Saturday, March 31, 2012

Black Dog: HTML5 Helicopter in Hell by Wilbefast

screenshot of Black Dog: A fallen angel flying through hell's caves, burdened by mystical weights, with progress being limited by only slowly regenerating feathers, the many-tongued flying black beast directly behind the angel (interpretation of reviewer)

Black Dog is a dark-theme reaction/precision type side-scroller that will run in your modern HTML5/Javascript-supporting browser. It has beautiful minimal original pixel artwork and at the same time uses works from OpenGameArt.

I highly recommend following Wilbefast if you're interested in Android game development and game dev jams. Most content is related to open source and will soon be added to our FreeGameDev PlanetDev feed aggregator.

Moosader's Text-Based Game Competition [until April 9th 2012]

image labeled "Text-Based Game": ASCII-Art Female with a o_o expression. Buttons saying "Attack" and "Glare" next to her, the first being selected

Moosader - creator, host and leading contributor to OpenArt - also hosts game development competitions on her community's forum.

The current theme is "Text-Based Game" and will be over in 9 days, so feel free to join! There are 25 projects in it so far.
Make a text-based game, like Zork, Adventure, Nethack, or something completely your own!
I spotted some free, open source projects among them [1] [2] but didn't have time to take a closer look. There's parody, Lua, C++ and JavaScript represented is all I can tell so far.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

OpenMW 0.13.0 released

Normally qubodup is responsible for this type of games (I have to admit, never liked Morrowind, nor any predecessors or sequels), but since they are doing such a good job of promoting it (and Q is busy), so I will give them their desired news:
The OpenMW developers have just released our latest version of OpenMW. I was hoping you could post on Freegamer. Below is our message, feel free to put your own spin on it. Also it looks like the Arx Liberatis folks are almost ready to release their 1.0. Thanks!

OpenMW 0.13.0 trailer

Hot on the heels of 0.12.0, the OpenMW team is proud to announce the release of version 0.13.0! Release packages for Ubuntu are now available via our Launchpad PPA. Release packages for other platforms are available on our Download page. This release notably includes functional NPC dialogue, and beautiful sky! There is a great new demonstration video for 0.13.0 up YouTube channel and a new video showing off our improved physics implementation which is scheduled for version 0.14.0.

Please note:
- On OSX, the path to the application cannot contain spaces, or the launcher will not work properly.

- NPC Dialogue window and mechanics implemented
- Reimplemented sky rendering, added weather effects
- Wireframe mode added
- Fix for sounds broken in 0.12.0
- Fix for 3D sounds
- Added sounds for weather, doors, containers, picking up items, and journal
- Various code cleanup and improvements
- Fixed an Ogre crash at the Dren plantation
- Several launcher improvements
- Added fade to black effect for cutscenes
- Added backend for equipping items
- Fix to stop ASCII 16 character from being added to console on its activation in OSX
- Fixed collision shapes being out of place
- Fixed torch lights not being visible past a short distance
- Fixed some transparency rendering problems


Download Page

YouTube Channel


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dev-corner: Flourish Conf

Open Source Conference

Next weekend you will have the chance to hear a talk by the Linux game development legend Ryan "Icculus" Gordon on open-source tools for game development:

Increasingly, the best tools for building games for any platform don't cost a dime. This talk will offer an overview of several of the best open source technologies available to game developers today. Topics will include audio, graphics, filesystems, and scripting. While this won't be a tutorial session, it will be fairly technical in nature, and will be useful for those looking to hack out their first game, or build the next Call of Duty sequel.

I hope they will record this for those who can not attend it personally. We will keep you updated on this next week I guess.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dev-corner: On Sexism in the FOSS World

Wikipedia's discrimination icon

First, a note on relevance:

This issue is related to FOSS gaming in that it affects the FOSS community as a whole, and the FOSS gaming community with it.  The fact that it's an overall FOSS issue doesn't render it irrelevant to gaming.

