Another reason: Linux users tend to be more passionate and idealistic than others. It's no surprise considering virtually no one can buy a machine with Linux pre-installed. This means we're almost all volounteers, especially people who play games. This passion carries over to games.
In Linux circles, "I use Linux, and Windows in dual boot just for games" is a common phrase. Many Linux users want their Windows partition gone, and games is the only thing that really keeps them from doing so. All other programs have decent substitutes, some are arguably better. If OpenOffice or GIMP doesn't work for you, it's mostly likely some business requirement, compatibility with enterprise software, etc.
By the way, I was among people who paid more for Linux version.
I don't think that really plays much in to it. I don't think many people are sizing up the quality of the software then making a value judgement - as everyone will conclude that even $10 or $20 is very cheap for the value you receive.
I think it's more the points child comment makes above, along with:
a- Linux users want to support the philosophy behind these humble sales (pay-what-you-want, independent studio, DRM-free).
b- Total supposition: Many linux users come across this from sources like HN or their friends as "check out the way these are being sold", whereas many windows users it's more "check out how cheap these games are".
I loathe to admit it, especially because I'm an amateur game programmer/designer. But Open Source games today are seriously lacking in creativity and originality. Vast majority of them are clones of equivalent proprietary projects. Let's examine a couple a couple of succesful Open Source games:
- Freeciv: duh
- The Dark Mod: Thief clone
- Hedgewars: Worms clone
- Violetland: Crimsonland clone
- OpenArena, Alien Arena, Nexuiz, Warsow (Quake1/3 clones)
- Wesnoth: Final Fantasy Tactics ? Console TBS ? Simple to the point where armor is represented via more hitpoints and tin can knights need more healing.
- billion of DooM source ports
- Cube, Sauerbraten FPS games have intriguing engines utilizing octrees, which enables to display huge number of geometry. These engines are used almost exclusively to creat dumb Quake clones.
Sadly, many good or promising Open Source games started as commercial ones. The code was released later, often because the game was a commercial failure (i.e. Fish Fillets, 0. A.D. ). More generally, open source is often where software goes to "die".
About the only games I can name as exceptions are roguelikes, particularly Nethack and Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. These are open-source games with no equivalent in proprietary/commercial world.
I'm convinced this is not a problem with lack of money, time, or motivation. Even the greediest of the bunch, 2D and 3D artists, end up contributing to mature projects. OpenOffice, Mozilla, GIMP. Hell, Linux ! I think it's a problem with leadership. This article, incidentally - linked from Hacker News - was an eye opener for me:
("Design is not a democratic process", "Eventually you realize there’s only way to please everyone: Cook something bland, mild, and safe, like chicken and rice. But does chicken and rice actually please anyone? Not really, it was just what everyone hated the least.", "Votes become vetoes")
It also talks about stuff like the jellybeans experiment. What wisdom of crowds is good or bad for.
Usually, innovative, potentially bad ideas are shot down. You're left with chicken and rice - things that people hated the least. That's why clones are so popular - you know in advance it is a solid game idea. It's much easier to get contributors. But good luck getting motivated contributors for a unique game !
More generally, I think open-source games often end up going one of 2 paths:
- bland clone, huge project inertia
- Frankenstein feature creep, in my opinion Nethack belongs here
I think open source is bad at going where no one has gone before, and this is important for games. It won't stop me from trying, though.
I think Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is one notable exception - it mostly manages to keep leadership focus. You could say they don't exclusively use greedy algorithms for design.
Linux games don't have to be open source. If you use the SDL library you're already 90% Linux compatible. OpenGL for the Mac is 60ish% Linux compatible. Most of your work will be playing with your linker and not the code or compiler.
> More generally, open source is often where software goes to "die".
Regarding games, would you say that the Quake franchise is dead? Doom? Hardly. You are right about Open Source project games being fairly bland, but to call any game on Linux failed from the get-go because of the open source nature of the OS is very short sighted. There is a large consumer base willing to pay money for binaries (not code) for entertainment purposes. The HumbleBundle continues to show this.
It was a shortcut. I meant that companies typically release application source code when they feel they can no longer profit from it. Examples: Blender, Inkscape, SOffice, Fish Fillets(a really fun and unique puzzle game), Mozilla, DooM, Quake1,2,3, Hexen, 0 A.D (Exception: The GIMP). I wish I could say most of good open source games were developed as open source from the start, but it's not true. BSD folks have a point here when they talk about undercutting, but I don't think this is bad.
