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Are Open-Source Games & Community Game Engines Fading Away?

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  • #51
    Sorry I didn't have time to read all 5 pages of comments, but this topic quite interests me nonetheless.

    Right at the beginning, I've read this:

    Like seriously, as a hardcore engine developer, which would you choose? 100k salary at a gaming company, or free work, "kind donations", crybaby users/trolls on the forums and endless arguments with other devs in a "superior" democracy model at an open source project?

    Grow up.
    This is pragmatically true, but I think it completely forgets the history of free software. Free software didn't happen one day, just like that. It started with persons that profoundly believed in the idea that sharing is more important than profits. Profit is a mean, it is not an end. From that point, a lot of stuff happened and eventually some dudes started to see how to make this sharing philosophy profitable. Open source happened (for better or worse), and you all know the rest...

    Then I've read this:

    As for the point you made, there's always been a bit of a gulf between the technical community and the artistic community and the artistic side tends to 'get' open-source less.
    And I think it's pretty clear that there is a pattern here. Artistic communities didn't find their "open source" yet. The philosophy is already here (and may have been here for more time than computer software), and we can see it with the rise of Creative Commons and other artistic licenses. It is just that they haven't find yet how to be profitable while having this philosophy.

    So I think that what would be interesting would be to find a business model that would work in the game industry, which is not computer software or artistic assets only, it's a combination of both. Maybe one day, we'll have programmers and artists being well paid for open source games, as we have programmers right now paid for open source software.

    What I see now, that we didn't have a few years ago, are free (as in beer) AAA games with well paid developers (e.g. Dota 2). We're not talking about open source yet, but we're clearly aiming into a direction where the product is less important than the community around it... I think that the mentality has changed and all we need is a business model now.
    Creak
    Senior Member
    Last edited by Creak; 13 December 2015, 12:05 AM.

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    • #52
      Originally posted by siavashserver
      Open source model only works when you have a service to offer besides the real product itself. Unlike Epic Games, RedHat, Canonical, GitLab, etc which make money by offering commercial grade support, server hosting, ... small open source projects and gamedev teams can't offer such services and make that steady/enough flow of money to continue working on their projects full time.
      "Game as a service" is definitely a thing that big game studios are talking about. So "service" and "game" isn't that antinomic.

      Now, whether the service is a permanent online infrastructure, or an endless game story, or whatever... that is where the challenge lies.

      I'm not saying I have the solution, I'm simply saying I see a pattern here. If I had the solution, I might probably start my own game studio

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      • #53
        I'm jumping in here because I am an Open Source Game Developer and I'm going to be very clear: Open Source game programmers are the problem.
        There are a lot of open source engines out there now, and in almost every case a programmer expects YOU to learn Python, LUA, C++, XML, or some other bullshit file/programming format to edit their game. This is why Open Source games are getting nowhere. You want Open Source Games, you need to make tools for artists. You want Vegastrike to be a fun playable game to rival Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen, someone needs to port Vegastrike's model format into PCS2. Someone needs to update PCS2 (http://ferrium.org/media/pcs2_first_render.jpg) from wxWidgets 2.8 to wxWidgets 3.0 so it'll actually build/run on modern systems. You want new Freespace 2 or Vegastrike missions? Get working on porting wxFRED2 to Linux, build an equivalent to FRED2 (http://fredzone.hard-light.net/fredd...D2-opening.gif) for Vegastrike. Open Source Engines suck, because they don't have tools. ID Software didn't get tons of mods because they open sourced Quake 1/2/3/4. They got tons of mods because they released GTK RADIANT (http://icculus.org/gtkradiant/_images/screenshot.png). Why is Freespace2 getting mods a decade later on Windows? Because they released FRED2, they released EDITING TOOLS / MIDDLEWARE TOOLS. The things which Windows do but Linux don't.

