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Arx Fatalis Updated, Released Under GPL

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the every-big-distro-could-have-a-fps dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 153

Kevin Fishburne writes "According to WtF Dragon at Ultima Aiera, 'The long and short: Arkane Studios have released what is probably going to be the final patch for their Ultima Underworld-inspired game (which, indeed, they tried to license as the third entry in that series), Arx Fatalis. They have also released the source code for the game. That's right, the complete source of Arx Fatalis is available for download.' The readme notes that the original game installation is required in order to play the compiled game, as the data files are certainly still copyrighted. Linux is in need of a good FPS dungeon crawler, though the code will need a hell of a lot of cleanup as it's a VC8/9 project and uses DirectX (ugh...)."

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Bug (likely graphics drivers) deadlocks linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891594)

http://bugs.winehq.org/show_bug.cgi?id=25782

Re:Bug (likely graphics drivers) deadlocks linux (1)

u17 (1730558) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891854)

Maybe a better fix for this bug would now be to port the game to other systems using portable free software libraries. Such ports are not unheard of: recently the copyright owners of Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries released its Windows-only sources, under the GPL, into the hands of the community, which managed to relatively quickly port it to SDL/OpenAL (http://7kfans.com/). Now it runs natively on GNU/Linux and possibly on other systems too.

Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism. (4, Informative)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891644)

I liked that game - but the really, REALLY disliked the amount of time it took to properly shape out letters with the mouse input. There just seemed to be no consistency with the way it judged the curves of input - I can understand the games with subtle puzzles on learning input mechanisms, but even with practice it came out more as random than a skill to build up.

If anyone can fix the input mechanisms for those spells using the source code, you'd be helping the game immensely.

Oh, and of course, remaking Ulima I & II would be a nice follow up... seems that's always been in the works for FPS modders, but it never seems to get completed. They're beautiful games that deserve the chance to appeal to modern gamers with a modern interface.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891860)

I liked that game - but the really, REALLY disliked the amount of time it took to properly shape out letters with the mouse input. There just seemed to be no consistency with the way it judged the curves of input - I can understand the games with subtle puzzles on learning input mechanisms, but even with practice it came out more as random than a skill to build up.

A little practice was all it took for me. Maybe you just suck.

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (4, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891910)

The FPS "modern" interface is, IMHO, overused and the addiction to virtual reality is what is killing the brain cells of the gamers. Profitable, sure, whizz-bang impressive makes profitable, sure, good games, definitely not.

The Ultima series is one of (perhaps only) the few that became better with sequels. That was because they were perfectly timed to progress with the progressing technology. Ultima I had good game play and story line but was primitive on graphics. Ultima II had good game play and good new concepts woven in but was similarly primitive on graphics. Ultima III (Exodus) took the intricate storyline concepts from I and II, meshed them together, and then put that into a fantastic and colorful UI with that completely outside background music.

What I miss is that Ultima ]I[ was not an FPS. I am sick and tired of FPSs. I haven't actually played a video game for more than an hour since the first release of Half-Life. After Half-Life the FPSs were all just whizz-bang. Half-Life was still appealing because it was such an enormous improvement over DOOM (which was great because it really brought the FPS concept to life) because the hardware video card technology was once again on the perfect timeline (3D accelerating algorithms were beginning to stabilize). After Half-Life it was all the same; more whizz-bang, more glitz and glimmer, more anime, prettier girls, more graphica fantastica, more innuendo to keep the teenagers drewling.

What I miss about Ultima ]I[ is that the graphics were good, real good, game play was good, real good, game complexity was good, real good, and story line was complex, real good--it was also top down 2D so your characters _really_ looked the way you wanted them to look, the encounters were top down 2D so the enemies _really_ looked as frightening and gruesome as you wanted them to look, the battles were not movie quality full-motion video so you could imagine your spellcasting and imagine the impacts and imagine the blow by blow the way you wanted to imagine it.

Modern FPS is all about being brain dead and watching what we want you to watch. It is hardly different from advertising.

One word... (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892030)

After Half-Life the FPSs were all just whizz-bang.

Portal.

Oh, does it have to be an actual shooter? Alright, then, how about...

Natural Selection.
Half-Life 2.
etc...

But I chose Portal because your complaint was about the FPS interface. Portal makes good use of that interface to deliver a decidedly non-FPS game. So does Penumbra.

There's more that could be done, but I think leveraging the years of experience people have playing FPSes, and just the overall fluidity of that interface for actually exploring a 3D world, is far, far better than trying to make any sort of 3D game in which you reinvent the controls, badly. If I recall, The Sims was particularly annoying -- completely different controls which ended up being less effective overall.

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892366)

What I miss is that Ultima ]I[ was not an FPS. I am sick and tired of FPSs. I haven't actually played a video game for more than an hour since the first release of Half-Life. After Half-Life the FPSs were all just whizz-bang. Half-Life was still appealing because it was such an enormous improvement over DOOM (which was great because it really brought the FPS concept to life) because the hardware video card technology was once again on the perfect timeline (3D accelerating algorithms were beginning to stabilize). After Half-Life it was all the same; more whizz-bang, more glitz and glimmer, more anime, prettier girls, more graphica fantastica, more innuendo to keep the teenagers drewling.

