Is the open source community in a slump?

Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby themightyglider » 16 May 2018, 22:44

I'm not sure what you try to express in this article but to me the most important point you miss is that a game like 'Dead in Vinland' could be made as a FOSS project. But why dosen't this happen? I guess because many people belive that their game could be the next big indie hit. So they start them as comercial closed source projects. Before the indie boom many games like this would have been hobby projects and some of them FOSS. Our community needs entusiasts that start projecs. Some of them may grow then.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby DMJC » 17 May 2018, 19:49

Yes, the open source gaming community is in a slump and the reason is quite simple: Open Source Developers. I'll explain, for the past 20 years there has been a ridiculous number of open source game engines being made, yet there is never a triple-A quality mod being made with these engines aside from the Doom/Quake series of games. Why? Simply put: The developer tools for Linux games suck (Quake is a rare exception to this because of GTKRadiant). Another great example of this is Freespace 2, which has over 50GB of fan-made content available online. Why does Freespace 2 have so much? It shipped with a WYSIWYG Mission editor as well as graphical tools for importing art assets and editing weapon mount points, energy shield meshes, docking points etc, things that none of the open source games have. I suggest you do a google search for FRED2 Mission Editor and Pof Construction Suite 2 to get an idea of what I'm talking about.

If you want to make a game for Linux, you basically have to know how to program in C/C++/Python. There are no WYSIWYG editors for missions for flight games/space flight games. This is what killed Vegastrike. The main developer moved onto a career in Dropbox after completing his postgrad research and didn't create any tools for mission editing. As a result, all interest in the project dried up as the developer would no longer add features to the engine, and without his assistance, no one could learn how to/continue making missions. What Linux/Open Source gaming needs desperately is better tools, we need a good program for editing textures. After you've put your model through Blender/Maya and set up the UV coordinates, we need a model viewer that lets you turn textures on/off like layers, and which supports light/normal/bump/displacement etc maps. This application should automatically reload selected textures when the window gains focus. On a dual monitor setup you would have the GIMP on one screen editing the textures, on the other screen you would have this model viewer open. When you save your image in GIMP and click on the viewer screen, the textures will reload automatically updating the model in real-time to show your changes. This program needs to be well documented and have support for the most common 3d model formats, .3ds, obj, blender, and a few other formats. We need tools to add gun/missile mount points on battlemechs and spaceships. Programming that stuff manually is hard. Being able to click/place with the mouse, and fine tune with X/Y/Z coordinates is a tonne easier. Being able to drag/drop an asset into a 3D scene is a lot easier than trying to edit some abstract python script. Freespace 2 embeds the game engine directly into a GUI window. It then draws buttons and menus around that window which you interact with. To add a ship, select it from the drop down menu and ctrl-click in the 3d scene to add it. It's dead simple. There's dialogs for editing stats/events. Even a campaign editor for linking missions together with variables. Importantly though it's all graphical. There's even sourcecode available if you want inspiration.

I come from an Open Source art background. I worked on Vegastrike's Wing Commander mods for years. I originally worked on Freespace 2 modding and it was a night and day difference. Vegastrike's engine had all the bells and whistles, but ultimately the engine was unusable because of the lack of tools. I would happily trade the Vegaogre engine upgrade attempt for some actual modding tools. It is frustrating having watched the same mistakes being remade every year for the past 17 years. The successful games all have editor tools, the unsuccessful ones don't. Programmers need to ditch the idea that shader 5.x will make their game popular, it won't. Unless you have good artist/storytelling tools to go with the engine's graphics capabilities we will be stuck with Open Sourced commercial engines and commercial engine remakes for the next 20 years.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Lyberta » 18 May 2018, 10:10

DMJC {l Wrote}:(Quake is a rare exception to this because of GTKRadiant).


Really? I've looked at NetRadiant that Xonotic uses and it is very user-unfriendly.

DMJC {l Wrote}:There are no WYSIWYG editors for missions for flight games/space flight games.


