Friday, June 29, 2007

Beep... please leave a message after the tone

Lugaid has Stand Alone in the FG forums. An RTS game for Windows, although I'm not sure if it is open source and able to download and play it yet. He says:

RTS game inspired by defence games. Project is almost finished, it needs more maps and graphic sets, maybe some more units. At first Interface is quite cumbersome, but not after you get used to it.

Fortress Logo

I will also note that we have started making progress with Fortress, inspired by the classic DOS game Castles. We have a logo, a very early prototype, and a wiki. Yesterday I compiled this list of gameplay elements that basically describe the key concepts of the game. Somebody has started working on models for the game too.

If you are interested, check out what we are doing and throw in your own thoughts in the Fortress forum. It will be an entirely open source project. A skilled artist or two would be really helpful. :-)

Despite my involvement (at the moment it looks like I'll be the main programmer) I have resisted bringing it up here since I don't want to abuse FG as a platform for pimping my own projects. However we have reached a point where there's a bit of momentum and it would be a good opportunity for people to provide some input before project direction becomes harder to influence.

Anyway, I'm actually away right now (back Sunday) so it's a short one today... *vanishes*

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gate 88 to become open source?

Before I start, a quick note of two changes made here. Firstly the main articles are linked on the front page now - they were getting buried too quickly. Secondly I reorganised FG forums to condense them a little - there were too many subforums. Also FreeForums seems to be a bit more stable now so There are handy links on the right of FG for the latest forum entries and help wanted sections. I encourage you to join in the open source game chat. :-D

I'm going to open with a Web 2.0 gripe. If you don't like gripes, skip the next paragraph.

The Ubuntu forums recently "upgraded" with a "Web 2.0" feature to display the thread tree. It's a feature of little or no use in a forum where people just want to read page by page. I have a P3 1000 laptop with 512 megs of ram. My iGoogle homepage does not seem to help matters either. Firefox becomes sluggish, sometimes hangs for 5-10s, with this new feature. Is this what Web 2.0 is? Bloat? Crapware in web pages? I remember playing Wing Commander II on a 286 10mhz. Admittedly it was slow, but it was a graphical 3D space game that came on a few floppies. As I write this, firefox grinds to a halt, consuming just short of 200megs. This is ludicrous. All to display some glorified text. Welcome to Web 2.0.

Sigh... ok, zen, be positive, karma, appreciate the better things in life...

The i-team project gets a new forum, meaning I have one less reason to browse Ubuntu's! Yay! It also got a wiki. By all accounts there has been quite a lot of coding going on by the i-team guys so I'm hopeful we'll see something fairly soon.

The rather more mature Atomic Tanks project, another game similar to Scorched Earth / Worms, just released version 2.4 of their game. The game is portable to Windows and Mac OS X although there only seems to be a Linux binary (rpm) for the latest version. According to the release announcement it also runs on DOS, which is quite interesting. Do I sense a DOS revival, FreeDOS stealing in on the alternative OS market to consign Linux to an early Internet grave? DOS was the most fun I ever had with an OS, but then again I was young and hence not very cynical. With age comes experience, with experience, cynicism. ;-)

It seems that the rather cool freeware abstract RTS game Gate88 has an open source future. I encourage people to lobby the author in a friendly manner to speed up the process. I got in touch yesterday although he has yet to reply.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sauerbraten, Vega Strike, Project Kilo

Did I not mention this Sauerbraten update? I don't recall doing so, and I swear it was not a thread in their forum at the weekend despite being listed as posted on the 12th June. Anyway... it fixes a whole lot of bugs, adds graphical enhancements, and cleans up scripting support a little. Probably more of an update for people making mods/games with Sauer than players but, shucks, I love this project. Embarrassingly this was a 2006 release... *oops*

There's the possibility of a StarShip Troopers: Last Defense, the Glest mod, becoming available for FreeBSD.

The Java Classic RPG project has posted a snapshot for anybody who wants to play with it in it's very early stages of development. Work continues at an impressively frantic pace, soldiering away on features. Hopefully a modeller or two can start contributing to the project to make the artwork updates as impressive as those to the codebase.

I keep pestering the Vega Strike team to make a new release. I, and others, frequently get pointed to the SVN version. However it turns out that there is a Windows build of the executable made every few weeks, although you will still need a subversion client to get the latest version of the game data.

Talking of pestering projects, I'm trying to convince the Project Kilo guys to use Sauerbraten as their game engine. Project Kilo is an effort (well, currenlty mostly an idea) to create an immersive single player 3D RPG game. Sauer is the engine also behind the Eisenstern project, another 3D single player RPG effort with slightly less lofty (but still impressive) goals than Kilo.


The main feature of Sauer is in-game multiplayer map editing where all map elements are defined as cubes or combinations of cubes, it makes a lot of sense to map modellers. I think the combined nature of Sauer's very easy map creation and it's development supporting Eisenstern makes it really suitable for, at the very least, prototyping a concept like Project Kilo. With little or no code the Kilo team can be up and running in no-time, and (being open source) they can build additional features into Sauer as they require them and possibly even feed back upstream. I think it's a far more pragmatic route than taking an engine like Crystal Space or OGRE3D and creating the game logic from scratch. Map modelling itself will become far more of a burden using this approach, let alone the extra effort to make a playable scenario.

I'm not saying that Crystal Space and OGRE3D don't have their place in development - they are important game creation tools - but if somebody has done 95% of the work for you like the Sauer team has, by implementing a game [engine] that not only makes map modelling easy but lets you roam around massive maps with fancy effects and is easy to customize, then surely it makes sense to start there instead of starting far behind them.

People should do as I command suggest because I am always usually right. ;-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Debunking reasons not to open source indie freeware games

There are many significant indie game projects that are committed to creating a quality free game where the developers are afraid of the consequences of making the development public by publishing the project under an open source license.

Now I'm not saying that open source is the only way people should choose to release their indie games - different situations do need to be evaluated on the merit of the benefits brought by being open source - but frequently, when asked, the reasons for declining to open source a project are usually bogus.

One of the problems is that the topic of open source is a polarized subject - people are either strongly against it or strongly for it. Those falling into the latter category are almost always experienced with using and/or developing open source software, and in my experience those against open sourcing of their projects often do not fully understand the concept, do not appreciate the benefits it brings, and suffer irrational fears of what might befall their project should they license it as Free Software.

