Archive for March, 2009

Arcady

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. This time I’ll keep it really short, simply because my train to The Hague goes tomorrow in the early morning hours and there’s still a bunch of things to prepare.

Code license

In the last weeks the programmers on the team has been discussing what open source license we should use for the code that we’ll produce. After all options have been evaluated, we decided to go with the GPL 3.0.

Asset license

We’ve already agreed upon publishing all assets (graphics, audio, video, text, etc.) that are produced for the project under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0. As some Linux distributions aren’t accepting this license, we’ve decided to dual-license our assets under the GPL 3.0 as well.

Rationale

If you would like to know more the rationale for agreeing on the mentioned licenses, check our forums:

Next news update will be published when I’m back from my trip. Prolly at Wednesday, 1st of April as there’s a bunch of stuff to prepare for the upcoming university semester and the vast majority of the deadlines are Tuesday, 31st of March. It’ll be more detailed than this one; I’m just lacking the time today to cover the progress of the last days in detail. Take care and have fun 🙂

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I am the rain

Yes! It’s Monday again, that means it’s time for yet another news update 🙂 As always: lots of progress over the course of the last week so I’ll keep things short and you simply click through the various links if you find a topic of interest.

We want you for PARPG

First and foremost PARPG seems on a good way lately. We got now developers involved in the writing, game mechanics, programming, graphics and project management departments. As the needed infrastructure is in place as well, we would like to expand now by finding additional contributors for the project. We’re currently especially searching for:

  • Musicians: composers & sound effects engineers.
  • Graphics artists: 3d modelers (Blender user prefered) & concept artists.

If you would like to get involved in the project, check out the contribution guide at the wiki and get in contact with us at the forums or the IRC channel. In case you don’t have an IRC client installed on your system at the moment, you can join the channel via your browser by clicking on this link: http://irc.parpg.net.

First Blender rendering setup in SVN

Our graphics expert Lamoot created a first rendering setup in Blender for testing purposes. Feel free to check it out in the SVN repository. Furthermore an article about possible inspirational graphical references has been compiled and the graphics field research article has been extended.

PAR – the PARPG asset repository

We’ve been searching for a software solution for artists to contribute to the project without forcing them to get used to the Subversion repository. The number of free digital asset management solutions out there is rather limited but we found the interesting ResourceSpace application and it looks like just what we’ve been searching for. Fortunately one of our new programmers (more of him later on) volunteered to set things up for us so that you can now access the PARPG asset repository at http://assets.parpg.net. If you’re interested in the details and the rationale of using a digital asset management solution as addition to the existing SVN repository, check out the art discussion thread at the forums.

Programming department guidance

Besides some ultra secret plans for story engine (read: check the wiki if you’re interested in the details), icelus invested quite some time over the course of the last week to flesh out documentation how to get started for interested programmers. If you’re considering to get involved in the programming field or are just curious, check out the code structure and the code design workflow proposals as well as his additions the contribution article.

Tie joins the gang

Reinforcements for the programming department have arrived! Tie is a Python programmer from Sofia who hasn’t only sponsored the server for the PARPG asset repository but he’s also already getting his hands dirty with coding. He recently refactored and extended the Rio de hola code for our needs.

Furthermore he’s currently working on a playground for the story engine. It’ll be based on PyGame to give the writers a chance to play around with the story format. As we already got two developers involved who are running Mac systems, using FIFE for the playground wouldn’t have been a good solution at this point. FIFE builds on Mac systems in theory but the build process itself seems to be awfully complicated. By using PyGame for the playground, we can give the writers something to get their hands dirty with while we can try to find a Mac maintainer in the long run who can try to come up with easier to follow build instructions for the platform. If you’re interested in helping out testing FIFE on your Mac system and you actually also got a Linux development background (otherwhise frustration is bound to happen), please get in contact with us.

Retain an overview

With all the new developers contributing to the project lately, it’s important to retain an overview to avoid chaos. We recently started to restructure our ToDo list and added a section for milestone planning now there as well. The idea is that the developers of each department add the important tasks to the corresponding milestones so contributors from other fields of work have a good idea what’s currently being worked on and which tasks still lie ahead of us before we can tackle the next step.

GUI sum-up

Another new contributor is Gaspard, who currently compiles a list of all suggestions for the graphics user interface of PARPG. There was quite some lively discussion at the forums about the topic lately so he decided to make the next step and is currently summarizing the concepts at the wiki. Feel free to check the article out or even contribute to it.

