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Parsec To Be Released As Open Source 224

Posted by timothy
from the screenshots-to-drool-on dept.
Mark Bainter writes "The Parsec creators have announced today that they are going to release the Parsec project source code early next month. From the site: 'The source release will include platform support for Win32, MacOS X, and Linux, and contain both OpenGL and Glide rendering code. It will include almost everything that has been part of the earlier LAN-Test releases, as well as our new client/server code that is already far along in development. However, it is our hope that this release will be picked up by the Parsec community for further development, supported by members of the original Parsec Project. This release will be the last official release of the original Parsec Project. It had been our intention to achieve a full-featured release including Internet game play in 2002. However, we were always doing this in our spare time, and since it is taking us too long to reach our original goal, we do not want to keep the Parsec community waiting any longer and have thus decided that it is time to change Parsec's development model to an open source approach.'"
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Parsec To Be Released As Open Source

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  • woah! (Score:4, Funny)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @10:54PM (#5179007) Homepage Journal
    What's next? A Duke Nukem Forever release? I remember checking out this site back before I ever got the 3D acceleration working on FreeBSD. I'd always figured they were going the same route as Stars! Supernova Genesis [crisium.com]. It's great to see that it's going to be Open Source as well. It'll be great to play something beyond the ancient LAN demo.
    • Re:woah! (Score:5, Funny)

      by CoolVibe (11466) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:27PM (#5179196) Journal
      Speaking of DNF: That one should be open sourced too, if only to get rid of all the whining and old jokes about it.

      So, what about it, 3D Realms? Open the code, we'll finish the game for you ;)

      *ducks and runs away*

      • ...DNF: That one should be open sourced too...

        The only problem with this idea is that there is no code!

        Top Secret 3D Realms business plan:
        1: Make kick ass game
        2: Announce even more kick ass sequel
        3: ???
        4: Profit!

        (Psst Mr. Broussard, replace ??? with 'Write the code')
      • So, what about it, 3D Realms? Open the code, we'll finish the game for you ;)

        Spilled my nightly "have-it-so-i-can-hack-a-few-more-hours" cup of coffee from laughing so hard. Funny shit. :)

      • Re:woah! (Score:5, Funny)

        by RichardX (457979) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @01:20AM (#5179860) Homepage
        "Speaking of DNF"

        Somewhat ironic.. I read that as "Did Not Finish" (as in failed to reach the end of a race).. then a moment later realised it's Duke Nukem Forever.

        Perhaps a little too convenient of a coincidence?
    • Forget Duke Nukem.

      Bring back Hunt the Wumpus!!!

      My name is Chris, my first computer was a Ti 99/4A, and I am old.
  • Glide? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ruiner13 (527499) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @10:54PM (#5179009) Homepage
    Does anyone still use Voodoo cards? Do they work with win2k or XP?
    • Some people have hacked some XP drivers together, since there are no official XP drivers (how could there be, 3Dfx folded before XP's release).

      But I believe there are official Windows 2000 drivers.
      • Yes, it works under Win2k. One of 3Dfx's last releases was a "decent" Win2k driver. But, on today's games, it doesn't always display things correctly. On XP, you can try and use the Win2k driver, but it is screwy and just plain sux. If you still have one of these cards (like me) you find that it still works best under Win98... I have never tried the "3rd party" drivers by various people that are available on the internet.

        I had my Voodoo 5 in my Red Hat Linux box until lately, when I decided I wanted dual head and got a Matrox G450 cheap from eBay (not too bad, it works, but the drivers could use some refinement!).
  • by 1984 (56406) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @10:55PM (#5179013)
    There I go, getting all excited that the classic TI99/4a sideways scrolling shoot-em up is going to made open source. So I'd have a chance to see the workings of one the games that perverted my early development. Alas it's some fancy-schmancy 3D number. New fangled nonsense...
    • I've never known of another person who has seen, let alone played that game. Can you buy those anywhere? I looked on ebay a while ago, but came up empty.

