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Everything posted by MrFlibble

  1. MrFlibble

    The Ultimate Free-to-Play PC Games List

    Some days ago I stumbled upon this little game called The Fertile Crescent. It's clearly inspired by the Age of Empires but gives some clever twists to the mechanics. While still being in development it's very playable already, singleplayer on a random map and multiplayer as well. The pixel art is also quite admirable I should say.
  2. MrFlibble

    C&C Remasters - FMVs

    I have mixed feelings about this. The neural upscale certainly did a great job, but the Allied cutscene shown in the reveal made a slightly odd impression on me. As if the upscale somehow made the live action part look less professional and more of a homemade VHS tape. The actors seem to stand out more against the digitized background compared to the low-res originals (maybe some sharpening was involved during upscale), and generally I got the feeling almost as if you're looking at raw footage that has not been processed yet, and not the final product. Also some parts of the frames appear blurry in the upscale, e.g. in certain frames Von Esling's eyes look very blurry. If this is not my imagination overall, perhaps the upscaled videos may yet be improved with some post-processing while staying true to the originals.
  3. Just as the title suggests, this is an attempt to list free games that very closely follow a well-known product or franchise and can thus serve as an alternative to that particular game. What I have not included on the list are multiplayer-only games, browser-based games, and all kinds of free-to-play and "freemium" online products. I have also tried not to include projects that make use of original assets like graphics and sounds (unless authorized by original copyright holders, as is the case of T2002), so games like Gods Deluxe or Return of the Triad are not on the list. Any further suggestions as to what games qualify as free alternatives are more than welcome 1. Free content replacement for original engine/engine recreation Battle Isle 2200 o Advanced Strategic Command Doom o Freedoom (Doom engine) Duke Nukem o Dave Gnukem [download] The Great Giana Sisters o OpenGGS Half-Life o Black Mesa (Source) Heretic o Blasphemer (Doom engine) Hexen: Beyond Heretic o Zauberer (Doom engine) M.A.X.: Mechanized Assault & Exploration o Mechanized Assault & eXploration Reloaded Panzer General II o OpenGeneral Quake o Open Quartz (QuakeForge, DarkPlaces) o OpenQuartz 2 (DarkPlaces) o OQPlus (QuakeForge, DarkPlaces) [SVN] Quake III: Arena o OpenArena (Quake III engine) o World of Padman (Quake III engine) RPGMaker o EasyRPG Total Annihilation o Zero-K (Spring RTS Engine) Transport Tycoon Deluxe o OpenTTD Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness o Aleona's Tales (Stratagus) X-COM: Enemy Unknown o UFO2000 2. Freeware clones A-Train o FreeTrain Carrier Command o Thunder&Lightning Chip's Challenge o Tile World Crayon Physics o Numpty Physics Crimsonland o Violetland Dungeon Keeper o Dungeon Digger o OpenDungeons Elasto Mania o X-Moto Elite o Galaxias o Oolite Escape Velocity o NAEV Guitar Hero o Frets on Fire Herzog Zwei o Herzog 3D Lemmings o Lix o Pingus Lode Runner o SDL Scavenger Master of Magic o Continents [download] Microsoft Flight Simulator o FlightGear Minecraft o Manic Digger o Minetest OutRun o RunOut Paratrooper o Dragon Fire Planet Defender o Planetary Defense Railroad Tycoon o FreeRails o FreeRails II o Railz2 Rescue! o Rescue! Max RPGMaker o Advanced RPG Maker o Mokoi Gaming o Open Legends o Open RPG Maker o Sphere RPG Engine Robot Odyssey o DroidQuest o Gate Scorched Earth o Atomic Tanks Secret Agent o Special Agent Sentinel o Sentry The Settlers II: Veni, Vidi, Vici o Widelands Sid Meier's Civilization II o Freeciv Sid Meier's Colonization o FreeCol SimCity o Lincity o Lincity NG o Micropolis Stars! o Stars! Nova Stunts o Ultimate Stunts Super Mario Bros. o Giana Worlds [download] o Giant Sisters o Secret Maryo Chronicles