Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Hythlodaeus » 20 Jul 2014, 02:21

I've recently noticed the freegamer newspost on the amazing ChuChu Rocket FLOSS remake Duck Marines. The game is nicely crafted and adds many niceties that weren't present in the original. The only issue I see is that it relies on art licensed under CC-BY-NC, which is technically non-free art.

Now, I frankly I believe this game has some serious potential for repo integration in major FLOSS-only GNU/Linux distros, and for that purpose having a nicely made free art pack for it is the only thing missing. So I think it would be worth to try to get some ideas on how to do it, and maybe get some pixel artists interested on the project. Here's a small roundup of ideas:


What we need:

- FLOSS music - current soundtrack is licensed under CC-BY-NC. Fortunately I know a group of amazing video game music composers who would be able to likely roll out some free-licensed tracks for this purpose
- FLOSS art - including characters sprites and anims, terrain tiles, and background elements. The game also has a few minigames which would require some special sprites too.

For some general ideas regarding the art itself:

- Retake the original cat/mouse theme from ChuChu Rocket. It's easier to relate with, and makes the game easier to play. All critter sprites in DuckMarines are ducks, which can make it a bit confusing.
- Rename the game to something to reflect the cat/mouse theme.
- Keep music in an 8-bit style
- For a non-art related suggestion, perhaps getting someone to code online multiplayer.



What do you guys think?
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Re: Creating a free art pack for Duck Marines

Postby beoran » 20 Jul 2014, 09:47

Nice idea, except that it's better not to get back to mice and cats, since that would make the game to much of a clone with perhaps some legal problems involved. And the game is named *Duck* Marines, so better keep some ducks in there. It could be ducks against, say, foxes or other animals if that makes the game more readable.

Now to actually do it. The motto for open source gaming is always "if you want it to happen for sure, do it yourself". so you wonk on this, I will work on my own game, like I have for the past 5 years (and probably will for 5-10 more before it's done). :)
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Re: Creating a free art pack for Duck Marines

Postby Hythlodaeus » 20 Jul 2014, 09:52

I'm not a 2D artist myself. I couldn't draw a sprite if it could save my life. This is why I'm proposing this as a community project. Otherwise I would've started it by myself.

And there's no legal issue involved in using cat & mice, unless you specifically use the name ChuChu Rocket.
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Re: Creating a free art pack for Duck Marines

Postby Julius » 20 Jul 2014, 10:05

Hythlodaeus {l Wrote}:I'm not a 2D artist myself. I couldn't draw a sprite if it could save my life. This is why I'm proposing this as a community project.


Hehe, this is not how community projects work (even though my recent suggestions may have sounded similar). How about you start a asset replacement pack by going through the OGA sprite set and select those that might fit and at least *try* to get them working in Duck-Marines. Post about your results and maybe others will start helping out.

Personally I don't see such an urgent need to have a fully FOSS Duck-Marines though. There are definitely other great game-engines with much more un-free assets that need a replacement pack first (VCMI, Return of the Titans, ArxLibertatis, OpenMW etc.).
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
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Re: Creating a free art pack for Duck Marines

Postby Hythlodaeus » 20 Jul 2014, 10:19

Julius {l Wrote}:
Hythlodaeus {l Wrote}:I'm not a 2D artist myself. I couldn't draw a sprite if it could save my life. This is why I'm proposing this as a community project.


Hehe, this is not how community projects work (even though my recent suggestions may have sounded similar). How about you start a asset replacement pack by going through the OGA sprite set and select those that might fit and at least *try* to get them working in Duck-Marines. Post about your results and maybe others will start helping out.

Personally I don't see such an urgent need to have a fully FOSS Duck-Marines though. There are definitely other great game-engines with much more un-free assets that need a replacement pack first (VCMI, Return of the Titans, ArxLibertatis, OpenMW etc.).


It's not the matter of being urgent. It's the matter of being fairly simple to complete with at least one decent artist, and due to being feature complete. All those projects that you mentioned require massive amounts of assets and will take years to complete. A fully-floss duck marines/ChuChu rocket would take a few days of work by a decent pixel artist, and you could ship it to every free repo there is and port it to every platform and their mothers. I will try using OGA placeholders temporarily, but first I need to recompile the game.
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Re: Creating a free art pack for Duck Marines

Postby charlie » 20 Jul 2014, 10:30

Whilst this is well meaning, it is not an appropriate place for an idea. I will move it to Ideas Art & Assets.

