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GNU is Not Unix Graphics Open Source Games

Remix This Game — a Free Software Experiment 152

Posted by timothy
from the good-use-for-ex-girlfriend-pictures dept.
An anonymous reader writes "REMIX THIS GAME is an experimental game design contest where participants can re-mix and re-cycle my free-software self-published PC game, XONG. XONG is available under permissive licenses allowing remixes and derivative works of the code, graphics, sound effects, and music—even for commercial use. The source code license is the GNU GPL Version 3, and the media is covered by the Creative Commons BY-SA license. No special software or programming experience are needed—XONG has been packaged up so that you can just download the game and edit the graphics/code/music/sounds in place, and re-start the game to see your changes. Plus, it is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux, so you can remix it on whichever OS you use, using whatever programs you like."
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Remix This Game — a Free Software Experiment

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  • Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by krzysz00 (1842280) <<krzysdrewniak> <at> <gmail.com>> on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:16PM (#32945462)
    This is great and will most likely show off the extensibility of Lisp to people who don't normally care. Also, why did the author use cells instead of standard CLOS, unlike I'm doing in my common lisp roguelke
    • Re:Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:36PM (#32945560)

      I dare anybody to watch the game in action [youtube.com]" without visiting the website and come to any conclusion about how the game works, or what it is you're controlling, what you have to achieve, how you score or how you die

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by GumphMaster (772693)
        Clearly his PC had just crashed :)
      • Well my game-fanatic nephew and I just did that. He noticed one of the blocks with a line following it and concluded that must be the object controlled by whoever is playing the game. We didn't get much further than that. I'll reserve judgement until the DSi version comes out.
        • I'll reserve judgement until the DSi version comes out.

          Then you'll probably be reserving judgment indefinitely. The DSi firmware is cryptographically secured against the use of free software.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I did watch the you tube video and I still have no idea how the game is played. I couldn't figure out which one of the 20 moving things on the screen represented the player until he died and then he said "I died" out loud, and then I rewinded it twice.
        I'm thinking PacMan + DigDug + BoulderDash + Worms + Too Much Caffeine for the Developer + Graphics that make my old C64 look good.
        Really looks like another lame attempt to get hits for a personal web site.
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Reminds me of an old 8-bit Atari game called Firebug Olga. It had weird gameplay because it was a mix of at least Digdug and Pacman that also let you shoot things after gathering enough doodads on the screen. I think it was one of those weird "demo" or magazine games that made its way around enthusiast groups or something, since I couldn't find much in the way of reference to it.

          Now if somebody could remake that one 8-bit tank game where you could build walls and had exploding shells that could also ricoche

        • by V!NCENT (1105021)

          Can you figure out chess by just looking at it? Do you care if your chess pieces have 1 trillion triangle detail and facial animation and cutscenes where the queen cries?

          God forbid! Next thing you know somebody might actually make a GAME instead of an interactive movie! OMG!

          • by s73v3r (963317)
            While I get your point, we are far beyond the C64 level of graphical capabilities today, even for simple games. Would it be too much to ask that a chess piece actually looked like a chess piece in a chess game?
            • by V!NCENT (1105021)

              Well, in case of a chess game then you are right, but uhm...

              What would be the best graphical design for this game? Might that not be simplicity? Bevers and battleships with ambiant occlusion and all that isn't realy going to help the overal overview of the game itself and maybe, just maybe, make it a lot worse to play as you have to track a lot that is going on. The simpler, the better your play.

              But then again... It can be mashed-up with POVray xD

              • by s73v3r (963317)
                Like I said, it doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles of a new Halo or Gears of War game. But it would help if the shield packs actually looked like fucking shield packs, and that your character actually looked different than everything else on the screen.
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Is that a spoof?

        It reminded me more of this: http://www.cracked.com/video_17500_a-helpful-tutorial-most-difficult-video-game-ever.html [cracked.com] than a gameplay video.

