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Apricot Team Selected For Fully Open Source 3D Game

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the tux-pits-cure-cancer dept.

Programming 214

crush writes "The Linux Game Tome notes that the final team to produce a fully Open Source 3D game using the CrystalSpace engine and Blender has been chosen. The project (known as Apricot) aims to produce a cross-platform, 3D game with completely Free (CCA) graphics, music and code. An important side-effect of the project is to improve open source tools for the professional game development industry."
I look forward to more 3D games on my desktop, even if this one won't be the first. (And where is the open-source bus-driving counterpart to the under-rated FlightGear?)

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Good games I have been playing on Linux (5, Interesting)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876502)

A couple of interesting games with Linux support I have only found recently:

- Warzone 2100. Not as shiny as Supreme Commander, but much more involved. Great fun.
- NWN 1. Thanks to the fact that NWN2 bombed there is still a large online community.

Re:Good games I have been playing on Linux (1)

krunchyfrog (786414) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876840)

I play WZ2100 pretty much too. Lots of fun and a REALLY BIG tech tree.

Re:Good games I have been playing on Linux (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21876914)

NWN 1. Thanks to the fact that NWN2 bombed there is still a large online community.

Obsidian really dropped the ball on NWN2.

All the stuff that made NWN so great and helped foster the community really wasn't present in NWN 2.

If ever there was a game that only needed an engine upgrade to nicer graphics and perhaps an updated D&D ruleset while keeping everything else about the game exactly the same it was NWN. Obsidian managed to get the nicer graphics part and ruleset done but totally failed to deliver anything else. If they'd have reverse engineered the user interface of the NWN game client and GM client and made a totally slavish copy that worked 100% exactly like NWN did then they'd have produced a far better game than they managed to.

If you were to consider NWN to be a Swiss army knife then NWN2 would have to be considered as a bent, rusty butter knife.

Do we really need more FPS? (-1, Flamebait)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876510)

So the Free Software community is going to produce another FPS. Well, maybe that will make Free Software look like it's got it together, able to coordinate the efforts of many volunteers for a quality product. But it really does seem like the game scene is stagnated with all these FPS. Why can't the Free Software community innovate, putting out a new kind of game where you don't just go around from room to room and blow stuff up. Why is it that only non-Free developers are giving us new kinds of games like Spore?

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876600)

Well, attempts by Open Source developers to borrow from BBC Elite to produce a comprehensive open-ended gaming environment have so far not achieved a whole lot. Partly through legal complications, but also through lack of developers. I can't remember the last time the TORC group actually produced a release. Development on Empire seems limited to non-existant. The Netrek genre seems to have died. XTank was interesting, but died through licensing complications. Very few MUD or MUSH servers are under any kind of development, and it's limited at best. LambdaMOO has faded into oblivion. Omega offered an interesting twist to the Rouge/Nethack family, but the entire family seems to have been vanquished by a dragon.

In other words, the projects exist. People have been interested. But for whatever reason - my bet is a mix of it being hard and developers making lousy publicists - the efforts have struggled to maintain sufficient interest and have eventually collapsed through brain drains and burnout taking out original developers with nobody to replace them.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877166)

Well, attempts by Open Source developers to borrow from BBC Elite to produce a comprehensive open-ended gaming environment have so far not achieved a whole lot
Really? [aegidian.org] I think they've done very well indeed [sourceforge.net] and has been about the only game I've played recently.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (2, Insightful)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876606)

> So the Free Software community is going to produce another FPS.

Where did you get the idea of FPS?

"But the real start will be the first week of February. Only then real decisions will be made on game concept, game design and other targets, although we do know it'll be derived from Project Peach, furry & crazy characters in a forest."
http://apricot.blender.org/ [blender.org]

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877140)

"But the real start will be the first week of February. Only then real decisions will be made on game concept, game design and other targets, although we do know it'll be derived from Project Peach, furry & crazy characters in a forest."

Let me see if I understand this correctly:

You assemble a full creative team for a game and only then decide what you want to do with it?

In animation, a studio like Pixar will spend years in developing a story. Only then will it begin assembling a production crew.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877606)

You assemble a full creative team for a game and only then decide what you want to do with it?
I am aware of this happening in the video game industry else where. Video game company starts, gets people together and they try to figure out what they are going to do exactly.

In animation, a studio like Pixar will spend years in developing a story. Only then will it begin assembling a production crew.
Not everyone is Pixar and can I get sources for that?

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21876608)

why do you assume it's an FPS? nowhere I can find on the website mentions that.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (4, Insightful)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876708)

I'm honestly not trying to troll here, but it's probably a hell of a lot easier to do those "visionary" and innovative games in a non-free context.

To use your example, Spore has been in development for like seven years and has undoubtedly cost tens of millions of dollars, mostly in man-hours of work. Do you think a free-source project could get a solid core of designers, coders, and artists to donate their time and money regularly for over half a decade with NO product to show for it, on the hope that one day it might be released and... look good on their resumes?

We've all heard the horror stories about what EA puts its employees through to get games out the door. Do you think an entire project team would put themselves through that voluntarily for NO money, or for what little money a free project could get from ads, donations, and so on?

Now, an FPS, that's a known criteria. You can set clear goals for how every little thing should work, and any "controversial" parts, like level design, are conveniently lumped into chunks that can be handled individually. (If I want to make an oddball level or character model, I can handle it on my own.) Compare that to a more experimental game like Spore, where there aren't discrete levels and the creature models are intrinsic to the gameplay.