      I want my parsec!
      • Re:This isn't Parsec (Score:5, Informative)

        by PsychoKiller (20824) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:28PM (#5179203) Homepage
        I think my parents still have mine in their basement. Ahh, those were the days, programming in basic and praying that the tape (a regular audio tape) recorded your information properly. I even had the speech synthesizer, and there was a mountain climber game that used it a lot, Alpine was the name I think, that was fun.

        You can get emulators here (there is even a Linux version):

        http://www.ricks-graphics.co.uk/area99/links.htm
      • There I go, getting all excited that the classic TI99/4a sideways scrolling shoot-em up is going to made open source.

        Yeah, me too. The only reason I still have my old TI99/4A is so I can play that game! Got the voice module too, so I can hear the female robot voice telling me, "Alien craft advancing... nice shot, pilot!"

        Can you buy those anywhere? I looked on ebay a while ago, but came up empty.
        I want my parsec!

        Not from me! You can have my Parsec when you unwrap my cold, dead fingers from around it....

      • Parsec on the TI 99/4A defined leisure time when I was a kid. I also thought that was what this was. I spent hour upon hour with that damn TI. I'd still play it if my video out wasnt broken... in fact this brings back so many memories that i may buy a TI on Ebay just to play all my old roms.
      • I had one too. Parsec was probably the best game on that system, especially with the speech synthesizer. But those TI joysticks really ruined the experience.
        • Parsec the best? I don't know if I'd go that far, thought it was definitely up there. Plenty of time wasted on it, along side hours and hours on Tunnels of Doom, along with a really cool and for some reason extra-fun Missile Command knockoff called Barrage...

          Darn, I miss my TI computer. Though I can gladly say I'd finished all of the first twelve Scott Adams' Adventure games, and made quite a few of my own.
    • THANK YOU! When i first saw the webpage, i thought, *in smooth sexy voice* "Helllllo Parsec!" But i was concerned because it was all 3D and sort of far flung of what I remembered about the TI Parsec.

      Great game though, The woman's voice in the game was pretty smooth and clear. Ruined many a good joystick playing *that* hot little number...:)
    • Scoff... TI99

      I remember back in the day, when I had to cross country ski to get to school. We used these things called abacus's. Ah well, what to do with the youth.

    • And here I was jumping up and down in front of my computer, thinking things like "but I don't remember anything about TI99/4A assembly language" when I realized it was not what they were talking about.

      Please, kiddies, don't use the name of such classic games for your little open source projects.
    • Yeah, I killed a lot of hours playing the TI99/4a Parsec. I've never seen nor heard of the game since that time though. Like some others here, I've never met anyone else who has played it either. Now I know I'm not alone. Thank you Slashdot!

    • Ah, nostalgia!! That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the headlines... I thought they would bring back one of my most favorite games of all time-- 'til my Parents sold that good 'ole TI 99/4a in a garage sale.

      I think I was 6 years old, back in '82, when I got to the impossible level 24. Had the whole family in watching... I wish I would have beat it by the time it got sold, but oh well.

      It's kind of funny the parallels you see even in the latest generation of kids. I mean, my kid is 2 and he can pass levels on Super Mario. What's next? Kids out of the womb playing Quake?
      • I've played a 3 year old in Quakeworld Matador, and he OWNED me. I suppose it's becuase his dad is like a Quake god, but that's not the point ( ;
    • I thought the same =/
  • finally! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blaine (16929) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @10:55PM (#5179015)
    I've been watching this project with anticipation for years, but it's always been "almost ready". That, and the guys running it had what seemed an unnatural fear of open source. Their argument against in in the past was basically "we don't want outside help, so no open source". As if opening the source meant they had to accept changes. It was very strange.

    So yeah. Yay! Maybe we'll see a finished game finally. It definately has the potential to be a kickass game.
    • Re:finally! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CoolVibe (11466) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:24PM (#5179174) Journal
      They had no unnatural fear of open source. If they really feared open source, they wouldn't have made linux binaries available at all. If I remember correctly, they wanted to make a solid base for the game first, and later decide if they were going open source (for whatever reason).

