Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fachoda Complex: Linux Flight Battle, Minimal Look

AI lift-off in Fachoda Complex

Fachoda Complex is an old Linux 3d flight battle simulator with flat visuals and extremely low system requirements.

The developer wrote an interesting logbook of how they recovered the game from the depths of Assembly Code Country in six days.
Some restore antique furnitures or old cars for a hobby. I am restoring a vintage piece of code, a small game that was quickly put together at the end of the former century then had its bits abandoned to rust. The original author is long gone and his ideas and thoughts forgotten. He was the me of 12 years ago.
Even after reading the readme, I am completely incapable of lifting off in this game and am unable to play it... :(

I still tried:

Coldest Mech Bots

Testing Coldest Bots 2012-02-28 git

Coldest builds that feature bots are available for Windows and Linux.

So far bots are able to navigate simple terrain and seem to be looking for the closest enemy. However they don't worry about their own health too much and fire their lasers until they explode from overheating.

The developer announced that they might organize a play testing session mid March. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Onslaught Arena Now Open Source Code!

Onslaught Arena

Onslaught Arena, a HTML5 top-down shooter that has a non-space-ship-scenario, is now open source code, non-free assets on GitHub.

The assets are included under non-commercial terms and the developers did not have the time to read about Creative Commons licenses, which I'm sure is one of the reasons why CC-BY-SA isn't widely adopted: time. If you are able to give a concise description, please do in this thread.
Three LostCast moderators

The team's blog is also home to a podcast about HTML5 games.

Frozen Bubble 10th Anniversary

Frozen Bubble for Android

2012 February the 6th was the 10th birthday of Frozen Bubble's first release. The development was started in november 2001 by "ayo", amaury and Guillaume Cottenceau, members of the MandrakeSoft team (Mandriva nowadays).

Frozen Bubble is a beautiful game inspired by Puzzle Bobble (published by Taito in 1994 , also called Bust-a-Move). The game has nice graphics and music (from matths alias Matthias).

Frozen Bubble level editor for Android

Development has stopped in 2008, but Frozen Bubble and its ports still enjoy high popularity, especially on the Linux and Android platforms. A Java port also exists. Only the first version is available for Windows.

A French language interview with the makers was recently published on

Monday, February 27, 2012

AltDevConf 2012 Videos Under Creative Commons Attribution

AltDevConf 2012 videos have been released under CC-BY license. None of them seem to be directly related to open source but most should still be relevant and apply to flosgame development.
Programming Track
Education Track
Design & Production Track
Beyond this post, these videos will continue to be available under the official AltDevConf YouTube Channel!
For example the following video is definitely relevant to donation-based development, which can be seen in some free, open source game projects.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wolfire's Mojam Game Art Assets are Public Domain

Wolfire made an unfinished prototype using the proprietary Unity engine for the private Humble Bundle Mojam. You can watch thic entertaining, commented timelapse video to find out more.

another video: Mojam Art Overview

 Art assets have been released into the public domain (.zip here), with a few exceptions mentioned here (music and sand texture).

Blender import of a few .obj files from the .zip for testing

Included are 47 .obj 3d models, 41 .png/.tga/.psd images and 7 .wav sounds.

If you're interested in the ongoing development of The Broadside Express, follow this thread.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stunt Rally Podcast

(video) podcast FLOSS Weekly #202

A (video) podcast show called FLOSS Weekly interviewed Crystal Hammer of Stunt Rally about the project in their issue #202.

I only recently discovered the vast spaces of open source and Linux podcasts. If you know of open source games podcasts, please let us know in the comments! :)

Ancient Beast now Free as in Freedom!

A little while ago, Ancient Best dropped the NonCommercial license they were using for art and assets and are now DFSG-free.

Facebook announcement about Ancient Beast's license change

The game runs in HTML5 and is a turn based strategy in early, active development. It is supposed to run on low-spec computers.

