Lamp Refugee

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Lamp Refugee

Systems: GNU/Linux, POSIX Compatible

Engine: Gambas Genie

Type: Real Time Strategy engine demo

Designers: Graham and Hamish Wilson

3D Modeling: Malcolm Wilson Multimedia

Version: Source Release 1

Originally Released: October 26, 2009

Development Tool: Gambas 1.0.19

License: GNU General Public License

Lamp Refugee is a development test bed for the Gambas Genie real time strategy game engine - the one being created for the Free Empires project. The first Source Release was completed on October 26, 2009 – the twelfth anniversary of Age of Empires and the second anniversary of the completion of Free Empires Source Release 2.0.



See Also: Free Empires#GNU/Linux Development and Gambas Genie

Work on a separate test bed began in spring 2007 early in the GNU/Linux Gambas Genie development. This original testing version was different, called Electric Warfare and featured robot remains from a now dead human outer planetary colony still fighting an old war. The whole point of these testing grounds was to experiment with more freedom and to try and create a more playable game, using shortcuts where necessary. Electric Warfare for example used keyboard rather than mouse unit movement and played a bit more like an arcade game than a more complex strategy game.

After releasing the second Source Release of Free Empires the project's development changed direction. Despite having built some primitive features, it was decided to abandon the main builds and instead experiment different real time strategy game features inside different "tech demos". Starting out in January 2008 these branched out into several areas - movement, research, resource gathering, and even attack and enemy artificial intelligence. One such demo was released on July 15, 2008, that of movement. This demo was created with the assistance of Christian Picon (cpicon92).

Development Shot
Development Shot

In May 2009 experiments were made into rough and flaky unit and building construction. After having made a functional if inelegant system another breakthrough was reached. Utilizing the panels feature available in Gambas a portable and scrollable world was created. It was then decided to try and merge the other technical demos into this one to create the "mother of all tech demos." Development on this continued for six months and became what is now known as Lamp Refugee. During this time basic enemy tracking and constriction artificial intelligence was created, The game borrowed GPLed and public domain graphics from Spiderweb Software (from Blades of Exile),, and the Battle for Wesnoth project. 3D modeling of the buildings was completed by Malcolm Wilson Multimedia using the Rhinoceros 3D modeler.


The storyline is not clear and fully established in the first source release. The game mentions the player as Genies being trapped in the a "barren and oppressive realm" by their enemy the Spectres – a race of fiery beings. The one map featured called "Slime River" features a Genie camp on one side of the river in question and a Spectre camp, with the Genies trying to build up a base in this new world. There are also Gremlins, small sniveling creatures that live in nests that are usually near bountiful resources. The Genies must succeed in building up their base to prepare for the war ahead.



The game features numerous upgrades from the previous Gambas Genie releases. There is now a larger map that the player can scroll through. The player can also limitedly build units and buildings. There is a set limit of how many of a given object the player can build.

The Palace building type can be built two other times and is used to trade one resource for another and build more Genie workers. There can be up to five workers at once. The Barracks can not currently be built, but can be used to train five Warriors and two Conjurers. The Warriors can be used to kill Gremlins and Spectres and destroy Spectre buildings and Gremlin nests. Storage Pits can be built, although there are currently five in the code an unresolved bug lingering since June 2009 makes it so the player can only build two.

The Genie workers can mine from the two mines of enveloping magic which, although not fully inputed yet, will be used to create units. Once the mine is selected the Genie will move to it, pick up all its energy, and then take it to the main Palace. The player may instruct it to instead deposit it in another Palace or a Storage Pit. Spirit energy may also be mined, but will most likely be grabbed by the Spectres before the player gets the chance. The Spectres can be shut off with the pressing of the backspace key.

Templates for new Palaces may also be laid down, and then sending the Genie worker to them will cause it it to build it up. Storage Pits currently are all built up once laid. Note that currently only the Genie present at the start can mine or build. There is also a special unit present at the beginning of the game Quenching Liquid, though currently he is equal in ability to the Warriors that can be created at the Barracks.

The game is "playable" in that after completing a few tasks the game may be won. There is not really an easy way to lose but it is possible. If the player takes Quenching Liquid out of a Gremlin's path and lets it kill the primary Genie then you are unable to win the game. It is also possible to get the Gremlin down at the nest to kill the primary Genie. In order to win some buildings have to be constructed and the player has to send troops against the Spectre camp.


MWM at work
MWM at work

Head Coder: Graham L. Wilson

Additional Programming: Hamish Wilson, Christian Picon (cpicon92)

Design: Hamish Wilson, Graham L. Wilson

3D Modeling: Malcolm Wilson Multimedia

Additional Multimedia: Spiderweb Software,, and the Battle for Wesnoth project.

Music composed by Bjorn Lynne (PRS). All rights reserved. Used under permission.

I recommend royalty free music from the excellent stock music library at


This is the raw Gambas source code. We do not promise stability and usability but all feedback is welcome and appreciated. A complied executable is included in the Project Archive for those of you who want to run it as an independent application.

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