Friday, November 13, 2015

Naev, Valyria Tear, Wyrmsun, ReTux

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Wymrsun 1.6.0 was recently released (announcement on our forums and on Steam). Wyrmsun is inspired by the original Warcraft games and many reviewers on Steam compare it to Warcraft II. The project continues a steady development pace which is always a good sign so I encourage RTS fans to try it out.


Naev 0.6.1 has been released. After a long period without releases until release 0.6.0 appeared in March, this follow up release indicates a return to regular progress for the project. Naev is a 2D space trading and combat game.

I couldn't find a more recent video but here's a bit of a development log of some features for the 0.6.0 release.

Speaking of resurgent projects, Valyria Tear has some news.
The most noticeable change is that I killed a few days ago a very nasty bug that was there from the beginning, making the lua threads never freed from memory. This means the game won't end up anymore swallowing gigs of memory for nothing and crash due to some memory overflow.
Well that does sound like a bit of a killjoy, so good to see it fixed. Other changes are in the blog post.

Onto more things slightly more dubiously open source in nature...

ReTux 0.2 has been released. ReTux is a new Super Tux inspired game. It is a completely rewritten (in Python) codebase although uses many of the assets from the original Super Tux so naturally people will mistake the two despite the significant differences. I already covered the IndieGoGo campaign in a previous article.

I'm not really on board with the way the developer Onpon4 is now soliciting $20 for access to the code. I think he's both hurting himself by limiting exposure of the game (you need a password to access the downloads) as well as asking for a fairly significant sum in an age where AAA games are of a similar price a year after release (and regularly on offer, as any Humble Bundle or Steam user will know).

I would say he should just get it on Steam, sell it there, and be open source outside of that. Perhaps have additional levels in the Steam version but accept that charging for the source code is as pointless as it is ineffective.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Anticube 2 - a game within a game

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So, as I sometimes peruse various forums, the occasional gem pops up. This is one of the best hidden gems in Open Source gaming.

Anticube 2 is a map for Tesseract / Cube 2 that is inspired by the game Antichamber and NaissanceE. If you are unfamiliar with those, that means it is an abstract FPS puzzle game where things are not quite what they seem. Or, as the creator Lord Kv probably better explains:

Anticube 2 is a puzzle map for Tesseract. You'll find yourself in an interactive, dynamic, non-euclidean world. Supported by 5000+ lines of Cubescript and GLSL code, this map will do things no other Cube 2 / Tesseract map has ever done before.

Here is the trailer:

There is also a gallery of screenshots for you to check out. I won't include them here because, to be honest, the screenshots won't mean much for this kind of game.

I'm calling it a game, even though it is just a map for a game. You can tell it is worth checking out because of the reactions it elicits from the Tesseract developers (warning: NSFW language). Here's what developer ImNotQ009 had to say about it:
Whoa, I would NEVER have though I'd see anything like this on BARE Tesseract.
This is one hell of an astonishing piece of work, the music is great, the whole atmosphere and the aesthetics are really good as well. With the exception of a little bit lousy looking (compared to everything else) terrain on the very last part but nevertheless I genuinely couldn't stop "wow-ing" through out the whole thing.
Anyway, check it out, let us know how you get on. This definitely deserves more attention than it has gotten up until now - but then again how does this kind of thing get more eyes on it when it is just a game within a game and one which is currently suffering from a severe lack of a player base? Hopefully we can change that starting here. :)

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Games with G (Gorynlich & Gigalomania)

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Great news for people who like GGGGames ;)

The author of the new action roguelike dungeon crawler kind of darwen mayham game Gorynlich was so kind to inform us his game. It comes with this funny trailer (and some great programmer's art :p ):

The code is licensed under the LGPL, while the assets are only freeware right now. But the author seems to be open to look into replacing the assets with Creative Commons licensed ones if someone is interested in doing so.
Gorynlich is done by the same author as the ASCII game Goblin Hack by the way.

Another nice game starting with G, is the awesome remake of the oldie Megalomania, appropriately called Gigalomania!

