Sunday, January 29, 2012

Classic gaming: OGS Mahjong

A somewhat neglected topic here on FreeGamer are classic puzzle games, and OGS Mahjong is definitely one of the gems of this genre:

The stable 0.9 release of this game can be expected shortly, so brush up your Mahjong skills or take the opportunity to finally learn the rules of this age-old classic (like me).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Coldest: Mech AI and Playtesting with the Dev!

Trees in Coldest

Bots were added to the mech fighting game Coldest. If you would like to help playtest the game together with the developer, follow the project's news feed (there will be an announcement for a session sometime soon) and get the git version via:

git clone git:// coldest

Build instructions here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mass Blaster: Ambidextrous Abstract Shooter

Synchronized shooting in Mass Blaster
Mass Blaster is one of the most intense arcade shooters for Windows and Linux. You will take control of two ships simultaneously to blast away at the invading Square Army. On your left, take down enemies with the red n' rad Trigerus. On your right, command the cool blue Pythagora to wipe out your foes. Choose from 4 modes of difficulty to fight your way through 10 gutsy levels. Only those with the skills to pilot both ships at the same time will go on to become High Score Heroes.

This game shares a vein with games like Avoision and pumps adrenaline. Intended for one player, Mass Blaster plays superb with two pilots as well. Just get a keyboard emulator and a joystick to avoid key locking.

Code is under GPL, while all other assets are under the not-so-free CC-BY-NC.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The silver lining of the MegaUpload shutdown

It's been big news online lately that MegaUpload was shut down.  Along with it, many of the other annoying, wait-60-seconds-and-fill-in-this-captcha-or-upgrade-to-premium file sharing services have stopped offering public downloads.  A lot of people are understandably upset about this, since in the case of MegaUpload, they don't even have access to their own files anymore.

This blog post isn't about whether it was right for MegaUpload to be shut down.  There's plenty of debate going on about that, and it's something that I'm not personally interested in taking part in.  What we do know is that there were a substantial number of people using MegaUpload to distribute pirated media, and, let's be honest: a lot of people are pissed off because piracy just got a lot harder.  If you're one of those people, and you're angry and suddenly in search of ways to entertain yourself in the wake of the big shutdown, this post is for you.

You may have already realized that to some extent piracy creates buzz about media.  If people enjoy a movie or a game or an album or whatever, they talk about it, and the word gets out, even if the person doing the talking pirated it.  This is not a justification for piracy, mind you.  If someone wants to make content and then threaten to send you to jail for using it the wrong way, that's their prerogative under copyright law.  On the other hand, people and companies who do that don't deserve your business, and they don't deserve the buzz that you create by talking about their media.  This is particularly true given the fact that they're spending the money you give them to curtail your freedoms through draconian legislation and copyright treaties.

Ask yourself this, dear reader:  Do I need the RIAA to tell me what music I ought to like?  Do I need the MPAA to tell me what movies to like?  Do I need crappy, DRM-loving, morally-bankrupt game studios like EA to tell me what games to like?  I mean, seriously, have you seen big budget movies lately?  Most of them are complete lowest-common-denominator tripe.  As intelligent individuals, we can do better than that.

There's an awful lot of media out there released for free (or at least very cheaply in some cases), directly by the artists, musicians, cinematographers, and game studios that make them.  Some people like to argue that piracy doesn't harm anyone if you never would have paid anyway; I would contend that by pirating big budget, mass-market crap, you're hurting dedicated artists who are releasing their work for free, because the time you spend finding a pirated copy of whatever it is you want to download could have been spent discovering and talking about their works.

Even better, you could spend some of that idle time creating entertainment rather than just being entertained.  If you haven't worked on your own art, music, movies, or game projects, I would strongly encourage you to try it out.  Creating entertainment for other people to enjoy and getting their feedback on it can be immensely satisfying.  As an honest aside here, even a brief browse through open media libraries will make it obvious that movies are by far the weakest link in this chain, followed by games.  Music, being easy now for individuals or bands to produce on a large scale at home with a few hundred dollars worth of equipment, is by far the strongest.  If regular people like us are willing to spend the time helping to create games and movies, we can close the gap.  It'll take time, but if we can pull it off, it'll be worth it.

Media doesn't have to come from a feeding tube.  Go out, look around, and see the world.  There's a lot more out there than the big studios would like you to believe.  And while it's not yet equal in some ways (special effects, etc) to the big budget stuff, your interest and contributions can help it get there, and at the same time help render the big studios and their anti-consumer copyright laws irrelevant.  The big studios may, to some extent, be able to make it more difficult to pirate their content.  What they cannot do is force us to give them money -- we can always choose not to watch their stuff.

Here are some places to get started.


Getting involved:
If you have other sites to add to this list, drop me a line and I'll add them.  In the meantime, go discover something. :)

P.S.  If you agree with this, tell people about it.  Retweet, reblog, upvote, +1, whatever.  I can talk about this all day, but we need a real movement if this is going to change anything, and that means we need people to be aware.