I think FPS games are more of a phase... I played lots of them probably starting with Doom (1993) and mostly ending with Unreal Tournament (1999) - my teens to my early 20s. If I had been born a decade later, I'm guessing I'd be playing the FPS games of a decade later but today they have no appeal to me. The fact is, if you take of those rosy glasses you were pretty easy to entertain as a teen. Give you action, give you splatter and you're entertained. In retrospect it's quite amazing how much I liked some rather braindead action flicks too, same thing. Particularly the single-player mode got all the complexity of Rambo, one man against a million of them. In the end I think it was "Capture the Flag" and my clan that kept me on UT, because they brought a bit of strategy and cooperation, pure deathmatch lost the appeal long before I quit.

So to sum it up, I don't think the games changed I think you changed. And there'll always be a generation of teens that want to play these games, just like there's always a generation of children to play children's games. Of course there are FPS games that appeal to a more adult gamer, that resemble real life where you have to sneak and cover and a few shots will kill you and there's real penalties for dying. But the whole "fantasy" FPS games where you dance around each other trying to hit the other guy with the rocket launcher and pocket nukes to get a MU-MU-MU-MULTIKILL and it's all about your mouse twitching skill are things I doubt appeal to many people over 25. Well, less so than other game types anyway as I still play games of Civilization and have done so since the original in 1991. I wouldn't be surprised if I sit these on the nursery home bored and whip up a game of Civilization XVII.

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893328)

I think FPS games are more of a phase

I think it's more of a preference, personally. I played Doom and Doom 2 and I'm still playing Fallout and Oblivion.

Of course there are FPS games that appeal to a more adult gamer, that resemble real life where you have to sneak and cover and a few shots will kill you and there's real penalties for dying

That's more or less saying "FPS games are for kids, and the ones adults enjoy don't count". I think you need to work a bit harder to establish your point here.

But the whole "fantasy" FPS games where you dance around each other trying to hit the other guy with the rocket launcher and pocket nukes to get a MU-MU-MU-MULTIKILL and it's all about your mouse twitching skill are things I doubt appeal to many people over 25

I knew there was a reason I stayed away from multiplayer ...

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894064)

I think it's more of a preference, personally. I played Doom and Doom 2 and I'm still playing Fallout and Oblivion.

I played through Oblivion but I've no idea how you can call that a FPS, most people would put that squarely in the RPG category even though most RPGs have bows and arrows as well as ranged spells. When I think FPS I think more like Crysis, Call of Duty, Bioshock or Far Cry 2. Fallout is something of a FPS-RPG crossover. I'd say the essence of an FPS is that it's a high intensity adrenaline rush game that requires good aim and staying on the move, not just good equipment and high level. Most game modes particularly in multiplayer is one big rush from start to finish, there's never a second downtime. The further you get from that formula the less I consider it an FPS. In any case, I never said it was one size fits all - but I think many people consider that too much stress after a while..

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (2)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893416)

it was also top down 2D so your characters _really_ looked the way you wanted them to look, the encounters were top down 2D so the enemies _really_ looked as frightening and gruesome as you wanted them to look, the battles were not movie quality full-motion video so you could imagine your spellcasting and imagine the impacts and imagine the blow by blow the way you wanted to imagine it.

One hears this argument a lot and it is bullshit. If crap graphics are better because they leave more to your imagination, should it not also follow that a game like Doom is better than one with a complex storyline because it leaves the plot to your imagination? If you can't cope with seeing what the characters look like, how do you ever manage to put up with being told what they say and do?

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893640)

I haven't actually played a video game for more than an hour since the first release of Half-Life. After Half-Life the FPSs were all just whizz-bang.

Then you missed out on a number of great FPS games like System Shock 2, Star Trek: Elite Force, Deus Ex, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Star Trek: Elite Force II, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, Half-Life 2, Prey and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.

In fact, I would say the original Half-Life was crap. It was a generic shooter that didn't bring anything new to the genre.

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34894898)

And that is true. What Half-Life allegedly brought to the genre is the same thing Duke Nukem 3D brought.... it's an overrated credit moocher.

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894504)

The graphics *were* good, they're horrible by today's standards. Furthermore, how can a top down 2D tile based game convey more realism than a 3D game depicting the viewpoint of one of its participants? That's why FPS's took off, they are more immersive. That's also why Half-life (a game you appear to classify as the last good FPS) was so well received - it was the first FPS game whose scripted events did not allow the camera to leave the player character's viewpoint. Take a look at the Deus Ex 3 boards and see how many people are up in arms about 3rd person cover, people are more at home with FPS style play. While I agree that most FPS games are terrible these days, or are halfway between terrible and good (e.g. mass effect 2 - great story, horrible cover based level design), the FPS system is not at fault, it's the nervous publishers who won't back a project that's a bit of a gamble. And yes, I think Call of Duty is ruining our children.

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34894878)

Have you considered that maybe Ultima ]|[ looked so good because you were younger and more easily impressionable?

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (1)

cryoknight (313161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895224)

Not to mention it looked as good as anything else at the time...
Heck, I remember being quite impressed by how good Ultima 5 looked, and it's still the same level of technology as Ultima 3 & 4.
They just got smarter with the colors.

