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Make Freenode IRC web client auto-join a #channel

qubodup, June 19th, 2009

#freenode@freenode.net told me that internet drama caused the on-line IRC client Mibbit to be blocked from the IRC server Freenode, which is popular amongst open source projects.

The solution is simple: use Freenode’s web client (which isn’t as horrible as it was the last time I tried it).

Luckily it’s possible to create auto-join links, by providing username or channel parameters.

http://webchat.freenode.net/?nick=visitorOGA&channels=opengameart will connect to the #opengameart channel as “visitorOGA”.

http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=opengameart,freegamer will connect to #freenode and #freegamer, but ask for username first.

I use Irssi at home and my auto-join list is currently #freegamer,#opengameart,#parpg,#loveclub

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The Money Donating Game

qubodup, June 1st, 2009

I donated 92 EUR (130 USD) to OpenGameArt (OGA). The money will be used to finance art commissions chosen by OGA’s admin, Bart. The art will be released under the GPL2/3+ and CC-BY-SA3+ licenses.

I was not just donating money towards a cause that I like, I was also playing a massively multiplayer game of “fill the progress bar”. The rules are simple: you and other players around the world donate money until a donation status bar is filled. For clarification, take a look at the “Mixing Games and Applications" presentation, in particular p. 41.

For a status bar to exist, there needs to be a limit and when the limit is reached, something has to happen.

  • In OGA’s case the goal is “commision of a freely licensed piece of game art”.
  • In Howitzer Skirmish's case it was supposed to be “development of an open source game” (technical problems prevented success).
  • For Ardour it is “allowing the developer to work maximum possible time on the free software DAW”.

OpenGameArt Donations Bar Ardour Finance Bar

Ardour features monthly subscribtion-donations. A yearly donation produces 3.30 USD less fees though. You can also finance Ardour feature requests. However they lack limits and thus progress bars and people seem to underestimate their value (or are just not interested).

Ardour Popular Issues

Projects that want money should figure out limits/goals and use progress bars. Or at least graphs - something to feed the eyes - players usually like to consume graphics after all. For example PMLE could use them, as there are “donation limits” set for some compositions already. Unfortunately, there are no freely available scripts for automated donation visualization.

PS: Ardour’s developer told me that he uses the Drupal lm_paypal module for the subscription system. The rest is being done through some PHP, which he might release in a month or two.

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Cave Boy 1.0 Release

qubodup, March 28th, 2009

I released Cave Boy 1.0. It is a simple move-in-maze game. Sound is perhaps the only thing that makes it special. The project can be downloaded here and it requires LÖVE to run. License is zlib/zworks.

Cave Boy screenshot

The game was inspired by Strong Bad’s Secret Collect!. At least I think so. I actually have made a mockup of Cave Boy half a year ago. I was already thinking of such a game look more than a year ago and created a nice-looking mockup using ray tracing in blender, but unfortunately lost that one.

I pushed the first revision soon after recording and cutting the first few sounds. I actually created some sounds before writing the first line of code. The time between the first push and the last push (which then was released as version one) was less than 14 hours.

I used GitHub for hosting. Because I included all sources of all audio files created for this project (even those not used in the final version), uncut, in flac format, the git repository is over 70 Megabytes in size. Not sure if I’m going to abuse project hosting space in such a way in the future…

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A game that goes *boom* and with physics

qubodup, March 22nd, 2009

Yesterday I met SiENcE, who revealed to me the game idea he lately played with: first you build, then you destroy. The games referenced were Bomber hehhe [review, screens, video] and Rampart [review, screens].

I was skeptical about the ‘build’ thing, because I remember from child days, that destroying was disproportionally more fun than building. Probably all this means is that the building will have to be spiced up with rewarding the player a lot.

So after coming home, I took Shapes.love by MHD and added some colors and sound effects to it. The result, SuperShapes.love, will hopefully be helpful at exploring the building phase of aforementioned idea.

ywah

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Ze Honey Game Design

qubodup, March 19th, 2009

I got an idea for a simple color mixing game. Instead of presenting a well-structured description of it, I will explain it in the order of my thoughts. (Whether I managed this is questionable, as for example this sentence (this one (um..)) was written when most of the text below was already written.)

For a start, here is the image my idea bases on and which got influenced by the idea:

Ze Honey concept art

I was drawing a minimalist style image of plants. Then I thought about how the image did not satisfy me. I added a bee, but it did not help much. Then I got the idea to add berries to plants for more detail. I added berries to the pink and green plants.

I do not know when I thought of turning it into a game, perhaps when I was drawing the background. (Which was fun to make. I like hard-edge gradients.)

The idea was to let the player control the bee to harvest nectar from the plants to deliver it to its hive. However, bees alone wouldn’t give the game an interesting character.

By ‘character’ I mean ‘what there is to discover in the game’. The bee is kind of cute and can move around and harvest nectar - that’s it. This is not much ‘character’, it is a tech demo. Even though it has a graphic/sound style, the style is discoverable in mere seconds and there’s no reason to keep on playing. The bee may be cute, but it’s boring.

