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Today thanks to a game developer, I was made aware of Solarus. It's a cross-platform free and open source game engine, that's designed for people making 2D action-RPGs.

Sounds actually quite good too. Using an engine is programmed in C++, with the SDL library and an OpenGL back-end. The actual games made with it they call "quests" and you make them with Lua, so the game engine does the majority of the heavy lifting for developers—that's the aim at least.

They even have their own cool overview video to show it off a little, and we all know how a little fancy marketing can go a long way:

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For users, it comes with its own specialized launcher to play games made with it, the aptly named Solarus Launcher which you can grab as a Snap across many Linux distributions. Everything about it is cross-platform too with support for Linux, macOS, Windows, BSD, Android soon too.

Last month, they announced that Solarus Labs had been formed as a legally existing non-profit organization to give it some proper backing. To be clear, it remains free and open source but with the proper paperwork in place they can now properly and legally take donations for it.

Find out more on the official site.

I'll be speaking to a developer who is actually using it too in another article to come, so stay tuned for that.

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Nezchan 9 Mar, 2020
Just took another shot at Solarus, and gamepad support is still apparently non-functional. I tried "Zelda Mystery of Solarus DX", which claims to have gamepad support, but apparently it doesn't. After getting through the intro and hitting D (as quite a long search through forums finally told me to do), it gave me options to map my gamepat buttons.

Which...was non-functional. I tried Steam Controller, XBox 360 pad and a PS2 controller, and it didn't recognize inputs from any of them. As playing a Zelda-esque game with keyboard only sounds like pure torture, I'm going to call Solarus non-functional in terms of playing games.

I did find a forum post from last October that refers to some mysterious "software" application where joypad permissions are turned off, but there's really nothing that explains what that is or where to find it, which is utterly ridiculous.
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