Open Racer: The Free Software Tux Racer Derivative

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About Open Racer: The Story Thus Far

Tux Racer, originally a GPL penguin-sliding-down-the-ski-slope game by Jasmin Patry, is one of my all-time favorite games. Being the larval hacker that I am, when I first started playing the game back in May of 2001, I couldn't resist tweaking the code and 'customizing' my personal version to wow friends. I have consistently played tux racer almost every day, I enjoy it so much.

Since I had already made myself at least slightly familiar with the Tux Racer code, I immediately thought of it when I decided to start work on a generic extreme racing sports engine. My idea was to take the Tux Racer source and turn it into an engine that could be used to make many types of games, from snowboarding to mountain biking to skateboarding and rollerblading. I greatly admired the physics model in Tux Racer, the outstanding 2d heightmap system, and the already-modular TCL model files.

However, I didn't start working on this engine when I wanted to. I noticed that Sunspire Studios, who work on Tux Racer, was working toward a 1.0 release, which will have many many more features than the currently(at the time of writing) available 0.6.1 release. So I waited for several weeks until I couldn't stand it any more. I then wrote a short message to Sunspire. After several emails back and forth, I found out that Tux Racer 1.0 will be closed source. However, Sunspire fully supports the idea of continuing the GPL version provided that we do not directly compete with Tux Racer.

As far as my gaming engine goes, both Jasmin Patry (Tux Racer author) and Steve Baker (PLIB author) have convinced me to use PLIB as the basis for my gaming engine rather than the Tux Racer source. However, in the meantime, I've decided to make a compromise instead. I'll use what I can from the Tux Racer source to make my engine. That way I don't have to work on two things at the same time. This means that the first job is to port Tux Racer to PLIB, which is happening now. This won't be a quick job, so you probably won't see any unique code releases for a while. However, we have made a lot of progress in the media files, so we have a datafile replacement available from the downloads and multimedia hacking pages.

Please note, that this project is proceeding with full approval from Sunspire, as it will be a project based upon the Tux Racer source, but not directly competing with Tux Racer.

I am open to and am looking for ideas to go with for the Tux Racer source and would greatly appreciate any feedback people give me

--J. Nathan Matias

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