Friday, December 27, 2013

Torque3D seems to finally get a Linux port!

Following the release of the Torque3D engine under the MIT license (latest release 3.5 here), there was a lot of back and forth regarding a port to Linux (the engine actually used to have a good Linux port, but that one was dropped a few years back). At some point there was even an official Kickstarter crowed-funding attempt, which however failed to reach the estimated funds (but nether the less more than US$10k were pledged). After that things quited down, but several people continued developing a OpenGL renderer and Linux port.

Now it seems like all these efforts seem to be near a somewhat usable Linux port or at least that's what I understand by following this forum thread.

Torque3D running on Xubuntu 12.10

In the short term the most interesting application of this Linux port is probably that the creator of RotC has announced on his currently running indigogo campaign to liberate (and update) the game, that now there will also be a Linux port.

Great news if you ask me, so don't forget to pledge some of that Christmas money you got towards reaching the funding goal (currently $388 out of $1500, with 36 days left). Let's make this happen!

Edit (nearly forgot): these two projects related to Torque3D might be interesting to follow: Project GREED and Zentense.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December RTS updates

Merry Christmas from FreeGamer!

As a nice present from the 0 A.D. team, the new Alpha 15 Osiris was released today:

Lots of great new features and especially multiplayer games should be now much easier to do with hosting improvements and a lobby for browsing available games.

Another open-source RTS engine (using Mono/C# though) has also released a new version: OpenRA. Currently it is still geared toward running an assortment of older Command & Conquer based games, so you need to own these for the data. But this release adds lua scripting for the creation of custom missions, so maybe someone will come up with a libre game to run on this engine.

Last but not least, a new version of Warzone2100 was released about a week ago. This one actually includes some higher resolution textures, which is hopefully the first step to officially integrate all the awesome new art assets from the art revolution project.
Speaking of WZ mods: There is also an interesting new tower-defense mod currently being developed.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Let's Play Permissions for Open Source Games With Free Art

Let's Play (LP) is an uprising form of previewing and experiencing video games.

While a review summarizes the experience, a LP allows to look a player over their shoulder and indirectly experience the game from one perspective in its entirety - if both Let's Player and viewer have the endurance.

LPs have many styles: non-commented, informational, humorous... And their production quality varies too, be it video, audio or presentation.

Example of a Let's Play video in its natural environment

Some creators of LPs ("LPers") earn money using YouTube's monetization features. When they do, YouTube's semi-automatic moderation process starts paying more attention to the videos' compliance with copyright.

Sometimes, LPers will contact game developers to receive permission to create LPs. To many creators of games, LPs are a welcome form of promotion and they will always say yes.

Clint Bellanger of FLARE released a Let's Play policy, which elegantly covers both the situation in which a game's art assets are CC-BY-SA 3.0 licensed and where all copyright belongs to one person.

FLARE is a collaborative effort of many artists who agreed to release their art under CC-BY-SA 3.0 and I think that FLARE's LP policy reflects the intention of the license very well.

A complicated case might be a game which contains art that is under the GPL, which could be interpreted in a way, that requires the resulting video, as well as video project files to be made available under GPL as well.

In theory, any LP could be considered "fair use". However, for-profit use and use of large portions of a work are often considered as not being "fair use" - for example by YouTube.

For game designers, I consider LPs to be a valuable resource, allowing to look up features or part-experience gameplay, where acquiring, installing and playing the game would be impossible, due to time restrictions.

I recommend looking up games that you have fond memories of or which you always wanted to try but the installation effort was too high on or just YouTube's search function with "let's play" in the query.

If YouTube's HTML5 doesn't work for you, youtube-dl will allow you to circumvent flash player issues (monetized YouTube videos appear to require flash).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Reminder: 1 week left to vote

Voting for the Linux Game Awards January 2014 will come to an end in about one week (24th of December).

So if you haven't voted yet, don't waste any time!
You can read more about the award in this older blog entry.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tales of Maj'Eyal (ToME) version 1.1.0 and Steam edition

The great roguelike RPG Tales of Maj'Eyal (ToME) is available as a new version (1.1.0) nicknamed "Full Steam Ahead". Here is a slightly older trailer for version 1.0.5.:

Release highlights:

  • New necromancer tree: Animus
  • All achievements now feature beautiful 128x128 images
  • Improved Alchemist interaction with its golem
  • Tons of fixes and balance adjustements
  • Many improvements for addon creators, including a way to enable debug mode and a tool (inthe debug menu) to register and upload addons to directly from the game.
  • Includes a Fez. Fezzes are cool!
Interestingly it has also been "greenlit" on the popular game distribution channel Steam, so if you want to donate to the developers you can also do it by buying ToME through this channel. The currently discounted version includes a DLC with an updated UI (and the hint for a Steampunk themed extension) which seems to me like a planned way of funding the development of the game in the future.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Help to ROTC:Ethernet to become fully open-source

The creator of the nice, but pretty niche, freeware game (but with Creative Commons licensed assets) Revenge of the Cats: Ethernet has just informed us that he started a Indiegogo campaign (target US$ 1500) to liberate the game.

The current version still runs on an old closed source build of the Torque3D engine, but with the somewhat recent move to MIT licensing, it has now become possible to go fully open-source.

According to the author:
All I need is about a month's time and some cash to make it happen.
So lets give him the help he needs ;)

The only not so great part of it is that the Linux port of the Torque3D MIT engine is not yet available. Several people are slowly working on it, but after a failed attempt to crowd-fund it, there seems to have been some setbacks.
But optimistically speaking, this could give it the needed push to also motivate the finalization of a working Linux port.

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