Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Postby themightyglider » 04 Jul 2017, 02:15

Lately there have been some discussions on this forum where people talked about successful FOSS games.
If I think about this I come to a point where I ask my self, how to define the success of a free game.
For a commercial game it's easy to say a game is successful if it's creator earns some money with it. But even there are lot games that sell a lot of copies but are forgotten fast. So what does success mean in a long run? Maybe to build an active comunity around a game?
What do you think?
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Re: Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Postby Duion » 04 Jul 2017, 11:33

Thats simple, you go by sales and active players, it is even the same definition on commercial games.
Steam statistics are even avaiable to the public so you can see any time exactly how successfull each game is, there is no need to argue over definitions if you have measureable numbers.
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Re: Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Postby Arthur » 04 Jul 2017, 11:35

In my mind a free and open source game is successful if it continues being developed (beyond just bugfixes, unless it's truly feature complete) should one or more of its developers leave. I.e. the game was interesting enough that it doesn't simply disappear with the people who are making it at the moment.

By this definition, the question becomes is it successful if its developer(s) leave and it lays dormant for ten years and someone picks it up again... I'd say if that much time goes by without development, probably not.

Anyway, if the "bus factor" is one, then the project is constantly on the brink of dying as well. Not mainly because the developer is mortal, but because life often gets in the way. Family, health, interests, a lot of things can change and cause the project to come to a halt. But because it is open source, someone else can pick it up again... a lot of times this doesn't happen in a reasonable timeframe and then the project can't be said to be successful in my opinion.
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Re: Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Postby Julius » 04 Jul 2017, 11:36

For multi-player games I would say "number of users", especially those playing online and thus making it possible to always join some public games and play with other people. Of course at a certain point it is "diminishing returns" i.e. it does not really matter if there are a hundred or a thousand servers with players online at the same time.

For single player games it is a bit more difficult as it could also be about telling a story to a niche audience or something like that.
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Re: Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Postby Lyberta » 04 Jul 2017, 22:40

Are we back to this discussion again?

To me a successful multiplayer game is the one where there are at least one server that has players 24/7.
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Re: Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Postby Julius » 05 Jul 2017, 21:13

[Removed a bunch of more or less off-topic posts full of personal attacks, @Duion: last warning or you will get banned @Charlie: can't ban you but you arn't much better :p ]
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Re: Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Postby themightyglider » 05 Jul 2017, 22:14

@Julius:
Thanks for keeping this topic clean.

So far it seems that my thesis was right and a active community seems to be the most important factor to determine the success of a FOSS game. (Not that surprising if you think about it.)

So I would say a libre game is succesful if it attracts enough people to build a community/fanbase and is able to keep this people interested on the long run.
A non-free game not necessarily needs to keep people interested, because it's main goal is to generate profit for it's creators. A short hype whit a lot of sold units would be enough to make it profitable.
So FOSS gaming is more about substained yield. I like this thogth. :)
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Re: Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Postby charlie » 05 Jul 2017, 22:57

@Julius: I disagree, I never insulted other projects nor made stuff up relentlessly :P

On topic: this is hard to define because success comes in many forms. Is getting into the Debian repos a success? There's plenty of games that likely hardly get touched but are maintained as part of a wider collection of software. Or reaching a somewhat final form? Or getting contributions from somebody other than the original author? I might make a small game and consider just a single other person enjoying it to be fulfilling. Some people expect 1000s to like their game and feel distraught when it doesn't catch on with more than a small base.
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Re: Definition of a successful FOSS game?

Postby themightyglider » 05 Jul 2017, 23:31

A good community is not necessarily a big one but a activ one.
It's also a good thing if people can be attracted that haven't been involved in free software before.

For example Minetest has a very good community in my eyes.
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