Piga Software

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Piga Software is a free software organization that builds programs for GNU/Linux and other Unix-like systems. Microsoft Windows support is added if possible, with their first release Donut Quest currently being Windows-only, and ReactOS testing is something the group is interested in. Some projects, such as Free Empires: Age of War are also being designed for FreeDOS, but these projects also have hope for a Unix command line version.

It was founded by Hamish Paul Wilson and Graham Lawrence Wilson on August 12, 2004 and it is based from a ranch and poultry farm near Seba Beach, Alberta, Canada. The group does not categorize itself into one software genre but focuses primarily on expanding free software gaming. Other projects include Wilson Net, a web browser experiment, and Piga Brain, an attempt at creating a mock artificial intelligence personality. Additionally, some projects are created to serve the developer's outside needs such as the Piga Animator project.

Contents

History

Headquarters
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Headquarters
Graham Wilson
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Graham Wilson
A Piga Desktop
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A Piga Desktop
Coding
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Coding

See "Development" sections on game articles and "Time Line" for more details.

Piga Software was founded on August 12, 2004 as "Piga Entertainment" to function as a framework for Hamish and Graham Wilson's free software programming projects involving Visual Basic. These largely included first person adventure game projects but early experiments into desktop interfaces and early builds for the Wilson Net project were also worked on, as well as some slightly more diverse game projects. Piga Software was launched as simple website that same year and it was not long after that the group's expanded scope heralded the change to its current name. Various games made in the cult classic ZZT game/creator were also being made to supplement the attempted Visual Basic releases. Rough unsupported packages for these random efforts may one day be released.

In May 2005, after being inspired in game design by first playing the game Doom 3, Graham Wilson found the game development tool Game Maker. Game Maker has been used to make a notable amount of indie video games. Several different game concepts and genres were explored and several different game types and bases were created, however few of these projects ever created finished programs. Many of these concepts are left as possibilities for futurePiga projects. The games that were created have come to be known as the Piga Windows Entertainment Pack after the old Microsoft Windows Entertainment Pack. These include various mini-games and one of which is notable in that it includes a soundtrack by Malcolm Wilson Multimedia, who would continue to work with Piga ever after. Work on releasing the pack is ongoing but of low priority and a pack of raw unsupported Game Maker projects has also been considered.

During the summer of 2006 work began on a game based on the Brogo web comic strip. Malcolm Wilson Multimedia, which is ran by Brogo cartoonist Malcolm Wilson, created the soundtrack and graphics for the game. Malcolm Wilson was the head designer and the game was created by Graham Wilson and Hamish Wilson with the engine based on the "1945" example by Mark Overmars. The game was released on October 26, 2006. The next version upgrade, with many bug fixes and upgrades, has been in development since December 22, 2007. The product is currently, to the developer's regret, Microsoft Windows only. 2006 also featured further experiments with Game Maker culminating in simple first-preson and real-time strategy game engines.

2007 marked the beginning of the group's migration from Microsoft Windows to GNU/Linux. Another motivation was a dislike for the new version of Game Maker, version seven. Early that year they moved development from Game Maker to Gambas. In April the development of Free Empires, a free software real time strategy game based on Age of Empires began. This move generated a noticeable amount of outside interest on the newly finailzed Piga Software Forum. Other projects and experiments, similar to their previous Game Maker counterparts, were also created. On August 17, 2007 the Piga Software Wiki was founded. During that year the Piga Nation project was also started and two Source Releases of Free Empires were sent out to the development community.

2008 was mainly a year of enhancements on the previous year's work. Development of the Free Empires engine, called Gambas Genie after the Age of Empires engine called Genie, separated into various technical demos. One of these was released on July 15th. The release was notable due to the contribution of an Extreme Tux Racer project member, Christian Picon, who came to the Piga forum in order to make Free Empires and the his game partner projects. Various new projects such as Windys were also started and on October 31st the first two full new releases in over two years came out - PigaVision a television out front-end and the Piga's Pumpkin Carving amusement game. The wiki also began to host free software-oriented information and Gambas tutorials and source code examples. Much of the year's activity was inspired by the book Masters of Doom and the group was further influenced philosophically by Free as in Freedom and Free Software, Free Society.

2009 heralded the long predicted "opening of the flood gates" when it came to releases. This was caused by long standing projects being uninterrupted and completed successfully. This started with minor releases for PigaVision, however, the first new game release was not an old project but a month long effort by Hamish Wilson to create an adventure game - Alexei: Part IX. After months of final preparation, the game Windys (which has connections to the groups first ever game programming aspirations and was started in 2008) was released on August 12th with a minor release on September 1st. The Gambas Genie technical demos were amalgamated and greatly expanded into a new release called Lamp Refugee during the months of May to October and it was sent out as a Source Release on October 26th. On October 31st, a year after the new releases, an expanded version of Piga's Pumpkin Carving was released. Part of the reason for these releases was the relative maturity of Hamish and Graham's non-Piga projects such as the Blood Wiki which needed a lot of their attention during 2008.

In 2010 Piga became part of the icculus.org project incubator service moving its web and file hosting over to the new host. This is the first time in the group's entire history that it could assure proper secure downloads. Hamish Wilson first got hosting for his GNU/Linux binaries for the Chzo Mythos and after that experience he requested a page for Piga. The first release after the move was version 2.0.0 of Piga's Pumpkin Carving. In its press release to the world, Piga mentioned the existence of upcoming releases. The first of these was Piga's Thanksgiving Dinner Hunt, a program with similar roots to the other holiday themed game Pumpkin Carving, and the second was Piga's Santa Drop Down, an original holiday themed game.

