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.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Devcorner: Macros Are Evil

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The joys of programming - hours spent scratching one's head whilst trying to figure out why the seemingly correct code does not produce correct results.

Hi, Charlie here. I used to post often.

Where was I? Ah, yes, this nugget of brain fudgery from the VDrift forums posted by NaN:

So I've spent some time today try to figure out why cars are still flying off in random directions when hitting curbs sometimes.

It turns out it is a bug in Bullet, to be more specific in the SIMD_DEGS_PER_RAD macro.


#define SIMD_PI           btScalar(3.1415926535897932384626433832795029)
#define SIMD_2_PI         btScalar(2.0) * SIMD_PI
#define SIMD_HALF_PI      (SIMD_PI * btScalar(0.5))
#define SIMD_RADS_PER_DEG (SIMD_2_PI / btScalar(360.0))
#define SIMD_DEGS_PER_RAD  (btScalar(360.0) / SIMD_2_PI)

The first one to spot it gets a virtual cookie.

For the answer visit the thread, I won't spoil it here. Instead, I'll post a screenshot, also sourced from said forums and taken by Stunt Rally author CrystalH.


For those who don't know, Stunt Rally is a friendly fork of VDrift.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Xonotic 0.8.1 released & related news

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For those that are not keeping up to the latest development branch (via the autobuilds), the Xonotic developers have released a new version with various smaller changes and new official maps.

From the user "Antibody" (known for his duel commentary videos) comes this nice video overview of the new features:

(please note that due to video capture performance reasons the graphic settings are pretty low, and the game can look much nicer with different settings)

On the longer term horizon of Xonotic development, there is the very exiting news that they are currently porting their game to run on the same engine that Unvanquished uses. With this the future of Xonotic is indeed much brighter, as their current engine has not seem much development lately. See more details in this thread.

Oh and while we are talking about FOSS arena FPS: A short while ago Red Eclipse also released a new version. Changes include updated to the AI Bots and a build in universal updater to easily follow the latest releases.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mini Sci-Fi Open Source Tower Defense Game

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Purely by chance, I found an obviously abandoned but still fun to play mini tower defense with a skippable tutorial level and two playable missions, beautiful graphics and performance settings.

To be a master is to spam en mass

So you place towers and the shoot enemies that move towards your base. I know this! Being an impatient player type, I skipped past the tutorial and was annihilated in level 1.

Short enough messages in a hard enough tutorial level

The degree of my destruction was such, that I was thankful for the tutorial being there at all. Even though I did die in it, it taught me enough about the all-or-nothing early game (which some might refer as to "unbalanced") to get my strategy right.

Turn off for speed. Turn on for awesome!

You get 3 towers: that allows you to build more tower, one that allows you to shoot more and one that shoots. You can block paths and create mazes. There are no tower upgrades and that's okay.

All the plot. Space to continue. Take that non-skip-able intro video AAA games!

Mission #3 is not possible to win (prove me wrong) but it was a great experience to find that I was able to beat the tutorial mission after all. By deviating from the given instructions! If that's not freedom (besides being open source) then I don't know what is!

Yeah right...

Come to think of it, the ridiculousness of level 3 practically speaks "dear player, you should totally fork and make new levels!"

Made with love2d

The last commit to Turres Monacorum was in May 2014 and the game was made at a game jam. My experience dictates that this won't be picked up by the original developers any more but to any player with love2d installed, it will come as a wonderful, visually polished snack!

Download the mini tower defense game from the github release page and enjoy!