Basically, you can have innovative, high-production-value, or free: pick two. "Innovative and free" can be managed by small teams, and "high-budget and free" might theoretically be managed by initiatives like this one with clear and easily-established milestones along the way, but to get innovation AND high production values, you probably need a level of team discipline and management that can only be established with regular paychecks to incentivize everyone involved.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877050)

you probably need a level of team discipline and management that can only be established with regular paychecks to incentivize everyone involved.

Yeah well, and a few stock options wouldn't hurt either.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (2, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877928)

Not to mention that if Spore was open source, we'd all be playing beta versions of it right now.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (2, Informative)

Jorrit (19549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876724)

The type of game hasn't been decided yet. So where did you get the idea that it will be an FPS?

Greetings,

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (3, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876736)

"Why is it that only non-Free developers are giving us new kinds of games like Spore?"

Because a game like spore takes decades of man-hours to do right, and most open source developers have full-time jobs. When you pay for software - especially games - you're usually paying for a lot of thought and time from the developers/artists.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877582)

When you pay for software - especially games - you're usually paying for a lot of thought and time from the developers/artists.

But to listen to a lot of people here, the same isn't true for productivity or graphics apps (image editing in particular).

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877952)

Though he asked it in a profoundly stupid way, he did raise a good question.

Because a game like spore takes decades of man-hours to do right, and most open source developers have full-time jobs.

That's not a useful measure. It's like saying "Most English speakers aren't good writers". True, but useless! People don't go to the bookstore and buy a bound, printed copy of something an average English speaker wrote.

I believe (where was the article?) that most good open-source software that actually gets used is maintained by people for whom that's their job. Torvalds isn't exactly working at the Swiss patent office.

I'm having trouble thinking of a significant and good piece of open-source software that I use that wasn't either commercial-then-freed, or free-then-commercially-sponsored.

Anyway, your answer doesn't answer the question. For example, Sun and Google (among many others) have released a decent body of innovative yet open-source code -- but not for gaming. Why is it that only the field of games has developers waiting 5 years to open-source their work? It can't be as simple as "money", because game companies inevitably release the engine for free, but still not the content.

(It's especially puzzling that Google is avoiding this, because (a) they love building tools for content creation and publication so people can buy their ads [so a free MMORPG or FPS engine with support for AdWords seems like a no-brainer], and (b) they've got Sketchup [though it's really only for static views, and it's not open-source], so they know how to make 3D easy. Why isn't Google pushing a billion dollars into Croquet development, or building something better?)

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (1)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876960)

So the Free Software community is going to produce another FPS. Well, maybe that will make Free Software look like it's got it together, able to coordinate the efforts of many volunteers for a quality product.
Actually it is not planned to be a FPS according to Ton (leader of Blender and the projects) , "[W]e will re-use the peach project assets [] so it's not likely to be a FPS".

http://www.blender.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12399 [blender.org]

The official game style is yet to be announced; but I believe the team is leaning towards minigames.

LetterRip

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877328)

Here's a couple of reasons:

Design by committee isn't very compatible with radical ideas

How many FOSS game developers are there, anyway? The vast majority of games coming out from the the "traditional" game industry are cookie-cutter dross. There's hundreds of non-free companies out there and a handful that make anything interesting. The innovation percentage just isn't that large, so with very few free developers out there in the first place, you can be sure a VERY small number of those will be coming up with anything new.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877406)

Forgot one: motives. For a free software developer, the primary motivator is quite likely ideological: they primarily want to make FOSS software. Making a game, making a GOOD game, and finding people who are actually capable of that come, to some extent, second. Enthusiasm does not a game dev make.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (0, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877712)

For a free software developer, the primary motivator is quite likely ideological: they primarily want to make FOSS software.

As a FOSS dev and a member of a homebrew game making community (the GP32/GP2X/Pandora community) I can tell this is bullshit. I don't do any software/game by ideology, and I don't know a single person who does that either. All the devs I know do what they do because they're excited by creating a game, their game (although even in a community centered around homebrew most efforts go to ports and emulators) and often a contest helps motivate them.

Nobody who actually creates anything cares about the FOSS supremacy.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (2, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878188)

What's emacs?

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877566)

Spore new? It's a compilation of classical games, how does that make it new? The only new thing about it is the charecter development system being able to make dynamic 3d models, but thats not innovation, thats evolution.
Spore is pretty "up there" but theres basicly nothing new to it. The sims was new, in that it took a casual RTG to a completely non war environment, but even then that wasn't innovation as much as evolution.
The game scene has seen alot of innovation in resent years, now it's time for evolution, and developing high quality free development tools will allow hobbyists to deliver the next wave of innovation needed in a scene where you HAVE to secure a multimillion income for any idea to get developed.

Do we really need more Blowups?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877664)

"Why can't the Free Software community innovate, putting out a new kind of game where you don't just go around from room to room and blow stuff up."

A new genre is born. The First Person Monica Lewinsky.

Re:Do we really need more FPS? (1)

Briggs_Bl (1098445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877702)

Not sure where you got the idea from that it's going to be an FPS. As far as I know it has never been mentioned anywhere in connection to the project. Cheers, Briggs

Genre? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876524)

What kind of game will this be?
MMORPG?
RTS?
Turn-based? (like Civilization)
FPS?

