video game

Announcing the Liberated Pixel Cup: an epic contest for gaming freedom

Chris Webber, April 11th, 2012

Liberated Pixel Cup banner

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the Liberated Pixel Cup, a free-as-in-freedom game authoring competition being launched in cooperation between Creative Commons, the Free Software Foundation, and OpenGameArt!

Liberated Pixel Cup outdoor example artwork
Liberated Pixel Cup example outdoor artwork / Lanea Zimmerman / CC BY-SA 3.0

Liberated Pixel Cup is a two-part competition: make a bunch of awesome free culture licensed artwork, and program a bunch of free software games that use it. Hopefully many cool projects can come out of this… but that will only happen if people like you get involved!

Technically the project will run in three phases. One of the major goals of the project is for the community to be able to produce content that’s stylistically consistent. To that end, “phase zero” of the project is to produce a style guide that people can work off to produce content that meshes together nicely, something along the lines of what the Tango style guide does for icons. We’ve been working with a few excellent artists to commission a base example set to build the style guide out of, and we’re fairly thrilled with where things are going!

Liberated Pixel Cup outdoor example artwork
Liberated Pixel Cup example indoor artwork / Lanea Zimmerman / CC BY-SA 3.0

And this is where you come in: “Phase one” of the competition will then be building artwork that matches that guide that should then be uploaded to OpenGameArt and dual licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 and GPLv3. This part of the project will run from June 1st through June 30th. “Phase two” of this competition will be building GPLv3 or later games that incorporate artwork from the artwork building phase of the project. People can work in teams or individually, and this portion of the contest will run from July 1st through July 31st.

Afterwards will be judging entries and handing out awards. We’re planning on giving out some prizes for both the content building and the game programming phases. To see more details about all this, check out the rules page.

We’re very proud to be working on this collaboration with OpenGameArt, but especially the Free Software Foundation, a true ally of ours in the quest for user freedom in all domains. And it seems that feeling is mutual:

The FSF is happy to join with our peers and support this contest. We’re already excited about the new free software games that will come out of it — not only because we like games, but because this is an area that is still very much in the grips of proprietary software companies using nasty Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), and an area holding back free software adoption for many users.
– John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation

We think Liberated Pixel Cup is a great opportunity for the commons in many ways! Right now it’s hard to find free culture content to bootstrap games that match a consistent style and hard for artists to collaborate on such. We’re also very interested in areas where free software and free culture directly intersect, which we don’t always see enough of (and which sometimes can even get a bit complex, so it’s good to have opportunities to think about them when we can), and games are a great example of this overlap. We hope you’ll participate!

And on that note, there’s several things we’d like to fund with this project. First of all, we’d like to pay the artists that have we’ve commissioned for this style guide actual money, as laying down a set of fundamentals for the artwork is a lot of serious work. Second, we’d like to be able to do cool things like give out prizes for people who win the various stages of the competition.

To that end, we’re trying to raise some money for the Liberated Pixel Cup. So please help make that happen, and donate today!

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) is a globally-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute and make specific uses of it. Donations to support Creative Commons work can be made at https://creativecommons.net/donate/ and also by contacting development@creativecommons.org.

Contact
Christopher Allan Webber
Senior Software Engineer
Creative Commons
+1 (773) 614 2279
cwebber@creativecommons.org

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF’s work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Contact
Joshua Gay
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
campaigns@fsf.org

About OpenGameArt

OpenGameArt.org was founded in 2009 for the purpose of archiving art for use in free and open source games. Since then, OGA has grown into a vibrant community of artists and developers who are passionate about games and free culture. You can join the community or explore by visiting http://opengameart.org/.

Contact
Bart Kelsey
Founder, OpenGameArt.org
bart@opengameart.org

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Massively Multiplayer Game Ryzom Released as Free Culture and Free Software

Chris Webber, May 6th, 2010

Ryzom's Windfall
Ryzom's Windfall by Winch Gate / CC BY-SA

Today brings an exciting announcement… Winch Gate Properties Ltd. is releasing Ryzom, an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), with its code under the GNU AGPLv3 and its artistic assets under CC BY-SA.