Ancient Beast Battle Mock-Up

Their 1.4 G repository of concepts, drawings, mockups, audio files and 3d models is impressive:

 Ancient Beast Concept Art

Ancient Beast Icons

More can be seen in the official gallery

You can support the project through PayPal, Bitcoin and Flattr here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Complete List of Fosdem Game Dev Resources

A link to some Fosdem Resouces has been already posted here before, but now we have a complete list of available slides and audio and video recordings from the event:

Event Slides Audio Video Speaker
Xonotic: The road to 1.0 Yes No No Merlijn Hofstra
FreedroidRPG: Anatomy of a RPG Yes Yes Yes Arthur Huillet
Unknown Horizons: Data-Driven and Component-Based Game-Entities Yes Yes No Thomas Kinnen
WorldForge: The Dynamic Data Driven Worlds Yes Yes No Alistair Riddoch
Pandora: Mobile Linux Computer with Gaming Gontrols No No No Michael Mrozek
Wesnoth: Balancing a Game the Open Source Way Yes Yes No Jeremy Rosen
Ogre3d: Getting Started with Game Development Yes Yes No Erik Ogenvik
Gluon: Game Creation and Distribution Yes Yes No Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen
The Future of Open Web Gaming Yes No No Rob Hawkes

Short: Gigalomania and CTruck3D

Losing in Gigalomania

Gigalomania [blog] is an open source 2D Real Time Strategy game, for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Nokia smartphones (Symbian, Maemo and Meego). The gameplay consists of researching and developing new technology with which to conquer your enemies, from rocks and sticks to nuclear weapons and spaceships. You can advance through ten different ages, from the stone age to the future. There are 28 different maps to play through.


CTruck3D is a simple-looking OpenGL truck simulator.


There is an ASCII-Art variant called term_CTruck3D.

EDIT: What's quite interesting about the game is the marketing(?). Two YouTube accounts seem to be quite excited about the game: simhgamedev and violinperforming.

Begun these clone wars have (a word on the inevitable Terraria clones)

In case you haven't heard the news already, development on the popular 2D block mining game Terraria has ceased.  A lot of people are disappointed to hear this, since at this point it would appear that a lot of features that people want will never materialize.  What I'm here to talk about today are the inevitable open source clones that will no doubt pop up in Terraria's wake.  There's a power vacuum right now, and it would be nice to see a FOSS game capture the imaginations of a massive audience now left clamoring for developer support.  For the people considering starting up a clone project, here are some things you ought to take into account:

First and foremost, don't just make a clone.

If you want people to actually play your game in large numbers, you need to avoid the feeling of it being a knock-off.  If you're thinking about naming it OpenTerraria or Freeraria or something like that, stop right now and consider the reasons why an experienced Terraria player, who has their own Terraria server and friends they like to play the game with, would jump ship to come and play your game.  (There's nothing wrong with this, per se, but understand that you'll be fighting an uphill battle in terms of differentiating yourself from a product with an entrenched user base.)

Instead, take a look at Starbound and all the sweet new features it's bringing to the table and how much excitement it's generated in the few weeks since it was announced.  Starbound isn't Terraria.  It's inspired by Terraria, certainly, but it's already its own distinct game with an interesting setting and features that differentiate it from its predecessor.

Think about what Terraria is at its essence -- a 2D, action-oriented, block mining, item collecting platformer -- and consider how you might take that concept and build something unique with it, rather than just making a game that isn't quite Terraria.  This means coming up with cool ideas that people didn't even know they wanted -- not just some more types of blocks or weapons or bosses, but entirely new and different concepts that raise your game from clone status to the much more desirable status of spiritual successor.

Check for similar projects before you start one.

There might already be someone else working on an spiritual successor of Terraria.  If that's the case, help them.  (I'm not aware of any currently in progress, but I'd be happy to link to any promising ones if people tell me about them.) 

Design it with multi-player in mind from the ground up.

Yes, this takes the game into ambitious territory, but let's be honest here.  One of the big draws of these sorts of games is the multiplayer experience.  Miss out on that and you aren't going to get much interest at all.  Terraria's multiplayer support is fairly weak, and as such people will expect yours to be better.  Fail them on this point and you've lost most of your audience.  Do significantly better and you've got a chance to win people over.

Make it moddable...

"Is it moddable?" is one of the first questions people ask about games nowadays, especially games of the block mining sort.  The answer to this question should be a resounding yes.  Not only should it be moddable, optimally you should provide tools to make it easy to mod, which means something more than just XML and a text editor. 