Game mechanics update

You’re right: a PARPG news update is not complete if it lacks the weekly dose of game mechanics fun. Zenbitz has been on a design spree again and wrote down his concept for use and study-based learning and also compiled a catalog of possible item types that might appear in PARPG.

Next news update coming soon

The next news update will already come to you at Friday. It might be a pretty short one as I’ll be quite short of time this week due preparing a travel to The Hague. I’ll be attending an United Nations simulation event entitled WorldMUN. The event will start next Sunday and end at Saturday, 28th of March. That’s the reason for the early news update at Friday as well. Next news update after that is scheduled for Monday, 30th of March though it just seems like a great opportunity to post something at Wednesday, 1st of April as well. We’ll see 🙂

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All sparks

Heya and welcome to your weekly dose of post-apocalyptic development news. Looks like we are picking quite some speed up lately, at least the number of topics to cover in each news update is growing and growing. I’ll keep things short this time and you simply click through the various links if you find a topic of interest.

We’re famous

It seems that spending so many nights together with charlieg (at the freegamer IRC channel, of course) worked out 🙂 We’re famous now! At least we got covered at freegamer lately, that’s pretty much the same. Thanks for the coverage charlieg, may the force with be you.

Assets license

After license-related aspects were discussed at the forums over course of the last weeks, we’re happy to announce a first decision in the field. All PARPG assets (read: non C/C++/Python code) will be licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0. At the moment we’re still considering to dual-license the assets under the GPL as well as some open source projects aren’t accepting assets licensed under Creative Commons terms. As I would like to keep things short: if you’re interested in the detail and / or want to contribute to the discussion, head over the forums.

New domain

As you might have already noticed: you’re now forwarded from parpg.fifengine.de to our new domain parpg.net. Back in 2005 when I asked the FIFE developers how they feel about different TLDs for the project, the consensus was to go for the cheapest one. And that was a German one, therefore fifengine.de. As PARPG is a pretty international project, I wanted to use an international TLD for the project. parpg.com was already registered and considering that we’re not a commercial project, parpg.net sounded like a good choice. Anyway, there are a bunch of new subdomains you can access now, check out the details at the forums. In case you notice any kind of weird behaviour of blog, forums or wiki let us know as well. Something might have gone wrong in the migration process.

Your weekly dose of zenbitz

We can’t live without him anymore and you hopefully as well 🙂 Zenbitz went on a game design spree again and wrote down his proposals for encumbrance and equipment, a basic graphical user interface as well as specs for the dialogue system.

Story format

Icelus used these specs to come up with a proposal for a story format for PARPG. In case you’re interested in the details, give it a read; icelus appreciates all kind of feedback concerning it. Best place for your feedback are the forums again, icelus opened a thread for this purpose there. Besides that he’s currently building up the programming department of PARPG by fleshing out the details how to contribute for interested developers. Too much to cover in detail, but if you would like to know more about it, check out his contribution history at the wiki.

Step by step

While we’re not the new kids on the block, we agreed to tackle the writing needs step by step nevertheless. First and foremost we’re glad to report that since the last news update a week ago, a bunch of interested writers showed up at the forums and contributed to the ongoing discussions there. Check out the writing board to get an idea what’s on the agenda at the moment.

There’s also a roleplaying board in place now to evaluate possible setting- and story elements as well as quests and (N)PCs. If you’re a fan of forums-based roleplaying, join in the fun, DK started by getting the ball rolling. Furthermore we decided to further agree on some setting details about WWIII to give the discussion a direction. You can check them out at the wiki.

Last iron man standing

As our target audience will be more mature fans of old school RPGs, we’re currently evaluating some options how to make the game more challenging while trying to avoiding universal frustration. So we would appreciate the feedback of all you hardcore RPG players out there. Permadeath sounds like a challenging option to ensure that players play the game in a more realistic and careful manner. On the other side it might be pretty frustrating to start from scratch after dying. So jump into the discussion and let us know what you think about it at the forums.

That’s it from my side for today. See you again next week!

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Gin in tea cups

Heya and welcome to yet another weekly PARPG update! This time we’ll cover a bunch of interesting topics: progress in the fields of writing, mechanics and programming, efforts to find a lead writer as well as some general remarks about the future of the technical framework that we’re currently evaluating.