        Want to see why people edit games that are closed source? This is why (list is for Freespace 2, the editor fanbase was there long before we had sourcecode access):

        Applications for 3d editing/Model importing:
        3D Studio Max
        Max to PCS2 to In-Game Tutorial
        Blender
        LithUnwrap
        Maya
        ModelView32 - game specific tool - views ships/shows weapon mounts etc
        POF Constructor Suite 2 (also called PCS2) - game specific tool for editing ship weapon mounts/shields etc.
        TrueSpace

        VP files - Game Archive Creators/Viewers
        VPMage - extracts VP Archives
        VPmake - Creates VP Archives

        Texturing:
        The GIMP
        General Normal Maps & Modelling Thread
        Figuring out Ship Shininess
        How do normal maps work
        The Idiot's Guide to Nameplates
        K7g's Texturing in Blender Video Tutorial

        Conversion & Mapping
        Blender to POF Conversion Guide
        VolitionWatch Fighter Guide
        Collada Importer - converts 3d models to ingame format
        POF Conversion Plug-In for 3DS Max - converts 3d models to ingame format
        Retaining Hierarchy on Export
        UVMapping and Tiling
        UVW Mapping Short Tutorial
        UVW Mapping Tutorial for 3DSMax
        In-Depth Look at UVW Mapping in 3DS Max
        UV Unwrapping Tutorial 3DS Max
        Steve-O's Animation Code Tutorial
        FSF's Shipbuilding Tutorial
        Mapping with UVW Unwrap in 3dsMax
        Texturing In 3D Studio Max
        Dxt5nm convert to blue (for converting normal maps from green to blue in GIMP)


        Tabling
        List of Table Files
        Animation Code
        External Weapons Documentation by Bobboau
        Tutorial - Beam Weapons
        Modular tables
        Ship Templates
        Subsystems stuff
        Terminology
        Intro to tabling (video)


        General
        Bobbaou's FreeSpace Tutorials (may be slightly out of date)
        FS2 Data Structure
        File Management (video)
        File Types
        Installing Mods for FS2 Open
        Karajorma's FreeSpace FAQ (may be slightly out of date)
        Hitchhiker's Guide to mod.ini
        List of user-made ships
        Squadron insignia
        General 3D Related Tutorials
        Conclusive 3D Reference Site

        As you can see, there are extensive resources available on Windows for someone wanting to Make a campaign, or just a ship for Freespace2. Linux games don't have these tools and *SURPRISE* /sarcasm noone is making open source Linux games. OpenMW Gets a HUGE shout out here for doing it right. As does Free Heroes 2 for at least working on a level editor.

        I am tired, I am pissed off, I have been crusading for this shit for the last decade and noone is helping, noone is making this stuff happen. As a result Vegastrike is dying, developers are leaving and people aren't using the engine to its full power. That game supports online Network play, FFMPEG cutscenes, has an OGRE Engine based renderer, has a freaking planetary terrain engine (has had it for 10 years now) realistically we should have been moving towards a Star Citizen scale game, but because the tools didn't exist we couldn't rapidly develop using WYSIWYG techniques, everyone got fedup with trying to handcode missions and trying to hand edit XML ship models and the project died.

        Open Source gaming sucks because Linux/Open Source programmers won't make tools to edit their games, they are too busy trying to cram new lighting models and algorithmic features into their highly derivative engines rather than making tools to let people tell stories. Making games is about telling stories using computers, the more accessible you make the storytelling to laypeople, the more games/content/contributors to Open Source games we will get. /RANT OVER
        DMJC
        Senior Member
        Last edited by DMJC; 13 December 2015, 04:30 AM.

