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Boro-Toro: Blender game a winner in British 'Dare to be Digital' contest


"Help the Boros reclaim their precious artefact and solve the mystery of the Starlight Isles. You will face unique and challenging puzzles that will require all your logic and reasoning skills; often there is not just one solution to the problem you face."

Here's the introduction of one of the most original Blender games I've seen so far. It was created by a team of only five people during the high-profile British 'Dare to be Digital' contest.

We talked to Graham Ranson to find out how he and his team used Blender.

Graham writes:

I thought you and your readers may be interested that I have just finished taking part in a games development competition as part of the group DarkMatter Designs. The competition is called Dare to be Digital, and we used Blender as our game engine. We were one of the three winning teams and thought that as we used Blender it might spur a bit of interest in the engine.

More info about the competition can be found at and we have some videos up of our game and development process at


Trailer - Avi version [21MB]

Q: Why did you choose Blender for this project?

A: We decided to use Blender primarily for the physics engine and also because of the rapid prototyping.

Throughout the course of development we had lots of ups and downs in regards to the engine but I believe that we couldn't of got the game completed as well as we did if we had just used something like OGRE or XNA like the other teams in the competition.

Q: Were you all familiar with Blender when you started? If not, was it hard to learn?

A: I had only heard of Blender as a 3D modelling and animation tool as had the rest of the team. It was only by chance we found out about Blender Game Engine (a few days into the competition we still hadn't got an engine until we stumbled upon Blender). We managed to get stuff up and running very quickly which was useful because we changed lots of the design quite regularly throughout development and Blender allowed us to do this relatively easily. None of us had ever used Python before but the other programmers and myself picked it up quickly because of its similarity to other languages.

Q: Were you aware of the Blender Institute working on their game 'Yo Frankie!' at the same time? Did you contact them for any help along the way?

We kept up to date with the progress of the Apricot project because when ever we saw something new come from them it spurred us on to think that if they can do that we should be able to make something pretty special as well. Although we never asked them for help I believe we borrowed a texture from their repository (fully credited of course).

Q: Is this related to 'Gamers get creative - Blender on the BBC, again!'?

Yea that news report is us, we are the team from Wolverhampton (I'm the guy with dreadlocks).

Q: What's next?

A: As for the future, we're currently looking into our options, we will probably be going down the route of the newly announced XBOX Live Community Games just so that we are able to gain some more exposure for the game and then hopefully we can find a way onto WiiWare. So watch this space :-)

Q: Is there a downloadable/playable version of the game somewhere?

A: If you want to play the game you can download it here [100MB RAR, Windows .exe] - and you will also need python. I don't know the exact rules or anything but basically the rights to all game materials and resources etc are all currently the intellectual property of the organisers of the competition so they are not in the public domain.

In order to run the game you will need to run the BoroToro_Keyboard.exe

If you have a wii remote, nunchuk, sensor bar and bluetooth adapter you can play the game with your those, in order to do that you will need to pair the wii remote to your PC as you would usually and then run the Wii_Below.exe or Wii_Above.exe depending on the position of the sensor bar. If all is well the wii remote should rumble for a second. Once that is done just run the BoroToro_Wii.exe

The controls for the wii version are displayed in game but they are not for the keyboard version. If I remember correctly the controls should be:

  • Player movement: Left and right arrow
  • Cursor movement: Mouse
  • Grab object: Left mouse button (hold to grab, release to let go)
  • Jump: Right mouse button (double click for double jump)
  • Rotate object: Up and down arrow (while holding an object)
  • Free camera look: Hold the C key and move the mouse around

I think that should be it.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. As blender game engine is licensed under the GPL, and it includes itself into the binary. dousen't that also meen that any distributions require full source code, also licensed under the GPL?

  2. It looks like lost wind for wiiware, a somewhat new game that has been a hit in the wii through the wiiware service.
    I must say it looks increidible.

    Keep up the good Work


  3. @hessies: that would only apply to the sourcecode of Blender, not to the sourcefiles of the game. As they're using an unmodified version of Blender the sourcecode is readily available so I don't see a problem there.

  4. #Hessiess

    Short answer: no.