I've advocated for easy content creation before, and one thing people always come back and say is that if you can't work with XML and a text editor, then there's no way you could possibly make anything worthwhile.  Not only is that opinion wrong, it's also a turn off to the bread and butter members of your community, who may be perfectly adept at using GUI applications, but probably don't know much about editing XML.

Of course, if you want to make a game that nobody pays attention to, by all means force people to use XML and call them idiots when they ask for a graphical tool. :)

...but make sure there's compelling content.

This is an easy one.  If people don't want to play your game, they won't want to mod your game.  If there's no initial content, other people aren't going to come in and add it for you.

Make it easy to install and run.

Don't make me install a ton of dependencies.  If I'm running a modern Linux box, I shouldn't need to install a bajillion packages just to make your game work.  If I'm running Windows, I probably don't want to muck around with downloading the latest version of your favorite bytecode interpreter to run your game.  I want to run the installer and have it appear on my start menu.  If I'm running a Macintosh, I want to run it... well, however Mac people usually run their games (*ahem* perhaps dual-booted into Windows? -- kidding).

Point is, don't make it a pain in the ass to set up.  Make it a couple clicks.

Make it run on Linux.

This is another no-brainer.  If you want the FOSS community to be interested, make it run on a free OS, and make sure it works on a platform that isn't a patent trap.  This will also have the benefit of making it easier to...

Port it to Android.

Mobile platforms are where it's at nowadays.  Support Android and you'll make a lot of people very happy.  My understanding is that there are some license issues with the iPhone app store and FOSS, but if you can at least get it to run on jailbroken iPhones, all the better.

Make it look nice.

I saved this one for last.  People care a lot about graphics.  If you can make a complete game with placeholder art that meets the above criteria, I'll personally pay to commission art for you.

So there you have it.  If you're still thinking about making a Terraria successor, you've got a long project ahead of you.  Better get coding. :)

Peace out,

Bart K.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

OpenArena 0.8.8: 13 Maps, 7 Music Tracks, 1 Player Model

OpenArean 0.8.8 brings many additions and changes. See some of them below:

am_lavactf - Facing New Neko Bot Playermodel - 107 - Open Arena 0.8.8 oa_bases3p3ta - 053 - Open Arena 0.8.8 am_spacecont - 083 - Open Arena 0.8.8 am_thornish - 071 - Open Arena 0.8.8 oa_bases3p3ta - 051 - Open Arena 0.8.8 oa_thor - 042 - Open Arena 0.8.8 am_mckinleyish2 - 084 - Open Arena 0.8.8 mlca1 - 059 - Open Arena 0.8.8
OpenArena 0.8.8 - hover for info - more images here

On a related note: OA's lead dev recently uploaded a Sorceress 3d model that did not make it into the game under GPL2 and CCBY(SA)3:

This is a rejected mystical elf sorceress for my game project OpenArena 3.x. It's rejected due to technical (2 surfaces, and too low poly) and anatomical reasons (regarding the hands and feet). The skin is muddy and low quality is well. This was done in 2009-2010.
Comes weighted to a standard rigify mesh. She has no actual fingers, her hands are mittens!
Might be suitable for a low poly distant camera dungeon crawl. Could even be suitable to produce other characters with in that dungeon crawl.
An alternative worse skin is also included. It's on the second UV Texture layer.

Game Developers: Standardize Custom User Files Path on Mac OS X and Linux Now!

Naev became XDG-compliant on *nix systems. By following the Freedesktop XDG Base Directory specification. Join the right cause! [edit]Here's a second post on the topic by the Naev developers.[/edit]

Examples of non-compliant ~/.placement:

.alephone .freeciv .OpenLieroX
.allacrost .freeciv-client-rc-2.2 .openttd
.ardentryst .frogatto .phlipple
.Avoision .frozen-bubble .q3a
.chromium-bsu .ivan.conf .redeclipse
.civserver_history .IvanSave .renpy
.dosbox .minetest .supertux2
.fall-of-imiryn .nikki .teeworlds
.feuerteufel.conf .nikki-free-levels .trigger
.fife .openarena

And here are some good ones:

.config/flare .config/inkscape .config/

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Developer interview: SuperTuxKart team.