...and a warning:

This is a rant.  I believe it's clear from the blog entry that the feelings I'm expressing here are directed at a small subset of the community and not everyone who happens to read the blog.  So, as you read this, consider if what I'm saying applies to you.  If it doesn't, then I'm not ranting at you.  If it does, well, I'm Bart Kelsey, I run, and I stand by what I said.

Anyone who reads my blog entries knows that I love stirring up controversy.  As such, it's probably not a big surprise that I'm taking on this topic, since it tends to draw so much vitriol from some parts of the FOSS community.

Here's the thing, though.  Being against sexism shouldn't be controversial.  Regardless of what your political, personal, and/or religious beliefs may be, treating other people with respect (particularly fellow members of a community who, like everyone else, are volunteering their time and energy for the betterment of the world as a whole) ought to be something we do by default.

I have ranted in the past (at least in a round-about way) about the trouble the FOSS community has with respecting people it perceives as "outsiders".  For instance, if it's believed that you don't know how to code, there's a vocal minority of the population who are quite sure that your contributions aren't worthwhile.  Add this to the pretty much automatic assumption by some people that women aren't good with computers or competent coders, and you end up with an environment where women are rarely ever treated with respect.  It's no wonder the FOSS community is so overwhelmingly male.

You may or may not have already seen The Real Katie's blog post entitled Lighten Up, which explains the general situation from her view point.  Of course, there are probably plenty of people out there who read it and still feel that she needs to "lighten up", so for those of you who are too dense to be able to put yourself in her shoes for a minute, I'm going to lay it out for you:

When a large group of people "joke around" with a single person or a small group of people, that's not "joking around".  Heck, you may think, in your infinite wisdom, that you only made one little comment.  And you almost certainly didn't mean for that comment to hurt any feelings.  It's the sort of thing that you might say at a party or in a room full of friends and everything would be cool because you know each other and one person isn't being singled out as the target.

Think back to elementary school for a minute.  I'm willing to bet that a fairly large proportion of FOSS community members were a bit nerdy, and were probably singled out at one time or another (hell, you don't even have to be a nerd for that to happen -- it happens to pretty much anyone).  You sit there completely on your own and everyone gets a dig in at you -- even the people who you thought were your friends.  The teacher comes in, and suddenly everyone was just "joking around".  Nobody meant anything by it; ganging up on you was all in good fun.

And the thing is, individually none of the things that were said would be particularly hurtful.  The real problem is the experience in aggregate.  It's not that one person called you a name, it's that everyone is doing it; or at least that a large number of people are doing it and nobody is doing anything to stop them.

I've been the target, I've been one of the quiet ones, and regrettably I was at times one of the perpetrators.  Thinking back, in the times where I was the target, it would have been nice if one of the quiet ones had stood up and said something.

So I'll say something now.  If you're about to make a sexist comment to one of the few female FOSS developers who have stuck with it thus far and put up with this kind of crap from the rest of the community, then do this little exercise: write that comment down on a little piece of paper, wad it up into a ball, and cram it up your ass. Then, sit there and endure the discomfort that you were just about to inflict another person.

They say that no single snowflake believes itself responsible for the avalanche.  Well listen up, snowflake.  If you're taking part in making sexist comments or otherwise ganging up on women in the community, then you share responsibility for cutting the total body of FOSS contributions in half.  That's right, not only are you being rude to individual people -- in driving people out of the community, you contribute to there being less code for the rest of us.  If you've driven away a prolific and talented coder, then your total contribution to the FOSS community in terms of code is actually a net negative.  In simple words, the community would have been better off if you'd never been involved.

I'd also like to add a message to the "quiet ones".  There are a lot of us out there.  If you've ever found yourself wondering why members of certain groups don't denounce the most vocal and horrible members of those groups, this is your chance to put your money where your mouth is and say something.  Blog about it, complain about it, or better yet, call someone out as it's happening.  If this is ever going to change, people need to be made aware that sexist jackwads don't comprise the majority of the FOSS community.

Peace out.

Bart K.