I felt that bees should not have a deep or whacky character, so I thought of adding a mad scientist that gives life to the bee (probably after having taken if first) and orders it to harvest honey, FOR HE HUNGERS FOR BREAKFAST. (Do mad scientists say “I hunger for”? Or is this something vampire-exclusive?)

The scientist would be of the Dr. Strangelove, Doctor Neo Cortex, Dexter, The Brain, Mojo Jojo type: extravagant, overly dramatic, hilarious, uppercase.

This image of ‘Ze Scientist’ was made after I finished writing all text to visualize the character, split the text a bit and act as a consolation for giving you a break if you’re reading what is around it.

Oh yeah, since I decided that sucking nectar is the theme, I added berries to the blue plant. Also I thought that berries would re-generate the nectar. Their fullness could be visualized through color saturation or size or both.

About the harvesting: The bee would suck the nectar (color) out of a plant and become of that color itself. When sucking the color out of different plants, it would gain a mixture of the colors.

For making color composition an easy task, the bee should also be able to get rid of the nectar it carries. For getting rid of one color type, it has to fly to a plant and press the ‘spit’ button.

There would be only one or a few ‘missions’ because I see no skill to ‘master’ here. If you can color three colors, you can also mix ten more. The game would thus be based on one or very few missions, unless I come up with ‘more game to play’ that is not repetition.

The overall structure of the game is:

  1. It lives! - Intro sequence featuring ze scientist creating ze bee and giving it ze task
  2. Bzz - Mission or missions for ze bee
  3. Breakfast! - End sequence in which a rapid change between dramatic and non-dramatic shows ze scientist breakfasting
  4. Apres-bzz - Some surrounding (the scientist’s room?) for ze bee to freely explore

I started thinking about what name to give to it. I first thought of “Bzz” and “Zzz” and “Sum-Sum” (this is how you write “Bzz-Bzz” in German). All of those names are already used and “Zzz” is kind of lame, so in combination of thinking of the mad scientist, I remembered that some of those like to have a strange German accent saying “ze” all the time. Ze Bee it is!

While writing the text above I thought of two more things. I paused from time to time and wrote them down below (in order of coming up with them):

  1. Delivering the honey can be made to look like peeing, but I do not like this idea, it is neither pretty nor interesting.
  2. I believe that bees do not get nectar from berries (do berries have nectar?) but this problem solves itself, as the bee has been engineered by a mad scientist and therefore there is no need for realism. (Not that there would have been a need for realism otherwise, but I prefer to avoid misinformation.)
  3. The game has actually some educational value about color mixing. It also allows for two different scenarios: subtractive color mixing by day and additive color mixing by night (luminous plants).
  4. Fireflies can be used as ‘decoration’ for night time play. They could also interact with the plants (they sipped some of the mad scientist’s reagents?) by blocking them. The player bee would have to fly near them at some velocity to scare them away.
  5. A better idea for delivering honey: the containers which the player has to deliver the honey to contain water, in which the player has to dip the bee in. (The scientist gave it some basic swimming skills!) Then it has to be shaked (movement physics underwater should be different) for the nectar to dissole in the water.
  6. Thought: if berries are used, the result is probably rather ‘jam’ than ‘honey’. Maybe a combination? This could be used for more diversity again. So flowers should be in the game too I think.
  7. About the lumenous plants from #3: why would they be lumenous? Did the scientist spill some of his reagents? Is there a nuclear power plant nearby? I do not know yet.
  8. What color does the scientist want? Well, how about three jars, and scientists just says “Bring me three different kinds of honey, ze bee!”. When the three jars are full, the scientist will judge them (insert color value comparison math here) and point at the one he doesnt like and complain about it or say they all are too similar, if they are. The mission or “what the scientist wants” can use some more thinking though.
  9. I never red ‘Doctor Frankenstein’ - I only experienced the character through various interpretations in cartoons. I will read and listen to it. Perhaps it will help me define the mad scientist’s character.
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Inkscape Version of Danc’s Miraculously Flexible Game Prototyping Graphics for Small Worlds

qubodup, March 17th, 2009

Daniel Cook finally decided to license his ‘free’ game art on Lost Garden under the CC BY 3.0 license!

I created an Inkscape import of the .ai file that he released. (It’s not perfect unfortunately.)

danc1

As I said, this stuff is by Daniel Cook - licensed under CCBY3.0US.

You can download the SVG file here.

Daniel Cook has been releasing his artwork ‘for free’ for some time now, but there was no clear license attached to it, clarifying whether or not it was allowed to use the work under open source-like conditions.

His style is mainly cute-vectorish, but also some high-quality pixel art is in his list of (cc by-licensed) game artwork.

Some of his superb 2D tiles made it into Hero of Allacrost, a development-in-progress, GPL-licensed role-playing game.

Some of his works are only avaliable through proprietary file formats, but luckily most of them can be imported by GIMP and Inkscape nearly lossless.

Update: Danc now also provides an SVG file! Awesome! Best to forget about the one I delivered. ;)

Danc's Miraculously Flexible Game Prototyping Graphics for Small Worlds SVG Version!!!

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An Image

qubodup, March 5th, 2009

Forced Wallpaper
Layered
PS: Whoops, wrong blog.

Forced Wallpaper

Layered

PS: Whoops, wrong blog.

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