      Clearly, they both haven't got the time to maintain it, and they don't want to see the project die. Open sourcing it is the natural choice to let it live forever.

      We should thank these guys, they gave us (the OSS community) a very cool and spiffy looking 3D space engine to muck with. I'll sure be mucking with it.

      • They had no unnatural fear of open source

        sure the have no fear of third party open-source

        If they really feared open source, they wouldn't have made linux binaries available at all

        hmm.... I didn't know that releasing a binary for an OSS OS unleashes the sources ... maybe someone should tell this to Larry Elisson.

  • Announcement (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @10:56PM (#5179019)
    Parsec Goes Open Source!

    January 28, 2003 -- We are currently preparing the entire code base of Parsec for a full source release in early May 2003, which will mark a major change in the structure of the Parsec Project.
    The source release will include platform support for Win32, MacOS X, and Linux, and contain both OpenGL and Glide rendering code. It will include almost everything that has been part of the earlier LAN-Test releases, as well as our new client/server code that is already far along in development. However, it is our hope that this release will be picked up by the Parsec community for further development, supported by members of the original Parsec Project.

    This release will be the last official release of the original Parsec Project. It had been our intention to achieve a full-featured release including Internet game play in 2002. However, we were always doing this in our spare time, and since it is taking us too long to reach our original goal, we do not want to keep the Parsec community waiting any longer and have thus decided that it is time to change Parsec's development model to an open source approach.

    We intend the official Parsec webpage to become the central hub for playing Parsec and continuing Parsec development. We would like to dedicate the upcoming release to the Parsec community, and hope that Parsec will live on and prosper as an open community project. Enjoy!

    The Parsec Project

    Parsec is a fast-paced non-commercial network space-shooter that has been in development for several years. It started out in 1996 as a lab project at the Vienna University of Technology, but has transcended its original roots to become what we would like to refer to as commercial-quality freeware (CQF).
    The major releases of Parsec up to now were several versions of the Parsec LAN-Test, which were intended to enable players to get a glimpse of the current state of Parsec's development. These releases support Win32, MacOS, MacOS X, and Linux platforms, and 3D hardware acceleration through OpenGL and Glide (for the old 3dfx boards).

    The Parsec Project, a term we also use to refer to the people behind Parsec, is the team of game developers that has been working on Parsec since 1996. However, the impending change of Parsec's development model to an open source approach will be closing the original Parsec Project in early May 2003.

    Beginning in May 2003, Parsec will be an open community project striving toward a Parsec release that also includes Internet game play. The members of the original Parsec Project would like to dedicate their work to the Parsec community, and hope that the open source version of Parsec will bring lots of fun to even more people around the globe!

    • But What Licence (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BadlandZ (1725) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:53PM (#5179325) Journal
      I read it, and I must be missing something. I re-read it. I still missed it. What licence will it use? Unless it's a clear licence, viewing the source may not be helpful.

      What if they don't allow people to submit patches? What if they won't let you use the source to fork off your own project because they retain some rights to it? What good is seeing the source then?

      Open source just means you can see thier code, and CQF doesn't really mean anything to me. Can someone point me to some info that may make the meaning of this announcement a little clearer to me?

      • Re:But What Licence (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CoolVibe (11466)
        OSS Licenses (of which there are many) don't need to be compatible with GPL to be truly open. Take off those GPL blinds. Take a gander at the open source website [opensource.org] sometime and educate yourself.

        The original authors will always retain their copyright, no matter how open a license they choose. But I guess that's not what you mean. If they choose GPL, you must make code available if you release anyway, and release that under the GPL license too. So GPL isn't really as free (as in speech) as you think.

        Of course if they choose BSD, you can fork and do with the code what you pretty well please (with some caveats though).

        We'll see what they'll do.

        • OSS Licenses (of which there are many) don't need to be compatible with GPL to be truly open. Take off those GPL blinds.