Project Showcase & Collaboration is for existing efforts, not proposals.
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Julius » 20 Jul 2014, 11:04

Ok I moved the other threads also, and changed the title of this one a bit.
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Akien » 20 Jul 2014, 11:57

Why not ask Tangram Games directly about their opinion? A nice indie studio creates an open source game with -NC content, maybe we could discuss with them the reason for this choice, and if they see a FLOSS art pack as an interesting perspective for their game. It's not a dead open-source code for which we should strive to provide new artwork, it's an active-developed project, so before forking it, let's talk about it with upstream.

The music is CC By-NC-ND, so this would definitely need to be replaced with some free music if we want to include it in Linux distros. My best guess is that this music was not produced directly by Tangram Games, so if we provide them with a nice free replacement, they might like it :-)
The artwork is CC By-NC-SA and was drawn by Tangram Games, so maybe Tangram Games would be okay to drop the NC clause, or maybe they have a good reason to use it? If some on this forums have good arguments as why they should not use NC for their artwork, they might be interested in hearing about it (most likely they don't want people to make money on their work, they want it to stay free of charge).

What I mean with this is that we should encourage indie developers to provide FLOSS games. Duck Marines is a great example of a nice open source game, and I feel that forking their code "because we can" is like making a child in their back (French expression, more idiomatic would be "stab them in the back", but I don't mean it that harsh). Especially when they are actively developing it and providing a great open-source game to the community.

Let's no forget about Wolfire's bad experience with counterfeits of Lugaru being sold on the App Store: http://blog.wolfire.com/2011/02/Counter ... developing
The FLOSS ideal is that games should be 100% free, which means that they are not encumbered with nonfree content and NC or ND clauses. But we also want people's work to be respected and for commercial ventures to be able to prosper and continue to provide us with great FLOSS content. So let's not "steal" their work as soon as they release it and try to work with Tangram Games to make Duck Marines even better.

Just my two cents.
Last edited by Akien on 20 Jul 2014, 14:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Hythlodaeus » 20 Jul 2014, 12:10

You know, that's not a bad idea at all. We could even try to work out some monetary donations for them to free the artwork for Duck Marines, if needed. I'd also like to see the game to have online P2P multiplayer, to be fair, which would require some further development.
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Hythlodaeus » 22 Jul 2014, 01:03

Great news! I've just received a reply from Tangram games after emailing them:

Hi X!

I actually can't remember why we went with NC for the graphics. I think it might have been because we didn't want to get into any trouble if somebody else decided to make money off of it, considering how much it is a clone of a commercial game. However I don't really see why that should be our problem anyway so we'll just relicense the graphics/sound effects right away. :)
The music was kindly provided by somebody else who specifically requested BY-NC-ND so that will have to remain NC.

The sound effects are very sparse and very bad so a much more interesting initiative would be to try and expand and improve upon that.


So technically all we need now is some good music replacement. I'll try getting in touch with a few blokes or try to find some suitable bits on OGA.
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Akien » 22 Jul 2014, 12:44

Awesome! I'll package Duck Marines for Mageia without the music as soon as the license gets updated.

Let's find them some nice free music to show that the FLOSS community can give as much as it gets :)
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Hythlodaeus » 22 Jul 2014, 14:00

License updated

http://tangramgames.dk/games/duckmarines/

All assets with the exception of all background music are copyright (c) 2013 Tangram Games and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Wuzzy » 28 Aug 2014, 05:20

Hi! I have literally searched hours in several archives for new chiptune music. I have found some potential candidates for replacement. This wasn’t so easy, as I tried to roughly find a similar “flavor” of music. I haven’t found anything good for the mini-game music. But for everything else I think I have found good candidates. Everything is some CC BY license, which should be no problem at all. Everything is in MP3, so the tracks would have to be transcoded to Ogg Vorbis first, which would cause a slight quality loss. Unless these tracks are somewhere available as FLAC or Ogg Vorbis.

