Posts Tagged FIFE

Tear you apart

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update! This one will be rather short and not so picture-heavy as the last ones. Most of us have been pretty busy lately, so the number of topics to write about is rather small.

Project management department

The first and the prolly most important news is that it turned out that releasing our first techdemo of PARPG won’t happen in 2009. We’re still working hard to ship it in early 2010 (hopefully between late January and early March), but there is simply too much planned content missing at this point to ship it this year. We’re sorry that it will take longer than originally planned but you still got the option to check out what we already have in place by testing the SVN version of PARPG.

One aspect of game development which gave us a lot of headaches are licensing issues. For the code it’s rather simple: we’ll publish all Python scripts under GPL 3.0. However for the non-code assets, things are more tricky. I don’t have the time to go into too many details but one of the main problems is that it’s often hard to find good textures licensed under terms that permit commercial distribution as well. To address this problem Q_x created a list of asset websites that have published their material under terms which are compatible with our chosen CC 3.0 BY-SA license.

In reality it’s actually way more complicated because a lot of asset websites actually do not permit that their textures are sold or redistributed at other texture websites. But as soon as you actually apply the texture to a model and render it, the resulting render is not affected by these NC and restrictive redistribution clauses according to their license. My gut feeling tells me that the resulting renders are actually derivative works as they’re based on the textures and should therefore be infected by the NC and restricted redistribution clauses but I guess it’s okay to sell and redistribute the renders nevertheless as their license seems to permit that.

Hopefully we can ship the entire techdemo 1 content under CC 3.0 BY-SA terms. That just means the actual content that is used in the game. We might need to ship the source versions (e.g. models and textures) of the techdemo content under different licenses, especially whenever NC textures were used. It should hopefully not affect distribution of the PARPG game, just the distribution of our media assets sources library. The only conclusion I have right now is that licenses are simply a huge can of worms. Having to worry about all these aspects takes away a lot of the fun that game development is. It’s necessary nevertheless and we’ll come up with a solid solution for techdemo 1.

Audio department

Finally some news from the audio front again. Open source enthusiast Sindwiller posted a work in progress version of a track he’s currently working on at the forums. Feel free to check it out and provide feedback. We can hopefully feature the final version of it in our first techdemo release.

Programming department

We finally started to restructure the objects directory to get rid of the rather ugly and confusing objects/objects directory. Objects/objects has been split up into objects/items (smaller objects that characters can actually pick up) and objects/scenery. If you’re interested in the details, head over to our forums.

Win32 developer Kaydeth looked into creating a first test version of the upcoming Win32 PARPG techdemo installer. We’re using NSIS for this purpose and so far things look good. There are still some tweaks to be made, e.g. offering users the choice to install ActivePython 2.6 as well as PyYaml; furthermore we’re still having some problems with Vista / Win7 UAC but we’re positive that we can fix them before we ship a release. If you want to test Kaydeth’s test installer, check out this thread at the forums.

We’ve been experimenting with map sizes for the techdemo lately and ran into a performance bottleneck that shows up if you have a map with many (> 20000) map instances. It turned out that FIFE’s view code is not that well optimized in this regard. PARPG developer amo-ej1 profiled the issue and reported back about his findings at the forums. Furthermore he also documented the necessary steps to profile PARPG at our wiki. The FIFE devs plan to have a look into the problem in their 0.3.2 release. This release is planned for mid 2010. So for now, we’ll simply go for maps that feature less than 20k instances and we should be pretty much on the save side performance-wise.

Writing department

A little news flash from our writing department: Zenbitz did recently flesh out the inn area of the techdemo including the denizens of this location. He has been rather hardworking on the dialogues of several techdemo characters as well and commited their scripts into SVN over the course of the last weeks. You can talk to several characters now, so feel free to check it out yourself by giving the SVN version of PARPG a shot.

Graphics department

This news update is not as image-heavy as some of the ones before. Our graphics artists have been quite busy as Christmas is nearing. Nevertheless 3d artist Sirren found the time to create several pieces of furniture, including beds.

