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First Person Shooters (Games) Open Source Games

Arx Fatalis Updated, Released Under GPL 153

Posted by timothy
from the every-big-distro-could-have-a-fps dept.
Kevin Fishburne writes "According to WtF Dragon at Ultima Aiera, 'The long and short: Arkane Studios have released what is probably going to be the final patch for their Ultima Underworld-inspired game (which, indeed, they tried to license as the third entry in that series), Arx Fatalis. They have also released the source code for the game. That's right, the complete source of Arx Fatalis is available for download.' The readme notes that the original game installation is required in order to play the compiled game, as the data files are certainly still copyrighted. Linux is in need of a good FPS dungeon crawler, though the code will need a hell of a lot of cleanup as it's a VC8/9 project and uses DirectX (ugh...)."
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Arx Fatalis Updated, Released Under GPL

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  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @04:26PM (#34891644)

    I liked that game - but the really, REALLY disliked the amount of time it took to properly shape out letters with the mouse input. There just seemed to be no consistency with the way it judged the curves of input - I can understand the games with subtle puzzles on learning input mechanisms, but even with practice it came out more as random than a skill to build up.

    If anyone can fix the input mechanisms for those spells using the source code, you'd be helping the game immensely.

    Oh, and of course, remaking Ulima I & II would be a nice follow up... seems that's always been in the works for FPS modders, but it never seems to get completed. They're beautiful games that deserve the chance to appeal to modern gamers with a modern interface.

    Ryan Fenton

    • The FPS "modern" interface is, IMHO, overused and the addiction to virtual reality is what is killing the brain cells of the gamers. Profitable, sure, whizz-bang impressive makes profitable, sure, good games, definitely not.

      The Ultima series is one of (perhaps only) the few that became better with sequels. That was because they were perfectly timed to progress with the progressing technology. Ultima I had good game play and story line but was primitive on graphics. Ultima II had good game play and good new concepts woven in but was similarly primitive on graphics. Ultima III (Exodus) took the intricate storyline concepts from I and II, meshed them together, and then put that into a fantastic and colorful UI with that completely outside background music.

      What I miss is that Ultima ]I[ was not an FPS. I am sick and tired of FPSs. I haven't actually played a video game for more than an hour since the first release of Half-Life. After Half-Life the FPSs were all just whizz-bang. Half-Life was still appealing because it was such an enormous improvement over DOOM (which was great because it really brought the FPS concept to life) because the hardware video card technology was once again on the perfect timeline (3D accelerating algorithms were beginning to stabilize). After Half-Life it was all the same; more whizz-bang, more glitz and glimmer, more anime, prettier girls, more graphica fantastica, more innuendo to keep the teenagers drewling.

      What I miss about Ultima ]I[ is that the graphics were good, real good, game play was good, real good, game complexity was good, real good, and story line was complex, real good--it was also top down 2D so your characters _really_ looked the way you wanted them to look, the encounters were top down 2D so the enemies _really_ looked as frightening and gruesome as you wanted them to look, the battles were not movie quality full-motion video so you could imagine your spellcasting and imagine the impacts and imagine the blow by blow the way you wanted to imagine it.

      Modern FPS is all about being brain dead and watching what we want you to watch. It is hardly different from advertising.

      • One word... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday January 15, 2011 @05:26PM (#34892030) Journal

        After Half-Life the FPSs were all just whizz-bang.

        Portal.

        Oh, does it have to be an actual shooter? Alright, then, how about...

        Natural Selection.
        Half-Life 2.
        etc...

        But I chose Portal because your complaint was about the FPS interface. Portal makes good use of that interface to deliver a decidedly non-FPS game. So does Penumbra.

        There's more that could be done, but I think leveraging the years of experience people have playing FPSes, and just the overall fluidity of that interface for actually exploring a 3D world, is far, far better than trying to make any sort of 3D game in which you reinvent the controls, badly. If I recall, The Sims was particularly annoying -- completely different controls which ended up being less effective overall.

