Monday, May 28, 2012

Lips of Suna 0.6 and other RPG news

So my recent rant resulted in a lively discussion about ARPGs, but sadly not really in any contributions or new contributors for Summoning Wars so far... but maybe that was too much to hope for ;)

Anyways, another project I mentioned was just recently updated:

Lips of Suna is now available as Version 0.6 (release notes on our forums) and this release marks the first official release with OGRE3D as the rendering engine. In my rant I dissed that rendering engine a bit due to the lack of good content creation tools (yes I know, not their focus or intention), but at least here it seems to have been put to a good use.

In somewhat unrelated news, there is also a new version of OpenMW, which is continuing at their current fast pace to reimplement that well known RPG. Change-log can be also found in our forums.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dev-corner: JUICE up your game

I just happened to come across this nice presentation, and I guess a lot of FOSS games could also take this as a valuable advise:

The "game" they are presenting is playable in your browser by the way, try it here (hit esc for the menu).
Oh and believe it or not, source-code is available too ;)

So don't forget to JUICE it real good!

DNT 0.9: Map Editor, Art Asset/Game Content Re-Use and Open Source Game Project Infrastructure

images: DNT 0.9 scenes and editor shots

DccNiTghtmare (DNT) is a 3D single-player RPG "in a satirical post-apocalyptical world", which encourages suggestions to be posted on their forum.

Version 0.9 has been released not long ago, which on the gameplay-side appears to mainly bring new models and audio. We have missed quite a few versions here on Free Gamer though. See the changelog for a complete list of versions and features.

As you can see in the video above, third party art assets were used. They were originally created for OpenDungeons and shared on OpenGameArt end of March 2012.

Project infrastructure includes translations on Launchpad, doxygen code documentation, a wiki with instructions for contributors and a roadmap (which is lacking the next version though).

PS: I'm having lots of fun translating the game right now. Join me in the thread!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Node Reviver: Open Source Ludum Dare Puzzle Prototype (GPLv3/CC-BY-SA 3.0)

image: Node Reviver main screen 

Game development jams bring many lines of usually dirty code that power often innovative new implementations of various mechanics and rules. Ludum Dare requires source to be visible but neither code nor art has to be freely licensed.

I believe that the histories of TuxKart/SuperTuxKart, Warzone 2100 and OpenArena show that maintenance can be one of the strengths of the open source game development scene. Having more gamejam-made working prototypes available under "safe" free licenses would enable this community to pick up promising projects and slowly build upon them.

Anyways, one of the games that has more than proper licensing information and is both free, open source code and art is Node Reviver. A short description:
  • Game mechanics and level designs intersecting with Pac-Man's PipeWalker's.
  • Light neon colors on black background visuals.
  • Bfxr sound effects (with sound sources included, nice!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

OpenGOO and Using Inkscape or Blender for Editing Maps/Levels

Building bridges in OpenGOO

You may remember that in the first Humble Indie Bundle, World of Goo was not open-sourced. Well, there is an active open source clone called OpenGOO being developed. It uses OpenGL, Box2D and is GPLv3-licensed.

Basic layers of level creation in OpenGOO
A Shotgun Debugger level viewed in Inkscape
There are instructions available for creating levels. Inkscape is used for that purpose, just like in Shotgun Debugger! A method I would love to see being widely used in games that allow for user-generated content in general.

SuperTuxKart level editor (hint: it's Blender!)
Speaking of not-re-inventing-wheels: the team behind SuperTuxKart recently posted an article about using Blender as a level editor, rather than writing and maintaining an own content creation tool, which I highly recommend to all developers of 3D games with 'traditional' engines.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Good FOSS 3D action RPGs, nowhere to be found?

Today I got a small rant:
So there are a few really prominent types of games which ought to have their FOSS representatives, right?
Ok, well a few like epic story driven single-player games will probably never show up due to inherent problems to develop such games through the FOSS method, but besides that lets have a look what we got:
Ok... sure you will find some other genres (Mechsims, realistic tactical FPS etc.) which also lack a much played/far into development FOSS representative, but given the (current) popularity of action RPGs lets have a look at what we do have:

So, there is the really cool project FLARE, which besides being not really playable yet is also more of a nostalgic effort. More playable but also with a similar demographic of potential players is Freedroid (besides having a maybe too Linux centric style).