Re:Request: Someone fix the spellcasting mechanism (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892300)

I liked that game - but the really, REALLY disliked the amount of time it took to properly shape out letters with the mouse input. There just seemed to be no consistency with the way it judged the curves of input - I can understand the games with subtle puzzles on learning input mechanisms, but even with practice it came out more as random than a skill to build up.

After a while, I figured out the trick. The rune stones that showed the direction/angle of curves were displayed not perfectly upright, but they were tilted maybe 10 degrees. So if you saw a line on a runestone that suggested a perfectly vertical line, it probably isn't what you were supposed to draw. Tilt your head to figure it out. But yeah, it was annoying until you learn about that trick.

My name is Alice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891660)

and I am offended.

This game has got my attention now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891672)

After recently building a new PC, I've been searching for some games to play. Since almost all of the PC games coming out these days have malware in them, this classic and now open source game looks like a good, clean alternative. This game came out in 2002, so it should also be just before the point when PC games became nothing but sloppy console ports. I think *that* happened circa 2003.

Nice game, but no graphics, (1)

gnalle (125916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891674)

Arx Fatalis looks like a nice game, but Arkane studios only released the source code. I wonder how much work it will require to replace all the graphics.

Here is a video with sample game play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2MM8bn1Tew [youtube.com]

Re:Nice game, but no graphics, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891808)

Who knoews if the OpenArena guys will do it... hope the linux world doesn't mind more japanese inspired skimpiness!

captcha: gorgeous. I HOPE.

Re:Nice game, but no graphics, (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891866)

Buy the game, and play it on the open source engine. Just like Doom, Freespace II, Ultima 7, Star Control 2, and many, many other games.

Re:Nice game, but no graphics, (2)

Briareos (21163) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892298)

Buy the game, and play it on the open source engine. Just like Doom, Freespace II, Ultima 7, Star Control 2, and many, many other games.

While I totally agree with you - the assets for Star Control 2 were actually released alongside the code, that's why you can download them from SourceForge...

np: Autechre - Nine (Amber)

Re:Nice game, but no graphics, (1)

Disco Hips (920480) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892346)

I think, like Quake, you can do what you will with the source (subject to license limitations), but you need to provide your own graphical, sound and model assets. Either buy the game and import the missing assets, or redo them, I guess.

Re:Nice game, but no graphics, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893698)

Haven't you ever heard of BitTorrent or Limewire?

DirectX (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891686)

Awful to cleanup? The awful part will be implementing it in OpenGL. OpenGL is garbage compared to DirectX these days. OpenGL had it's time and moved like a sloth and was surpassed by Direct3D at version 9. It's gotten better and more feature-rich since.

Re:DirectX (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891746)

http://www.opengl.org/documentation/current_version/ [opengl.org]

Graphics cards are now sold with OpenGL 4.0 support. It's not stuck at 2.0, like you're suggesting with Direct3D 9.

Re:DirectX (0)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892862)

Despite the tone, that's not what the GP said. He said DirectX 9 was when it surpassed OpenGL and I'm inclined to agree. This is around 2002, when the last big OpenGL games like Neverwinter Nights and Unreal Tournament 2003 were released. Version numbers are a little irrelevant when pretty much every major game made since has chosen to use DirectX and still do. May I point you to this story [slashdot.org] from 2008 - six years later when OpenGL 3.0 finally comes out and people call it a great disappointment? And that if you port it to OpenGL 4 only people running blobs can run it because mesa doesn't support OpenGL 3/4 and so neither do any open source drivers?

Be honest and admit that the OpenGL game market has been microscopic. While certainly there are a few OpenGL games, nobody has taken a serious interest in improving OpenGL for gaming use in many, many years and the fact that OpenGL 3 and 4 exist at all is more due to workstation and CAD/CAM use than anything else. Best proven by the fact that AMD and nVidia support it in their drivers - meaning they have a business case for it, while the community lack people and interest. True, OpenGL has seen some interest lately with mobile platforms but they live on limited hardware and OpenGL ES is much more a port of OpenGL 2.x than an effort to compete with DirectX.

I don't think there can be any doubt that Microsoft puts a helluva lot more time and money into DirectX than anyone does for OpenGL. And the same goes for the drivers AMD and nVidia put a helluva lot more time and money into optimizing DirectX than they do for OpenGL. Because that's where the money is. Here's AMD in direct reply to "A single open source driver with feature-parity and equal performance to the closed source drivers would certainly satisfy all customers." and I quote Yep, it would. It would also cost more each year than our total Linux graphics revenues. I would have a tough time presenting a "we lose massive amounts of money but make people happy" plan to our executives. [phoronix.com] Nobody spends money on OpenGL unless it's a moneymaker for them, and unlike the kernel there aren't many of those.

Re:DirectX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893304)

Actually one of the factors still driving OpenGL is that when Nvidia or AMD want to try out a new feature, they simply write it as an OpenGL extension and it's there to work with, while DirectX doesn't admit extensions _at all_. Now that DirectX is iterating very quickly and hand-in-glove with the GPU makers, this difference in process is academic on the consumer end, but the internal developers are still likely to reach for OpenGL first.

If Gallium gains any momentum, we might even see the end of some of the nastiest problems remaining in OpenGL pertaining to state management. Still seems a big if though...

