Anarch (1.0 release)

Anarch (1.0 release)

Postby drummyfish » 21 Nov 2020, 11:11


I am releasing version 1.0 of my suckless game Anarch which I've been working on on evenings for one to two years.


trailer on Peertube: ... 578ffa8dcb

I highly recommend compiling the SDL version and playing with mouse and in fullscreen (-f).

PC controls:

  • arrows, numpad, [W] [S] [A] [D] [Q] [R]: movement
  • mouse: rotation, [LMB] shoot, [RMB] toggle free look, wheel weapon change
  • [SPACE]: jump
  • [J] [RETURN] [SHIFT]: game A button (confirm, shoot)
  • [K] [CTRL]: game B button (cancel, strafe, look)
  • [L] [P] [X] [Y] [Z]: change weapons
  • [TAB]: map
  • [ESCAPE]: menu

It's probably a little different from what you expect from a typical modern game as it is a little experimental and purposfully trying to do things differently. It looks like from early 90s and will seem shitty and backwards, but it's just aiming for different goals than wide popularity or making profit. It's not just a game but also a manifesto of some ideas I hold.

It is extremely small, completely public domain, no-dependency, doesn't require file I/O, very portable suckless anarcho-pacifist from-scratch 90s-style Doom clone that runs even with just 32 KB RAM and 40 MHz CPU, made for the benefit of all living beings. For more see the page at libregamewiki:

Game-wise Anarch offers:

  • oldschool "pseudo 3D" raycasting rendering in 256 colors
  • 10 levels, both interior and exterior, 16 wall textures
  • varying floor and ceiling heights, ability to jump
  • 6 weapons using 3 types of ammo
  • 7 types of enemies
  • optional primitive save/load system
  • bosses
  • optional mouse support
  • a few hidden secrets/easter eggs



play in browser:

Last edited by drummyfish on 21 Nov 2020, 11:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anarch (1.0 release)

Postby Julius » 21 Nov 2020, 11:36

I played it in the browser a bit just now. The labeling of the buttons in the browser is a bit confusing, as it doesn't correspond to the buttons (QE-WASD and J etc is actually used) only to realize after a while that it is supposed to be up down left right etc.

As for the game itself:

1. I dislike that the enemies don't move smoothly. Not sure what you are trying to achieve with this pseudo tile based movement, but since all the rest of the game doesn't use it, it very much looks out of place.
2. The (1st) level design just isn't very good. I ran around ending up again and again in the same places randomly trying to find the hidden spot where it would allow me to continue the game.
3. Doors don't look like doors at all (but rather like some hidden Easter egg entry) and why are they so low hight?

But overall my first impression was quite positive :) Do you consider it "done" now, or is it just a milestone for further improvements?
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Re: Anarch (1.0 release)

Postby drummyfish » 21 Nov 2020, 11:53

Thanks for playing it :) I just ran the browser version too on another computer and it's pretty slow here, will have to check that out, but the web is basically just for quick testing of the game. I highly recommend compiling the native SDL version, it's much better.

The reason for some of these things like jerky enemy movement is that it's not a PC exclusive game, it's a game independent of any platform that tries to run on very small platforms, like embedded, too. It actually started as a Pokitto game. So I had to restrict myself to big constraints (e.g. I can't store 2 32bit integer position coords for all monsters, that would take a lot of RAM). Consider the PC versions something like playing gameboy games in an emulator on PC.

This is basically done feature-wise, but of course improvements and polishing will be going on further. One of the ideas for this is to be just a basis game that others can fork and mod and make better. Someone could e.g. take the assets and redo the game in Doom engine for extra smooth gameplay.
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Re: Anarch (1.0 release)

Postby ffaf » 21 Nov 2020, 13:28

Played it! Nice retro raycast action. I am on level 2 and easy this game is not!
I would like to have the keymap mentioned in the gitrepo readme too (in case someone wants to play after having built it by themselves).

I am not the biggest fan of FPS shooters but I keep playing this, which means it is a good production. Contrary to Julius I enjoyed the level mapping (well I have only played two levels), sensible and cosy.
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Re: Anarch (1.0 release)

Postby onpon4 » Today, 06:57

I don't get the appeal personally.

Let me preface this (especially since you say you have AvPD, which we can relate to) by saying that what I'm going to say about this game is not meant to attack you. I understand you've worked hard on this game and believe in it. I very strongly disagree with your politics, but as a game developer, I can see that you are passionate, and I very much respect that. I think you should keep going with your passion, and try not to let sanist comments that you suggest you've heard before in your FAQ get to you.

