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Take Battle of Wesnoth. It's managed to achieve a consistent feel. It adopted it's own look, and the graphics and themeing are consistent, though very simple. I believe they STILL had to pay for some of the artwork, though it was mostly on a private basis, and not project wide.
As far as I know (and I am one of the dudes who should ) we did not pay our developers. That is no matter if graphics, music, sounds, campaigns or coding. Most simply did this work since they enjoyed doing it and maybe wanted to show off a little as well. And many did it to simply learn and improve their skill with something that really is fun.
Yes, our graphics are simple compared to some of the modern "everything has to be 3D with HDR, bloom and whatever" games. But personally I think it is more important to have the graphics work for a game. For a turn based strategy games, yes, even for a real time strategy game, I personally prefer 2D graphics since they work better. No problems with adjusting the camera and such, which really annoys me in many modern strategy games. You always have to adjust the camera to see everything.
Still I agree that getting the artwork right is the major problem. But not the graphics are the most critical stuff, music is by far more problematic. Good music requires good instrument samples. And there are basically not too many usable instrument samples out there for free. In fact the good orchestral ones cost a hell of a lot of money. So simply because of this the number of possible contributors in this area is small.
Yes, graphics are a problem, too. But maybe you should just go to the art departments of the universities around you and show them some cool games. Yes, art students do play, too (no matter if male or female, just show them the right games which are fun to play). Make them interested in this stuff and they *want* to produce some artwork. Have a look at how much "fan art" is created for many games out there. Just talk to those people and tell them what you would love to see and when they have something you like, include it in the game. It feels great for them to see their work included and they will produce other stuff. But do *not* explicitly tell them what you want, let them do what they enjoy. Some will love to do portraits, some will love to design story artwork or complete character designs. For students in the area of computer science "open source software" is completely normal and well known. It is even rather common to contribute in projects or to create own projects. In those regards it is *not* normal yet for art students to do so. Once they start to see it as normal helping there, things can change quite fast regarding graphics. But for this you have to show them that you will include their work, that it is not wasted. And do not try to force them too much into one direction like "nah, you can't do character design, but you could design wall textures". This is likely not to work. Eventually they will see that the characters look great, but the surrounding lacks. This will either make those already working on things trying to improve those textures, or new people popping in to help.
Basically everything in open source is about commitment, trying to achieve something and also showing off the own skills. Yes, everybody likes to hear a "hey, great job!" every now and then. Most coders are unlikely to be able to do the artwork stuff themselves. But just got out and talk to some of your (non geek ) friends, maybe they like what they see and want to improve it.
To get back more on topic:
Can this somehow help making Linux a more interesting platform for game developers:
I don't know. That is eg several companies offering commercial apps see problems with Linux. That is when they enter the ring, someone has already stepped up, created a program basically serving the same needs and the company will not sell their prog. As one example take ahead with their Nero suite for Linux. Do you know anyone using this one instead of the open progs like k3b? I don't. For games it could end similar when the open games are just far enough. That is currently the open games mainly lack in the area of artwork. Open source game devs are able to create a good storyline, a good ruleset and stuff. It is mainly the outside presentation where the commercial games benefit from the ability of paying artists for their work. So when the studios see too much competition in the market by products that are completely free, they might be scared that they face the same problem ahead is facing.
Not a problem, Thetargos. The thread needed to be re-pointed out.
I probably ought to mention the flip-side of this discussion that I started where we're talking about reaching out to what WILL work from the non-FOSS side of things.
I'd guess the same problems would be present (speaking of costs and other stuff) if you shot for creating a totally new and original game initially for Linux and Mac (through LGP and/or RuneSoft). I even used to think that a successful and popular original work might work wonders to bring the attention of the big players... Sort of what Apple's marketing has done for the Mac... Apple has molded itself (after their near demise in the mid '90s) into an icon of desire. The iPod helped a LOT which, if you remember, was originally only available for Mac OS X (Windows machines could interact with it, but only as a mass-storage device). At any rate, I guess what I'm trying to say is: what would have to be done in the Linux world for an original game to become so popular (and native to Mac OS X and Linux, and running in Windows maybe through MinGW, though not initially) that might turn the faces of those big companies towards Linux and more support for Mac. But for that to happen, a great and original idea is required.
what would have to be done in the Linux world for an original game to become so popular (and native to Mac OS X and Linux, and running in Windows maybe through MinGW, though not initially) that might turn the faces of those big companies towards Linux and more support for Mac. But for that to happen, a great and original idea is required.
I don't think it would have to be a super-awesome uber game to do this. But a game that's good enough to fund sequels and/or other games, and build up a cache of cash that can be used to entice other developers into supporting Linux with 0-day binaries and to fund porting of existing AAA games.
Of course, such a thing could take several years, assuming the developers are even successful (no matter how much money you have and regardless of talent, sometimes games just flop..).
It also helps if developers have access to engines and libraries which do not require a huge Linux coding knowledge to begin with. I know quite some people which do not want to code for Linux since they consider it "too difficult" or "more difficult than Windows" ( which is an obvious miss-understanding... it's the other way 'round in my experience ). If making a Linux version is linked with too much hazzle for the developers they tend to stick to the Windows version. Money rules after all.
I know quite some people which do not want to code for Linux since they consider it "too difficult" or "more difficult than Windows" ( which is an obvious miss-understanding... it's the other way 'round in my experience ).
My experience as well. It's pretty much the same excuse some users give.. "Linux is hard to learn." No, it's not hard, it's just different. Take a person that hasn't bothered learning computers yet, set them down on a Linux machine, and they'll be able to learn it just as profficiently as they could Windows.
Doesn't help that many programming schools force you to use Windows (and are paid to do so).
I know what you mean. I had to setup a road warrior laptop for a road worker of ours and he has beeen rather new to computers altogether. Plugged a Kubuntu on his machine and so far everything works fine. I have quite bigger troubles administering Linux to people used to work with Windows. Some learn it easier while others... well... a donkey is more willing to cooperate than those
I just wish I had time to go over to Garland and talk with the guys over there- purportedly it's not taking forever anymore... (I'll believe it when I see it with my own two eyes and playtest it... )
Seriously, if 3D Realms had something I'd think it'd be nice to get a deal going with 'em to get a Linux version of it out- and they'd have their porting contractor close enough to have him spin by for a visit even...
I remember reading a few months ago (when the new video of Duke lifting weights was released) that they are all for a Linux version. At this point, the franchise may actually benefit of having clients on as many platforms as they can, IMO. If you have any contacts, it may be worth a try sugar-talking them to do a Linux version (I'd LOVE if they'd be willing to give us a headstart and release the Demo on Linux first than any other platform, that'd be me dreaming [again])
I guess this could be possible. Those guys have after all their own way of doing things which is not what the rest of the business does. Let's see what happens. So far they have not gone gold so everything and nothing can happen :P
As a side note, with how long this new Duke game is taking, why hasn't 3D Realms gone out of business yet? I don't remember a recent product of theirs...
Prey is another one of their titles. It's still selling pretty good actually, and is one of the things that's publicly known- they've done a handful of other projects that their name didn't get put on it because they were the subcontractor on the project.
Couple this with keeping a good control on the good money they got from Terminal Velocity, Duke, and Shadow Warrior, they've been able to keep going all this time. It remains to be seen if DNF is going to be worth the wait we've had- but some people that've seen the current "attempt" at it that may well be on it's way to Gold status have been at least mildly impressed. We'll see- I'm still sitting on the fence on this one. If I can get them to give me the time of day on a discussion of a Linux/MacOS version port and see it for myself, I'll change that position.