        • After Half-Life the FPSs were all just whizz-bang.

          But I chose Portal because your complaint was about the FPS interface. Portal makes good use of that interface to deliver a decidedly non-FPS game.

          It may have been non-FPS, but it was still all whizz-bang. The story was appalling.

          • Let's see...

            Innovative gameplay. Yeah, it's supposed to be fun. If you just wanted a story, there are plenty of JRPGs for you, though you probably could get a better story still (with less work) by watching TV or reading a book.

            As for Portal's story, sorry you disagree, but it seems you are very much in the minority.

            If by "whizz-bang" you mean "action game", I guess we just have different tastes. But if by "whizz-bang" you mean it relies on pretty graphics and gadgetry, and is entirely devoid of gameplay or

            • Innovative gameplay. Yeah, it's supposed to be fun.

              It is innovative, but the novelty of it wore off pretty quickly for me. It's supposed to be fun, but I didn't really enjoy it much.

              If you just wanted a story, there are plenty of JRPGs for you, though you probably could get a better story still (with less work) by watching TV or reading a book.

              Which is why I've stopped playing most modern games.

              As for Portal's story, sorry you disagree, but it seems you are very much in the minority.

              You don't have to apologise for having an opinion that differs to mine.

              But if by "whizz-bang" you mean it relies on pretty graphics and gadgetry, and is entirely devoid of gameplay or story, much like Quake was, I don't think that's true

              That is what I meant.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        What I miss is that Ultima ]I[ was not an FPS. I am sick and tired of FPSs. I haven't actually played a video game for more than an hour since the first release of Half-Life. After Half-Life the FPSs were all just whizz-bang. Half-Life was still appealing because it was such an enormous improvement over DOOM (which was great because it really brought the FPS concept to life) because the hardware video card technology was once again on the perfect timeline (3D accelerating algorithms were beginning to stabilize). After Half-Life it was all the same; more whizz-bang, more glitz and glimmer, more anime, prettier girls, more graphica fantastica, more innuendo to keep the teenagers drewling.

        I think FPS games are more of a phase... I played lots of them probably starting with Doom (1993) and mostly ending with Unreal Tournament (1999) - my teens to my early 20s. If I had been born a decade later, I'm guessing I'd be playing the FPS games of a decade later but today they have no appeal to me. The fact is, if you take of those rosy glasses you were pretty easy to entertain as a teen. Give you action, give you splatter and you're entertained. In retrospect it's quite amazing how much I liked some

        • I think FPS games are more of a phase

          I think it's more of a preference, personally. I played Doom and Doom 2 and I'm still playing Fallout and Oblivion.

          Of course there are FPS games that appeal to a more adult gamer, that resemble real life where you have to sneak and cover and a few shots will kill you and there's real penalties for dying

          That's more or less saying "FPS games are for kids, and the ones adults enjoy don't count". I think you need to work a bit harder to establish your point here.

          But th

          • by Kjella (173770)

            I think it's more of a preference, personally. I played Doom and Doom 2 and I'm still playing Fallout and Oblivion.

            I played through Oblivion but I've no idea how you can call that a FPS, most people would put that squarely in the RPG category even though most RPGs have bows and arrows as well as ranged spells. When I think FPS I think more like Crysis, Call of Duty, Bioshock or Far Cry 2. Fallout is something of a FPS-RPG crossover. I'd say the essence of an FPS is that it's a high intensity adrenaline rush game that requires good aim and staying on the move, not just good equipment and high level. Most game modes parti

            • I played through Oblivion but I've no idea how you can call that a FPS, most people would put that squarely in the RPG category even though most RPGs have bows and arrows as well as ranged spells.

              I think there's room for a little overlap in the categories, myself. RPG means the game has role-playing elements. FPS means it's a first person viewpoint. IMHO, obviously. Granted, "shooter" is probably a bit of a stretch in the case of Oblivion.