Over the years I've tried to change the minds of several game project developers, usually met with stubborn resistance. Hopefully this article can help projects earlier on in their development cycle before people have committed themselves to keeping their free game project as a closed source one.

Frequently cited reasons for keeping a game project closed source:

  • People will cheat

  • The code is a mess

  • Control of the project will be lost

  • Somebody will steal my/our game

  • The game will be spoilt (i.e. we don't want to reveal the story)

People will cheat

True, there will always be those who try to cheat at any popular game. However do you think security through obscurity will prevent this? If anything, it is worse; the project may be less secure because the design and implementation are not under scrutiny. You are better to open it up early so people can point out the flaws and they can be addressed early - to change a design or implementation in a mature project is far more difficult and the subsequent upheaval will upset many players.

The code is a mess

I've seen this one countless times: "I want to open source my project but the code is a mess, so I'll wait until I clean up the code."

I've also seen this one many times: "My [piece of hardware] died and I lost everything :'(."

And this one:

That last one was silence. People often get distracted by real life and disappear. An exciting looking set of screenshots become vapourware and onlookers get frustrated.

Nobody writes perfect code or the perfect design the first time, even seasoned pros. Nobody cares if you have hacks or the code is a mess. They do care if you release a fun game. Guess what, if your project is open source and attracting interest, somebody may even rewrite parts of it for you. If you suffer a hardware failure or find something else that takes you away from your project or the Internet, or you even die (it happens!) then you have left a legacy that others may continue.

Control of the project will be lost

Ok, if you are an asshole this is probably a valid point. Abrasive people will upset others, beyond the point of redemption. So all you obnoxious and inconsiderate baffoons have me here, I can't debunk this for you. In which case loss of control of a project may be an indication that you should correct your ways? A blessing in disguise! However, for decent people ;-) it is a myth...

Control of the project remains in the hands of the contributors. Sure, if you stop and people continue your work you may lose control but then you are no longer working on it? If you get re-involved in the project you will find developers receptive. Otherwise you keep as much control over your game as you allow others to have (you don't have to let everybody have commit access or admin rights) and almost always contributors are very, very respectful of the original author.

As long as you work on your project, you will have significant influence. Exchanging direct control for influence is almost always going to be a healthy trade off. You will find more developers means better design decisions, better implementations. Although implicitly you lose complete control, you will still be directing the efforts of others. After all, the original game was your vision so people will listen by virtue of that alone.

If there is a rift so deep between contributors that a fork is created, the fork will be a different game, and you will be remembered for giving birth to the concept of this different game should your own project subsequently stagnate. In reality there are few forks, especially of open source games. Other than situations where development of the original game has all but completely stopped before the fork, or the fork has the blessing of the original author, I can't think of any bitter forks off the top of my head. TuxKart and SuperTuxKart maybe? When was the last TuxKart release? Are the games as similar as the names? :-)

Somebody will steal my/our game

People can't get away with stealing a project. I've seen a few cases with applications and usually the community backlash and lobbying shuts down the violators. I just can't see a commercial game company getting away with ripping an open source game. Not only will it be an open-shut legal case should it go that far, you'll have a large pool of support from a vast community of open source advocates. To be honest, I bet there'd be lawyers who'd even take on the case pro bono for you.

If it's not a commercial violation, then it'll be a fork of the game. Developing an open source game is not easy. It's a long hard slug. Forks only occur in extreme circumstances:

  1. There is an impasse between key contributors in desires for project direction. The games will be different. You still were the original author(s) and still will be credited for your work as long as you were not a total asshole.

  2. Your project stagnated. Isn't a fork and continuation of your work better than it bitrotting and decaying into a part of Internet history?

Ok, some of your artwork and media may make it into other open source games, but isn't that a compliment? Are you not pleased that your efforts have made the world a more fun place by contributing to another game? Hell, you can put it on your CV, that your work is in projects X and Y because it is that good.

The game will be spoilt (i.e. we don't want to reveal the story)

For a complete game, the majority of players will not go to the kind of lengths necessary to have the game spoilt for them (i.e. look at the code or research the story).

Some people will play the game early in development but they form the community that tests and contributes to the game. Somebody has to know things early, and the fewer that do, the fewer can make the project happen. The more people contribute to your game, the better it will be. Sure, a few people will not get the opportunity to enjoy a fresh experience with the final game, but they got to experience it develop, which is a different kind of enjoyment. And the rest of the world will get a better game because of the extra input.

Also people do not have immutable memory. If I play a game again after years of not playing it, I do not remember everything. It is ridiculous to be worried that people who try the game in it's early stages will have their experience ruined should they return later once the game is ready.


There are freeware game projects where there is significant momentum and organization behind them. The benefits of making such projects open source are often not immediately that significant. However frequently these projects lose that momentum, a community that has existed on propaganda and screenshots gets frustrated and in the end the project actually upsets more people than it brings enjoyment to - you had the opposite effect! Games are supposed to please people!

If the project is open, the community can rally should problems be encountered, and the chances of your game making it become far higher than if nobody has access to your work.

If momentum is never lost, the extra contributions, the extra eyes and testing to remove bugs, the extra demand for porting to other operating systems will all benefit your project. There may be administrative hassle (forums etc) but almost always for decent projects volunteers will take that on for you. The community is a resource and open source projects can and should use their communities. Freeware titles just can not do that.

Make the smart decision, open source your freeware game. There is a good reason that those experienced with open source strongly advocate it's application. It works. It's not a miracle cure for a dying project though, so don't wait until you have already lost your way, strike whilst the iron is hot. It is never too early to open source your freeware game project!

Monday, June 25, 2007

King's Quest

I'm not a big fan of just repeating what I see on the Linux Game Tome so I'll be brief about these two: Warzone 2100 version 2.0.7 and X-Moto 0.3.0 got released. The former is a bugfix release (which was sorely needed) and the latter quite a lot of new features (notably hotseat multiplayer) and a new maintainer.

A few days ago I lamented about Adventure Game Studio not being available for Linux. I really should do my research before making such assertions... it is. Not only that, there's this groovy project to take all the hassle out of finding and installing AGS games - the Adventure Game Goddess.

Forget about boring hand tasks and enjoy the games ... One click: the game is downloaded, installed and set up. One click: you are playing

How cool is that? You can even run Kings Quest VGA I using the AGS Linux version, with a few tricks. How cool is that as well? I wonder if the same process works with KQ VGA II? So many questions...

