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.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
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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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