Re:Genre? (1)

Terrasque (796014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876626)

From the blog:

But the real start will be the first week of February. Only then real decisions will be made on game concept, game design and other targets, although we do know it'll be derived from Project Peach, furry & crazy characters in a forest.
So it seems like the final type of game haven't been decided yet.

Re:Genre? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876828)

Well of course. You always choose the technology you'll be using before you know what you're making.

Re:Genre? (1)

alxbtk (1009019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877014)

Always? No. But when you want to further develop and at the same time promote a given set of tools, yes, you do.

Re:Genre? (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876926)

"To save time and to benefit from cooperation with the artists working in the Blender Institute on the Peach project, we will re-use as much material from Peach as possible.
That means that the game will have funny & furry animals, and play in an outdoors environment.

This probably means an adventure/platform style of game, or maybe it's going to be like mini games or party games. The Apricot team will have - within above constraints - the full creative freedom in designing the game concept and game play."
http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/apricot-open-game/ [blender.org]

Anytime (1)

sproketboy (608031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876594)

after duke nukem right?

This project needs funding? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876610)

If everything is going to be open source, why exactly does this project need funding? Are the developers going to be working on this full-time?

Re:This project needs funding? (2, Insightful)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876704)

If everything is going to be open source, why exactly does this project need funding? Are the developers going to be working on this full-time?

I don't know; it'd be easy to say that open source != free, but that'd be both glib, redundant and not answering the question I guess. Perhaps there's the wages/salary/remuneration for the developers or maybe there's some resources need paying for? Whether a CVS repository server or some licensing fees to access...something or other?

Re:This project needs funding? (1)

inigo_jones (1041346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876720)

apricot will be a sort of companion to the peach [blender.org] open movie project. The genre will, im sure, not be FPS as it will be using furry little forest characters. i believe the developers will be working on it full-time - the peach project has all of the developers working together full time at the blender institute in amsterdam.

Re:This project needs funding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21876734)

Yes they are. They won't be paid "normal" game dev salaries but it costs to have an office, provide housing for the developers etc, hence funding is needed.

Re:This project needs funding? (3, Informative)

Shade of Pyrrhus (992978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876964)

From the website:
"At the end of July 2008 the game will be launched. The team members will get a great studio facility and housing in Amsterdam, all travel costs reimbursed, and a fee sufficient to cover all expenses during the period."

Obviously, this requires funding. The funding's coming from sponsors (see web site) and profits from the DVD sales. The DVD, as noted in the forums/site, will include all sorts of great documentation and information about what went on and stuff.

And from the forum:
"The plan is to have 6 people for 6 months in Amsterdam working full time on a game."

Re:This project needs funding? (5, Interesting)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877010)

If everything is going to be open source, why exactly does this project need funding? Are the developers going to be working on this full-time?
Full time artists and full time developers are going to be funded for both Blender and for CrystalSpace. These projects (Orange, Peach, Apricot) serve a few purposes - to prove the quality of these particular open source tools for professional usage (ie pulling together very high quality art work, game assets, game design and logic, and game environment in a very short period of time) and as a major side benefit provides excellent functionality for the current and future users of both projects (ie Blender has had huge leaps in functionality improvement during both Elephants Dream (Orange) and during Rabbits Revenge (Peach) as the artists wishlists were met by both the developers paid to work for the project and the rest of the Blender volunteer team).

LetterRip

Why crystal space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21876614)

Just curious as to the reasons the crystal space engine was selected (as opposed to, say, OGRE).

Re:Why crystal space? (1)

Dingobloo (888090) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876876)

Because it wasn't a matter of selection, blender wasn't looking for a 3D engine to base a game on, the idea evolved through a working relationship and a mutual agreement was made in order to increase the profile of the involved parties.

Re:Why crystal space? (1)

Thalagyrt (851883) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876928)

Honestly the Crystal Space engine screenshots make it look like the devs are still stuck in 1999. Using decals for shadows? In their news, they just recently implemented decals in the engine?

They really should have used Ogre.

Re:Why crystal space? (1)

GermanDZ (1137061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877136)

There is a difference between OGRE and Crystal Space, OGRE is just the 3D engine meanwhile CS provides a basic framework for games. I choose MOGRE (Managed OGRE, the .NET version of OGRE) for our 3D Virtual World. The begining with OGRE is hard, but you have a lot of control afterward. My 5c.

The problem (2, Insightful)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876732)

I think the problem with decent open source game development (assuming the developers aren't getting bi-weekly checks) is the amount of programmers and artists needed and the amount of time needed to spend on it. FPSs can be the exception if they use an existing 3d engine and layout similar to a game already out. but something like an open source spore or perhaps a 3d rendered RTS like warcraft 3.. slashcraft: penguins versus macboys. or maybe 4 races, penguins, daemons, macboys, and a microsoft borg-like race. You could manufacture air-support, and raid each other with giant mac "finders" or MSN butterflies..

well, enough imagination for now. if you want a good open source game, you need full time developers who can work full time on it. which means you need a financial backing. (Google?)

Re:The problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21876826)

The game PlaneShift, which is built on the the Crystal Space Code is a 100% free to play MMORPG with heavy emphasis on role playing. Although the team does not see any money for their work it is in a playable state. It is not, nor should it be thought of as competition for pro games, but it does offer a free option for gamers.

The not for profit group Atomic Blue holds the copyright to the art and writing for the game, but the source code is available on sourceforge.

