Friday, July 06, 2007

Privateer Parallel Universe

Parallel Universe, a modification of Privateer Remake, has gotten itself a rather smart website and community forums. There's a good bit of work going on over there and the feedback on PU is generally pretty good. Definitely worth a look for space game fans. It is also part of a rather complex development scene based around Privateer & Wing Commander games. I'll get back to that in a bit.

A couple of Ubuntu users have posted their first serious effort at a game, Slingshot. It's a fairly simple 2D affair, take it in turns to shoot at each other, your shots being affected by the gravity pulls of planets.

I've mentioned Egoboo Resurrection a few times - a continuation of the classic game Egoboo. I've not really mentioned that it's only released for Windows despite the original predominantly being a Linux game. It just comes down to a lack of Linux based contributors. However there's another "branch" called Egoboo 2.x which has binaries for Mac OS X and Windows. I'm sure eventually a Linux guy will pop up and help out but until then it seems us Lusers are a bit stuck when it comes to getting an Egoboo fix. I guess there is always SoulFu. Anyway, to encourage contributors one of the Egoboo Resurrection devs posted a development bundle which comes with game editing tools as well as the source.

There's now a Mac OS X binary up for the latest Warzone 2100 release, 2.0.7. Good day for Mac users, eh? :-)

Back to PU and a bit about the scene which PU comes from, and it's all a bit complex, rotating around the Vega Strike engine. Some of the VS devs (herein called the 'devs') made Privateer Remake. This got noticed by the Wing Commander nuts at (herein called the 'canons') who are dedicated to their cause. Some less fierce but equally obsessed WC fans (herein called the 'non-canons') at the same time started forming Wing Commander Universe, a super-mod that encompassed all things WC, a lot of which started making it's way into PR. Unhappy at the way PR was not completely true to the original Privateer, the canons - with help from the devs - created Privateer Gemini Gold, a fork of PR. The canons publicly denounce WCU. The non-canons decided that not only was the limitations imposed on gameplay in PGG not conducive to a fun game, but they did not go far enough, so created Parallel Universe, something even less true to it's WC heritage that embraces fun over accuracy.

So you now have a triangle of groups - the devs with VS and PR, the canons with PGG who gets help from the devs, the non-canons with WCU and PU who collaborate with the devs on PR. It's quite an interesting thing to follow. It's quite a caustic atmosphere between the canons and the non-canons. At the end of the day, not everybody can always get along, and the canons are abrasive at best, with questionable forum policies and immature moderation the last time I encountered them.

Anyway, my point was that PGG is the most well known of all the projects. However, feedback isn't that great on the latest release 1.02 which new players are finding incredibly hard with a high starting difficulty. The PU team could flank PGG in terms of community by being a more fun game to play so attracting more players and contributors. And there's PR in the middle that will no doubt continue to, well, be in the middle.

I hope I got that all correct. Whilst it was a stormy path to the projects we have today, I think each project serves a niche and they can coexist harmoneously. It may even turn out to be one of those situations where the existance of one is what spurs on the other - Yin and Yang etc. :-)


Anonymous said...

So, do you recommend one version over another? Interested to try one.

Great service you're providing open source gamers by the way.

Charlie said...

I have not really played any of them so it's not fair to mandate one over another, but I will say I see more positive feedback on PU as a gameplay experience because - frankly - the majority of people are not that bothered about WC canon.

So which one to play? PU, although you need PR to play PU anyway so it's kinda tied in.

Anonymous said...

It's funny you mention this today, because I spent yesterday trying to figure this all out!

I played Vega Strike plain which is pretty decent, however I was really turned off by the in-station font for purchasing goods. It seems strange, but it was so big and ugly with no contextual help that I didn't want to play the game. Felt like it was 1989 or something. I've played one of the privateers before, perhaps privateer gemini gold? But it's just that. A remake, and I've already played the original game so I was looking for something like privateer, with new plot and 2006 graphics. I stumbled across 3x reuinion in the discount bin at Staples. It's not a free game, but it's ALMOST a free game at 15 bucks! It'd be cool if Vega strike adopted a little from the x series. There's base ownership, fleet control, factory building etc. I however like the lightness of privateer. Seemed simpler and less of a burden? I'm babbling. I guess all I'm saying is the complete gameplay experience isn't in vegastrike yet. And I'm not sure about the others.

Brendan MacDonell said...

Regarding egoboo 2.x vs. 2.3.8: The guy producing 2.x is the same one who is doing most (if not all) of the programming for 2.3.8 - The difference is that the releases tagged with a version number are content releases, while jonathan works on the engine.

Wendy said...

Having worked with the team on the original Privateer Remake, which you can't seem to download any more, more's the pity, I find this post rather interesting, VERY equitable, and just a tad biased. However, having worked on the NONcanon remake, I'd have to say I was and am VERY biased.

I'd vote for going with remake if you know someone who has a copy and they're willing and able to send you a file that's well over 200MB.

Failing that, install SVN or one of its clones and download PU. I know some of the people on the forum and they're GREAT. They really do go out of their way to get you up and running if you're experiencing difficulties.

Why PU? Easy. The forum. As I said, they really do try to get you up and running.

WCU is fun, don't get me wrong. However, my last experience with it, granted it was some time ago, three or four years to be honest, was not a good one. The forum was good. The people great, but the game was still in the alpha stages.

Remember, that was a great deal of time ago.

PU is also in Beta, but it seems to be more in the Release Candidate form of beta than WCU was.

The original game is still there and you get to do all those things you did in the original with VERY updated and upgraded graphics. Be warned, you will need a new graphics card with the latest drivers.

You can own your own FLEET of ships, or you could when I last played it. Why settle for one when you can grow to be a major force to be reckoned with?

I had fun when I did the play testing and some of the economic models. I literally played the game to try and break it. Oh, I managed, but I had to try hard.

If you're running windows, you'll have an easier time of getting it up and running, but to be fair, there are people there as well as a very detailed instruction set to get even the newest newbie going in Linux.

For what its worth, I'd PAY to play this game, even in the beta stages.


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