Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flightgear 2.4 plus something cuddly and something fishy

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's... wait, yes, it's a plane. The quintessential FOSS flight simulator gets updated, Flightgear 2.4 (announcement) has been released.

The FlightGear development team is proud to announce the release of version 2.4.0 of its free open source flight simulation program. FlightGear 2.4.0 reflects over one and a half years of development and incorporates several new and exciting features, as well as numerous bug fixes.

The feature list in the announcement is impressive. A summary won't do the release announcement justice (although in parts it is a bit dumbed down, but that's OK, not all of us are au fait with regards to computer game development). Still, here's an attempt:

  • Realistic weather simulation, phenomena includes are fog layers that are limited in altitude, cold fronts, thermals, cloud formation in updraft winds along mountain ridges, and many, many more.
  • Enhanced graphics including highly realistic mountain surfaces, 3-dimensional cityscapes, water moves realistically and sunlight is reflected from its surface.
  • Many improved planes/models and additional cockpit systems - a choice of nearly 500 different aircraft, from historical to bleeding edge, from ultra-lights to the ultimate flying heavy metal.

Still no combat (see open source flight combat article) but I think that's probably a bit off topic for Flightgear.

The Flightgear project has reached what I call "critical mass" in that it no longer depends on a few active developers to maintain progress. A thriving contributor community outgrows the original development crew and it becomes owned by the community. Usually when a project attains critical mass, development accelerates massively. There are more people contributing to Flightgear than has ever been the case, it is flying. Pun intended.

In fact I can't think of many other FOSS games that have attained "critical mass" status. Battle for Wesnoth of course. Possibly Freeciv and OpenTTD (I wish they'd rename that). Some projects got close but never quite made it, such as Glest and Vega Strike. Others are knocking on the door, such as Pioneer, Speed Dreams, 0AD. (If I am being dozy and missing any such projects, point out in the comments!) The vast majority of projects never get close and usually only are actively developed as long as their originators / principle supporters are motivated.

What could be cuddly? Plee the Bear 0.6 has been released (announcement, forum thread). It features the first big boss. It is a very nice looking game with a lot of potential, and seems great for a younger player.

And the something fishy? Avid readers, those worth their salt, people who are true followers of the blog, those who will enter through the gates of St Peter before all others, they will know I am a big fan of Fish Fillets NG. Somebody has made a clone called, imaginatively, Fish Fillets Clone (screenshots). Whilst I don't like that it is an outright clone, I do like that it uses vector graphics. I think there's promise there.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Oh, yeah, hiiii to my Cuban female fanbase!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Planets are a nice thing...

...but make us FreeGamer blog-authors lazy, as all the news are already in our awesome game and development planets :p
New to the feeds is our revision control planet, for those news-freaks that want to keep up to date even if it is just a change in punctuation of the readme file :p

It is btw interesting to see on this planet how much changes happen in the Xonotic SVN, while to the outward observer the project seems to be moving only slowly forward.
However, recently they released an auto-builds update script, which makes it much easier to keep up with their development builds (which seems to be the preferred version for them now in general, but things can break from time to time). Oh and for the lulz: a "my little pony" mod recently surfaced for Xonotic also :p

Next on the list? Ahh yes, Stunt Rally version 1.2 got released:

Changes include (amongst other stuff) a new split-screen and a ghost car rally mode.

Other things to mention? Mage is a open-source MTG client, but not as nice looking as Wagic. But it might convince you with other features (of which Mage has a lot ;) ).
Unknown Horizons has a nice news update with all the improvements Google's Summer of Code gave them and the Zod engine is set out to improve the multiplayer part of the (back then really nice) game Z (using the unfree media from the original it seems).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

PyWeek 13 (And PyWeek 12 Winners)

It's time PyWeek #13 soon!

The dates of this challenge are are 00:00 UTC 2011-09-11 to 00:00 UTC 2011-09-18.

Friday 2011/08/12Registration underway
Sunday 2011/09/04Theme voting commences
Sunday 2011/09/11Challenge start
Sunday 2011/09/18Challenge end, judging begins
Sunday 2011/10/02Judging closes, winners announced

Check out PyWeek 12's winners by the way:

Loopback: Asteroids + Tower defense. Retro Look. Permissive code license.
Loopback - PyWeek #12 Team Winner

Lemming: Enough Plumbers + Canabalt??? Hand-drawn horrible ;). Permissive code license.