Hi folks,

My name is Artem (KroArtem in IRC) and I wanted to post an article here almost for a year. Nowadays I have an opportunity to do this. Let me introduce myself: I'm studying at St.Petersburg State University, Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes, trying to become a programmer and a mathematician :) In my spare time I like to test some linux games, report bugs, give feedback, translate them and so on. Actually this is the way I've met SuperTuxKart developers. Today I want to obtain an interview from them.

Firstly, let me remind you what SuperTuxKart is. SuperTuxKart is a kart racing game that features free software mascots, has a cartoony style, includes different game modes and supports multiplayer (split-screen). You can visit STK's site and receive some more information about the game.

SuperTuxKart's new track, Blackhill Mansion

Secondly, I want to name our beloved developers and contributors: Joerg «hiker» Henrichs, Marianne «Auria» Gagnon, Magne «Arthur_D» Djupvik and Jean-Manuel Clemençon aka «samuncle». Please note that there are some more contributors but unfortunately I didn't manage to contact them. I think 4 people would be enough for the interview, though :)

I've prepared some questions and sent them via emails and here are the results:

FG: Please say some words about yourself/your job.

Arthur: My name is Magne, and I am an avid fan of SuperTuxKart. I'm interested in computers, music, animated cartoons and of course games.

Auria: My name is Marianne, I work mostly as a developer for SuperTuxKart. I am going to complete my computer science studies at university in the coming months.

Hiker: I've studied computer science in Germany, and am now working as a consultant for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. I help them using their supercomputer for their operational and research numerical weather and climate predictions.

Samuncle: I like drawing and hiking. On the professional side, I am currently studying telecommunications to become technician.

FG: Explain in a few words how and when did you join STK's team?

Arthur: Well, I had been playing the game's predecessor TuxKart as one of the few 3D games my computer could handle back in the day in Linux. Later my brother said a fork of the project had appeared in the repositories, so I went on to install STK 0.3. I was impressed by the changes, and decided I would try to follow the project's mailing list. Of course, I couldn't manage to keep quiet, so I engaged in discussion and asked questions, and got always nice, friendly answers back, which made me want to stay with the project and get involved where I could.

Auria: I liked kart games like Mario Kart. So many years ago I downloaded STK - version 0.3 I think. However this old version had major issues; so I decided I might as well do small improvements, like replace the then cylindrical lighthouse with something better, etc. And a few years later here I am, core developer :)

Hiker: I discovered TuxKart as part of a suse Linux installation, and soon found that a 'Game of the Month' had started intending to improve TuxKart. That project had basically been abandoned (due to some disagreements between the original developer and the GotM-team). A fork was created to save their work, but the project was dead. I basically picked up the project from there, fixed the bugs and performance issues, and did a first playable release of STK. Then I was hooked on ;)

Samuncle: Initially, I wanted to propose ideas that could help improve the graphics. I liked STK but I thought we could do better visually.

FG: Say what role do you have in the project? (Leader, package maintainer, etc)

Arthur: I mostly test and give feedback on the project, report bugs, write updates on our blog, and make some trivial changes now and then, mostly graphics related.

Auria: I am a core developer to the game itself, and occasionally work on 3D modelling. I am second only to our benevolent dictator Joerg :)

Hiker: I am one of the two project leaders.

Samuncle: I work on the graphics of the tracks. I build new tracks from start to end, or I improve existing tracks. I use mainly blender for the 3D, gimp for textures and mypaint for drawing.

FG: Why do you work on this project?

Arthur: Because I like the game, and because it's a very unique project in the world of Free software. It's an arcade racing game with only mild cartoon violence, and it has a very distinctive gameplay. Most other Free racing games are more realistic and doesn't have a cartoonish theme. Also because the developers are very nice people, and the community as a whole is good to be in.

Auria: I like kart games, I like programming, I like the STK team.

Hiker: Originally my main motivation was to give something back to the open source community by fixing the performance problems STK had after the GotM project. But then I got interested in the game, and still have some ideas I might want to implement once I have an engine with all features I need. Additionally I hope that STK might serve as a teaching tool as well, it would be easy for schools to pick up and perhaps use STK in their lessons.