          Perhaps you should take off your anti-GPL blinds? It's rather obvious that you're prejudiced against the GPL for some reason. Do you know how I spotted this? It's because you mention the GPL five times in your post whereas BadlandZ didn't mention it at all!
          • You are forgetting this is slashdot. Usually, 95% of the times a slashdot poster blabs about open source, they mean GPL, unless they specify otherwise. So I (maybe wrongly) assumed that the grandparent poster was talking about the GPL.

            You'd be surprised how many geeks here vouch for the GPL while not actually knowing what it entails, other than it being free (as in beer (which doesn't _have_ to be the case btw)).

            I'm not anti-GPL, but what I do hate is people releasing projects under a license they know little about (except for the obvious). Yes, I do prefer a BSD or LGPL license, but I'm not anti-GPL.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        From what I've seen, they don't really care what you do with it, as long as it's not a commercial purpose (IE selling it, with or without the source code). I guess they don't want to, in the future, end up paying to play the game that they started but couldn't finish.
      • I'll be the first to say this but:
        The Open version is and will most likely be Vapourware.
        It's an exercise for the reader to determine why.
        ( someone offers them cash for it, Somehow non-releasable code got into the base, etc etc)
      • Open source just means you can see thier
        [sic] code...

        No, that's not what "open source" means. Read the first sentence of the introduction to the definition of the Open Source Definition [opensource.org]. This is ironic considering so many people come away with precisely the same conclusion you did and the Open Source movement was made in part to offer something believed to be clearer than the concept of software freedom (the "Free" in Free Software). You can see the results of other misconceptions about "Open Source" [gnu.org] too.

        • I see your point, but you don't see mine. "Open Source" doesn't gain extra meaning to everyone in the world the minute you put the two words together. The real dictionary definitions and context would mean "let you see inside the program, read the code." I understand what the "Open Source Movement" wants when they say "Open Source," but that doesn't mean everyone who used the two words together is bound to that definition.
  • by szyzyg (7313) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @10:56PM (#5179020)
    The Parsec game engine should prove a nice basis to re-create the 8/16 bit classic elite in noughties style.

    Then again maybe Christian will get around to releasing his dark-kind source sooner.
  • Gripe... (Score:5, Informative)

    by YellowElectricRat (637662) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @10:56PM (#5179021) Journal

    I mean really - how hard would it be to put a one line description about what the Parsec project is in the article body?

    Parsec project: Fast-paced multiplayer cross-platform 3D Internet space combat

    There... That didn't hurt too much, did it?

    • Re: Gripe... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622)


      > I mean really - how hard would it be to put a one line description about what the Parsec project is in the article body?

      One of the things that really irks me at Sourceforge is when you pull a list of all the games under development they tend to tell you what language they're programming in and what gee-whiz rendering technology they're going to use, but don't say the first word about what the game is.

  • by imac.usr (58845) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:03PM (#5179057) Homepage
    I downloaded one of the tests for the Mac a long, long time ago. Gameplay seemed intriguing, but what really hooked me was the music by Stefan Poiss (I play the three tracks on my MP3 player over and over). Anybody know if there's other tracks available by him? I haven't checked the site in a while and it seems to be well and truly slashdotted now.

    • I downloaded one of the tests for the Mac a long, long time ago. Gameplay seemed intriguing, but what really hooked me was the music by Stefan Poiss (I play the three tracks on my MP3 player over and over). Anybody know if there's other tracks available by him? I haven't checked the site in a while and it seems to be well and truly slashdotted now.

      Good, isn't it? Alas, he hasn't updated his MP3.com web site since 2001. A web search doesn't show up much for him, either. I think he just doesn't use the 'net much.

      If anyone finds anything more by him, do let us know...

