Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay)

Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay)

Postby Jastiv » 20 Jun 2019, 21:11

This is a (very rough) draft of some ideas I have about why Video Games must be free software. I have broken it to paragraphs. I really want a lot of comments and criticism of the essay and not just people say its great.
I've debated whether I should make separate topics for each of the basic sections, but I decided that maybe it would be better to look at the essay as a whole. Here it is,

Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (and free culture)

1. What is free software

Free software is software that has the four freedoms.
0. The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
1. The freedom to make copies of the program and distribute them.
2. The freedom to modify the program.
3. The freedom to distribute modified copies of the program.
Because software has source code, source code is a precondition for this given that source code is the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. (Yes, we all know about decompiling and reverse engineering, but if you have the source code, then all that additional work is unnecessary.)
Now, some people might ask, what is source code and how do I obtain this wonderful thing that will allow me to modify my favorite programs (or in the case of the phone, they are called apps, short for applications.) If the program is open source, that is, if the source code is available to the public, usually the website of the program will list a place where the source code can be retrieved. The code will consist of directions given in a human readable language that runs through a compiler or interpreter.
Sometimes people get confused by the term free software, and think that means the software must be available without cost. This is not strictly true. While it is true that completed programs are
almost always available at no charge, the development, that is the programmers time is not actually free and someone is paying for it somewhere. Oftentimes, it is not the person downloading the completed program paying for it, so they may niavely think that because it is free to them that no one had to pay for it ever.
Sometimes developers are students and their parents, (or unfortunately student loans) are paying for the development of the program. Sometimes people do free software development in their free time, in that case work place money from their “real” job is paying for it. Sometimes people who are otherwise retired develop free software, and that means that all the money they have accumulated over their lifetime is paying for it. Sometimes the free software developer is the spouse of someone who has a paying job, in that case the spouses salary is paying for it. Sometimes the government gives people disability checks and it goes to a free software developer. How someone who can develop free software full time is getting a disability check I do not know (okay, I do know, but I honestly wish I didn’t sometimes). Sometimes companies actually pay people to work on free software full time either because they offer support contracts for the software, or because the software is such a core part of their business that they cannot continue to operate without it. People have started to notice that corporate support of free software is rather lacking at the level that it should be, that many companies use the software, but do not contribute back to the community (either in money or contributions) Sometimes people who work on free software collect donations, but lets be honest here, even most of the projects that take donations are supported in one of the other ways as well, because donations rarely cover the cost of the developers lifestyle (even a very spartan one)
b. what is free culture, and why should we care.
Free culture in this essay, is basically works of art, music or writing, sometimes videos and that have all the same freedoms as in free software, so basically this means.
1. The freedom to use the work for any purpose.
2. The freedom to make copies of the work, and distribute those copies.
3. The freedom to modify the work.
4. The freedom to distribute modified copies of the work.
Unlike with software, many works of art do not have a preferred form for making modifications, and in some cases their can to be a dispute as to what that preferred form would be (for instance, would it be the .ogg file, the .midi file for music, do we really need all the layers for art, or would we be better off with just a .png that can be read by any program.
Free culture has all the same issues with paying for it as free software, but is less likely to corporate sponsorship and more likely to be supported with donations.
2. What is a video game?
I can’t believe I’m actually writing an essay about what a video game is, but sometimes, people wonder, what is a video game? Basically, the term video game comes from two words, video and game. Video means that the game comes on some form of media that can be copied easily (as opposed to board games, sports or other types of games that do not require computers at all.
Game is simple enough to define, a game means that you must make interesting choices and receive some kind of rewards for it. A game is interactive as opposed to passive such as just watching a video. Watching videos can be part of a game, but not the entire game. Merely choosing what video to watch next is not a game if there are no points or other things collected upon completion of watching the video.
In spite of what some people think, games are not required to be fun, or even fun for a subset of the population. Some games are even developed without fun in mind at all either for the users or the developers. Most people would prefer games to be fun because people like to have fun (instead of feeling other types of emotions such as boredom or frustration, that can also happen while playing games.)

