Monday, January 26, 2009

Mid-night madness - LinCity-NG 2.0

It's something-am, I have overdue work, and a Freshmeat announcement put a bee in my bonnet about posting.

LinCity 2.0

LinCity-NG 2.0 is out in the wild, and boy is it starting to look like a nice game. There are only two things that look a bit weak these days - the name (NG? Linux-only?) and the UI (a bit scrappy). For those who don't know, LinCity-NG is a GotM fork of Lincity which brings it into this century with much nicer graphics and a more informative user interface.

Plenty of nice new graphics (notably vegetation, grass, trees) make the game look aesthetically smooth. New resource management (water) adds to the depth of gameplay. There's a load of other new aspects too but there's no official announcement and I'm too busy procrastinating to go digging.

Glest (the 3D RTS) is dead, long live Glest! No, really. Mainline Glest development has ended and Glest Advanced Engine (information), a community-born enhancement, is to officially become the new Glest. Glest Advanced Engine is a project built on top of Glest, that adds new features to the game, it includes both new code and data.


There's a whopping development update on the UFO:AI website (3D TBS RPG). I would link directly, for posterity, but there's no direct links or rss or anything like that. So I guess I have to summarize. Bah!

Map editor improvements, 3D geoscape improvements, UI improvements, new music, sounds & models, new hiring screen, texture updates and new textures, AI infrastructure updates, battlescape improvements, aircraft updates, balancing work, improvements to campaign system, er... basically everything got a bit better.

It looks like the next release will kick serious alien a$$, and really this project is producing one of the stand out open source games, I'm sure you'll all agree. Not that the game doesn't have weaknesses. A lack of really talented core developers mean features like destructible terrain and buildings (a feature found in the original 2D UFO games) is not currently possible. Such issues come down to the underlying technology which is built on an enhanced version of the Quake 2 source.

I'm sure there's some smaller game updates I'm forgetting, like perhaps Word War Vi 0.25 or Vacuum Magic 0.8 or Free Vikings 0.8 or something, but for the life of me I just can't seem to remember... *shrugs*

Early morning edit: just came across Open Simulator. Kinda WTF.

Post-early-morning-edit edit: aaaaaaahhhhh I remember now. The 3D Ultima Online client project Iris2 has a new stable release. Lots of improvements and it looks great. I wonder when the UO community will wake up and move over to an all-open-source platform. :-)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

OverDose on Free Software

OverDose is pretty

What is OverDose? Edit: correct link

OverDose is a Multiplayer team objective based game with online and offline play. Two sides, Earths Confederate Marine Corps. and the evil alien Marauders, battle for control of locations on Earth. Based in a first person, the two conflicting teams must battle not only each other, but large open terrain areas. Every class has his own strong and weak points, but every class is a vital role to the game.

On a technical front, it uses a highly evolved Quake II iD tech 2 engine which renders better than Doom 3 iD tech 4, as evidenced by this video and that video. The gameplay sounds quite good too.


FlightGear 1.9.0 got released. The actual announcement is buried in the mailing list. (For those fortunate enough to have never experienced it, the Sourceforge list archives are about as user unfriendly as you'll find, so you should appreciate me having found it! This release is a major overhaul of the graphics code, FlightGear now makes use of the
OpenSceneGraph library, and work on this has been going on for 2 years, since well before the FlightGear 1.0 release. Some highlights include dynamically configurable 3D Clouds, wingmen AI, particle-based rain, read the announcement for more.

SuperTuxKart 0.6 is out, hot on the heels of 0.6rc1. Here's a video showing some STK gameplay and some of the new levels. Given the level of activity, I'm optimistic that we'll see STK 0.7 this year (prettier graphics, better features with Irrlicht replacing PLIB) and that it'll be really impressive. There's still some level design work to be done though - the new levels are significantly nicer looking compared to the old ones you, the contrast stands out to me in this video.

Generally pygame entries are a bit naff. There are, however, a few nuggets. Like this World-of-Goo-inspired sandbox, the Gauntlet-style zombiefest Plague-like (pygame entry) or this interesting looking RPG engine Dead Creatures Rising (pygame entry). Still, it really needs a rating system to sort out the wheat from the chaff because there is far too much chaff to wade through these days.

L-echo, an open source implementation of the popular game Echochrome, seems to be coming along nicely. Version 0.4.1 released recently. Here's a video of l-echo in action:

Did I mention Naev before? Doesn't seem like it. Anyhow, it's a 2D space RPG in the mould of Solar Winds (like anybody actually knew what that was, other than me). It looks nice, but the controls take a bit of getting used to. You'll need to have a longer attention span than me if you're going to be able...

I wonder if we'll see an executive order closing down Windows. It's like a virtual detention centre where open source [game] developers are subjected to unspeakable things when forced to support it. On another note, I got to OverDose via the Haiku website. Perhaps Haiku can be a future gaming platform? I wonder if that skinny guy with a funny name even knows what Haiku is?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Releases - Teeworlds, GearHead2, FreeCol, more

These days there's a flurry of open source game development activity and I don't have time to blog or follow it closely, but here's a highlight of some of the most recent game developments.

Teeworlds 0.5.0 is out. Everybody's favourite game about tea, where you have an entire world of tea bags and... wait, Q is whispering something to me... *listens*

Oh, it's not about tea. The clue was the double-e apparently. Still, despite the disappointing news that there still isn't a game dedicated to my favourite beverage, Teeworlds 0.5.0 is the largest update to the game yet. New features to everybody[ who doesn't love OpenLieroX or another game I can't think of]'s favourite 2D deathmatch Free project include demo recording, a revamped server browser and in-game voting, as well as a a gazillion changes under the hood. There is also a new, shiny 16-player limit.

FreeCol! The game where you get to free Colin! Right?! No? Dammit.... !

