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A Computer Dungeon Slash Postmortem (museumofzzt.com)
31 points by panic 28 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments

zzt is how epic started. tim sweeny making an open, moddable game as shareware. it is a game that can’t easily exist on modern phone oses because of how they are locked down. kids would not be able to share their mods with friends.

I'd like to see the return of classic "donationware" shareware - where the app is fully functional but the about box notes that it is shareware and asks you to pay if you end up using it regularly.

Sure scammers could try to pass it off as their own work, bundle it with adware/spyware installers, etc. but what's the point of getting a bogus bundle when you can just download the original for free from the developer's web site?

Note: even "legitimate" download sites like download.com used to be notorious for basically doing just that, and possibly ranking higher than the developer site in search results. They also hosted deceptive ads with large, fake, "download" buttons [1]. The current incarnation seems to have improved in that regard, fortunately.

[1] https://blog.malwarebytes.com/cybercrime/2012/10/pick-a-down...

Most modern smartphones come with with javascript, webasm, and associated APIs for 2d/3d graphics, sound, game input, local storage, mobile/wireless network access, as well as lots of RAM and a powerful CPU/GPU. Definitely enough to make open/moddable/shareware games.

There are also widely available free 2d and 3d game engines that will run on them.

I share your concerns in general, but I don’t think it’s a simple issue of phone OSes being “locked down”. If you wanted to, I think it would be possible to make a moddable phone game that can import and export mod packs.

The problems are more things like form factor, lack of editors, difficulty of getting traction in a massively crowded market, etc.

Apple explicitly does not allow this in their app stores.[0]

> 2.4.5(iv): [Apps] may not download or install standalone apps, kexts, additional code, or resources to add functionality or significantly change the app from what we see during the review process. > 2.5.2: Apps should be self-contained in their bundles, and may not read or write data outside the designated container area, nor may they download, install, or execute code which introduces or changes features or functionality of the app, including other apps.

[0] https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/

If the levels/code are passed in plaintext and simply parsed by the app, it is hard to argue it is different or less secure than sending photos in Instagram or playing a game of chess. What is passed may be parsed by the app but it is contained and limited by the boundaries of the app.

The app store is much more concerned with stuff like apps that update themselves to install payloads or change the approved app on a fundamental level.

The app can’t download code, but I’m fairly sure that it can allow users to write code that modifies functionality (various on-device programming environments already exist) and it can allow a user to use iTunes to copy code to the device.

I’m also curious how something like Expo/React Native fits into all this? I guess JavaScript is an exception to this rule?

I don’t think it’s explicitly called out as an exception, it’s just a grey area that Apple hasn’t chosen to crack down on as yet.

Microsoft’s CodePush in particular seems like something Apple might decide to block at some point.

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