Is the open source community in a slump?

Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Danimal » 23 Apr 2018, 22:47

Hello everyone, as the title says i have the feeling that open source and libre content has been going downhill since roughly 2 years ago. I see it very clearly on forums like this where new projects have stopped to emerge and some old ones goes into sleep.

OGA is barely receiving new quality content, Blendswap is a corpse of what it was, meanwhile sites like Sketchfab are swarming with new models of questionable sources/licenses. Has the focus of creators shifted to somewhere else? is nowadays a preference to just show how good you are at something without sharing at all? is everyone trying to sell his "blender 3D cube" in places like the Unity market?

I dont know if im being pessimistic, but im pretty sure there has been a change of flow somewhere... did unity3d devour the libre community?

I would like to hear your oppinons on the matter.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby c_xong » 23 Apr 2018, 23:48

We're past the indie boom, so this affects the open source community as well. I don't know if anyone has been around for that long, but I suspect a similar phase existed during the late 90's / early 00's as AAA first appeared and it became harder to get noticed as a small developer.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Lyberta » 24 Apr 2018, 08:12

I'd say that gaming scene got swamped by tons of asset flips. Steam and Google Play are a mess. People look at video games and see either child gambling like Star Wars: Battlefront II EA or crap such as Slaughtering Grounds and are demotivated to do anything related to gaming.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby charlie » 24 Apr 2018, 12:01

The emergence of mobile gaming and social has hit productivity. Too many people not motivated to do their own thing, and when they are it is to make a quick buck on an Android game with adverts.

Also the cryptocurrency and blockchain sphere is swallowing up all the new development talent.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 24 Apr 2018, 12:50

Yeah, seems a bit like a side effect of the post indie-boom hang-over.

However, I also noticed a trend of open-source creators posting on other places than this forum... I guess we are facing a bit of the downward spiral in regards to less activity on the forums leads to less interest for people browsing and posting on the forum and vise-versa.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Egberto » 24 Apr 2018, 15:04

Julius {l Wrote}:However, I also noticed a trend of open-source creators posting on other places than this forum... I guess we are facing a bit of the downward spiral in regards to less activity on the forums leads to less interest for people browsing and posting on the forum and vise-versa.


Seems to me that social networks in general has affected negatively forums and blogs in general.

A kind of "evolution", some new way of communication displacing an old one. Of course that social networks have the push of money and big corporations.

Now, many people think that the effort must be made in social networks (propietary or not), because are more popular and can reach more people (I wonder if quantity is better that quality).
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby onpon4 » 24 Apr 2018, 17:48

Actually, this made me a little curious about numbers of new projects from year to year, so I decided to take a look through my Libre Game Recommendations list and see what year each game was first released as libre, then plot the number of new releases each year in a spreadsheet. This is what I found (I've put it into a bar graph and a line graph):

Image

Image

I'm a little surprised by just how old these games all are. Or rather, not that they're old, just that the new ones are from 2011, not something more recent like 2015. It suggests to me that there is a much more long-standing problem of people not starting new projects, or that it takes us several years to develop games far enough for them to be really good, or perhaps there are just a bunch of games fit for the list that I've missed. So I looked at the games that are in my rejected list for incompleteness, and I was surprised to find that Hexoshi, my project, is the only one that's been started in the last eight years. The most recent one before that? OpenSurge, which is essentially an asset rewrite of OpenSonic; that project started in 2009.

I'm not sure what to make of it, but it seems a little more complicated than a smaller number of new projects and/or much more longstanding than just the last couple of years.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 24 Apr 2018, 18:21

Yeah, those numbers confirm the overall impression, however your list (even the rejected one) is definitely a bit biased towards long standing projects. Still... there is a lack of new projects. I would have guessed that Unity3D going free made quite an impact, but it seems that actually only happened early 2015... but it was probably sufficiently cheap before that and the indie boom started around the time we see a drop off in new open-source game projects in your charts.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Danimal » 24 Apr 2018, 21:34