Yes. Good engine should have tools inside it. For some reason people create external tools that are less usable. MegeGlest and 0 A.D. have editors that use wxWidgets, etc. Only Cube 2 and Tesseract engines have good editors.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby onpon4 » 18 May 2018, 16:04

Things like built-in level editors are much harder to make than you might assume. It's much easier to just use something that already exists and work around any limitations or clunkiness. That's why I use Tiled despite my frustration that its author won't stabilize the TMX format.

Not only that, making an editor easier to use often involves quite bad trade-offs. Things like loss of optimizations, the editor being more difficult to work with for experienced users, or an inability to do some things the engine supports.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Lyberta » 19 May 2018, 13:19

onpon4 {l Wrote}:Things like built-in level editors are much harder to make than you might assume.


Yes, but you are trading your own laziness for other people's suffering. Not something I want to do.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby onpon4 » 19 May 2018, 14:37

No, it's not "laziness". It's prioritizing. Actually making a complete game that's fun to play is much more important than making an easy to understand level editor that creates really poorly performing levels and lacks important features that I have to use (in short, I won't have a use for it). This is especially true because very few if any people are at all interested in making levels, and very few of those who are interested will make levels that are any good. And those few who will make good levels aren't going to be deterred by level editors not being pretty and easy to learn.

For what it's worth, you gave MegaGlest's map editor as an example of a bad one, yet I've used it multiple times and find it gets the job done just fine. In fact, if the interface to make and edit maps was some kind of pretty 3-D WYSIWYG thing that I have to constantly scroll through and that takes me 2 hours to use, that's the sort of thing that would deter me from making maps and scenarios. Sometimes, simple and efficient is better than pretty and easy to learn.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 20 May 2018, 05:18

Yes artist tool-chains have always been a problem, but this is probably less of a problem today than it was 10 years ago, so it doesn't explain the current slump :p

The only way it could explain it would be if the editors of commercial engines got disproportionally so much better that this draws people away from FOSS games. This might explain it a bit, but now thinking about it... the bigger issue is probably the easy to use and cheap high quality assets you can get in the Unity store that makes creating nice looking prototypes much easier.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Danimal » 20 May 2018, 20:23

Regarding Unity, today browsing the forum i couldnt help but notice the hostility towards everything thats its not purely libre software; i think the standart should be lowered to allow more people to join and make their own project thread; i for one am sure if i ever decide to start my own game i will use Unity, the advantages to newbies are great and many. And i wont dare to show it here even if everything else (except the engine) is openly licensed since i know the treatement it will get.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby eugeneloza » 21 May 2018, 07:01

Danimal {l Wrote}:Regarding Unity, today browsing the forum i couldnt help but notice the hostility towards everything thats its not purely libre software.

Well, browsing a commercial game forum I see the same level of hostility towards Unity (including overloading CPU on idle (mining?) and sending unspecified players data (claimed to be statistics) to untrusted servers). Sure it's easier to use something that just works (e.g. I'm already 2 years all-out remaking the GUI again and again - instead of having fun writing the game itself). But "free" in Unity comes for a very high price, it might be cheaper to actually pay.
What my game (but maybe all FOSS solutions) really lacks in comparison to Unity is ready-to-use assets. It takes several hours to export a single "game-ready" model from blend-swap into the game correctly, a bit faster with images/sound/music, but also no push-and-play solutions here. And that's another reason commercial guys also hate Unity - most of the games are made by just constantly reusing the same content rendering a horde visually similar, beautiful, but really unplayable games actually choking indy developers by forcing them to invest time and money into marketing instead of gameplay.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Lyberta » 21 May 2018, 07:21

Danimal {l Wrote}:Regarding Unity, today browsing the forum i couldnt help but notice the hostility towards everything thats its not purely libre software;


Because this site is called Free Game Dev. We have offtopic forum for non-free stuff.

Danimal {l Wrote}:i think the standart should be lowered


No way. We are not the traitors from the Open Source movement such as Linux Torvalds, Eric S Raymond, Google and others. Look what they've done. Linux kernel, Ubuntu, Android. All the abominations that come with tons of proprietary crap shoved down people's throats.