Incidentally, the fact that it is like Mario Kart was never a point for working on STK - I had never played any kart game till two years after I started working on STK (and people kept on telling me: "It's like MK", so after a while I decided to have a look).

It also keeps me entertained on my way to work, since I mostly work on the train on my way to work :)

Samuncle: Because I would like supertuxkart to have nicer-looking graphics. Along the way, I also use this as an opportunity to learn blender and another tools. It's also fun to play a game you contribute to.

FG: Are you satisfied with existing development? Do you think STK needs more contributors/testers/artists?

Arthur: I am satisfied with the direction of the game, I only wish things would happen faster! But for that to happen, we need more people to help contribute. So if you have something you think would add to the game, please come forward with your skills, or just your ideas (though we get millions of those, and usually fall short on man/woman-power). Programmers and 3D artists are especially welcome, but as said everyone can get involved as much as they want to. And we're all a friendly bunch, so getting involved isn't hard. :)

Auria: We could certainly use with a few more developers and artists :) the networking feature, for instance, is often requested and help would be welcome in making it come

Hiker:r: Well, the team could certainly be bigger, with atm two code developers and about two regularly contributing artists many things take much longer than necessary, or need to be postponed till later.
But the team itself works quite well together, so I am quite happy about this.

Samuncle: I think a network mode is what STK lacks most, so if someone could work on this it could help get things moving forward.

FG: How do you see STK in the future?

Arthur: I see it as an even greater game, with more fun, more polish and a larger community, and also an online multiplayer community. In short, I think it can only get better from here. :)

Auria: As any open source project, it's very hard to see the future. Let me just say that I would like STK to grow with a solid set of nice-looking tracks, improved AI and better single player mode as well as multiplayer.

Hiker: By switching to a more modern graphics engine we have opened the way for much better looking tracks, and slowly we are replacing older tracks with newer ones. Support for networking will certainly give STK more appeal to a wider audience. By then I hope to find some time to implement more game modes to make STK a more unique and interesting game, and less of a 'copy' of other kart games.

Samuncle: Hmm, I don't really know ^^ I would like it to be more cohesive (not less fun though), that there is more unity (between tracks, most notably). I would not be against reducing the number of tracks to improve their quality (because maintaining a world takes time)

FG: What do you think is important, what do you like / don't like in stk's development/community/etc.

Arthur: The important thing is to have fun, and stay cool. We are blessed with very stable project leaders, who have been pushing the game forward for many years. So even though I'd sometimes wish development would be faster, it's important that people do things in a tempo they are comfortable with, and don't burn out. Also, there are more important things in life than STK, but I do say it has made mine a little richer. So if you like the game, feel free to register at our forums, join the mailing list and IRC and take part in the discussions. :)

Auria: It's important and very welcome to get help with testing, especially when betas or release candidates and released; translations are also very important. The less fun aspect is managing everyone's expectations, people have many ideas of what they would like us to code for STK but it would take 10 of us to do it all :)

Hiker: In contrast to commercial game design we have only limited influence on the 'style' of tracks, since especially the kart and track design is done by various artists, mostly following their own taste. We nevertheless try to maintain the vision where we want STK to be at. With the addon-server we luckily have now the option to publish karts and tracks that might not fit in the main game for everyone to download. It of course means that Auria and myself sometimes have to be the (hopefully) benevolent dictators, but I think that is very important in order to keep STK on track.

The most disappointing point is that we often get people interested in helping to develop STK, but they then disappear leaving a less than half finished mess of code behind. I guess many people overestimate their available time, or underestimate the complexity of STK.

Finally I want to say that we're waiting some new and interesting additions, like Overworld, a big track from where the player will start his journey, or... but hey, feel free to follow SuperTuxKart updates via forum, blog or mailing lists! :)

Xonotic 1v1 grand final

Just a small reminder:
Don't miss today's  (at 8:00pm CET = UTC/GTM+1 e.g. central European time) grand final of the Xonotic 1v1 tourney!

Check out videos of the semi finals here, and I will probably update this post with the video of the grand final once it is available.

Edit2: Congrats to Fisume, who won 3:1 in a pretty exiting match (especially the last two matches were great to watch). Watch this spot for a video of this match.

