October 2018

Open source game development is now just mobile game development

Of course I'm still observing the open source game development scene (which is mostly nonexistent, but this is not the topic now) and noticed a clear trend towards mobile game development, so much that almost everything looks to be just geared towards the mobile market. It seems to have been an easy transition, since the open source game development scene was mostly 2D or retro game development anyway, but now the rise of the mobile market has given it so much justification that basically everything is just mobile game development now and nobody tries to do something real anymore. Before people complain, that most of those games are released on PC as well, to those I say, that is not what I mean with mobile games, mobile games I define as games that are released for mobile as well or can be released on mobile or web browser or look and feel exactly like mobile games.

So what are the problems with this? Well very simple:

1. Mobile games do not equal open source games

2. Almost all mobile platforms are completely incompatible to open source

3. Lower quality of games, since they have to be primitive enough for mobile platforms and audience

4. Open source game development is dead

 

I wonder why almost nobody gets even the basics of the open source philosophy, why would you develop open source for a platform that is closed? Well you can't, there is no way. Some people may argue you can jailbreak those devices and run them with free software, yes that may work to a degree, but you are never sure how jail free you really are and how long it will stay that way. The companies designing those platforms don't want them to be open and if you open them up, they will just try finding ways to prevent you from doing so and they have countless of lawyers and zillions of money and you don't, so don't even bother with that. If you have devices that need to be jailbreaked it means they are designed to be a jail for you and you should not be using them in the first place.

When I tell people those things they almost always come with the same non-argument like "Oh but you are using Windows" or cherry pick any other non open source software you use and if they cannot find any flaw in you, they will just start philosophical arguments, that you can never be really free etc and therefore it is no problem to be using an 100% iPrison device all the time. People will try to find a flaw in you and even if you use 90% free software, they will point to the other 10% and say "You are a hypocrite" and use that "argument" to justify using 0% free software themselves. I often wonder how people cannot see how illogical they are with their arguments, pointing a finger at someone elses flaw does not change anything in your own flaws, absolutely nothing.

Basically all their argument is like "Oh because you cannot be 100% perfectly free 100% of the time, it is justified to be 100% perfectly a slave 100% of the time." - This is just pure insanity.

Frome a sane point of view, any progress is better than no progress or even regress and the point that you cannot get absolute perfection instantly should not demotivate you doing something, since then you would never get anything done.

This mobile hype is not just bad for open source,  but also bad for quality of games (and all other software). So the result is, you are getting less open source, less progress, worse software, less freedom, less privacy, less fun, less life etc. Mobile games should be a niche product, something you can play in the waiting room for the doctors (or whatever place you should not be to begin with) and not make up 99% of the indie game dev market and more than half of the total games market (Yes I don't know the exact numbers, but I know the numbers are high).

The mobile market just makes people go corrupt and many developers just abuse the open source content creators to make the most money with the least efford. I once talked with a guy who claimed to make six figure income per year just taking free content and make simple games with it. When I looked at what he produced it was just simple mobile games, like default quality, full with microtransactions of course and all for the extremely proprietary apple market. Of course strictly speaking it is legal to do that, since the content is open source, but it is still not a nice move, though such creators are a bit more limited in their choice, since many open source licenses do not allow such use, or better to say, the proprietary platform they use does not allow it. I don't want to trash that guys work, I mean he seems to know what he is doing and his games had average quality, if you ignore that he was not creating any content himself, but why would anyone play such a game. Those kind of games were like what you had around 20 years ago, but now on a mobile device with lots of microtransactions. Why would anyone play that? You can play games like that on the PC for free all day long, having better visual quality and better controls etc.

Many people like to go with the flow, like that new super open source game engine that is newly developed that seems to flourish only because of the mobile market hype, since I know a much better game engine that existed far before that gets no hype at all. That specific popular game engine seems to target the mobile market, as it is designed exactly to produce those kind of games efficiently and support those mobile platforms well. The big problem I have with that is that it basically motivates people to develop closed source games for closed source platforms, large parts of the previously open source game dev scene even switched to straight proprietary engines only to develop their indie games.

On some parts it may look like the open source scene is growing, but the primary reason is always that it grows because it can be abused for easy money making in proprietary products on proprietary platforms. Well and this means that basically everything goes to shit.

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