That graphic kinds of confirms my intuition, sadly. I have to agree that the new generations are glued to android/ios systems and will of course prefer that enviroment for any personal project rather than pc; doesnt help that they are oversaturated of games and will never get fond enough of a single one to the point of wanting to replicate it or expand it further, since they have LOTS of the same style shovelware being barfed daily. I hardly doubt anything good will ever come out of there, in the case of people who has been around more time (2000s) each new game was unique due to low number of yearly published titles ; you got to love some, be it my favourite dungeon Keeper/Xcom or some CounterStrike/quake with the friends at some cyberpub. Rigth now we got lots of everything, use and dispose games (i lost count of many call of duty/assesins creed/crappy city management game with war in android ) to make some fast money. Oversaturation rigth there, why create when you can easily just get more of it? and if no creation is done, dont expect sharing by some idealistic fellows. I guess the trend is to monetify everything?

God, im rambling and feeling old...

I also noticed a trend of open-source creators posting on other places than this forum

Which are those? im a bit interested into having a look at them and see whatever new format or trend is in.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 24 Apr 2018, 23:10

Yeah, getting old and rambling :)

Reddit of most places sees quite a bit of open-source game dev talk, mainly on the sub-reddits related to large open-source engines like Godot. There is also quite a lot of activity around WebGL projects such as ThreeJS & AFrame. Some open source game devs also twitter...
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby GunChleoc » 25 Apr 2018, 11:07

I recently did a similar graph for Scottish Gaelic translation projects - we have 2 active localizers for the language. We had 2 consecutive years of tons of new projects added, and then the curve went down significantly. The reasons here are:

1. After the initial Mozilla translation, we set out doing smaller projects, so it was less words to translate per project
2. We continued to focus on bigger projects, which means less projects per translated word
3. The more projects you have, the higher the maintenance burden for updates. So, the time that I spend maintaining updates for 20+ projects, I can't spend on translating new projects. I always have a few new projects in the making, but it is taking me longer now to get the percentage to an acceptable level.

I guess it's similar for programming. Any talented developer who is involved in big long-term projects won't have much time/energy left for new projects.

There is no doubt that the online culture has changed though. I am a member of some message boards that are not FLOSS-related, and they are feeling the impact from social networks too.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby domtron » 25 Apr 2018, 19:29

It has been my opinion for a while that the indie game boom drained people from the open source game community. It got started roughly around 2010 when a bunch of indie games became successful, see wikipedia for concrete dates, which also matches that graph above. I mean before you couldn't really make a lucrative game without a big publisher and the cash needed before hand also put a damper on it, barrier to entry and all. So they team up with a bunch of others and make a FOSS game instead. Then we had Minecraft and a dozen or so other games that took off and showed people you could do it on your own. So with the choice of make stuff for free or make stuff for money most people will go for the latter. Add onto that crowdfunding and the major cash barriers are dropped.

A side note that may be a bit off topic. I think the Gaming FOSS community as a whole is very bad at making stories. We tend to focus on implementing code the "right way" and end up re-inventing the wheel over and over. We sometimes produce interesting mechanics, but rarely a good story. The only FOSS game I can think of off the top of my head that beats this is Battle for Wesnoth which has an ok amount of lore surrounding the core campaigns but provides a lot of good stories both from the core content and the stuff put out by the greater community. Also maybe Starfighter and possibly Planeshift if you will accept that as FOSS both had decent story elements IMHO. Indie games almost always tell a compelling story with a secondary focus on mechanics, with a few exceptions like Minecraft and Space Engineers and then they really go overboard on the mechanics. The only other FOSS games I can think of with a good story are all remakes/engine remakes that copy the commercial game's story.

The most recent FOSS game that has gone anywhere that I can think of is DDA. That had the beginnings of NPCs and quests and has some decent story lore, but Quests never went anywhere and the lore is such a hodge-podge of mixed stuff that you can't really follow any of the threads anywhere. Which is fine I suppose since the mechanics are awesome :D but it is an example of my point.


Another OT-ish side comment. I think flash games kind-of evolved into the indie game market. Pre-indie you had: AAA with decent story and massive budgets, FOSS with decent mechanics and extensible, and then Flash games that were limited by their tech but often had decent mechanics and a complete story.

