Dalek Chess is an Open Source Battle Chess like game targeted at the Linux operating system. Instead of having medieval characters like the original Battle Chess, this game will feature Daleks, the classical villains from Doctor Who, as the game pieces.
A secondary goal of the Dalek Chess Project is to create an open source Battle Chess engine which anyone with good computer graphics and database skills can produce a game of their own without having to modify the source code for the Dalek Chess Battle Chess engine. However, at times it is likely that some feature specific code will get passed into the BC engine for Dalek Chess that will have to be rethought in order to achieve the projects secondary goal.
The tools of choice for this game include SDL, gimp, POVRAY, and GNU Chess. All of which are Open Source utilities or API's available for Linux.
Aridius was the first planet, other than Earth and Skaro, the Daleks were seen to land on in Doctor Who. I thought it would be a fitting name for release 0.1 of Dalek Chess. Aridius will be a stripped down, just playable version of Dalek Chess. Little if any animation, no battle scenes, probably no sound, single perspective. But the look will be there and all the pieces will be modeled making game play possible. Aridius is the first stepping stone in the creation of a Dalek Chess theme and Battle Chess engine.
Battle Chess was a computer game of the early '90's where the game pieces where animated and the actual action of taking an opponents game piece was animated on the board. You could watch queens do sorcery and knights behead bishops and rooks transform into monsters as they got ready for attacks. At the time I thought it was quite an entertaining game.
The similarity of the Dalek Chess game to that of the orriginal Battle Chess game will be purely conceptual. Both games will feature game piece animation and animated battle sequences, but that is where the similarities end.
I get asked this all the time, and I like the succinct way Source Forge put it in their own FAQ so the below text is borrowed:
"In short, Open Source software is software with source code made available to the public, with no fees or royalties for use or distribution. The official definition, as well as the rationale and history behind open source software, can be found at The Open Source Initiative's web site."
The exact Open Source license Dalek Chess will be licensed under is the GPL, GNU Public License. The terms of the GPL can be found at The Open Source Initiative's web site.
Well if you don't know what Linux is, you've been hiding in your bonded poly carbide armor for far too long.
Linux is an Open Source Unix like operating system. It runs on nearly every type of computer from Mac's to Sun's to PC's to Alpha's. You name it and someone probably has ported Linux to it at some time or another.
In all actuality Linux is a little too big of a subject to cover in such a simple FAQ. Have a look at Linux.com if you are a newbie to Linux. Also feel free to use any of the search engines on the word Linux. You'll probably find a million links all bustling with information about this exciting OS.
SDL stands for Simple DirectMedia Layer. It provides the graphics and sound API's used in the game. It is used by many popular games in the gaming industry today.
The gimp stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It provides a variety of graphics manipulation capabilities. It is used to aid in the creation of bitmaps for the game.
POVRAY stands for Persistence Of Vision RAY tracer. It is an open source ray tracing utility that takes text files as input in order to create 3D scenes. It is used to create the bitmaps for the game pieces of Dalek Chess.
GNU Chess is text based, open source chess engine. It provides the logic for controling the computer's moves when playing the computer. It will give you a far more challenging game of chess than any engine I might try to create.
I'm Cory Hollingsworth, a programmer who wants more games for Linux and am a Doctor Who fan. You probably have figured that out by now. I deal with graphics and programming the games infrastructure.
Some assistance has been recieved from Who3d which I am also a member. Check out the Who3D home page: http://www.who3d.com/.
I get asked this question by people that don't understand what it means to be a open source programmer. One of the arguments I hear a lot of is: if people are creating open source software, they must not be good enough to get a job doing it for a living. That argument is a complete and total load of donkey's kidneys. Well in my case I do program for a living and most people think I'm quite good at it. But what I don't get out of my job is project control and opportunities to express my artistic sides. And besides, what occupation could I possibly have where my employer is running up to me and telling me I need to write a computer game with 3D representation of Daleks blowing each other up? Not bloody many my friend.
It comes down to it being a labor of love. I love Linux and Doctor Who, and this is an opertunity to give back to both comunities and have a hell of a lot of fun while at it.
There is a lot of work to be done on the C, graphics, and sound sides of the game. The final game will have over 70 MPEG movie clips encoded into it which, at my current rate of progress, would take several years of my free time to complete.
If you think you have something to contribute to this project drop me a line.
I'm asked from time to time if I am violating copyrights held by the BBC. Since I am generating all of the images, sound, and code from scratch and am not charging for the game in any way, I can not see how this would violate BBC copyright. It is not like they are racing to produce a Dalek Chess game of their own that mine would be competing with. As far as the BBC is concerned this should just be viewed as fan activity like those who write fan fiction on alt.drwho.creative or those who create Doctor Who related art and post it on the web.
Dalek Chess may never be complete. The goals I have for the final version of Dalek Chess may exceed my 3D modeling and programming skills. I may very well spend my final days striving for a look that is unobtainable.
As for when it will be playable, I have no hard dates. All I can say is it's getting closer.
My targeted platform is Linux with an X server. It may coincidently run on any of the free BSD implementations considering the prerequisite tools should be available for them as well. I will try to make certain that the C code generated does not suffer from any endianness or 32/64 bit issues to ensure it will run on all types of Linux platforms. Any non Unix like OS will most likely require some porting effort, which I can not do personally. Being the code will be under GPL you can feel free to port the program to any platform your heart desires, just don't ask me to do it for you.
One thing that should warm the hearts of users of Macs and MS Windows is that the API's that the game is being based on are supported on those two platforms as well. This means that the port of the game should be fairly easy should I ever have a volunteer to do so.
Again it might be a good idea for you just to fire up a search engine. There are many fan sites on the web about Doctor Who and the exact details about such are too broad for this simple FAQ. In fact the primary Dalek Chess home page is now on the Doctor Who Time Ring which is a good resource for finding Doctor Who information.
I wouldn't have even bothered to have put up a web page so soon if it hadn't been for Source Forge's services. I find extremely fancy web pages anoying my self, and personally feel I'm doing more good working on the game rather than on the web pages. Besides the simpler pages should work in all web browsers while too many sites out there make Netscape puke. Hey these pages even work right in Lynx, not many pages can say that anymore.
Have more questions? You know the drill. cory@users.SourceForge.net
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