Here are some potential candidates:

In-game music (4 times) (replaces: factorylife.ogg, fractalbusride.ogg, solarsurfing.ogg and trinitronsunset.ogg)
RoccoW with “Messeah” (CC BY 3.0)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Rocco ... _-_Messeah

Rolemusic with “Chasing The Port Chains” (CC BY 3.0)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Rolem ... ort_chains

Multifaros with “The Staff” (CC BY 3.0 US)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Multi ... /The_Staff

RoccoW with “Chipho instrumental (CC BY 3.0)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Rocco ... strumental
Comment: a bit short though, only ~1:50min


Title music (replaces groovecallus.ogg)
UncleBibby with “Bubbling Pots and Troubling Thoughts” (CC BY 4.0)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Uncle ... g_Thoughts


Interlude (replaces interlude.ogg)
Rolemusic with “ZX Spectrum Ringtone” (CC BY 4.0)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Rolem ... m_Ringtone
Comment: The original is just ~10s long and looped, the new music is ~50s long. Maybe this is not the best replacement.
Edit: This is definitely not the best replacement. It works out poorly with the game … But it shouldn’t be too hard to find a simple 10s looped chiptune, right?


Mini-game music (replaces radiationwoman.ogg)
Sorry, folks. I have not found anything fitting now. It should be a fast hectic chiptune. It does not need to be long (1min should suffice completely), as the mini-games are short.


Edit: OK, I tested it a bit out in the game. Everything works out pretty well with the game IMO, but that’s just my personal taste. :P Except for the ZX thing, this one is way out of place. (See comment). So, the search goes on …
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Akien » 28 Aug 2014, 09:53

Really nice Wuzzy!

I'll listen to those tracks and probably use them for Mageia's duckmarines package (at least when a good replacement for the interlude and mini-game music have been found).
I discussed the nonfree music with the developer Simon Larsen, and he suggested asking the original artist if he would relicense his work: https://github.com/SimonLarsen/duckmarines/issues/12

I don't know if Simon contacted him in the end, so this replacement set is welcome :-)
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Wuzzy » 02 Sep 2014, 08:27

I have continued my research and can now suggest music for the missing slots. You can listen to them right on the website, if your browser uses JavaScript.

Mini-game music (replaces radiationwoman.ogg)
RoccoW with “Break-A-Leg” (CC-BY 3.0)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/RoccoW/~/Break-A-Leg
Note: This one is much more chiptuney than the original radiationwoman.ogg and I think this may even fit better to the game. It is about 2min long.

Interlude music (replaces interlude.ogg and my previous suggestion)
UncleBibby with “Human Crossing” (CC-BY 3.0)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Uncle ... n_Crossing
Note: This track is about 32s long and good for interlude. It has a soft sound. A minimalist sound like this is what I have looked for.
It loops more or less OK, although not perfectly. It’s not a serious issue, as player would normally have clicked away the interlude before the have 32s ended.
But the perfectionist may want to edit this track to make some cuts an minor edits so it loops better. I think it is possible to shorten this to about 16s. The original interlude.ogg is about 10s long.

Alternative:
UncleBibby with “Jangus inspired by ToeJam and Earl” (CC-BY 3.0)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Uncle ... m_and_Earl
Note: This one may be an alternative interlude music, but it with >2min in length it is much longer. Players normally don’t want to stay so long in the interlude screen, so the >2min may be just wasted. Shortening it may be a non-trivial task and looping a part of it seems even more difficult. Human Crossing is now preferred by me.



New stuff:
I have found FLAC files from RoccoW on Bandcamp!
http://roccow.bandcamp.com/track/messeah-2
http://roccow.bandcamp.com/track/break-a-leg
http://roccow.bandcamp.com/track/chipho (Sounds exactly like Chipho instrumental to me)

I don’t know if these FLAC files are for “real”. They may just have transcoded them form a lossy format, then these FLAC files would be just a waste of disk space. Sadly Bandcamp also does not disclose which of the files is the original and which of the files have been transcoded.
But on the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t bother to much about transcoding losses, it does not seem that the quality would suffer much.
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Akien » 02 Sep 2014, 22:43

Awesome :-) I've listened to your selection and I think it fits the game pretty well indeed.
I'll do a version of DuckMarines using those tracks in the coming days, to be able to test it live.

I'll tell you my opinion about it, if there's a consensus about your selection it might be a good idea to tell Simon Larsen (the main dev) about it. Even if there's no consensus by the way, it's your call :D
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Akien » 03 Sep 2014, 20:19

Wuzzy {l Wrote}:Rolemusic with “Chasing The Port Chains” (CC BY 3.0)
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Rolem ... ort_chains

I found it in ogg here: https://archive.org/details/enrmp329_ro ... the_dancer
Tthis page says the licence is CC BY NC SA 3.0. The page on the FreeMusicArchive says CC BY 3.0 as you pointed out, so maybe we should contact Rolemusic to clarify this?
It's on archive.org though so maybe we can consider it outdated and trust FMA?
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Akien » 03 Sep 2014, 21:25

Here is a version of Duck Marines using the tracks selected by Wuzzy: http://remi.verschelde.fr/files/package ... music.love

I updated the LICENSE.md file to reflect the changes and credit the authors, and removed the nonfree tracks. I used the same bitrate as previously (80 kbps) to keep the game archive around 10 MB as it was previously. If you notice a huge loss in quality, maybe we can try with a slightly better bitrate.
I also adapted the "MUSIC BY LINDE" mention in the menu GUI which now cites all artists, it might be a bit too much text, but that will be up to the dev if he decides to use these tracks.