Linux games don't have to be open source, but it's a development model I like for practical and ideological reasons. Open source, also GPL, is really the point of Linux. Otherwise why not just go with BSD ? Perhaps I wasn't so clear - I like open source development because in theory it has no restrictions on game design, as opposed to Hollywood style products. But in practice fear of unknown (I guess ?) prevents lots of open source innovation from happening.
Copyright and monopoly originated not to make people profit, not because X deserves Y, but to get more stuff into public domain. You know Gutenberg we praise so much tried to destroy his printing press and keep the secret to himself ? Yet the industrial revolution only started once James Watt's patents expired and he could no longer innovators with lawsuits.
Open source is great for maintenance - I wish companies realized that ! Look at dosbox, wine, various old games. They think they gain a competitive advantage by keeping their infrastructure secret, but how much do they spend in maintenance costs ?
I don't know what's your definition of a roguelike game, but mine includes "Save/continue instead of save/load AND permanent death". Diablo1 has permanent death but you just reload if you die. Diablo2 has save/continue but no permanent death. I guess Torchlight is the same.
Save/continue combined with permanent death has BIG impact on gameplay, it's almost like a separate genre. Look at Dominions3 (TBS from 2010, free demo). It fulfills the condition I described. It has things unthinkable in many other games, like many divination spells that provide information. In a save/load game they would be pointless, you could just go into an unexplored area and reload, repeat. Also, Dominions3 has spells that bring back your valued commanders from dead... but they make them weaker (wight, mummy) and can't be reused over and over.
Save/continue with permadeath has large impact on player behavior too. Players tend to a lot more carefully, value escape tools. Knowing what's coming in advance is good.
You may want to try Notrium. The game is free, however it won't run on Linux without wine. Aside from save/load, I think it's a much better graphical/realtime roguelike than Diablos.
I'm curious, what is the licensing on the included Jack Claw source code?
Could I mod it and release it? (Commercially?) What about the included media?
PS. Attempted to get answers from fronzebyte via the in page "chat with frozenbyte" widget. Not much help from them at all. Kind of discouraging.
Heya, curious about the included Jack Claw source--whats the licensing on it?
→Would some one be able to mod and release the source? With existing media assets? How about commercially?
→(Not that I want to buy the source, compile it and sell it) But was curious about utilizing the engine and assets to create a different game and how release options would be liited (or not)
Joonas/FrozenByte: I suggest you to go to the frozenbyte jack claw forums and ask about the stuff there.
→Where would that be?
Here's the license text from the README of the source code:
JACK CLAW SOURCE CODE LICENSE
THE COMPUTER CODE ("SOURCE CODE") CONTAINED HEREIN IS THE SOLE PROPERTY OF FROZENBYTE LTD. ("FROZENBYTE").
FROZENBYTE GRANTS TO END-USERS A ROYALTY-FREE, PERPETUAL LICENSE TO USE, DISPLAY, MODIFY, DISTRIBUTE AND
CREATE DERIVATIVE WORKS OF THE SOURCE CODE, SO LONG AS SUCH ACTION IS FOR NON-COMMERCIAL, ROYALTY-FREE
AND REVENUE-FREE PURPOSES. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE END-USER TAKE ANY ACTION WHEREBY THE SOURCE CODE CONTAINED
HEREIN WOULD BE USED FOR REVENUE-BEARING PURPOSES. THE END-USER UNDERSTANDS AND AGREES TO THE TERMS HEREIN
AND ACCEPTS THE SAME BY USING THE SOURCE CODE IN ANY WAY.
THE SOURCE CODE IS PROVIDED AS-IS AND FROZENBYTE MAKES NO WARRANTY AS TO THE USABILITY OR CORRECTNESS
OF THE SOURCE CODE. ANY USE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
FROZENBYTE RETAINS THE RIGHT TO ALTER THESE LICENSE TERMS AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON.
