Sunday, July 22, 2007

News: Pyweek 5 and More

Pyweek, the python game contest, will take place in the first week of September. All contestants must submit their games as Free softwares. Registration for the contest will open on August 3, 2007.

The contest is named Pyweek 5. It will be the fifth contest to take place in the history of the Pyweek website.

For more information on the contest, please visit the their website. Here are some pointers:

1. About: Explain the rules and what the pyweek contest is about.
2. Timetable: sch elude for the contest including registration, theme voting, winners announcement and more.

I'll be entering this contest myself. I highly encourage others to do so too. This will increase our expertise as well the number of games written in Python as well increase the number of Free games in the world.

You got pretty much about 1(41 days as of this writing) month to prepare so use your time wisely. I hope to use this time to quickly produce a number of games. In that time, I'll be learning pygame.

Meanwhile, I started a developer log for all my projects. Check there if you want the latest update on what I am working on. This will prevent me from writing all sort of projects post on this site and help me focus on writing more articles that will be of use to game developers.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Ultimate Resource List for the Game Hackers

This is a resource article for the Free software game developers.

Hosting space, information on running your own project, where to promote your project and more are listed on this page. It is basically a collection of resources that would otherwise be unnoticed by developers looking for places to host their projects. No doubt, Free software developers can often get subversion access, bug tracking tools, and a place to host their website with no practically no strings attached. All your projects just to have to be Free software projects (A good reason why the rest of the software world don't use these resources, even freeware cannot use it). There are also a few information resources that I located across the vast internet over my years of travel. A lot of them are mostly for the general Free software world.

This list will get new items add to to as time go on so check back for new listing. I hope the list will get more game specific as it evolve over time.

Hosting places:

There are lot of places that are willing to host your project. You should be familiar with some of them.

1. - It seem to be the defacto standard of the Free software world. is recently acquired by CollabNet, a company famous for initializing the Subversion project. used to be Free softwares but some programmers are able to fork it into a Free software project called GForge.
2. - A hosting place started in 2004. However only GPL compatible projects may apply here.
3. - Rubyforge is the defacto place for the ruby community to host their Free software projects. Only ruby projects apply here. It used GForge. Rubyforge also host gems, which is a specialty features of their. This allow users of Rubygem package management system to easily download and install ruby programs and libraries packaged into what is known as gems.
4. - Stand for Simple End User Linux. It is a linux adovacy group that host several Free software projects. Notable softwares such as worldforge and pygame are hosted there. Rubygame also used to be hosted there.
5. - GNU projects are hosted there. There are also for projects not part of the GNU project.

Place to promote your games:

Probably most of this places aren't exactly focused on Free softwares but however, they're great for exposure.

1. This place is often dominated by Free software project. You should promote only games that can run on linux here. Web games and other like it do not count
2. It is also a great place to promote your project. You can probably receive a lot of traffic just by having a listing there. They maintain a list of unix and cross platform softwares. So make sure your softwares is that type!
3. It's a social networking website for gamers and game developers. It is dominated by indie proprietary softwares. I got a profile there but I didn't really promote anything there, so I am not sure about traffic. It is probably a good idea to have a game that can run on window as they are probably mostly window users.
4. RAA is a great place to list your ruby application.
5. This blog probably been mentioned on this site a few time. Nonetheless, it is still a good source of traffic if you can convince the author to list you. His blog is more popular than mine. Also he have a strong focus on free gaming.

Also, it is a good idea to announce your project on certain mailing list. For example, if you written a rubygame application, you might promote it on the Ruby mailing list plus the rubygame mailing list.

Running your own project:

1. Written by an author who is a veteran in Free softwares, it contains great information on how to run your own Free software project. It is also Free contents for a bonus.
2. This is John's guide to earning money with Free softwares. No I don't know anything about this John guy.

