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Saga Kingdoms – Revolutionary MMORTS

Recently posted on Linux Gaming News and certainly a fine Kickstarter campaign for Gnome Templar. This is another project well worth paying attention too.

Saga Kingdoms is a revolutionary real time MMORTS, focusing on questing and empire building.
They say it’s what Star Craft 2 could have been (in terms of gameplay).
It will be free to play (as it seems from the rewards), but you can pay for additional content.
Currently the project managed to get ~$8,600 of the $100k goal ,with 29 days to go.
From past experiences it’s very hard to get the funds for “free to play” games and I personally doubt that this project will reach it’s goal (although there is always hope).
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SAGA was designed to show what is possible in an RTS when it is made for the players and not by the big studios who may be too scared to try something new. We asked ourselves questions such as, What if the world never reset? What if we could figure out how to balance not just two or three factions but six? and most importantly, What if every play session enhanced your virtual empire and not just a rating?

Most RTS games we’ve ever played focus on player vs. player combat. This is understandable because creating 10 maps and relying on players to provide variety is much less time consuming than creating 600 quests. SAGA, however, embraces that players love a rich story and while PvP has its place and is certainly not an afterthought in our design, we felt it was a lot more fun going on quests not just alone but with groups of friends.

In Saga Kingdoms each player will control a capital city that will serve as the seat of their power, however we have greatly expanded on this concept by giving each player a full Island as a starting point. In addition we plan to allow players to take over both resources and outposts on the main continent as their empire expands.

Similar to SAGA, Saga Kingdoms will feature hundreds of quests to test your skill. While some quests do have prerequisites that you must best, you can always go back and do old favorites for loot and XP.

The power of our new engine means we can create much grander quests that can be enjoyed by large groups of friends.These epic battles will be much more difficult but we promise the rewards will be worth it.

Players will be able to choose from one of six factions, each with a unique look and play style.

Primary Race: Elves

The oldest of the races, the elves have long ago learned to live in harmony with Gaia – the spirit of the world itself. Through their allegiance and honor of Her, they have learned to master Her powers, and now control the most destructive forces of Nature. As warriors, they possess terrific skill, and have made strange allies in some of the oldest creatures on Gaia, including treants and elementals.

Primary Race: Orcs and Ogres

The orcs and ogres live for war. They have long pursued it, and have fashioned their living around it. They have traded refinement for mass, and like a blunt instrument, will bludgeon the life out of their enemies. Their spells and abilities are targeted inward, purposed with instilling their warriors with greater power in combat. Individually, their warriors are skillful, en masse: terrifying.

Primary Race: Giants and Humans

Noble, powerful and indomitable – the forces of Light are truly magnificent to behold. Their ancient civilization has reached a glorious age of wisdom and refinement, and their armies have long ago mastered the art of war. They are a balanced and formidable force, able to draw on heavily armored soldiers and powerful magic alike to crush their enemies into submission.

Primary Race: Dwarves

Dwarves are particularly skilled in the arts of mechanical engineering. Hidden deep in their mountain hideaways, they have created terrible machines of war and destruction. In all their tinkering though, they have lost the art of magic and must rely on their own ingenuity and cunning.

Primary Race: Dark Elves

The dark elves are the masters of magic. They have studied many dark arts and have mastered the secrets of daemonology, allowing them to conjure up horrible beasts. By tapping into the powers of the Underworld, they have possession of mighty spells, with which they terrorize their enemies.

Primary Race: Undead

When the god of the Undead was all but defeated he called upon his powers to bring to power the newest of the factions to gain a foothold on Gaia. Adept casters, the undead use their powers of decay to manipulate the course of battle and weaken their foes while gargantuan undead abominations rush forth to devour their prey.

We love variety in most RTS games. Trying to find the perfect balance of troops is an integral part of the strategy. As difficult as it was to balance 6 factions, that task was nothing compared to trying to create over 100 distinct troop types. Saga Kingdoms will bring back many of the old favorites and will commit to creating many more in upcoming free content expansions.
Saga Kingdoms is a Free-To-Play Collectible game

Collecting troops was one of the best received and unique features of SAGA. Booster packs which can now be purchased for gold farmed in game will provide a random assortment of troops. Nothing beats the excitement of ripping open a new pack or the exhilaration of finding a dragon as your rare card.

Every aspect of your empire can grow in power. This means that every play session will reward you with some type of progress.

  • Buildings will be constructed, which will provide additional benefits.
  • Research will reward you with new abilities and benefits.
  • All troops will gain experience during combat, making them more powerful.
  • Magic items will be found during quests and crafted in your city.
  • Every quest completed and booster purchased gives the possibility of new and exciting troops to enhance your army.
  • Even logging in for just a few seconds and collecting resources brings you closer to purchasing that next building upgrade or booster pack.

Each unit in your army will be led by a hero as detailed as any character in an MMO. Heroes can gain levels, learn spells and possess a range of abilities and bonuses that they confer to the unit they lead.

We’re also expanding the number of available heroes slightly from the dozen available in SAGA to many hundreds. (OK maybe more than slightly)

Not only will be we able to create items with a larger variety of abilities, but Saga Kingdoms will feature many thousands more magic items since Heroes can equip armor in multiple slots in addition to weapons and trinkets, rather than the limited 2 slots in SAGA.

Since Units in Saga Kingdoms are built around heroes not troop types, you will have much more freedom when designing your units. Each troop type will possess a special ability, allowing you to have much finer control over the type of army you field. For example, if halberdiers grant increased damage to the whole unit and swordsmen grant increased armor, a unit consisting of 15 halberdiers and 5 swordsmen will play very differently than one with 15 swordsmen and 5 halberdiers. Adding a hero who brings its own set of unit enhancements means an unlimited set of strategies.

