So I couldn’t cover all the projects from last week, thus I’ll mention a few old ones as well.
We’ve seen the first screenshots of Cloud Wars, a space tactical game in the spirit of Battleships Forever, but with significant RPG elements, over a year ago and if there would’ve been an update, I guess everyone would’ve thought the project is dead, but it’s quite the contrary. There seems to have been a lot of changes, even changing the programming language for C++ to C# but still using SFML.
I hope we’re going to see some binaries in the near future, since the game looks quite interesting.
I should’ve posted about this long time ago, but better late than never.
A few month ago the publisher Packt Publishing contacted Laurent, the creator of SFML, and at the same time Groogy, a relatively active member of the community who also wrote the SFML Ruby binding. Packt seems to have noticed the potential of SFML and the lack of books and thus wanted to get a book out. Since Laurent is a very busy man, he asked the community if someone wanted to write a book. After a bit brainstorming and people checking their schedule a small team was formed and the work began.
Now after eight month the book, written by the SFML community members Nexus, Grimshaw and Groogy and supported by Laurent himself, has been finally released and is for sale on Packt’s website with a few different options. Grimshaw has also created a forum thread, so feel free to leave some nice comments regarding the book there. I’ve bought the book myself, but haven’t been able to completely read through it. Once I’ve finished it completely, I’ll certainly be writing a review.
There have been some negative comments on the forum and also in IRC, thus I want to quickly clarify a few things. This book was written by a team, that means you’ll be able to find different wirting styles and things might seem a bit inconsitant from time to time. The authors of the book are all three non-native English speakers, so you should not be expecting a high-toned English, but instead prepare yourself for some grammar mistakes. As the title of the book suggests, the book is about SFML and Game Development, thus the focus is not on pure Game Development nor SFML. If you expect to learn every bit and pieces of how SFML works etc., then you should rather read the documentation and the source code. If however you think you’ll be able to develop you’re dream 3D RPGMMO which is of course better than WoW and alike, then you’re clearly in the wrong, because the book only gives an introduction to game development in the 2D space with focus on highlighting parts of SFML. At the end of the book, you’ll have a game to play with, but since a lot of the stuff was handed to you, it may seem easier that it actually is developing a game from scratch. And one last comment regarding the publisher, although given that Packt gave a few members the opportunity to write a book about SFML, they seem to be lacking a bit on their editorial part. From a good publisher you’d expect them to proofread the book in details and be able to fix many of the English grammar issues, which they apparently Packt hasn’t spent too much time on.
Overall this book was never meant as the perfect book about SFML, but rather as just another book on game development and yet the first one using SFML. With that in mind you should get disappointed if your mind isn’t completely blown and you find some mistakes, but instead you should be happy that SFML has finally gotten an official book!
Although I’ve once wanted to make weekly updates on SFML News, the amount of content go more and more, while my time got less and less, thus I eventually stopped. Since there have been many new posts on various projects in the last few days, I decided to make another quick update and present some text and images and because there is so much nice stuff, I’m not going to limit myself on a fixed date in the past. Unfortunately I can’t write about every single project, otherwise this blog post would never end!
Academic project: Simulation of Scorpion & Mice
This project was presented on the forum for the first time on the 7th if July, it’s an academic project from the Swiss university EPFL and created by the Mac OS X guy behind SFML, namely Marco Antognini aka Hiura. Now the aim of the project was to simulate full life cycles of mice as the prey and scorpions as the predators. The hard part of the project seem to be lying with programming the neural network, rather than getting something displayed with SFML, but in any case it’s quite nice to see SFML being used in notable universities and projects. With this project the use SFML wasn’t just temporarily and won’t stop now, but Hiura says that they’ll be using their SFML based setup in the future, so the next class might be actually learning SFML!
Postmortem – One must die
Postmortem has been first shown over a month on the SFML forum, but it went into Closed Beta just recently and now even tries to get the green light on Greenlight – although I’m still wondering how they’re going to get a free game on Steam… Here’s a quick description from their website:
Postmortem is a FREE Indie narrative-exploratory game that will stress your moral compass this August 15th! Think The Walking Dead meets Home and The Last Express, with a dash of To The Moon – a perfect mix of exploration, conversation, meaningful choices, discovering clues and some puzzles. You are an agent of Death sent to take ONE life from a cast of influential and ambitious characters at a charity Gala, in a rich and complex setting of industrial-revolution, conflict-torn country.
They are of course running their own website and a nice dev blog. It’s nice to see, that they’ve already gotten an article on US Gamer. Personally I think it’s an intriguing idea and definitely worth checking out!
Colonies – A Retro Sandbox Survival MMO
Not a new game presentation either, but they’ve now gone into Closed Alpha phase and since it looks really well polish, I just had to include it here. As the title suggest this is going to be a sandbox game with RPG elements and it should be an MMO or at least O(nline) as well. You should be able to settle, create a village, and defend your friends from the horrible creatures who lurk in the forests. You can change the landscape, farm, or hunt in order to survive the conditions, etc. Whenever the word “MMO” drops people get suspicions, since it’s hard to get done right and needs a lot of skill and time, but feel free to follow Jungletoe’s dev blog and don’t forget to stop by their own community.
Basis: Bone and Sprite Integration System
Some of you might have noticed the Spine project from a few month back, which also has support for SFML and I’ve even helped on Kickstarter. While Spine costs you some money Basis doesn’t cost you anything. Both mentioned applications are for 2D animations of skeletal and sprite creation. Although the tool is free the development still needs to be financed, thus they’ve started a Kickstarter project as well and they could really use some help! A download can also be found on the Kickstarter page.