Re:DirectX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34894654)

Despite the tone, that's not what the GP said. He said DirectX 9 was when it surpassed OpenGL and I'm inclined to agree. This is around 2002, when the last big OpenGL games like Neverwinter Nights and Unreal Tournament 2003 were released.

Minecraft

Re:DirectX (2)

giuseppemag (1100721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891786)

Yes, why should DX be considered awful? Many game devs choose it because it is a generally well documented API which evolves quickly and with hardware.

If there is one thing Microsoft has been doing well in the last decade is game libraries: between DX >= 7 and XNA it feels like there are alternatives but not opponents...

Re:DirectX (2)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891988)

If there is one thing Microsoft has been doing well in the last decade is game libraries

Well, yeah. If they didn't do that then developers might create/use/improve cross-platform game libraries instead, and that's definitely not in Microsoft's interests. Games are one major area where it's far easier to just use Windows. Microsoft is more than smart enough to realize that this might change if they fail to cater to game developers. To them, furtherance of vendor lock-in is more than worth whatever money and resources they have to invest in development of DirectX.

It's the kind of thing that helps keep Windows from having to compete on its merits on a level playing field where migration to another platform is easy and relatively painless. A world where no one uses Windows unless they really do prefer it over other platforms is something they will struggle mightily to avoid. Easy cross-platform compatibility has never been in their interests.

Re:DirectX (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893738)

DX is awful because it isn't cross-platform.

Now why it isn't possible to port DX to other platforms (i.e., make an open-source DX work-alike library that has the same API as DX, so that porting DX games requires little more than a recompile), I have no idea. If someone did such a thing, and it worked well, then DX would no longer be "awful". But as long as it's single-platform only, then it's awful.

It's a lot like PDF. If Adobe Reader (formerly Acrobat Reader) were the only way to view PDFs, and you had to use only Adobe's $$$ tools to write PDFs, then PDF would be an "awful" standard. However, there's tons of alternative readers and writers, both closed-source and open-source, for PDF, including FoxIt on Windows, and Okular and Evince on Linux, various PDF libraries, OpenOffice writes PDFs natively, etc., so PDF is actually a really useful and good standard, because it isn't locked into one vendor or platform, even though Adobe is the vendor which created it.

Re:DirectX (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891888)

Couldn't you just compile it against Wine instead of porting it to OpenGL?

Re:DirectX (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892160)

Pfff no.
LOL

Re:DirectX (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892208)

Your lol made me lol, thx.

Re:DirectX (0)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891944)

Nice troll try harder.

In case you are not trolling, hahaha keep drinking the MS koolaid bro; OpenGL is actually ahead of DirectX...

Re:DirectX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892642)

Take off your anti-MS blinders. OpenGL hasn't even been ahead of DirectX, and likely won't ever be.

Re:DirectX (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892820)

OpenGL is ALWAYS ahead of Direct3D, because OpenGL can accept more instructions that are not built into D3D. As long as the card has the power to do it, you can drop that new instruction in and it can be supported. You have to wait for the same thing to purposely be built into Direct3D.

Which means D3D will always be behind in development.

Re:DirectX (2)

snemarch (1086057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893458)

...so, where are the fully open-source OpenGL library + drivers that has more features than (or even just feature parity with) DirectX 11?

Oh, I see.

Re:DirectX (0)

Plombo (1914028) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894084)

...so, where are the fully open-source OpenGL library + drivers that has more features than (or even just feature parity with) DirectX 11?

Oh, I see.

Where is the fully open-source DirectX 11 library + drivers that has feature parity with anything? (d3d1x lacks working drivers, so don't mention it.)

Oh, I see.

Re:DirectX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34895022)

Your answer is nonsensical in context. Someone is claiming that OpenGL is far ahead of DirectX 11 - someone else is claiming that isn't the case.

Whether it is open source or not is immaterial.

Re:DirectX (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893748)

So what's so hard about improving OpenGL to be as good as DX? Is it too encumbered by committees or something? Also, why can't someone make a cross-platform DX clone library, which uses the same API as DX?

Re:DirectX (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 3 years ago | (#34895064)

As far as I can tell, OpenGL as a whole is probably on a par with DirectX, except that finalisation of a version number of OpenGL has to be done by committee. o, where you have Microsoft talking to graphics card providers first and agreeing a standard on where DirectX is going to go next, for OpenGL each manufacturer implements their own proprietary extensions and then the OpenGL committee decides later which of those is going to be standardised.

This means that although OpenGL as a whole has on a par feature-wise with DirectX, you have a situation by which any version of DirectX will be inherently ahead of any given version of OpenGL, because programmers really don't want to code graphics to extensions that only exist for one company.

As much as I don't like linking to Wiki, they do have a good comparison here [wikipedia.org] . However, considering it's mostly original research, despite the fact that it's one of the more useful articles there it will probably be deleted sooner or later.

Never heard of it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891688)

I'm a pretty hardcore gamer, but I've never heard of this game before. It sounds like a niche game. Can somebody give me a better description of it?

I know, I could google it or look it up on Wikipedia, but to be honest, I don't enough to do so.

Re:Never heard of it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891740)

, I could google it or look it up on Wikipedia, but to be honest, I don't enough to do so.

you apparantly don't even ' ' enough to bother to write ' ' in your post.

