Posts Tagged license

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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All I ever want …

… is just to overthrow the government. Heya and welcome to yet another weekly PARPG news update! This weeks update is heavily packed with the results of IRC developer meetings that took last Friday.

Programming department

The original plan was to report the results of the programming department IRC meeting that was meant to take place today. Unfortunately not all programmers did make it in time, so the meeting is postponed for now. We can hopefully find a new date for it soon as there are a lot of code design-related questions to be discussed. As soon as we’ve agreed upon a replacement date, I’ll post a short notice at the blog!

Graphics department

But now our visual magicians! At first we would like to welcome a new concept artist on the team: Seothen. He recently found us via our advert at the forums and decided to create a first character portrait for us. Enjoy Dr. Felix Weir:
Dr. Felix Weir

Seothen is currently looking for suggestions what kind of outfit Dr. Felix Weir should wear for a full body shot. In case you would like to provide suggestions, head over to our forums and let us know!

3d artist Continuum decided to donate a bunch of his models that he had originally created for Fallout mods to PARPG. Some of them feature textures from so we’ll need to retexture them to avoid license trouble. The assets are released under a license that is incompatible with our chosen favourite CC 3.0 BY-SA. Anyway, here’s a shot of one of his models, more can be found at a thread at the forums:

Concept artist Gaspard created three new character drawings over the course of the last week. Here’s an Ex-Soviet soldier, now working as a hunter; more at the forums as well:
Ex soldier, now hunter

Blender modeler Lamoot got inspired by Zeli’s improvised weapons and started to work on an ice axe melee weapon. Still untextured, but there you go (and of course, there is a thread about it at the forums):
Untextured ice axe

And here’s yet another visual teaser for you: 3d artist Sirren created a Nagant revolver for you and he’s open to all kinds of feedback:
Nagant revolver

The vast majority of the new 3d models can be already found in our Subversion repository. However not all assets are properly documented with LICENSE files at this point. You can get an idea which models are problematic due usage of assets by taking a look at the trac changelog though.

As we had so many new 3d models and pieces of concept art that were created by our graphics department over the course of the last week, we couldn’t show you everything in this news update. If you don’t want to miss anything, check out the updated gallery at the wiki.

Game mechanics department

The IRC meeting that took place last Friday was originally meant to be a pure writing department one. However as writing and game mechanics can be closely linked together, we discussed a couple of game mechanics-related questions as well.

We’ve argued about the potential appearance of children in the game and if the player character and NPCs should be able to kill them. As the most of us are fans of RPGs that feature choices and consequences, we agreed upon an approach similar to Fallout: there are children, you can kill them but there will be (sometimes rather severe) social consequences of such kind of behaviour. Furthermore also usage of drugs as game mechanic was discussed. PARPG will not feature any superpower drugs; drugs will rather give you a small egde in a specific situation at cost of rather drastic disadvantages. We think we can balance things pretty well and avoid overpowered drugs e.g. by giving them a high addiction rate. There will be rather few chemical prewar drugs; home-distilled pre- and postwar alcohol (moonshine) will be a lot more common.

For the ones of you who played a pen and paper session of Call of Cthulhu: we’re currently exploring how well stress as gameplay mechanic would work. At the moment this is still in the brainstorming stages so don’t get too excited but in case we decide to actually implement it in the game, it could work similar to the sanity points system of CoC. You could combine this with choice and consequence in dialog as well: a totally stressed character might lose temper and freak out, dramatically changing his options in dialog with other characters.

Besides the brainstorming at the meeting, Zenbitz started to work on a proposal of the state of the game world as well as what kind of characters stats should be featured in PARPG. Fell free to join the discussion at the forums.

Taking a shot at contributing to a new field of work, artist Gaspard started a thread how barter economy should work in PARPG.

Writing department

As already mentioned above: the first game mechanics and writing department meeting took place recently. As we’ve discussed quite a lot of aspects and I can’t cover all of them to full extend, please check out the results as well as the full meeting log if you’re interested in any details.

Most important newsworthy piece of information concerning the writing department: we currently have two promising storyline proposals in the works. One of the main differences between them is the nature of climate change and how the postwar societies (fail to) cope with it. One storyline proposes that the climate is getting colder and colder, while the other one focuses on thawing and how it affects the game world.

As we have to decide for one or another storyline in the end, the plan is to have a public discussion at the forums about both proposals. Each side should have the chance to present their proposal with pros and cons and furthermore elaborate on the gameplay that they would like to implement following this proposal. Furthermore I’ll try to get in contact with a climatologist to get some feedback which storyline might be more realistic; it might turn out we can’t find a climatologist or that neither scenario is scientifically realistic, but it’s worth a try. In the end the opinion of the to be found climatologist will be one argument amongst several others; while we care about realism to a certain extend, the storyline should be interesting and challenging for the player so realistic gameplay is not meant to be a principle for its own sake.

The proposed roadmap concerning the storyline is: give each side two weeks to flesh out their their proposals and present them to the community at the forums. After that we’ll give everyone one week to explore pros and cons of each one and to make up there mind and will try to agree upon one storyline after that. The next step will be trying to incorporate compatible aspects of the storyline that was not chosen if possible.

Last but not least: mvBarracuda (read: I) found out that you can actually do something worthwhile with a degree in modern history. As we’re currently exploring how World War III broke out, he volunteered to use his super history skills to come up with a historically somewhat realistic storyline for the branching of history in PARPG and how WWIII emerged. Stay tuned 🙂

That’s all for today. See you next Monday (or maybe Tuesday, in case the programming department meeting is rescheduled for next Monday) 🙂

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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 to our new domain 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 As PARPG is a pretty international project, I wanted to use an international TLD for the project. was already registered and considering that we’re not a commercial project, 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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