Kickstart OpenShot!

Image from OpenShot.com

OpenShot is a very popular Video Editing Tool. It’s very easy to use, and quite powerful. The author, Jonathan Thomas is trying to Kickstart OpenShot and create a brand new HTML5-UI that looks quite pretty, create a brand new Python API, and brings compatibility with Mac and Windows.

I love supporting Free Software Projects, and couldn’t help spread the word, as I’m sure a lot of you would love supporting the project.

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Posted in Free Software

Liberated Pixel Cup Winners Announced!

That took a little bit longer than expected, but the results are finally published!

The grand prize winner was no other than Lurking Patrol Comrades! (Now known as Source of Tales). It’s an MMORPG built from the ManaWorld engine.

First place, in the HTML5 category, went to Big Island, an Open World / Sandbox island with enemies to kill and citizens to save.

First place, in the “individual developer” category goes to Castle Defense, a game that proves that math can be fun!

And last but not least, First place in the “team game” category goes to Laurelia’s Polymorphable Citizen, an Action/Adventure game built from the popular FLARE engine.

You can check out the rest of the games in this review table I made.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to Mozilla, Free Software Foundation, Creative Commons and Open Game Art for making this contest possible!

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Posted in Free Software, Free Software Games, Game Review

Cloud Guidance

Dear LazyWeb Cloud Experts,

I’ve been hosting my site for quite a while, paying a ‘flat fee per month’ ($30 USD) for Unlimited Bandwidth and around 1GB of RAM, however I keep hearing stories about how “Cloud Hosting” would be a lot cheaper for me if and when I decide to switch.

I’ve never used Rackspace or AWS because I’m afraid that their “Cost-per-hour”, however small, might byte me if one day I get hit by a DDOS or something.

The question I have is.. Is there any sort of tool(s) I could use to check how much CPU / RAM / Bandwidth I’m actually using on my server per month, so that I could get a real quote as to what to expect if and when I actually switch to one of these “cloud servers”? I mostly just use this blog, though I do have a Gallery instance, and couple of other blogs hosted on this site. They’re all pretty “low traffic” though.

Also, is there a host that lets me host a server and add an actual spending limit per month, to prevent having unexpectedly high bills, as in some horror stories I’ve read?

Thanks a ton,
-Confused Clour Reader

Posted in Fedora, Free Software

How to fix Nautilus in Fedora 18

su -c ‘yum install nemo -y’

Each new Gnome release brings new surprises. And I don’t mean this in a good way. From obnoxious behavior like moving the Alt-Drag key to “Super”, to the super popular “Gnome fail whale” screen, and even the brand new “I want to be touched” lock screen which is just confusing, and annoying after the first time you use it (I’ve had friends tell me the computer froze because they couldn’t figure out they had to drag the lockscreen up).

I am not a Gnome user. I’ve switched to Cinnamon since it was first released, however Cinnamon relies on many Gnome components done right by forking Gnome code and putting some thought and flavor into it. Their latest fork comes from Nautilus and is named Nemo (As in, Nautilus’ Captain, hah). Nautilus 3.6 made the side-bar ugly, hid a bunch of options like sorting folders under the “down arrow” button and changed the default search behavior. Nemo brings back the old Nautilus before these bizarre changes.

In Nemo, You can right-click to sort the current folder without going through several layers of obscure menus. Nemo offers a lot more configuration options (compared to Nautilus), and to top it off, Nemo behaves exactly like you’re used to. No new weird behavior! (As a bonus, Nemo doesn’t require Tracker to be installed :-) )

You can install both at the same time, try them out, and when you’re ready, just set your default File Manager to Nemo. In my case, I completely removed Nautilus, as I don’t think it’s idea of a file manager matches what I need from a File Manager.