Using the Unity engine means being able to do battle on a PC, Mac, or even using Linux. While the client will be available for all of these platforms, developing in Unity means that when you’re at work or school and can’t resist checking your empire or doing a quick quest, Saga Kingdoms will also be playable in a browser. In addition, developing in Unity opens the possibility for a mobile version.

We have been working on Saga Kingdoms for over a year. Some of our players have even had a chance to try the Alpha version.

We can field troops, move them around, and cause havoc to our enemies as well as build a city. The funds raised on Kickstarter will help us port the remaining SAGA features, finish our quest design tools and make the necessary changes to magic items and heroes to bring Saga Kingdoms to the next level.

Source: Linux Gaming News

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Some Assembly Required: Ten years warp by for Vendetta Online

If I were to start describing a game where players have zipped about one persistent universe as one of three factions in customizable ships vying for wealth and territory by mining, dodging hostiles, fulfilling missions, blasting one another to bits, docking at stations, blazing trade routes, and pirating for the past 10 years, you would say… Vendetta Online, of course! Perhaps the longest-running epic space-based sandbox MMORPG, the game hit a milestone last week that few others can boast: It turned 10!

First Signs Of Wayland Running On Android

A developer for Collabora has been bringing Wayland and the reference Weston compositor to Google’s Android mobile Linux platform.

Pekka Paalanen announced the “first light” of Wayland on Android via the wayland-devel mailing list this morning and subsequently blogged about the initial work.

Aside from the first bits of success for Wayland on Android (it’s not yet in a usable state for Android), what makes this work even more interesting is that Android has a vastly different graphics stack from the standard Linux desktop. There isn’t KMS, DRI, Mesa, or any other common components on Google’s Linux platform compared to say Ubuntu or Fedora. The graphics drivers that Pekka had to work with are also closed-source and so he wasn’t able to modify the source to the driver to make it work with Wayland, yet he has made progress with Android 4.0 on his Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

While the Android graphics is very different, it’s not too different from what’s needed by Wayland’s Weston compositor. Pekka ended up writing an Android-specific back-end for Weston that can utilize the Android APIs. He’s also made workarounds and other changes to make Wayland work on Android’s code-base. The blog post goes over in extensive details about this effort.

So far this Wayland/Weston Android back-end only does OpenGL ES 2.0 via EGL for the server, no input device support, and other missing functionality. The “simple-shm” is the only client currently running for now as EGL/GL isn’t being exposed to the Wayland clients. There’s also Cairo porting and other dependencies that need to be brought to Android.

Right now this work is living in separate Git repositories from mainline Wayland/Weston. “This is the beginning of pushing a Wayland stack into Android. Next I need to clean up, send stuff upstream, add input support, find out about that pageflip, reinvent signal handling and timerfd, and then move on to the second major task: supporting Wayland GL clients. I hope it is possible to implement the Wayland platform in the wrapper-libEGL.”

Embedded below is a video by Pekka showing Weston on the Android-powered Samsung phone.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loeW7SLkF8s&w=480&h=274]

Publicly, Google hasn’t expressed any interest in having Wayland on Android. However, Google has been investigating and playing with some code for Wayland on Chrome OS and also ensuring that the Chrome/Chromium web-browser will be well-supported natively on Wayland.

by Michael Larabel

Develop a Game in Your Bedroom

Game developers Star Command published an interesting blog entry about the money they obtained from KickStarter. They set a goal of $20,000 and received pledges of $36,967, but lost $2,000 for no shows. After deductions for prize fulfillments and payment provider costs, they actually ended up with $22,000 to develop a mobile game on Android and iOS. View the excellent trailer here.

Former ‘Call of Duty’ Creative Strategist Robert Bowling Opens Studio

After leaving Activision and Infinity Ward, Robert Bowling has self-funded his own development studio, Robotoki, with their first project to be announced this year.

When Robert Bowling revealed that he would be stepping down from his role as Creative Strategist at Infinity Ward and leaving Activision, the question that jumped immediately to gamers’ minds was what might be next. While the assumption was that Bowling wasn’t done with video game development, there were so many possibilities as to what type of situation he might land in.

Just today we have learned exactly what Bowling plans to do with his newly found free time, and that is to give it all up. Bowling plans to bankroll his assuredly lucrative Call of Duty salary into funding a new game development studio called Robotoki.

Talking with Game Informer, Bowling revealed that he plans to make Robotoki a ‘people first’ development studio that favors fostering talent over churning out product. Bowling feels that the industry, as it continues to grow, has become too business-focused and is “falling severely behind in how to properly inspire and support our creative talent.”

Through self-funding, Bowling wants to ensure that Robotoki retains creative control over the products it puts out, the complete opposite of the type of deals previous employer Activision worked out with its studios. There’s no firm word on what type of game Robotoki is working on at the moment, but it is believed to be getting an official announcement later this year and is headed to all major platforms including iOS and Android devices.

The immediate question to ask about the project is how closely it might resemble Call of Duty? According to Bowling this new project won’t closely resemble the juggernaut franchise, but will be a natural evolution of it.

“Our focus is creating an experience that is no longer strictly single player, strictly co-op, or strictly multiplayer, but adapting the strengths of each of these into a unique experience that is fueled by the actions and contributions in each.”

the second this project starts taking off that Bowling will be out there doing what he does best, and gamers will be made well aware of the unique features this project has to offer. And, if there are any game developers out there looking for a job Robotoki is hiring!

Are you intrigued by the prospect of Robert Bowling opening up his own studio? What type of game do you think Robotoki should be working on?

by Anthony Taormina

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