Join your jeesh for zero-g battles in Leges Motus

Isaac Newton, in his Principia, outlined his famous laws of motion, or in Latin “leges motus.” As you know, Newton was an avid computer gamer, so it’s fitting that a SourceForge project has adopted Leges Motus as the name for its 2-D multiplayer shooter. In this game, players attempt to travel across a zero-gravity arena while freezing the opposing team’s members in order to bring down the opponents’ gate. Game play combines fast-paced action with team tactics, yet the basics are simple enough that beginners can jump into it immediately. Its developers says it’s the only open source game that combines 2-D graphics, top-down shooter gameplay, and a zero-gravity environment.

Nathan Partlan, one of the project’s three main developers, says he and his colleagues began writing Leges Motus for a college course, “but we quickly realized that it was so much fun to develop and play that we wanted to continue writing it on our own time.

“We knew that Leges Motus should be open source from the start. We have all enjoyed using open source software for years, and we hoped that by making Leges Motus open source we could get a good base of users and contributors and make a difference for the open source gaming community. Linux users don’t always get the newest commercial games, and some people can’t afford or don’t want to pay for games. We hope that Leges Motus can provide hours of fun without a price or an arbitrary lock-out of a certain operating system.

“We have now spent almost a year developing the game, and have had three major releases and a few bug fixes. We have big plans for the next version, though it may take us some time – we want to do some major internal refactoring to make way for an AI client.

“We used C++, SDL, and OpenGL to create the game. It was important to us that the game be cross-platform and that it use standard and powerful technologies. All of these tools fit that bill perfectly, and Leges Motus therefore runs efficiently on Mac, Linux, Windows, and FreeBSD, with the potential for ports to other OSes.”

With a small development team, Partlan says it’s easy to coordinate work on the code by talking on IRC or in person, “but we would like to expand our team to speed up the process of development. We’re looking to make some really cool features happen in the future. We want to create more interesting weapons, such as a burst-fire machine gun that takes some time to charge up, and a melee weapon that fires a pulse of energy in a small radius around you. We also would like to create an AI client, so more players can try the game out without needing to wait for opponents. We’ll also be adding a keyboard mapping menu, among other things.

“Leges Motus already has lots of configuration and mapping capabilities, many of which aren’t visible in the small number of servers and maps that we currently run. We’re hoping that users will be able to contribute some cool maps that use forces, map hazards, aural radar, and other interesting features to create new gameplay experiences.

“We would love to get programming, art, or sound contributions from anyone who’s interested. Contact us by e-mail or on our IRC channel at #legesmotus on irc.freenode.net.”

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