« Desiderata | Main | iPod Random Generator December 2009 »


And Another Thing... or two...

Entry 1620 posted in: 3. Gamebits, c. The Sandbox Of God

a letter from the manager I am not very fond of the end of the year, partly because everybody wants you to be happy, which I am, by definition, not. Another recurring nightmare are the end of the year lists that are published everywhere and the New Year’s resolutions for the coming year.

So I had decided not to publish such a list, but then…

OpenTTD 1.00

OpenTTD, probably the best game in the world, has put a first beta for version 1.0.0 on their website. With this version you can run OpenTTD without the original Transport Tycoon Deluxe data files, although you can still use them.

OpenTTD entries on this blog:
Rock around the block 
Horses and heroes 

CorsixTH (Open Theme Hospital) - demo 1

Another gem from the past (1997) is Theme Hospital by Bullfrog Productions. The game has been imitated a couple of times but these attempts were always worse than the original. For a couple of years several projects have attempted to create an Open Source version of the game and (some of) these different projects have been described on this blog before. Most of these projects have died a lonely death for the simple reason that a man (or woman) alone can’t cope with the ten thousands lines of coding such a huge project needs.

For the moment I am aware of three simultaneous Open Theme Hospital projects that share the same blog and forum: OpenTH, Java Hospital and CorsixTH. (Finally people have understood that it is better to bundle forces and start coding instead of making nice and flashy websites that promise things that will never come.)

CorsixTH has now released a playable beta 1, making it the first open source Theme Hospital clone to reach playable status. Representing five months of development since the project launched, CorsixTH Playable Beta 1 implements many of the features of the original game, and runs natively on Windows, Linux, and OS X. The intent of this release is to increase awareness of CorsixTH, and to encourage more developers to assist in the project.

Similar to how OpenTTD started, years ago, CorsixTH requires some of the original game data files to provide graphics and sounds and some tweaking needs to be done in configuration files, just like in the good old TTDpatch days, although in my case it was just enough to add the line C:\Program Files\Bullfrog\Hospital\ in the config.txt file.

Since the project went public on July 24th 2009 the core development team grow from one person to four people. Despite this, the project is looking for more developers to report bugs and submit code. Artists interested in creating a new set of graphics, and hence removing the dependency on the original game data, are also welcomed. (This last phrase is perhaps wishful thinking, it took OpenTTD five (5!) years to accomplish this and, according to Wikipedia, it is the 8th most active Sourceforge project on this planet.)

Open Theme Hospital entries on this blog:
Open Source Theme Hospital Clone Announced (project abandoned, website unavailable)
Theme Hospital Tycoon (project abandoned, website unavailable)
Donuts and doctors (project abandoned, website unavailabel)
open Theme Hospital - 3 different ones (this developed in OpenTH)

Now that I am busy with this silly list, why don’t I go on with it…

Widelands - build 14

Widelands is an open source (GPLed) real-time strategy game. It is built upon the SDL and other open source libraries and is still under heavy development. Basically Widelands is a Settlers II remake rather than a clone carrying its own graphics, sounds and music. It is a project that is very alive and kicking.

Widelands entries on this blog:
2008 Widelands 

UFO: Alien Invasion 2.2.1

Also UFO: AI is not a clone but a remake from the popular X-COM games from the Nineties. The community is very active and new versions appear on a nearly monthly basis.

UFO: AI entries on this blog:
2008 Illegal Aliens  

Open Tower / High Rise Developer alpha 0.0.3

In July I wrote about on Open Sim Tower project and how it suffered from the same disease as a lot of other game clones or remakes. The leader of the project, most of the time a student, is very enthusiast, but fails to produce a downloadable game, because real-life catches up with him: exams, girlfriend, work, a home and a dog. This is no criticism, mainly an observation, but hours after I had blogged about it I received a reply from the Open Tower community with the clear message that I had exaggerated and that the project was still very active.

Last week I checked again and found that the main website of Open Tower had disappeared (it now leads to an OpenTower wiki) and the forum has been closed down due to lack of interest in development. It is not the time of the season to joke about this all, simply an observation.

However, on top of the Open Tower wiki is a banner saying that their project has got nothing to do with High Rise Developer. My attention was grabbed and it appears to be - yet another – attempt to create a Sim Tower style game. They have an 0.03 alpha which means that the project is still in a very early stage, but at least some work has been done.

Open Tower entries on this blog:
2009 Lost Yoot 

Sandbox of Gods: 1.5 & Remastered

Sandbox Of Gods was one of the freeware indie hits from 2004, the game looked absolutely vintage, with tacky graphics and sounds, and that was probably why it went in that well.

Basically you are a god (as in the man with the beard) and you can choose if you will give humans or rabbits the chance to evolve into an intelligent species. You can try to develop both species as well and the final result will either end in a global nuclear war or in a peaceful world where humans (probably all vegetarian) and rabbits are peacefully living next to each other.

The walkthroughs for this game can be found on this blog and in only 5 runs you will have discovered all possibilities of this point’n click sim. Of course playing by these walkthroughs takes most of the fun away, as you should find out yourself, by trial and error, how an early decision will develop thousands year later.

For years there were plans for a sequel, but these were never concrete until this year when, out of the blue, a SOG remaster was promised.

Basically there will be two SOG 1.5 versions:

An updated freeware version containing the following changes
- support for Windows 7 and Windows Vista
- upgraded resolution
-new music and sound effects
-a new save engine which allows for updates and patches
-a new options menu

A Remastered version, containing the freeware game and some extra games, inspired by the original (this version will be given away, as a bonus game, to existing Vertigo Games customers)
-SOG boardgame: a boardgame version of the Sandbox of God simulation using light gels, clay figures, blocks and cards…
-SOG warfare: where rabbits plot to take over the world and attack the humans in a 20 level turnbased strategic extravaganza

If all goes well SOG:R will be released on the last day of this year: the 31st of December… suddenly the future does look bright…

The Sandbox of Gods walkthroughs can be found at:
Walking Through The Valley Of Eden (Sandbox of God Walkthrough Part 1) 
Bad Moon Rising (Sandbox Of God Walkthrough Part 2) 
Under The Vulcano (Sandbox Of God Walkthrough Part 3) 
I Want To Be A Little Fishy (Sandbox Of God Walkthrough Part 4) 
It's the Final Countdown (Sandbox Of God Walkthrough Part 5)