it looks. Still, I couldn't quite get over the game's oddness.