Gambas Genie

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Lamp Refugee

Gambas Genie is a free software real-time strategy game engine being written by Piga Software.

It is being styled primarily after the Genie engine used in the proprietary games Age of Empires though it intended to be more expansive then that.


The engine began development in April 2007 for the purpose of the Free Empires project which is attempting a fully free as in freedom game in the style of the proprietary Age of Empires and Age of Empires II from Ensemble Studios. Two source releases for the game were released in 2007 which were mostly just demonstrating feature sets rather then being real engine pieces.

In 2008 development temporally stymied while the developers worked on other projects though work was done in the form of several technical demos.

Between May and October 2009 development became active again working on the first source release of the Lamp Refugee technical showcase for the engine.

The source release was released on October 21, 2009 and featured rudimentary gameplay such as unit training, resource gathering, attack, defense and even primitive domestic and defensive artificial intelligence.

Until the end of the year work began on the second source release which halted when the developers became distracted again with other projects.

The developers also attempted to port the engine from Gambas 1 to Gambas 2, but encountered grid problems, and attempted to segment the code, but the IDE refused to allow it.

In late August of 2010 head developer Graham Wilson decided to just write a new basis for the engine in Gambas 2 based on drawing areas for rendering to give the game transparency and environmental texturing.

Early in January 2011 the project finally returned to active development, typically worked on every Sunday, with a modualized codebase and porting and smoothing over functions from source release one.

Source release two of Lamp Refugee was released on May 8, 2011, but only became widely available on May 9. It featured cleaner code, more complete domestic functions, better environmental interactions and extended enemy artificial intelligence, as well the previously stated improvements to the codebase and graphics layer.

On October 26, 2011 a new technical demo was released demonstrating a terrain model utilizing texturing and tiling, also to eventually serve as a level editor basis.

Source release three is hoped to be out by May 8, 2012 with two-dimensional software acceleration, improved path-finding, artificial intelligence and addition of multiple levels utilizing the new code base, as well as general fixes and new multimedia.

When the engine is developed enough work on Free Empires proper will resume.


The engine is deliberately two dimensional in nature as the Piga Software staff dislike three dimensional strategy games and to be more similar to Age of Empires.

It does however, like Age of Empires, feature snapshots of pre-rendered 3D models being used in the engine's sprite engine.

The game at present is in a Warcraft-type mould of having a player faction and an enemy faction, though it also wild units supported.

The game's object placement engine is somewhat bulky at the moment so the amount of units realistically addable is limited.

As a technical test case for the engine, Lamp Refugee is going to eventually support multiple game modes including sector-based and tower defense.

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