Balder, multiplayer zero gravity first person shooter

balder Balder is a multiplayer Zero Gravity First Person Shooter using the Crystal Space engine. It also uses the borax template and the GNE -- Game Networking Engine. It will emphesise team cooperation, instead of the standard frag-fest and meaningless violence of most first person shooters.

As one will not be able to change directions mid flight, one must carefully consider how to get from point A to point B without getting "flashed" (players carry flash pistols which freeze opponants). For a more I suggest reading the Design Docs, especially the "General description" section. The inspiration behind Balder is from Orson Scott Card's novel "Ender's Game".

Balder 2D

In Balder2D, players control small probes which shoot tiny projectiles with which they try to destroy each other. It features a 2D overhead view of the playing field. Probes may be human or computer controlled.
A probe can perform the following actions:

  • rotate
  • fire projectiles
  • "stick" to a wall
  • push off of a wall

Players menuver their probes around the playing field by sticking to walls and then pushing off in a new direction, while trying to shoot the other probes and avoid being hit by projectiles.


Games may be configured to have a time limit, score limit, and/or life(respawn) limit.

  • Time limited games have a timer in the upper left, which counts down, and the game ends when time runs out.
  • Score limited games end when some player reaches the maximum score.
  • In life limited games, the game ends when only one player remains.


Having read "Ender's Game", by Orson Scott Card, one might be inspired to get inside the battle room. Such was the inspiration for creating Balder. In mid to late 2002 I started looking at various 3d engines and gathering other resources, and eventually registered the project on sourceforge. The vision for the project is outlined in the Design Docs, so I wont describe here what we (at the time there were four) wanted to do. Eventually I would still like to build what is described there, however it is on hold at the moment, pending my finishing grad school. In any case, the resulting code can be found in cvs in the "balder" module.

At some point last year (late 2003) I began to admit that I had neither the time, nor the experience for a project of this scale. The biggest problem I had to solve was doing a realistic simulation of a human body in zero gravity, bouncing off walls and performing other maneuvers. I realized that I could replace the human soldiers with spherical "probes" without losing too much of the feeling of the game play, and I would simplify the code significantly.


In an effort to be better prepared to tackle my new plan more efficiently, I spent the summer (2004) working with the creator of the Crystal Space engine (which I'd been using for Balder) on the Crystal Space demo game Crystal Core.

Unfortunately (for Balder) I began work on my Master's degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics engineering in the fall, so any spare time I might have had was no longer free. Midway through the first quarter however, was having a bit of a jones to work on Balder again, but was not really inspired to fix the broken network code in the old version, not to mention evaluating it to see if the whole thing needed a large overhaul to be done right. So once again I scaled back my plans to something that should be actually doable this time!

My realization was that the concept I had been developing with the probes could work quite well as a 2D game. So with renewed enthusiasm I wrote a description of what the game should be, drew up a UML Class Diagram, and began writing code. Balder2D, as I'm calling the newest incarnation, will hopefully give me some useful experience with developing a networked game, among other things, so that I will be better equipped to build the 3D version should I find the time in the future, as well as being a fine game in it's own right. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Feedback is more than welcome, as is help with the project


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About Fausto Baccino

Fond of computer and video games. Stay informed of the latest news on games for Linux and Android. The future of gaming is in Linux. All you need to know about How to play Windows games on Linux.
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