3. Money isn’t any good if you can’t buy what you want with it.
Now, that you have either read my explanation of terms, or think you already know them. It is time to get to the meat of the essay, why Video games should be free software and free culture. Very often, people go on about money, why money is the most important thing in the world and why it justifies hiding the source code and using legal means to prevent people from making copies or sharing the modified copies of the game with others, especially if they also ask for money for doing this.
Basically, the common argument goes like this. Developers put so much time and effort into the game, they deserve some reward for their hard work. This seems logical enough, but lets forget developers for a moment and what they want and instead focus on the users, that is actual people playing the actual game.
Users play the game, they may even like it. In some cases, they absolutely love it. What happens when the developers come in and ruin it, or fail to fix it so it works properly. There is the case of single player games where the game is no longer maintained and fails to run on newer hardware and software combinations. People have been working hard to fix this issue, both through the use of emulators and in some cases actual reverse engineering of the source code. In spite of this, sometimes these old games take some extra effort to run that we should not have to deal with at all.
Far worse is the case of online games. Starting with many MMORPGs in the late 90’s when more people got internet connections, up until now where most phone apps need to be online at least some of the time, we have a lot of online games. Online games became popular for two reasons. The first reason is people like to socialize while gaming and compete against one another. The second, more sinister reason is that being online all the time can be used as a form of DRM, or digital restrictions management. Once the server goes offline, then the user can no longer play the game. It does not matter if they paid for it or not, without the sever it will not run anymore the end. Even if the client could still be used, the server might have to be completely reverse engineered because it is necessary to even play the game.
Bugs are always a problem in games, as in other software, and sometimes they go unfixed. Many times this is because the bug is to hard to fix and the developers do not find it profitable enough to do so. The bug may only effect a few users or it might just be annoying, and not game breaking enough to warrant stopping the playing of the game for some people. Having the game closed source ensures that the only people capable of fixing it are the developers with the source code, a small group of people. No matter how big the gaming company is it cannot compete with the entire world of programmers. Users of closed source games are limited to filling bug reports and do not actually get a chance to dive into the code and make the bug go away no matter how much it effects them and not matter how much they complain about it.
Users often want to modify the game. Sometimes this just consists of adding new graphics and sound. Many closed source games are not set up to deal well with user modifications. They may have no place to put them giving the set up of the project. Other times actual game mechanic changes are desired by users. Sometimes users find the game too hard or too easy. Sometimes new features or story lines in game are desired by users. Even in cases where closed source games allow modification, there is always some kind of limit as to how the game can be modified, whether it allows the addition of new artwork and music, or even some additional scripting there is always some kind of limitation, where the player wants to do something and he or she cannot do it.
One popular modification users often want is to take an online game back to an earlier state before certain game mechanics changes. This can be hard because the old source code is not always kept in pristine condition. With public version control, it is very easy to find an old version of the game somewhere, and fork it into something workable in newer conditions. Not so with closed source software, where in some cases the actual source code could become lost. Other popular types of modifications include different types of game mechanic changes to make the game more like other types of games the user enjoyed, additional avatar choices, sound, and general graphics.
The last five paragraphs just covered the technical problems with closed source games that negatively effect the users. We haven't even started on the potential and actual legal issues yet. Merely defeating the technical challenges, hard as it sometimes is for people, is actually the easy part. With enough motivated users, some will probably happen to be developers and able to get to work on making the game work they way that users would like it to work provided of course that enough users who can develop want the actual change. When this is done, the users and user developers are not home free just yet. If, as Richard Stallman does not advocate, copyright were actually repealed, the technical challenges are all we would need to deal with in order for users to get the game they want out of the closed source video game. This is not the case.