      • Re:Cool (Score:4, Interesting)

        by HadouKen24 (989446) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:47PM (#32946336)
        From what I've seen so far:

        You control the box. You are trying (among other things?) to kill the things moving around. This seems to be largely done by forcing them into striking bombs (the empty squares). You can use a "puck"--the round circle that bounces back toward the box--to tunnel through the walls, and you can drop "chevrons" that force the enemies to move in the indicated direction. This is especially useful for forcing them to hit a bomb or get trapped in a tunnel.

        It's not /that/ arcane. You just have to watch it for a couple minutes.
        • by jack2000 (1178961)
          I noticed those things too, but the developer COULD have worked a little bit more on the graphics and sound. Hell any off the shelf free sounds could have been better...

          Still this could have some potential if some one makes a more streamlined/faster paced version.
      • New game: How long did it take you to figure out exactly what he was controlling?

        1m21s.
    • Re:Cool (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 18, 2010 @07:07PM (#32945718)

      have you seen it running?
      man, that game is operating in like 7-dimensions - yet without 'height', concurrently in multiple parallel-universes - with grandfather paradox feedback - before, after and even "word doesn't yet exist" the original causation event. my friend played a full game (no trainer) the other week, he finished 106 years ago with a top score of "japan"

    • by sykopomp (1133507)
      It's not cells -- it's an object system called CLON. It's more along the lines of KR. It's prototype-based and emphasises the message-passing bit more. It's a much simpler system than CLOS (which can be nice in some cases, such as when you want to bring in strangers and have them extend/remix your game).
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:57PM (#32946390)

      I don't want to see something you consider needing work in Lisp. This game has to be the most confusing thing I've seen in a long time. Extremely poor design. Now I realize that doesn't mean the language behind it is bad, but it is not a good way to showcase things. "Oh look how extensible Lisp is! You can edit a poorly done extremely complex game!"

      I mean I could counter with "Look how extensible C++ is! Go purchase Civ 4 and marvel at the amount of flexibility it has, without ever touching the source code (most of the game is in XML and Python)."

      When you want to showcase something, you want a good looking, easy to use demo. You want a polished final product.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dyingtolive (1393037)
        To be fair, my first thought was: "Eew gross, Lisp." My second thought was, "Wait, you can even DO stuff like this in Lisp?"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So to actually change something besides the media (wich is something you can do on a lot of games already), you need to know LISP and get to know your custom .pak format. I don't think this will take off.

  • by Thinboy00 (1190815) <thinboy00 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:25PM (#32945500) Journal

    Typically, the term "permissive" implies a BSD-like license, i.e. no copyleft. I'm just saying.

    • Completely agree. I was turned off when I saw it was CC BY-SA and GPLv3'd. Hate both licenses. Hate.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's only because you hate freedom [gnu.org].

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yes because freedom is having one person define what freedom means.

          • Yes because freedom is having one person define what freedom means.

            OMFG, in the last 18 years or so, something has been itching at the back of my head after hearing RMS speak. I've been following the whole GPL, BSD, etc. BS for awhile. Something kept nagging at me and I couldn't find the words for it.

            You're post, screaming for a true implementation of a sarcasm tag, just wrapped up the whole thing for me. You have provided my new sig line.

            • Yes because freedom is having one person define what freedom means.

              OMFG, in the last 18 years or so, something has been itching at the back of my head after hearing RMS speak. I've been following the whole GPL, BSD, etc. BS for awhile. Something kept nagging at me and I couldn't find the words for it.

              You're post, screaming for a true implementation of a sarcasm tag, just wrapped up the whole thing for me. You have provided my new sig line.

              To be honest, it's a weak argument against the FSF's version of freedom.

              There are other licenses outside of the GPL that the FSF considers fully free, in that they force users of the code to extend the same freedom they were given unto others.

        • That's only because you hate freedom [gnu.org].

          I decided to use the GPL instead of a dog license, now my dog has run away.

      • by B4light (1144317)
        It's not like licenses do anything.
        • Tell that to the GPL folks (whom have successfully sued in court that the terms of the license be upheld).

          • by Rogerborg (306625)

            Tell that to the GPL folks (whom have successfully sued in court that the terms of the license be upheld).

            Wait, what? The GPL doesn't work that way. All it does it provide you with a shield against copyright infringement. You can't sue to force compliance, you can only sue for copyright damages.