The PyWeek guys seem to have figured out the license part of game prototyping well: Lemming for example contains a list of all used art pieces' urls and licenses. Neat!

PS: Ludum Dare got 600-1 entries last weekend.

BZFlag Tournament hosted by Ohava Open Computers


There will be a tournament of the CTF game BZFlag.

When: September 30th, at 5pm EST

Where: Online(?)

How: Visit for sign-up.

Prize: An Ohava OpenBook BE awarded to the MVP of the winning team. More prizes will be given to all of the winning team's members.

Monday, August 22, 2011

News Shorts

OpenPatrician is a not-yet-playable free implementation in Java of Ascaron's classic The Patrician and The Patrician 2. There are some assets but unfortunately the project's default license is a noncommercial one.

OpenMW is moving forward: new blog look, renderer is being refractored, inventory being implemented, record saving too.

Alex the Allegator was part-ported to HTML5 using the melonJS library. I'm #9 on the high score at time of post! :D

DusteD, maker of Wizznic! is not dead.

Blendswap now has a slim set of rules for contributors and texture licenses are annoying.

Bandit Racer is a car racing and combat game in HTML5, built with GameJS. Comes with track editor and pretty UI. An earlier version multiplayer mode, which will probably come back sooner or later

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Keeping up a tradition...

Yes, I post only seldom, but when I do it I keep up the good old tradition of mixing totally unrelated projects in one big post :p

So where to start today? Ahh yes:

The puzzle type game Berusky 2 was recently FOSSified (code and art GPL) as pointed out in our forums (but I have to admit I saw it first on LGDB). And as out great founder was quick to point out, it follows the great tradition of the first part with was also released under the terms of the GPL.

In totally unrelated news, Lips of Suna version 0.5 got released last week, with a bunch of nice graphical and game-play improvements (change log and discussion here).

For those living behind a rock, Lips of Suna is a crazy mix of Minecraft, slightly adult themed anime and a more classic RPG. Definitly worth a try, even though still under heavy development!

Hmm and now a quick run-down of other (I'd say less important) news:
Q3 Rally (now stand alone with the ioQuake3 engine) is nearing another release and OpenXcom is making good progress in the "battlescape" AI. In WarZone2100 land, you can now test the cool new models with a test mod (is supposed to work with the latest snapshot release). The fork of the W:ET, OpenWolf is also progressing with a fix of the Mod support (while the more ambitious ET:Xreal seems to have gone in a hiatus again), and while talking about id software source-code, I have started this small anticipatory id tech 4 project which needs contributors ;)

The end.

Oh wait, did we ever mention the source release of Cities3D (a Setters of Catan like game)?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On OpenGameArt 2 and FreeSound 2

This is old news: OpenGameArt 2 launched and with it an improved interface for browsing and submitting freely licensed game art. Testing, feedback and submissions welcome of course. :)

OpenGameArt 2 submission form

FreeSound is also moving forward, away from FTP-submissions, away from CC-Sampling+, although it seems that noncommercial licenses will be supported. A beta of the new site is open for public testing!

FreeSound 2 submission form - the upload button is flash...

A very curious feature is the "bulk license change", which is what you see first when logging into FreeSound 2:

FreeSound Bulk License Change

If you're a FreeSound contributor, please log into the new site and select CC0 or CC-BY.

I finally got hold of a video of OpenGameArt's admin BartK talking about his site at Libre Graphics Meeting May 2011:

Does any of these submission forms scare you away? Did you notice an obvious interface design mistake? Got any libre art sharing news to spread? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Open Source in Humble Indie Bundle #3: Haaf's Game Engine (HGE)

HGE's Particle Editor

The proprietary games sale Humble Indie Bundle has a tradition of including open source engine releases.
In all of the other humble bundles there has always been at least one game that opened its source (in #2 it was revenge of the titans. in #1 it was penumbra, lugaru, aquaria and gish).
- Fer C.

