No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #28

Welcome. We're all used by now with Kickstarter projects failing even after being fully funded, and while it doesn't seem to deter backers -- people clearly understand that sh*t happens -- the question remains: what should developers do once it's clear that they won't be able to deliver on their promises? Over on Twitter, Shamus Young has an answer, and I can't help but agree.

Idea: If you Kickstart a game & the project fails, then as a gesture of good faith you could release source & assets.

— Shamus Young (@shamusyoung) July 18, 2014

This would 1) Show you DID work on it. 2) Give the community SOMETHING. 3) Let others learn from your mistakes.

— Shamus Young (@shamusyoung) July 18, 2014

That's hardly unprecedented. At least two high-profile MMOs (Ryzom and Myst Online) went open source after failing in the market, and they hadn't even been kickstarted, a.k.a. "already paid for in advance". For a game that was, it's just common sense, you know?

But there's another excellent reason to do so.

I've been involved in the open culture movement since around the time Creative Commons published version 3.0 of their licenses, and in open source even longer (for certain values of "involved", anyway). And you need both to have a completely open game. Yes, there are people who care about that; for several years now, I've been a (not very active) member of the Open Game Art community. And one thing that makes it very difficult to find usable art there is a dearth of complete, coherent art packs designed with a specific game in mind, however modest. Admittedly, half of my own submissions there came from small tech demos that never went anywhere; but they were still made with a purpose in mind, and fit together well. Most entries, however, are both generic and mismatched... and therefore barely useful unless you're either lucky or able and willing to fill in the gaps yourself.

Open culture is enourmously popular by now, and growing. Donating assets you no longer need, especially if they've been already paid for, can earn you a tremendous amount of goodwill, and allow other creators to make more awesome stuff without starting from scratch every time. And what goes around comes around.

In unrelated news, the same Shamus Young, this time at The Escapist, explains how EA blew it with the new Dungeon Keeper, only five months after the event. I rant against big business often enough, so I'll leave it at that. Especially as last week Kotaku highlighted something a lot more interesting to me, namely a game that simulates coming out of the closet. It's free, made in HTML5, and claims to be autobiographic. Dunno about that, but it certainly lacks anything resembling a fourth wall.

As this is a touchy subject for me, I haven't yet worked up the nerve to play it, but it's good to see a game that's neither shallow entertainment nor a hipster's experiment from time to time.

An because those were all the links for this week, I'll end with some personal stuff.

So much for my little game demo. After some very positive feedback from my friends — on early, unrefined versions — the public is all meh about it, including the Pygame community which doesn't have the excuse of being tripped up by the game's somewhat exotic system requirements. Good thing I didn't try to for a complete game, eh? Oh well, it happens. I'm already working on my next title, so that's all right.

In related news, some of my games are now also available from Not that I expect the extra exposure to make a difference, but it was dead simple, and with No Time To Play's webhost derping three times within a few days, having an alternate home for my work can't hurt.

Never despair, and keep making games. See you next week.