Games are almost unique in how tightly the medium requires the interweaving of software and culture.  Amongst the many genres of video games that exist today, the MMORPG is probably the most complex and requires the most depth both on the side of the code and content.  Since Ryzom is a mature, well developed project, the scale of this release and its significance for both free culture and free software are both truly incredible.  In the words of Winch Gate’s own press release:

By freeing Ryzom code, Winch Gate is transforming the MMORPG marketplace and is setting a precedent for how gaming software should evolve–in freedom. The source code released totals over two (2) million lines of source code and over 20,000 high quality textures and thousands of 3D objects.

Some components aren’t released yet to the public (notably the music and sounds, although this is apparently in progress) and the world data for the main server isn’t being released to keep the player community from fracturing.  Notably also, the current tools for creating game data require proprietary software, but the Free Software Foundation notes that there are efforts under way to make these actions editable incorporating free software tools such as Blender.  However the components that are already available: the server code, the client code, and the many models, animations, textures and etc, already bring many great community opportunities.  The freeing of these resources opens them for study, modification, and incorporation into other works and games of compatible licenses.  And of course the existence of all these components also means that one can run a fully free-as-in-freedom virtual universe of one’s own.  If you ever dreamed of the carving of virtual worlds, here’s your great chance.

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Kongregate Collabs: CC-Licensed Online Gaming Development

Cameron Parkins, June 3rd, 2009

Kongregate Collabs is a new service that allows game developers to connect with artists and musicians to create online games. A project of Kongregate, one of the leading indie game sites on the web, Kongregate Collabs is attempting to tap into the creative energy of Kongregate’s community of game enthusiasts.

Users are encouraged to upload both art and sounds, which can then be commented on and discussed by the community. Creators can ability to license these assets under the CC license of their choosing, making them available for the public to use in their own creations.

Kongregate Collabs just launched, so now is an opportune time to jump in, upload works, and see where the collaborative platform takes you.

UPDATE: Apologies to Kongregate and our community for the broken links – they now feed directly to the Kongregate Collabs live site.

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Scratch.mit.edu now at 400,000+ projects

Jane Park, May 7th, 2009

A couple years ago, the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab developed a Web 2.0 programming platform for kids called Scratch. Scratch allows kids, and virtually anyone else, to create and remix rich media of all kinds—video, video games, even simple photo animations. The programming behind Scratch focuses on building blocks, like Legos, to get kids not only friendly, but adept at the technology that dominates our world. Each user can create a project, whether it be a video or a video game, and upload it to share on the Scratch website. Scratch currently exceeds more than 400,000 projects, all licensed CC BY-SA, allowing any youth to flex her creative muscles and enhance a peer’s project by remixing it with her own.

The School Library Journal wrote up an excellent article about them last week, emphasizing that “Literacy in the 21st century encompasses the full range of skills needed to engage in our global society—computer, information technology, media, and information literacy skills.” The SLJ reports that Scratch is now being tested in libraries in the Minneapolis area, “to determine if the workshops and classes for young people are replicable and sustainable for a range of libraries.” Unsurprisingly, library staff are finding that kids quickly learn the program on their own, and are guided more by their own intuitions than an “expert’s” instruction.

I decided to try out Scratch myself, and found some cool projects along the way. One project by “cougars” is a photo animation of a human skateboard. Another is a video game simulation of the Buggers war from Ender’s Game by PetertheGeek. (How cool is that?)

What’s more, the Scratch program is global, available in more than 40 languages, and the code itself is free for anyone to copy, publish, or distribute.