  • by duckpoopy (585203) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:04PM (#5179061) Journal
    No, not the Enterprise.
    • I thought a Parsec was a unit for measuring distance, not speed. That line has always bugged me. :)
      • I thought a Parsec was a unit for measuring distance, not speed. That line has always bugged me. :)

        You see, travelling faster than light speed is impossible. What you need to do is warp space somehow so you have less distance to travel. The Millenium Falcon, with its souped up engine, was able to warp space so much that the Kessel run was shortened to 12 parsecs. A lesser spacecraft might have to travel 40.
        • So what you're saying is that the Millenium Falcon only had to travel the equivalent of 12 parsecs of real space. Assuming it could achieve near-light speed, that means the Kessel run would have taken about 39 years (12 parsecs * 3.26 light years/parsec). Good thing they didn't have to travel the full distance!
      • If you set c=1, which is often done in particle physics calculations for convenience, then times do indeed come out in units of length (i.e. cm). Maybe Han was a physics major before dropping out and becoming a smuggler? :-)
  • by vlad_petric (94134) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:08PM (#5179078) Homepage
    Why did they wait so much to release it as open source? I'm just wondering if their initial plan wasn't to change from Freeware to Commercial at some point. They've most likely realised that they won't be able to make money out of it, and decided to opensource it so it doesn't die (a site that wasn't updated for almost a year can be considered a near-death experience). Anyway, they did do a great job and I'm glad that the opensource gaming is enriched with a free-as-in-beer space shooter.
  • by ksheka (189669) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:11PM (#5179103)
    ...is those pesky .mp3 sound files will be replaced by remastered .ogg files. :-)
  • VegaStrike (Score:5, Informative)

    by sweeze (530463) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:21PM (#5179158)
    but how does this compare to VegaStrike [sourceforge.net], which is already open sourced ( and written by a friend of mine , shameless plug )
  • I can't really see what the Parsec parser combinator library [cs.uu.nl] has to do with OpenGL and Internet game play.
  • by bgeer (543504) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @12:03AM (#5179386)
    You know you've been in the development cycle too long when you release a game in 2003 and the spec blurb talks about GLIDE support.
  • by eGabriel (5707) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @12:50AM (#5179692) Homepage
    Soon my hard drive will be chock full of source code from half done games! As soon as I am up to speed on the state of the art of gaming 5 years ago, I plan to finish these suckers!

    Or play nethack. I still have never ascended.
  • wow! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Does the latest version still run well on the TI99-4a?
  • by BitwizeGHC (145393) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @02:27AM (#5180109) Homepage
    Alert!!! Alien craft advancing!!!

    Dramite Ships attacking!!!

    Caution!!! Asteroid belt!!!

    Oh, uh, wrong Parsec...
  • by Snaller (147050) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @02:38AM (#5180136) Journal

    In a related story, a spokesperson for God confirmed that a Light Year will remain closed source for the time being.
  • by ward (7051)
    Does noone else find this game to be terribly similar to Terminus? You know, Terminus, the persistent universe online space combat/trading game available for Win, Mac, and Linux?

    I remember lots of Linux folks drooling over it and babbling about how they'd all buy it as soon as it shipped, because it would have Linux binaries on the CD.

    Nobody did, of course. That's probably why nobody remembers the game.
    • I did, and I still play it from time to time. The greatest shortcoming for me though, was that once you've plaid through the story line, the game is pretty static unless you play it in multiplayer mode, and since it's a commercial closed source game there's not many options for customizing it.
  • correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by cbx (310366) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @03:58AM (#5180371)
    We are going to do a full source release in early May 2003 NOT next month as stated in the article.
    This is mainly due to some preperation work.
  • by mattr (78516) <mattrNO@SPAMtelebody.com> on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @04:18AM (#5180411) Homepage Journal
    "Commercial quality freeware" .. "we intend to continue disallowing commercial uses of Parsec".


    I don't get where the line is that something becomes "open source". BSD obviously is open. GPL, okay I understand copyleft. I also understand one liscense I saw where the stuff could not be used for kiddie porn-like exploitation.


    But talk about viral, if someone starts hacking with it and develops their own "commercial quality" game, he is doomed to the same problem that the authors had, which is that because he can't sell it, he cannot possibly afford to compete with commercial games!