o SuperTux Super Mario Kart o SuperTuxKart Total Annihilation o Robotic War Transport Tycoon Deluxe o Simutrans Turrican o T2002 Warlords o Hostile Takeover Warlords II o FreeLords o LordsAWar! Wing Commander o Flight Commander Wing Commander: Privateer o Vega Strike Worms o Hedgewars o WarMUX 3. Free games inspired by classic titles (not exact remakes) Age of Empires o 0 A.D. Anno series o Unknown Horizons Battle Isle 2200 o Crimson Fields Battlefield series, Call of Duty series o Blacklight: Retribution Bos Wars, Command & Conquer: Red Alert o Commander Stalin BoulderDash, Emerald Mine, Supaplex, Sokoban o Rocks'n'Diamonds Castle of the Winds, Ancient Domains of Mystery o Fame Castlevania series o Return of Egypt Celtic Legends, Heroes of Might and Magic, Civilization o Legendary Legions Command & Conquer series o Annex: Conquer the World o Dark Konflict Dark Colony o Dark Hive Descent o Sublevel Zero (prototype) [download] Diablo o Fire & Dragons o Flare o FreedroidRPG o Gates of Destiny o Summoning Wars Doom o Harmony Doom, Quake etc. o Cube o Cube 2: Sauerbraten Dune II o Arrakis Earthworm Jim o Kapitan Binarny Empire Deluxe o GEMpire Fleet Command, Harpoon o Global Conflict Blue Frontier: Elite II o Pioneer Gradius, Castlevania, R-Type o Hydorah Grand Prix Legends o Dolphinity Racer Grand Theft Auto series o Crimelife o Crimelife 2 o Crimelife III Gun o Guns and Spurs Half-Life: Counterstrike o AssaultCube o Assault Cube Reloaded o Urban Terror Heroes of Might and Magic series o Knights of War KKnD, StarCraft o Bos Wars Lost Vikings o Lost Snowmen Master of Magic o Leylines Master of Orion o FreeOrion Natural Selection o Tremulous o Unvanquished Oxyd, Rock'n'Roll o Enigma Populous o Reprisal Puzzle Bobble o Frozen Bubble o Hex Bubbles o Zorx Quake III: Arena, Unreal Tournament o Alien Arena o Arena of Honour o Nexuiz Classic o Red Eclipse o Warsow o Xonotic R-Type o GazerStar Scorched Earth o Scorched3D Sid Meier's Civilization II o C-evo o Conquests SimCity o City of Rauma o Kylavanem o OpenCity Star Wars: TIE Fighter, Descent: Freespace o Space Combat StarCraft o Priority: Survive Solar Fox o Solar Wolf Super Monkey Ball o Neverball Turrican series o Hurrican Ultima series o The Kingdom of Syree o Nazghul o Untima IX: Descension o Zorak: The Mountain of Terror Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness o Dark Oberon o Wyrmsun Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos o Glest o MegaGlest Warsong, Master of Monsters o The Battle for Wesnoth Warlords II o The Wargame Project Wizardry VII o Escape From The Maze o LostHero - Story of Gilgamesh X-COM: Enemy Unknown o Project Xenocide o UFO: Alien Invasion o X-Force: Fight for Destiny 4. Board game implementations Diplomacy o Ludus Regius Risk o JavaRisk o NetRisk o OpenFracas o yura.net Domination Space Hulk o Alien Assault Titan o Colossus
  4. So I've been scouring old magazine coverdisks for promo screenshots and found these: You've certainly seen them all but these are in lossless, presumably original quality. I'm not sure if they are available like this before so posting here. The coverdisk they were found (originally in BMP format dated 13 April 1998) is for the Slovak magazine Riki issue No. 31 (CD 9), available here.
  5. The game data still has an almost complete set of voxel versions of Tiberian Dawn vehicles. I believe they might have been made either for testing purposes or during a very early stage of development as valid TS units. Either way, only the Mammoth and the Flame Tank make any appearance in the final game missions (both used by the mutant faction IIRC), and the Mammoth can also randomly spawn as an Easter egg unit from crates in skirmish/multiplayer. I have no idea if Nod was supposed to get Mammoths as some kind of tech tree reversal compared to TD (i.e. GDI gets futuristic stuff like mech walkers and hovercraft while Nod has to stick with previous generation hardware) or this was just a promo shot thrown together with no real tech tree philosophy behind.
  6. MrFlibble