For those unfamiliar with the King's Quest series of games, it is probably the most promininent series of the genre. There's a lot of history and a lot of hardcore fans, many of whom were disappointed when Sierra was consumed by Vivendi Universal which eventually caused a rift with the lead author and the demise of the series after 8 games.

The Silver Lining

Some fans felt so strongly that they went on to create the The Silver Lining, a spectacular looking fan-made project to create a 3-game (or 3-chapter) continuation of the series. It was formerly entitled King's Quest IX before Vivendi Universal made them ditch the official affiliation. Sadly, The Silver Lining is closed source (but freeware) and Windows-only. I did lobby a while back to make them open source it and use OpenGL instead of DirectX but it fell on deaf ears. I must say, I was not enamoured by The Silver Lining tech demo either, whilst the stills look great the animation and scene transition was shakey at best, and there was a lot of aimless wandering around with very little to interact with. Still, it's just a tech demo, so I shouldn't be too harsh.

There's even a remake of KQ III (complete but Windows only and freeware) and KQ IV (in progress - although I'm not in the mood to read up on it but I bet Windows only and freeware). Project X looks interesting - produced by the same people behind the KQ III remake, Infamous Adventures.

I would do a KQ article with more information on and screenshots of each game, but it's too much freeware and not enough open source for my liking, so this little ramble will suffice and you'll just have to take my word for it that everything I mentioned looks at least ok or possibly even rather lovely. I reckon there are enough links to keep keen adventure gamers happy. ;-)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Medieval / fantasy models required

There's a couple of newish irrlamb gameplay videos. Worth watching if you want to see what the game is like and how devious some of the gameplay can be. For me, irrlamb is definitely one of the most exciting open source game projects around at the moment, being both innovative and challenging in it's gameplay.

Expect some really nice graphics in the next UFO:AI release. A few modelling maniacs seem to have gotten very interested in contributing, which is always good for an open source game project.

OpenTTD Hi-res

As of some time last week, an interesting major change landed in the OpenTTD development trunk - loading of 32bpp graphics and levels of zoom. It's one of the big steps along the road to getting high resolution graphics into OpenTTD. Also it provides a platform for the artwork contributors to see their art in game rather than have to paste it together to showcase it. A completely Free (no TTD required) and beautiful OpenTTD just got one step closer to reality. I'm hopeful that maybe a beta of this work might appear before the end of the year. The image to the right is an actual in-game shot! :-)

Java Classic RPG, the Eye of the Beholder & Dungeon Master inspired project, gained climates this week. If only the quality of the artwork matched the quality of the code developments! I was thinking about this, along with working a bit more on Fortress, and observing Scourge developments, and realising there are very few open source / free medieval and fantasy model resources going. Most projects with good artwork in this genre are either pixel art (like Wesnoth and Daimonin) or restricted (like Planeshift and Eternal Lands).

So, yeah, I think the scene needs a bit of dedicated medieval and fantasy modelling to happen so that all the exciting medieval and fantasy projects can pull quality artwork from a common base. Maybe there already is this kind of stuff available, do you know where? Or maybe there are people out there interested in modelling this kind of stuff. Do you know any? Spread the word!

I'll end today on a coding note. I was working on a layout engine (as part of Vexi, an open source project I lead) and came up against a problem where conversion between ints and floats and back (Java) was causing the assigned space between child boxes to be less than the parent box (box being a layout construct - don't worry about it). The solution was a bit of casting voodoo. I love it. :-)

// casting voodoo to make sure we don't have leftover pixels

diff = child.contentheight + (int)(slack+total) - (int)total;

My attempts to explain that to my girlfriend were a spectacular failure! :-D

Friday, June 22, 2007

New or shiney

The FG forums seem to be experiencing more downtime, which sucks a little. Oh well, such is the risk ya take when using a free service.

There's an interesting article on the state of Linux gaming (parts 1, 2, 3 online with more to come) and, although it covers both commerical and open source games, since the majority of good games on Linux are open source games (ok, that's flamebait, but still...) most of the games in the article are open source. ;-)

Apparently Ubuntu is brilliant for gaming. Good to see people impressed by Free Software, even it's it is running proprietry stuff.

Ok, back to Free game matters, and a 3rd release of irrlamb is out. It's cool to see regular updates to this new and innovative 3D game where you control a sphere and use physics to overcome obstacles and puzzles. I tried it out on my Linux laptop and it both ran well and was fun to play. The graphics are never going to be earth shatteringly great but they don't need to be - the game is simple and the graphics in general are nice and clear and well suited to the game. There are binaries available to download for Linux and Windows. The development roadmap has a few interesting features plus a focus on making it a "fun game" - high scores, level unlocking, the kind of features that give you impetus to play it more.

After a bit of downtime, the VDrift website is back up. The next release will focus on polish - one very well done car and track with a nicer GUI. I think it is a good move and they should set a high standard for cars and tracks included in the default distribution. It will provide motivation for creating better tracks - if it's too easy to get stuff into a game then often the need is not there to keep working on a model once it has reached the "acceptable" standard. Raise the standard, and contribution standards should theoretically go up. Anyway, more information is available on the release planning page in their wiki.

When developing an open source project, there is always a trade off between developing new features and perfecting what you already have. Personally I think the VDrift guys have chosen the right moment to stop working on features and refine what they have done so far.

Which brings me to the title of this post - new or shiney. I think it's fair to state that code can never be both new and shiney. New code has bugs. Shiney code has been refined over time. New and shiney is not a concept that transfers from the tangible reality of goods to the abstract world of programming. New or shiney, pick one and stick at it. ;-)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

ScummVM gains AGI support

There is a new release of ScummVM out. The adventure game engine that brought classic Lucasarts titles to Linux and other modern operating systems, now supports Sierra and other AGI based games through the latest version 0.X.0 (or 0.10.0 in standard numerical format). This brings a plethora of freeware titles, that previously could only be run on Windows or through WINE, to Linux.

There are a lot of AGI fan games out there. A lot. Of course not all are high quality but there are some gems out there. Since the games themselves don't tend to be open source I'm not going to delve too much into it so if you know any cool AGI games please comment and share them.