    Longer answer: no, because the gamefile is seen as a 'result' of blender - just like a rendering [the gamefile only includes the binary]. This is as indented, which is good, since it means that people can make money on Blender made games.

    to expand this: if they used a modified version of Blender [modified by them self], they wouldn't have to supply the code, unless they wished for the version of blender to be used outside their "organization".

    Wanna

  5. I think hessiess is right, a runtime made with blender includes the blenderplayer, which is under GPL, so the whole executable is under GPL. And as the executable is available, the source code must be available too.

    from the link you put : "With stand-alone games however, any data that is included inside the
    actual stand-alone executable is covered by the GPL, if this is a
    problem then you should set up the stand-alone player so it reads from
    external .blend files."

    A .blend file could be under proprietary license, even if everyone could open it.

    Or if I misunderstood something tell me...

  6. From the link Kunisch provided: "With stand-alone games however, any data that is included inside the actual stand-alone executable is covered by the GPL, if this is a problem then you should set up the stand-alone player so it reads from
    external .blend files."

    So yeah, if they made an executable with the Blender player and distribute that version, their work is GPL also. A lot of people aren't aware of that.

  7. Very cool! It's great that Blender GE was used as part of Dare To Be Digital, hopefully this will encourage it's use in future competitions. I really like the use of physics, and the 2D in 3D look.

    Regarding the GPL license, I think that this is only the start of people enquiring, as it gets used more and more.

    Blender *really* needs to allow game developers to create games and release them, without calls for them to release their source code if they don't want to ( or can't, eg if their paying client wants everything kept closed ).

    If someone did push for the source code for this game using the GPL license, and the case wasn't clear cut regarding their rights, it could put off Dare To Be Digtial teams from using it next year.

    Hopefully some-one can clear this up, or the GE license can be changed to BSD ( as was mentioned at a previous IRC meeting at )


  8. Well, the video now autoplays once and then stops, but the music seems to continue. It's not a big problem, because obviously I've got a mute button on my computer, but I've got a sleeping baby at the moment, so I'm kind of sensitive to automatic music playing sites.

    But really, this game does look very cool.

  9. Wow, nice one.

    Bart, GPL discussion will spoil the fun again? Has Blender changed the GPL licensing for the game engine? In the past I discussed it with many people and everyone told me that because the generated executable included GPL code the whole file became GPL. (It was even in the FAQ for blender. If you would want to keep your content out of GPL you had to separate the scripting/graphic content altogether from the executable.

    And you might think a license discussion would spoil the fun again it's important enough to be ignored. But as I understand it right now they changed something so it would be legal now to create a closed source game with the Blender engine?

    Please Bart, understand that not the discussion but the license restriction posed from the FAQ is spoiling the fun. Ignoring it completely is like ignoring the small print in some contract that after a fact turns out you gave everything away when you signed. I agree it would take some of the fun away from some excellent game published with Blender but it's still important people know it and the information is spread correct.

    Unless the Blender guys officially make it an exception to the GPL license please make sure people know the correct information and please don't get ticked off about it... it's one of my big reservations for using the Blender game engine to the fullest without going down the path of supplying the plain .blend files. (Please ask Ton to include an exception to the GPL for the BGE output.)

  10. Reynante Martinez on

    Wow, I'm so itching to try this out! Thanks so much! These are the type of games I love a lot! I needn't worry about the perspective, the sidescroll type would do just fine, actually it's a perfect combo! Thanks! ^_^

  11. Looking through the files, most of the graphics seem to be separate, however i cannot find any model files, which likely means there compiled into one of the executables, which one, and if it includes GPL code I don't know.

  12. Sorry if license related talk offend someone, but...

    Maybe instead of GPL exception it would be better if Game Engine runtime license would be changed to LGPL. This way anyone could license his game as he wish, but in case he modifies actual runtime code in some way, he has to give these changes back (not the game) to blender. Just a thought.

    PS. game looks great!