Edit3: Here are the videos.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Morrowind Open Source Projects: Who They Are, What They Do And What They Will Become

Hey Freegamers, 

My name is Antoine and I’ve been a devotee of this site and the Linux Game Tome for years. Now I have the priviledge to contribute back an article. Thank you qubodup for helping me out with this article. I love open source games, but I have a particular soft spot for those that allow creativity and collaboration from their users. Imagine if there existed an open source, and therefore completely editable, game engine with as much content as Morrowind’s fans have created available for it? As many of you are aware, there are currently fan projects working to extend the life, reach, and functionality of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind far beyond what’s possible using Bethesda’s Construction Set modding tools.

Can you guess which screen is rendered by what engine? :)

About Morrowind: Morrowind is an enormous proprietary game loved by fans for its atmospheric and immersive world filled with bizarre giant mushrooms, homes built into giant vines, and barren wastelands. However, it was plagued by software bugs, had many elements that were half-baked in their execution, and its game engine took poor advantage of GPUs. Some of these problems fans were able to address with unofficial patches and mods, but others could not be solved without changing the actual game engine.

When I found an open source reimplentation of the Morrowind engine I had to become involved. I’m very new to the group, but I’m helping out the PR team. However, just days after finding OpenMW, I discovered two more such projects existed, with rumors of a fourth. Mark Siewert of The Crystal Scrolls (and soon OpenMW), said the multitude of projects are a testament to the interest people still have in this game’s strange world. Indeed, look at the massive undertakings of fan projects like Tamriel Rebuilt, MGE XE, MGSO, or type in on YouTube “Morrowind 2011” or “Morrwind 2012” and you’ll get a sense for the countless hours fans continue dedicating to improve Morrowind a decade after its release.

I spoke with the developers of the different engines about their projects to get an idea of what their development status is, what their goals are, and how they’re accomplishing them. A quick disclaimer; you need a legal copy of Morrowind to use any of these engines for playing Morrowind. You can get one from steam (it goes on sale every couple of months) or by purchasing one on ebay.

OpenMW began in 2008 by Nicolay Korslund, it uses ogre3d, bullet physics, OpenAL, OIS, NifLib, and MYGUI. Nicolay stepped down as project lead last year and was replaced by the developer Marc “Zini” Zinnschlag and is joined by many great developers.

Project Aedra, was started by Tom Lopes in 2009. It employs NifLib, Bullet Collision, Quake 3 Arena for "pmove" character controller code, and the FastLZ library.

The Crystal scrolls was started by Mark Siewert in 2007 and it employs the Crystal Space 3d engine.

So what do these projects have in common? Well, they are licensed under some form of the GNU GPL license, written in C++, and aim to have all the features of original Morrowind, including compatibility with all official and unofficial expansions and plug-ins (and those based on external programs such as the Script Extender). Their individual goals are listed below. 

Additional Goals:

Project Aedra
The Crystal Scrolls
  • Allow greater modification: change game rules, create new spell effects, etc through scripting.
  • Fix system design bugs, like the "dirty" GMST entries in mods, and the save game "doubling" problem
Post 1.0:
  • Improve the interface and journal system
  • (possibly) improve game mechanics, physics, combat and AI
  • (possibly) support multiplayer
  • (possibly) improve graphics to use more modern hardware
  • Be blindingly fast
  • Multi-thread support
  • Multiplayer support
  • Modern graphics engine
  • Upgraded physics engine
  • Upgraded AI
  • Fix bugs in Morrowind (mostly related to data merging)
  • Add many functions of FPS Optimizer including a fix for the world map
  • Support for multiple .ini files, with each capable of overwriting some of the default settings.
Post 1.0:
  • Support for external tools that modify the Morrowind.exe like Morrowind Script Extender
  • Multiple world spaces like in Oblivion (would reduce mod compatibility issues)


