Red Eclipse

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Red Eclipse is a multi-platform, free, and open source first-person arena shooter that runs on a somewhat modified Cube Engine 2. The game is centered on multiplayer based action, but can also be played offline against bots.[1]

Gameplay

Red Eclipse screenshot (Elara 1.4.1)

Red Eclipse is a multiplayer first-person arena shooter with a style of play comparable Quake III Arena or Unreal Tournament,[2][3] though the lead developer claims it was intended as a subversion of common mechanics in the arena FPS subgenre.[4]

The game consists of a variety of modes, which can be extended with any of fourteen "mutators". For example, the "Deathmatch" mode can be used in conjunction with the "Instagib" and/or "Survivor" mutators, changing how the game is played. This allows players to experience more flexibility and variety when playing the same mode. There are also seven mode-exclusive mutators, which can only be played in certain modes.

Aside from the more traditional modes of its genre - among them "Deathmatch", "Capture the Flag", and "Defend and Control" (akin to King of the Hill), Red Eclipse offers two more modes of play. "Bomber-Ball" pits two teams against one another with the objective of throwing the bomb into the enemy team's "goal" before it explodes, and "Race", in which players race through a map to compete for the best times or number of laps.

Bots are also available for all modes and mutators when teams are short of human players, as well as for offline practice matches.

Red Eclipse's weapon arsenal consists of a pistol, sword, shotgun, submachine gun, flamethrower, plasma gun, zapper, rifle, grenade, mine and rocket launcher,[5] each with primary and alternate methods of attack. Weapons also have variables that can be changed on a server level that alter to change their behavior, such as particle size, accuracy, the reload and fire rates, and damage. Players with the correct level of access can modify these on-the-fly during a game to change the gameplay experience.

Red Eclipse also has some support for Sauerbraten maps, allowing players to play various Sauerbraten maps. However, due to Sauerbraten not having the same movement and game mechanics and weapons, the maps often don't play too well in Red Eclipse.

Movement and physics

The game's "Impulse" and parkour systems allow the player a variety of ways to move about a level via wall-kicking, wall-running, dashing on the ground and mid-air, and double-jumping.[2] Similarly to the weapon variables, there is also a list of environmental variables, allowing players to easily create their own unofficial modes. Variables pertaining to physics, such as jump height or distance, movement speed, and gravity.

Game modes and mutators

Red Eclipse has six different game modes excluding the in-game editor and demo: Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Defend and Control, Bomber-ball and Race.

By default, the game is on team play. In addition to the game modes, there are mutators which extend the game modes with many possibilities, for instance Coop or All vs. All. Furthermore, Red Eclipse's individual modes could have multiple "mutators" enabled or disabled to extend the mode, such as having Capture the Flag with the Instagib, Teamplay, and jetpack mutators, which enables one-shot-one-kill styled gameplay, and players to fly around.

Development

Red Eclipse started as derivative of the Cube 2: Sauerbraten game engine[2][3] around 2007 under the name Blood Frontier.[6] Early pre-releases emerged around 2009.[7][8]

When the Blood Frontier development ended,[9] the project was continued under the name Red Eclipse in Spring 2010.[10] Red Eclipse's version 1.0 was released on the 15th of March, 2011.[11] In 2014 Debian decided to consider Red Eclipse fully Free Software and included it in their repository.[12] This was after a years long discussions if Red Eclipse's freely licensed art content (e.g. Blender renderings) without sources can be considered "free" according to their DFSG.[13]

In May 2015 the game's source code was migrated to Github from a Sourceforge repository.[14][15]

The game is developed by the game's community following the open-source model with the source code available under the permissive zlib License, and the game data assets mainly available under the copyleft CC-BY-SA-3.0.[16]

Map editor

Red Eclipse uses the Cube 2 engine's map editor, which allows for maps to be easily made in-game

Red Eclipse retains the Cube 2 engine's built-in map editor,[17] in which the player can to fly around the game world manipulating and deforming volumes referred to as cubes. This, as well as weapon and other entity placement is achieved in real-time, and can be done cooperatively online with other players as well. AI "waypoints" can also be generated dynamically as the map is played. Lighting is accomplished through precomputed lightmaps. Each cube-shaped node in the octree represents a renderable volume, simply referred to as a cube. Each edge of this cube can be lengthened or shortened to deform the cube into a variety of other shapes. Corners of cubes can also be "pushed" or "pulled" to create crude curves.

The what you see is what you get realtime editing ability enables level designers to add a plethora of detail to maps, while reducing the time spent on actual creation. This is in contrast to the traditional modern polygon soup 3D engines which take a model generated as an essentially random batch of triangles from an external modelling program, and attempt to spatially subdivide the model's triangles after the fact by splitting them to fit into tree structures, such as a BSP tree or even an octree, that require costly pre-processing to render.

Technical details

An example of a primitive cube subdivision provided by Cube 2 engine

Red Eclipse utilizes the Cube 2 engine, which uses a 6-directional heightfield (or octree) world model. An octree in Red Eclipse is a cube that can be split into eight smaller cubes that can then be done the same to. This allows for complex level geometry and easier editing which can be accomplished through the game's built in editor.

