Friday, May 14, 2010

Ember 0.5.8 released

I've just released Ember 0.5.8. The official release announcement can be found on the main Worldforge site.

The main new feature is the multi threading framework which I've written about before on this blog. It's a pretty Big Thing, as it we're so utterly dependent on having dynamic data.
Another thing which went into this release, but which won't be apparent for any user, is a large restructuring of the media repository. It's mainly Jayr's work, but I've also helped out. Basically it amounts to defining common naming and structuring standards for the media repository so that it becomes easier to both contribute and use the assets therein. I've updated some of the media guidelines to reflect this.
And for the first time in a couple of years we now provide win32 binaries. Getting Ember to build on win32 (through msys) was a real chore, but the plan is to keep the code base compatible enough so that each subsequent release of Ember will have win32 binaries.

There's been some other developments in the FOSS game world too.
Ryzom recently released all of their source code under the GPL and all of their media under the CC-BY-SA license. This is a huge boost for FOSS gaming, as there's now a boatload of new media assets available. A quick comparison of the Ryzom media contra the Worldforge media:
* Ryzom has a much more assets.
* Ryzom textures are smaller (between 256 and 512 pixels whereas most of Worldforge's are 1024 - 2048 pixels).
* Ryzom textures are only available as png whereas Worldforge provides source assets for all textures (usually .psd).
* Ryzom only provides diffuse textures whereas Worldforge usually provides specular and normal/heightmap versions too.
* Ryzom assets are made in a particular art style, whereas Worldforge has opted for a natural style. This is however just for the Mason world. I would love to see a world using Ember and Cyphesis with the Ryzom assets.

Some have noted that the source meshes in Ryzom only are available in .max format. That's no big deal though as they can be converted to .blend (a process which is always underway). As long as the source is available it's always possible to convert it; it's harder when the only available asset is an exported format. (Worldforge provides .blend files for most of the meshes, though we have some .max versions too.)

Another big thing is the Indie Humble Bundle, which is a collection of six excellent indie games, available for a user set price. It's truly an excellent deal, especially since part of the money paid is donated to charities. And not only that, since they so far received more than 1 million USD they've now opened up the source code for four of the games as FOSS. It's really a remarkable thing.
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