OpenMWProject AedraThe Crystal Scrolls
Mac OS XDone--
Game launcherDone-Planning
Render InteriorDoneNearly-
Render ExteriorPartial*NearlyDone
Sky RenderingEarlyDonePartial
Day/Night CycleDoneNearlyPartial
NPC RenderingNearlyPartialDone
NPC AnimationsNearly-Nearly
NPC Dialogue Nearly**--
Sound effectsPartialDone-
Object CollisionPartialDone-
Object interactionNearlyNearly-
Water LayerNearly**NearlyPartial
Plugin Merging--Planning
Graphical Replacer SupportDoneDone-
Multithread Stream Loading-Partial-
Hardware Animations (Shaders)PlanningPartialNearly
Load DoorsDoneDone-
Render Particle Effects-Planning-
Read Scrolls and Books-Done-
Menus -Partial-
Ground Blends-Early-
Distant Land-Partial-
Nearly** = Code is in the repository, but not in the latest release.
Partial* = Code is in repository, but likely to not be activated in a release for quite some time.
- = No code or planning done yet, or possibly not intending to include.

When is your next release?

OpenMW: No exact date, but we are on the verge of our big 0.12.0 release.

Project Aedra: One was just released. The latest download is r163.

Crystal Scrolls: After recently returning from an unexpected and prolonged hiatus, I released a new snapshot two weekends ago.

What’s next?

OpenMW: Work on version 0.13.0 has already begun.

Project Aedra: Everything (in no particular order); scripting, multiplayer, key binding, animated textures, GUI, conformance (tweaking every little thing to be the same as in Morrowind), ground blends, bug fixing, animated skins, distant Land, 3D SFX, and shaders.

Crystal Scrolls: I am going to join forces with the OpenMW team and help them in getting their own project out of the door. While I will still continue developing this project, I also want to see one of the many Open Source Morrowind projects completed. And from my point of view, OpenMW is likely to reach maturity first. I am planning to do more work on things that do not depend on the renderers, so this should be of use to OpenMW as well.
Concerning Crystal Scrolls 0.3:
  • Plugin/Mod support. Possibly with a launcher which lets you disable/enable plug-ins 
  • Support for original save games (it's no that different from plug-ins). 
  • Object interaction. This will enable many additional features, such as picking up objects, entering internal cells, and more. 

How big is your team?

OpenMW: We have eleven active developers (with varying degrees of involvement with OpenMW) and five people working on things like package maintenance, public relations, and website administration. Our team list is here.

Project Aedra: 1 person, me!

Crystal Scrolls: Myself.

How can people contribute?

OpenMW: If you are skilled with C++ or have game programming skills please register at our forum, look at the version 0.13.0 thread and find an unassigned task, assign it to yourself and get started. Also we want people with fast computers and video editing skills to record demonstration videos for Youtube. We hope that releases post 0.13.0 will be playable enough to necessitate many bug testers. If you are learning how to code, download and have a look at OpenMW.

Project Aedra: I'm looking for C and C++ game programmers with prior experience who can help program.

Crystal Scrolls: There are many ways to help out. Now that rendering and animation is mostly out of the way, it is feasible to start implementing more features. My primary goal for 0.3 is to add plug-in/mod support, and object interaction, but one can easily imagine things that are not blocked by this feature: sound, the console, scripting, etc. So if you want to help, install the program and find something that is missing and that might not depend on plug-in support or object interaction.

There you have it folks; three projects sharing a lot of common ground, but with some different goals and feature sets. Which is the best? That depends on who is asking. I suggest trying out all three every six months or to see how their changing and defining their own style. No doubt they will influence each others development with ideas and solutions. It is very exciting that Mark Siewert is joining the OpenMW team. Here’s to open source, games that facilitate creativity, and the preservation and improvement of games for posterity!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dev corner: FOSDEM about Games

Fosdem Game Dev

We already mentioned the FOSDEM 2012 role playing game development talk but recently I found links to more open source game development and game design "devrooms" here.

  • Alistair Riddoch - The Dynamic Data Driven Worlds of WorldForge.mp3
  • Arthur Huillet - Anatomy of a role playing game.avi
  • Erik Ogenvik - Getting Started With Ogre3d For Game Development.mp3
  • Jeremy Rosen - Balancing a game - the open source way.mp3
  • Thomas Kinnen - Data-Driven and Component-Based Game-Entities.mp3

I also recommend "A New OSI for A New Decade" here, which starts with explaining how not to be annoying when advocating freedom.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mono for game development and openBVE

In yesterdays post qubodup already mentioned AltDevConf, which seems to have attracted a lot of interesting presentations. Another one I noticed was about using Mono/C# for game development; see the summary on Phoronix here or get the slides here. I guess a video should be available at some point too.

