Friday, May 22, 2009

Fellow adventurer, turn back while you can!

Crikey, it's been a while. What can I say, life gets busy, and games sometimes just can't be a priority. I know, it's crazy talk. I meditated long and hard, facing many demons, moments of utter despair, but I couldn't get past the conclusion that sometimes Free Gamer won't be on my list of things to do. Fortunately Q has been on top of things so it's not silent when I'm off the radar.

Today is a temporary reprieve, brought on somewhat by enjoying the current development pace of the Scourge project. Timong, of JCRPG fame, has been taking a break from Java coding to indulge in his new found passion for music composition. You can listen to the new main theme music he has composed for Scourge, one of many he has contributed lately. I think it sounds pretty damn good. Meanwhile you can now roam around a massive persistent outdoor world in Scourge, with generated villages and NPCs as well as varying climate and weather conditions. It all sounds quite impressive.


On another dungeoneering frontier, Iter Vehemens ad Necem (aka IVAN) is probably the most challenging and addictive nethack variant I ever played. (Although I only ever played a couple.) It has surprisingly good 2d graphics, which aren't done justice by the screenshot, but alas development stalled after 2005. The IVAN community seems to be filling the void left by the developers who[se motivation] seem[s] to have met some kind of gruesome demise - perhaps their brains turned into banana flesh by a vindictive god.

There is the IVANX project which seems to pull together a lot of the popular community contributions, and should be more likely to compile on Linux. There's also LIVAN which stands for Linux IVAN, thus should compile on Linux. Neither compiled for my Fedora laptop, somewhat thankfully as it means I can't play it and thusly be more productive! \o/


Of extra interest is IVAN 3D which turns it into a bit of a funky pixelated adventure. There's obviously quite a few challenges to overcome when transposing a totally 2D described game into a 3D world without it looking a bit other-worldly. Still, I don't think pixels are a bad thing. After all, it's a game, not a life simulation!


Hey look, Open World Soccer is moving steadily towards being a modern Sensible Soccer clone. Impressive looking! However the AI doesn't do too much yet, just keeping the two teams level with the ball.

Raidem is one of those vertical scrolling shooters, a nice classic pixel explosion fest. It is surprisingly well done, but it's also bloody hard - I never survived more than 20-30s. From the intro screen, it looks like the author needs an additional graphic designer but other than that it's a very nice looking game. No development since 2006 though so I guess it's to be taken as-is.

Another game that is surprisingly well done is Abe's Amazing Adventure. It looks weird, really weird. However the animations are very smooth and the game plays pretty well, far better than it looks. Still, I couldn't quite get over the game's oddness.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

idTech engine game news

Tremfusion is a fork of Tremulous, that wants to be more open in development. There's more to read on its organization and philosophy (too many words for my taste). One of the most noticeable changes is the use of the Xreal as the game engine. Thanks to Julius for letting us know.

An audio interview with Quake2World's lead coder reveales details about improvements in his graphics and physics engine. (I don't like podcasts usually but this one is pretty interesting.)

An audio interview of Lee Vermeulen, founder of the Nexuiz project, was published on the new site Open Gaming Now. The audio unfortunately is of a not-so-good telephone line quality and the added music makes it even a little bit harder to listen. Lee tells about the early history of the project, but other than that it's mainly a introduction to Nexuiz.

The rest & snippets

Andrewj, one of the best Let's Play artists, has recently recorded a playthrough of Voxelstein, the Wolfenstein3D-inspired shooter with voxels (you can destroy everything) which unfortunately is win-only. Here's the video.

Palomino flight simulator release 20090511 adds shaders to the game.

Boomwar Nitro 0.1b1 has been released [win32 binary] (after 2.5 years of no releases, but some svn activity). It appears to be using the non-free Newton Game Dynamics lib, so I refrained from compiling it.

Last time I mentioned PopCap Framework. Now I found out about PyCap, a python wrapper for the PopCap framework. Thanks to GBGames for passively helping me find this. :)

Slick is a LWJGL-based Java game lib, which even supports SVG (not completely though). Some of these games make use of slick and two of them are supposedly free software. (I haven't searched for the source much though).

There's a first screenshot of Nethack_3D.

Hey, what do Glest, Freeciv, FreeCol, FreedroidRPG, FlightGear, Nexuiz, OpenArena, Sauerbraten, SuperTux, SuperTuxKart, Warsow and Yo Frankie have in common? - All of them are being STOLEN by reckless PIRATES. ARR!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sauerbraten Trooper Edition, first playable Mark IV network Demo

Sauerbraten [more screens]

Cube 2: Sauerbraten Trooper Edition has been released [download]: new logo, new maps, new weapon looks, bots! (from BloodFrontier), movie recording function (I have to check this out ASAP), rag dolls, new music, and so much more.

Sauerbraten characters

The bots are rather dumb as of now and don not know what a powerup is yet but they're definitely better than no bots at all. What I found most amazing about this release is the characterization of the player models. Each of the three has a little back story. I felt that Sauerbraten had no soul before this release. Now it has a little soul. :)

Mark IV

The tank simulation engine Mark IV [project, web page, blog] v0.80 Alpha-1 is out and first-time playable over network. It however uses FMOD (which can be avoided, see this) and RakNet. Windows users will be able to use the pre-compiled binary.

A little arcade

Atomic Worm has recently been open sourced. It appears to be a Pacman-Snake mix plus different grid types plus the visual style of Transcend. Source available here. It uses the PopCap Framework, which appears to be free software.

Atomic Worm at YouTube

Do you like cruel, hard moon lander games? If yes, OldSkoolGravityGame was made with you in mind! It may look harmless, even retro-pretty on video... but I have felt the pain...

Portable game packages


The Damn Small Nexuiz (DSN) project provides a slim version of Nexuiz with the aim to make it playable on netbooks. Deja Vu?

Speaking of reduced weight: Spring RTS Engine Portable is a win32 Spring (RTS engine) package that doesn't touch the registry.

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