After quite a long time of working quietly on my own things, I’m coming back with a new open source gaming project – but not an actual game. As I’ve probably hinted a bit in the past, I believe that the common way of making open source games, as full projects, is not an efficient way to use the resources available to the open source community. Now, for the first time (maybe second), I’m putting my code where my mouth is, and starting a project that supports my vision for open source.
The issue I want to address with this project is game art – seems like visual art is possibly the weakest point in the open source gaming ecosystem, so creating art is a much more useful project than making yet another game engine. Since, like most people in the open source world, I’m a programmer and not an artist, I decided the way to go would be automatically generated art.
And thus, comes this project. The concept – making a large pool of graphics tools, that generate art assets than can be used in games – tiles, sprites, backgrounds, ui elements, and anything else. That way, we will have an endless selection of non-copyrighted art, free for use in any game, instead of everyone having to create new art for each game.
To keep focused, I’m starting with a specific subset of game art – art for side-scrolling platformer games. I hope that within a few months, we will have enough art to create beautiful games side-view games, whether classic-style platformers like Mario or Commander Keen, combat platformers like Abuse or The Showdown Effect, artillery games like Worms or Scorched Earth, side-view driving games like Trials, and who knows what else creative game designers can think about.
For some inspiration, let’s take a look at some of what I consider to be the most beautiful side-view games in the existing game industry:
In future posts about this project, we will go back many times to these and many other games, to learn and implement some of the ideas they offer.
On the next post, we’ll start looking at the details.
 My past project, the Sunflower card game engine, probably counts also, but that project is kind of paused for now, with no serious game having ever come out of it.