He furthermore also created a gate that’s part of the outer boundary of the techdemo area. Python programmer Or1andov implemented alpha blending for the gate (and other objects that reside on a layer above the characters) so your view is not blocked while walking around under specific map instances. I actually had to split up the pillars of the gate into several 70px wide pieces to work around z-ordering issues. Fortunately Zenbitz ported amo-ej1’s image slicing script to PIL (the Python Imaging Library). The original version of the image slicing script was utilizing PythonMagick. And as PythonMagick has to be built from source and the build process is quite complicated, there was no easy way to get the script working on non-*NIX systems. Fortunately that’s not the case anymore with the PIL version.

In case you’re interested in all the details of the process of getting the gate into the game, check out this thread at the forums. All the other are surely happy to see a screenshot at least:
Gate screenshot

One last note: I recently had the time to bring some assets, that had been lying around in Trac but hadn’t been commited into the repository yet, into SVN. In case you want to check them out, head over to the media part of the SVN trunk.

Now one last personal remark from my side. Unfortunately a lot of university-related tasks have been piling up over the course of the last weeks. I’m simply not good at multitasking so for now I have to take a break until the Christmas holidays to finally finish two still outstanding papers. Don’t worry, I’ll be be back to bring you the next (short) news update some time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Stay tuned!

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Back from the dead

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. Three full weeks have passed since the last one and I’m truly sorry for the lack of updates lately. I’ve been really busy with university and although I know a lot more about the reconstruction of the failed state Liberia with the help of the UN now, I rather would have liked to post an update or two in the meantime instead of investing so much time into a presentation I had to give last Friday. Anyways, now that I’m done with it, I got some free time on my hands this week so here’s your promised dose of PARPG news. This time it’s more a newsflash than anything else. While I’ve been busy with real life, the others – especially the graphics department – has been hardworking and there’s simply too much to report to do so in detail. Feel free to browse the forums to read about all the details.

Programming department newsflash

Maximinus had to wrestle with some of FIFE’s quirks lately. Frustration grew and we were actively looking for possible alternatives to FIFE just to be not stuck with it as only possible engine. It seems while FIFE comes with a bunch of quirks indeed, it’s still the best option for the game that we have in mind. A more detailed explanation is provided at the forums.

Python programmer Bretzel continued to work on the inventory code. After we covered his standalone version of it in the last news update, we’re proud to present a screenshot of its new ingame version:
WIP ingame HUD

Furthermore: we’re still looking for a Mac-based C++ programmer to help us with getting FIFE running on Macintosh systems. While it does work in theory, building FIFE on Macs is incredibly complicated; therefore our Mac-based developers would really appreciate a helping hand. If you’re comfortable programming on Mac and got some solid C++ background as well as Linux experience, please get in contact with us at the forums.

Game design newsflash

Zenbitz has been hardworking as every week and continued to flesh out his thoughts on wounding.

Graphics department

Ohh boy, these artists don’t seem to be sleeping. While this update contains a whole bunch of images, there are about a dozen more at the forums. To save myself some time I’ll simply show some of their latest work and link to a recent thread with more pictures. Enjoy 🙂


Warehouse render (WIP version posted in the last news update):


More weapon renders by Shrew81:


Building interieur:
Building interieur

More renders by Zimble:


Zeli is one of the new concept artists on the team.

Reindeer panorama:
Reindeer panorama

Improvised weapons:
Improvised weapons


Sirren worked on a bunch of inorganic & organic models for PARPG lately.

Valmet RK 62:
Valmet RK 62

Animated reindeer:
Animated reindeer

More renders by Sirren:

Project management newsflash

We’re currently trying to establish developer meetings at our IRC channel on a regular basis; preferably at least twice a month. In case you’re interested to take part, head over to the forums and let us know which day of the week would be best suited for such a meeting.

That’s all for today. See you next week 🙂 Hopefully with less topics to cover that I can therefore flesh out in more detail.

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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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