            Straight up now, I can't find any evidence of a GPL-violation copyright case being decided in court, let alone that licensing compliance has been enforced. Your claim, your [citation needed].

      • by afabbro (33948)
        On the other hand, I just love your web page. I will certainly check back soon!
      • If you don't mind me asking, why do you "hate" them?

        The only reason I see to hate them is if you want to ship a closed source derivative of some software released under such licenses. Otherwise, how do they affect you in any way, so much that you hate them?

        • Besides being infectious (mainly aimed at the GPLv3 as I'm most well versed on the GPL (at least up until GPL2))? Limiting? Nah, I'll take a BSD or almost any other copyfree [copyfree.org] license over the GPL any day.

    • Of course, copyleft is just another form of DRM.
      • by smaddox (928261)

        No, it's more of ARM (analog rights management). There is no digital software keeping the source code open.

        Also, whereas DRM pro-actively prevents you from using the software in an undesired way, copyleft retroactively does so (through legislation). You can go ahead and use the software in a commercial closed-source application, but if you get caught you must pay the consequences.

        • by s73v3r (963317)
          Ummm, no. You chose to use the software in a commercial application, without wanting to comply with the license. If you have no intentions of complying with the license, then you shouldn't use the software. Do I have the option to ignore the license (especially the non-distribution and non-reverse engineering clauses) of a closed source application just because I want to use them?
          • Do I have the option to ignore the license (especially the non-distribution and non-reverse engineering clauses) of a closed source application just because I want to use them?

            Yes, but you'll get sued. Hence it's retroactive.

  • Not that I'm against freer/more open gaming, but how is this project different from the usual mod scene for your typical run-of-the-mill game? People have been able to "remix" games for decades (with less fanfare, perhaps) and sometimes the code gets GPLed too.

    So is this novel because it's an indie experiment (which isn't that unusual either) or because of something that I'm not really grasping?

  • by Robotron23 (832528) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:51PM (#32945656) Homepage

    This game at first glance appears to be a take on an early roguetype; however in truth it's less adventureish, gear-based or as rich with chance taking. It's quirky though:

    You control a vulnerable white square attempting to infiltrate a semi-randomly generated abstract color field environment infested with robots. You are armed with a paint-absorbent hockey puck that can pick up color and transfer it to other objects. If you lose your puck, you have to find another; these are scattered through the environment and look like the letter P. There are no hit points; any hit kills you, and completely ends your game. You cannot shoot enemies; instead you drop direction-changing arrows called "chevrons" to guide them to their doom in one of XONG's many black holes. But your puck will also follow the arrows, so be careful where you fire; otherwise you'll lose it down a black hole.

    I can imagine any number of possibilities for this game so here are my suggestions...

    You could attach a consistently looping 8-bit track, and perhaps add a purple 'M' character that changes said track between a selection of five inbetween your fight for survival. XONG: SONG Edition.

    You could append a boss enemy with a brown capital 'K' - this will spawn periodically in the game to increase the challenge difficulty. However you can destroy him by luring him to the red 'M' which insta-deaths the K. XONG: KONG Edition.

    You could attach an RPG element with a short text preamble which says you're a stoner who's attempting to work his way up the hockey league and must find a bong in under 200 move intervals to survive - upon 10,000 moves (progressive difficulty) and then you win hockey stardom...it could be called XONG: BONG Hockey Master Edition.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      This game at first glance appears to be a take on an early roguetype; however in truth it's less adventureish, gear-based or as rich with chance taking. It's quirky though:

      You control a vulnerable white square attempting to infiltrate a semi-randomly generated abstract color field environment infested with robots. You are armed with a paint-absorbent hockey puck that can pick up color and transfer it to other objects. If you lose your puck, you have to find another; these are scattered through the environment and look like the letter P. There are no hit points; any hit kills you, and completely ends your game. You cannot shoot enemies; instead you drop direction-changing arrows called "chevrons" to guide them to their doom in one of XONG's many black holes. But your puck will also follow the arrows, so be careful where you fire; otherwise you'll lose it down a black hole.

