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Light Princess -- Where are those programmers?

Some of you may recall my starting the "The Light Princess"
an open-source, cross-platform (but Linux-based) graphic
adventure game (Though I've taken to calling it an interactive
cinema game lately).

This was largely a response to an apparently widely
held belief expressed on the Linux Games and Linux
Kid's Games lists that "programmers are easy to get,
but artists are scarce" as the reason for the lack
of games with this kind of creative content.

Well, we've been going for about six months now, and
what we have are some character artists, a web maintainer
(me), and some other creative work.  There _are_
programmers on my mailing list, but they appear
to be acting as spectators.

I've run into to two types of problems interfacing
with the programming side of the fence:

1) They say "well, write me a specification -- I can't
code anything without a spec".  So I do, which brings
us to problem #2:

2) They don't want to follow my plans.  I write specs,
they argue a bit, and then they go off with plans to
write something quite different, and generally I don't
hear much from them after that.

I was originally under the impression that in the open
source world, I'd need to grant maximum creative freedom
to the programmers in order to get interest.  But then
after some discussion, I became convinced that they
actually wanted me to do the research and planning
(i.e. the "software engineering") and just ask them
to code.

Now I don't know what to think -- except possibly that the
original premise, i.e. that there are plenty of programmers
ready to write games and game engines given creative
content, is horse feathers! :)  I would love for you
guys to prove me wrong on this!

As a result of this situation, I have written a fairly
detailed specification for our game engine requirements,
as well as locating some existing code and design
bases to work from.  This is outlined on the webpage for
The Light Princess (go to "Developers" and then to
"Game Engine"):


The entire site has actually grown quite large by now,
so I hope you will take the time to look around it
a bit to understand what we're trying to do.

My original intent was to collect creative talent for
this project and act as a go-between between the artists
and interested programmers.  However, this has just not
gelled, and I have been increasingly working on the
technical side of this problem.

However, it's become completely clear to me that I
simply am not able to devote the time and energy
required to produce a game engine (as well as doing
the other things I'm doing like managing the site
and dealing with the creative side of the game).

Anyway, I would really like to invite you all to
take a look at the present site and let me know if
you're interested in contributing.  Mind you, I only
wrote this detailed spec because it was requested
of me -- I'm willing to be quite flexible on it.  We
did discuss a number of points about it, and I'm
pretty attached at this point to using XML/SVG for
game resources and programming in Python as needed
(for the _game_ programming, not necessarily the
_game_engine_ programming).  The character agents
are an exciting technology that I thought might
capture someone's interest, but they are probably
not absolutely necessary to the game (we can use
the older approach to programming adventure games
if necessary). Anyway, please take a look at it,
folks -- we worked pretty hard on creative content,
it would be a shame to see it collapse for lack
of interested programmers!

Please email me personally if you are interested
or have questions after looking at the site.

Terry Hancock

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