  - Anonymous Melvin

Re:Never heard of it. (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893642)

, I could google it or look it up on Wikipedia, but to be honest, I don't enough to do so.

you apparantly don't even ' ' enough to bother to write ' ' in your post.

Perhaps he accidentally the whole thing?

Re:Never heard of it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893230)

I'm a pretty hardcore gamer, but I've never heard of this game before. It sounds like a niche game. Can somebody give me a better description of it?

I know, I could google it or look it up on Wikipedia, but to be honest, I don't enough to do so.

Let's put it in a way a "hardcore" gamer like you understands it; it's like Halo, but good.

Holy shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891720)

This game is awesome. This is great news.

Too little too late (4, Insightful)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891756)

For gaming:

If you want to play FPS/RPGs, really, get a windows partition or a console. Not trying to flamebait or something, just being rational. The game is 8 years old, with the software engineering maturity of a random sample company that this fact implies. Data files being copyrighted. DX-based being ultra-fun to port. Nope, I can't see serious effort thrown into this. It only gets funnier with feature requests, improvements & bug fixes. The first post here is a request FFS, imagine the port's forums.

For research:
You have source code for Quake3. I bet it's coded far better than arx fatalis, and it's already there.

Licensed works are copyrighted works. (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891770)

The readme notes that the original game installation is required in order to play the compiled game, as the data files are certainly still copyrighted.

I think Fishburne meant to say that the "data files" are under different licenses (probably far more restrictively licensed) than the Arx Fatalis code. Since Arx Fatalis is licensed than it too must be copyrighted. So you may run, share, and modify the GPL'd Arx Fatalis program, but you don't have these freedoms with the "data files".

Re:Licensed works are copyrighted works. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891822)

Can the GPL even be applied to an incomplete program that requires non-GPL data to even run? Maybe this restriction only applies to derivitive works. Can someone clarify?

Re:Licensed works are copyrighted works. (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891954)

Yes. See: Quake3 engine games that don't use any Quake3 data.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenArena [wikipedia.org]

Re:Licensed works are copyrighted works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892018)

Yes, the are many examples of this (ID Software games etc.). GPL is very careful not to restrict any data you produce or consume with a program. (And they also own the copyrights so hey are not bound by the GPL anyway as they don't need to license their own work)

Re:Licensed works are copyrighted works. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892108)

IANAL; but my understanding is that, when it comes to releasing stuff you possess the copyright to under the GPL, you can release as much or as little, in whatever shape, as you wish. The code doesn't have to work at all, they could chose only to release half of it, it could rely on code from some third party available under a ludicriously restrictive licence or not at all, or whatever. Because their right to use and distribute the code does not originate with the GPL, they are not bound by it. Their right derives from ownership of the copyright, not use under license. Thus, they can do pretty much anything. Anybody else's right, though, derives from use under license, and thus is subject to the terms of the license(GPL or otherwise, whatever the owner dictates).

However, if you are creating a derived work from somebody else's code, to which you have rights to use/distribute only under the GPL, there are restrictions. You still aren't legally obliged to release only perfect, bugless, feature complete software or anything; but if your binary incorporates somebody else's GPLed code; but you are refusing to distribute your modifications, required to build it, to those you are distributing the binary to, you are in legal hot water. Even then, though, that might exclude data files, depending on how things are structured(say, just for an example, I for some stupid reason, want to release a CD of my music that, instead of just acting like a normal CD, has an auto-executed player application with band branding that pops up when the disk is inserted in a PC and plays the music on it. If I used GPLed code to build that application, I would be obliged to release my modifications and additions; but my music would just be input data, merely aggregated on the same medium as the program, and it isn't clear that I would be obliged to license it in any particular way.)

Re:Licensed works are copyrighted works. (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892202)

Of course you can use a GPL program with data under other licenses. Do you think all data stored in MySQL databases has to be released under the GPL or all code compiled with GCC must be GPL? The fact that game data (not source code) is not released under a Free Software license doesn't even bother RMS, who considers that data in a separate category.

GPL-licensed game engines that require some game data to be useful (which is often copied from an existing game installation) are common. For example, Id has released the source for all of their major games starting with Wolfenstein 3D under the GPL some years after releasing the game itself. The Doom 3 source will soon be released under the GPL. There have also been a number of projects to write Free Software game engines to clone proprietary ones used for popular games, such as ScummVM.

Re:Licensed works are copyrighted works. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893062)

Of course you can use a GPL program with data under other licenses. Do you think all data stored in MySQL databases has to be released under the GPL or all code compiled with GCC must be GPL?

This wasn't a question of whether anything the program read or wrote had to be GPL-licensed, but whether essential files for the program to run at all had to be.

Re:Licensed works are copyrighted works. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894462)

Excellent point! For example, It requires Microsoft Windows, so therefore Microsoft Windows is now GPL.

Re:Licensed works are copyrighted works. (2)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892284)

The initial 0.0.1 release of virtually every sourceforge project doesn't work, and there are no legal implications.

Re:Licensed works are copyrighted works. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893570)

To be under any obligation to distribute source under the GPL, you must have distributed a binary under the GPL. Since they haven't, they aren't obliged to do anything at all. But assuming they had then obviously the art assets aren't derivative of the binary nor the binary of the art assets, they would be what in copyright law is called a compilation.