      Oh, so THAT's what's going on... I went to see their "Gameplay video with commentary, at youtube" and I had no clue as to what the hell I was looking at. This is some very, very nerdy stuff, and that's coming from a fairly nerdy guy. ASCII characters as game sprites... party like it's 1989!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Robotron23 (832528)

        Yeah I used to play Nethack a lot some time ago; learning a roguelike game gives one enough insight to spot any other game of the sort easily. Infact any young nerd who creates a game like XONG is very, very likely to have experience with a rogue-type game dating to the 1980s.

        Nethack is common among nerds - and if you tire of the ASCII stuff you can commit a mild act of sacrilige and play a version more conventional in appearance one of which is included with the standard Nethack package that one can downlo

        • I've recently picked up UMoria again, and you know a game is old when after mentioning it people refer you to slightly-less ancient games like Angband :-).

          Also I got a Rogue port for my iPhone, but I can't say that touch is the way to go for that style of game.
    • by PingSpike (947548)

      Those are all fine ideas, but when modding any new game you have to get the basics out of the way first. So we should start with a white square no panties mod.

  • While i like the idea, I worry that this won't amount to much more than graphics being changed to penises or copyrighted stuff like Mario or halo or something.

    How hard is it to rewrite the code and wouldn't this just be the equivalent of passing on the brunt of the game development to someone else?
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @07:09PM (#32945728)
    If this is advertising or genuine news?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ksandom (718283)
      I haven't read enough to answer that. However looking at the bigger picture, I do think this sort of stunt would be good for getting more people working on open source software. Inspire them with something that is immediately fun and rewarding, and trigger the curiousities to try something deeper later on. I wouldn't be at all surprised to talk to someone 5-10 years from now and hear that something like this was their first project.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yup, and that's the problem with Slashdot. It and its readers are increasingly evaluating stories and comments as this were primarily an open-source advocacy site, as opposed to a nerd/news site with a special focus on the open source movement. So what really has to be describe as an advertisement for an obscure (google "Xong review" if you think that's not fair) self-published game gets stuck on the front page by including a few buzzwords (GPL, Creative Commons), and the editing decision gets endorsed--e

    • If this is advertising or genuine news?

      Whoa. That's like, a zen koan.

      Maybe what you must realize is: There is no news.

    • by ari_j (90255)
      You can tell that it's advertising because every single statement in the article summary describes every open-source game and the other comments indicate that this particular game is nonsensical and unnecessarily complex. There is nothing at all new or special here and anything interesting about it was already true of open-source games in existence for decades, such as Netrek (1988), Nethack (1987 and based on older games whose open-source status I do not know), Battle for Wesnoth (2003), Lincity (1995), a
    • It's advertising. I'm making a simple game right now that's taken me all of 5 evenings, using entirely open source software. I haven't played XONG, but the technology doesn't look all that advanced. My own code is composed of a few simple libraries:

      Ogre (Graphics)
      Lua (Scripting)
      ToLua (Script Bindings)
      OpenAL (Audio)

      All of this is open source, and aside from OpenAL is a BSD or similar license. I could probably release my code right now, after 5 days of work, and let users have their own sandbox to play in

    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      It's called slow news day [youtube.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand why this guy should get some attention for what is basically an invitation to do and old fashiond "total conversion" of a game... you know... games that are more advanced that glorified ASCII games or 16 color X11 graphics?

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why is this insightful. This anonymous coward has no insight at all. Quake3 is actually very hard and time consuming to modify. Try adding a new character, a new skin, a new model, a new object, a new weapon.

      All of these things require a lot of assets and often actual coding. It is very difficult to do much with quake3 and the fact that it is 3D knocks out anyone who is doesn't under linear algebra.

      A 2D roguelike is very simple.

