No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #18

I find it amusing how the more links I have in a week, the less I'm inspired to write about them. Oh, I know why that happens, it's just funny. So let me start.

Last week's theme appears to have been business. I'll start with an opinion piece warning about the way we're unwittingly being influenced into using the inhumane language of business. For an indie game developer that's a double trap, because on the one hand your fans will notice and hate it (remember why they were buying indie in the first place?) and on the other hand you'll be approached with publishing offers which, translated in plain English, sound like this. And you'd better be able to read them right.

This is no joke. I've received a few offers from ad networks and game aggregators which, once I discussed a few details, boiled down to a petty sum upfront putting me at their beck and call for years. Um, no.

Luckily, not all businesses in the field are alike. While Activision is about to spend half a billion bucks on a new franchise, publicity and all, Epic just announced that from now on Unreal Engine (and Unreal Tournament) will be developed in the open, minding user input and everything. Who would you trust more? A company with terrible reputation pulling a stunt that smacks of desperation and tone-deafness, or one that's diving head first into the indie way of doing things?

Last but not least, two links of interest for game developers. Those who still care about interactive fiction may like to hear that Inform 7 has a new major version, the first in three years and a significant update. And the always entertaining Shamus Young is writing about programming again, starting with a rant about GLSL, the OpenGL shading language, an unavoidable topic when it comes to modern 3D games.

And you know, I've learned a bit of OpenGL 1.x (a now-deprecated version) at one point, just enough to make a very simple game. It was so easy to get started with, and just worked everywhere. Nowadays? You need to learn a lot more stuff just to put a black triangle on the screen, and things break all the time because of differences between shader language implementations. You could, of course, keep things at their most basic -- which I advocate in fact -- but then why have all this newfangled technology at all?

Thanks, but no thanks. I have plenty of game ideas that can be done with software rendering, or even ASCII art. If I ever get around to coding again...

See you next time.