    Original Stomp

    A version of Stomp was available from Westwood's FTP site, and you can still get it from the Bachsau mirror.
  7. I've been increasingly interested in the possibilities of scaling up video game graphics using neural networks recently, and after a relatively brief but overall productive stint with waifu2x I realised its limitations and tried out ESRGAN. While this network, like many others of this kind, is intended to process photographic images and not video gamer graphics, a model was trained by one of the users that is quite suitable for art. Without going into much detail, I scaled up three official screenshots from Command & Conquer, The Covert Operations and Red Alert, then downsized them to 640x480 and converted to the respective original palettes: Note that this was done purely for fun/out of curiosity, but the results are pretty interesting!
  8. I tried some new models from the list I found here, with some interesting results (same images): This is from an interpolation of Fatality and Rebout models (alpha = 0.5) which is then interpolated (again at 0.5) with DeToon.
  9. Thanks! Here's a few more made with the same method:
  10. In the meantime, someone made a whole bunch of new models that are significant improvement upon the original Manga109Attempt. I tested them a bit and that guy's own Manga109 version can produce vastly superior results (haven't bothered converting them to original palettes this time): This is possibly the best results I got so far with C&C images. I used only a little pre-processing on each image: use Scaler Test to resize the original image to 4x with xBRZ scaler (don't forget to uncheck the display scaler name option) load the scaled image in GIMP, apply Gaussian blur at 1 pixel radius, scale down to original size using Sinc interpolation (or, apply Gaussian at 1.5 pixels and use Bicubic) For the model, I used an interpolation of mymanga109_250000 from the site I linked to above with RRDB_ESRGAN_x4 from the default ESRGAN package. In net_interp.py, find and change code to: net_PSNR_path = './models/RRDB_ESRGAN_x4.pth' net_ESRGAN_path = './models/mymanga109_250000.pth'
  11. MrFlibble

    First C&C Remastered Renders Published

    Actually I just remembered that there is a wealth of official renders that may be used for reference, and this scan from the strategy guide gives a good idea of what the ConYard originally looked like: The "remastered" version shown is quite different from this one! I was kind of expecting the same approach to in-game sprites as in StarCraft Remastered, in fact aren't the graphics made by the same team?
  12. MrFlibble