Problems caused by copyright

First we will go into detail about the challenges of proprietary server based games that they will have to deal because of copyright even if all the technical challenges are overcome by user developers and the server is populated by users. private unofficial servers will typically have less players that the official game. This may or may not effect game play. Some of this might be because the developers have decided to keep the server semi-secret especially in the case of restrictive EULAs. People might think copyright doesn’t matter and everyone can just deliberately ignore it, but it has practical consequences like these for gamers.
Depending on the EULA, or license agreement, and the game company, they may or may not go after the private servers. If they decide to take down the servers for whatever reason, a take down notice will be served. Soon, it will be offline. The host might possibly be sued. If the private server collects money to keep the server running, this is even more likely. In addition, the private server does not compete on a level playing field with the corporation where the original servers exist. Usually, users have no reassurance that their character or in game items will be kept, especially as there is usually no payment for the service. They will most likely be deleted at more or less random times. Part of this is the budget for backups is a lot lower. Also, they have no monetary incentive to care about it. Finally, private servers in some cases could be very shady and collect login credentials of people who still play the official game as use them to hack the still in use accounts.
Single player games that do not need a server do not have theses same issues. Even if there was always online needed digital restrictions management, let us assume for a moment that the game was reverse engineered not to need it to play anymore. However, finding a place to host, distribute and promote the game becomes a issue. We know these game exist, and many people spend countless hours making them.
Mostly the issue then becomes, finding the interested users and keeping copies of the game online.
(note, it helps if you know a foreign language and host where copyright laws are laxly enforced.)

Some people have decided that they like the idea of free (as in freedom) software, but do not like the idea of giving up a monopoly on the cultural assets for various reasons. Certain games have been released with the source code, but without free culture assets. In addition, some games have been reverse engineered to actually be entirely free software code, but still require linking with the old non-free culture assets. In the first case where just the source code is released, the game is not playable without the proprietary assets. People need to go buy the game( in some cases), or pirate the assets to go play it. It might now run on newer systems, but it still limits some of the possible modifications to the work. Often times, the reverse engineers did not take into account what it would take to replace all the artwork, sounds, and writing with free culture assets. In addition, the game might seem to be too difficult to add new things into, so people think of it as complete in and of itself, even thought it is not complete. It is not a complete product that you can share with your friend,so it is only halfway useful.
Ultimately the problem is that copyright is a government granted monopoly. Many people have noticed the problems with monopolies. When a company has a monopoly, they have the ability to set the prices and don’t have to worry about competitors undercuting them, because they already got rid of all the competition. Also, monopolies do not have to offer the kinds of goods or services customers want, what you have is what you get. They can limit the service offerings, and again, do no have to worry about competition. All thesse problems apply to proprietary games.

4. Where Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond went wrong.
Free software, and why software should have the four freedoms was clarified by Richard Stallman, the founder of the free software foundation. The four freedoms are fundamental to understanding the things that software needs to be better, and not turn into some evil overlord as technology becomes ever more powerful and present in our lives. Unfortunately, Richard Stallman’s explanation about why you should care about software freedom leaves much to be desired. Talking about ethics is a quick way to for the narcissistic psychopaths that are most of our population to immediately tune out of the arguments. Why should they care if someone else gets hurt by their unethical behavior? What kind of rewards come to them personally for using some less than polished program rather than a fully functional proprietary alternative?
While in some cases it may be easy to point out immediate issues such as digital restrictions management deleting the program because they didn’t pay a license fee or other such over reach, many programs are far less noxious on the surface. The useful features may seem to more than balance out the negatives of using proprietary software.
Eric Raymond took the ideas of Richard Stallman and repackaged it to corporations as “Open Source,” an idea that is more or less the same as free software. The basic idea being that you can user, copy, modify, and share your modifications. These things work for companies to save money and avoid vendor lock-in, or rather unprecedented control over their company by some software vendor. Business considerations may work fine in a business context, but when someone is deciding what video game to play at home, things like that don’t even come into consideration. Vendor lock in, whats that, its just a game, I can quit at anytime. As far as saving money, a larger consideration is often how much fun a game is going to be, although cost may be factored into the equation as well, when it comes to many games these days, that are free to play (at least initially.) this doesn’t even factor into the choice.
Both of these ideas sounds like compelling reasons for people to adopt free and open source software, but as pointed out, they don’t always appeal to people’s desires. More likely, people will just adopt open source when it is convenient and when no seemingly better alternative is presented. And while both ideas have gained a following, neither one of them applies specifically to games, and why games should be free software and free culture.
A far better argument for games to be both free software and free culture is a massive improvement upon the gaming experience as a whole. While most gamers think that games are great, and a lot of fun, what if they could be better? Sometimes, when it comes to gaming, the good enough, is not good enough. Games are primarily played for fun. As we know, certain aspects of proprietary software can make gaming less fun, or even take the fun out of a game all together. By eliminating these less than fun game mechanics forever, games can be made more enjoyable for everyone.
Single player games could be written once and played and shared forever. Any changes needed to port to different hardware would also be much easier. You could give your friend a copy of the game, assured that you weren’t violating any copyright laws.
In server based multi-player games, the servers would exist to serve the users. Monopoly grants on server administration would not exist, so if one company or group is doing a poor job at running the servers in the players estimation, another company or group could easily take over and do a better job.
Games would be much easier to modify, and it would be much easier to distribute the modifications to people who would like them. There is no reason that multiple games can not be combined into a larger game, or larger games could be made into smaller games. Difficulty of any game could be adjusted to cater to different audiences. Graphics, sound and story could be easily replaced to cater to different tastes in art and different audiences.
The question then becomes how can we achieve this future of a vastly improved gaming experience. What needs to change in our culture to allow games to get better, not by some subjective criteria, but rather a person’s objective measure of fun? How do we reorganize the entire gaming industry, away from digital restrictions management, intellectual property, unwanted advertising, abandon ware, End User License Agreements or EULAs, dead projects with nice assets that are never reused, angry gamers who know no matter what, even if they have lots of money, the game they want won’t get made, and exploitative game mechanic choices such as loot boxes.