  13. Great game project, cool interview! :)

    For GPL discussions everyone's welcome to join our developer channel or mailing list. Be assured it's a regular topic we review.
    But since it comes up here anyway: Changing blender's license - if we want it even - isn't trivial at all, we have to go back to every contributor including the original copyright holder. For now I rather help people exploring how to make money within the GPL, which is well possible. I've also asked the FSF to clarify some of the nasty bits related to Python scripts and .blend files. When there's official news, I'll try to get it posted here. Nice topic for when Bart's on holiday! ;)


  14. This game reminds me (in concept) to Little Big Planet.

    Come to think of it, with its physic engine, I think the BGE would be awesome to make a LBP-like game...

    Fun, with cute characters, and physics everywhere (I'm sure the Bullet team would love that too)

  15. Vassilios Boucer on

    Very Cool Game!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Reminds me to "Phun 2D Physics Engine"!
    (How you grab objects and move around and other things!)

  16. I notices that a lot of attention in developing blender is in gaming than just upgrade it,but it help anyway.
    I was thinking if the developer improve GLSL system to level were particle and hair is supported. it can be
    use as real time rendering,instead of paying for rendering farm time.

  17. They can release the source code and still make money by licensing the artwork under a more restrictive license.

    Because they didn't released the source code the only way of me playing their game would be by installing Microsoft Windows (which I won't do).

  18. Wow, that is a great trailer and a game well done!

    Another motivation to continue working on the Bullet physics engine and Blender game engine.
    I would support having a game player that plays .blend files under a BSD/MIT/Zlib license.

    Thanks for the nice interview, Bart!

  19. I could live with zlib.

    But I think it should be this: If you make changes that alter the way blender works share them. If you don't who ares.

    GPL is always talking about freedom, but freedom has 2 sides. (the freedom not to share/give credit is what I am getting at :))

  20. 1. Fix the licence issues. Ask Ton if you need help.
    2. Why is it Windows only? Blender works on more plattforms.
    3. The game looks very interesting and I like to play it. (But can't because I'm using Linux.)

    4. and off Topic. The source code of the (Blender) game levelHead is now publically available under the GPL3. All art assets are provided under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license. More Infos here:

  21. Bart said:
    "Wow, GPL discussions spoil all the fun once again. Amazing."

    What actually spoils the fun for me is the fact that I can't play this game, since I don't use Windows. Discussion about the license is all that's left, and like Logan I also feel that it's important to inform and not just ignore the license as it is now. I'm sorry if that annoys you, that wasn't my intention.

  22. Wow!! That really is well done.
    People already likened it to the LostWind game on Wii and in my inexperienced opinion, this game for a limited amount of Wii points (say 100-200) would be acceptable value (I don't know how many levels there are as I got stuck in the dead tree scene (the one with the weights). Hint anyone?
    For me it's the most complete and accomplished BGE game I know. (There is lot of fun mini-games and I never got to see/play SiloRacer, so this one here wins...)

  23. Thank you everyone for all the positive feedback, it's great to see people liking the game.

    I'll try to answer some questions here and if you want to contact me further about anything then just fire off an email to grumlaut AT googlemail DOT com

    First off, the reason it is for windows only was first off due to the nature of the competition we would only be demonstrating the game to the public on Windows machines so it would of been a waste of our very limited time to go for cross platform. The other reason is that again due to the lack of time I only wrote a very poor implementation for using the Wii Remote and as it was it was very platform dependant. I am sorry to hear that people won't be able to play the game due to this.

    I would also like to see a lot more levels for the game (we had loads planned) but as it was only meant to be a demo with about 5 minutes of gameplay we decided to cut alot out so that we were able to focus on creating a small but polished game.

    During the 3 day event at the end we were constantly being likened to things like Little Big Planet and LostWind, in fact we were being likened to LBG from about week 2 of development, at first we were annoyed but then we took it as a compliment that we were being likened to a game that had been in development for so long when we had only just started.

    As for liking it to Phun, again that was actually an inspiration for the game. The designer / project lead for our team (Adam Westwood) wanted to take the open ended physics part of games like Phun but make them into more of a game and less of a tech demo. His first idea was to mix it with Samarost to make something of a physics based point and click game, and he hadn't even heard of Little Big Planet when he was designing it.

    As for the error, what exactly is it specifying can't load. As the only problem we had with starting the game up was when Python hadn't been installed.

    Again, thanks for all the feedback,


    Programmer, DarkMatter Designs

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