I'll use this version for Mageia's package, until now it lacked music :-p
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Wuzzy » 04 Sep 2014, 01:14

Nice! However, I think it would be the best solution if this goes straght into the upstream. Why should this affect only one single GNU/Linux distribution, after all?


About Rolemusic: Don’t worry, you can safely assume CC-BY.

Rolemusic has a homepage. Quote:
When I release my music with rolemusic as artist name I do because I enjoy composing it, and you can be sure its free for any kind of purpose under a CC-BY license. Although voluntary donations are open if you think my music worth the tip.

http://rolemusic.sawsquarenoise.com/p/shop.html
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Akien » 04 Sep 2014, 06:25

Wuzzy {l Wrote}:Nice! However, I think it would be the best solution if this goes straght into the upstream. Why should this affect only one single GNU/Linux distribution, after all?

I completely agree. I just thought that since you were the one to find out all those nice tracks, maybe you wanted to propose them upstream :-)
Though I can also do a pull request and let Simon Larsen decide whether he wants to merge it in the master branch, or in a freemusic branch (since he said he kinda liked the current music, he might not want to throw it away completely).

For now I pushed it directly to Mageia because we will have a version freeze (no new packages versions) in a few days in preparation for the Mageia 5 release in December, so I wanted to make sure this nice piece of FLOSS game has great music in this release :-)
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Akien » 26 Oct 2014, 22:01

A follow-up on this. I've told Simon, the main dev, about Wuzzy's proposal, and here is his answer:
Simon {l Wrote}:
Akien {l Wrote}:I've already discussed with Simon the fact that the current background
music of Duck Marines, being licensed under Creative Commons BY NC ND,
makes it "non-free" for most free software-aware distributors, and in
particular Linux distributions [1].

The user "Wuzzy" at the FreeGameDev forum came up with a nice proposal
for new background music tracks taken from the Free Music Archive (all
licensed under Creative Commons BY) [2].
I compiled his proposal into a new version of Duck Marines, with the
required changes to the LICENSE.md file to credit the authors [3].

I've used the latter for Mageia's Duck Marines package so that users
can enjoy your game with some nice free/libre music. Simon told me
that he liked Linde's music set and that it might be worth asking him
if he would relicense his work under a more permissive license instead
of replacing it with different assets - that's up to you. You know
best what fits your game.

We'd be glad to have your feedback on Wuzzy's proposal.

Cool. I think he did a really great job replacing the music. However I still feel the original music fitted a lot better with the overall aesthetics. Not to mention one of the mini games is actually synced up to the old music so that's gonna be a problem.

I apologize for never getting back to you on GitHub. However a spoke with someone else who wanted to approach Linde regarding the music and I'm still waiting for him to get back at me. Linde was very slow to respond when I was in touch with him so it might take some time unfortunately.

So for now the free music pack for Duck Marines stays a community edition. On the other hand I found out that Simon composed some tracks for Duck Marines initially before getting the permission to use Linde's music, it might be interesting to check it out and maybe update the track selection to include some of his tracks: http://simonlarsen.github.io/2014/03/31 ... racks.html
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Akien » 10 May 2016, 22:40

Hi there,

I finally took the time to put our community-picked libre music tracks in a git repo, so that the "libre" version of Duck Marines is easily accessible: https://github.com/akien-mga/duckmarines-libre

I was already using those tracks for my Mageia package since 2014, but never took the time to push them to a fork as I was hoping for upstream to get a better license from the original artist, but this never happened, so our FreeGameDev edition is the best contender as far as freedom goes :)

I tagged v1.0c-libre which is the same as upstream v1.0c (adding Löve 0.10 support) + those libre tracks instead of the CC BY-NC-ND ones.
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Re: Community Project: free art pack for Duck Marines?

Postby Wuzzy » 22 May 2016, 22:25

Great!
This should be advertised to distributions like Parabola.

(In other words: I am too lazy to do it. :p )
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