Projects like this always ended up being more fun for me to play that the vast majority of released polished games. Part of that is probably seeing updates happen that actually change the game. There's something visceral about that feed of updates, and feeling like you're there as something is being made. You can do a lot to engage a user base that way.
Projects like this can be great because you have direct contact with the creator. That might also be a huge distraction to the creator...
It doesn't take much patronage to support an artist. Dwarf Fortress is fan funded. This is probably the original manifesto that started kickstarter + patreon etc.
Not sure if he has ever had plans to sell the game. I think it is mostly a fun (and epic) project to work on.
Which is perfectly fine! I was simply using money as an indicator of how polished and impressive it looks. Many of my favorite games have been free (roguelikes), and with impressive communities.
Neat to see his project grow and evolve as he did for good bit of his life.
This genuinely makes me want to come up with some sort of long-term (life-long?) project. Like the Sistine Chapel... but not as good. :)
To those saying he should sell this game, I disagree. This is obviously a very interesting and personal project and commercializing it would take a lot of the joy out of the work. It's also something that is obviously in perpetual evolution. Once there's a release, that adds constraints compared to freeform development.
Garmin eMap from 1999 is probably the second closest.
Tried to get it working a few years ago, but couldn't get it to display on the TV. Wasn't sure if it was even powered on because the thing has no lights on it, it was prior to LEDs being commonplace. I didn't have an oscilloscope or the skills to debug it.
Having just finished off 4th year embedded systems I'm probably a bit more qualified to debug it now than I was in high school.
And now I feel old because that was my first computer too.
:o. Thanks, I've learned something new today! I didn't knew the cartridges had battery-powered memory.
Probably quite doable.
Stars in general are variable on a multitude of scales. The most popularly known cycle is the recurrance of sun spots, see e.g. the wikipedia page .
However, stars in general have their own 'life' from young to old. If you take a star like our sun, which has -- surprise, surprise -- one sun mass, it burns hydrogen to helium in a fusion process. Over billions of years it will deplete its hydrogen fuel and a core of helium will form. This leads the hydrogen fusion to move to the outer layers of the star which make it blow up. During this stage it will blow up like a balloon and have a cooler but very thin transparent surface. Hence the name of this stage: red giant.
During this stage, the sun's radius will become so large that it swallows the orbit of the earth. However, since its density is very low at this stage, the earth will keep orbiting inside the sun (though it's a bit warm then). Luckily we still have another 4 billion years or so until then.
When the sun depletes all of its fuel, it will collapse, and maybe (don't know about the current stage of research on that) a Helium Flash will occur where Helium fusion will occur for a brief moment.
During the collapse of the red giant the dense core will bounce back the outer layers and all what's left is the white dwarf.
It get's even more interesting once you take a look at massive stars which immediately start burning Helium (or even heavier elements). Their lifetime is much shorter than the sun's and they end up in different kinds of catastrophic events called supernovae, which leave high density cores behind. Those are either neutron stars, i.e. blobs of tens of kilometers diameter consisting ONLY of neutrons, or black holes.
If you want to model these lifetimes of stars in a crude way, I would start looking at Hertzsprung-Russel diagrams to figure out the paths which stars of different masses take . From the main sequence to the terminal age main sequence, all the way to the red giant stage, possibly a helium burning stage, maybe a second red giant stage, and what have you...
Once you have a few paths figured out, you can toss a die for the initial mass of the star and then toss another one to find out its age. Then lookup the color, brightness, opacity and size.