I'm glad there is a place like this where we actually care about freedom. I compose music and there is no place dedicated to free music. The closest thing is https://libremusicproduction.com/ but it features proprietary LinuxSampler: https://libremusicproduction.com/tools/linuxsampler I've tried to point out about it in the comments and see what reply I got:

LinuxSampler FAQ says: Can I use LinuxSampler for commercial music production? Hell yes! So, for a musician or a producer, LinuxSampler is free.


Yeah, right. however:
[*] LinuxSampler is licensed under the GNU GPL with the exception that USAGE of the source code, libraries and applications FOR COMMERCIAL HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE PRODUCTS IS NOT ALLOWED without prior written permission by the LinuxSampler authors. If you have questions on the subject, that are not yet covered by the FAQ, please contact us.


Bastards. I'm so tired of people trying to take away my freedom. I have to wage war constantly just to feel safe. I'm tired. I want a safe place.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 21 May 2018, 07:42

Note by moderator: while Lyberta (or anyone else) is very much welcome to post about her opinions (without trolling) regarding FOSS on this forum, they at best represent those of a tiny (vocal) minority. I think the majority and certainly us moderators are fine with less "pure" open-source projects as long as the effect is not to intentionally circumvent liberties that the open-source and freesoftware movement were build on.
@Lyberta: please tone down the swearing, so that others can also feel a bit safer around here :)
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Lyberta » 21 May 2018, 07:58

Julius {l Wrote}:as long as the effect is not to intentionally circumvent liberties that the open-source and freesoftware movement were build on.


Is this intentional circumvention? https://redeclipse.net/wiki/Multiplayer_Guidelines
If the source code of the server is modified substantially you must contact the Red Eclipse Team to check that the changes are permitted.
The server must honour the auth system, allowing global bans and grant the correct access by the Red Eclipse Team, or moderators assigned by them.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 21 May 2018, 08:26

This is getting OT and we had that discussion before. I personally think it is a borderline case and the Red Eclipse developers do have a point that this only refers to the usage of their master server.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Danimal » 21 May 2018, 13:03

(including overloading CPU on idle (mining?) and sending unspecified players data (claimed to be statistics) to untrusted servers)


Eugeneloza i was pretty suprised about that, i researched around and it seems every case was an user fault. Plugins like the market wich eats a lot of memory, no fps limiting or others... it seems its only slander, something like that would have really blown as big as its current reputation.

the majority and certainly us moderators are fine with less "pure" open-source projects as long as the effect is not to intentionally circumvent liberties that the open-source and freesoftware movement were build on


Im happy to heard that, the difference in material and complexity from Unity to any open editor is huge (Godot gets a pass but needs more of everything to be a real contender), an artist (lol) like me would cry blood to get anything at all runnig in any common programming language, i tried Ogre 3D years ago, it stills hurts... while i already have half of the code i would need ready in an Unity tutorial; the difficulty difference is just huge. The people who go for the hard option are either pros in the sector or students aiming to be like Eugeneloza, have you never been tempted to use it for your project and start developing a game instead of an engine?

commercial guys also hate Unity - most of the games are made by just constantly reusing the same content rendering a horde visually similar, beautiful, but really unplayable games actually choking indy developers by forcing them to invest time and money into marketing instead of gameplay.


That the games that come out of it looks like copycats seems obvious if everyone just copy-pasta assest from the market, but real effort/quality should shine regardless of that or engine used. Steam is having a crackdown on showelware and the community is doing a good job of rating games, if your game cant get into steam... i guess that sucks. Lots of kiddos trying to publish they assest mash-up these days, cant deny that.

This also takes me back to the main topic, pure Libre games making might just be a thing for the pros of the sector. No newbies allowed there.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby themightyglider » 22 May 2018, 09:03

I don't think we should encourage anybody to use something like Unity on this Forum.
I can understand what are the advantages of unity but a game that relies on it never can be free even if you publish your whole source code and assets under a libre license.
What will be in 10 or 20 years if the company that is behind unity stops to exist or doesn't care about this engine anymore? You won't be able to compile the game. Thats not how free culture works.
On the other hand assets that use something like CC-NC seem to be okay to me (even if I prefere more libre licensing) because they only stop people from using a game in a commercial context but don't hinder a comunity to take care for a game.
So if standarts should be lowered then for assets not for software.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Lyberta » 22 May 2018, 09:23

themightyglider {l Wrote}:On the other hand assets that use something like CC-NC seem to be okay to me (even if I prefere more libre licensing) because they only stop people from using a game in a commercial context but don't hinder a comunity to take care for a game.


