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- This page is to be used to prepare an article on the open source computer game Charred Dirt.
- Charred Dirt is a clone of the game Scorched Earth.
- Members of the Charred Dirt development team will add their content as time permits.
1.0.0 / 2007-01-31
Charred Dirt started in 2001 between two Best Buy Technicians named Sean White and Jesse Davis. The Tech Bay was big on the old PC classic Scorched Earth by Wendell T. Hicken. Current open source development is maintained by Smackbringer (Jesse Davis), and a team of fans. The project, including its source code is hosted by JAJMaster. While originally developed for Windows, a port to Linux is currently underway. It is distributed under the LGPL license.
The game is based on a story written by Smackbringer.
The world 50 years after the Scorched Earth War.
50 years after the Scorched Earth War ravaged the planet, society rebuilds, and the Earth has reached an unstable peace. A new breed of lawlessness inhabits the new world, and skirmishes ravage the planet, slowly degrading the Earth back to its former condition shortly after the Scorched Earth War. The Middle East and a third of North America and Australia are now inhospitable and Eurasian winters, unbearable.
The population is approximately one third of it’s 10 billion prior to the Scorched Earth War, and the Earth has lost 30% of it’s habitable landmass from the aftermath of the Scorched Earth War and global warming. Pirates and assassins are in the fortune 500, making illegal activity very appealing. With the International Police Force being outnumbered and overwhelmed with the task of policing the new world, they use much more cunning tactics and high powered weaponry to take down the lawless. New weapon and defensive advancements make highly mobile and versatile tanks the new commonplace weapons of mass destruction. Charred Dirt focuses on a new world ripe for the picking and features eight characters that struggle to find their place on this ever-changing planet.
Charred Dirt plays very similar to Scorched Earth. For those of you that have not played Scorched Earth, here is how the game works. It is played on a 2D layout and all games are played at a fixed screen size of 800 x 600. When playing a game of Charred Dirt, up to 8 players choose a tank and character. A character as defined in the story has a tank with defined amour and special weapons. Each player starts with a set amount of money. The amount is set at the start of the game. Each player is given the opportunity to buy weapons, shields, and other items with a starting amount of cash. When the game starts, each player takes turns calculating power and angle of their shots to try to destroy the other players’ tanks. There are many different weapons in the game so it is up to the player to choose ones they like, or more importantly, which ones are better strategically. The last tank left alive wins the round. Before the next round begins, every tank is repaired and every player is allocated money and points based on their performance during the round. The more tanks you destroy, the more points and money you receive. You lose points when you die, and you lose both points and money if you destroy yourself. Each player can then use the money they earned to buy more weapons and supplies for their tank. The deciding factor on who wins though is points. The player at the end of the game with the most points is declared the winner.
Even if you are playing with friends, adding computer players increase the number of targets, thereby making the game more fun and often more challenging. There are five levels of computer players: Stoopid, Shooter, Gunner and Sniper.
- A Stoopid Player will randomly choose power, angle and a weapon and fires haphazardly.
- A Lobber will use shields and batteries and lob the missile in the general direction of the target.
- A Shooter will use conventional shields and batteries and actually calculates trajectories but has a large margin of error.
- A Gunner will use shields and batteries and calculate the trajectory with a smaller margin of error than a Shooter.
- A Sniper will select a weapon depending on the weakness of the target and will usually hit if no dirt is in the way.
None of the computer players are very smart in the current version. They are called computer players as they don't really have any artificial intelligence. All computer players have access to an extra weapon (mini-mirv) that human players do not (as per Scorch Earth). This is an attempt to make the computer player at least interesting.
The game can be played on a single computer or over a LAN or over the internet. When playing via LAN or internet, then the computer that starts the game becomes the server. It is possible to run a server only version on a networked computer. All internet servers register with a master server so that a player can see what multiplayer games can be selected.
The game is simple to play and there are 20 levels packaged with the current release. There is also a Map Depot which has over 100 levels available for download. A level is made up of a background image and a foreground image. The background image is visual only and plays no part in the gameplay. The foreground image is the destructible dirt that the tanks move on.
A player can play the game as a free-for-all or as a team. In free-for-all there is a minimum of 2 tanks and a maximum of 8. There are only two teams, red and blue, which can have up to 4 tanks in each team. When playing in team mode an option can be set to be either ignored or do normal damage from a missile hit by a teammate.
They are unlockable hidden characters. To unlock a characters special weapon, the player needs to complete a designated task.
Unlocking conditions are:
- Unlocking Jira
- Start cash: 50000
- Rounds: 10
- Win against another sniper.
- Unlocking Richie
- Start cash: 50000
- Rounds: 10
- Win 10 rounds against 4 other snipers using only AFRAMMS
- Unlocking smackbringer
- Start cash: 50000
- Rounds: 10
- Win 10 rounds against 7 other shooters using no batteries or shields
- Unlocking shadowfang
- Start cash: 50000
- Rounds: 15 in team mode
- Win 10 rounds in a team battle with 4v4snipers. Player's team must win.
How Charred Dirt got Started
Charred Dirt started in 2001 between two Best Buy Technicians named Sean White and Jesse Davis. The Tech Bay was big on the old PC classic Scorched Earth by Wendell T. Hicken. They even had a dedicated Scorch computer made from spare parts. They all thought it would be cool if someone were to make a new version of Scorch. The next day Sean came in with a bare bones program that had two tanks on some random dirt. After several renditions, Jesse decided to give the graphics a whirl and came up with a few tank sprites and a hand drawn level. After a few months, more levels were needed. Jesse originally wanted to go with a photo montage as levels but it didn't quite match up with the cartoonish tanks. The general consensus was that the hand drawn levels looked best. Over time, charreddirt.com was acquired and we started to build a small fanbase. We also attended a few anime conventions where the game was warmly received and recognized. At this point we have an active forum and Map Depot where users can upload maps that they made for others to look at. Roughly 4 years later from its inception, Sean releases version 0.99 which was actually touted as version 1.0. However, many multiplayer features were broken in this release. Unfortunately, Sean was out of time and had to go off to game design school in Arizona. Before he left, Sean releases the source code and Charred Dirt goes open source in hopes of fans continuing the work. In 2006 finally a few fans are able to compile the source code and make some small fixes. In November 2006, Charred Dirt website Ver 2.0 is released and marks a new era for Charred Dirt. The full working version 1.0 was released in January 2007.
There are no Charred Dirt leagues. Due to the 2006 release having bugs in the network code making multiplayer unstable, thus there has been little internet play.
Availability & Development
Charred Dirt is currently distributed under the GNU Lesser General Public License and is available through the official Charred Dirt website. Charred Dirt is written in C++ and uses Allegro for rendering and FMOD for audio. In regards to development, ShadowFang the main programmer is pretty much incommunicado and is in Arizona studying game design. Smackbringer is the artist and is still working on parts of the game and the web site.
At this point, the game is done and if we're lucky, we'll get some of the bugs ironed out. It is not really in development at this stage but this depends on the response to the version 1.0 release.
- Jesse “Smackbringer” Davis, How it Started, http://www.charreddirt.com/info.html, 3 January 2007.
- Roy “MadBoyV1” Higashi, Charred Dirt Manual, (under revision for v1.0)
The following external links are sites related to Charred Dirt.
Deperm 12:55, 3 January 2007 (UTC)