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Posted in Fedora, Free Software, Rant

A SysAdmin Prayer

A friend of mine, Franco, wrote a small SysAdmin prayer in Spanish (A parody of sorts of the ‘Our Father’ prayer). I thought it was hilarious and decided to give it a shot at an English translation, so here it is:

“Our Server, who art in Clouds,
Fully Qualified be your hostname,
Thy login prompt come,
Thy domain be resolved, locally and remotely

Give us this day our daily resource allocations,
and forget our error logs,
as we forgive you for the downtimes
And lead us not into hosts.deny
but deliver us from DDOS.”
eof

Update: I didn’t claim I was the first one to come up with this, I simply hadn’t heard of it before.

Here’s the original one in Spanish, by Franco Castro: (I changed a couple of things as you can see)

NIM nuestro que estas en el site
Fully Qualified sea tu hostname
venga a nosotros tu conexion
hagase tu dominio, asi en el site como en la subnet
danos hoy nuestro ‘resource allocation’
borra nuestros logs asi como nosotros ignoramos los downtimes
no nos metas a hosts.deny
y libranos de los n00bs.

En mi opinión, yo lo cambiaría a:

Server nuestro que estas en la nube
Fully Qualified sea tu hostname
Venga a nosotros tu prompt de login
Resuelvase tu dominio, en localhost y de manera remota
Danos hoy nuestros recursos de cada día
Perdona nuestros logs de error asi como nosotros perdonamos los downtimes
No nos metas a hosts.deny
y libranos de los DDOS
eof

 

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Posted in Fedora, Free Software, Life

Thanks for the Lessons, Fedora!

I had an unfortunate issue with grub yesterday on my Fedora 18 laptop at work. It refused to boot, leaving me with a “grub rescue>” terminal that I had no idea how to use (and with not a hint of help, either).

Throughout this process, I very much decided that as soon as I’d get the laptop booting again, I’d make a backup and obliterate the Fedora partition, replacing it with a stable Centos 6 that wouldn’t require any such heartaches I’ve had to tolerate throughout my years of using Fedora.

If grub hadn’t broken yesterday, I wouldn’t have learned that chrooting a 64bit environment from a 32bit livecd results in an obscure “Exec format error” that means that you must chroot a 64bit partition from a 64bit livecd. Also, if Grub hadn’t borked up on me yesterday, I wouldn’t have learned how to manually boot grub by using commands like

ls (hd0,msdos5)/      #Use this command to check your Linux partition
set root=(hd0,5)       #Pro-tip, you can use msdos5 or 5 interchangeably
linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.6.7-latest root=/dev/sda5 rhgb    #Protip, on grub2.0 you can tab to autocomplete the vmlinuz line. Thanks grub devs!
initrd /boot/initramfs-3.6.7-latest #My most heartfelt thanks to the devs that implemented autocomplete on grub.
boot

Centos is stable, but I would not have learned these skills had I stuck with Centos since I started working here (Though odds are, I would’ve finished the current project I’m working on if I didn’t constantly have to fix postgres, grub and other pieces that might occasionally break).

I’m grateful to have learned these abilities for when I need them managing servers or just helping others fix their grub. I’m sticking with Fedora for the long run. Centos is stable, that is true, but stable is boring.

Live on the edge!
Moo

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Posted in Fedora, Free Software, Rant

The Liberated Pixel Cup: The Fine Summary

I know I’ve been writing non-stop about the contest, but I’ll make this blogpost brief.

I’ve written a couple of articles for OpenSource.com, Part 1, features art, and talks about each artist’s work and provided a couple of examples of the artwork produced for the contest. Part 2 features games, and what they were about. Thanks a ton, Jason and Jen for helping me edit the content and hosting it on the site, It’s an honor.

I’m hoping these’ll be helpful and that many more games are made with the fantastic LPC Art from Open Game Art, and that the games that were made continue to be polished and worked on.

In related news, the Art Results will be published later today at the LPC Blog. Do check’em out and see who won!

