Amiga Flame - News - Open Source Projects: Parsec and Elite - Darkness Falls

Open Source Projects - The Dark Kind: Darkness Falls and Parsec

Over the course of the last month a number of open source projects have come to my attention namely The Dark Kind: Darkness Falls, inspired by the 80's ground breaking 3D space game, Elite and Parsec, a fast-paced multiplayer cross-platform 3D Internet space-shooter. Although Amiga versions are not presently in the works it is possible that Amiga programmers prepared to take up the challenge may bring these exciting new games to the Amiga.

Elite was one of those Amiga games which will always be remembered as a compelling game which pushed the boundaries of gaming. Fans of Elite such as Christian Pinder and Ian Bell are working on The Dark Kind: Darkness Falls, a game inspired by the original. Ian Bell was in fact responsible for the original Elite on the BBC. They plan with Darkness Falls to take the genre to new heights of imagination and wonder.

In Darkness Falls, the Dark Kind are amassing their powers. Darkness is falling over the civilised worlds.   Fight for freedom, fight for your life, kill for the money. It's your choice...if you're lucky. Following the release of the first Alpha version the game will be open source allowing anyone to contribute. It is possible that with the help of some skilled Amiga programmers an Amiga version might be prepared.

The second open source project is Parsec, which has been under development since 1996 and was originally a lab project at the Vienna University of Technology. Beginning in May 2003, Parsec will be an open community project striving toward a Parsec release that also includes Internet game play. They hope that by going open source Parsec will bring lots of fun to even more people.

Parsec is a fast-paced space shooter, where the emphasis is more on fun and action than on realism. As far as game play itself is concerned, Parsec has probably more in common with the network game play of first person shooters like Quake than with sophisticated simulations like Elite. After starting up the game you simply choose a ship and select the galaxy you want to be playing in. Every ship has some basic equipment right from the start, but to get most of the funky stuff like additional weapons, energy, invulnerability, and the like, you have to pick up power-ups that are floating around in outer-space. When you're shot down you lose most of them and are once again back down to the basic equipment. Other players can then reclaim the power-ups you've just lost.

Target acquired, preparing to fire
Parsec most important feature is playing the game over the Internet as at the core of the game will be a network of gameservers each responsible for a single galaxy comprised of several solar systems. All gameservers will be registered at the central Parsec masterserver from where you can select a specific gameserver for playing. Gameservers (that is, galaxies) have their own dedicated position in the Parsec universe and are connected to nearby galaxies via stargates. The server transition involved in this jump is handled transparently by the masterserver and the involved gameservers. There are no game sessions that have to be started explicitly. You can seamlessly join and unjoin a gameserver at any time.

Use the stargate to visit other galaxies
The developers have indicated that they are not currently supporting any additional operating systems. However, since the Parsec source will be freely available from May on, other developers will be welcome to port Parsec to additional platforms such as AmigaOne.

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