    This seems to be a case of people attempting to foist misguided moral choices on other people whom they somehow still hope (many mysterious cheap hands) will acheive their dream for them.
    Not that I personally want to use their code, it's just confusing that there are so many "open source" liscenses out there. Hate to say it, but I'd much rather see something like Helixcode, maybe if it is commercial then a royalty can be paid the authors. And where does the line between free and commercial get drawn?


    I'm sorry, it sounds like lots of fun and one day maybe I'll try playing it. But I don't get the reasoning behind releasing something to the community while maintaining restrictions on it. We all grow up, I guess these guys did. Grownups often like to get paid for their time, or at least have the illusion of free will. I think this could attract more talented programmers and game people if it didn't have the noncommercial requirement.

    • by Taurine (15678)
      The parent is obviously a troll. For anyone taken in by the flawed logic of the parent, there is a solution to the problem presented, a developer who builds something from the open code and wants to commercialise it. All contributors to the project retain their own copyright, and thus are free to licence their code to others by different licenses. If the developer builds something from just the originally released code, he would have to negotiate a commercial license from the original authors. If he wants to commercialise something derrived from code from many contributors, he's going to need to get agreement and terms from all those contributors, or replace their code with his own.

      Ultimately its pretty obvious why a non-comercial clause might appear in a license. The original developer doesn't want to have to pay someone else to play the finished game, when they themselves did so very much of the work.
  • How much effort would it have been to insert the words "first-person shooter" (or IP server collection, or DNS tools, or BSD filesystem utilities, or... )

    sigh.
  • Space combat (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Harald74 (40901) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @06:41AM (#5180544) Homepage Journal
    Anyone else tired of the "battleship model" of space combat, with heavily armed and armoured ships duking it out, taking multiple hits before finally succumbing to accumulated damage?

    I figure space combat will be more similar to submarine combat. Space is huge, the ships will be fragile, weapons will pack a massive punch. These factors will force ships to rely on sensors, hiding and avoidance to achieve their aims.

    I imagine that we will have ships hiding in asteriod belts, on moons and near planets, patiently waiting for their prey, unleashing a barrage of missiles and then try to disappear again while the target is busy applying countermeasures to the incoming missile swarm.
    • Anyone else tired of the "battleship model" of space combat

      I agree. Battleship isn't very fun. I am always losing those little plastic pegs and I never seem to be able to hide my ships effectively.

      Oh wait, what you're talking about seems terribly boring. Kind of like fishing, only without nature to distract you while waiting for a bite.

      Space games are pretty easy to write. It you have an idea for one that is a bit different, maybe you could whip it up yourself and see if it is fun. That is what I did.

      • Oh wait, what you're talking about seems terribly boring. Kind of like fishing, only without nature to distract you while waiting for a bite.


        Maybe not. There's a whole lot of "submarine movies" [imdb.com] about. Some good [imdb.com] and some bad [imdb.com]. But the genre has potential.

        Space games are pretty easy to write. It you have an idea for one that is a bit different, maybe you could whip it up yourself and see if it is fun. That is what I did.


        I did, for a table-top RPG [sjgames.com]. Never got to playtest it, though. The trick was to get a balance where several different strategies could work. Observe that there are sub sims [subsim.com] about for computers.
        • I could be wrong. I certainly have been wrong before. That said, I don't think that there is that much interest in a "realistic" space combat game. In "realistic" space combat the fighting won't be very human controlled anyhow. It will be AIs duking it out with very little human intervention. An example from current tech: Do you think that you could shoot down a missle yourself? Human participation is limited to a yes/no on whether to try to shoot it down. That doesn't strike me as thrilling.

          Star Wars and Star Trek have set a certain expectation for what space combat will be like and that is what people want to see in a video game. I certainly encourage you to try to create something totatlly different, I just don't think it would have wide appeal.

  • Nice to mention that in the post guys....

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

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