FLARE 2D graphics style

Maybe of interest seem to be DawnRPG and PARPG, but for both the above applies as well and they seem to be going into a rather different direction. Besides that, at least the latter seems to be not progressing well lately.

Then there are the obscure and/or non-isometric DNT and Lips of Suna. Which are both nice projects on their own (especially LoS seems to develop nicely as of late), but are not really suitable as the FOSS reference for action RPGs...

The only game that comes to my mind that would fit is Summoning Wars, which is somewhat playable and even has a single-player campaign, but development is really slow and it is still a long way off what I would call a recommendable game to non-FOSS enthusiasts.

Some new dungeon wall tests
All in all it is a very promising project, which is IMHO hold back by its lack of content creation tools (mainly, but not only a world editor). This is probably partially because of the intention to have randomly generated dungeons, but those are still really bland to look at, and should be complemented by parts or at least towns that are nicely designed by hand (those also exists, but must have been done in a text editor or such ;) ).

Part of the rather slow development I guess was the poor choice of the graphics engine, e.g. OGRE 3D which is foremost a programmers choice (due to nice features and good documentation), but a rather bad FOSS game developers choice in my opinion (due to the lack of a complete game-engine features and good tools).

There are still a few really talented artists trying to contribute (1,2,3), and I recently proposed a creative re-use of 0 A.D. assets, but everything seems to be hitting a road block when it comes to easy tinkering with the game and getting things to actually run in game... and that is really demotivating to potential contributors (FOSS development advise 101 ;) ).

So to sum it up? I think Summoning Wars is really not living up to what it could be, and the only solution I see would be the addition of a new and really motivated programmer to the team to solve the tool-chain problems and thus restart the active development again. Anyone interested???

P.S.: Not to forget mentioning it: There is also the IrrRPG builder, which could probably be a good base to build an action RPG too.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Last day to support the LPC!

While we are talking about crowd-funded game-dev assets:

The Liberated Pixel Cup has almost reached its funding goal, but today is the last day to contribute... so think about the poor captured pixels and donate!

Professional Car Sounds Crowdfunding for Public Domain

~5% of David's Merceds' sounds will be donated to the public domain

At the time of this post, USD363 353 are missing and 8 days are left for TrackTimeAudio's Mercedes Sound Recording Kickstarter Project to be crowdfunded.

In a recent update, it was announced, that 5 to 10% of the more than 200 resulting sounds will become freely available.

Free, open source projects that could profit from this include TORCS, Speed Dreams, Trigger Rally, Stunt Rally, Rigs of Rods and many more. It would be delightful to see if advocates of free content licensing would bring this project to a "funded" state and further with many small contributions. (And remember, this will allow you to comment what your incentive for supporting was :) ).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

OpenMW 0.14: Changelog Video (Commented)

OpenMW 0.14 has been released [blog announcement] half a month ago.

I'm a fan of commented video changelogs and highly recommend theirs (embedded below)!

As an experiment, I created an audio-only version [ogg Vorbis, 4m12s, 3M] using youtube-dl, ffmpeg and sox, in case you prefer that over YouTube.

Dust Racing: high speed, Qt-based, cross-platform, with editor

Four Dust Racing screenshots (not split-screen!), pink player against yellow AI cars

Dust Racing (Dustrac) is a tile-based, cross-platform 2D racing game written in Qt (C++) and OpenGL. Dustrac comes with a Qt-based level editor for easy level creation. A separate engine, MiniCore, is used for physics modeling. CMake is used as the build system.

Planting trees on the road in Dustrac's Qt-based level editor

Graphics are SVG-based (sources included) and and the editor is simple and has a flat learning curve. GPLv3 is named as the license, no special license is named for the graphics, so the same might apply.

Dustrac's controls feel smooth and I love the object physics and the visualization of the trees.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cube Train, Frogatto development and LPC

Today is another session of: "Look what I found in my FG spam folder" ;) But this time I am actually adding a lot of nice other stuff to it, so that it is almost a "dev-corner" post!