Re:The problem (1, Interesting)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876990)

One interesting concept, if the game is 3D multi-user, allow users to perhaps contribute graphics or expand the terrain of game, by uploading new graphics and terrain to the server. The sort of project I find interesting would be something involving a persistant, dynamic always running 3D world running on a server, which can also change, for instance, trees might blow in simulated winds for instance. People could move their "avatar" or whatever you want to call it and perhaps even manipulate objects in the world with it. There are design challenges involved with this, since it could be one very large continuous 3D space, millions or more pixels large, a way would need to be found to only feed the data closest to a user down to the user at full resolution and uses less detail the farther away an object is, or it would use massive amounts of bandwidth. Having a horizon where simply anything beyond the horizon is not rendered probably would not be sufficient, since you may want items which are far, far away rendered, such as a distant mountain, but without the detail, such as individual trees, is not needed. If you moved closer, then those details would need to be fed to the user.

Also needed - better video card driver support (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877060)

Read through Ubuntuforums.org and see all the people having trouble with cards that are supposed to do 3D but aren't for some reason. There are a large amount of posts.

My 1-month old new system has a VIA Chrome 9 HC IGP card. I've spent the last 2 days trying to get it to work on Ubuntu with something other than a generic VESA driver. I finally noticed VIA actually released a new driver on Dec 2007. I downloaded it and installed it. Still no 3D. After the second day of this, I said screw it and ordered an older card off of eBay that I know works because I have one in another system, but I still see people on the forums having trouble with even that card...so I'm thinking it is a crapshoot and hope I didn't waste more money.

There might be more interest in games if there was better support for video cards. Personally, I don't really mind spending two days to install a driver, because I usually learn a lot doing it. But how many people would rather spend those two days just playing the game they wanted to play?

Transporter_ii

Re:Also needed - better video card driver support (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877488)

But how many people would rather spend those two days just playing the game they wanted to play?
If people were buying Linux [system76.com] systems [dell.com] , I don't think there would be a problem.

Re:Also needed - better video card driver support (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877876)

> If people were buying Linux systems, I don't think there would be a problem.

Actually, I purchased an Everex gc3502, which is basically identical to the 199.00 Linux computer they are selling at Wal-Mart, only mine had a gig of RAM and Windows Vista on it, instead of 512MB and gOS (Linux), otherwise it is identical. And I specifically purchased it because I wanted the extra RAM, to make a dual-boot system out of it (for the experience), and because I figured it shouldn't be too hard to find drivers for a system being sold with a Linux distro already on it. Ok, two out three ain't bad, I guess.

Transporter_ii

Re:The problem (2, Informative)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877172)

if you want a good open source game, you need full time developers who can work full time on it.

Or good management, and a team consisting of members that are aware that he/she has to take full responsibility for their expertise.

This would mean that everyone has a perfect grasp of the goals for the game, and each member's individual input is used to slowly clean up and refine the initial idea(s).
This also means that each member does its own research (based on some rough layouts in the gamedesign document), does its own QA (the feedback is directly returned to the appropriate person), and everyone has its own small gamedesign document which clearly states the progress of the assets list assigned to that person.

As you mentioned, it really depends on what type of game is being created, but I still think your Slashcraft is a doable project with a team of about 6 to 7 members.

For myself, I've just completed a gamedesign document I've been working on for 1.5 years, and started active development on a game which will partly be sponsored by non-obtrusive in-game advertisements; and will be free for people to download and play. I'm currently working four days a week, so I have that extra day to put in both managing the whole project, as well as creating the different maps and character models.

To get all our heads pointing the right way, we're currently using a modified MediaWiki [mediawiki.org] , which suits us perfect in streamlining the development and content: It's very easy to make corrections, add valuable information, or otherwise make suggestions. It can also be used to store individual files, and has great structure to list all the available/completed media assets in ways so the team has a clear oversight.
The simple creation of extra sections, or tagging of pages is a perfect tool for everyone to make their own sections that they can watch over: So it sort of the same as someone on Wikipedia 'protecting' his or her content by watching over it: But on top of the checking actual correctness of the data, each teammember also overlooks the progress that is made on his or her side of the development.

Btw, for the game we're using the cleaned up Quake 3 engine (IOQuake3 [ioquake3.org] ), and instead of creating 'yet another FPS where you can either deathmatch or capture the flag', we're working on something where the nearest similarities come from a game like Mario Party; Just small mini-like games, playable with 1 to 4 players, where each map features completely different gametypes/environments/weapons/models etc.
Some of these gametype-concepts have already been proven; I created some mappacks for fortress-mods before, where the same concept of different gametypes on each map was the main objective: For some screenshots have a look at the maps-section of my site [nosoup.net] , and in particular the maps that start with Q3F_MG and ETF_MG.

Current estimate is to get an Alpha release out within three months (which we'll be pitching to various advertisers/in-game advertising companies), so once it's out, be sure to download this game [downloadthisgame.com] ! :)

The problem: US! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877586)

"well, enough imagination for now. if you want a good open source game, you need full time developers who can work full time on it. which means you need a financial backing. (Google?)"

Wasn't "doing it for the love" suppose to take care of issues like *cough*money*cough*? I think I liked it better when we could pretend that virtual things like game art, music, sound, and levels were valueless and therefore worthy of being put on piratebay.

Anyway what's in it (oh God there's that thinking of ourselves thing again) for Google. Besides why does Google keep having to buy everyone's respect by giving away free stuff?

