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A Battle For Good Open-Source Game Graphics?

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  • A Battle For Good Open-Source Game Graphics?

    Phoronix: A Battle For Good Open-Source Game Graphics?

    An area where open-source games have traditionally lacked is with regard to delivering high-end graphics capabilities that can compete with modern day commercial games. To this day, many open-source games still look like something that would have been pushed out of a commercial game studio years ago due to lacking proper artwork and a game engine that has an OpenGL renderer that can sustain delivering impressive graphical features with modern hardware...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=NzIzMQ

  • #2
    I just want to throw in my 2 cents:
    Enough with the fancy graphics; lets see some gameplay effecting physics.
    Remember how in the Crysis demo you can take a jeep, drive it into a building, the building collapes, then you back up into a tree and it falls down too? I want to see more of that on a larger scale.
    We already have a commercial quality open source physics engine and with graphic hardware far exceeding the requirements of most open source titles, performance shouldn't be a problem.
    I mean, look at warmonger if you need inspiration.

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    • #3
      id Tech 4 is supposed to see a GPL release this year (at least that's what Carmack said in August '08). That might be a nice shot in the arm for open-source gaming technology.

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      • #4
        I think a big bottleneck for open source games is not even as much having the engine as it is having large communities of people who can actually build content for said engines.

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        • #5
          The new Sauerbraten release is scheduled for next week (the week after if there's a problem). You should definitly check that one out then!

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          • #6
            Why is everyone so focused on graphics. I'd dump crysis any day for a game that has both great gameplay and a great story.

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            • #7
              As a developer for the GNU GPL game Warzone 2100 (which was originally developed and released by Pumpkin Studios in 1999 before they were disbanded; released under the GNU GPL in 2004) the problem is not so much updating the engine but rather finding artists to make content for it.

              You'd be surprised how much can be done with pure brute force -- high resolution textures, high poly models and some blending. Take the new terrain renderer in Warzone 2100 for example:

              Old: http://developer.wz2100.net/attachme...d-sensors.jpeg
              New: http://developer.wz2100.net/attachme...ew-terrain.jpg

              The hardest part was getting the textures themselves (namely under a compatible license). Finding people to remake the in-game models is even more difficult.

              Sadly things such as support for shaders is not a valid metric to compare game engines by. Adding a pair of fragment/vertex shaders to emulate the fixed-function pipeline is not difficult and has the bonus that it allows you to claim support for shaders. Hardly a useful application, however. Doing something productive and inventive with a shader is much more difficult. Integrating it into an old game even more so.

              Regards, Freddie.

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              • #8
                There's either two things they can do, make Myst/Broken Sword/Fallout-like games, or make Crysis/HL2-like games. Both of these options would make for amazing games, graphics or not, but they also need a real (big) team of people working hard.

                Here's what I don't get, though. There are LOADS of 'mod teams' out there, many of them making truly amazing addons for commercial games that could sell as standalone games in their own right. The community is there - it just doesn't know about open source games, or isn't interested.

                How come there's no shortage of people for open source projects like IP telephone servers, enterprise middleware, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management (because when I see those categories I think boring, boring, boring!), but so few to help out with the games?

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                • #9
                  I don't really think the engines are the problem, the problem seems that the engine makes all these nice particle effects, but the models and artwork are the problem. You can't have a nice looking game without nice models. Nexuiz seems to have mostly solved that except for the player models. Saurbraten, Alien Arena, etc. really need to do a lot of work here. OpenArena is pretty much a q3 clone, which is it's goal, so it's not really possible to complain.

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                  • #10
                    why does nobody ever mention the blender game engine?

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                    • #11
                      So if the challenge is understanding artists - then go post a survey on DevArt or some other artist oriented site and see what they need...

                      Or talk to artists/designers already working on other open source projects. Perhaps it is that open source is well setup for programmer and not artists (tools, environment, workflow, community... what changes do they need to feel more at home, work more effectively, or what is needed to attract new users)

                      (Really - it's questions like these that I would hope open source blogs would dig into more)

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                      • #12
                        Currently Im working in a 3d RPG, which I plan to develop using only open source software. The most difficult part is to get artists, as EvilGuru says. Developers usually are willing to spend time coding just for fun and learning. Artists wants to work for established projects, they want their work to be seen.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Craig73 View Post
                          So if the challenge is understanding artists - then go post a survey on DevArt or some other artist oriented site and see what they need...

                          Or talk to artists/designers already working on other open source projects. Perhaps it is that open source is well setup for programmer and not artists (tools, environment, workflow, community... what changes do they need to feel more at home, work more effectively, or what is needed to attract new users)

                          (Really - it's questions like these that I would hope open source blogs would dig into more)
                          Do the artwork for FLOSS games really need to be done with FLOSS tools? I'm sure it would be great if it was, but that's not really a requirement as long as the source files are available in open formats?

                          I think the biggest problem is figuring out how to attract artists to spend their time working on art for a game where they really are in control. Instead of trying to mimic the world of proprietary games.

                          I mean there's no end to amount of good looking mods made, where the artists and developers really have very little control. Both in the way the mod can be used and distributed and when it comes to the life cycle of the game.

                          If we could only get a few of these artists to sink their teeth into FLOSS games (and starting to take licensing seriously) I'm sure we would have lots of great games.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by whizse View Post
                            Do the artwork for FLOSS games really need to be done with FLOSS tools? I'm sure it would be great if it was, but that's not really a requirement as long as the source files are available in open formats?
                            No need to. But in my case I want to prove that a game can be done without using any propietary software.

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                            • #15
                              Well partly this is a game design issue and partly a FOSS issue...

                              Are we producing games that are sufficiently unique that they will get the visibility to get (relatively) popular to attract artists and modders. I would expect modders want a popular game as well because they want their mod played by as many people as possible.

                              And unique games could play into the FOSS book as well... if artists don't want to be recreating assets because you upgraded the engine, and don't want to be cloning graphics from some commercial game... they certainly should be attracted to producing new and interesting games (for their portfolio as least)

                              And FOSS should be leveraging it's greater freedoms by separating assets from engine a bit more (even if the assets need to be compiled into the end product) to allow more re-use and re-mixing with less re-creating of assets.

                              So it's up to the game producers --- when creating new game play ideas, leverage FOSS by ensuring your tools and engine allow maximum re-use of graphical assets, while being sufficiently unique to interest artists so they don't feel like they are just cloning and existing game.
                              Last edited by Craig73; 04-26-2009, 03:16 PM.

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