    First C&C Remastered Renders Published

    I have to point out that they took a lot of liberties with the shape of the Construction Yard. I cannot tell for certain that the original sprite was used for reference without adjustment for correct aspect ratio, but at any rate the shape of the outer walls is noticeably different: in the original game they are not parallel to the roof but fan out to the front. Here's the correct sprite (sans the Nod logo, this is from a pre-release screenshot but otherwise faithful to the final game): The outer walls are also not flat, they actually slope a bit, which is noticeable both on the sprite itself and in the MCV deployment cinematic.
  13. Actually I like how the sand and rock textures came out grainy, they're too smoothed in the original Manga image (which I also had to apply surface blur to to get rid of the faux JPEG compression artifacts it created because the model was trained on JPEG images). Also if you look closely at the Hummvees, at least you can see their mounted guns in the second image, which are almost indiscernible blobs in the Manga one.
  14. Actually I just tried a different network from the same developers as ESRGAN, SFTGAN. Unlike ESRGAN, this one does not scale up the image itself, rather, it processes input scaled by other methods to recover texture detail. So I fed it some waifu2x images, and the results seem quite more suited to C&C screenshots: The images got sharper but also feel more jaggy though. I think this could produce possibly better results with renders as well.
  15. Market-wise, competition with Steam is theoretically a good thing, but absolutely no idea how this plays out in practice. As for giving out free games, giveaways still happen pretty regularly as far as I can tell, but the more this happens the more I am just like "what's this game, never heard of it, I don't need it anyway". But that's just me, I'm not keen on many modern titles.
  16. Oh cool, I didn't know about this category That's what buggers me a bit. The original game is internally consistent yet frozen in its time so to speak. Whereas of the remaster, I cannot tell how it will turn out in after all of course but somehow I cannot bring myself to not think of it as a "new" game. Whatever the developers do there will probably be a huge overhaul of the graphics at any rate because the DOS 320x200 stuff cannot look good by simply redrawing it at a larger scale, because the models have very scant detail (luckily there are high-res renders for almost anything for the artists' reference), unlike StarCraft's art which is still pretty detailed even though it may be considered "low-res" by today's standards. I'm somewhat concerned that if the developers take a conservative route with only bringing the visuals and sound to higher quality and resolution, that would inadvertently serve to highlight how dated the game itself is (don't get me wrong here, Command & Conquer the first game is my favourite). Possibly it's just me but makes me think in the direction I tried to describe above. There's also the context. C&C came out in 1995 when it was one of the pioneers of a budding new genre, built on the foundation that was laid out by Dune 2. There was a logic to its coming into existence, and the authors also managed to nail the Zetigeist of that era so to speak. But today the remasters seem to have been announced mostly because it's a trend, everyone else is doing this, so why not these games too? And unlike StarCraft which has few rivals in terms of popularity to this day, it seems that C&C and RA have become somewhat of a niche. I mean, even among those who play and love both (or either) game(s), how many would really like to see the recreations follow the closed-up view of the DOS versions? I'm almost certain many are used to the Windows 640x400 look of these titles, not the original DOS look of C&C. And even that aside, there's a balance to be kept between appealing to the "old-timers" who remember the original game, and everyone else, if they would care at all (your replies above appear pretty sceptical of this).
  17. Maybe I worded this wrong, I meant to say that back in 1995 when you got C&C and installed it, there was a framing story that the "game" is actually advanced military software that allows you to command real-life troops in a real life conflict that was happening right now, with you, the player, having been recruited by either side of the conflict to command their forces. This was supported not only by the internal consistency and narrative of the game but also by the fact that it depicted a world that was very little different from the real world of 1995. The TV and news clips, maps and other stuff are all there to support this immersion. However it's over 20 years since then and the world has changed in many ways, as a result detaching this aspect of the game's story. I mean, I don't know about you or others, but whatever the remastered version turns out to be I probably won't bring up a level of suspension of disbelief to maintain this immersion that was intended by the original developers back in 1995. I mean to say that there's no way around the fact that the original Command & Conquer depicts a very close future, but that "future" has now become "past". The remaster may or may not emphasise this fact, but this, shall we say, discrepancy will exist because the remaster will be a new, modern title (by which I simply mean its time of release, not any implied design particularities). So do we imagine that the player of the remaster is the commander, or that the commander is a fictional character from the fictional 1995-and-beyond timeline? If I were working on the remaster I'd at least ponder the ways of playing around with this. To conclude and avoid further misunderstandings I'd like to emphasise once more that nothing I said above concerns making the game more accessible to "modern audience" as in "players unfamiliar with classic RTS games". I never intended to suggest anything like that, sorry if my wording was misleading.
  18. Here's a thing I thought concerning the remaster of Command & Conquer (reposting from another forum). Originally, C&C envisioned a modern conflict, implied to be happening "twenty minutes into the future", and it is actually one of the central themes around which the entire setting of the game is built. For example, EVA is not simply a fancy name for the user interface, it is supposed to be military software used for remote battlefield command from a personal computer, with the player being invited to be that commander by installing the game. This is drastically different from all the other games in the series that take place in time frames outside from the present, and the commander person is accordingly a fictional character whose role the player assumes but does not necessarily identify with (TS ditched the player commander convention entirely, only to bring it back in Firestorm). I believe that great care must be taken to preserve this unique atmosphere of the first game in a proper remaster, something from which the Windows 95 Gold edition unfortunately started to deviate (for example, the high-res menu fonts no longer match the green EVA font used in the FMVs like shown above). The thing is, Command & Conquer has become "retrofuturistic" with the passage of time. For example, the intro sequence with switching TV channels before tuning into the GDI/Nod transmissions makes a lot less sense today than it did in 1995, especially to the younger audiences. Of course it can be accurately preserved, but then again it could be reimagined in a modern way (e.g. by imitating web browsing instead of watching TV). There's no immediate answer to which is the right approach, but it highlights the fact that updating a game like C&C for a modern audience and tech goes beyond simply redrawing graphics in higher resolution and adding interface improvements. My personal opinion is that leaving everything as it is would be a sloppy job. This leaves two viable options, either update the setting to a modern one (2018 instead of 1995), or emphasise the fact that it's 1995 while sacrificing the "twenty minutes into the future" feel and making the result a true piece of retrofuturistic fiction. Either way it would require some creative talent to pull off properly I guess.
  19. Hope they'll aim to recreate the scale of the original DOS version, not how the graphics ended up in the Win95 hi-res mode, and that they won't forget to keep the aspect ratio issue in mind: At any rate, it's probably going to be a bit more complex than with StarCraft's graphics, but I do hope they'll be showing the WIP stages and consult with the community as the Reddit post suggested.
  20. These games are permanently free at GOG.com (and Steam if available), and for a considerable period of time already. Also the Steam release of Shadow Warrior includes several pre-release version of the game, some very different from the final product.
  21. MrFlibble