d. why spending money on free software games will get you a better gaming experience. (this section is incomplete)
When you get bored, you might start looking for a new game to play. There are plenty of games out their in various genres for various platforms. Typically, people look first for games on platforms they already own. Then, they look for specific game mechanics or gameplay. If a game seems compelling enough, someone might get a whole new computer just to play it. I find that does not happen to me anymore these days.
People typically spend money on games they already know about. Some games, even some incredibly addictive fun games, do not have much of monitization strategy.
If developers (even if just a small percentage of developers) got paid massive amount of money for making libre software games, they would go do it.

e. why you should develop only free software games with free culture assets. (this is also half-done, but I'm going to post it now anyway)
When someone decides to spend their time developing games, many times they put in so many hours that they wish to get paid for it. Typically, people go and get a job in the games industry, or they start their own independent game studio. As of now, large companies have been going with proprietary software with proprietary assets for the game. Smaller independent game studios have a choice of what platforms they want to support, the exact license for the game, and also how they will monetize the game. There are several ways of funding these smaller projects, including things like kickstarter and paetreon, things that do not require the game to be non-free culture and non-free software. The primary reason that developers choose to make it proprietary, is more or less because that is the standard what that it is done in the industry. While many independent studios try to be innovative on game play, something that sets them apart from other game titles, trying to be innovative on the business model is less common, but has happened.
The reason that more games aren't developed this way is more because gamers have not sat down and demanded it, and not made it a consideration in what game to play next.
Game developers think they are actually going to get rich and make a lot of money on their games, and making them proprietary software seems like a possible way to do that, while making your game free software seems like a way to for certain not make any money at it, or at the very least not have any chance of getting rich with the game. Game developers like to tell themselves they do this for fun, they don’t actually care if they make any money at it. If they don’t make any money on the game, they can go back to a real job of software development or system administration. But, really, they want to be rich, Bill Gates rich, and hopefully have fun doing it by making a game and putting it on some service. Maybe it will become the next Minecraft, Angry Birds, or Five Nights at Freddys. Most games don’t make that kind of money, in fact most games probably don’t make much money at all. They don’t even pay the developer for the time put into them. Even small studios with multiple people working for them often do not make any money. If the marketing isn’t taken care of, no one will know about the game, and no one will play it or purchase it.
In between the majority of indie developers who make little to nothing on the game, and the extremely successful few, there are some people who manage to almost make a living on the game, so much so that they can actually devote some work time to working on games. They hardly want to give up their lucrative revenue streams in order to basically give away the source code and assets.
Some people just throw in the towel on the money making idea and just make the game completely open source. In fact that has happened to a few proprietary projects that did not sell very well, if at all. While more free software is always a good thing, this just reinforces the idea that open sourcing the game is something to do when you give up on making money from something, and not something to do at the outset before the game is even started.
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Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby GunChleoc » 20 Jun 2019, 22:25

Some random notes:

If you actually want to reach the narcissistic psychopaths rather than just preaching to the choir, don't call them names like that. Many of the people who tune out do so because they are just glad if their computer works at all and find anything else way too complicated.