Great fan of FlightGear myself (4, Funny)

smchris (464899) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876738)

I say we build up the airports ala Second Life and party in the lounges! And, yes, you would have to actually fly to each airport and deplane in my vision.

The airports could become hubs into the cities. FlightGear has great potential to become a parallel earth so why not start populating it?

Re:Great fan of FlightGear myself (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877454)

I say we build up the airports ala Second Life and party in the lounges! And, yes, you would have to actually fly to each airport and deplane in my vision.

The airports could become hubs into the cities. FlightGear has great potential to become a parallel earth so why not start populating it?
My only problem with it is:
  • Flight simulation sucks in SL
  • Sim borders are hell

Re:Great fan of FlightGear myself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877516)

because it sucks.

When will the Watermelon team... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21876748)

...make a killing, looting, drug dealing game for Linux?

There are Open Source games out there, but... (4, Informative)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876754)

Too much stuff from the past gets neglected.

The Pros:

There have been alot of innovative, beautiful games to come out of F/OSS:
Vega Strike
Pingus
FreeDroid RPG
TrackBalls
Nexuiz
Open Arena
Tremulous
Torcs
Scorched Earth 3D
AssaultCube
Lincity NG

Also, many DOS games have found new life as Linux games:

Quake 1, 2, and 3
Doom I, II, and Final
Descent I and II (D2X-XL)
Warcraft II *
Duke Nukem 3D

Problems:

Some games get neglected that really should not have been:
Heretic and Hexen - These are Doom Engine games, technically, there is one Engine that plays them, Vavoom, supposedly DoomsDay plays them, but in many cases their performance is really buggy.
Strife - Only Vavoom plays this.
I'd like to note that you can play Strife, Heretic, and Hexen under Wine with Randy Heit's ZDoom Engine for Windows. But thats not the same as a Native Linux Port. There used to be a Linux port of the massive multiplayer engine ZDaemon for Doom based games, but that guy announced that he hated Linux and closed off his source. He even put code in his program to prevent people using Wine to play the game, anmd said that Linux Users were responsible for DoS attacks against his servers.

Blood - This is a big one. Blood was one of the greatest games of all time. Yet there is no Engine replacement for it and it runs awful under DosEmu and DosBox. There exists a Total Remake of the Bloodbath levels called "Transfusion" but it is Quake based and is nothing like the original Blood.
Star Command: Revolution - A game So obscure I found it for 3.95 in a Wal-Mart Bargain bin
Mechwarrior 2: This game predates Direct 3D, You can't run this under Wine.

* Recently, Warcraft II support under Stratagus has suffered. Stratagus 2.1 was superior to Stratagus 2.2. Stratagus 2.1 had support for 16 players instead of the usual 8, and could do dual race computer forces. It had a level editor, and could read the native Warcraft II PUD Format.

There exists Linux Engines for:

Quake 4
Doom 3

I really think a great deal more effort should be pushed into making Windows and older Dos games accessible and updated under Linux, such as One Must Fall, and producing more original games, as it seems some Linux games that used to be full steam ahead are dying out. I'm shifting my focus in University towards programming just so I will have the technical programming knowledge to contribute to Open Source projects more than I am now. So many of the problems are things like bugs in network code, deprecated syntax, added support for additional games.

Games are where the Computer Industry goes. It was Doom that gave us the Windows Ecosystem, so it will have to be a killer Linux game that gives us the Linux ecosystem.

Re:There are Open Source games out there, but... (2, Insightful)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876834)

Too much stuff from the past gets neglected. The Pros: There have been alot of innovative, beautiful games to come out of F/OSS: Vega Strike Pingus FreeDroid RPG TrackBalls Nexuiz Open Arena Tremulous Torcs Scorched Earth 3D AssaultCube Lincity NG

Don't forget BZFlag [bzflag.org] .

Re:There are Open Source games out there, but... (2, Funny)

krunchyfrog (786414) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876892)

What?! No Nethack??

#####
#.@.#
#####

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! - Reason: Please use fewer 'junk' characters.
-- Hey. I'm trying to be original here.

Re:There are Open Source games out there, but... (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877000)

I'd like to add Battle for Wesnoth to the good FOSS games list. It and Vega Strike are the only two games that I've been playing recently. The only non-Free game I've seen recently that I've wanted to play is Portal, but the fact that it's not available without DRM, nor on any platform I own has meant that I haven't bought it.

A Crysis in Open Source Games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877104)

"Too much stuff from the past gets neglected."

And too much of the future passes you by. Let me know when I can start living in the present.

Re:There are Open Source games out there, but... (2, Insightful)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877548)

It was Doom that gave us the Windows Ecosystem, so it will have to be a killer Linux game that gives us the Linux ecosystem.

You had me nodding all the way, and you have to end your post with such a misinformed line. Doom came out way before Win '95 and didn't do zit in creating any ecosystem; Microsoft's marketing was immensely more important than any DOS/Windows game. And why should people switch to Linux merely for a game that will probably be ported to Windows if it's successful by any rate?

Don't get me wrong: more open source games the better. Not because they might switch users over to a different OS (yeah right), not to demonstrate the capabilities of Linux, but simply to give users of any operating system some fun. What's wrong with keeping it at that?

