Our artists have been working really hard over the past couple of weeks to expand the LPC art style. Here are some of our latest mockups:
As we approach the final month before the start of the contest, I'd like to point out that we're still a ways short of our funding goal. The more donations we bring in, the more money we'll be able to put toward additional art (including lots of sprites and enemies) and contest prizes. Click the donate button and help make LPC the best it can be! :)
The second entry in our series of engine and tool highlights is the amazing, general-purpose tile map editor, Tiled. First released as a Java program back in 2004, Tiled has undergone some major revisions (including a full rewrite) and is now a stable and mature C++/Qt application boasting contributions from over 40 different developers. Tiled is quite capable of handling any type of tile map you throw at it, including top-down, side view, or isometric. And don't worry about having to load your map into another editor to add game-specific details -- Tiled is capable of placing game objects with pixel level precision and adding arbitrary metadata to maps, tiles, and objects.
Of particular note is Tiled's Automapping feature. If you've used some other tile mapping programs (particularly ones built into various RPG creation kits), you may be familiar with the general idea and convenience of auto-tiles. Tiled takes this several steps further by allowing you to define your own rules for automatic tile placement, which means you're not shoehorned into a particular tile configuration. Here's a video tutorial of this feature as it is in the current release build (0.8):
If you're feeling like stepping into the nightly builds (which I'm told are robust in their own right), there are some new features included in automapping, as seen below:
Finally, Tiled is platform-agnostic, and there are a number of libraries out there capable of reading tiled maps (please note that not all of the libraries listed on that page are legal for entry into the Liberated Pixel Cup -- so if you're not sure, drop in on the LPC IRC channel and ask).
Over the next few weeks I'll be highlighting some tooklits and game engines that people should consider making use of in the code portion of the Liberated Pixel Cup. To kick things off, I'd like to draw your attention to the Frogatto engine, which powers the beautifully rendered Frogatto & Friends.
The Frogatto engine is well optimized and is silky smooth even on slower machines. It is written in C++ and has minimal dependencies (OpenGL, Boost, and SDL), and it runs on "darn near everything", including: Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS, Android, Blackberry's Playbook OS, WebOS, Maemo, and Pandora. And don't be fooled by the fact that Frogatto & Friends is a side scroller -- it's quite capable of handling top-down games as well. (As further evidence of the Frogatto engine's impressive versatility, it's been pointed out to me that it's also been used to write an isometric game, Cube Trains -- see screenshots here and here, and a video.)
Frogatto's game logic is powered by the Frogatto Formula Language (FFL), which you can read about in detail here. What's more, Frogatto comes with its own game editor, which has some live game editing features that have to be seen to be believed (see the video below):
So, if you're trying to decide what engine to base your LPC game on, definitely give Frogatto a look. If you need help getting started, hit up the forum or come talk with the Frogatto dev team on IRC (#frogatto on irc.freenode.net).
Frogatto's game engine documentation can be found here.
So there are a couple of misconceptions about the LPC rules that seem to be along a common theme, and I'd like to clear them up.
Misconception #1: Your game must only run on a 100% free-as-in-freedom platform, and may not run on a proprietary platform.
While it's true that your game must run on a 100% free-as-in-freedom platform, you are welcome and encouraged to make it run on any other platforms you want. The idea here isn't to restrict users; it's to make sure as many people as possible are able to play your game. If you build your software on an open stack, it will compile and run all of the major platforms.
With specific regard to OpenGL drivers, there are working FOSS OpenGL drivers, and the judges will be expected to have modern machines that support OpenGL and have appropriate drivers installed.
Misconception #2: We're pushing the GPL on people.
It's true that code entered into the contest must be released under the GPL; however, the reason for doing this is to ensure that all of the code entered into the contest has a bare minimum set of freedoms associated with it. Note that the rules explicitly allow you to license your code under whatever additional licenses you want. You are more than welcome to release your code under a BSD-style license, the public domain, or any other license you want in addition to releasing it under the GPL, and will not be penalized for this.
Now that we've got a funding page set up with the FSF, it's time to go official with the contest. We've actually been working on this for the past several months, building up a body of art to serve as the base theme for the contest. Since everyone (including yours truly) likes to look at pretty screenshots, I'll show you what we've got so far:
As you can see, we're aiming for a distinct victorian-style fantasy set that should be appropriate for the standard fantasy genre as well as steampunk. The sprite you see in the bottom link is the male version of the base sprite, which we're working on animating at the moment. We'll have nude versions of both the male and female base sprites as well as a small set of armor, clothes, hair, and accessories to go with them. Contest participants are encouraged to create more.
We'll keep you posted as things progress. Remember, the contest starts on June 1st, so be ready!
In the meantime, in order to fund prizes and expand the art set, we could use your help. Please see the Donation link above. Every little bit counts!