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Programming Software IT Technology Entertainment Games Linux

Apricot Team Selected For Fully Open Source 3D Game 214

Posted by timothy
from the tux-pits-cure-cancer dept.
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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Apricot Team Selected For Fully Open Source 3D Game

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  • by dvice_null (981029) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @03:50PM (#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]
  • by ricebowl (999467) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:01PM (#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?

  • by ZombieRoboNinja (905329) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:01PM (#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.
  • The problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nawcom (941663) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:04PM (#21876732) Homepage
    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?)

  • by rm999 (775449) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:05PM (#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.
  • Apricot, eh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VValdo (10446) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:20PM (#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?
  • by andy314159pi (787550) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:20PM (#21876834) Journal

    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].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:34PM (#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.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:47PM (#21877000) Journal
    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.
  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @05:24PM (#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.
  • Technology Demo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jekler (626699) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @05:28PM (#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.
  • by AlXtreme (223728) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @06:12PM (#21877548) Homepage Journal

    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?
  • by Bandman (86149) <bandman@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @07:08PM (#21877928) Homepage
    Not to mention that if Spore was open source, we'd all be playing beta versions of it right now.
  • Re:Oboy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bperkins (12056) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @07:51PM (#21878168) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by WilliamSChips (793741) <full@infinity.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @07:54PM (#21878188) Journal
    What's emacs?
  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @08:57PM (#21878518) Homepage

    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?

    I'm curious. Where exactly did you get the idea that putting your entire team on a death march [wikipedia.org] is somehow beneficial to the project?

  • by Rix (54095) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @10:09PM (#21878914)
    You don't get to bitch when it doesn't work very well. You get what you pay for. Those $200 ultra cheap systems aren't intended for gaming, regardless of OS.
  • by MrNiceguy_KS (800771) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @11:17PM (#21879278)
    I'll also add Frets On Fire, an open-source Guitar Hero clone. I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it myself.
  • Re:Technology Demo (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @02:17AM (#21880078)

    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.
    You'll be happy to know that since whiny asshats like you STILL haven't stopped bitching about the fact that they didn't get Elephant's Dream, the Peach movie will center around cute fuzzy animals doing funny stuff.
      Elephant's Dream was an arthouse kind of short. Yeah. Big whoop. It went over rather well in the independent film theaters where it was shown -- that was its target audience. It was written by a professional writer with a good deal of experience, and there certainly was a story being told, maybe even with sugar in its porridge. If that kind of story's not your thing, fine. Go watch X-Men again.
  • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @02:42AM (#21880184) Homepage
    ### 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.

    When you are Will Wright himself maybe, if you are anybody else you will likely never get a penny from a publisher. Getting anything remotely or visionary done these days is extremely hard, no matter how you approach it.

    That said, doing it Open Source wouldn't be any easier, since especially with Open Source games it is near impossible to assemble when doing something original. When you do a clone of some old classic, you can always point at that and say "Hey, thats what we want to do, come join", if you want to do something original you can point nowhere and even if you have design document, finding people that share that vision gets very hard and troublesome, since nobody really knows where the game will end up and if it will even be fun.
  • by orasio (188021) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @08:00AM (#21881292) Homepage

    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.
    I think this happens because you create a false free-commercial dichotomy. Free software does not cease to be free, because it is commercially sponsored.

    Probably your issue is the metrics you use. Maybe the same software you consider "significant and good" is considered "significant and good" by the people who have money to invest in it. But it doesn't say anything about free software not being able to be significant and good. It just says that you probably think "significant and good" free software is the one that is commercially sponsored.

    I use significant and good free software that is not commercially sponsored. Blender is sponsored by people. Freemind is sponsored by ... I don't know who. Well, when PHP became famous, and for a long time after that, Rasmus, the guy behind it, didn't have any corporate sponsorship, and made some money in conferences and stuff.

    Of course, successful software will attract money, but it doesn't mean that commercial sponsorship is key to success, maybe it means the opposite.
  • by orasio (188021) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @08:07AM (#21881328) Homepage

    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?
    Apricot is a effort to improve free 3d tools. Some people invested money, and some developers will work and get paid, among other things because it _will_ look good in their resumes to have worked here, and probably because they want to, and like the idea.

    Just because you might not have other goals that direct retribution it doesn't mean other people don't either.

    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?
    From that, I see you are not a software developer or anything like that. EA does that, because they are incompetent at managing people. Non self-imposed 60 hour weeks produce the same as 40 hour weeks, when you are in front of a computer. In creative positions, even less.

    A better work environment, a nice project, and people working for a common goal, could achieve what slave workers couldn't.
  • by Malkin (133793) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @04:28PM (#21887172)
    I really hate to say this, but I would feel negligent if I did not question the wisdom of using this project to drag Crystal Space into the 21st century, when there are more up-to-date, perfectly viable, modular, extensible open source 3D graphics engines available. Ogre3D, for example, is available under the exact same license as Crystal Space, and it supports all of the features you mention, and has already been used to make commercial games. Trust me, developing a pro-quality game is a steep enough hill to climb without burning extra time and money modernizing a somewhat dusty graphics engine. Why risk the mission on that? Is this just a bad case of "Not Invented Here" syndrome, or do you really have a good practical reason to do this? I'm not saying that you should put Crystal Space out to pasture, per se, but I'm not convinced that you should be trying to do all of this at once. The single most frequent mistake made by new would-be indie game developers is biting off more than they can chew. Don't set yourself up for failure. Keep your eye on the ball.

    Now that I've given you the obligatory dire warning, good luck. ;-)

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