I was under the false impression that AGD's King's Quest remakes were AGI games, when they are actually AGS games. So you won't be playing those natively on a non-Windows system any time soon. :-(

Too many AG* acronyms... anyway, briefly back to the AGI stuff and here's an article giving an overview of AGI code. It looks pretty obvious so any budding adventure game makers - and there are few around, this is a dying genre :-( - might want to look there.

Somebody challenged themselves to come up with an original game mechanic/concept per day for 300 days. Some of the ideas are dubious at best but still a good source of inspiration.

Finally, Julius in the FG forums posted a few more sound resource links, so there's no excuse for creating quiet Free games any more since there's so many options for you to give your game some ear candy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's The Future, Stupid

I wasn't going to post today 'cos I'm busy, but I can't resist...

There's an update on the combat plans for space game SFZ, as well as new screenshots. Direct from the DevBlog:

After experimenting a bit we decided against making sfz combat based on fast reaction time and dogfight navigation, which quickly leads to frustrating "where is the enemy" problems. Instead weapons won't have to be aimed manually, they'll work like turrets, and if the enemy is in range you will be able to hit him without effort.

The deciding factor in combat will be stuff like weapon ranges and strengths and weaknesses of different weapons against different shield-types, homing missiles and counter-measures, maybe also a bit of energy management. This makes positioning, tactics and equipment a more interesting component.

I can't stress how much I agree with this. Think about it, it's set in the future. Auto-tracking should be a given. Surely space combat will be about decision making not faster-than-light reactions, so it's nice to see they are emphasising this and reducing the efforts required to target enemy ships.

Anyway, they still have a long way to go but it's nice to see well considered design decisions early on and, if they can get some models the quality of those frequently contributed to Vega Strike, they will have a very good game indeed if they can execute their plans.

No sooner had I posted about 8 Kingdoms yesterday, than somebody commented with a link to a Ubuntu .deb they had created, so have a go. I did, although it did not hold my attention for too long (it's late, I'm busy, etc) but it looked good from what little I saw of it. Not quite my style of game - seems much more rooted in table top war games than I like - but should definitely interest quite a few stategy fans.

Not game specific, but this online book on producing open source software is a very good resource for anybody running an open source project. Developers should check it out.

Another good resource, for open source friendly licensed music, is so anybody looking for music for their game might want to check that out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

8 Kingdoms and Strategy

8 Kingdoms

Legacy of Magic

8 Kingdoms is a 3D turn based fantasy strategy game. Build empires and conquer enemy kingdoms. I came across it in the Ubuntu forums where the poster suggested the graphics were not that great. Well, the graphics look pretty good to me. In fact I quite like the plastic-like model style. It gives the game an interesting look and feel. The game is at version 1.0 so is fully playable. :-)

The map is hex based which also intrigues me. I always find hex more fascinating than boring square grids. There is only a Windows installer and a tar.gz available for download, so non-Windows players will probably have to compile it themselves.

Keeping on the strategy theme, I came across a game I'd lost the link for a while back. Legacy of Magic is a very promising looking fantasy war game. The homepage is a development blog although there has been no update since November 2006 so I'm going to email the author to see how he is getting on. It would be a shame for such a nice looking game to cease development.

Another upcoming open source strategy game seems to have lost it's way a little - the Galaxy Mage website is down [so that link won't work] but the code is always available from it's project page. The last code change was only a couple of months ago so hopefully the website will be back up soon and work resumed.

There's an interesting update on the Allacrost website regarding development. Basically they tackled the major architectural hurdles in the 0.2.0 release - the rather nice consequence of which is there will be much less time before the next release. :-D

Also the Egoboo Resurrection project released version 2.3.8 of their continuation efforts for this classic open source RPG game. It introduces new levels and bug fixes, but still is only being built for Windows although the game has strong Linux roots so surely will still be compilable should somebody take it on. I think they just don't have Linux expertise amongst the development group at the moment so head on over there if you think you can help out.

Not quite open source games, but I found this open source Java virtual PC rather fascinating and the 3 demo pages (1, 2, 3) have it running DOS (FreeDOS maybe?) loaded with several of the classic games of the DOS era such as Prince of Persia and Lemmings. Quite a nostalgic way to pass a few minutes of time for the elder gamers amongst us. Anyway, a quick reminder to help you get started:

cd prince

Monday, June 18, 2007


Shaders seem all the rage these days. Now Thunder n Lightening has support for them too just days after Danger from the Deep implemented shader support. Wavey reflecty shiney water. I smell pretty FOSS games! :-)


Actually the first FOSS game I remember getting such fancy effects was Boson. A 3D RTS, the codebase suffers from KDE dependencies which limit portability somewhat as well as making it a pain to install on Linux systems without KDE. Given how cool it looks, I'm sure they'd be much further on as a community if it was easier to install on non-KDE systems. I'm sure they would get much more developer interest if the game were available for Windows and Mac OS X and available in a format other than tarball for Linux.

Somebody just pointed me in the direction of Qonk, a space strategy game. It's in the early stages of development but has a much smaller scope than typical space strategy projects like FreeOrion, so is already very playable. Games only last a few minutes, and it is billed as, "a small build-and-conquer strategy game with very simple rules."

Finally, Bygfoot 2.2.0 was released mid-May. Strangely it didn't appear on the Game Tome or Freshmeat. It seems that new developers have taken on the mantle of improving this FOSS football management game, which can be downloaded for Windows and popular flavours of Linux and probably compiled on Mac and BSD systems. This is the only well-featured open source football management game going although personally I find the UI to be counter-intuitive. Other than that I found it a lot of fun when I played it last year so it can only be better now.

As a recovering Championship Manager addict (that game destroyed my teenage years) I'll probably not try too hard to get into Bygfoot. ;-)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cereal Monopoly

I'm the Microsoft of my kitchen. Nobody gets in on my cereal without there being trouble - I invoke my landlord status. But if my cereal is out, I'm having some of yours if you live here. So today I ate some of my housemates shredded wheat. That stuff tastes like paper - who in their right mind would like the taste of that? This, of course, is why we have such a variety of games. To some people, some games are boring and pointless, but to others they are the ultimate form of fun.

One of the things I love about Sauerbraten is that it empowers people to create really amazing looking maps like this without that much effort. Instead of spending hours trying to manipulate abstract file contents or fighting map editors, you can just build it as you see it rapidly. It's like the IDE of map making tools and games.

