Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Top 3 Open Source Pinball Games

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The first flipper pinball machine was released 68 years and 1 month ago and yet there is only a handful of open source, cross-platform pinball video games available! Oh well, let's take them for a spin, shall we?

UPDATE
 Dec 1st, 2015: 1. Added Libre Pinball, see Honorable Mentions below. 2. Added conclusion section.

UPDATE
 Jul 17th, 2016: Updated Emilia Pinball links

Nexus Pinball




Started only a month ago, Nova Pinball's simple sole 2D table is a lot of fun and development has made good progress.

Emilia Pinball




The ancient 3D Emilia Pinball project has a recent fork on GitHub that adds more tables (the last official release had only 2, the new one has 5). The code is the ancient but consistent original SourceForge project and some new tables are flowing around patches/mailing list posts https://sf.net/p/pinball/

The game has 4 perspectives (F5-F8)


The models are very low-poly, which is fine and fast but the textures are sinfully low-resolution. However editing textures appears to be simple in existing tables, simply by overwriting them with higher-resolution files, as demonstrated with the angry gnu head in the screenshot above.

Creating new tables requires an editor, which I unfortunately was not able to compile yet (possibly due to lack of old Qt libraries).



There is a zombie/horror/Halloween table, which unfortunately contains non-free content.

Linball




The 2D Linball table is crazy fast but suffers from some sounds ripped from proprietary games (maybe there's more non-free content).

Honorable mentions



Libre Pinball (thread) is very atmospheric but has no missions and only very few table elements right now. It was made using the Godot Engine.


Sadly, Visual Pinball only runs on Windows (wine page).


Vector Pinball for Android unfortunately has no instructions for desktop/Linux compilation.



Devil's Pinball is a Blender-made pinball table. It's quite buggy when played in recent Blender and there is no license information.

Conclusion


I find the open pinball games on Linux more entertaining than I expected them to be. The major downside is decoration and context: while the themes of some tables are intriguing, they unfortunately exist in a widescreen world without a proper background that adds to the experience.

And of course some accessible (video) documentation on how to create new tables would be a huge plus.

Got theme ideas for open source pinball tables? Write them in the comments!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Naev, Valyria Tear, Wyrmsun, ReTux

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Wymrsun 1.6.0 was recently released (announcement on our forums and on Steam). Wyrmsun is inspired by the original Warcraft games and many reviewers on Steam compare it to Warcraft II. The project continues a steady development pace which is always a good sign so I encourage RTS fans to try it out.

Wyrmsum

Naev 0.6.1 has been released. After a long period without releases until release 0.6.0 appeared in March, this follow up release indicates a return to regular progress for the project. Naev is a 2D space trading and combat game.


I couldn't find a more recent video but here's a bit of a development log of some features for the 0.6.0 release.

Speaking of resurgent projects, Valyria Tear has some news.
The most noticeable change is that I killed a few days ago a very nasty bug that was there from the beginning, making the lua threads never freed from memory. This means the game won't end up anymore swallowing gigs of memory for nothing and crash due to some memory overflow.
Well that does sound like a bit of a killjoy, so good to see it fixed. Other changes are in the blog post.

Onto more things slightly more dubiously open source in nature...

ReTux 0.2 has been released. ReTux is a new Super Tux inspired game. It is a completely rewritten (in Python) codebase although uses many of the assets from the original Super Tux so naturally people will mistake the two despite the significant differences. I already covered the IndieGoGo campaign in a previous article.

ReTux
I'm not really on board with the way the developer Onpon4 is now soliciting $20 for access to the code. I think he's both hurting himself by limiting exposure of the game (you need a password to access the downloads) as well as asking for a fairly significant sum in an age where AAA games are of a similar price a year after release (and regularly on offer, as any Humble Bundle or Steam user will know).

I would say he should just get it on Steam, sell it there, and be open source outside of that. Perhaps have additional levels in the Steam version but accept that charging for the source code is as pointless as it is ineffective.