A "compilation" is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. The term "compilation" includes collective works.

It seems fairly clear that while each piece of graphics, sound, code etc. have their own copyright the arrangement of them all together into a game constitutes a compilation. This is what the GPL says:

A compilation of a covered work with other separate and independent works, which are not by their nature extensions of the covered work, and which are not combined with it such as to form a larger program, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the compilation and its resulting copyright are not used to limit the access or legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. Inclusion of a covered work in an aggregate does not cause this License to apply to the other parts of the aggregate.

Even the GPL FAQ is rather muddy on what this means since obviously lots of software call other software in various ways. None the less, for a game it's quite easy to see that they're all intimately adapted and coming together with a single purpose - to give you the game. However, in this specific instance it says "which are not combined with it such as to form a larger program" not work which may be interpreted that it only means combining it with any form of library/plugin/module/object code/binary patch, not data assets. Nobody really knows until you've tried arguing it court though...

No wonder they didn't want to update it (2)

Tinctorius (1529849) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891814)

Sources/DANAE/ARX_Script.cpp is 13719 lines in size, most of which handles script parsing and evaluation simultaneously, in a uselessly convoluted way. It deserves a proper rewrite from scratch.

I do like how they used names from Greek mythology to refer to certain components of the source code: Athena handles audio, Eerie handles some graphics, Mercury handles user input, Hermes is probably there for communication or saving/loading, Minos is only there for pathfinding and Danae gets everything else.

Re:No wonder they didn't want to update it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891862)

That's usually commercial closed source software. Deadlines are deadlines.

I played this game on PC... (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891816)

But then I bought it on XBOX because, seriously, those spells really aren't easy to cast, especially not with a touchpad. At least with the xbox controlle,r you just had to follow key-sequences.

Re:I played this game on PC... (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892590)

Trying to play this kind of game with a touchpad would be incredibly frustrating for me. Not simply because it's difficult, but because I would be so keenly aware that the touchpad would actually be the perfect input mechanism if only the software didn't convert the input data into mouse movement rather than providing the absolute finger positions.

Open Source Nerd Obsession with Source Code (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891864)

I'm happy when people release source, but why do people think it is some sort of magical potion to create new software? This is especially true on Slashdot. I completely understand if you want to mod the existing source to patch the game, add on content or features, but for a new game, application, whatever, it's normally useless.

I do professional software development and I've worked for game companies as well as straight up businesses. I find that even the best written source that I authored is rarely useful for new projects. It's good to have a point of reference if you are inexperienced, doing something unfamiliar, or need something simple. I might say, "Hey I need to implement an A* algorithm, how do I do that again?" Anything remotely complex though in any real, decently designed piece of software ends up depending so much on the approach, tasks, framework, and environment it is developed. Even for simple algorithms like A*, it can depend highly on what graph library you use for example. It's nice to have if you've built an engine and you're releasing new software on the same engine.

In the real world though, often what happens is even when you write great code, technology advanced and the way you do things has to change. For instance I worked on PS3 projects and I might as well have flushed most of the significant game code I ever written down the toilet unless I wanted things to run like garbage. The same thing tends to happen when new versions of frameworks like OpenGL or DirectX come out. Especially in game programming, code becomes obsolete very quickly, usually as you write each line. What is valuable normally is the personal knowledge you gain from writing the old code, but that's much harder to gain from someone else's code at face value. Moreover, in game programming in particular, each game has such specialized concerns that huge chunks of code get written certain ways to be optimized for what you are doing. It's even worse in a commercial project because deadlines and such drive people to do incredibly stupid things to get out patches or builds. I wish I could get paid for the amount of times I fixed problems where someone just would add a random parameter, data type, or wrapped data type just to get something done rather than do it properly (you will see things like PlayerOptions2, PlayerOptions3 used side by side in real code because someone didn't want to change the old class).

Code reuse all sounds good on paper, but it ends up being mostly theory and pipe dreams. I do love having source to pick through, but usually it just says to me - wow, wtf was this person thinking, I can think of 10 better ways to do it. Like I said, good for inspiration and learning, bad for real application. I find it's usually the people that don't program or are really poor programmers who endlessly tout this kind of stuff. Bravo for releasing source, but boo to the summary for suggesting as much. Also boo for the jab at DirectX and VC - like it or not, people use it for a reason. I love Linux, but it's no joy to write games in, I'm sorry. And no, things like Boost and other popular C/C++ libs don't get used much in most real games for better or worse.

Re:Open Source Nerd Obsession with Source Code (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892100)

I do not see any reason to use DirectX and VC nowadays; portability is key and in that area DirectX is going to be defacto waaaaay behind OpenGL.

--
www.twilightcampaign.net

Re:Open Source Nerd Obsession with Source Code (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893456)

Unfortunately for non-Windows-users, your opinion is not widely shared among people who are actually paid to make games.

Re:Open Source Nerd Obsession with Source Code (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893524)

You should step out a bit into the real world.

People use more and more opengl-enabled devices. Of all the top sellers I can't think of any that use DirectX.

Developers actually paid to make games actually are moving to OpenGL because they do not want to be stuck with MS in the future and be limited to
Windows and Xbox.