              When I think FPS I think more like Crysis, Call of Duty, Bioshock

      • by Haeleth (414428)

        it was also top down 2D so your characters _really_ looked the way you wanted them to look, the encounters were top down 2D so the enemies _really_ looked as frightening and gruesome as you wanted them to look, the battles were not movie quality full-motion video so you could imagine your spellcasting and imagine the impacts and imagine the blow by blow the way you wanted to imagine it.

        One hears this argument a lot and it is bullshit. If crap graphics are better because they leave more to your imagination,

      • The graphics *were* good, they're horrible by today's standards. Furthermore, how can a top down 2D tile based game convey more realism than a 3D game depicting the viewpoint of one of its participants? That's why FPS's took off, they are more immersive. That's also why Half-life (a game you appear to classify as the last good FPS) was so well received - it was the first FPS game whose scripted events did not allow the camera to leave the player character's viewpoint. Take a look at the Deus Ex 3 boards and
      • Modern FPS is all about being brain dead and watching what we want you to watch. It is hardly different from advertising.

        Really? Have you played Oblivion?

        • Modern FPS is all about being brain dead and watching what we want you to watch. It is hardly different from advertising.

          Really? Have you played Oblivion?

          Ah, I read "first person simulator" where you meant "first person shooter". Agree, used to play a lot of shooters, got tired of it. Very little imagination in the genre, just an addiction to higher frame rates and more polygons. I suppose that is why Bethesda ended up aborbing id and not the other way round.

    • by Kozz (7764)

      I liked that game - but the really, REALLY disliked the amount of time it took to properly shape out letters with the mouse input. There just seemed to be no consistency with the way it judged the curves of input - I can understand the games with subtle puzzles on learning input mechanisms, but even with practice it came out more as random than a skill to build up.

      After a while, I figured out the trick. The rune stones that showed the direction/angle of curves were displayed not perfectly upright, but they were tilted maybe 10 degrees. So if you saw a line on a runestone that suggested a perfectly vertical line, it probably isn't what you were supposed to draw. Tilt your head to figure it out. But yeah, it was annoying until you learn about that trick.

  • Arx Fatalis looks like a nice game, but Arkane studios only released the source code. I wonder how much work it will require to replace all the graphics.

    Here is a video with sample game play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2MM8bn1Tew [youtube.com]

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Buy the game, and play it on the open source engine. Just like Doom, Freespace II, Ultima 7, Star Control 2, and many, many other games.

      • by Briareos (21163) *

        Buy the game, and play it on the open source engine. Just like Doom, Freespace II, Ultima 7, Star Control 2, and many, many other games.

        While I totally agree with you - the assets for Star Control 2 were actually released alongside the code, that's why you can download them from SourceForge...

        np: Autechre - Nine (Amber)

    • I think, like Quake, you can do what you will with the source (subject to license limitations), but you need to provide your own graphical, sound and model assets. Either buy the game and import the missing assets, or redo them, I guess.

  • by fleeped (1945926) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @04:48PM (#34891756)
    For gaming:

    If you want to play FPS/RPGs, really, get a windows partition or a console. Not trying to flamebait or something, just being rational. The game is 8 years old, with the software engineering maturity of a random sample company that this fact implies. Data files being copyrighted. DX-based being ultra-fun to port. Nope, I can't see serious effort thrown into this. It only gets funnier with feature requests, improvements & bug fixes. The first post here is a request FFS, imagine the port's forums.

    For research:
    You have source code for Quake3. I bet it's coded far better than arx fatalis, and it's already there.

  • The readme notes that the original game installation is required in order to play the compiled game, as the data files are certainly still copyrighted.

    I think Fishburne meant to say that the "data files" are under different licenses (probably far more restrictively licensed) than the Arx Fatalis code. Since Arx Fatalis is licensed than it too must be copyrighted. So you may run, share, and modify the GPL'd Arx Fatalis program, but you don't have these freedoms with the "data files".

