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. ;-)


hikaricore said...

"I'm not a big fan of just repeating what I see on the Linux Game Tome"

Why do I get the feeling this comment was directed at me? ^_^

Anonymous said...

Nice flame war on that forum ;-)

I have to say that while I feel strongly about making fan projects open source I too struggle to give well thought out reasons to do it when asked by someone. I think this requires some philosophical thought.

I guess that when you start using Free software the right sensual impulses start attacking you so rapidly that you feel elated but can't rationally explain what's making you feel that way. Then you feel irritated why people can't understand you when you try to spread the fire... aanyway...

Charlie said...

hikari: Not at all - just sometimes there isn't too much to say or there are important releases that I spot on the LGT. At the end of the day and Free Gamer overlap a little bit in terms of our community service so it does happen but I try to be original in content so I don't like to see something there first then repeat it here. ;-)

Charlie said...

anonymous: I find most people are afraid of open source because they do not understand it.

Typical reasons given for not open sourcing freeware indie games:

- People will cheat
- 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)

They are all complete rubbish [i.e. do not occur] but the principle of open source means that people see these possibilities and are frightened by them.

Just to quickly debunk...

- People will cheat anyway - security through obscurity is worse; the game/app may be less secure because the design is not under scrutiny.

- Control of the project remains in the hands of the coders, so sure if you stop and people continue your work you may lose control but then you are no longer working on it? Otherwise you keep as much control over your game as you allow others to have, and almost always contributors are very, very respectful of the original author.

- People can't get away with stealing a project. I've seen it happen before (Gaim, now called Pidgin, got ripped off by a start up and it was quickly brought down by lobbying) and the community very quickly rallies around the original author. The only way a game gets "stolen" is if the original author stops developing and others continue, in which case it's not stealing but simply moving on instead of dying.

- 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). 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.

That's my take. People's reasoning is always based on fear, but open source gives hope - hope that a project will never die due to author neglect, hope that a project may get released early due to external contribution, hope that a project may be robust because it is pushed early on in development, etc etc.

Charlie said...

Christ, that comment was worthy of being a post... I might just do that...

Andrew said...

That thread is stupid. One guy thinks you want them to make an OS! WTF.

Anyway, I just wanted to add a few more reasons on to your list for not GPLing:

- Some Developers are control freaks. You'll get many insecure developers who want to stay in control of their community via keeping the source and of course their community worships them for what they have done.
- Some developers believe people will mock their coding. They think that their source code is not up to par with the best and believe that if they release the source code then people will laugh at their poor ability to code.

Maxim said...

you really shouldn't post about Windows only games, even if they are free.
most of us including you are Linux users so it wouldn't do much for us.

Anonymous said...

I tend to disagree with Maxim. I am very interested in linux games, but free windows games are really useful, especially during lunch breaks at work! ;)

Charlie said...

Whoa, criticism! :-(

Hehe that means I'm popular. :-)

Seriously though, I was just going on about AGS then went off on a tangent about the whole KQ stuff since KQVGA I & II are probably two of the best AGS games, and AGS is Linux related. I do try and mention when games are Windows-only so as not to waste too much time for people following links.

hikaricore said...

charlie ^_^

I was joking with you lol.

Things have been slow lately and I've been borrowing alot from hp to keep UGA from being dead.

Anonymous said...

Looking through reminds me of which is Free, though I haven't been able to get it to work (not much effort expended) for me on Feisty/AMD64...

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