While we are on the 3D engine subject (-1, Offtopic)

SeanTobin (138474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876758)

Anyone know of a rendering method for ungodly-large 3d meshes? I've got some terrain models that are on the order of 150+ million polys with UV maps (yes, they are polys and not DEM's... the meshes include features such as caves and bridges). Pretty much everything I've thrown at these models dies a horrible death (Autocad 2008, Blender, Maya, 3DS Max, ESRI products). In order to do any useful work, I have to downsample the models and work with small slices for high-resolution. If anyone knows of a sort of Google Earth for 3d models, please let me know.

Re:While we are on the 3D engine subject (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876800)

You need a cluster of G5's (or Cell processors) and a lot of RAM. Use whatever software you're comfortable with -- the hardware is the biggest factor here.

Re:While we are on the 3D engine subject (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877048)

I was recently thinking about what it would take to create some sort of a system which contains a multi-user 3D world, which could become quite large, a continuous, persistant 3D world. I was looking for some possible ways to perhaps render objects more distant to the user with less detail, so the detail would decrease the farther an object is. With a very large world, one that might continue for millions of pixels, that would be rather necessary to keep resource usage down. Perhaps when the terrain is designed several different resolutions could be created, then the client could ask for a certain resolution depending on how far away the object is. As far as existing software, I am afraid I do not know of any off hand.

Re:While we are on the 3D engine subject (1)

Grard Menfin (1178135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877086)

You could try POV-Ray on a 64-bit machine with lots of RAM. Christoph Hormann [imagico.de] has done gigantic renders of earth views with it.

Open Source Bus Driving Simulator (3, Informative)

sopwith (5659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876822)

I know that last part of the story was meant as a joke, but... http://virtualbus.info/ [virtualbus.info]

(some English info at http://vbus.wikia.com/ [wikia.com] , and the Subversion repository is at svn://prv.ilan.pl/virtualbus )

Re:Open Source Bus Driving Simulator (2, Interesting)

timothy (36799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876970)

No, not a joke -- thanks for that link! I have never played the actual game, but from screenshots and descriptions, I know that I *want* to play TBG :) Awesome!

timothy

Apricot, eh? (2, Insightful)

VValdo (10446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876832)

Wait a second! Isn't the next Elephant's Dream [elephantsdream.org] -like open animated short (originally called "orange") going to be called "Peach"?

Orange? Peach? Apricot?

I call nepotism! ;)

W

Seriously tho-- is the game related to the short?

Re:Apricot, eh? (1)

Fireflymantis (670938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876940)

Apricot will be the open source companion game (built in blender) to the short movie that is also underway called Peach (also built in blender).

Re:Apricot, eh? (4, Funny)

Shade of Pyrrhus (992978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876984)

Afterwards, they're going to take all of the projects and throw them in the Blender - Open Source Smoothies for everyone! So that's what OSS really stands for...

Push Linux gaming; use the LGPL (or similar) (1)

bmartin (1181965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876874)

The one thing that needs to come of all of this is that the tools made have to be usable in a commercial setting. I'm all about free as in beer stuff, but freedom (for companies) is the more important factor here. For some reason (and I think it has to do w/ Microsoft's SDK), many companies have chosen to use Direct X, which is a huge hindrance to cross-platform gaming; those companies and their developers will likely continue to use Direct X. Convincing them to use OpenGL and SDL is a must.

A license like the LGPL would be nice; if the software isn't usable without companies having to open up their entire game (i.e., give everything away for free), where's the incentive to develop games for Linux? (I'm writing this while waiting for my turn in Battle for Wesnoth).

Re:Push Linux gaming; use the LGPL (or similar) (2, Informative)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877044)

The one thing that needs to come of all of this is that the tools made have to be usable in a commercial setting.
The game content and logic are planned to be released under Creative Commons Attribution I believe (as were the Elephants Dream assets) - improvements to Blender will be under GPL, and improvements to CrystalSpace will be under LGPL.

LetterRip

This should be server based multi user (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876886)

I am glad to see that there is work underway to show what Linux, X/ OpenGL can do in the area of gaming. There are too few games avialable for Linux.

I do think it would be a good idea for the developers to make this is a server based multiple user game ( a virtual world), the sort where you can login and logoff but the world remains persistant. Perhaps that does not fit with the plot they have for the game, I dont know. But I do think that having more open source multi-user games is a fantastic idea can be quite a bit of fun, especially being able to interact with other users in a virtual 3D space.

I also see value in 3D chat environments based on rendered 3D landscapes and scenes, a visual 3D version of chat rooms. There was a similar system called WorldsAway on compuserve years ago, but was quite limited by the technology of the time. With todays hardware, the level of realness could be much more developed. An open source system could start an IRC-like community of visual environments.

Re:This should be server based multi user (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877382)

I also see value in 3D chat environments based on rendered 3D landscapes and scenes, a visual 3D version of chat rooms. There was a similar system called WorldsAway on compuserve years ago, but was quite limited by the technology of the time. With todays hardware, the level of realness could be much more developed. An open source system could start an IRC-like community of visual environments.
Try Second life [secondlife.com] . The client is opensource.

Also post your wishes for Blender at Peach site (3, Informative)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876902)

If you go to http://peach.blender.org/ [blender.org] one of the recent stories is a request for feedback of what you want added or changed about Blender to improve it for game content creation.

LetterRip

Re:Also post your wishes for Blender at Peach site (2, Informative)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877450)

Doh! So used to typing peach that I typed the wrong project. I meant that if you go to http://apricot.blender.org/ [blender.org] [blender.org] one of the recent stories is a request for feedback of what you want added or changed about Blender to improve it for game content creation.