Maybe I'll finally be able to play the whole game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891870)

If someone can fix the impossible-to-get-outside-past-the-troll-in-the-cave-because-the-damn-objective-never-triggers bug so I can actually play the whole game for once I'd really appreciate it :)

Amusing CAPTCHA sequence today. Apparently I've had my bowels verified.

Cleaning up the code? (1)

noobermin (1950642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891950)

Looking at it, a lot of the init code revolves arounds windows stuff (HINSTANCE, for example), it looks difficult, somewhat.

And then, there are the damn tabs. Why does a "professional" IDE still use tabs for indentation?

Re:Cleaning up the code? (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891998)

%s/\t/   /g

Seriously?  White space is annoying?

Re:Cleaning up the code? (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892404)

please,

1G!Gexpand

Re:Cleaning up the code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892058)

cause professionals use tabs for indentation

Re:Cleaning up the code? (-1, Flamebait)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892080)

Sadly HINSTANCE and all that WinAPI gayness is what developers are lead to believe is best for them.

Re:Cleaning up the code? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892204)

WinAPI gayness

An OS zealot and a homophobe, rolled up into one!

Do any of you people have any idea what an HINSTANCE is, anyway? As someone who has written code on both Win32 and free Unix-type OSes I find this all very odd. Would I criticize you for using some mundane typedef like (picking one at random) pthread_t? Of course not.

It's a Windows game written in C or C++. I expect there to be Windows-specific code. Is that really that evil? How do you expect them to accomplish their goals if they don't use some things that are specific to the platform they're targeting.

From a software engineering perspective the right way would be to isolate that platform-specific code to a clean set of modules. But let's be honest - the cleanest code is not always what gets shipped. How many GTK+ or Qt apps on Linux break the abstraction by calling directly into Xlib? I'm not sure about these days, but when I last developed for the platform the answer was "a lot".

I think a bunch of you guys need to grow up, or take a deep breath or something. Stop being so judgmental. These guys are kind enough to give you the code, and all you can say is it's not written with your favorite set of libraries.

Re:Cleaning up the code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892178)

Because why not?

What makes spaces superior? Plus, the indentation is taken care of for you - everytime you type a close curly or semicolon, the IDE evaluates the whitespace in that section and adjusts the whitespace accordingly. It's damn convenient...

Oh, and haters gonna hate, but DirectX crushed OpenGL in the marketplace fair and square. The silicon in your machine was designed with a particular version of DirectX in mind. Inb4 FireGL / Quadro, it's the same silicon as a Radeon / GeForce. To the guy that's angry because he's browsing Slashdot on a SGI machine with a V10 video board and I'm wrong, that's awesome, but you're on obsolete stuff. Sorry, I feel for you, but that's the way it is.

Re:Cleaning up the code? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894652)

Stock, vim's :set autoindent and ;set magicindent both do tabs.

Mostly because when you're using arrow keys (or hjkl in VIM), having to scroll past 20 spaces is more annoying than just going 3 tabs over.

"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (4, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891994)

So you seem rather surprised and/or disgusted that a game that was written for MS Windows uses DirectX.

I guess if a Russian book written by a Russian author went public domain you would complain that it was written with a Cyrillic alphabet.

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (-1, Troll)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892052)

I am not surprised; I am just depressed at the shortsightedness of game developers again and again drinking the MS koolaid knowing that down the line it will hurt them.

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (1)

wasabii (693236) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892132)

Curiously, how did it hurt them? =)

Modern DirectX (not saying anything about whatever version this particular game uses) is so much nicer to develop games in than OpenGL. MS has spent a lot of time focusing specifically on game developers in it's design... OpenGL ain't much more than a graphics library.

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (1, Interesting)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892186)

OpenGL IS a graphic library ! it is its sole purpose in life !

Now maybe MS fanboys expect their APIs to do everything for them but some people are actually serious about programming and do not want bloatware.

Oh, yeah how did it hurt them?
Well how are they going to port to PS3? iPhone? iPad? Linux? OSX ?

Valve had to rewrite alot of the Source engine for their OSX port because they made the poor decision to use DirectX for it; I hope they learn from that lesson; though
I don't hold much hope for greedy people like them.

--
www.twilightcampaign.net

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892272)

Doesn't seem like that poor a decision though really, because they released many really successful games that sold quite well... considering Windows is such a large platform for gaming, well then, if DirectX is easier, then it doesn't hurt them, because the DirectX/Windows version can provide a nice stream of income to then port nothing more than the engine once the resources, level design, gameplay and everything have already been developed, and beyond which, proven successful and commercially viable, as well as generating demand for other versions. Seems, if anything, as if it paid off, and provided work for the engine guys for a longer period of time as a result... while the asset guys got to spend a bunch of time working on cool new games, keeping the entire corporate family employed...

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892360)

Well how are they going to port to PS3? iPhone? iPad? Linux? OSX ?

Easy, they get the community to do it for them. Freely.

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892796)

Yeah they are ripping off...

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892374)

They didn't port Arx to any of those platforms. It was a Windows-only game, and DirectX is the best option for a Windows-only game.

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892732)

You are going off topic, i was talking about game developers as a whole, not that particular instance.

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892706)

Yes, because porting games to the .02% marketplace that might actually buy your game on linux is of such concern to modern game writers.

