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Thread: Four Indie Games Going Open-Source!

  1. #21
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    What makes Aquaria so special is the assets. The gameplay is nice, but it's the gorgeous scenery and music and the serene atmosphere that brings you back over and over again.

    With Penumbra, my favourite game from the bundle. I hadn't even heard of either before purchasing this, I wanted the Goo

    (World of Goo is a fantastic game too, btw)

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    Edit: also, yeah, but no Linux game can really match Starcraft.
    1 game can TA-Spring+mods

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by puntarenas View Post
    Aquaria (which is a wonderful game btw - good looking, wonderful musik, nice gameplay) plays like a charm under Fedora 13 with a XBox360-Controller out of the box. Could you specify what kind of usability enhancements you would like to see?
    Off hand, I'd like:
    1. not having to click four times to save a game (right click to activate the save point, click the slot, click "overwrite", click "ok"). This should be reduced to one click (activate save point) or no clicks at all (autosave when you reach a red crystal).
    2. autosave when exiting the game. I want to be able to play for 15 minutes, leave the game and come back later to continue where I left off. Sadly, this is not possible right now.
    3. Faster loading. There's absolutely no reason for an area change to take 2-5 seconds on a system with an Intel SSD with 2.5GB RAM.
    4. Improved keybindings. Why cannot I bind my own keys for "shield" and "bind" spells? Right now I have to use keys 9 and 0 which are awfully placed.
    5. Improved overall performance. Performance feels rather low for the graphical content (my nvidia laptop can push 800x600@30fps on a 3d scene with dynamic shadows, offset mapping and realtime water, using 2x AA. It feels wrong that it cannot push three 2d layers at the same resolution).
    6. Bugfixes for Linux. On my system, the mouse is somehow "stuck" at the top-left corner of the screen, causing Naija to always move up and left (even when I am not touching the controls).
    7. Improved keyboard navigation of the menu screens. Right now I have to use the mouse every time, this is annoying.
    8. Hardware mouse cursor in the menus. Right now it is using a software cursor that lags a couple of frames behind your actual movement. Quite annoying.

    None of those is really important on its own, but put together they would make for a much better experience. The game rocks, but it does lack the sheer polish found in e.g. World of Goo.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    Off hand, I'd like:
    1. not having to click four times to save a game (right click to activate the save point, click the slot, click "overwrite", click "ok"). This should be reduced to one click (activate save point) or no clicks at all (autosave when you reach a red crystal).
    Okay, although I for one would call that a minor enhancement.
    2. autosave when exiting the game. I want to be able to play for 15 minutes, leave the game and come back later to continue where I left off. Sadly, this is not possible right now.
    True, but I think this is on purpose as it was a design decision to rely on save points.
    3. Faster loading. There's absolutely no reason for an area change to take 2-5 seconds on a system with an Intel SSD with 2.5GB RAM.
    Good one and I really can't see why the game doesn't just cache visited areas im RAM. Memory consumption of those 2D levels and sprites shouldn't be too high.

    Additionally, I hate enemies respawning whenever one leaves an area and comes back later (shouldn't happen during the same session, maybe it could also be saved to disk).

    4. Improved keybindings. Why cannot I bind my own keys for "shield" and "bind" spells? Right now I have to use keys 9 and 0 which are awfully placed.
    I would argue that you shouldn't be allowed to change into energy form and sing spells via keybindings at all. Singing is one major game play aspect and by using keyboard shortcuts, the game gets utterly borung and way too easy IMHO.

    Try playing with a gamepad instead of the mouse and get even more fun out of it. Well, it is your decision how to play and so you are right, if there are keybindings you should be able to customize.

    5. Improved overall performance. Performance feels rather low for the graphical content (my nvidia laptop can push 800x600@30fps on a 3d scene with dynamic shadows, offset mapping and realtime water, using 2x AA. It feels wrong that it cannot push three 2d layers at the same resolution).
    Although performance is smooth with a GTX280 here I agree that this engine should probably perform reasonable even on some low-performance mobile GPU. I suspect this is very likely a performance issue of Nvidia drivers and not an Aquaria issue at all.

    None of those is really important on its own, but put together they would make for a much better experience.
    Playing with a gamepad I cannot comment on #6,#7 and #8 but I will try and see if I can reproduce those issues here. Maybe these are just side effects of the lousy performance on your mobile GPU? Let's hope the source code will attract some talented coders to do the last bits of polishing on that game. Aquaria definitely deserves lots of community love and I hope to see the first packaged versions in repositories soon.