It will actually hurt a lot because Debian and other distros usually don't package proprietary stuff and for many GNU/Linux users being in the repository is one of the most important metrics of quality of the game.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby rogerdv » 24 May 2018, 17:55

themightyglider {l Wrote}:I don't think we should encourage anybody to use something like Unity on this Forum.
I can understand what are the advantages of unity but a game that relies on it never can be free even if you publish your whole source code and assets under a libre license.
What will be in 10 or 20 years if the company that is behind unity stops to exist or doesn't care about this engine anymore? You won't be able to compile the game. Thats not how free culture works.
On the other hand assets that use something like CC-NC seem to be okay to me (even if I prefere more libre licensing) because they only stop people from using a game in a commercial context but don't hinder a comunity to take care for a game.
So if standarts should be lowered then for assets not for software.


Technically, a game written in pure C++ could stop compiling in 10 years too. Im a Unity user, and it has a large community behind, which probably will ensure the survival of the engine on a long term.
Anyway, Godot Engine seems to be quite mature and it is reaching commercial engine features very quickly, even when they made a poor decision when discarded Vulkan to focus on GL ES. Eventually they had to go back and rethink, and admit that a Vulkan renderer was necessary.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby SecureUvula » 25 May 2018, 01:05

I came here to get away from Unity.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Wuzzy » 11 Jun 2018, 22:50

I wouldn't trust any statistic on that one too much here, to be honest. But the general problem is just that free software development is a minority in general. I am not sure if this is a broad downwards trend right now, or just random fluctuation. Not that it makes much of a difference in absolute numbers. In any case, I am pretty sure free software is here to stay.

It's a very interesting topic, after all.

So, the question is why is free software development generally just chugging along. I have thought about this a couple of times, and I think there are a few simple reasons.

The first reason is mindblowingly simple:
No money.

Like it or not, but people have to actually pay bills, whether they like it or not. This is a fact. I don't like the fact, I don't like capitalism, but I am aware of reality.
If you like to work in a free software project, you usually can't expect any money at all.

For the average citizen in the capitalist society, there are not many options:
- Become very rich
- Reduce your expenses to zero (good luck!)
- Find someone else to pay you

Usually, free software work is voluntary work with no pay at all. So if you are not of the lucky few who are not forced to work for money, you either can do free software projects until you run out of money, or you can only do them on top of a job that pays you money.
Both options suck. The job will simply suck out time and energy out of you, and your concentration runs low in the remaining time you have for your project.

On the other hand, the proprietary world is where the money to be found. The BIG money, I like to add. That's not to justify proprietary software at all. But this is the sad truth. We have to be aware of the truth, so we can deal with it.

Face it, software development is a day-filling task. Games can be become incredibly complex, and so far, if you don't have the basic needs met to make your dream come true, you simply will have a hard time of getting anywhere.
Of course, a couple of small but amazingly interesting projects have popped up over the years despite the money problem. But only a few of them managed it to the end, or their development is just painfully slow.

As long the money problem is not solved, free software development will have an incredibly hard time to carry on.

Most people simply have absolutely no clue how they can make free software development AND have their basic needs fulfilled. For most people it's an either-or.
I'm not saying free software must be led like a company, I'm just saying that as long creators don't have money, they usually can't do very much.

Another (theoretical) solution would be basic income, it might help here, but I don't think the idea is very popular to spread across nations. I'm simply too disillusioned. :(

But money might not be the only problem.