No serious game writer would try and write a game that would be portable to the iPhone/iPad and still expect good sales on PS3/Xbox360/PC. Sure, it's great for the $1.00 app store games, but then again, they are likely using a library that has already been ported so they don't have to worry about what underlying 3D library it's depending on for the platform.

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894938)

Now maybe MS fanboys expect their APIs to do everything for them but some people are actually serious about programming and do not want bloatware

Alternately, adults who want their software to solve the problem at hand with a minimum of unnecessary effort and fuss enjoy it when their APIs don't force them to reinvent the wheel.

"Serious about programming" != "Interested in code masturbation for no good reason."

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892304)

Sigh - why should openGL become everything ? why does it need to become a single all encompassing toolkit of bloat - thats not how Linux/UNIX works

openGL does graphics
openAL does audio

and so on

Although what you probably want yourself is SDL which exists to integrate the system specific stuff into a single cross platform library for developer convenience.

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892174)

How will it hurt them?

Re:"and uses DirectX (ugh...)" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892358)

How exactly has it hurt them, though?

The project was finished, presumably all the developers involved got paid, and I'm sure they've already moved onto other projects by now... I don't really know anything about the game in particular, but Wikipedia says it shipped in 2002. Presumably it had a good run and its copyright holders made some money off of it.

Now they release the source just in case anyone is interested. Still hasn't "hurt" them anything. The only person that it has "hurt" is you.

Lastly, I would ask you: given that they are evidently working in C, how exactly would the developers make a complete product without platform specific code? You might say they could use OpenGL instead of Direct3D. That's fair. But even that would require Win32 code to set up the window, initialize the WGL context, handle input, audio, and whatever else. Just as if they were targeting Linux they'd need non-portable code to set up a GLX context, handle input, audio, etc.

By the way, I'm sure that any capable developer with knowledge of Win32, POSIX, any given X toolkit, D3D and GL had an abundance of time they could clean the code up. You might say that's all a very big if, but this kind of thing has happened before when game companies have released their sources.

Get the game at Good Old Games (4, Informative)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892096)

You can get Arx Fatalis [gog.com] at Good Old Games for the required data files

Re:Get the game at Good Old Games (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893966)

Or Steam [steampowered.com] for a dollar cheaper.

Ultima Underworld (3, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892222)

Games like Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein 3D and the like are crediting with innovating and pushing 3D engines. People always seem to forget Ultima Underworld. Ultima Underworld shipped a full year before Doom, ran on lesser hardware, and had a more advanced engine.

It really is a shame these two games aren't very playable on modern systems and have been forgotten in the mists of time.

I'd kill to see the GPL Arx Fatalis engine used to remake Ultima Underworld I and II.

Re:Ultima Underworld (3, Interesting)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893486)

Ultima Underworld shipped a full year before Doom, ran on lesser hardware, and had a more advanced engine.

"More advanced engine" is debatable. It had nice things like 3D objects and the ability to look up and down, but the maps were tile-based (where Doom allowed arbitrary geometry in a 2D plane), and the draw distance was very limited (where Doom could render right up to the limit of the screen resolution).

Even what I believe was the last iteration of the Underworld engine, in System Shock, was still fundamentally tile-based and only had very limited support for non-orthogonal walls, though it was again very advanced in other ways (dynamic lighting, rather good physics for the era, and unusual support for high resolution graphics).

Re:Ultima Underworld (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893574)

> Ultima Underworld shipped a full year before Doom, ran on lesser hardware, and had a more advanced engine.

And ran at about a quarter of the frame rate, in spite of having a smaller viewport and limited draw depth.

Doom rendered to the horizon, used most of the screen, and was FAST.

GPL with additional conditions (1)

rkww (675767) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892516)

Towards the end of the accompanying license file, you'll find...

END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS

ADDITIONAL TERMS APPLICABLE TO THE ARX FATALIS GPL SOURCE CODE.

While GPL3 authorises some flavours of additional term, these ones contain spelling errors - DAMAEGS, LIABLITY - which suggest they really haven't spent much time on this.

catch-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892760)

a tomato and a ..
nevermind, what linux needs is a good mmorg engine, that can handle the I/O (atk, def, dodge,crit, etc...) and synchronise
in real-time player separated by continents and with multi 100s milliseconds lag ...
the graphic is handled by the client anyways. just need to co-ordinate the "roll of the dice" ...

XBOX Port! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893448)

Would it be possible to port it to XBOX 360 with XNA or to a modded original XBOX with the underground XDK? The mouse input system would surely need to be overhauled to work with a game pad.

Maybe now we can make it work on a modern OS (2)

IronSight (1925612) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893654)

This game was plagued by bugs when I decided to buy it a year or so ago on steam. It was basically unplayable from glitches with the graphics and slowdowns on modern hardware. Hopefully now we can kill 2 birds with one stone, update the graphics bugs and port to other os'es so others won't have to play in wine. It was a good game, and it's pretty cheap on steam (under 10 dollars last I checked) so it could use all the help it can get. Knowing the state it is in now, it will probably be much work, but it will add nicely to the games that went gpl lately, especially since they weren't willing to do any updates. I wish more companies would do the same for games they have no want to update to the latest os'es and just let rott in their IP library.
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