    • Can the GPL even be applied to an incomplete program that requires non-GPL data to even run? Maybe this restriction only applies to derivitive works. Can someone clarify?
      • by Shikaku (1129753)

        Yes. See: Quake3 engine games that don't use any Quake3 data.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenArena [wikipedia.org]

      • IANAL; but my understanding is that, when it comes to releasing stuff you possess the copyright to under the GPL, you can release as much or as little, in whatever shape, as you wish. The code doesn't have to work at all, they could chose only to release half of it, it could rely on code from some third party available under a ludicriously restrictive licence or not at all, or whatever. Because their right to use and distribute the code does not originate with the GPL, they are not bound by it. Their right
      • by Jonner (189691)

        Of course you can use a GPL program with data under other licenses. Do you think all data stored in MySQL databases has to be released under the GPL or all code compiled with GCC must be GPL? The fact that game data (not source code) is not released under a Free Software license doesn't even bother RMS, who considers that data in a separate category.

        GPL-licensed game engines that require some game data to be useful (which is often copied from an existing game installation) are common. For example, Id has re

        • Of course you can use a GPL program with data under other licenses. Do you think all data stored in MySQL databases has to be released under the GPL or all code compiled with GCC must be GPL?

          This wasn't a question of whether anything the program read or wrote had to be GPL-licensed, but whether essential files for the program to run at all had to be.

          • Excellent point! For example, It requires Microsoft Windows, so therefore Microsoft Windows is now GPL.
            • Excellent point! For example, It requires Microsoft Windows, so therefore Microsoft Windows is now GPL.

              I assume you're being sarcastic, but why?

          • The data files are not essential. You are more than welcome to make your own, using the Arx Fatalis engine, to create your own story, art, music, and what not.
      • by jonbryce (703250)

        The initial 0.0.1 release of virtually every sourceforge project doesn't work, and there are no legal implications.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        To be under any obligation to distribute source under the GPL, you must have distributed a binary under the GPL. Since they haven't, they aren't obliged to do anything at all. But assuming they had then obviously the art assets aren't derivative of the binary nor the binary of the art assets, they would be what in copyright law is called a compilation.

        A "compilation" is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. The term "compilation" includes collective works.

        It seems fairly clear that while each piece of graphics, sound, code etc. have their own copyright the arrangement of them all together into a game constitute

  • Sources/DANAE/ARX_Script.cpp is 13719 lines in size, most of which handles script parsing and evaluation simultaneously, in a uselessly convoluted way. It deserves a proper rewrite from scratch.

    I do like how they used names from Greek mythology to refer to certain components of the source code: Athena handles audio, Eerie handles some graphics, Mercury handles user input, Hermes is probably there for communication or saving/loading, Minos is only there for pathfinding and Danae gets everything else.

  • But then I bought it on XBOX because, seriously, those spells really aren't easy to cast, especially not with a touchpad. At least with the xbox controlle,r you just had to follow key-sequences.
    • by Rallion (711805)

      Trying to play this kind of game with a touchpad would be incredibly frustrating for me. Not simply because it's difficult, but because I would be so keenly aware that the touchpad would actually be the perfect input mechanism if only the software didn't convert the input data into mouse movement rather than providing the absolute finger positions.

  • I'm happy when people release source, but why do people think it is some sort of magical potion to create new software? This is especially true on Slashdot. I completely understand if you want to mod the existing source to patch the game, add on content or features, but for a new game, application, whatever, it's normally useless.

    I do professional software development and I've worked for game companies as well as straight up businesses. I find that even the best written source that I authored is rarely use

    • I do not see any reason to use DirectX and VC nowadays; portability is key and in that area DirectX is going to be defacto waaaaay behind OpenGL.

      --
      www.twilightcampaign.net

      • by Haeleth (414428)

        Unfortunately for non-Windows-users, your opinion is not widely shared among people who are actually paid to make games.

        • You should step out a bit into the real world.

          People use more and more opengl-enabled devices. Of all the top sellers I can't think of any that use DirectX.

          Developers actually paid to make games actually are moving to OpenGL because they do not want to be stuck with MS in the future and be limited to
          Windows and Xbox.