Bundle #3 is soon over and the *nix port of the Windows-only zlib-licensed engine HGE has been now released as open source as well. It is the engine used by Hammerfight from the Bundle. Visit the pages: hge, hge-unix.

The non-free BASS audio library was replaced with OpenAL.

The hge-unix readme states "10 I don't know anything about the Windows version of HGE.", which might mean that developers have to juggle two engine versions and audio libraries if they want to support the three main platforms. Or hge-unix needs to be ported back to windows systems.

You can read more about the port in the blog post HGE comes to Mac and Linux by Ryan Gordon aka icculus. Or perhaps watch his talk about Linux/open source gaming (again?).

Sunday, August 07, 2011

LinWarrior r19+

I tested and recorded the latest LinWarrior git revision (a few changes since release19). Some of the new features in r19 and after include:
  • Atmospheric daytime setting
  • New units (Flopsy, Scorpion and Tank)
  • Cockpit frame in first-person view
  • Trees, trees, trees

The LinWarrior engine is still being developed, for example mechs are still hardcoded rather than configured in textfiles right now.

PS: A video of actual gameplay, rather than just testing the controls. Unfortunately no sound but 1920x1200 resolution...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Cubosphere: First Beta

The first beta release of Cubosphere is available.

The game reminds of irrlamb and Neverball but is in fact a tile-based puzzle, rather than a free-physics/precision game. It has a simple level editor and 18 visual/audible styles to chose from. Some features of the 200+ levels are lasers, frying blocks, teleporters, switches, elevators and enemies.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Some random FPS engine news

Fast games for slow summer news weeks... but actually some of these news are a bit older already also :p

To start out... yes RedEclipse got a (smaller) new release a few days ago, codenamed Supernova (Version 1.1). The release notes can be found in our/their forums, but it plays as great as before (except for the annoying hit sound :p ). Edit: game-play video from one of our forum users.

Noteworthy news related to that (albeit not strictly FOSS related): RedEclipse also got included into Desura now (Moddb's indie friendly answer to Steam, even with an upcoming Linux port). To avoid complains in the comments... I mention this here even though it is a closed source game distribution platform, simply because it can be a great way to promote (and maybe even sell?) FOSS games, and if we would finally be able to attract the modding community (which is largely represented on Moddb) to work with FOSS engines instead, it would be win-win for everyone involved.

Despite its unfree content War§ow is also worth a look now and then. According to their somewhat recent blog entries they have made great progress in speeding up the Quake2 based renderer, and plan to include a matchmaking and statistics system in the maybe not so distant 0.7 release. It's actually a pity that the engine isn't used for other projects, and given that it is Quake2 based, it could probably be ported to mobile platforms like Android rather quickly (since there is a full and fast Quake2 Java port).

Talking about mobile platforms... the engine behind Xonotic (formerly Nexuiz) Darkplaces, seems to have gotten an iOS port judging by a quick look at the very recent new source release. No news post about the most recent changes, but slightly older news tell us about a much higher frame rate then before :) Would be nice if Xonotic would see another Beta release soon also ;)

Oh and I know I will get flamed for this again (e.g. for mentioning a commercial game on this blog; but I stand by my opinion that commercial isn't != FOSS), but the Darkplaces based and GPLed source-code containing SteelStorm: Burning Retribution, has been added as a free bonus to the latest HumbleBundle (at the time of writing this, with still 5 days remaining to get this "pay what you want" indie-game-bundle including some really nice games all running on Linux). Just to quickly mention... no news about source releases from that source this time (but they added all of the games from the 2nd bundle if you pay above average)... but given the somewhat lukewarm source releases last time (not really FOSS) I guess that is not a big loss :-/

Hmm what else? World of Padman was somewhat recently updated, and its engine ioQuake3 is moving to a modularized renderer.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST (hot news coming in while I am writing this)... John Carmack just confirmed in his keynote on this year's QuakeCon, that the Doom3 source code will be released this year (probably shortly after the Rage release scheduled early October)... which will be a really nice addition to the FOSS engine pool (finally a somewhat modern single player FPS engine). I am especially looking forward to see some of the existing high quality Doom3 mods to go stand alone, and maybe even FOSS!

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