Rendering engine

The original Cube engine's rendering engine assumed that overdraw (where polygons that do not appear in the final scene are occluded via the z-buffer) was more processor-intensive than sending new streams of triangles to the graphics processing every frame, which limited its performance on more modern hardware where memory bandwidth is a greater limiting factor. Instead, Red Eclipse uses the rendering engine in Cube 2, which is designed around modern graphics processing units, which perform best with huge batches of geometry already stored in video memory. Lighting is precomputed into lightmaps—image files that correspond to geometry as textures—for efficient batching, with an additional stored directional component, that allows for efficient shader-based lighting effects.

Reception and impact

Early pre-releases of Red Eclipse, then under the name Blood Frontier, were reviewed by Phoronix and the Hungarian Gamestar website in 2009.[7][8] Red Eclipse's version 1.0 release on end of 2011 was noted by several gaming news outlets.[11][3] In 2012 C't and derStandard.at reviewed Red Eclipse 1.3 and noted positively two new modes, "King-of-the-hill" and "Coop".[18][19] In October 2013 Red Eclipse was favourably reviewed by German computer magazine Chip.de.[20]

Red Eclipse was included by several digital distribution providers: itch.io,[21] Desura[22] and several linux distributions' repositories (Debian,[12] Ubuntu etc.)[23]

In 2013 Red Eclipse was used by researchers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Microsoft Research for the creation of IllumiRoom, a augmented television screen with projectors project.[24][25] The researchers noted in their IllumiRoom paper for the CHI 2013 that the access to Red Eclipse's source code made a "rich, interactive experience" possible.[26]

See also

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References

  1. Lewis Denby (March 31, 2011). "March's best free PC games". pcgamer.com. PC Gamer. http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/03/31/marchs-best-free-pc-games/. Retrieved Nov 28, 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Michael Brune (January 24, 2012). "Red Eclipse - An open source fast-paced classic shooter". indiegamereviewer.com. Indie Game Reviewer. http://www.indiegamereviewer.com/red-eclipse-an-open-source-fast-paced-classic-shooter/. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mike Schramm (March 18, 2011). "Free, open source FPS 'Red Eclipse' hits version 1.0". joystiq.com. Joystiq. http://www.joystiq.com/2011/03/18/free-open-source-fps-red-eclipse-hits-version-1-0/. Retrieved April 17, 2011. "Red Eclipse is a full-featured, Quake 3 Arena-style first person shooter with [...] some nice touches, including a wallrunning system, lots of bright colors exploding around and what looks like pretty good ragdoll physics." 
  4. Reeves, Quinton (2011-09-09). "Re: Xonotic vs Red Eclipse". http://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=72&t=1955&p=19659#p19659. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  5. "Weapons - Red Eclipse Wiki". http://redeclipse.net/wiki/Weapons. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  6. bloodfrontier.com in the Internet Archive (2007)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Blood Frontier: The Latest Open-Source FPS by Michael Larabel on phoronix.com (1 February 2009)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Blood Frontier: ingyenesen letölthető! on Gamestar (in Hungarian, December 2009)
  9. bloodfrontier.com in the Internet Archive (2011)
  10. Red Eclipse on quadropolis.us "This is a continuation of the now-terminated Blood Frontier project."
  11. 11.0 11.1 Red Eclipse, An Open Source FPS on Rock, Paper, Shotgun by Jim Rossignol (March 20, 2011)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Debian Project News - September 29, 2014 on list.debian.org "* redeclipse — multiplayer FPS game based on Cube2 [146]" (September 29, 2014)
  13. Red Eclipse now in Debian main on redeclipse.net (August 15, 2014)
  14. Red Eclipse on sourceforge.net
  15. Red Eclipse on github.com
  16. Red Eclipse Team (January 24, 2012). "Red Eclipse license". sourceforge.net. Red Eclipse Team. http://redeclipse.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/redeclipse/license.txt?view=markup. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  17. Julian Horsey (March 18, 2011). "Red Eclipse Version 1.0 Open Source FPS Game Released (video)". geeky-gadgets.com. Geeky Gadgets. http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/red-eclipse-version-1-0-open-source-fps-game-released-18-03-2011/. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  18. Red Eclipse: Neue Version des Open-Source-Shooters on Heise.de by Liane M. Dubowy (11.09.2012)
  19. Open-Source-Shooter "Red Eclipse" in neuer Version on derStandard.at (September 3, 2012)
  20. Red Eclipse for Windows "Die CHIP Redaktion sagt: "Red Eclipse" ist ein kostenloser Open-Source-Ego-Shooter, der durch viele Maps und eine rasante Spielmechanik punktet." on Chip.de (in German, October 2013)
  21. red-eclipse on itch.io
  22. free-red-eclipse-published-on-desura on desura.com (2011)
  23. redeclipse on apps.ubuntu.com
  24. Tom Warren (29 April 2013). "Microsoft IllumiRoom is a coffee table projector designed for the next-generation Xbox". The Verge. Vox Media. http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/29/4281228/microsoft-illumiroom-table-projector-for-next-xbox. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  25. Jones, Brett R; Benko, Hrvoje; Ofek, Eyal; Wilson, Andrew D (2013). IllumiRoom: Peripheral Projected Illusions for Interactive Experiences. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/illumiroom/IllumiRoom_CHI2013_BJones.pdf. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  26. IllumiRoom_CHI2013 by Microsoft Research "The majority of the illusions were paired with an open-source first-person shooter (Red Eclipse). This created a rich, interactive experience, enabled by access to source code." (accessed May 2016)

External links