I overly built up one Dungeon Master inspired FOSS game, but another that is very actively developed and looking very, very promising is the Java Classic RPG project. The development blog makes for an interesting read as well as a good way of updating the community on the progress of the game and I encourage other FOSS game developers to indulge in a similar practise.

The Privateer Gemini Gold 1.02 final release is out. Improved ship models, higher resolution base graphics, and improved game balance are the highlights of over a year's worth of development since the 1.01 release. It really is a good game, and it's Free and Open Sourec Software and available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. So, download it already! :-D

That game should be very popular. I'm hoping as a consequence of this, Vega Strike will get more attention. Actually there has been some excellent work by a new developer who took on the task of cleaning up the VS codebase. Today his branch got merged into SVN head. The two threads tracking his work (here and here) make for interesting reading if you like following development. The benefits should be a more stable and memory efficient VS release in the future, plus quicker compile times and better usage of common libraries which were previously being manually maintained in SVN by the VS developers.

I probably don't need to talk about the latest Alien Arena release, so I won't.

Friday, June 15, 2007

High Contrast

Gamma Low is an interesting new multiplayer RTS project. Players act in teams in some kind of light oriented battle. It is very early in the project and the only worthwhile information seems to be in their roadmap, but it's an intriguing concept nonetheless.

Hex-a-pop is an original and well implemented puzzle game with cute graphics. Once you get your head around the basic techniques used to consume common hex patterns, it's pretty easy, but I think it's a good game for spatially challenging a younger audience. And it's open source and available for most operating systems.

Open City

There's a new Open City screenshot, seen here on the right. How cool is that starting to look, eh? New release soon? Fingers crossed.

I mentioned the space sim Stress Free Zone for the first time a few weeks ago, a space combat game which aims to have cooperative multiplayer gameplay (e.g. defending space stations) as well as modular ships among other features. They are making good progress too, which can be seen on their development blog.

And last but not least Windstille 0.3.0 is out in the wild. A platform game in the style of the classic Turrican series, the game now boasts 3D characters running around an artistic 2D world. Currently it is only distributed in source format but is still only more of a tech demo than a game. It is hard to find any screenshots but I have seen it in action and it looks really nice.

I'm sure there's more but my brain is in "off mode". I still did not get Privateer Gemini Gold 1.02rc1 running (well, it runs, just without sound) on my Ubuntu Feisty Fawn laptop although I did help one of the main developers fix a few setup issues. Did anybody else have more success?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Castle Pascal

The Castle is a rather intriguing looking fantasy FPS where your main weapon is a sword, so combat is generally very short range. Currently this open source game only comes with 3 levels and 5 types of enemy, but is very well documented for prospective contributors. The game engine is a custom one written using Pascal and compiled with FreePascal. The game runs on Linux, BSD, MacOSX, and Windows (LBMW). :-)

Whilst originally created for one of the Pascal Game Development (PGD) annual competitions with the current [realistic] scope as the game focus, the author's long term ambitions make for interesting reading:

Basically the game is intended to be like FPS but with some nice storyline. This also means that it should feel more like RPG (in more-or-less fantasy setting) — large world, many items, weapons, some character stats and levels etc. Also I want to utilize my engine to make levels more "interactive" — some objects on the level are able to move etc. There are many such games, some very old, some quite new. I'm just going to do this once again, in the way I want, and make it really good :)

The game engine behind The Castle looks pretty decent considering it's homebrewed and the author has created a few other games (well, demos really) to show it off - malfunction (where you blow up alien space ships) and let's take a walk (where you, er, walk around) which are both available for LBMW.

There are also a few interesting links from The Castle website. The game uses textures from the Golgotha Collection which is a massive collection all in the public domain (I think).

Going back to the PGD website and there seems to be a lot of information on creating games with Pascal as well as lots of entries in the game competitions - 18 this year - which last 3-4 months. Perhaps a few more open source jewels to be found there. ;-)

There are now Linux and Mac OS X binaries available for Privateer Gemini Gold 1.02 rc1 if you want to try that before they release 1.02 final. I ran into a few problems - related to the Vega Strike engine that PGG uses - getting it to run on my rather recently setup Ubuntu Feisty Fawn laptop.

Still, more cool models for VS continue to be made. I hope they focus on a new VS release after PGG 1.02 because there's just so much change since the old 0.4.3 which was years ago.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just Keep Them Coming

Sometimes I finish a post feeling apprehensive about being able to find more information to populate the next days ramble on open source gaming matters. However, just earlier I was explaining to a friend the difference between open source games and commercial ones, and realise just why there always is something more to talk about - Free games are not just an end product for a player; they are a process, a community oriented process, with visible progress along the way.

There really are so many high quality open source game projects around, it's a joy to see them all evolving. :-)

Danger from the Deep

Just to emphasise what I mean, Danger from the Deep 0.3.0 just popped up on Freshmeat. This rather awesome project simulating WWII submarine combat gains 4 more U-boats, shader support i.e. eye candy, and better sound support amongst other improvements.

It really does look so good. I remember playing some submarine game when I was younger and just loving the immersion, stalking enemy boats before blowing them out of the water. I just wish I had the hardware to recreate that experience with DftD - maybe by the time it's "complete" I will. ;-)

And another awesome game is looming on the horizon. As seen on /., the Blender Foundation have announced a project to create a high quality open source game in conjunction with Crystal Space project. For those who don't know, Blender does have a game engine but it does not scale very well and is notoriously difficult to debug games made with it.

The previous open effort by the Blender community was Project Orange (aka Elehpants Dream), so that is a benchmark for the quality we can expect to see. High, high quality. :-D

A few other miscellaneous things...

I was quite impressed by this glossary of Oolite ships. I really should play and review that game.

I really like seeing the new artwork going into games, such as this and this going into the next version of UFO:AI - another of those awesome open source game projects.

I managed to come across a resource I once had bookmarked but lost many years ago - Amit's game programming. I can't find the specific pages that interested me (there's a ton of information there to sift through) but I'm happy I found it nonetheless.

Running out of stuff to talk about? My posts seem to get longer by the day...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Buy Me A Centurion

Privateer Gemini Gold 1.02 rc1 - the game bringing the classic commercial title Privateer kicking and screaming into the modern era - is ready and they require testers. They only provide a Windows binary, however the game is based on the cross-platform Vega Strike game engine and previous versions have had Linux and Mac binaries too.