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        • #54
          Originally posted by DMJC View Post
          I'm jumping in here because I am an Open Source Game Developer and I'm going to be very clear: Open Source game programmers are the problem.
          There are a lot of open source engines out there now, and in almost every case a programmer expects YOU to learn Python, LUA, C++, XML, or some other bullshit file/programming format to edit their game. This is why ....
          As an engine developer that works on closed source titles on Windows / Consoles I can say first hand that the tools on Linux for properly debugging rendering code are just rubbish. It's plain and simple, the support tools for developers pale in comparison to NVIDIA's nsight or the Visual Studio Graphics analyzer (formerly pix). I started out doing getting experience writing my own custom OpenGL engine on Linux/Mac/Windows and had to deal with tools like gDebugger and apitrace and move from those to the aforementioned tools was like a dream come true. Linux as a games development platform just isn't there. I was excited to see tools like VOGL from valve but even that hasn't been updated in 8 months. I still tinker with my custom OpenGL engine but I know full well that the plethora of options provided by engines like UE4 would take many many years to write by myself, and with todays expectations of engines I just don't see the value in writing it myself if I'm trying to produce a product.

          As far as why open source games haven't been as popular, well, time changes things. Even the proprietary space for games has seen dramatic shifts in business models over the last few years from premium games, to subscription model to free-to-play, so there's is no part of the games industry that's immune to change. The problem with the open-source community is that it's stuck in the past, the traditional open-source game model doesn't really work any more, not with the expectations people have of games these days. I'd love to see someone come up with a business model that allows a game to pay for itself and also remain open-source (no donations won't cut it, just like putting a game on humble bundle is a death sentence for your games value, if people don't have to pay the majority won't). I think people don't realise the amount of work that's required to make a compelling 3D game these days.

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          • #55
            It's simple - games are becoming cheap fast and most people would just buy Skyrim for 5 bucks.

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            • #56
              I'm not sure if story secrets, easter eggs, alternate endings, etc is something that's attractive to a story teller with open source games. Any comment on this from someone who has played or made an open source game whose main focus was a story?

              And to add to what DMSJ says it seems we are too many programmers in this field. Game engines turn out to be programmer friendly rather than artist friendly.

              One community I can think of that is sort of open source ish is the löve community. Löve is an open source 2d game engine which lets you use lua to make games and many games for it are open source. It's difficult to hide lua code and a project folder with source code can just be dropped on an exe file to make it run the game so I think that's two reasons why they tend to be open source. In my experience in this community it seems that many aren't aware of/don't care what free software even is but the feel is definitely there.

              I've noticed this in game modding communities too where the game is proprietary but the mods (even if they are very versatile) are open source and or free without the programmers really knowing anything about free software. I came from one of these modding communities on windows and ended up here on linux.

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              • #57
                Originally posted by DMJC View Post
                You want Open Source Games, you need to make tools for artists.
                I think you are exactly right, but making good tools for your engine isn't easy. It took us over a year for http://www.openra.net/ to port the map editor from a legacy Windows only framework to our cross-platform in-game widgets, but it was worth it. http://resource.openra.net/ is full of great maps created by skilled community members. Next big thing probably has to be IDE support for our Lua scripting API using https://github.com/monodevelop/LuaBinding and a replacement for those Windows-only pixel art editors https://github.com/aseprite/aseprite/issues/773

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                • #58
                  Originally posted by GraysonPeddie View Post
                  Pardon me for asking, but do you speak Indonesian? Google Translate detected the word "fatamorgana" as such.
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fata_Morgana_(mirage)

                  Cheers,
                  _

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                  • #59
                    Originally posted by Mailaender View Post
                    I think you are exactly right, but making good tools for your engine isn't easy. It took us over a year for http://www.openra.net/ to port the map editor from a legacy Windows only framework to our cross-platform in-game widgets, but it was worth it.
                    Originally posted by Mailaender View Post
                    and a replacement for those Windows-only pixel art editors
                    Doesn't that beg the questions: why develop Windows-only tools for a multiplatform game/engine in the first place?

                    Cheers,
                    _

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                    • #60
                      Originally posted by anda_skoa View Post
                      Why develop Windows-only tools for a multiplatform game/engine in the first place?
                      _
                      A few reasons, the first is the level editor was Windows only, along with most of the other tools and Freespace 2 started life as closed source. Also Linux support had to be added to the engine as it wasn't originally multi platform.... But you are correct, Open Source Games should be shipping with tools which are designed to be as cross platform as the engines which are built with them.

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