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Posted in Free Software, Free Software Games, Gaming

LPC Wallpaper

I’ve been playing around with fotowall (Already in Fedora’s repository!) for an article I’m working on for opensource.com, and while I was messing with it, I ended up making a nice collage out of the hundreds of screenshots I took for the Liberated Pixel Cup Games.

Normal resolution is available at 1366×583, while High Def has a 1920×1080 resolution and HD Plus has a 1920×1200 resolution.. I’d be happy to make different screen resolutions if requested.

Since fotowall currently doesn’t collate images, and when you add them, it stacks them in alphabetical order… I ended up investigating about a way to randomly add the files.

mapfile -t -n 48 files < <(find . -type f | sort -R) && fotowall ${files[@]}

mapfile helps create a random array of files, which is then passed on with the ${files[@]} argument to fotowall. Neat, huh?

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Posted in Free Software, Free Software Games, Gaming, Life

Unsealed: The Postmortem

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a while, but with the 4 dozen reviews I wrote, I ended up postponing it. The time has served to clear up my mind a bit and get some feedback on the game though.

This game’s plan’s changed. A lot. Throughout development, I constantly changed what I wanted to do with the game. For starters, I originally wanted to use Slick as the Game Library, and spent all of June practicing and reading documentation about it. I was convinced by ‘davexunit’ to use LibGDX instead, and on the second day of the contest, I made the decision to switch engines and risk not delivering anything.

I had never even heard of LibGDX before, and I approached it at a bad time, with all the “refucktoring” going around the project, using nightlies meant constantly breaking your code in new and unexpected ways, and in turn, made documentation and samples be obsolete. Despite this, I’m quite glad I did switch to LibGDX, and it’s a decision I won’t regret.

A quick glimpse of the planned maps with quests proposed by lastplacer

As for the game… I originally envisioned an RPG. The kind where you walk around, talk with people, go on quests and level up through random battles. The Battle Engine, however, took all of my time, and I didn’t have time to work on a walk-on-maps engine with collisions… but I had fallback plans. Plan B was to have the character move around automatically, just like it happens on the current version. Plan C was to have a single, static PNG as a background and have endless text on it.

What I ended up doing wasn’t my original goal, but I’m still slightly pleased by it. I think I spent so much time with the “Scene Director” which moves around the sprites… I could’ve instead done the walk+collision system instead, and if I could go back in time, I would’ve spent the time on the collisions system instead.

As for the Battle System… I’ve written about this before, but I’ve always wanted to make a “MegaMan: Battle Network Online” game, without Capcom’s forgotten Trademarks, but I’ve never felt comfortable with making a 1:1 copy of MMBN’s system. With the help of lastplacer, Cookiez, my brother Alan, and Phileas Fogg we brainstormed the current battle system: Still heavily inspired by MegaMan: BN, but tweaked enough to satisfy my inner “do not make a clone” self.

For the story? I honestly didn’t have any plans thought out for the story. I knew I wanted to make it a “Distro Wars”, with parodies of Linux Distros fighting one another, but ended up making a “Linux vs Apple” parody. It probably wasn”t obvious but “Lidia Terious” is sort of a female “Linus Torvalds”, Archimides the Penguin / Guardian was named after Arch, the Distro, and the Townsfolk of New Lion are named after fellow Fedora contributors.

Xios, on the other hand, was a mix between “iOS” and “OSX”, and the enemy was a big Lion-Tree because Apple likes cats as codenames, and the area was surrounded by apple trees. Lastplacer took it a step beyond my imagination, and made the actual area where the fight takes place look like an Apple Logo. (Bite me, Apple!)

This will sound totally hipster, but note that I did the whole “Good vs Apple” thing before Samsung vs Apple went mainstream

Finally, I plan to continue working on the game. First, concentrating on optimizing the Battle Engine, which was so rushed that it was very unoptimized. I plan to make the “Battle Arena” mode into a full fledged game mode, similar to Smash Bros’ Single Player Mode, with stages. Once that’s done, I’ll work on Multiplayer, then continue working on the story mode and finish what I had originally thought of.

