Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Nexuiz did not become proprietary or: "Silly names in Games"

Some company will use LordHavoc's DarkPlaces engine (DPE) to publish a game on some game console(s). The development team includes "a number of Nexuiz developers, and previous Quake1 community developers". Nexuiz is a (or rather "the") FOSS FPS that uses DPE.

As far as I can tell, no assets of Nexuiz will be used. On the other hand, the soundtrack playing on the console-DPE-game homepage sounds like a remix of a Nexuiz track. I will just assume that the composer agreed to this and that the same might happen to other high-quality Nexuiz content and that it will all be legal. Lee Vermeulen (Nexuiz' lead developer) is no license-n00b after all. Also, the console game will be using Nexuiz' gameplay, which I assume means "game modes", "movement/physics" and "weapon functions/balancing".

There is one problem though: this console game has the name "Nexuiz" (please call it "console Nexuiz") and its homepage is nexuiz.com.

Why did the developers have to pass the name? Heck I don't know. Perhaps they thought every Nexuix player with a console would want to buy console Nexuiz if they gave it that name. Perhaps they wanted to use the resulting confusion to make the name known. Perhaps they just couldn't come up with a good name (very common problem you know). I can very well imagine that it will only be a development name and that the release version will be called something like Nexuiz: Frag of the Unknown. or maybe there won't be any "Nexuiz" in the final version of console Nexuiz.

Here is Vermeulen's news post about console Nexuiz (did you know that every news page that has no atom/rss feed sucks?). The essence of the post is this:

  1. Nexuiz development will continue
  2. Console Nexuiz' assets will not be open source
  3. Console Nexuiz' code improvements will be open source
  4. Nexuiz' developers ("Alientrap") will receive royalties if console Nexuiz creates profit. It is not yet clear who will get what percentage but Alientrap intends to be transparent about it.
Here is the announcement by the company behind the console Nexuiz and a long discussion. (The company's name is illfonic, but that hardly matters.)
Here is a blog post that provides much more information about console Nexuiz.

No more console Nexuiz talk below this line.

I noticed a nice feature of the Nexuiz 2.5.2 release announcement:
Some of the biggest changes are:
  • New gamemode: CTS (get from A to B). With map "CyberParcour01" by sev, and a nexrun map "Piece o' cake" by FruitieX
  • Aggressor and stormkeep retextured by FruitieX
  • Tutorial map by FruitieX
  • TraK4-mit and TraK5 texturepacks by TraK
  • New HUD by FruitieX and -z-
  • New Scoreboard style by terencehill
  • Weapon accuracy statistics by Dib (ALT key by default)
  • Rocket guidance by holding down the primary fire button (seeker removed)
  • Level Of Detail on all playermodels
  • Video settings only show the allowed resolutions reported by your OS
  • (not availible in AGL)
  • Motion blur and damage blur by Samual
Did you notice it? I'm talking about the names behind each feature item. It makes new versions so much more personal. Well, a little bit. What I really would like to have as attribution/credits features is having a game mode where author name, license name and optional short description flow above each asset in a map while playing it.. I know, crazy talk.. Or something like Half-Life 2's developer's commentary?... ah, a man can dream..

Ok, back to Nexuiz. "Tutorial map"? Well! This can only be disappointing, right? :D *watches video*

Well, that wasn't too bad! Even a bit entertaining! I was expecting some text-only hour-long explanation how to press the arrow keys for movement. Yay for voice acting! Yay for expecting player to know the basics! Yay Nexuiz tutorial!

One could enhance the tutorial by making audio tracks skip, when the player has succeeded in reaching the goal described in the current audio track. Also I'm curious what kind of sarcastic comments will result from death/suicide/failure (if at all possible).