Flesh Snatcher: Bloody Java Polygons

Scenes from Flesh Snatcher

Flesh Snatcher is a bloody jME2 fps with fast movement and dodge-bullets gameplay that is low poly and low-tech enough to run smoothly on a netbook (tested: Asus EeePC 1000H).

Most models were made by the author, Arbaro was used for tree generation, FSRad (shared source, noncommercial) was used for lightmap generation. FOSS-incompatible textures from CGTextures were used.

The code license is not all that clear, I seem only to be able to find the jME license in the archive.

This active thread reveals more info and gives an opportunity to talk to the developer.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Traction Edge: Squad-Based Tactics, Roguelike Interface

Traction Edge is a story driven, turn based strategy game set in a Steampunk Victorian England. Gameplay is similar to the Gollop Brothers UFO or Lasersquad series in that you have "Action Points" to spend during your turn. The game also borrows heavily from roguelikes in both look and feel.

Traction Edge is currently under development and is considered alpha software. It is playable but limited. v0.2 was released for the Annual Roguelike Release Party 2011. It is distributed as source only and requires SFML 1.6 (not 2.0) and cmake to build.

Current Features:
  • Turn based gameplay
  • 2-4 member squad teams
  • Destructable terrain
  • Victorian Steampunk setting
  • SFML based, rescalable on the fly, 16x16 graphical tiles.
Planned Features:
  • 16-20 static levels with full story arc
  • Random content, procedural maps
  • Procedural tech tree
  • Civilians
  • Z-levels

You can keep track of all development activity using this feed. The Linux distro that I use doesn't support SFM 1.6 any more, which makes me unable to test this interesting sounding and looking squad tactics game.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Annex: Conquer the world Beta2 released

A new beta of the Megaglest based standalone game Annex: Conquer the World has been released recently:

Most important news for me: real Linux support out of the box now ;)
But there are also a few other nice changes, like additional tileset and units etc. The game also has its own master-server now, thus not depending on the Megaglest one any longer.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

TremZ updates

As reported previously, the release of the Tremulous "reboot" TremZ has been pushed back to Spring 2012 and with news of their project lead "Volt" having stepped down due to burn-out, things don't look too bright for that date either...
Showing off the high art quality of the new alien models
However the new guys in charge seem to try hard and aim to improve community relations (see their slightly older forums) further by opening up a development blog.
Here they also posted a link to their PR image dump from which I took this very recent picture:
The new human marine model (high-poly base for normal-maps)
I have to say that I am really impressed by most of their artwork so far, and last time I asked they assured me that it will be almost completely licensed under the CC-by-SA (with a sad exception of a few audio works that will be CC-by-SA-NC upon request by the creator).

So I hope I will not be proven wrong when saying: TremZ will the THE FOSS game of 2012 :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

RetroBlazer Alpha demo

Looks pretty nice, this Darkplaces based game, doesn't it? And you can download a RetroBlazer alpha demo now... take it with a grain of salt though as my intuition tells me that this is probably planned to be a commercial release based on a FOSS engine like SteelStorm. While this is of course not bad in general (in fact personally I think there should be more FOSS based commercial games), I always get a lot of flak in the comments for posting about games with un-Free media or such ;)

On a side-note however (after playing the demo for a short while) I have to say that it is a bit too retro for me (no proper mouse aiming? is it like 1996?). I was hoping for more of a hybrid than a strait Doom reimplementation ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Shorts 3: Wizznic Cursor, TORCS Music, Knights Deathmatch, Humm and Strumm Specs, SuperTux Contest

Wizznic! received more GUI enhancements [video (00:57@YouTube)]
TORCS 1.3.2 brings menu music into the game [.ogg (05:50/7.1MB)]
Knights 0.19 features deathmatch [description]
Humm and Strumm is an in-dev co-op game engine [design .pdf (156kB)]
SuperTux' level contest has four entries so far [submission thread]

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Winter Shorts 2: Wizznic! Mouse Input, Me and My Shadow New Look, Epiar Cleanup, GemRB Platforms and Games


Wizznic! supports mouse & touchscreen. [Video] Code available on GitHub.


MeAndMyShadow 0.2rc1 is out. It features tutorial, in-game help, a new default visual style and an improved editor.