And I took way too much time writing that instead of programming. :P
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby themightyglider » 25 Apr 2018, 19:56

I agree with domtron. The indie boom hit FOSS gaming and also the whole amateur game dev community.
Before 2010 I can remember a lot of sites full of freeware games made by people as their hobby project. After the success of a few indie titles many young devs think about going indie and dream of the same success like this games had.
Adom is a good example for this. In the 90s it was a hobby project, then it was abando ed for something like 10 years. When the indie boom came the original developer started a crowdfunding campain to revive it and now it is sold for 15$ on steam.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby leilei » 26 Apr 2018, 02:13

I don't post progress much because i've got a few obsessed people that take my WIPs (and UNRELATED FANART WIPs) and start mass-tagging uninvolved people as if they're marketing on behalf and I don't want to feed them. :/


There's also a few social issues on this forum, like whenever any discussion of gender(TW: transphobia) or sexism happens. You can't simply brush that under the rug. This shouldn't be FerengiGameDev.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby onpon4 » 26 Apr 2018, 04:43

leilei {l Wrote}:There's also a few social issues on this forum, like whenever any discussion of gender(TW: transphobia) or sexism happens. You can't simply brush that under the rug.

What's wrong with those links? Neither of these involved "brush[ing] under the rug". One of them had a moderator telling you to stop derailing and start a new thread, but that's standard practice in any forum. It's meant to keep topics organized.

I don't know why you're bringing this up, though, unless you're trying to suggest that 2011 was when sexism somehow skyrocketed and drove all the women away.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby domtron » 26 Apr 2018, 05:01

leilei {l Wrote}:I don't post progress much because i've got a few obsessed people that take my WIPs (and UNRELATED FANART WIPs) and start mass-tagging uninvolved people as if they're marketing on behalf and I don't want to feed them. :/


Sorry not familiar with your work. I'm guessing you are an artist based on the above? That is really unfortunate you feel you can't release stuff because of the reaction. we really need more artist work in FOSS games. :/ Are they overbearing fans or are they being critical to your work? If the former, I'm not at all familiar with the situation as I don't have followers, but have you tried talking with them to tone it down?



leilei {l Wrote}:There's also a few social issues on this forum, like whenever any discussion of gender(TW: transphobia) or sexism happens. You can't simply brush that under the rug.


On the second link, saying that was "brushing it under the rug" seems to be a rather unfair accusation, don't you think? It was starting to go off-topic, from FOSS games in media to Sexism in FOSS, and further discussion of sexism was proactively offered through the creation of a new thread in one of the indicated boards. I mean if that discussion had continued it A) would hurt the discussion of sexisum since people wouldn't beable to find it easily and B) hurts the current thread since it derails it. Both those would apply here as well though less so as you could equate that sexism is part of the cause for the decline in FOSS activity. But seriously if you have some stuff to discuss about sexism in FOSS make a thread, put in specific examples, and we can try to formulate solutions. As someone who wants to get some of his ideas into functioning FOSS projects I would love to hear balanced ways to improve the experience for any participants.

I'm rather confused about the first link as I read it at the time is was happening and again just now and it looks like a perfectly civil conversation. The only thing I can think you mean is that some people there expressed the opinion that more than 2 genders is purely politically driven. To call that transphobia seems disingenuous as it isn't an attack on transgendered people, but the idea of transgender. A racist attacks a person based on their race. A person who attacks the idea of race isn't a racist.

Anyway in general I haven't seen any brushing under the rug of topics around here except anyone trying to sell/talk about proprietary games. XD I've seen sweeping under the rug in other communities and that involves actively deleting posts, hiding topics in secondary out of the way places, and the like. Actually was just watching a youtube video about heavy community censoring (FYI, not a FOSS game): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nzJQE3w1o4

TL;DR please, please do create threads dedicated to the above topics if you feel they are an issue that can be benefited by discussion.

Also I am getting very off topic... Was just feeling distressed by the defeatist sound of your post. :/ Please don't ban me mods. ;.; O.O



On topic: How does one combat the current slump? Just wait it out? Do marketing, social networking, or something? I mean most people even among the internet crowd don't know what Open source means let alone the FOSS acronyme.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby onpon4 » 26 Apr 2018, 05:46

One thing that could improve things would be to run contests for libre games.