"The code will consist of directions given in a human readable language that runs through a compiler or interpreter." - Does the audience know what that is? From the rest of the article, it seems to be aimed at people who don't have that much knowledge, so this should match here.

effect -> affect (appears multiple times in the text)
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Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby fluffrabbit » 21 Jun 2019, 06:23

Because I disagree even with the title, and fervently at that, I suspect this essay could be explosive. People like to hear original arguments that completely contradict every fiber of their being.

0. The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
1. The freedom to make copies of the program and distribute them.
2. The freedom to modify the program.
3. The freedom to distribute modified copies of the program.

I thought it best to check the first part first. I'm not sure it's accurate. The GNU's definition differs. Freedoms 0 and 3 are accurate. Your Freedom 1 is the GNU's Freedom 2. The GNU's Freedom 1 is as follows:

The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Specifically, one must be able to study how the program works. It's hard to do so scientifically without access to the source code. People make mods for proprietary games all the time without understanding how the games themselves work, but that doesn't make any part of the game free software.

Because software has source code, source code is a precondition for this given that source code is the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it.

Source code is not the preferred way of modifying games if you take sites like moddb and the various game hacking sites into account. Source code is a way to study games and other software so that the modifications can be informed. The Four Freedoms imply that it is important to learn how a piece of software works, which your essay does not.

I see that the essay is much longer than I anticipated (maybe a keynote would be better?) so I'll just leave this here and maybe read the rest later.
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Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby dulsi » 21 Jun 2019, 23:52

If you want people to read your writing, you need to hook them in. Talking about definitions is going to lose most people. Start by talking about people with a problem. Use specific examples. Don't say that MMO you like could go offline and you can't play it any more despite paying for it. Instead talk about City of Heroes and Star Wars Galaxies. Talk about parents wanting to show their kids some old games but the Atari can't hook up to current TVs and the Nintendo won't start any game no mater how much you fiddle with it. Talk about game restrictions like He-Man: Defender of Grayskull coming out in Europe for the PS2 but not being available in US or how the xbox port was completed but not released.

As GunChleoc don't insult people or attribute bad motives to everyone. From going to GDC and various of game developer gatherings, I can't say I've met any that are motived by the possibility to get rich. Most programmers can get better and consistent pay from doing business software. Don't complain about monopolies and copyright. Instead focus on the advantages you get. Throw in examples of prominent open source games and what they have gained from the collaborative development. Maybe mention games that live on like Ur-Quan Masters (although if you don't like the non-commecial license on the data you'll need to find another example).
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Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby Lyberta » 22 Jun 2019, 00:49

If the game is FLOSS, you start modding and can spend years on 1 game. If the game is proprietary, you play for a week and get bored. Then you realize that you don't have any more money to buy games.

[EDIT - minor edit by charlie]
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Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby drummyfish » 22 Jun 2019, 04:55

I kinda skimmed over it. It seems good but a lot of it has already been written many times over and over in books and posts all over the Internet. If your goal is a summary of these, then that's okay of course. For a killer essay you'll need a new killer argument or idea.

Just make sure to do a grammar-check before the final release.

less players

fewer players

effect game play

affect gameplay

The reason ... is because

The reason ... is that


I often say proprietary games are one of the worst kind of proprietary software. Why? Exactly because they look inocent, but in actuality are a modern day drug, abusing human psychology, which we take too lightly. People are so addicted to their games that they try to make them an exception to free culture principles even if they are otherwise for free software. This sets a dangerous precedent. A game is a program and can abuse you in the same way as any other program or non-free media, sometimes worse.