Services for Free softwares:

1. It can do analysis of your project's subversion repository.
2. is a RSS feed for the latest commit in your project. You can also get an IRC bot that spit out the most recent commits for your channel. Their backend is totally Free softwares. If you ever feel the urge(I hope you don't) to fork it, you can do it.
3. Practically a lot of Free software hackers are on there, so register your channel there. Plus it is geek paradise.
4. A law charity that dedicated their services to Free software projects all over the world. If you needsomeone to help enforce your Free software's copyright license then this is a place to do it. Also, they might be useful in helping you protect against people who want to destory your project. They're the guy that draft the new GPLv3. I hope you don't need their services though (Who want to have to deal with a patent troll?).


This is it, folks. That is total 16 items for the game hackers to look over and start using it. We'll start adding more and more resources so check it when you have the time. If you have a resource link you want to add, please post your comments below.

Until next time, happy hacking!


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Friday, July 20, 2007

I am back!

As you might heard, I been without a real computer for a while. Well, that is over. My new computer with preinstalled Ubuntu just arrive yesterday. As you might imagine, I set up my computer to be hacking ready.

I officially arrive back at the land of hackerdom!

It is just too bad that I didn't get to hack new games for most of my summer vacation. I hope to make the best for the rest of my summer, because I'll have to go to school next month. It is going to seriously cut out time for me to write video games.

In the next few week, you should see a few new games being released announced on this blog. First to go out will be my space invader clone.

By the way, I teamed up with another aspiring game-hacker-in-training to create an online space combat racing game. You should see something like that a few week later.

I hope to spin off a developer log blog so I don't spam you guys with contents that you are probably not interested in anyway.

Expect to see further monetization of this blog, but don't really expect more ads.

It is time to start hacking!


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Strategies for Expanding Free Gaming

Free gaming as we know it, have no pure-breed Free software vendors/studio surrounding it. Few Free games are ever commercial. Thus a myth developed about Linux do not have much games, which is not true. The success story of games like Battle for Wesnoth pale in comparison to other big Free software projects like Firefox. There are few projects that are big and ambitious yet still enjoy wide success.

Practically everyone agree that gaming is one of the biggest bump on the road to widespread adoption of the Linux desktop.

Probably many of us want more games, which are Free softwares.

Still not all hope are lost. If our collective goal is to expand Free gaming's popularity so there are more Free games to play, along with more vibrant development of Free games, and we are willing to put in the effort, perhaps we have a chance. It may also further the goal of the Free software movement. It might even accelerate the adoption of the Linux desktop and finally lead to the magical "Year of the Linux Desktop".

Below this sentence are some of my ideas(Some original and some not) on how we can expand Free gaming's popularity.

1. Build website and services catering to game hackers:

There are lot of websites you could build, whether it is yet another place for developers to host their game projects, wiki dedicated to Free game developments, or maybe even a social networking website for fans and developers to connect. These services help the game developers in their quest for spreading the words, knowledge, or a place to call home, and other useful functions. Whatever it may be, it help developers achieve their goal in the development of games and that can only be a good thing. You might even earn a cent or two in the process!

In this area, I imagine a project that combine social networking and like hosting services. It would give the website a more community feel, as well make game hackers the rock stars of the Free software world. Plus it would be nice for game hackers to carry around a universal profile showing what they accomplished, how many fans they have, contact information, and game projects they're working on. As with project hosting, I guess it would develop a special brand of tools(Free softwares of course) to distinguish itself further from other competitors. It is a kind of website that put strong emphasis on social networking yet give tools for developers to develop their games. This is a dream of mine that I hope is going to be worked on by either me or someone else sometime soon in the future.

2. Free the games campaign

I bet there are many games that are gathering dust sitting on the "intellectual property" shelf of proprietary video game companies. Nothing may never ever happen to them. It is immoral that such source code and data files aren't exposed to the world! The fact that they're sitting on an imaginary shelf gathering dust make this injustice further more harmful.