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Runes of Gallidon, CC-Licensed Online Fantasy World, Launches Public Beta

Cameron Parkins, January 26th, 2009

the-hunt_0
The Hunt, Andy Underwood/Runes of Gallidon | CC BY-NC-SA

Runes of Gallidon is a “user-generated online fantasy world of swords, magic, adventure and mystery” that just launched in public beta. Distinguishing Runes of Gallidon from other virtual worlds is the decision to license all the content in the ROG universe under a CC BY-NC-SA license. Any work that the community creates is kept free and open for the rest of the community to use and build upon, a choice that allows the plot lines and characters of Runes of Gallidon to evolve naturally and legally.

While the ROG universe evolves through user-submitted content, Brain Candy, LLC (the group behind Runes of Gallidon) will be doing legwork to turn Rules of Gallidon into a source of potential revenue, namely in film/TV and merchandise will be marketing the website to help audiences find the creative community’s Gallidon works (content creators have the ability to shop their ideas to interested parties as well). The monetary gains from these endeavors will be split between community and Brain Candy in two distinct ways:

If Brain Candy, LLC, prints your story in a book, prints a poster, a T-shirt, etc. and makes any money directly from your Work, you receive 50% of the money. If you sell your Work set in Runes of Gallidon (a published book, album cover art, posters, etc.), we ask that you contribute to Brain Candy, LLC 10% of the money you receive.

That is the basic formula: each Artisan owns the Work they create, but the world of Runes of Gallidon and everything in it is shared by the entire Gallidon creative community.

This is a unique implementation to our CC+ protocol and a fresh approach to crafting an online fantasy world. By using CC licenses, the group behind Runes of Gallidon have created a hybrid-economy where the sharing of content (enabled by CC licenses) is monetized based on an additional set of legal guidelines, in turn encouraging growth through legal protection and an opportunity for monetary gain.

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Games for the Brain

Cameron Parkins, November 14th, 2008

Games for the Brain is a fun site that features a number of memory, quiz, and brain games all released under a CC BY-NC-SA license. A number of the games are embeddable, making them easily available for sharing while others reuse previously CC-licensed material. Whether it is an online destination to pass time, procrastinate, or hone your mental skills, Games for the Brain is a nice and simple addition to the growing landscape of CC-licensed content.

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The Free Culture Game

Cameron Parkins, September 26th, 2008

The Free Culture Game, created by Molleindustria, is a flashed based abstract art piece that attempts to articulate the interplay between the commons and culture at large. Released under a CC BY-NC-SA license, we heard about it first on our community lists, but it has since been getting some nice traction elsewhere on the blogosphere. From Rhizome:

Italian artists Molleindustria promise “radical games against the dictatorship of entertainment,” and their latest effort may be their most direct statement against the pleasure industry to date. Touted as “playable theory,” the Free Culture Game offers a ludic metaphor for the battle between copyright encroachments and the free exchange of knowledge, ideas and art.

A circular field represents The Common, where knowledge can be freely shared and created; your job is to maintain a healthy ecology of yellow idea-bubbles bouncing from person to person before they can be sucked into the dark outer ring representing the forces of The Market. Your cursor, shaped like the Creative Commons logo, pushes the ideas around with a sort of reverse-magnetic repulsion field (a clever alternative to the typical shooting, eating or jumping-on-top-of-and-smooshing actions of many other 2-D games). People who absorb free, round ideas stay green and happy, while those who only consume square market-produced ones become grey and inverted.

The game never really ends: you can only do better or worse, suggesting by analogy that the fight for free culture will be an ongoing struggle without end.

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Castle Crashers Soundtrack Released Under CC License

Cameron Parkins, September 22nd, 2008

Castle Crashers, an action/RPG video game, was released a few weeks ago on the XBox Live Arcade service and has been receiving rave reviews for its gameplay, graphics, and sound design. Of note to the CC-community is that the soundtrack has been released online for free under a CC BY-NC-SA license, meaning that fans of the game can now freely enjoy the excellent soundtrack outside of their consoles.

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