Problems caused by copyright

Server-based games and spying are the obvious issues. I've witnessed one case first-hand -- my brother used to play War of the Roses, and he was a part of a small but very dedicated community. The servers got later shut down, probably because they weren't making much profit. Needless to say the whole community got extremely frustrated... but could do nothing. The game is simply dead. A big fuck you from the devs.

What I see as one of the biggest issues with the principle of copyright is how it restricts creativity. The freedom to create derivative works is almost equal to the freedom to create, which is one of the basic freedoms. We can all see how much creative potential there is among ordinary people -- take a look at all the game mods, enhancements that have been created, the tools, the entire fan-made games added to the official ones. However, they're all basically illegal, at best tolerated, meaning "you can create mods, but only so far as they don't become too successful and competitive, otherwise we shut them down." This is extremely discouraging, anti-creativity, and a bullying tool for the coroprations.

The biggest issue about implementation of copyright is of course the insanity to which it has grown, in every direction. The duration, the scope, the defaultness of it, the penalties, the propaganda and so on. Basically you own every fart you let out for the next hundred years, and a lot of times you can't even waive it. World-wide public domain is practically non-existent, unless you're intersted in reading books from before the last century. You're mostly unable to find even very basic things, needed e.g. for education, such as a public domain map of the world, a good picture of the Moon (NASA photos are only guaranteed PD in the US), a recording of Mozart composition etc.
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Abolish all IP laws. Use CC0.
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Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby Wuzzy » 22 Jun 2019, 11:09

While I agree with most of the arguments presented here (obviously, as a free software zealot myself), I think this essay leaves much to be desired.
If this essay is targeted at people you want to convince, lots of work need to be done …

First, it is a giant wall of text and not very well structured yet, and it's not fun to read on a screen. There is not good use of paragraphs either. The whole text need to be made more readable. Most sentences are too wordy and can be shortened (without neccessary cutting out content). Important sections are not highlighted (like with boldface). There's an excellent article on Writing for the Web.

Now for the content:

The essay is written very “philosohpically”. There are no links at all and no concrete examples at all. The reader can only believe you or refuse to believe you. That makes the whole essay not really convincing.

What is completely lacking are any real world examples of real abuse in proprietary software. But if you just do a little research, you will find lots of abuses:
  • Using copyright power to go after …
    • People who share the game
    • People who report about the game
    • People who create fan games
  • Copy protection / DRM
  • Lootboxes
  • In-game purchases
  • Forced online play for singleplayer games
  • A ton of buzzwords to conceal the abuse: “live services” (forced online play), “recurrent user spending” (milking the last penny out of you), “surprise mechanics” (lootboxes)
  • Slimy business practices: Day-1 DLC, pre-order (as if there is a shortage in bytes!), confusing price models so you need charts to know what you're buying, free-to-pay, pay-to-win, …
  • And recently Google fantasizes about taking even the games themselves away from you with Google Stadia (buzzword: “Games as a Service”, see also)

Basically you mostly concentrated only on server shutdown. Which is an important abuse/failure as well, it's only one of many.

By the way, about free-to-pay, there's an excellent website: https://mobilefreetoplay.com/
Note this website is 100% PRO free-to-pay. It's still very useful because it teaches you a lot about the mindset of those free-to-pay advocates and how the psychological tricks in these games work. It's very revealing.

Back to topic: What this essay needs are concrete examples of such abuses in the real world. So that the less knowledgable reader can better understand.
Like the infamous lootboxes in Starwars Battlefront II, the Diablo catastrophe on mobile, the whole stinking garbage dump of free-to-pay games on mobile

I also think it's important to zoom out and see the bigger picture. I don't think all of these abuses will go away only by free software alone. In theory, some abuses are actually compatible with free software. At its core, the free software idea is only concerned about the freedoms that are stripped away from you with copyright. It is not concerned at all about the other forms of abuse. In theory, a free software game could still have lootboxes.

The abuses in the video game world have gone so bad, it will take more than just free software to battle them.