  • Looking at it, a lot of the init code revolves arounds windows stuff (HINSTANCE, for example), it looks difficult, somewhat.

    And then, there are the damn tabs. Why does a "professional" IDE still use tabs for indentation?

    • by Shikaku (1129753)
      %s/\t/   /g

      Seriously?  White space is annoying?
    • Stock, vim's :set autoindent and ;set magicindent both do tabs.

      Mostly because when you're using arrow keys (or hjkl in VIM), having to scroll past 20 spaces is more annoying than just going 3 tabs over.

      • Add to that, tabs can be any size that the person reading the code wants. It also makes the code much more readable if you display tabs. I use tabs for indenting and spaces for alignment and have this in my .vimrc:

        set list
        set lcs=tab:>-
        hi clear SpecialKey
        hi link SpecialKey NonText

        I can see the structure of the code by the blue arrows on the left side and can easily see the difference between indenting with some semantic meaning (e.g. because there's a nested scope) and spacing that's there for aesthe

  • by meerling (1487879) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @05:23PM (#34891994)
    So you seem rather surprised and/or disgusted that a game that was written for MS Windows uses DirectX.

    I guess if a Russian book written by a Russian author went public domain you would complain that it was written with a Cyrillic alphabet.
  • by Xian97 (714198) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @05:36PM (#34892096)
    You can get Arx Fatalis [gog.com] at Good Old Games for the required data files
  • Ultima Underworld (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@noSPam.gmail.com> on Saturday January 15, 2011 @05:53PM (#34892222) Homepage Journal

    Games like Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein 3D and the like are crediting with innovating and pushing 3D engines. People always seem to forget Ultima Underworld. Ultima Underworld shipped a full year before Doom, ran on lesser hardware, and had a more advanced engine.

    It really is a shame these two games aren't very playable on modern systems and have been forgotten in the mists of time.

    I'd kill to see the GPL Arx Fatalis engine used to remake Ultima Underworld I and II.

    • Re:Ultima Underworld (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Haeleth (414428) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:00PM (#34893486) Journal

      Ultima Underworld shipped a full year before Doom, ran on lesser hardware, and had a more advanced engine.

      "More advanced engine" is debatable. It had nice things like 3D objects and the ability to look up and down, but the maps were tile-based (where Doom allowed arbitrary geometry in a 2D plane), and the draw distance was very limited (where Doom could render right up to the limit of the screen resolution).

      Even what I believe was the last iteration of the Underworld engine, in System Shock, was still fundamentally tile-based and only had very limited support for non-orthogonal walls, though it was again very advanced in other ways (dynamic lighting, rather good physics for the era, and unusual support for high resolution graphics).

      • Actually it had multiple ground levels and also a physics engine additionally on top of that, so it probably was more advanced than Doom.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Ultima Underworld shipped a full year before Doom, ran on lesser hardware, and had a more advanced engine.

      And ran at about a quarter of the frame rate, in spite of having a smaller viewport and limited draw depth.

      Doom rendered to the horizon, used most of the screen, and was FAST.

  • Towards the end of the accompanying license file, you'll find...

    END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS

    ADDITIONAL TERMS APPLICABLE TO THE ARX FATALIS GPL SOURCE CODE.

    While GPL3 authorises some flavours of additional term, these ones contain spelling errors - DAMAEGS, LIABLITY - which suggest they really haven't spent much time on this.

  • This game was plagued by bugs when I decided to buy it a year or so ago on steam. It was basically unplayable from glitches with the graphics and slowdowns on modern hardware. Hopefully now we can kill 2 birds with one stone, update the graphics bugs and port to other os'es so others won't have to play in wine. It was a good game, and it's pretty cheap on steam (under 10 dollars last I checked) so it could use all the help it can get. Knowing the state it is in now, it will probably be much work, but it wil
    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      First problem is that it seems to just be a zip file with the code. Someone needs to stick it on git hub and get the ball rolling.

  • It was the Ultima Underworld 3, Origin-Looking Glass never did.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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