Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Open-source head-tracking

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So unless you are living under a rock, you have probably heard about the new VR-google craze soon to hit every hard-core gamers cave (e.g. Occulus Rift). We talked about the FOSS engine getting Occulus support before, and now that id software promised to release the Doom3 BFG Edition source code too, it looks like VR in FOSS games will become quite common soon.

However, hidden in the (flight-)sim genre another quite nice system has been developed, using only a (sufficient frames per second) webcam:


The video is shot with FlightGear, everyones favorite open-source flight-sim. More details how to get it running with FlightGear can be found here, the system itself is not FlightGear specific though.

The source-code can be found here to be adapted to to your game (any 3D game that doesn't require too fast head-movement is basically suitable). The face-tracking is based on OpenCV, which will take some juice from your idling quad-core CPUs ;)

Less resource demanding are infrared LED tracker version, which do not need to follow a face and also work rather nicely in a dark room. For those, some propitiatory solutions have been available for some time, but you can also find Linux compatible open-source code for such a system here (instructions for FlightGear here).

Personally I was always to lazy to build myself a proper 3 dot LED cap, so I think the face tracking solutions are more convenient. If you are into non-FOSS games on the Windows platform, I can thus also recommend the partial open-source FaceTrackNoIR software, which supports quite a few really nice flight-sims, racing games and even FPS.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Force: Leashed - GPL First-Person Gravity Not-Like-Portal

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Force: Leashed is a free first person gravity fiddler. To advance, you need to guide rockets to their targets using spherical potential fields. And no, it's not like Portal. That much.
Force: Leashed was started as one of the 2012 7DFPS prototypes. It is based on GPL-licensed Darkplaces which for example also powers Xonotic.

Force: Leashed is available for free download for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows from its website.

The art asset license status is unknown. Watch this tweet for further information.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Scavenger: Atmospheric Open Source 2D Space Exploration

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Image: Scavenger in-game credits

Scavenger is a simple space exploration game set in a large debris field, created by Fiona Burrows in December 2009.

It is polished, very atmospheric and expresses a subtle sense of humor inside item/object names.

Scavenger was voted 2nd place in the "overall" category at Ludum Dare 16 (48 hour dev jam). It recently was released in a github repository under MIT license (both code and art!).

The code is written in Python and runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

Video: Scavenger

On her blog, Fiona writes about her development process:
  1. Pick a simple idea and roll with it.
  2. Never leave an unfinished feature.
  3. If anything can be polished then do it - If an animation can be added to something then do it, if a small particle effect can be added here then do it.
  4. Don't stress over running out of time. When it doubt, pretend this was the plan all along.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crowdfunding Games Into Freedom

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Two games recently started "Kickstarter"-style campaigns on IndieGoGo with part of the offer being "becoming open source":
  1. Monster 2, a JRPG which has been open source for a while but then was closed during a upgrade of game data/content, will be released under the Give it Your Own License, License if it reaches its goal of USD 1500,-.
  2. Tumblegonk, a yet unreleased simple puzzle game, will be released under GPL if it reaches its goal of USD 850,-.
Is this how open source games should receive at least a bit of funding? I wouldn't mind if some old commercial or freeware titles would do such a step (which can't really be repeated for the same project/game). It's not a sustainable principle of course though.

There are few alternatives of making money with open source game development that comes to mind:
  1. Make the engine open source and the game data freeware but sell it on closed platforms, like Frogatto (iOS version is for-pay).
  2. Port existing open source games to closed platforms like in the case of Word War Vi (iOS version is for-pay - read the original developers' thoughts on this in this forum post).
  3. [Warning: self-promotion] Sell additional, proprietary game data extra, while having the engine and base assets available under free licenses, like Nikki and the Robots (Story Episodes are proprietary and for-pay).
  4. Donations. Some open source games accept them. The only game with compelling data on this is FLARE. I don't know of any open source games that fund full-time development through donations.
What I would really love to see is commission-based advertisement-games being developed in JavaScript, with at least their source code being released under open source licenses. But HTML5/JavaScript might not be there yet in the eyes of promoters and in the infrastructure of ad-services...

Oh, and Bitcoin! We need more Bitcoin action! FOSS game developers! Open up a wallet on for example blockchain.info and share your wallet address! As for Flattr... I don't know any more...

There is a long and old discussion about whether it is possible to make money and on TumbleGonk's crowdfunding campagin on our forums.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Aleona's Tales (Stratagus game)

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Small retro-style quick news today, so that you don't hear the crickets here on FreeGamer:

There is a new game available for the FOSS classic engine Stratagus (read up on the history of it here). It is called Aleona's Tales:

Looks very familiar, right? Yes Grandpa!
You can download it here (only windows builds) and discuss with its creator on the Stratagus forums. Graphics are sadly a mix of various Free and non-Free licenses... but at least you get it for freeeee...

Monday, October 08, 2012

Major Unvanquished update (Alpha 8)

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UPDATE: Here is a nice video of the (Note: Alpha) gameplay:



Yesterday (following their monthly release cycle) a new alpha from Unvanqished was released. For those with bad short term memory: Unvanquished is trying to revitalize the RTS/FPS hybrid Tremulous.

New Unvanquished human player and weapon model
Besides the changes already mentioned previously, they have also replaced some more weapon models and now also have a really nice new webpage!

Still lots of things to do... but big thumbs up for the progress so far!


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Promising Open Source jRPG: Valyria Tear

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Valyria Tear [blog, GitHub] is making stable progress! One new code contributor on GitHub, one new art contributor on OpenGameArt, a stable commit history.

If you are looking for a free, open source jRPG and are done with Fall of Imiryn, then this is the place for you to test, develop and contribute!
git clone https://github.com/Bertram25/ValyriaTear.git
cd ValyriaTear/
cmake .
make
./src/valyriatear
Valyria Tear is easy to compile with CMake and features about 30 to 60 minutes of gameplay so far.