PGG is just one of the variants to spring from the original Privateer Remake. Another one, Privateer Universe, seems to be gaining a bit of popularity - it adds to the gameplay whereas PGG strives to remain true to the original. It's a 3D space combat RPG, for the very few that don't already know.

Freeciv Tileset updates - Freeciv 2.1 imminent? Hmm, rumour mill, speculation, and sensationalism, all in one. ;-)

Er, "A Sauer Mod"

The so-titled Unnamed Sauer Mod is looking promising as the developer continues to make progress - now with zombies. In case you didn't read about it previously here on FG (I did mention it, right?) it is a single player FPS game where you take on a zombie infested habitation on Mars. It looks like it'll be a cross between Doom and House of the Dead in terms of gameplay although obviously it's a small team (one man?) effort so perhaps comparing it to commercial titles is a little unfair - but you know what I mean. Sauer allows for rapid map creation so it seems to be making the job a bit easier, as was the original intention of the Sauer authors!

Trophy development has resumed. Trophy is a Free Software top-down 3D-ish racing game. The new development brings the game up to date with the latest clanlib release and hopefully a new Trophy release will reinvigourate the project. :-)

I came across another top-down-ish 3D-ish racing game, - GeneRally although it is only freeware and only available for Windows. :-(

It looks cute. There's loads of user-created tracks to play and it seems to have a very active playing community. If only it was open source though, I'm sure it would be even better. Hmm, I moaned quite a bit about Simutrans not being open source and lo and behold yesterday things changed. Perhaps I should do the same with GeneRally? Then somebody can port it away from the monstrousity that is Direct-puke-X and educated people can play it as well as those 'dozey peons. :-D

Just because I can, here's another [this time 2D] racing game - Road Fighter, a remake of a classic game from the 80s which I'm too lazy to find information on. The source version is compatabile with Lin, Mac, Win but I think only a Windows binary is available to download. Retro but looks O.K. Enjoy!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Allacrost Update, Simutrans Source

Two major pieces of open source game news today. :-D

Hero of Allacrost 0.2.0 is now available, with easy installation on Windows, Linux (Ubunto/Debian packages), MacOSX, and FreeBSD. Additional platform support seems planned too, an impressive effort to get the game readily available for people to play. This version celebrates the 3rd anniversary of the inception of the project and it is great to see the vision of the original developer(s) being realised. The highlights of their second major release are:

  • Free-range movement replacing tile-based movement

  • Two excellent new maps to explore

  • No more random encounters

  • You can now buy and sell wares from shop keepers

  • A newly added stamina bar in the battle interface

  • The ability to gain experience levels and make your character grow stronger

  • Plenty of additional music to enjoy

After what seems like a millenia as a freeware game, the source code for Simutrans is now available for download. :-)

The source is licensed under the artistic license, whatever that is. Anyway, it is included in the source download (available for the latest release 0.99.12) so read it if you are interested. I don't think they have opened up the development process completely (i.e. their tools such as their subversion server) but it's a start and there are now support forums for compiling and submitting patches, which should turn Simutrans into more of a community project.

The game has come on a lot in the last few years, and this move should IMHO only improve the development situation. Already a few good patches have been submitted to fix some crashes. Many eyes and all.

Hi, my name's Charlie, and I'm addicted to Desktop Tower Defense. Well, not completely, but it does eat up time quickly if you are not careful. Anyway, compare your scores to mine if you think you are good enough. ;-)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

VDrift + Sonic Robo Blast 2 + RG Pro Hockey

VDrift effects

Firstly a quick mention about the progress of VDrift development. It continues at an impressive pace. To improve performance, amongst other things, they have been implementing their own scenegraph and refactoring the drawing code. Also implemented in this branch are shader-based effects (bloom & motion blur) and it looks sumptuous. All it needs is a few really nice tracks and the commercial racing games will be getting a run for their money from VDrift. Honestly, I played Ridge Racer 7 on the PS3 the other day and I was underwhelmed.

Given the ubiquity of cars, the general appeal of racing games, and the ability for lots of people to contribute content easily, I would go as far as saying that for once the open source model is potentially better than a commercial approach for developing this kind of game. I can't think of any other genre for which that might be true.

Anyway, there's a few loose ends to tidy up. Many thanks to the commenters who contributed the following valuable pieces of information... (and I promise to eventually go back and correct the posts.)

RG Pro Hockey does still exist online, as a Sourceforge project. And there has been commits since the last release, although development is currently inactive. Still, it means it's not lost, and thanks anyway to the other comment pointing to an alternative download site. Anyway, project page for the game is here:

Sonic Robo Blast 2 is actually cross-platform. Very cross-platform. It turns out the game code is based on the open source Doom engine Doom Legacy. It even has been ported to the Dreamcast. However I think the SRB2 team needs to rethink it's distribution policy - they only link to a .exe which is a self-extracting archive. I had little luck finding information on any Linux binaries of the game, although admittedly I did not look too hard. I think there's some here (lsdlsrb2 or lsdlsrb2beta) but I have not properly investigated.

I typo'd the Street Rod 3 game name and website. Although development seems dead, apologies to the developers and thanks to the reader who did what I should have done; verified the link. The actual site is here:

And finally for today there's a relatively new site where you can find several open source multiplayer games being hosted, called Network Games. It's a nice idea to promote a community around playing a few of the better free games around.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Ugh... Missing Title

Following up the recent release of Thunder & Lightening, the action flight combat game, the author has posted a video on the website showcasing a major feature of the next release - an aircraft carrier. It looks cool and TnL is looking like an excellent game. Definitely close to the top of my games-to-play-when-I-upgrade-my-PC list.

What do you get whewn you cross-breed Elite and Space Invaders? Scum of the Universe: "a space trading game that combines two genres: arcade and strategy." It is open source and runs on Windows - but if you are feeling charitable, interestingly, you can still buy the game. From the screenshots, it looks fun. Bah, too many games, not enough time for Charlie to play them!

The other day I mentioned Damnation of the Gods, a Dungeon Master clone. Sadly I jumped the gun a little as development has been inactive for a year or so. However one diligent reader attempted to get it running and overcame a few compilation problems but has yet to get the game in a playable state.

Blocks 5, a challenging freeware puzzle game. Windows only. Check it out if that's your thing, it looks very good.