LetterRip

Oboy. (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876974)

This is a game designed by committee. If there isn't a game designer at the lead of the team with a passion for their design, then this might as well be another cookie cutter grist mill EA waste of shelf space. (Except, of course, this also isn't likely to hit the shelves.) It's nice that open source is putting together the effort to show that they can do something like this, and that it can all be free, but games aren't like other engineering projects. They require passion, and I don't see that here.

No game of value here. Thank you, drive through.

Re:Oboy. (1)

Fireflymantis (670938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877012)

Have you seen the last project the blender foundation made that was 'designed by committee', "Elephants Dream", aka Project Orange? In my opinion it was absolutely brilliant, so I am still holding my breath and looking forward to whatever gets pushed out of their doors. I assure you, passion is something that they are _not_ lacking.

Re:Oboy. (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877622)

I assure you, passion is something that they are _not_ lacking.
Yeah, well, I've actually looked at the work being done. You can assure all you want, but I'm a gaming industry professional, and my opinion doesn't change because some random person on SlashDot saw some other random thing that might maybe be somehow similar. This work doesn't have one drop of emotion in it.

Re:Oboy. (1)

Fireflymantis (670938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877726)

Well, first of all, it will be primarily the same team that worked on the last project, which, if you havn't seen it you really are missing out. You can download it here if you want [blender.org] . If even a little bit of the passion and brilliance that went into that can be carried over to Apricot and Peach, then I highly doubt we will be disapointed. Keep in mind that Elephant's Dream was a project which aim was to further the tools in Blender for larger scale movie production work with a focus on it's post-production toolset. I have high expectations for Apricot and Peach, and I think that they can pull it off.

Re:Oboy. (4, Insightful)

bperkins (12056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878168)

It seems to me that you (and just about all of slashdot) are missing the point.

I agree with you, the game is probably going to be crap. But even if they had a better than average chance of making a good game, it'd probably be crap, since most games are crap.

From what I see, the point of this game is to demonstrate that an OSS toolchain is a viable solution for game design. If they can create a game that works mostly and has reasonable gameplay, they will have accomplished the goal. If the game is lacking in the concept department, most people who make the decision to create a game will be able to see that although the game isn't vey good, the platform seems to work well enough to use as a foundation. If it ends up being a good game, it's a total home run, since they get free publicity.

I'm surprised that as a gaming professional, you don't see the possibilities here. I'm in the silicon design industry and if someone wanted to demonstrate chip design using OSS tools, I'd be mostly unconcerned about the final product.

    The reality is that vendor tools are a serious pain an the ass. They are usually broken and support is mostly useless. Our internal tools are not much better as far as bugs, but since we have the source, there's at least some chance of getting it working in a reasonable amount of time. If someone demonstrated the 90% of what we needed was OSS and it had some miles under it, we'd be all over it.

That said, I'm sure they still have an uphill battle to achieve even a modest success, but I don't think it's hopeless.

Re:Oboy. (1)

Briggs_Bl (1098445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877748)

It's stated pretty clearly on the Apricot web page who the lead game designer is, as well as the roles of everyone in the team. More information here: http://apricot.blender.org/?page_id=5 [blender.org] Where did you get the impression that this would be a game 'designed by comittee'? Cheers, Briggs

The game is already lost (1)

Aellus (949929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21876976)

I think 95% of the video games that have been developed since the late 90's has shown that when a game is developed for a purpose other than to simply produce an awesome game (i.e. to make a profit, etc), the quality of the game suffers. It doesn't matter that the cause may be a good one for this project, the game is still being developed for a reason other than to make a game. I doubt the game will come out very well.

Apricots and Crystals in Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877026)

I like the idea but... ...Will It Blend?

We know it will be cool, but... (1)

cyofee (975070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877146)

Will it blend?

MMO's for Linux (1)

Teisei (1172661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877148)

I've noticed that role playing games attract gamers very largely, so getting especially MMORPG's on Linux would be awesome. There are already many good FPS games on Linux, but what is needed is variety ! ... And I also hope that Duke Nukem Forever, when/if it's released, comes with Linux client :)

Re:MMO's for Linux (1)

LiquidFire_HK (952632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877550)

Well, there is at least one open source MMORPG, PlaneShift [planeshift.it] , though it's supposedly not complete, and when I last tried it wasn't all that great (however, that was an year or two ago, and things may have changed considerably). Apart from that, there are some commercial ones that run on Linux. For instance, EVE Online and Regnum Online run natively, while World of Warcraft runs perfectly with WINE.

Design by Committee Equals Bad Game (3, Insightful)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877204)

The project site makes it pretty clear there's no design document for the game, no central vision of what it will be. They're going to design it once they've got the people together, so it's going to be one of those designed-by-committee games.

That way lies adequacy and weak gameplay.

Still, I wish them well and since they're off to a bad start it can only improve from here.

Re:Design by Committee Equals Bad Game (1)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877278)

The project site makes it pretty clear there's no design document for the game, no central vision of what it will be. They're going to design it once they've got the people together, so it's going to be one of those designed-by-committee games.
The team has been in discussion for a month or two and have another month they can use for discussion before they come together in Amsterdam. Project Peach isn't 'design by committee' so I sse no reason why Apricot would be. Also both the artwork, and the snippets of story that have come thus far from Peach have been excellent, so I don't have any fears that it will be low quality. Also since Apricot is going to be based on the Peach assets it will have a built in characters and back story which will constrain some choices and make other game design choices 'obvious'.