  • by dto1138 (1858604) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:37PM (#32946256)
    Hello folks, I have addressed the originality (or alleged lack thereof) of the remix contest in another message here. I chose XONG because it's a small and relatively simple game, so it would be easier to get started remixing. There is a review of Xong here: http://playthisthing.com/xong [playthisthing.com] And, folks, the game includes a thorough HELP screen on the F1 key, and an interactive in-game tutorial. So if the videos seem inscrutable, try reading the instructions. I make no claim to the engine or game being the greatest ever, but I hope the contest will be fun and get people possibly involved with creative commons licensed art, or free software, or lisp game dev. Who knows?
    • by ColaMan (37550) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @09:43PM (#32946624) Homepage Journal

      So if the videos seem inscrutable, try reading the instructions. I make no claim to the engine or game being the greatest ever, but I hope the contest will be fun and get people possibly involved with creative commons licensed art, or free software, or lisp game dev

      Oh, don't mind us, we just love to shit all over someone's hard work, you know? Call it a hobby, if you will. Never mind the fact that 90% of us here couldn't construct a game to save our miserable lives, let alone make one you can remix.

    • by SquarePixel (1851068) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @10:31PM (#32946854)

      Hello folks, I have addressed the originality (or alleged lack thereof) of the remix contest in another message here.

      I chose XONG because it's a small and relatively simple game, so it would be easier to get started remixing. There is a review of Xong here: http://playthisthing.com/xong [playthisthing.com]

      And, folks, the game includes a thorough HELP screen on the F1 key, and an interactive in-game tutorial. So if the videos seem inscrutable, try reading the instructions.

      I make no claim to the engine or game being the greatest ever, but I hope the contest will be fun and get people possibly involved with creative commons licensed art, or free software, or lisp game dev. Who knows?

      While I do really appreciate your effort and ideas, theres a few things you should look at first.

      1) The game looks like from the 80's. It doesn't make a good impression and is hard to get people involved. Hell, some of the games I coded at 12-13 year old had a lot better graphics and ideas (no offense to you, just good old critical comment if you want it!)

      2) Are there any tools to help change the game? There is and have been already immersive modding community out there. You have to provide similar tools, just being "open source" doesn't really do much.

      As a person working in the games industry, and who has coded since 8 years old and working in freeware/shareware, indie, and commercial industry, I really think you need more to accomplish your goals.

      • by dto1138 (1858604)
        "The game looks like from the 80's". So um, despite claiming to work as an indie, you haven't heard of people doing retro graphics and sound on purpose as an artistic choice? "Are there any tools to help change the game"? The page says you can use any image editor to edit the images, any text editor to edit the code, and so on. The only thing not included is a proper level editor, which I have in the newer version of the engine. I also worked in the games industry, and left for a reason.
        • by delinear (991444)
          He's clearly never played Dwarf Fortress [playthisthing.com] - for someone working in the games industry, it's equal parts sad and telling.
        • by grumbel (592662)

          While not every game needs the latest and greatest 3D graphics, I find every game should at least work towards at least the graphics of a Zelda1 or Boulderdash, as no matter how good the game is, a few proper tiles can always make the game not only look better, but also make it easier to understand. In Xong for example the way the way trails are represented as - and | without proper tiles for curves is confusing. Another example would be nethack, where in most clients you can't tell the difference between a

  • by dto1138 (1858604) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @10:32PM (#32946856)
    Here is a youtube video i made a while back, showing gameplay with explanatory text. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9mi08KQDWw [youtube.com] I'm used to people being put off by XONG initially because of the weird graphics, so I will try to explain it in a nutshell. You have to kill the enemies but have no weapons. The only way to kill an enemy is to direct it into a "black hole", each of which can only be used once. Basically, you lay down arrows (up, down, left , or right) on the game board, which the enemies follow, and hopefully you direct them into the holes. You have to dig tunnels to many of the holes, or to escape a bad situation, or whatever. There are 4 or 5 different types of enemies, though you have to progress in the game to see more than 2 or 3. One hit kills you and totally ends your game (start back at level 1). XONG requires quick reactions to avoid death, but requires pre-planning to kill the enemies, who behave in generally predictable ways. The predictability tells you where to place the arrows and which holes to un-dig.
  • Best! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Greatest rootkit delivery system EVER!
    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      Greatest rootkit delivery system EVER!

      If you weren't worried about copyright infringement you could remix Sony's rootkit delivery system as well. ;)

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