But first things first... the frogatto developers made us aware that there is a new game based on their really nice 2D engine, called Cube Trains:

Note that, just like frogatto, the final version will cost a few pennies, but the engine is totally FOSS and the current Beta is still free to download.

This seems to fit to the general idea of the folks behind this engine as they outlined in the email to us:
I'm really glad we now have a second major title done in frogatto's engine, because we're gradually trying to position frogatto's engine as an open-source alternative to closed-source packages like GameMaker or RPGMaker;  partly just because development tools are one software category that benefits far more than other categories from being open-source, but also because our engine technology is a lot better than GameMaker;  we're fully GPU-accelerated, and we've got a much better internal programming language.  We've got a ways to go, since GameMaker still has a bunch of advantages over us on the gui side, but we're getting there.

Cube Trains is not one of them, but eventually, we're hoping to build a stable of "starter kits" for different game types - like GameMaker has, built under a CC0 license so they're suitable not just for GPL games, but for absolutely anything (indie titles being a big one).  Hopefully that was we can get a bunch of people from the indie gaming crowd behind an open-source tool.
Which seems like a pretty good idea to me, and looking at the awesome features they recently showcased in three tutorials (1,2,3) I wholeheartedly agree with the comment on their superior engine technology!

Speaking of the frogatto engine and tutorials I can elegantly lead to my other topic today, as the people behind the currently pre-warming Liberated Pixels Cup, aka our friends from OpenGameArt, are also endorsing the use of that engine as outlined here. The have also recently featured another really nice 2D game dev. tile editor, and hot of the press is the news that the Mozilla foundation has joined the FSF and Creative Commons as a main sponsor of the event!
With Mozilla also came a significant cash contribution, which means that the initial goal of US$ 10,000 has been reached, but you can still up the ante!

It seems that this comes along a general push from the Mozilla Foundation towards more HTML5 gaming (now part of the LPC too), supported by the fact that they have recently released a nice RPG game demo (BrowserQuest) and are working even on a 3D engine called Gladius.

Ah and not to forget: OGA has also recently added a nice featured tutorial section to their site... so nothing is holding you back to finally become an active part of the FOSS game-development community... yes, I said YOU! :D

Monday, May 07, 2012

GameLV: Completely Free, Open Source Point And Click Post-Soviet Adventure Game

Post-Soviet Adventure's protagonist cleaning up the inventory

The story of GameLV: Adventure Game in Post Soviet Environment (Post-Soviet Adventure) begins with your dog having gone missing and your only lead being a meat product factory. For about one hour you point-and-click through pre-rendered environments, hunt pixels, read humorous descriptions and dialogues to reach a resolution.

I for one appreciate the humor in AGiPSE's humor, which I might have a high affinity to due to do my roots in Russia and my life taking place in eastern Berlin most of its time.

Be warned though: references to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, pornography and violence are common in this game.

Post-Soviet Adventure is available in English and Latvian languages, both text and voice, although the English voices are incomplete.

The engine features savegames and scene animations and uses image masks to set define interactive areas. Text files seem to be used for defining the game.

To use voices, see following note:

So here is GameLV HEAD from our local repo with half way done english speech that has terrible pronunciation and was abandoned.
That "assemble" is the same as "data" directory on, just put your binary in there and run.
P.S. My uplink to foreign countries is slow, so it should take a while for you download it. [mediafire mirror]
P.S.S If you want to run latvian version issue (in assemble directory)
sed "s/\-en//" *.lst -i
UI will still be in english because UI strings are compiled into engine.
Both code and art are freely licensed and the very nice music was even written and performed for the game. Some sounds have unknown sources though and finding freely licensed replacements on Freesound and OpenGameArt would be a way to contribute to the project.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Terasology - YAMC or not?

YAMC? Yet another Minecraft clone??? Well Terasology (previously called "Moving Blocks") sure looks like one:

But besides looking like a pretty good YAMC, it actually promises to deviate from the boring Minecraft routine and mentions the pretty well liked games Dwarf Fortress and Dungeon Keeper as inspirations for its planned game-play :)

Code is under the Apache license, however the current pixel textures are non-free. But if this takes off, those should be relatively easy to replace with really free ones ;)
Oh and you can run it via Java directly from your browser (I had a black void as a world under Linux though... so your mileage might vary also).

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