I’ve also been working on an Android version, which I haven’t published fearing a ton of 1/2-star ratings due to its current status. Although it’s very playable on my Galaxy Nexus, Nexus One and on the Galaxy S2, I noticed performance bugs on older devices, and the game definitely needs a lot more polish.

And last but not least, I’d like to throw a Special Thanks to all the people that made this contest happen, from Open Game Art, from the Free Software Foundation, from Creative Commons and from Mozilla, as well as to my family, to Laura, lastplacer, Cookiez, Wyverii who worked hard and helped me with the game, to Daneeklu who did the awesome magic effects used in the game for the competition, and to other LPC competitors as well, and to the LibGDX community without which I probably would still be staring at a broken Menu. Thanks a ton, everyone.

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Posted in Free Software, Free Software Games, Gaming, Unsealed

[LPC] Game Review: Trouble in Libreland

I’ve been reviewing Liberated Pixel Cup Games. This is one of the 48 Games.

Disclaimer: I’m competing in the cup too! I am not a judge!

Trouble in Libreland [Download me] [Sourceforge Repository]

This is a Single Player Tactical RPG / Real Time Strategy game. Man, it is impressive. There’s documentation, there’s tools that let you make your own maps and edit characters, and they provided both Linux and Windows binaries so you can run it easily. I couldn’t compile the game, as once again, C++11 (Fedora 17′s default) has made compiling a bit harder than it should (Thanks a lot C++11 devs! ¬¬). Instead, I used the trinlib binary which was built on Fedora 16.The latest svn copy fixed an awful lot of compiling issues, but I still couldn’t build it.

This game is powered by the Gorgon Game Engine, which is also made by the Trouble in Libreland devs. Once you start the game, you’re asked which campaign you’d like to play. I selected “Trouble In Libreland”, which features some sort of an immortal being, who is also the Mayor of Libreland, tasked with assiging each citizen’s duty as well as improving the town by creating new buildings.

The game features a moving clock that helps you get money (by taxing the citizens). You can adjust the time and tax & though a settings option. There’s no tutorial inside the game, but a bunch of friendly txts are provided with the game which I recommend giving a hard read.

To start the game, you should click on the building icon (Hammer thingie on the top right) and build some housing. It can be a barrack, house or tent, what matters is that you make room for your soldiers. Each one has different costs, and provides different space for your recruited soldiers and artisans.You also need to build some tools, like anvils, forges, and even rack space to hold the finished weapons and armor.

Females can’t be recruited for war, but they’re excellent artisans that you can use to make swords and suits (Provided you have both the gold and the tools to make said items). The Artisans can be ordered to craft different weapons and armor based on their profession.

Men can be recruited, but in order to attack the enemies, they must be holding weapons. Once recruited, click on Inventory, and select the weapon or armor you’d like to equip. Be careful with the “None” option, as it crashes the game, and without a save feature, you must restart the game. You’ll notice that once they start equipping weapons and armor, that they’ll actually display the current armor equipped. To move your character, just right click to where you’d like the selected character to move.

As the game advances, you’ll notice that the fog of war increases and decreases as the sun goes up and down. Yes, this game features day/night cycles, as well as fog of war. You’ll also spot some “dens” where enemies spawn, so after you’ve sufficiently equipped a small army, move down and take them out. Combat is handled automatically, just move your citizens nearby the enemies, they’ll spot the enemies and attack them, so there’s no need to micro-manage each unit.

I would’ve loved to play more of this game, however I kept on crashing the game through that Inventory “None” bug I mentioned and had to continuously restart. Despite that, I think this game is superb and that you should really check it out. It takes a bit getting used to the unique RTS/Tactical RPG style, but it’s very well executed and polished. I’m looking forward to finding out more about this game and will definitely revisit it once the inventory bug is fixed.

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Posted in Free Software, Free Software Games, Game Review, Gaming

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