I'm expecting I'll see some comments repeatedly, so I'm going to write some copypasta answers here to copy into responses and save time:
  • What does it say about the community as a whole when the best solution is "just pretend to be male"?
  • The fact that veil of anonymity that the internet provides encourages people to be jackasses doesn't absolve those people of being jackasses.  Perhaps people like that ought to give serious thought to what they are in the dark (timesink warning: tvtropes).

Game Artists and Developers: Fill out Freesound's 4-question open survey!

 Freesound survey banner
  1. What do you use Freesound for?
  2. Do you perceive some shared goals in Freesound user community? If so, which ones?
  3. What kinds of sounds are you most interested in?
  4. What makes Freesound different from other sound sharing sites?
This open survey consists of the four questions above.

Please fill it out. This is an opportunity to represent the free and open source game creation community's sound (licensing) needs at the largest and most comfortable freely-licensed sound library.

FYI: Freesound supports the Creative Commons Zero and Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licenses.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Summer of Code: Earn Money Developing Open Source Games

Matt Raykowski, aka sfb, is a community herder for the Ryzom Core project and Summer of Code mentor.

Some people may not be familiar with Google's Summer of Code. Annually Google hosts two programs: Summer of Code and Code In. Google Code In (aka GCI) is a contest for 13-18 year olds to engage them in open source that features a variety of tasks and projects for them to complete for points. Google Summer of Code (aka SoC or GSoC) is a program to encourage college students to participate in open source development. It is a 3 month long project that pays USD$2500 per evaluation period - there is a mid-term and final evaluation. You can find a detailed timeline on their site and a complete list of organizations. The student application period begins on March 26th, 2012 and ends on April 6th, 2012. The actual programming portion of the project is between May 21st, 2012 and August 20th, 2012.

In years past Google hasn't given a lot of love to open source games in its Summer of Code program. There have been a small handful of projects which have participated year after year but the selection was pretty limited. Beginning last year they opened the proverbial flood games for participating projects and we saw a number of new open source game and game-related projects become accepted which is very exciting.

Listed below are open source games, game engines or tools frequently used by game projects that have been accepted into Google Summer of Code 2012. If you are a college student looking to "flip bits not burgers" this summer and are interested in game development now is your chance to contribute to an open source game-related project and get paid (USD$5000) for doing so!

Open Source Games
Open Source Engines

Open Source Tools

If I missed a project you think should be on this list just let me know!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Me and My Shadow release

Almost forgot posting about this... somehow our "own" projects here on get somewhat neglected on the blog from time to time...

But it's not because we don't care ;) So check this great new trailer for Me and My Shadow:

New Me and My Shadow trailer

Or head over to the release announcement on our forums to read about the changes in version 0.3 and download it! Don't forget to comment too ;)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New RTS releases: 0 A.D. and Zero-K

Hot news of today is the Alpha 9 release of 0 A.D.:

Main additions are the Roman faction, a new combat concept and new trading system. The new combat concept allows for a strategic selection of your troops to counter certain units (spearmen are better against cavalry and so on) and the trading systems allows for setting up trade routes etc.
Oh and they are still looking for contributers ;)

A little bit less hot news, but still quite recent, is the new version of Zero-K, a cool RTS set in the future (if you are a regular reader you should know it ;) ).

It now runs on the recently released 87.0 release of the SpringEngine and also features a new faction: the amphibious bots.
Sadly their interesting meta-game PlanetWars is currently closed for reworking, but the next round will happen at some point for sure.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trophy 2.0: championship, shop, load/save

Trophy's shop

The top-down racing/shooting game Trophy 2.0 brings championship, shop, key configuration, load/save features and lot of code refactoring. It requires ClanLib 1.0, which unfortunately fails to compile on Arch Linux.

If you too can't get this game to run, there's still Bandit Racer for playing in the browser.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Xonotic 0.6 released

For those not playing with the autobuild releases, I have good news! A new version of the totally FOSS, competitive multiplayer FPS Xonotic has been released.

Find the released announcement and download links directly here.

The two most important feature additions are a stats tracking system, which can be found via this webpage.