That being said, this is easily the most plain and boring FPS I've ever played. Granted, I've never played Wolfenstein 3D, so I don't know how this compares to that. The earliest FPS I've played is Doom, which I like, though I think the original controls are not as good as the WASD / mouse layout of modern FPS games (which thankfully modern source ports of Doom like PrBoom++ support).

But objectively, I just don't find Anarch enjoyable. All I'm doing is running around at breakneck speed in a bunch of hallways that look the same shooting robots with a shotgun. Enemies often can shoot at you while they're still too far for you to see them, which feels like a case of "fake difficulty", and is very unfair. There's no strategy; just shoot any robots you find, and wander around until you accidentally find the exit point. It's easy to get lost; there's a minimap, but it's hard to read and doesn't indicate what direction you're facing. The view is so dark and the rooms so cramped that it's hard to see much of anything. The music and sound weren't appealing to my ears.

Basically this game feels more like a generic game that you've thrown together as your first game. Which, if that's what it is, you did a good job for a first game. But it could use some refinement. I was only able to make it to the third level, and on my second attempt, I didn't make it past even the second. Not so much because of difficulty, but because the game is so boring that playing it actually takes away spoons for me.

I also don't see how this game is a "manifesto" for your ideology. You talk about anarcho-pacifism on your website, but what does anarcho-pacifism have to do with going around shooting things with a gun? I saw no trace of a "manifesto" in this. You claim that the backstory is something about capitalism reaching its worst or something, but like, that's both not mentioned in-game and has no effect on the gameplay. Your politics seem to matter so little that I could insert any random political stance in it that accepts violence against robots, and there would be nothing objective in the game to prove that it doesn't support that stance.

Basically, this game was, in my view, nothing special. Like I said, if it was your first game, it's not bad. But it's not something that made me want to play.
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Re: Anarch (1.0 release)

Postby drummyfish » Today, 12:07

Thank you @onpon4, I am actually very glad you've seen and played this, I've been following your website and have always liked you. I don't take it personally and honestly I didn't expect any other reaction, this is all okay :) <3

I know the gameplay is kind of bad in competition of other similar games nowadays, but my goal wasn't to win in this area. Gameplay wasn't at the top of my priority list. For example, I am expecting a global technological and capitalist collapse soon after which we may end up with only very primitive computers, which without capitalism will be improving only extremely slowly: at that time the highest priority will be to create a C compiler, and once it's done, my game will be playable again, while all the uber Steam games of today will be lost forever.

That's just one "use case". Another is e.g. for me and others to be able to create completely public domain video game footage, which probably isn't possible otherwise, everything is copyrighted. I would like to e.g. create the first completely public domain game speedrun in the history of the Universe. I am planning to make public domain educational computer graphics animations for WM Commons using this game. Another possible use is for new embedded open consoles to be able to demonstrate their capabilities and use this game as a benchmark, showcase game, a test etc. -- these consoles are often too slow for Doom, and porting Doom is, unlike Anarch, non-trivial, not talking about Doom being proprietary. Another use is for education: let's say someone wants to learn 3D rendering programming and wants to do a small but USEFUL project -- they can take my game and try to create an OpenGL 3D renderer for it, without being discouraged by overwhelming complexity of a codebase like other games have.

As I say in the readme, the compiled game itself doesn't communicate much politics, and it's partly on purpose: I want people to be able to take it out or put in something else. I am actually considering making a children-friendly Christmas mod of this game where the story will be something about robots stealing the Christmas and you'll be shooting them with snow balls.

My philosophy and politics is in the project as a whole, for example refusing to be dependent on capitalist programming languages and platforms, expensive consumer hardware etc. It is public domain to express complete opposition to intellectual property laws, even in forms of permissive licensing. Another goal was to show that you can (and should) make a multiplatform game very easily: instead of making a game exclusively for Pokitto, I can simply make a game for an abstract interface without making many assumptions (such as having a GPU, having an HDD, having a floating point unit), and it will be able to run on Pokitto, but also on PC, on phones, in browsers, far in the future.

I would also be hoping that this might teach people that this isn't MY game. It's not like when it sucks, I am the only one who can fix or improve it because I either have rights to it OR I am the only one understanding the million lines of code. These are simple functions mostly in one file, anyone can make it a game they will like if they want.

If you're looking at this game as just a game and expecting it to be like games today, you WILL be disappointed.
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