The author is still looking for improved art asset contributions, but the game itself is already quite playable (even on mobile devices and a bunch of other rare systems!). Also check out the other two cool games by the same developer: Erebus RPG and Conquests (a Civ like game).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Stunt Rally 2.6 and Irrlamb 0.2

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Stunt Rally 2.6 has been released, with new features including pacenotes (i.e. corner speed/severity hints) and a rewritten sound system with reverberation (changelog).

Stunt Rally is a sandbox racing game with a huge number of tracks (172 in 2.6) and lots of cars. It was originally forked from VDrift and features Ogre3D as a graphics engine instead of the custom (and less sophisticated) graphics engine in VDrift.

A video is worth a thousand pictures and a picture a thousand words so, instead of me writing a million of those, I invite you to check out the gameplay in the video that accompanied the release:

Also recently updated is Irrlamb. Those with incredibly good memories will recall this physics-based game originally appearing many years ago. I originally wrote about Irrlamb over 8 years ago on Free Gamer, and the previous release (0.1.1) is over 5 years old if I'm not mistaken (it is hard to check since things have moved on since then i.e. Google Code where its development was originally hosted).

This release adds new graphical capabilities, new levels, gamepad support and various fixes - see the announcement for more details.

I'll also write a really lengthy... wait a minute! Let's link a video instead. ;)

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

OpenDungeons and FreeOrion updates plus ReTux

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A couple of long standing open source game projects have received significant updates.

OpenDungeons, an open source dungeon management game, has seen release 0.6 make it out the door. Release highlights from the changelog:
  • New spell logic with cooldown, targets and cost management
  • Fancy new spells: Heal, Explosion and Haste
  • Particle effects!
  • Reworked library logic and made research order configurable
  • New creature overlays that show the creatures' mood
  • Customisable creature sound effects!
  • Doors to better block enemies and macromanage allies
  • In-game settings menu support!
  • New claimed walls graphics and various other graphical improvements
  • New minimap camera with real-time rendering
  • Dedicated server support with command-line parameters
There's plenty of screenshots in the announcement on the frontpage of the OpenDungeons website (but no direct link for the announcement, frustratingly).

Explosions! Spells!
The research tree

The project has some very regular contributors (both programming and art) and the game has multiplayer support which the developers test with the occasional weekend virtual lan party. OpenDungeons has certainly gone from strength to strength in the last year.

FreeOrion version 0.4.5 (announcement with changelog) wraps up the last year's worth of development. Much of the work seems to have been motivated by trying to make the game more fun to play — "performance, responsiveness, AI, balancing etc." —which is nice to see. At some point a project has to stop pushing new features and work on improving the game experience.

I couldn't find any screenshots of 0.4.5 to share, but here's a recent gameplay video posted on YouTube which should give an idea, although he's well into a game at this point:

Finally, and a little too late unfortunately, here's some coverage of ReTux. At first glance, it would seem somebody has taken Super Tux and tried to profit off of it. However, author Julian Merchant (onpon4 on the FGD forums) has written a new engine from scratch in Python. Whilst there are the obvious similarities with the original Super Tux, due to ReTux using many of the same graphics and sounds, there are a number of notable gameplay changes many of which can be seen in the 'Concept Castle' video (I really think his IndieGoGo campaign should have used this video at the very beginning of it).

Julian only raised $378 in the 30 days the campaign lasted, which was very short of the $50,000 goal. Reasons for this will be likely poor coverage (no FG article!) but also probably the perception that it was basically the same as Super Tux. For example, the IGG page starts with a video which the first 2 minutes or so (aside from the change to the fireflower) could easily be recreated by substituting the Super Tux logo for ReTux.

I do think avoiding the more popular media sites (e.g. no YouTube video) hurt the campaign. I can find little-to-no mention of ReTux when searching for it.

It also highlights one of the problems with developing Free games i.e. generally there's no money in it. Julian is obviously passionate about the concept, having done so much work on it already, and I hope he continues with it. As to where he goes from here? I would suggest perhaps trying to get it greenlit on Steam or another platform where he can solicit a small fee from players whilst still maintaining the open source status of the project - a great example being Tales of Maj’Eyal which is also selling well on Steam.

Don't give up Julian. Persistence is the key to success with any endeavour. You just have to find the right path.