    @Michael:
    How about some full articles with screenshots and explanations to introduce those games to the community? Maybe even some interview with the developers about the enormous Humble Bundle success and the decision to open source (free as in speach) those gems would add up nicely.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by puntarenas View Post
    True, but I think this is on purpose as it was a design decision to rely on save points.
    Unfortunately it breaks the "casual gaming" aspect. As it stands, I simply alt-tab out of the game and let it running in the background (fortunately it pauses automatically). Similar effect, although I cannot keep playing when I switch operating systems, which is slightly annoying.

    Additionally, I hate enemies respawning whenever one leaves an area and comes back later (shouldn't happen during the same session, maybe it could also be saved to disk).
    Yeah, that too! Enemies shouldn't respawn whenever you change areas that's just too annoying.

    I would argue that you shouldn't be allowed to change into energy form and sing spells via keybindings at all. Singing is one major game play aspect and by using keyboard shortcuts, the game gets utterly borung and way too easy IMHO.
    I don't like that gameplay mechanic at all, actually. I would probably stop playing completely if I was forced to "sing" all songs with the mouse (fortunately that's not necessary).

    I'm planning to try with my gamepad but I do like the keyboard and mouse controls (moving with the keyboard and targetting with the mouse). The controls are responsive and intuitive.

    Although performance is smooth with a GTX280 here I agree that this engine should probably perform reasonable even on some low-performance mobile GPU. I suspect this is very likely a performance issue of Nvidia drivers and not an Aquaria issue at all.
    I doubt it. My Nvidia IGP is a Quadro NVS135M (equivalent to a 8400M) which should be more than enough for a 2d game at 800x600! I have a feeling that Aquaria is burning fillrate needlessly and could be optimized quite a bit, but I'd have to see the source code to be certain.

    The game's virtually unplayable on Intel IGPs, too (you have to drop below 512x384 to reach 30fps). The same IGP can run World of Goo, Diablo 2, Unreal Tournament flawlessly at their native resolutions - games that are equally or more complex graphically than Aquaria.

    @Michael:
    How about some full articles with screenshots and explanations to introduce those games to the community? Maybe even some interview with the developers about the enormous Humble Bundle success and the decision to open source (free as in speach) those gems would add up nicely.
    That would be nice!

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar
    I doubt it. My Nvidia IGP is a Quadro NVS135M (equivalent to a 8400M) which should be more than enough for a 2d game at 800x600! I have a feeling that Aquaria is burning fillrate needlessly and could be optimized quite a bit, but I'd have to see the source code to be certain.
    There has to be something wrong.

    I'm playing on a passively cooled HD4550, using open source drivers, in 1920x1080! Considering that this is pretty much the weakest card of the generation (only HD4350 is weaker) and that the OSS drivers are rather poor at 3d performance, I find your experience surprising.

    The scrolling is not COMPLETELY smooth, but it's certainly more than playable

  7. #27
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    You mention laptop. What's your processor? Could it be CPU-related?

    I'm running a Phenom II, so I obviously have CPU cycles to spare.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    Edit: also, yeah, but no Linux game can really match Starcraft.
    No can do about that, ask them to write Blizzard. (Preferably in crayon, with cute spelling errors!)

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
    This is certainly great stuff.

    The sad part is that the OSS community is better at producing engines than at producing high-quality contents, so this might not be as much of a boost for new OSS games as one might imagine.

    Still, it will be great to port the titles to new platforms, fix bugs, improve integration with the OS, add some features, and help users create new levels.
    as far as i'm concerned the actual source code for these particular games is not really interesting (some people could have a different pov, for instance someone who wanted to make a bsd port...)

    the fact that they are opening it on the other hand is HUGELY interesting.

    its about the trend, if they can show that people respond well to them opening the code, and they continue to make money on the games after being opened, we might see more indie game studios willing to give it a shot - studios that may not already offer the cross platform support that all of these guys do, that could end up being very good for the linux gaming scene.

    sure, maybe its a pipe dream - on the other hand, i'd be shocked if this whole thing hasn't gathered some pretty intense interest from other indie game studios.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
    You mention laptop. What's your processor? Could it be CPU-related?

    I'm running a Phenom II, so I obviously have CPU cycles to spare.
    It's a mobile Core 2 Duo running at 1.83GHz. Should be more than enough.

    I think the issue is that this IGP has rather limited memory bandwidth / fillrate and the game might not be using it as efficiently as it could. Of course, this is only a hunch - I'd have to check the code to see if anything could be done about that but I think a couple of easy optimizations might pay off (enable compressed textures, draw front-to-back for early-z, be more frugal with framebuffer updates, see if there are any effects - like blur - that could be done with shaders rather than textures/FBOs).

    The game requires OpenGL 1.4 as far as I can tell and there are a couple of tricks in OpenGL 2.1/3.0 that could also improve speed.

    The nice thing with opening the code is that the community will ensure this game remains playable in the future. Recall FreeSpace 2: Volition opened up the code when they went under and the game is still being supported/developed 10 years after the fact!

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