Why did you get into FLOSS game development?

Why did you get into FLOSS game development?

Postby Jastiv » 04 Nov 2018, 08:18

Why did you get into FLOSS game development? It is one thing to get involved in the free software movement in general, it is another thing entirely to decide that this should apply to games, or that games are needed at all when you could work on more "useful" pieces of software.
I will start with myself. back in 2001 I got involved in Linux because I didn't like they way windows xp required product activation and deleted some of my files. I was already a player of Ultima Online, and I played it from 1997 - 2006 (both on unofficial and Origin/EA shards) I liked Ultima Online a lot, but I could see a lot of limitations with the client/server/gameplay etc that could not be fixed without really starting from a free software and free-cultural content base. So I began my idea of making a free software (not so much replacement as a better complete rewrite) of Ultima Online. I originally was going to go with Exult and replace the content, but then I knew I wanted Multi-player, so being lazy and not much of a programmer, I decided to look at existing free software multi-player online rpgs, I only knew of a few, and crossfire, although seriously lacking in many respects was the best of them at the time.
I took crossfire, and made another hard fork of it (the others being daimonin and atrinik, and some others as well) The lead programmer changed the tiles to be 45 degree isometric just like UO, much of the graphics got replaced, but for years and years it still had (and has, although it is much more fun now)some of the bad game mechanics left over from crossfire. Now I want to make it clear that Ultima Online is not the sole inspiration for the project. My other main sources of inspiration are things like the JRpgs, such as final fantasy 5 and 6, as well as some inspiration for the art style. The other inspiration for the art style comes from Heroes of Might and Magic 2, mostly as inspiration for the terrain tiles. Rougelikes are another source of inspiration. I love the random dungeon part that original crossfire already had, and I want to make it better. I also am inspired by that Ultima project that was sadly canned because they decided they didn't have the budget/interest for it. You were supposed to level up the eight virtues in a multi-player online environment. It sounded neat to me, and I plan to implement something like that in wograld.
Last edited by Jastiv on 04 Nov 2018, 23:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why did you get into FLOSS game development?

Postby eugeneloza » 04 Nov 2018, 13:11

Back in the end of 1980s I've first seen computer games at an Atari computer. I was under 10 then. That inspired me so much that I've made a notebook with a few dozens of games ideas.
My parents bought me Poisk-1 (sorta 286 clone) in 1991 and in some time I've started working in GW Basic, then Quick Basic and eventually ended up in Turbo Pascal. Beginning with simple text output and moving geometric shapes I've started creating simple games. And of course playing games too :)
But, well... there was no point it doing that. And when I've entered the University in 2000 I've decided I'll stop playing and writing games at all. Just because there was no reason to. Those games "never saw the light", I was the only one "playing" them. I've deleted almost everything game-related and concentrated on more useful stuff.
To cut the long story short, around 2008 I've decided that it should be fun to keep on writing games. Around the very same time I've started looking at free software (in Ukraine it's not easy to afford paid software, therefore most of it comes pirated, and I didn't feel right about it). I liked the idea, the spirit of things being free (as in free candy and freedom) for everyone, I couldn't donate to FOSS projects. But I knew I could do something myself - share those games I've been writing.
However, unfortunately I was wrong. My skill and abilities are still too low to create something useful. And while I still go on, it's rather my stubbornness, than rational decision. I just don't want to give up the project I'm working at, thou I know I have failed and there's hardly any point in fighting on.
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Re: Why did you get into FLOSS game development?

Postby Lyberta » 04 Nov 2018, 19:42

The breaking point for me was when I've spent years writing server-side mods for Team Fortress 2 and then Valve explicitly added DRM and broke my code. Naturally, I wanted to travel to US, buy an assault rifle and tons of explosives and kill all of the Valve's employees and blow the whole damn building up. Eh, it didn't pan out but I found RMS and FSF and thought that writing free software games is the least revenge I can do on the video game industry. One day I hope to see angry mob on the street killing EA/Activision/Valve/Apple/etc employees. Dreams, dreams.
Some crazy person on the Internet.
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Re: Why did you get into FLOSS game development?

Postby SecureUvula » 05 Nov 2018, 00:30

For me it was games first, and then freedom.