It is your jobs for those with lot of free times to contact the "intellectual property" owners and free the games! Of course, focus on ones you like because you'll probably be more motivated to free them.

The effort of freeing the games won't do much good if they're not being further developed. While the game may be freed and can rise up when somebody wanted to work on them, it does them no good if they're not being played and enjoyed. So it is up to you or another group of developers to start developing the game. Maybe the first release would be a maintenance release intending to iron out bugs and the port the game to new platform. With a little bit of work, you can probably attract a new fanbase to enjoy the fruit of your labor.

Someday, Free software advocates all over the world don't have to feel guilty if they're playing old games, because they become Free softwares.

There are already projects underway that are currently undertaking this challenge, one of them is the Free Gamer's Project Open.

3. Write new exciting Free games

Innovations tend to be rare in this world, especially in the commercial video game industry where they have the tendency to focus on the graphics. You, the small developer, cannot focus your effort on cutting edge graphics. So it is essential that you focus your effort on what matter most, the gameplay. Everything else such as the graphics, musics, and others are beside the point but they do help to enhance the game.

Forget the clones, focus on something different. Focus your time on designing vastly different gameplay style than the norm. Who know, you might even hit the jackpot! Of course, the game must be fun. Despite the Free gaming world being a clone-fest, there are a few relatively innovative game that give you a different feel. Such kind of games includes RTS named Globulation 2.

The more innovative game you can write, the better!

You might want to try to write a killer game after a few good runs, which is a game that everyone must play. It would attract large amount of gamers in very short time.

A little disclaimer: I don't know how to design really innovative games and killer games or have the experience to. You and I going to have to discover how to do just that. If you're a really brilliant game designer and programmer, I encourage you to pump games for the Free software world.

The more new players there are, the more they're introduced to Free gaming and Free softwares.

4. Take up Abandoned Projects

You know, there are a whole lot of Free games that are abandoned right now. If you don't have good ideas on game design but have some programming skills, this one is for you! You can just take up games that are good but are abandoned and just maintain it. Beside, it will do wonder for any existing fans of the games. Plus revitalization of a project just make the whole Free gaming scene look more vibrant as well more exciting. When there are lot of less dead projects, I am sure it will shatter the perception that Free platform such as GNU/Linux generally suck.

In Conclusion

Well, this is all I can think of right now. Just remember, the more Free gaming become popular, it will further the goal of the larger Free software movement as well bring more games to play with that don't attempt to restrict our freedom. Everyone win! (Except the guys who continues to produce proprietary games)

In the future, I might even have more ideas on how one might expand Free gaming to a bigger scale.

In the meantime, happy hacking!


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Friday, July 6, 2007

Top 5 Must Read for Free Gaming

The ultimate guide to your reading list for Free gaming is here! Some of them are essay that influence my thinking about Free gaming in general, economic, or just plain interesting to read. For some articles merely related to Free games, still other are not even about Free gaming, but offered insights relating to Free games. Yet, some articles are articles that I disagree with either entirely or parts of it, but I feel that they are still good read. Without further ado, here are the top 5 Free gaming articles!

1. Debunking reasons not to open source indie freeware games

This article by Freegamer give reasons why you should make your games Free softwares, while also attacking fears and other bogus reasons often offered by freeware developers.

2. The Bedroom Coder's Business Model

It is a really good guide that show you how it is possible to be a bedroom coder and not sell your soul to game studio or companies. It is also one of the article that inspire me to write Making Money off Free Software Games?

3. Free Distribution

Thought on the future of copyright law, distribution, and methods of making money. It is also another article that influence the creation of my blog post as mentioned above.

4. Playing the Open Source Game

An interesting article that explain why games are different than typical softwares and the problems associated with making video games. It also spell some advices for game hackers out there.

5. Where are the Good Open Source Games?

Another article explaining the difficulty of writing games and how poorly adapted the usual Free software development model for games.

That is all of it!

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