Game Bytes is our monthly series taking a peek at the world of gamedev on GitHub—featuring game engine updates, game jam details, open source games, mods, maps, and more. Game on!
Babylon.js, an open source 3D game and rendering engine for the web, has just released version 6.0. It introduces a revamped physics API powered by a physics engine from Havok, alongside rendering improvements including fluid rendering, better reflections, and upgrades to Node Material. Plus, there’s a new GUI editor and they’ve spruced up the docs. It’s a big release and you can learn more about it from the release announcement.
Phaser 10 year anniversary 🥳
The Phaser framework is celebrating 10 years of fun web game development with v3.60. Phaser’s decadal release is no ride into the sunset. It powers ahead with numerous changes, such as new special effects shaders, vastly improved mobile device performance, support for spatial audio, and developer experience upgrades (say hello to ESM support). Check out the release announcement to learn more about the history for the project, the work that’s gone into this (and every) release, and get a preview of the project’s future.
Raylib, a game engine written in C, is enjoying a moment trending on gamedev GitHub, earning many more stars in recent days. If you’re like others just learning about Raylib, it’s different from larger frameworks like Godot and Phaser. As an engine, Raylib is stripped-down to an API that can be described with a single-page cheat sheet, while you bring your own editor, debugger, and other tools. Raylib stands out with its minimalist approach and a dedicated community that supports bindings to dozens of programming languages.
Can a $1 microcontroller run a complete open-world 3D game? The answer is a remarkable yes. Pico3D is a game and game engine for the Pimoroni PicoSystem, a tiny hand-held game console built around the same microcontroller that powers that Raspberry Pi Pico. It’s an impressive display of ingenuity, running an open-world game under the tiniest of constraints.
VCMI, the open source recreation of the classic turn-based strategy game Heroes of Might and Magic III, has reached version 1.2.0. The project’s long-term goal is to create an open source version of the game that overcomes the limitations of the original, improving modding and platform support. The latest release is the project’s biggest, boasting improved rendering quality and performance, an updated user interface with more options, translation support, and many bug fixes. Read VCMI 1.2.0 released to learn more.
Open Hexagon performance updates and new ranked packs
Open Hexagon caught our eyes (and ears) with a recent incremental release. Open Hexagon—building on the inspiration of Terry Cavanagh’s hit Super Hexagon—is a fast-paced rhythm game that will test your reflexes as you spin and flip to survive the walls closing in from all sides. The long-running Open Hexagon community collaborates on the game engine and builds new level packs. You can support it on Steam.
Improved graphics, performance improvements, and lots more in Minetest 5.7.0
Minetest 5.7.0 has just been released. Minetest, a voxel-based game engine, is built to support making and modding voxel games. This latest version introduces a post-processing pipeline for new and future visual effects, improved graphics performance, and a number of other improvements. Read the Minetest release blog post to learn more.
Freeciv21 reaches the big 3.0
Freeciv21 just hit version 3.0. The turn-based 4X strategy game is a fork of Freeciv focused on improvements for competitive multiplayer. It’s maintained by the team that runs Longturn, a venue that plays the game under one-turn-per-day rules. By allowing a full day for each turn and potentially months for a complete game, the format heightens strategy and diplomacy. Freeciv21 3.0 unveils user interface improvements tailored to Longturn, icon and font upgrades, and bug fixes. Check out Longturn.net and the Freeciv21 3.0 release on GitHub to learn more.
OpenRCT2 is an opensource revival of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, a simulation game where you design and build an amusement park while balancing profit, thrills, and happy guests. But OpenRCT2 goes beyond mere preservation. It adds new features and modern conveniences, such as time acceleration, cooperative multiplayer, and a multilingual user interface. Learn more at openrc2.org and the v0.4.4 release on GitHub.
DFHack is a tool for players and modders of Dwarf Fortress, the acclaimed roguelike settlement management game. DFHack is described as a memory editor, but that undersells what it can do. It’s a comprehensive tool for inspecting and changing Dwarf Fortress, with gameplay automations, bug fixes, user interface modifications, and infrastructure for additional plugins and game mods. In short, DFHack lets you peek behind the curtain of the Dwarf Fortress simulation.
If you’re one of the millions to lay your hands on a Steam Deck, then you’re probably already having fun with the help of Proton without even thinking about it. Proton is a compatibility layer for running Windows games on Linux, built atop Wine. Proton succeeds at a seemingly impossible task: making Windows-only games playable on Linux (with the help of the Steam client). Like every release, Proton 8 extends compatibility to yet more games, adding to the thousands of games reported to work well with Proton. The latest release brings Proton up-to-date with Wine 8, plus various other fixes and improvements. See the Proton release notes to follow along with development.
Game Jam Game Of The Month
Ready, aim, fire that knight in shining armor! Cannon Knight is a unique and absorbing entrant to last month’s Gamedev.js Jam 2023. You play as a knight ready to be a human cannonball. Equipped with the ability to air jump and slow or rewind time, your goal is to travel as far as you can before running out of time. Can you avoid colliding with dangerous creatures and set a new high score? It’s just how the creators tell it: “The ultimate knight-launching simulator.” Play Cannon Knight in your browser.
Bonus: GitHub CEO and GitHub Copilot-created game of the month
I’d be remiss if I didn’t use this as an opportunity to brown-nose promote an amazing little game of Snake.
Imagine a game jam where you had 15 minutes to code a game, live on stage, in front of thousands of people. No pressure, right? That’s exactly what GitHub CEO @ashtom did last week at Web Summit Rio with the help of GitHub Copilot. Watch the video. or play the game in all its glory.
I understand pull requests are welcome. Perhaps readers can make this the greatest game of Snake ever made?!?
That’s all for this edition of Game Bytes. We’ll see you next month!
Working on something cool or releasing something this month? Share it with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.