Throughout 2010 work was made on creating a preview release for Alexei: Part XIII, the next title in the Alexei Volkov series, and it was released at the dawn of 2011. Bringing in 2011 was marked by Piga on January 2 with the release of Piga's New Years Dodge 'Em, a small New Years-themed endurance arcade game which was developed in only four days. A bug fix release for Santa Drop Down was released on January 7th. This game, with the two new holidays games of 2010, formed the basis for the Gambas Arcade Engine. Priorities for the year are the next version of Lamp Refugee, updates to Windys, further developments to Alexei: Part XIII and Piga Nation as well as other undisclosed projects.

Since 2005 Piga Software has also been using QBasic for some of its programming, based upon reading the reference book Beginning Programming for Dummies by Wallace Wang (the pre-Liberty BASIC oriented versions). The language had achieved cult status during the MS DOS and Windows 9x days and continues to be used by hobbyists and notably by FreeDOS users and supporters. There were also a few projects attempted in 2006 using Liberty BASIC. Despite the varied amount of programs that have been experimented with, the only current QBasic project is a Free Empires spin-off called Age of War.

Activism

Piga Software has also worked on supporting free software and GNU/Linux in various ways such as contributing to the LibreGameWiki (which was not limited to adding articles for itself or its games), helping negotiate the creation of the historic September 13, 2009 Timothee Besset blog post concerning the future of id Software GNU/Linux porting, writing a case for porting when it comes to Splash Damage and Brink, and working to promote new GNU/Linux developers such as Mangled Eye Studios, creators of Dark Salvation.

The group also regularly tries to expand free software and GNU/Linux gaming articles on Wikipedia such as succesfully driving in 2010 to get the GNU/Linux games category to reach a third page. On May 17, 2010 Hamish Wilson won the Linux Gaming News contest for his article on his efforts to get the Chzo Mythos more conveniently running on GNU/Linux (laster also the 1213 series and Adventures in A Galaxy of Fantabulous Wonderment) and thus won a free copy of the GNU/Linux-compatible game Osmos. After Graham Wilson sent notes and corrections (particulary GNU/Linux related notes) to Theodor Lauppert about the gaming section of his website Astoria he linked to Piga on his GNU/Linux gaming page. Hamish Wilson continues to be a prominant face on the Gaming on Linux forums and continues his communication and attempts to aid Maxim Bardin of Linux Gaming News.

Graham Wilson has been in negoation with Kevin Stokes of Pie in the Sky Software, now an Android developer, towards the release of the source code for the Pie in the Sky engine used in Lethal Tender and Terminal Terror as well as all games made in the 3D Games Creation System such as Pencil Whipped, a 2000 finalist for the Independent Games Festival, and the early freeware shooter Chub Gam 3D. Stokes came to the Piga Software Forum to thank Graham for having made an Wikipedia article for the engine due to retro-gaming interest. As of late 2010 in private e-mail dissucions Stokes has looked up the old code but has not been able to compile it. If he could he would not mind releasing it and would be keen for someone to port it form Direct3D to OpenGL and make it cross-platform.

Roles

Official Staff

Benevolent Dictator for Life: Hamish Paul Wilson

Technical Director: Graham Lawrence Wilson

Webmaster: Graham Lawrence Wilson

Developers: Hamish Paul Wilson, Graham Lawrence Wilson

Administrators: Hamish Paul Wilson, Graham Lawrence Wilson

Others

Multimedia Contractor: Malcolm Wilson Multimedia

Random Assistance: Iain William Duane Wilson (klingoncowboy4)

Programming Assistance (Gambas Genie): Christian Picon (cpicon92)

Testers: sholzy, tommyline and Quincunxian (http://www.gambasforum.com/)

Contractee (Donut Quest): Brogo Webcomic

Partner Project (Free Empires): Extreme Tux Racer

Piga Software Theme

The Piga Software Theme is a short instrumental track similar to a jingle. It is the offical theme track of Piga Software and was composed by Malcolm Wilson Multimedia. It was written as a MIDI file in Anvil Studio in 2004 and is available as a MIDI and OGG Vorbis file.

Download: OGG Vorbis, MIDI

Directory

Free Empires: Free Empires: Chiefs and Warriors, Planned Squeals, Lamp Refugee (source releases), Free Empires: Age of War

Holiday Games: Piga's Pumpkin Carving (released), Piga's Thanksgiving Dinner Hunt (released), Piga's Santa Drop Down (released), Piga's New Years Dodge 'Em (released)

Alexei Vokov Series: Alexei: Part IX (released), Alexei: Part XIII (preview release)

Other Games: Windys (released), Piga Nation

Microsoft Windows: Donut Quest (released) (1.5), Piga Windows Entertainment Pack, Free Empires for Windows project, Free Empires: Age of War (DOS)

Utilities: PigaVision (released), Wilson Net, Piga Animator, Piga Brain

Engines: Gambas Genie (development versions released), Gambas Adventure Engine (released), Gambas Platform Engine (released), Gambas Arcade Engine (released), PS-Tech-1

Miscellaneous: Gambas Examples (released), List of Piga characters


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