When I was little my family either didn't have Internet, or we had dial-up that charged by the hour, or I wasn't allowed on the Internet.

So they let me play on this old 486 where I learned to program using QuickBasic. I tried making games in that, but I didn't get very far.

I kept trying over the years to make games.

As I was leaving high school, one of my friends said "You should look into Linux". Ubuntu had been popular for a while, and I started with that.

After I got used to GNU/Linux and read about the philosophy, it made sense that if the only software I make is games, the games should be free and copyleft.

I joined Ludum Dare somewhere around LD28, and their "hard mode" is 48 hours, solo, with no prior assets and the code you write has to be viewable. So I figured I'd just keep making it all AGPL.

I've gotten jaded with Ludum Dare this year. There's a lot of enthusiasm, and it's very big, but there's no emphasis on freedom of tools or even of using gratis tools. Many entries are made with Unity, Photoshop, and one of the horribly expensive proprietary DAWS for music.

The rules allowed me to enter with any amount of my own base code as long as it was public, and despite using a *lot* of base code, I have always felt that I was starting at the back of the pack behind everyone using Unity or Unreal. And someone gave me shit for "ruining LD" by using code that I wrote, that is published, that has a better license than Unity.

It wasn't just that person, but that was the tipping point. I realized that although I'd entered 15-20 times, most of my games had never ranked, because I hated playing other people's games. Mostly because they sucked, but also because I am behind Tor and I have to go out of my way to block the Unity telemetry. Many of the games are also built for WebGL, which doesn't work in Tor Browser. There is probably a switch to turn it on, but I don't feel like it. My heart is not in it. Not in that pile of kids using Unity and hoping to get rich and famous without knowing anything about software.

With or without LD, I have the problem that code is the fun part of gamedev and the boring part of playing games.

When you look at "triple-I indie" games, the ones that succeed have good level design, or good art, or good music or sound or gameplay, and none of those necessarily involve a lot of clever, original programming.

I'm not good at art, and I don't enjoy it enough to want to get better. I want to show off my programming skill, but for the most part that doesn't directly result in a fun game being made.
Itch: https://activated-onion.itch.io/

"Not only does he do it for free, he doesn't do it at all."
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Re: Why did you get into FLOSS game development?

Postby Magellan » 05 Nov 2018, 03:57

At first, I made many closed-source games as a small time indie developer. I began game programming with the GameMaker software when I was about 15, and soon moved on to making simple games in languages like Python and Java. In college, I began participating in online game jams, mostly as a way to force myself to finish games I was working on and actually release them. I made several games during that period. When I graduated, I made the (in hindsight, rather foolish) decision to try to find success as a commercial indie game developer. The commercial game I was working on was going to be a 2D, top-down strategy game heavily inspired by the PS2 game Dynasty Tactics, which is an awesome game by Koei that got one sequel and hasn't been even thought of for over ten years :D Unfortunately feature creep and increasingly sloppy code resulted in my falling behind on my goals for the game, and finally burning out well before the finish line.

Shortly thereafter, I became employed in a company that dealt with then up-and-coming blockchain technology. I was aware of free software/open source, but my time at this company exposed me to many of the ideas of the cypherpunk movement. Additionally, I was personally becoming increasingly disturbed at the way people were being used and abused by these seemingly all-powerful technology corporations, and the dangerous implications of emergent tracking and profiling technology. All this culminated in me making the decision to try and sever my ties to the proprietary software world. Since doing that I have also become more interested in the implications of modern copyright law, and how it effectively enables global mega-companies to commoditize and totally control your culture, no matter who or where you are. This led me to Free Culture ideas.

I am a lowly scripter/web developer, so I lack the skills to make "useful" programs like my systems programmer heroes have. :) But, one thing I do know how to do is write games! So I released the source code of all the games I made (that I still had; loss of my source code was another impetus to release it into the wild for free), and here I am.
I make Let's Play videos of FOSS games. You can find them on DTube and VidLii. I have also made a few small Free Software games, available on my GitHub page.
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Re: Why did you get into FLOSS game development?

Postby GunChleoc » 05 Nov 2018, 10:57

I got involved in FLOSS games because I can translate any game that I wish, provided that i18n has been implemented. Proprietary games aren't interested in having them translated to minority languages.
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