Rio de hola >> PARPG

After some brainstorming on the IRC channel, an interested programmer convinced me to actually get the engine evaluation process started by using an existing FIFE client as basis for PARPG. This way we won’t need to start from scratch, got a starting point code-wise and also assets in place that can be used for testing purposes without pressuring our departmens to produce something at this point.

A copy of the FIFE techdemo Rio de hola has been added to the PARPG SVN repository. Feel free to check out the current status, so far there’s not more to see than in Rio de hola but this will hopefully change soon. A guide how to download, build and run the latest version of PARPG has been added to the wiki.

Ice, icelus, baby

The interested programmer I was talking about is icelus. He recently found the project via our advert at HappyPenguin and decided to take a look into the project. So far he’s digging through the engine code and already improved the pathfinding code of FIFE in the meanwhile.

Yoni comes to rescue

Building and running FIFE on icelus’ system wasn’t as easy as thought. Unfortunately it seems that there is a very rare problem that shows up on few linux-based systems. It’s similar to the segmentation fault issue that we faced on some systems whenever an exception was thrown. Fortunately yonibear from Unknown Horizons (a.k.a. OpenAnno, they recently changed the title of the project) came to rescue again. The proposed workaround fixed the problem for icelus, so in case you encounter a segfault on your linux box as well, check it out.

Searching for a lead writer

While we fortunately found a first dedicated developer for the programming department (plus a bunch of additional interested possible contributors), we’re still trying to find a writer who wouldn’t mind the responsibility of playing a lead role in the field of story writing. If you’re an interested writer who is a native speaker (or just as fluent in English), enjoys post apocalyptic fiction and non-cliche roleplaying games, get in contact with us! Where are all these dedicated literature students who would like to get their hands dirty?

Zenbitz strikes again

Our game mechanics guru zenbitz was hardworking over the course of the last week and came up with proposals how innate abilities could work. Furthermore he came up with a proposal for realistic wounds and damage as well. Last but not least zenbitz digged up a thesis about interactive storytelling in computer games. While the concept seems not really suited for a cRPG like this project, there are some interesting thoughts about story analysis in literature and how the concept could be applied to computer games as well. Feel free to give it a read!

Maps, we need maps!

Lamoot worked on the world map for PARPG lately. While the current version is quite large compared to other RPGs that feature a map based on real world geography (obvious example: Fallout), our approach got some advantages. We’ll focus on creating a rather small one major town / location demo before investigating how many locations we could realistically try to include in a timeframe of 2-3 years. With a rather huge map we have the chance to always add more locations if needed while setting at least a certain frame to avoid total lack of focus. You can check out the latest version of the map at the setting section of the wiki.

Content license discussion

Qubodup brought up the question what kind of licenses we’re planning to use for the assets (audio, graphics, text) we’ll create for PARPG. So far it seems that the team favours the a Creative Commons license that permits modifications to – as well as commercial usage of – the content if proper attribution is given. We haven’t agreed on either using a share-alike license or not. If you would like to know more about the Creative Commons licenses, you can check them our here. If you would like to contribute to the ongoing discussion, you can do so at our forums.

All your sourceforge account …

… are belong to us! Just a quick update about our efforts to overtake the sourceforge account of an existing project. It seems that the original maintainer hasn’t replied to the sourceforge email and now we’ll have to wait for two more weeks. If he doesn’t interfere until then, we can take over the account and start utilizing the sourceforge help wanted functionality for PARPG. I shamelessly (ab)used my FIFE account for the purpose at the moment, but it sounds like a good idea to use the project account of the project that you’re recruiting for.

FIFE development revived

Last but not least: we recently had a FIFE IRC meeting again to revive active development of the engine. LinuxDonald coordinated the meeting and there were a bunch of topics discussed and agreements reached. Most important there are three major changes planned for the next months: redesigned audio API, rewritten more efficient renderer as well as UTF8 support for pychan to ease i18n. If you’re interested in all the details, check out the meeting log at the FIFE wiki. We might actually release a new FIFE snapshot over the course of the next weeks as it has been 8 months and around 200 commits since the release of 2008.2. The ongoing discussion about the release takes place at the FIFE forums. The new release will focus on bugfixes as the FIFE team currently lacks the manpower to further flesh out the Rio de hola concept. But it might sound worse than it really is: with Unknown Horizons, Zero-Projekt and now prolly PARPG as well, FIFE development has good potential to flourish over the course of the next months.

That’s all for today, see you here next week!

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