While I agree that free software games definitely need free media files as well, we have to accept that simply “drawing replacement graphics” (some would say “asset flip”) is not always the solution. Often enough, the original artwork of a game is something that just cannot be easily replaced without changing the game's whole identity. You can imiate the artwork to circumvent copyright, but you can never have true experience of the original. If the copyright holders refuse to surrender their intellectual monopoly, there is no legal way out of this, unless copyright is abolished. That doesn't mean that replacement artwork is always futile, but I think it's important to see the bigger picture here as well and start to question copyright.
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Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby freemedia2018 » 23 Jul 2019, 14:20

GunChleoc {l Wrote}:If you actually want to reach the narcissistic psychopaths rather than just preaching to the choir, don't call them names like that.

You (directed primarily to the original poster) basically cant actually reach narcissists-- they do things only for selfish reasons, and they don't have much of a "higher self-interest" to appeal to.

For example, if you tell a narcissist they will be happier if they do more to be honest and less to be divisive and manipulative, they will ignore it even when there's something in it for them. You're appealing to a higher form of self-interest they don't have.

Narcissists are definitely a percentage of the population, and this is definitely relevant to free software: https://archive.org/details/figosdev_users_Fsf2/page/n3

But they are unreachable, the only person who can change a narcissist for the better is themselves-- and that's quite rare. what free software must do is work around (mitigate) narcissism, as much as possible. That's no easy task for any group of people, but particularly the types of people involved with free software-- who are common targets of narcissists. (Narcissists derive a great deal of pleasure and self-worth from attacking and undermining intelligent people.)

Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby Julius » 23 Jul 2019, 17:33

It's not so black and white regarding narcissists. Yes what you describe is true by the clinical definition, but our entire culture is heavily influenced by narcissism, so many people behave like narcissists to some extend even if not being one by the strict definition. Those people can be reached, but not by calling them names etc.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” - Philip K. Dick
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Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby freemedia2018 » 23 Jul 2019, 18:14

It's not so black and white regarding narcissists.

Fair enough.

Yes what you describe is true by the clinical definition,

Which is what I'm leaning on mostly. I mean if we aren't talking about the clinical definition than we are toying with speculation, which may have merit, though it is still speculation.

but our entire culture is heavily influenced by narcissism, so many people behave like narcissists to some extend even if not being one by the strict definition

I definitely agree.

Those people can be reached, but not by calling them names etc.

I still think it's unlikely, but I definitely think it's necessary to refer to narcissists as narcissists at times.

On the finer point of whether diplomacy is beneficial as a rule, I agree with that as well. Though in my personal experience (and I've dealt with a few too many people like this, even in the FLOSS communities, which is why I consider it so relevant) such people tend to get offended by anything they disagree with anyway.

There's a difference between diplomacy and walking on eggshells, and while the former is useful, the latter is a shot in one's own foot. We might agree that the devil's in the details, but I would add that there's only so much you can do to please someone that is naturally inclined to be impossible. (Speaking from experience, which I would rather spare others from than raise their hopes higher than is realistic-- particularly for gamers who dislike wastes such as grinding and timesinks, which also describe the nature of dealing with most narcissists.)

"Don't feed the trolls" sums it up nicely, but isn't as easy to follow. "Narcissism is a timesink for everyone involved" might even sum it up better. Where there are valid exceptions that will raise your XP at a decent rate that isn't pointless, those are worth exploring, but eventually you get tired of false promises and false hope-- (link to relevant webcomic) it often raises your standards a bit when it comes to investing time and energy.

Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby Jastiv » 30 Jul 2019, 21:01

I put a later draft of my essay up here.
https://gitlab.com/jastiv/why-libre-gam ... aming3.odt
Anyone who wants to make edits is welcome to it.
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Re: Why Video Games Must Be Free Software (a very long essay

Postby freemedia2018 » 31 Jul 2019, 05:02

Jastiv {l Wrote}:Anyone who wants to make edits is welcome to it.

The version I have open in LibreOffice is 7 pages and begins with "Technical grievances related to non-free video games".

The rest is useful but I sort of think it would be better as 2 or more works. The second half is probably useful even if you already know the first half, and that's a long introduction. This is said purely in the hope that your essay will accomplish what you would like it to.

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