LetterRip

Bus Driver? (1)

Tavor (845700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877232)

The comment about the Bus Driver game? Why not just download ...
Desert Bus! [wikipedia.org]

Technology Demo (3, Insightful)

Jekler (626699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877242)

I don't see this becoming a "game" so much as it'll be a technology demo. The same way Elephants Dream was just masturbation material for artists. There wasn't anything in the way of real story being told, unless you really reach for some meaning in it. It's 11 minutes of "That's neat", but I'm never going to watch it again like Lord of the Rings or X-Men. I foresee roughly the same thing here, a bunch of people get together to show how deeply functional each of their subsystems is. Most of the "game" won't even have a purpose other than to show you how great Programmer X did collision detection, particle physics, etc. You'll be able to spend 5 minutes shooting cannon balls at a stack of barrels and watching them smash but otherwise there won't be much to do. Maybe it's pessimistic of me, but that's been my opinion of most games over the last decade. Everyone seems to be more proud of the intricacy of their work and doesn't understand why you think the game sucks, they think you just don't "get it". It's like they spend 3 years hand-crafting a #2 pencil and when I write a sentence then throw it away they're like "Hey, that thing was a work of art! I spent 13 months renting equipment at NASA to insert the lead using a bleeding-edge particle injector!" and I'm like "Yeah, but it still had one of those hard erasers that just smears what you're trying to erase so it's no good." I really subscribe to the idea that you need a single visionary to design a game. Otherwise it just becomes a pile of interesting components but it has no gestalt form.

Re:Technology Demo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877366)

It's 11 minutes of "That's neat", but I'm never going to watch it again like Lord of the Rings or X-Men.
I didn't like those movies and I am never going to watch them again.

Quake (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877334)

Uh, Quake has been fully open source for quite a while, and still has quite a few people playing it too. Pick your flavor (1,Quakeworld,2,3...) and you can probably find one of the new clients that has shaders, bloom, environmental effects, etc. for it. Plus, Quakeworld (with CustomTF, but I'm biased) is a lot of fun.

Best wishes to Apricot! (1)

LucaP (838457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877478)

The PlaneShift team would like to wish the makers of Apricot well in their ambition and wish them a Happy New Year. PlaneShift is contributing to raise awareness about Apricot and will help out the project in whatever ways we can.

Awful summary (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877598)

The team has been chosen? By who? What for? When you read the summary only, you get the feeling that some team is going to make some game, and that a mysterious group of unmentioned persons (let's call them "they") chose them to do it, (as we can suppose) from a bunch of other competing teams who probably wanted to make that game too, but weren't good enough. And that the newsworthy part of it is that it's all going to be free and open source.

From what I read I can only suppose..

Crystal Space ROCKS! (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877740)

Not only is the library good, but the support team is excellent. I would have never got as far as I did in my game without them. It is almost a shame that I gave up on my game. CS is just awesome.

0ho8o (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877886)

Clean 70r the next

Gameplay? (1)

Nim82 (838705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877912)

A big problem with nearly every open game project I've followed is that their designed as open source projects, not games. Gameplay seems to take a back seat in the design process, getting tacked on at the end. Gameplay really should be the nucleus around which the project is designed and built, even the guys/girls you get involved should (ideally) be chosen based on their compatibility and commitment to the vision of the game, not just their commitment to "open source".

From the Apricot website it's rather apparent that once again gameplay is taking a back seat. 95% of the blurb is promoting it's openness - I frankly don't give a shit. I want to know what's going to set it apart from a billion and one other games? What innovative gameplay elements will feature? These are what I want to know. From their brief description, all they know is it will have furry critters, that's it. Rest to be decided later.

Open source is the perfect vehicle to play with innovative ideas, free of the chains of publishers/marketing.. yet it seems to constantly get squandered on half baked 'we can do it too!' projects. Indie (closed source) games, like Aquarius and Armageddon Empires, have shown what can be done by small teams (and one man bands) who have a passion for gaming and a clear design vision. It's about time the open scene caught on and stopped turning out half assed clones of popular games that are outclassed by ancient abandonware.

I hope something good comes of this, but won't hold my breath...

Command and Conquer/Dune and SimCity (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877940)

I'd really like a good Command and Conquer/Dune, and also a SimCity type game for Linux.
I've played Battle for Wesnoth, and Xlincity - Wesnoth, it's OK, but Xlincity just isn't quite there :)

Anyone suggest me any?

Jesus, another one? (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877942)

I contribute to the Irrlicht [sourceforge.net] open source 3d engine, and the "Project Announcements" forum (along with Sourceforge in general) is littered with the corpses of abandoned projects. All of them start with a burst of enthusiasm and high aspirations, then within 6 months they're either dead or fragmented into 4 new projects, all equally doomed.

To cut a long rant short, completing a commercial-quality game today (i.e. one that people might actually play) takes 100 man years of work, and a minimum of 2.5 elapsed years. Of course, nobody actually believes that, or else community projects would never get started.

To identify the doomed projects (which is all of them), simply ask to see the design documentation. If the answer is "We'll do that later" (which it always is) then don't even waste your time getting involved. If they don't know what they're developing, then how will they know when they're done?

Who needs more games for linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877992)

We already have Tux Racer. Most true gamers would agree anything more is just gratuitous.
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