Ok, enough disjointed messages... I post to FG everyday but my time is limited meaning I don't get the opportunity to do everything I want with the site. Therefore I'm looking for a bit of feedback on what people think I should focus on. Firstly the current content, and secondly what extra feature I should prioritize. Voting will encourage me, if nothing else, so do your bit for the community let me know what you think. :-)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sonic Robo Blast 2

Now here's an interesting 'new' (read: new to me) open source game... Sonic Robo Blast 2! A 3D-with-2D-sprites Sonic-inspired game, it seems fairly complete and, whilst not earth shatteringly good, the graphics look fun. There's even a full mod for the game called The Mystic Realm, among other addons.

Of course any game which uses commercial IP for it's content (i.e. the characters, like Sonic, are owned by Sega) is on a dubious legal footing but the game has been in development for nearly 10 years now and is essentially complete and still not been shut down. I also couldn't establish, at a glance, whether it is open source but I'd be surprised if it wasn't. However it is only available for Windows :-( but thanks to FG forum member NoMorePros for pointing it out nonetheless.

Back to more definitively Free Software matters, and the PlanetPenguin Racer revival effort is ongoing - they are trying to decide on a new name for the project to disambiguate their efforts from the now-defunct PPR project. I can't say I'm enthralled by the 4 names they are choosing from but to be honest I couldn't think of much better. Perhaps you - yes, YOU, you good looking son of a gun - could inspire them with a better alternative.

One of 3D Realms' older titles, Alien Carnage, is now available as freeware. Download link plus random blurb here, announcement with other download link here. It's an old school platformer and, from my youngers years, pretty good fun. Dosbox required but that's ok since Dosbox works on pretty much every platform going including my mate's 11 year old waterproof Casio digital watch. Y'know, one of those blue and grey plastic monstrosities. Ok, maybe dosbox doesn't work on it, but I bet it could if the developers tried - dosbox runs on everything! ;-)

I rambled a bit about the CuteGod challenge on LostGarden the other day. Well there's a bunch of prototypes to toy with, most of which come with the source code. Why is it that Java Web Start never f***ing works? Even on Windows. I don't know how Sun messed that one up so bad but I don't think it's worked more than 1 in 5 times for me on any machine I tried it on. Perhaps now Java is open source that might change? Who knows.

Finally for today, I don't think I've yet mentioned an article on Liberty Gaming about making money from Free Software games. It's a good article with some interesting ideas, but to me I think the way to make money from Free Software games is simple; produce your own games (don't be too reliant on giant community efforts), produce good quality games (original, innovative, not too complex), and you will get good steady web traffic. Then you have adverts and merchanising and you have a steady income stream without imposing much on your players or contributors. I really don't like the notion of premium content or asking for donations. I don't think it's necessary if you are creating quality of innovative content. For example, the Desktop Tower Defense game is very simple and free to play but the guy pulls in a high 9-figure revenue (after costs, I believe) from Google adsense and merchandising alone (up to 20 million hits a month). A simple, well executed idea will get you enough visitors to make a decent steady income from a game - and if you keep churning out good games, you'll be able to make a lot of money without ever charging your players.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

netPanzer Development Resumes


netPanzer development seems to have resumed. "New" developer Krom Xp issued an update back in April that I'd not seen until now. He seems to have focused on making the game more stable, which is a Good Thing (tm). This action-strategy war game (doesn't action-strategy sound better than RTS?) is available for Windows and Linux and looks rather cool too - helped by formerly being a commercial game.

The other day I was whining about the lack of single player open source FPS [or FPS RPG] games... well, d'oh, I forgot Eisenstern. A collaborative fork of Sauerbraten, the design for Eisenstern makes for very interesting reading. It will be one huge map with 5-50 hours worth of gameplay, very few limitations on what the player can do, with most story and quest work being done through the guidance of NPCs - although they can be ignored and you can slaughter everybody if that's what makes you feel good.

That's not the only SP-focused mod appearing for Sauerbraten. Somebody has started on a sci-fi horror mod. It's early days but my gut instinct says we'll see more of this due to the ability to rapidly create content for Sauerbraten and the relative eagerness (and decent looking screenshots) of this fella.

There's been a lot of progress in the OpenCity codebase since it's last release. *twiddles thumbs impatiently*

I came across Street Rods 3 yesterday. It seems like it is dead although there is talk in the forums attempting to revive the game. An open source attempt to create a sequel to the Amiga classic Street Rods 2, you buy and modify cars and illegally race them to earn cash. The current incarnation only runs on Windows and development has been abandoned. However there still seems to be enthusiasm amongst the people in the forums, just it's offset by frustration at lack of progress. I get the impression it's all artists and no coders - funny how most projects seem to have either one or the other abundance of the two talents, but rarely both.

Anyway, I hadn't heard of SR3 until today and it's been in development for 6 years. Either they were doing something wrong or the Gods hate them. Time for them to sacrifice a few virgins, I think.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Third FreeTrain SE Release

There's another binary version of FreeTrain available, with additional translations, plugings, and fixing a serious bug in the previous release. It still is Windows only although the next step for the project is to make it run on SDL/Mono instead of DirectX/.NET therefore making it cross-platform.

Simutrans development continues, 0.99.12 now available. I wish they'd open source the game. The original reason not to open source it (by original developer Hajo) was to prevent loss of control of the game (which is a daft reason IMHO - if game development is going well, there will be no fork apart from to take the game in a completely different direction). Lately, since Hajo stopped working on Simutrans and gave the choice to lead developer prissi and other contributors, they declined to open source it because they see no additional benefits from changing the current development model. You can't argue with that, as long as they don't stop working on it, but when they do I guess it will be a case of 3rd time lucky asking for the game to be made available as Free Software.

Onto other topics and I now have the code to RG Pro Hockey (Linux Game Toom link), thanks to a comment on FG. I should upload it as a new Sourceforge project.

Also on the Tome I saw Pix Bros. A cross between Bubble Bobble, Tumple Pop, and Snow Bros. Almost as interesting as this guy mastering the Mario music on the piano. (Can you spell 'obsession'?) However the Pix Bros game and website seem to be purely in Spanish (I think) which put me off trying it.

Check out this glowing comment on Scourge:

With the new .18 update, there was some improvements made to the GUI, I must admit I tried to play it before, but could not get familiar with this game. I like it very much now. Reminds me a bit of Diablo, with the items and magic system, and on the other side of Jagged Alliance with its round based strategy. Five points for it.