    The Ultimate Free-to-Play PC Games List

    Dunno if you guys dig retro 2.5D FPS games, but recently the Ultimate Doom Total Conversion called REKKR was released. It requires either the Ultimate Doom or Freedoom Phase 1 IWAD to play, and any source port will do as it's fully vanilla-compatible. There's also a stand-alone IWAD version which you can get from here. Set in a fantasy world inspired by Norse and Celtic mythology and mediaeval history, REKKR will probably evoke thoughts of Heretic and maybe Witchaven but in fact it's a completely stand-alone project with its own take on level design as well as weapon and monster balance. Also here's a rather extensive review that highlights the main features of the game.
  22. MrFlibble

    What's the first game you really loved?

    It's either Prince of Persia (DOS) or Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, my memory is a bit fuzzy on which of these I learned about first, probably PoP still but I love both :)
  23. I just found a preview of the game which was originally published by the UK online magazine Game-Over! It includes several pre-release shots of the game in good quality, including the elusive image with the NATO logo on the sidebar: http://web.archive.org/web/19970117164151/http://www.game-over.co.uk:80/wip2/game-w.htm
  24. Oh, that's relatively simple, I search for them. Once I realised the potential of the Wayback Machine (which was a few years ago), I started digging what I could find. Once you discover a site or two (I was looking for shareware games, the links were in the supplied documentation), eventually you come across more links to other sites. Many game developers or publishers were glad to post links to positive reviews on their games' pages, gaming websites had links sections with links to more sites (many not preserved at all sadly) etc. etc. Also some people still keep knowledge of such sites, and searching Google Groups helps too. That said, most of the stuff I've posted here are very certainly chance findings I made while looking for something else altogether
  25. Yesterday I was randomly browsing archive copies of a Russian online/electronic gaming mag called PC Review, and they have two interesting shots of Red Alert in a guide/walkthrough for the game: Apparently these are screenshots from a working pre-release version of the game, with the main noticeable difference being the sidebar design which is very similar to that from C&C. I don't think I've ever encountered such screenshots before. The shots seem to show actual gameplay, no mock-ups. No idea if a pre-release version was sent out to reviewers or leaked, or any other way these images could have become public. Maybe via a trade show like E3?