Just in general, learning from fangaming communities might be beneficial. One thing I've suggested is having an annual or semi-annual "libre game expo" type thing, where games you're working can be showed off and people come have a look for fun activities and to see what's happening in libre game development. I would suggest such things as a stream that shows someone "let's playing" the games, an award for the best project of the event, and for online games, little "tournaments" or other online play get-togethers. I got this idea from something sort of similar to that centered around Nintendo fangames.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 26 Apr 2018, 11:13

On the transgender topic (but it is getting quite OT): I recently read an interesting article on how there is a much higher percentage of transgender persons who are also autistic or have various degrees of Asperger syndrome than compared to the general population. It isn't entirely known yet why this is the case, but I think a community like ours that clearly caters to people on the latter spectrum should be careful in not alienating those falling into both. But overall (relatively speaking), I think we are not doing so badly on that front.

@onpon4: Yes I like the idea of those online expos. It is definitely something I have in mind for this community, but right now I am somewhat busy with setting up another unrelated web-community and also lately got distracted with WebVR stuff. And I am going on longer holidays next month :)

As for competitions... I liked the recent Github one, as it was quite high profile and didn't take the open-source requirement too strictly. I know this caused some controversy here, but I see these competitions more as entry point events to get people involved in open-source game development that are not yet part of the "converted". Therefore it also doesn't make much sense to organize them here, as the number of participants would be low and it would be "preaching to the already converted"... (side note: I don't particularly like the religion metaphor when it comes to FOSS... but it seemed to fit best here).

As for ways out of the slump: I think one of the problems it that most of our members are older and thus a bit "stuck" in regular desktop (online) games. However this field is extremely dominated by big budget AAA production these days and also does not cater much to modding anymore (a big entry point to open-source game development in the 2000s).

IMHO the more vital open-source communities right now are around web-based stuff, a bit like the old Flash games previously mentioned. To a lesser extend also mobile stuff, but this also suffers from an overabundance of cheap commercial games. Social gaming experiences (not really games in the strict sense), especially in the VR and AR area also seem to attract a some attention of "fresh" open-source developers these days and have a high overlap with the skill set required for making games.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby charlie » 26 Apr 2018, 14:31

domtron {l Wrote}:How does one combat the current slump? Just wait it out? Do marketing, social networking, or something? I mean most people even among the internet crowd don't know what Open source means let alone the FOSS acronyme.

The forum was definitely benefiting from actively maintaining the Free Gamer blog. It needs a lightening rod of sorts to bring new people to it. Currently that is just organic - Google searches etc.

I just don't have time to do the blog at the moment. I really wanted to pioneer a happypenguin-like site for submissions to replace the blog; one day, I hope, one day.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby themightyglider » 26 Apr 2018, 19:56

I like the idea of a libre gaming expo! This would be something I would take one or two days off for.
Another thing that could help people to start new projects would be a game jam with the goal of producing the prototype of a new FOSS game within some weeks. Maybe some of this prototypes could grow and become real games. Maybe such a game jam could be combined with the expo. The entries could be lets played for a few minutes each one and the best would be honored.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby onpon4 » 26 Apr 2018, 23:35

Yeah, that would be nice too. I like the idea of promoting it as making prototypes; that would encourage experimentation with potentially interesting new concepts, which is exactly the kind of thing libre software is really good at.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby domtron » 27 Apr 2018, 03:04

We, as in this forum, could do something similar. Do an annual or biannual event where we throw around some ideas in a dedicated forum thread, see if anything sticks, then try to put together a prototype. Sort of like a game jam but the whole community works on one game. Give it maybe a month before we "cut it off". Then show it off around the FOSS community if it is of decent quality or at least interesting.

Though I foresee issues on agreeing what engine or even language to use. :P
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby eugeneloza » 27 Apr 2018, 10:04

Explains quiet a bit to me, if the pattern is valid, then we're up to face a new boom (it should have already started in 2013-2014 and unwrapped to full in 2016-2017, bringing "fruits" in 2020-2024). E.g. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander ... citability
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 27 Apr 2018, 10:38

Well that second peak would explain the indie boom & bust :p However taking that thought further, it would mean that the next cycle can be again "captured" by a different field... maybe VR & AR.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby shirish » 16 May 2018, 16:17

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