A game everyone should give a try if he likes JA-2 or Diablo. Gives you sure some days/weeks of play...

Finally, slightly off topic but related to FLOSS gaming - pictures of a Dell coming with Ubuntu preinstalled, something that will boost the open source gaming scene that is predominantly based on Linux. The open source desktop reality moves ever closer!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Ain't Fate A Funny Thing

So here I am lamenting the lack of free (well, open source, but free is good enough) single player FPS games, and up pops this on Freshmeat; Excalibur: Morgana's Revenge:

EMR 3.0 is a unique scenario based upon the Aleph One (Marathon) engine. It is a first-person action adventure game, featuring an epic and in-depth story line.

The Aleph One engine is hardly cutting edge (originally powering the Marathon trilogy of games, circa 1996-1998) as you can tell from the EMR screenshots, but it takes a long time to produce a fully fledged single player FPS. EMR boasts 42 SP levels and a decent storyline. The game works on all 3 major platforms (Lin, Win, Mac) and is downloadable from their Sourceforge project page. I don't have time to verify how open source this game is but the source code is listed amongst the downloads.

Another free single player game based on the same engine is Tempus Irae, which is based in the Marathon universe but adds a lot of new content. The original Marathon games are freely downloadable too according to this page. So if the slightly retro graphics (sprites instead of models for NPCs) does not phase you, then there is plenty of content to work through there.

Eternal Lands

There's also an update to Eternal Lands, the MMORPG that once had a rather wierd license to it's source code although I believe it is properly open source these days. Version 1.4.0 of the client brings new effects, maps, and monsters. I always found the game to be plodding whenever I tried it but these days I'm quite fussy and I know a lot of people who have lost a lot of time to EL by becoming quite immersed in it. It is more graphically rich than Daimonin and more complete a game than Planeshift, the other two main open source MMORPG games.

A plumbing game called Vodovod showed up as well on Freshmeat. Taking inspiration from the Pipemania style of games, it reminded me of FlowFlowMania. Checking out the FlowFlowMania website, there was a sobering news update to be found. From the website:

Just a little news to inform you that FlowFlowMania is slowing down a little due to the fact that I'm hospitalized since May 02 2007 for a leukemia at Paris.

I think I'm going to have a lot of time during next weeks to continue FlowFlowMania, but the poor network of the hospital does not allow me to use FlowFlowMania SVN ...

So don't be affraid by the SVN inactivity. The things will go better when I'll be back home ;o)

Well, I hope you get well Bobsky. Isn't that something to remind us of our mortality and how important Free Software games really are? To some people, they represent a passion and a dream.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Time Catches Up With Us All

One of the principle reasons any open source [game] developer should use a service like Sourceforge is longevity and posterity. If you host your own stuff, likelyhood is that you will move on in life and said self hosting resource becomes unavailable. Such has happened to RG Pro Hockey, a rather amazing looking open source 3D ice hockey simulation that is no longer accessible on it's former homepage. Now it is up to people like us (me?) to chase down the author or find somebody who has a copy of the code, and then get it on Sourceforge before it's lost to the winds of time.

EDIT - somebody has since gotten RG Pro on Sourceforge. :-)

If hockey is your thing then perhaps Ice Hockey Manager (Java) might be up your street. It's not mine so I'll leave it at that.

Speaking of 3D... there is a 3D client in the works for Daimonin. I had heard about it before but never looked deeper into it, but I found myself browsing the Daimonin forums today and the 3D client has it's own dedicated section! However development is slow so it's more intrigue than interest that brings it to my attention. There are screenshots, a brief gameplay video (the significance of which it is client and server), and of course code - so it's not vaporware - but definitely needs more impetus if it is ever going to become a replacement for the current Daimonin client.

Lemming Ball Z might get a new release soon. Dragon Ball Z meets Lemmings - destructable terrain, multiplayer, AI, lots of blood, it is fun by all accounts although I have never played it myself. The next version adds decapitations... that sounds interesting. :-)

I had something else to say but I forgot it... damn!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Nexuiz 2.3


I guses the major event for today is, er, yesterday's release of Nexuiz 2.3 by Alientrap. Massive performance improvements due to an overhaul of the game engine, new maps, tweaked maps, tweaked weapons, sharper graphical effects, it sounds like a fairly extensive and very cool update to what must be one of the best deathmatch games around these days - and it's all Free Software. :-)

A russian list of open source games points out that Enemy Engaged: The Comanche Hokum is available under a GPL license, however it's just the engine and not the data which means you still have to buy the game to play it. It's a helicopter combat simulation and would be a really cool addition to open source combat simulations if they extended that coverage to the rest of the game (or at least made the data freeware). Otherwise I can't see the open sourcing of the game engine really making any kind of difference - it's not like it has massive exposure and a huge mod scene like the various games which iD choses to GPL the engines.

There are very few efforts to create single player FPS open source games. In fact, beyond Crystal Core, I'm not sure I can recall any noteworthy games.

Alientrap are working on a game, Zymotic, but I'm not sure it's going to be open source like Nexiuz although it will use the Nexuiz engine. There's some nice info on the storyline on that site but little else - other than a link to the curious 3D Element which seems to be a collection of game design tutorials. Note to self: investigate further.

Industri looked really promising a while back when Tenebrae (then Tenebrae 2) also looked promising, but both seemed to stall quite badly. There was an update yesterday to the Inudstri webiste though, and now it is being built on the Doom 3 engine but the screenshots seem to use a lot of Doom 3 models and Industri looks a lot less free than it used to - advertising for closed beta testers. I'm not sure it was ever open source though.

It requires a lot of effort to create the media (levels, characters, AI etc) to create a quality single player FPS game. I remember spending days, no, weeks designing single player levels for Duke Nukem 3D and requirements in terms of detail have escalated massively since then (and back then I was a kid with nothing to do except school and fun). The proximity of players to 3D models in FPS games means the detail has to be much higher than in other types of games; this genre does not lend itself well to the open source development model. I hope Crystal Core progress continues.

I got a request to reduce through-put on FG as apparently some readers can't keep up. And to think that I feet bad when I miss a day! Amusing. :-D

Provide feedback:

Due to SPAM issues we have disabled public commenting here.

But feel free to join our forums or easily chat via IRC with us.