Ooooh, the col is short for colonization, which has nothing to do with turning the things into colons but everything to do with creating a new country on new land. Aaah, so, FreeCol 0.8.0 brings lots more polish - bugfixes, music, gameplay tweaks, graphical enhancements - to a project that seeks to embody and improve upon the original game (and succeeds).

Warzone 2100 2.1.1, bugfixes, and it's about war in a zone! I knew it, at least one game had to be guessable from the name!

There's some really interesting posts on the Worldforge dev blog these days. All aggregated on the planet - which isn't actually a planet, or technically attempting to be one, so don't visit it and be disappointed at finding a collection of feeds on Free Software game development. Anyhow, here's a video showing the compass in Ember (note: website is out of date, currently releases is 0.5.5), one of many recent Worldforge developments:

Whenever I see people saying, "Hey, let's create the next world of warcraft or an amazing 3D single player RPG!" I think, why don't you guess help with the Worldforge project. And nobody ever does. And they end up ditching their dreams to become an alpha mud. Like Radakan did.

Back to Worldforge, it's quite impressive these days. Whilst it is client-server based, it has a nicely featured persistent AI server, and the focus seems to be somewhat on non-MMORPG features even though it is an MMORPG toolset. So, if you want to make an RPG or MMORPG, unless you're a blood relative of John Carmack, stop thinking you can do it all yourself when these guys have been designing and implementing it for 10 years and thought through all the problems you don't yet know you have yet to face. Instead, start by prototyping your game on Worldforge. That's an official Free Gamer blog mandate / recommendation. :-)

GearHead2 0.532, lots of bugfixing.

I know I'm missing something other than screenshots and good jokes... there's a game release I've forgotten to mention. Sadly, for comedians everywhere who get relatively funnier when I'm typing, I have to go.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January Sales

Everything is so cheap after Christmas. I mean, look what you can get for FREE! :-)

The FreeOrion project just released version 0.3.11, which comes with some polish of existing features and a few small new ones. Here's the announcement. Only a Windows binary is up at the moment, bah, source only from SVN. I complained. (I'm good at that.) There are statically compiled SVN binaries for Linux but you have to go digging to find them. Still, when digging you can find treasure, like this ship development thread. Purty!

UPDATE: here's the Linux binaries and here's a quick play guide - which you really do need, there's so many clicky thingamajigs.

Platinum Arts Sandbox, the game design tool based on the Cube 2 engine, saw version 2.3 released a few days ago. From the announcement:

Here are the awesome new features!

* New 3D sidescroller Mario like mode! Also there is a seperate RPG project, check the wiki! [link - note it is aimed at kids and in concept stage]

* Hotkeys that make it easier to save games, add materials, and lots more!

* New in game help section that displays all of the binds/key commands!

* Snow has been tweaked and updated :) Be sure to check out the new version of house :D

* Maps now generate cfgs on save! Also many various map tweaks.

* New main menu theme! To try other themes check out the options menu.

* Loads of new textures and new player skins.

* Tons of under the hood bug fixes and features.

* Thanks to ZKAT of there is a brand new great looking launcher!

Here's one of the developers, Mike, talking about different aspects of developing Sandbox, along with gameplay clips. Quite interesting.

The DungeonHack team has been active lately and it is finally starting to pay dividends with a reorganized and improved codebase now coming back to life. Early days, still, so I'll leave it at that.

Vikings is an open-source RPG, presumably based on Vikings. This model of theirs is mighty nice!

Pyweek. It's one of those contradictory things in life. Some nearly-cool games get done in a short space of time, but then when those efforts can't be put into bigger and fuller versions of the concepts you see in Pygame is somewhat frustrating. Still, some nuggets in there like AFF:City, a city building game based on the Angels Fall First universe. If they can get that much done in a week, why not spend a few months on the game and it'll be awesome, surely?

A less serious but more mind-bending game is the imaginately titled 4D Maze Game. Play it online in an applet or browse the source. I didn't really conceptually understand how the maze works, thus I failed to escape after going in random directions in 4 dimensions for a few minutes. I hope I never get stuck in a real 4D maze, I'll be in real trouble!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy Gnu Year

Well, it's belated, but better late than never. :-)

The Warzone 2100 team released version 2.1 of their continuation of the formerly-commercial RTS. The news link is broken for some reason. EDIT: And here is the fixed one. Well, the big 'hole' in WZ2100 has been the FMV that was in the original game, that comes in 2.2 I am told, but 2.1 is more stable and playable than ever (although I'm don't know the specific improvements over 2.0).

AssaultCube got a new website and a new release, version 1.0.2 which fixes a few glitches and brings some extra polish to the 1.0.x series of AC. Apparently Cube 2 (aka Sauerbraten) dev Eihrul has been backporting enhancements to AC, so looks much better than Cube 1, but I can't say for sure.

Speaking of Free FPS games, I thought this SuperTuxKart track, Sub-sea, being ported to Nexuiz was quite intriguing:

Speaking of SuperTuxKart, I can't remember if I mentioned or saw the 0.6rc1 release anywhere. By all accounts it's a massive improvement over 0.5 and the game is starting to realise a bit of it's potential. Version 0.7 will bring an overhaul of the graphics engine (port to Irrlicht from PLIB) and that plus all the new track development that is occuring, 2009 should be the year that STK becomes a showcase Free Software game. Still, the competition is getting tougher, but I hope that serves as motivation. :-)

Here's two questions for you, the readers, answers in comments please!

What was your favourite new project from 2008?

Mine was JCRPG - just from Word War Vi.

Which project do you look forward to new releases from this year?

For me, definitely Scourge (0.22 brings support for new model formats, which I think will make people pay more attention to it), with Vega Strike and UFO:AI releases also something I look forward to checking out.

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