But I know that Mono/C# is a controversial topic (see also the comments for the linked article) so fire away in our comment section about how you feel about using it for FOSS game development ;)
Personally I see no reason why it should be preferred over Java or Python, but plenty against using it... but the slides might convince you otherwise ;)

However the main reason why I posted about Mono games was to have a nice intro to this really awesome looking Train simulator, called openBVE, which is also written in C#:

You can find a nice overview in how far openBVE has surpassed its spiritual successor BVE over here (link also includes some more nice screenshots).
Licensing seems a bit complicated however... the main source download and some search in their forums seem to implicate that openBVE is completely Public Domain. However for the artwork I am a bit skeptical (maybe taken from the commercial BVE?) and there also seems to be a closed source server component (according to the original author to prevent commercial forks...).

Anyways, I am amazed how much work some people put into such seemingly boring simulation topics... but each to his own I guess :p

Hmm...but putting my creative hat on... it would be awesome if someone would take openBVE as a base and make an awesome zombicalypse escape simulator out of it. Trying to escape from an infested Britain (similar to the movie 28 days later) with a group of survivors in a train: Manage the group in the train (including hidden infections etc.), upgrade your train with weapons, plan a route through the British rail network avoiding zombie hotspots and military "cleaning campaigns", replenish your stocks at zombie infested train stations and so on... game of the year guaranteed :D (Disclamer: if you make this game you can use my idea for free :p )

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Open Source RPG Development Talk, #AltDevConf

Arthur Huillet of Freedroid talked about RPG development at FOSDEM 2012:

In two and a half hours, the online #AltDevConf starts. There seems to be no way to attend live unless you use Windows or OS X but the talks will be recorded and made available online later.

There will be 25 talks from the range of game programming, education, design and production.
AltDevConf is an online community-driven conference...
We aim provide free access to a comprehensive selection of game development topics taught by leading industry experts, and to create a space where bright and innovative voices can be heard.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dev Corner: Crowdfunding, OpenGameArt and Kickstarter

Donations: Commercial use of Free Software and Libre Art

Kickstarter for Game Dev
I'm sure you heard the amazing Kickstarter news ;) Dusted, author of Wizznic! shared a short thought about the news I'm actually talking about.

FOSS Games and Donations Now
The FLARE RPG project page now has a PayPal donation button.

Click here to lend your support to: 0 A.D. "Sponsor a Developer" Donation Campaign - Round 2 and make a donation at !
0A.D. uses Pledgie for funding.

There is a list of FOSS projects that accept BitCoin here and a more general list here.

OGA and Kickstarter Thoughts
OpenGameArt founder and admin Bart K, shared that he is considering Kickstarter, but could use some more inspiration about what rewards could be given to high pledge-givers.

OGA/CC/FSF Game Dev Contest Plan
There's also a game dev contest in the works, which will be organized this summer by Creative Commons, Free Software Foundation and OpenGameArt. The details are still getting ironed out.

Donations on Free Gamer
By the way: here on FreeGamer, we have Flattr widgets below the posts of the authors who provided their Flattr IDs and other donation methods are available on the about page.

So far no "Donations" page on our wiki, where setting up of PayPal, BitCoin, Flattr and other services is explained for open source game dev projects. There is a rather long thread on the topic of making money with free/FOSS games.

Any donation statistics from open source (game) projects and expertise on the subject are highly welcome in the comments!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Crowd-Funded Open Source RPG Portraits Set DONE!

Justin Nichol finished the Kickstarter-crowd-funded portrait marathon! The art has been uploaded here to OpenGameArt.

Back in December 2010, the project was funded with USD 2,567 (of at least USD 1,500) to make 30 portraits. Now all 30 portraits of the backers that sent him model photos have been finished.

The remaining five backers have been asked to get in contact with the artist. Best via Kickstarter.

Kickstarter will take a fee of USD 128.35 (5%).

Justin has a blog you can follow.

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