Council of Torment – 2D dungeon crawler with a rich storyline
Although Council of Torment is still in rather early development it still deserves its place here.
Council of Torment is a top-down 2D dungeon crawler inspired by Ultima IV, with a very rich storyline, gameplay elements that’s been under development for 10 months.
From the description on the forum it seems that a big portion of the development will also go into the story. There’s not much more to talk about for now, but it’s certainly a project to keep an eye on.
Rock, paper, scissor.
I think, I don’t have to explain how this game works or I at least hope everyone knows “Rock, Paper, Scissor”! Although there still seems to be some animation issue, it works fine and can be interesting to try and figure out, if it’s based on some pattern or simply randomly generated. Not only can you download the game itself, but if you want, you can also look at its source code.
Metanact – Filesystem spaceshooter
While nobody has ever heard of Schnommus aka Seb, he seems to have been reading the forum for quite a while now. Judging from his progress on Metanact so far, he also seems to know quite a bit on programming. Metanact’s goal is to explore and conquer your own computer’s file system in a 2D environment. So while playing, the game will go through your file system and pick out various file names and represent them as enemy. While this game reminds me of other “file system” games, which would actually delete the files you’re shooting (e.g. Lose/Lose), Metanact is not such a game. It does not do any harm to your file system. You can find out more about Metanact on their website or even help Seb getting a bit more money together for some more nice content on indiegogo.
2D Platformer using SFML and Box2D
It always amazes me how some is able to create such a rather nice game as their first project. I still haven’t managed to get my own little platformer running (most because I end up doing unnecessary stuff) and others just go ahead and get it done in their first project. Though it seems, he’s using the Public Domain tile-set, I’ve found yesterday as well – visuals are something that can blur the actual vision between good and bad.
One of my favorite game in the current list is GoPlanets. The idea is rather simple but much fun! You’re red and can send out a certain amount of ships to other planets to take them over. The numbers on the planets display how many ships you can send and based on this number a given percentage will be taken away when sending out ships. The number increase over time automatically, so the longer you wait, the more ships you get, but keep in mind that the computer will try to win everything in the meantime as well. Although the current AI isn’t really challenging it’s still very fun to play. I really hope to see some further development on this project!
Project Blastorium: a Bomberman-esque game
I don’t think anyone will really remember my attempts on a bomberman clone for one of the SCC. I got some result, but it was very messy and I think I’ve never got it really finished after I’ve missed the deadline. Project Blastorium on the other hand is very well polished and introduces some different weapons to the playground, which seems rather interesting. You can follow the progress on the game on the dev blog or just in the forum.
Black and White and Colors
Molyjam 2013 a game jam, where you have 48h to start from scratch to the finished product. They seem to have been three people involved in this project and their final product after only 48h is just mind blowing. It’s simple, but very well polished and the game idea is very good. It would be totally awesome, if they’d go and add some more content, i.e. new levels, since you’ll get to the last level in just a few minutes. You can get the Windows binary from the Molyjam site or read some more information on the forum.
SFML Game Jam
This discussion just popped up on the forum, thus it’s still very hot and it seems many people are tuning in on the idea – even Laurent would be excited to see something like this. The goal would be to have a contest going for a specific amount of time (24/48/72h) to start and finish a game using SFML. How, when, where and why is what the discussion is all about, so don’t forget to give your own voice!
Clipboard and Open with Default Application feature for SFML
Originated form the GLFW 3 thread FRex went ahead and proposed the two features. The discussion is still open and if you really want this feature, you should definitely go and write there why you’d like to see this. Personally I think this could be nice, but since it should be relatively easy to implement on my own, it’s not something that should get on a high priority list.
Changes on SFML
There have been so many commits and issue discussions, that I’ve totally lost track. You can however always go and look at the commit history yourself!
I finally got around to rewrite my build scripts again. But first let’s see what has happened in the past. As my notebook got stolen a few month back, I’ve lost the original scripts. Then I tried to write a “smarter” and more “modular” system, which ended up being just another mess after all and limiting me for the correct compilation of the Thor libraries. In between the last update and today, SFML has finally seen its long, very long, extremely long, awaited release, which also included an update to SFML’s website and the choice of the final logo. From now on I think many people will just stick to the official 2.0 release and wait for the next version, thus I didn’t feel obligated to keep the Nightly Builds update for every new commit and let it slide for a while. Till yesterday, when I decided to rewrite all the scripts and ended up doing so not only for SFML, but also for Thor, but since GCC 4.8 has been released in that timespan as well, I decided to switch out some compilers. In the past I’ve been quite happy with the rubenvb builds and I believe they are still very good, but I decided to switch to the MinGW Builds. On the search for GCC 4.8 MinGW versions, I’ve stumbled across nuwen.net, which is a project, where someone is keeping his development environment up-to-date with the public. Thus you get his own MinGW version, plus a few quite popular libraries pre-compiled. I believe this could be quite nice for people, that don’t feel like recompiling stuff every other week, which is why I’m supporting that project with my SFML builds. As a final note, I’m totally not a fan of the TDM builds, mainly because their default behavior regarding static linking goes against all the other GCC versions, but since it’s still the one compiler Code::Blocks ships with, I’ll keep it in the list for now.