Epiar 0.5.0 has been released:
  • UI clean-up
  • Expanded missions system
  • Sound and music additions
  • Main menu
  • Editor greatly expanded
  • Misc. bug fixes
GemRB logo

GemRB 0.7.0 was released recently. Their wiki received a clean-up as well. The engine re-implementation runs on Android and iOS. BG, TotSC, BGII, ToB, IWD and HoW can be played start to end. Some features are missing and there are some new features too.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

New FPS updates

As the FPS resident gamer here at FreeGamer (I am playing usually under the nick poVoq btw ;) ) I am keeping you up to date to the newest FPS updates:

Hot of the press: the cosmic edition (1.2) of Red Eclipse was just released; Lots of new maps and feature additions (and they toned down that annoying hit-sound a bit). Sadly their trailer-contest has not resulted in a cool video yet that I could post here, so take this opportunity to make a cool one ;)

Another new release (7.53) comes from the AlienArena guys, which seem to have made some nice updates to their engine to speed up the performance on higher settings.
Alien Arena 7.53
Quick rundown of other news:
War§ow got a new website, and there is a nice teaser webpage up for TremZ (no surprise to me btw, that they pushed back their release date by 2 months). But the engine (OpenWolf) they are using is making nice progress also as you can see here (and here in a video: integration of Newton Physics and more).

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Stunt Rally 1.4 Release & Trigger Rally 0.6 Videos

From an announcement email:
Hi, after some months of silence we've released version 1.4 with a huge changelog. Some highlights:
  • 71 tracks
  • 2 new cars (TC6, NS)
  • Fixed shadows (self shadowing, lightmapping)
  • Better looking shaders (fresnel effect, reflectivity/specular maps) 
  • SSAO effect (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion)
  • Sound effects and particles for water or mud areas
  • Improved in-car camera
  • Rear gear throttle-brake inverse option

Also, installing this game just got a whole lot easier for linux users as there is now a binary Linux release (32 and 64 bit).

Trigger Rally 0.6 has been out for two months by now but now there are some high-resolution gameplay videos available:

The game is much simpler in all aspects than Stunt Rally but it runs well on netbooks. There is a community effort going on to replace copyright/trademark-problematic assets right now.

Maybe you can help by answering this strange question: would you consider these 3D models to be infringing on proprietary car designs?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

SuperTux Forum and January 2012 Level Contest

SuperTux level design mistakes to avoid

SuperTux just got a forum on and started a level contest.

  • A snow tileset theme 
  • Submit your levels here until the 27th of January, when voting will start
  • Voting on levels will end on the January 30st
  • Winners will be announced January 31st
  • Have fun
  • One level per person
  • Top few levels will/can be made into an add-on or
  • If admins are okay with it top levels will get added to incubator island (if winners are okay with it - pick cc0 or cc-by-sa for your level)
  • One entry per person
  • Please make a new level. (not from and existing worldmap/levelset)
  • Don't vote for your self.
  • Voting will take place in a new forum topic.
  • Feel free to comment on peoples levels, most people would like to hear what was wrong or good with their level.

Get the editor, read the editor guide (and just play around, as the guide is incomplete ;) ) and check out the style guide.

You can upload submissions in this thread.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Winter Shorts: Bits & Bots, Goblin Camp 0.2, BASE PRO 0.4b-r2, FlightGear Interviews

Bits & Bots: controlling two robots at once

Bits & Bots is a real-time puzzle game about figuring out the codes to moving robots around and get them to their targets most efficiently. It comes with binaries for 32/64bit Linux and Windows. Gpl code, by-sa art.

Goblin Camp 0.2, probably running some fancy tileset

Goblin Camp 0.2 brings a stockpile of changes:

  • Piles replace Stockpiles. Everything is allowed and containers get automatically shuffled to where they are needed.
  • Diseases will weaken and eventually kill your population if you don’t do anything about a growing population.
  • Migratory animals will sometimes cross the map
  • The spawning pool expands and spreads corruption in a smoother way, it’s improved from the abrupt way it was before.
  • Cowardly creatures can now also panic if they encounter another panicking creature
  • Death messages have been improved to give a bit more information, and a bit of variety has been added to them as well.
  • Constructions strobe under the cursor now, to better visualize where one stops and another one begins.
  • Portable mode. Just create a file named goblin-camp.portable in the directory where GC is installed and it’ll store all the files it needs in a sub-directory in that folder, instead of in the operating system’s default folder.
  • Skeletons no longer bleed and other assorted bug fixes.

BASE Pro is a Windows-only base jumping simulation game. Its community and news can be found on this forum.

Community member LedInfrared got the hang out of gameplay video recording and shared videos of STK and Xonotic on this YouTube page, including download links to original video material!

Stuart Buchanan: FlightGear contributor

FlightGear's news section has seen quite a high activity lately, including three interviews:

Monday, January 02, 2012

HTML5 Defense: MiniMek Urbie Defense

Posted Image
Two 'towers' down in MiniMek Urbie Defense

A little top-down defense game was released under GPL (art & code) as a new year's present. It shows nicely, how libre art can be used for small game programming projects.
These use some art assets from megamek ( and therefore these games are also licensed under the GPL 
A straightforward interpretation of the GPL applied to assets. I'm afraid though, the images of MegaMek might be incompatible with the GPL, due to Battletech copyright and/or trademark.

The game has good performance but little complexity except for a Missile Commander-esque twist: getting hit reduces player's spacial ability to shoot.

According to the project page, more games with the same graphical theme are to be expected. I'm looking forward to them!

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