And the addition of client side scripted player-models, which probably doesn't say much to the regular user, but from a developer's point of view it is a pretty great thing ;) Expect many cool advances to come from this over the next couple of months.

Oh and try also the Overkill server, which runs a cool mod with totally new player-models and weapon mechanics, combining insta-gib with a more complex game-play etc. (in Xonotic, server admins can decide to hosts mods and players are automatically supplied with all needed files when joining the server).

Let's hope this new release will increase the player-base a bit, as this game really deserves more attention.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

OpenMW 0.12: Character Animations

image: Sky in OpenMW (scheduled for 0.13)

OpenMW 0.12 has been released:
This release notably includes NPC and Creature animation, though no A.I. has been implemented, so animations must be activated through console commands. Please review the following:

  • Sounds other than music not working
  • Scroll and button background graphics in launcher not working in Linux package
Important notes:
  • You must remove all old openmw.cfg files in order for the automatic detection of Morrowind installations to work.
  • If the data path is set manually and it contains spaces, it needs to be put inside quotation marks.
  • Various rendering fixes and optimizations
  • Refactored engine class
  • Automatic package building
  • Various build fixes and cleanup
  • Various configuration fixes and cleanup, including detection of existing Morrowind installations
  • Basic NPC/Creature animation support added, must be activated from console
  • Basic implementation of Journal Window added
  • Fix for local scripts continuing to run if associated object is deleted
  • Fix for crash when taking screenshots
  • Fix for crash when visiting Akulakhan’s Chamber
  • Added catching of exceptions thrown in input handling functions
  • Fix for NPC Activation not working properly
  • Allow the player to move away from pre-defined cells

Unknown Horizons Multiplayer Session March 10, 4:00 pm GMT

image: Unknown Horizon's multiplayer menu

There have been six updates on Unknown Horizon's blog this year alone and their latest is an invitation to a multiplayer gaming session.

Saturday, March 10, 16:00 GMT (convert to your time zone)

You will have to get and compile the development builds for Linux, Mac OS X or Windows but the guidelines are extensive and you can get real-time support via IRC, so don't let that intimidate you. :)

images: showing off Unknown Horizon's multiplayer chat

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Arx Libertatis: promising GPL engine for proprietary RPG

Arx Libertatis logo

Arx Libertatis is the name of the GPLv3-ed Arx Fatalis (proprietary game) engine. It features a unique "draw symbols to cast spells" magic system and has an own scripting engine (described as "a mess, but at least a human readable mess").

The game engine runs the proprietary game with tolerable lag in some game areas on an ASUS EeePC 1000H netbook on Linux and I am close to completing the game from start to end. It can also be compiled on Windows and OS X. A stable release is not yet finished.

Can Arx Libertatis be used to create a free-as-in-freedom game?

No. Not yet.

As-is, i don't think creating custom models, etc. will be easy. We will add support for more common formats in the future, but for now our focus has been on porting and cleaning up the engine and there is still lots to clean up.
dscharrer of #arxfatalis

While image and sound files are in common formats, 3d models are in a format that mostly has not been explored.

If you're interested to dig deeper into the project's status, I recommend starting with reading the mission statement and filetypes wiki pages.

Friday, March 02, 2012

TremZ aka Unvanquished 1st alpha released

Hmm... the previously mentioned TremZ project, which btw changed name to "Unvanquished" (which I find much less catchy than the previous name) has released as promised their first alpha on the last day of February.

However as I can't get it to run on Linux (nor on Windows for that matter), I will have to rely on forum postings from which I extract that it really is an alpha and you shouldn't get your hopes too high that it is much more than Tremulous at this point (graphics and game-play wise)...

WIP Unvanquished playermodel

But try it yourself... if you are on a non-optimus system it will probably work fine with Windows ;)

Edit:  A somewhat controversial split-up seems to have happened in the development team. Read here about one side of the argument... you can find the over side of the discussion also via the forums or the irc channels. Not sure what to make of it, but I will keep you informed as soon as the dust has settled ;)

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