This week, you get a bit of a break from the deluge of Anarchy Online related posts. That break comes in the form of GalaxyMage, another entry into the ever-growing lineup of Open Source strategy games, but this one's got a twist. GalaxyMage takes the form of a Strategy RPG (although the GM team seems to prefer the term "tactical RPG"), much like Final Fantasy Tactics and mostly everything Nippon Ichi has ever done.
It's no surprise that I downloaded GalaxyMage the minute, no the second, no the very millisecond I saw it pop up on the Tome. Chances are, between the Playstation and GBA versions of Final Fantasy Tactics, I've spent more time playing those games than I have breathing. Really, this is the kind of project I've been waiting for someone to start (and have thought about starting myself) for years. I would have found myself quite inconsolable if, after all these years spent twitching in anticipation, the game was a turd.
Luckily, it's not. GalaxyMage is still in a very early state - the sprite graphics have been taken from Wesnoth and the maps aren't anything that's going to knock you out of your chair - but, it's completely playable. Not that half-assed "Well, it's playable online if you know your friend's IP address" crap either, its got AI. This is a far cry from most of GalaxyMage's Open Source brethren, and earns the game a huge amount of brownie points in my book.
If you've ever played Final Fantasy Tactics, you'll be able to play the game as soon as you find out what key does what. The battle system is nearly identical, of course with the names of skills and such things changed. There seems to be, as far as I can tell, no character advancement system in the game at this point in time, but I'm sure that one is planned.
You'll probably see me writing about this game again - probably more than once. As good as GalaxyMage is in such an early state, it looks like the Wesnoth team may have some competition for the top of the Linux strategy heap on the way.