SOURCE CODE README AND FURTHER LICENSE NOTES
Last update to this file: 12th of April 2011
Jack Claw was a project in development at Frozenbyte during the years 2006-2008. It was a big-budget multiplatform game for next-gen consoles and PC. The project was canned in 2008 and the team set to work on Trine ( http://www.trine-thegame.com ) instead. More history on the project can be found at Frozenbyte's website or on the Jack Claw website, and more info on the transition from Jack Claw to Trine can be found in the Gamasutra postmortem:
This source code package allows you to compile the game and develop it further if you wish (for non-commercial purposes). All other Jack Claw files, including the art assets and the level editor, remain the sole property and copyright of Frozenbyte. You may not distribute any of the files not included in the source code package. Should the source code include any 3rd party files or software, the copyright remains with the original owner and you are not allowed to distribute or modify such files or software. It is also forbidden to distribute Jack Claw or any direct derivative, in any way (e.g. not even for free), in any "app stores" such as the Mac App Store or similar, or in any distribution channel that has authorization control by a third party.
If you have a question about the license or a specific file, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're mostly just covering our legal base with this stuff.
Please note that we cannot provide any official support for this source code release, although we will try to help where we can.
If you are interested in developing Jack Claw, please get in touch with us or join the community - we are not actively developing the game on our own anymore but we are generally open to ideas, and our main interest is to just get the game out there and see what happens, and support the community with their ideas.
It is because they hope to create a crowd-sourced game later down the road. The idea is that by releasing the source they can hold contests to create levels and bosses and music and therefore create a finished product with minimum effort.
Good for you - sadly I don't have that kind of self-control. I played through Braid in one sitting - be it 10pm through to about 7am in the morning. Once I started I couldn't put it down; it was probably the best gaming experience I've ever had. Similar result the next weekend with Goo.
More and more people are using their PCs with big TVs, so hopefully it'll make a comeback. Valve announced Steam will have a big screen/TV mode soon, and it'll be interesting to see if Portal 2 supports split screen natively (L4D 1+2 did, but required some hacking around in the console).
Is there anything as good as Braid in this bundle? I bought the last Humble Indie Bundle and nothing really struck my fancy as much as Braid. The game play is truly innovative and the difficulty on par with Apple II and Amiga games of my youth.
I've only played Trine of the games in this bundle, and it's a decently well-polished game. It's basically a puzzle-platformer. I've only spent about an hour on it, so I can't really comment on the difficulty.
I doubt it's as intellectually hard as some of the later Braid levels. Solving those were so satisfying.
I'm looking forward to the time when I forget the solutions so i can replay it all again. I tried a couple of months ago but sadly all the answers came flooding back. I'll give it another 2-3 years before trying again.
None of the Humble Bundles actually include the source code with the purchase. Sometimes the publisher has released the code of the games included in the bundle on their own outside of the actions of the Humble Bundle.
The reason that Jack Claw in this bundle was open sourced is because it is a prototype.
You can find sourcecode for games included in other versions linked from Wolfire's blog:
It's an interesting free-form (ie, no true paths) tower-defense game. Pretty large tech tree, pretty long game, pretty hard, and it under-went a major gameplay-overhaul not too long ago. I'm not convinced it's better, but it did noticeably simplify a few things which were over-complicated. And large changes / updates are generally indicative of developers who listen. As is the overall level of polish, which I'd call abnormally high.
Definitely worth a try, unless you dislike tower defense games.
It is awesome... They did make a lot of changes (like 12 or so new versions since then) so you should fetch the latest when you are ready to give it a try. The whole gameplay is different, basically they released a "pretty good" game for the bundle #2, then iterated with feedback to get to "awesome". Got to admire this attitude.
I bought the previous bundle, but now I'm torn. On the one hand, I want to show support for them and for linux gaming. OTOH, the hardware requirements are rather steep for me. The games I've gotten around to playing from the last bundle all run well on Intel graphics.
I just tried Shadowgrounds on a laptop with an Intel 4500MHD (and a 1.4GHz Core 2 Solo) and it works and looks surprisingly well (I set the graphics to "low" and res was ~1280x720).
Shadowgrouns: Survivor hard locked my laptop (running Win7), I'm guessing it's some sort of driver issue :(.
Trine runs well at 1024x768, but bogs down at my native resolution (1366x768).
For reference, I can play CS:S, HL2 & Torchlight on this laptop just fine, but that's probably about it (TF2 is iffy). SC2 & Minecraft are pretty much unplayable. Modern shooters like L4D1/2 are completely out.
Dude, don't worry about it. Just pay what you feel like paying. Think of it as a donation, not as a payment. In fact, part of it is (the donations to Child's Play and EFF, as well as the tip for the guys running the Humble Bundle). Think of the rest of it the same way as well; you're donating what you can afford to some people who are creating cool games that you get to play.