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Re: Loki...

On Thursday, 24. January 2002 15:48, Steve Baker wrote:
> Without games, we'll have a very hard time in the desktop market.

Nobody doubts that, and polls regularly prove it.

> The Source code for Quake-1 - including the server and the necessary
> support tools - is 250,000 lines of code.  That's pretty comparable to a
> typical large OpenSource project - Python (for example) contains about
> 120,000 lines, Apache is 120,000 - GIMP contains 250,000 lines.

Sloccount reports 136k for Quake2. This is even comparable to some large open 
source games (I measured many projects a while back just to get a clue about 
the coding efforts).

> But Quake also has 57 megabytes of 3D models, textures, etc - just for the
> basic demo levels.

Data which can still not be used freely if I'm right :(

>   4) Games are short-lived phenomena.  People play a game for a few weeks
>      or months at most - and then move on.  It's rather depressing to spend
>      two years of your free time writing a big OpenSource game - only
>      to find that your fame lasts for a month and then nobody downloads it
>      anymore.  Better by far to write a simple KDE utility in just a few
> weeks an see your work appreciated, used and extended for years to come.

Many desktop apps are nowadays created without anybody using it because 
there's about the same problem: Hundreds of utilies exist but the large 
applications like desktop databases etc. are coming slowly.
The feedback I get on my KDE nongame-apps is not so frequent than the one I 
get on games/game systems (though the difference is small).

But I thought about that one too - does it really make sense to spend weeks 
on games rather than trying to invest more time into some kind of 
entertainment infrastructure?
The opinions will differ - at least the audience we have (Linux gamers) are 
currently hardly "moving on", they stick to say Freeciv and simply expect to 
see continuous work on the sources.

>   5) Only one in 35 commercial games makes a profit.  OpenSource games
> don't have to be profitable - but to be worth writing at all, you DO want
> them to have a reasonable "happy-audience-to-effort" ratio...which is kinda
> the same thing.  It's tough to go into an OpenSource development that's
> going to suck up all your free time for a year or more knowing that there
> is only a 3% chance that it will be loved.

3% seems to be an exaggeration but I get your point.

>   6) With non-games, you can release a version that's only partially
> complete and people will join the project - offer patches, etc until it's
> finished. If you release a game that's not "playable" - nobody will
> download it.

That's true for the majority of projects, and results from the mentioned 
usage period. If a programmer needs a new API function, he contacts the 
project so it is included in the future.
Games which are playable but lack some features should in theory be in the 
same position.

>   * I'd hoped that by making a game where it was relatively easy to add
>     levels of your own (TuxKart), I'd get lots of people contributing game
>     levels - which would make the game bigger with little effort on my part
>     - and also make the game more interesting for me to play.  I never got
>     a single level contributed.

Never? This surprises me. There are games which profit from such a concept, 
there are quite some OpenRacer levels, Freeciv tilesets, KDE games carddecks 
But I can also imagine that a not too small part of Linux users doesn't even 
know it's possible to contribute, and how much we wait for more 

>   * I put most of the code into a library that could be used (and therefore
>     contributed to) by other Linux games writers.  Hence, TuxKart contains
>     only 5,400 lines of code and the PLIB library has grown to almost
> 63,000 lines.  That is the only thing that has enabled me to write three
> games in about 3 years...it would have been impossible otherwise.

Libraries and large game systems will play an even larger role in the next 
few years. I'm currently not informed whether new games are largely based on 
that, but I see many which use SDL (-Net, -...), which certainly saves 
development time.

>   * I try to come up with game concepts that don't need much artwork. 
> That's proved to be almost impossible.  Games that don't have much artwork
> seem to always look crap - that's not really a suprise I guess.

Yes, but there are thousands of people out there who like that kind of games 
Taking a quick look at zone.com reveals:
About 100k players online, more than 70% of them playing simple games rather 
than Age of Empires, Flight sim or whatever those are.
Most of these simple games can be hacked in less than a day, and they were so 
they exist on Linux. It's just another target group, one which I hope will be 
"available" one day.

> It's very depressing - but we *NEED* commercial games for Linux.

Well, if we could somehow attract all the freelancers which publish "freeware 
games" (sometimes featuring new game concepts or cute graphics) to use free 
licenses we'd already be a step ahead, without requiring commercial games.


The MindX Open Source Project: Fighting proprietary games
GGZ now! - The GGZ Gaming Zone: http://ggz.sourceforge.net
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