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.


DarkStarSword said...

From what I can gather, Eternal Lands is still under that same weird "open source" license that it has always been. From the looks of it the only things that it grants is the ability redistribute the game client. Modification is explicitly disallowed, and there is no mention of creating a derivative work (leaving that to god knows which countries default legal system regarding copyright, which probably means not allowed). In fact, the license doesn't mention the source code at all, which would leave that under default copyright law - no redistribution, no modification, no anything (unless each source code file mentions a license - I haven't checked). And of course the server and game content are closed, so I don't consider it to be a free game at all beyond the price tag. I very much doubt that the Free Software Foundation would approve it as a "free" license either.

The moment the EL server and development dies, EL will die unless it is re-licensed under a truly free license, including the server and content.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about Eternal Lands anyway. It's one of those clicky-clicky pseudo MMORPGs, just like WoW. Sure, the graphics are pretty for a freeware game, but having played it for some time, I can say that gameplay pretty much sucks. Avoid unless you belong to those people who love playing 24/7 just to gain your char a level. Remember RPGs once were about getting yourself immersed in a rich fictional environment, not about spending days clicking the same spots and calling each other "n00b". Leave that to all the teens who don't even know 2D graphics anymore. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but pseudeo RPGs simply p*ss me off...

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