The other big hurdle is ideology.
The free software ideology is simply not widely accepted in the general public. Hell, a huge chunk of people don't even know what it is!
The few people who do understand free software often reject the concept as too radical. Many people are scared of freedom.
Also, the concept of copyright is being hammered into the heads of basically everyone since birth. It's seems so natural like the (true) belief that the sun rises tomorrow. Free software is (kind of) challenging this idea, obviously a lot of people will feel attacked. If you challenge copyright, even slightly, it seems to many that you are attacking truth itself. I've talked to people who honestly believe that the end of copyright would mean the end of creativity. It's very difficult to justify free software under such assumptions. It's not surprising that free software people are often portrayed as crazy or hostile.

Another current problem is sheer mass.
The majority of developers work for proprietary. That's a fact. Let's not forget that free software is mainly a political movement. There must be always the push to convince more creators. This is hard. But also incredibly important. Of course proprietary software is beating our asses in terms of sheer mass. That's easy when you have a huge majority of skilled people working for you. So the long-term political goal is to take more and more brainpower away from proprietary software towards free software.
See: It's not that there aren't great artists, developers, etc. capable of making truly amazing games. That's not the problem. The problem is that they work for proprietary software. :D If we manage to convince more creators join our cause, that will solve a lot of problems. But right now, it's still a huge hurdle to overcome.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Lyberta » 12 Jun 2018, 09:26

This reminds me of how lucky in a sick and twisted way I am for having a mental disability and as a result of that having a pension that is supposedly enough not to die of starvation. At least I can work on free software full time... Well, between contemplating suicide.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 14 Jun 2018, 05:37

Semi back on topic: https://www.gwern.net/Complement#2

Explains quite nicely what Valve has been doing in the games / indie market and which has resulted unintended or not in the indie apocalypse.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby eugeneloza » 22 Jun 2018, 19:16

Funny observation, that doesn't need too many comments:

2018-06-22-203936_1366x768_scrot.png


In short. About a month ago I've published 2 simple FOSS games on itch.io and got 3 downloads in total - with almost "zero" marketing - I've published the links only at a Russian gamedev site. Surely those do not have fancy graphics or cool gameplay, they are educational games for learning word pairs (with the given vocabulary English-Russian, but extensible for other languages).
Another my FOSS game - FireMaddness got only 14 downloads for a year. With the best result of "Mazer" (which is actually very "raw" comparing to finished and fully playable FireMaddness) with 105 downloads for a year.
So, in some sense there is a motivational question. Why writing games if nobody plays them? Why spending 5-10 years on writing something "epic" which will be downloaded a hundred or two times in total, and hardly ever played for longer than a minute?
Especially, looking back at a very simple (actually, just a few hours to make) snake game (with extra poor graphics and annoying ads) getting 10,000,000+ installs for approx. a year on Play.Google.com just because of whatever.

Just thinking aloud :)
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby SecureUvula » 23 Jun 2018, 01:12

eugeneloza {l Wrote}:So, in some sense there is a motivational question. Why writing games if nobody plays them?


This is my personal slump.

Why write games if:

- I won't make extra money (even if I went proprietary)
- My friends won't play it
- My coworkers won't play it
- I won't play it
- I won't learn anything new by building it (that I couldn't learn some other way)

The list of people I know can be evenly divided into people who understand how hard it is to make such games, and people who don't understand. The people who do understand, still don't care.

I might as well ask, is open-source film directing in a slump? Is open-source marble sculptures in a slump? There has to be a customer who benefits, and right now it is not even me.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Julius » 23 Jun 2018, 14:32

Yeah, that is definilty one way of looking at it. However in your personal case and that of your friends/aquaintances, is it because they have too many (cheap/free as in beer) higher quality alternatives?
Because for myself I sometimes notice that, but for non-Foss gaming friends I rather notice that they either stopped caring about games in general or basically only play one single game excessively (LoL, PUBG etc.)... and nothing else.
Might be an age question, but I also think this is somehow a general trend.

Edit: what I mean is that like music used to be a really character defining lifestyle attribute, but has more or less stopped being so in the last 10-20 years, maybe we are witnessing a similar shift in early stages for computer games right now.
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Re: Is the open source community in a slump?

Postby Lyberta » 25 Jun 2018, 13:37

SecureUvula {l Wrote}:- I won't play it


That's why I write games that I want to play.
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