Submitted by Duion on
There is a huge issue with almost the whole open source game development scene that nobody ever seems to talk about or even notice and that is that almost every open source game seems to be just plagiarism. I had lots of debates about that topic and I was even banned for mentioning those uncomfortable facts, but I think there is not even a debate in many cases, since many open source games do not even hide that they are just copies of a proprietary product, this goes so far, that they even keep the same name and just add a prefix or suffix or like "open-xy" or "free-xy" etc to it. I once made a list to determine the exact percentage and came out with 80-90% of open source games to be plagiarism, it was then censored and deleted by some insane forum admin who could not handle the truth, but I don't care to reproduce it, since it was not that accurate anyway, because of the small sample size, which cannot be bigger, since the total number of open source games is not that high anyway. But no matter if 70, 80, 90, 95 or 99% of open source games are plagiarism, the problem still remains and my argument as well.
Many people may say that plagiarism is not such a big problem, since you have free games, but in the long run it is a huge problem, because you have nothing on your own and so you can never get ahead or become successful. The only success a plagiarist can have is a part of the success from where he is stealing from, which in the beginning can be a lot, that is why plagiarism is so popular, but as said, in the long run it is bad and overall morally wrong. One has to consider, that the main argument of open source software is the moral aspect which goes something like "Proprietary software is evil, because it is closed and unfree and free software is good, because it is open and free." which in itself is correct, but if you argue the moral aspect, you cannot act immoral all the time, this makes you a hypocrite. I even met people who argued that it is okay to steal intellectual property (which is what plagiarism is) and then make it free instead, which is even legal, if you rebuild it yourself and re-brand it slightly. Even if you get away with such a behavior, by using legal loopholes etc, you still will lose your moral high ground, since a thief who gets away with thievery is still a thief.
So you have to consider you are supposed to be the good guy, fighting against the evil big companies with their evil proprietary products and then everything you do is trying to steal their intellectual property, steal their fame, steal their creativity, steal their brand, steal their users etc. Sure many companies do that as well, but in the business world, the default is still, that every company has it's own product, in their own style, their own brand name etc, but in the open source game development scene the default seems to be, to just steal everything and be a copycat. This amazes me again and again how nobody can see the issue in there. I mean there are areas in the real world, where this exact same behavior exists as well and almost everyone sees it instantly, like with the cheap Chinese ripoff products that are just stolen from western designs. If you merely mention "Chinese product" it will be almost synonymous with "bad product" or "ripoff", which is not true in all cases, but everyone instantly knows what you mean, knows the problem of stolen products and will be disgusted by it, morally and practically and try to avoid those products. However this is not the case with open source games, which are supposedly better, but in the end people just fool themselves, at least the fan-boys themselves, since regular people from outside of the scene obviously avoid those plagiarism products and fan-boys within the scene somehow are unable to see that nobody takes them seriously.
I did not even go into the creative and artistic aspect of it, which is of course nonexistent in plagiarism products. Some people seriously tried to argue to me how plagiarisms can also be art, but most people in the real world will agree it is not, even the legal system agrees it is not art, you may even go to jail for that, depending on the circumstances and intensity of your plagiarism and what you tried to do with it. The reason the open source game development community gets away with it is, that the companies either don't take it seriously and/or it is considered fan art, which is a legal grey area, which means it is illegal, but tolerated in most cases.
Often I even philosophized about this topic, since this seems to be a metaphysical phenomenon, which is that there seems to be an inherent difference in humans: Some are masters who can create things and some are slaves who cannot create things. No matter how much the slaves try to create things, they always end up with doing plagiarism, since they have no creativity on their own and the reverse may also be true, no matter how hard the master tries to do plagiarism, he will inevitable end up with something that has at least some degree of originality and creativity.
Slave tries to create something original -> Ends up with plagiarism
Master tries to do plagiarism -> Ends up with something original
This seems to be some kind of natural law, but I'm not sure if there is a real inherent difference in humans, or if they just chose to be one way or the other. I mean for me it is no big deal to create unique art, sure I have my inspirations here and there, but they are usually so remote, that nobody figures them out. Maybe all humans can do is copy things, the difference is only in intelligence which determines how sophisticated it will be in the end.
Another theory I had was a conspiracy of some kind, that brainwashes the slaves into not thinking for themselves organized by some big company to prevent competition from even beginning to exist. This could work by paid agents infiltrating the gamer scene in this case and starting to create fan art which in return work like marketing for the original product. While this probably happens here and there, I have not enough evidence that there is a planned conspiracy in that regard, but some of those elements exist for sure.
Maybe it was only a chain reaction effect, because some creators of a Linux distribution were missing games and because they did not want to bother with it too much, they just copied a series of popular simple games and called it done. Then the users of that saw it and thought that is the only way this can be and continued the trend. However with open source software the plagiarism problem exists as well, not only with games, so maybe the root causal issue for the whole problem seems to be much deeper and I could apply my Master/Slave theory or the conspiracy theory here again, which will not bring us much further, except maybe the conspiracy theory can be proven easier in the software world as it has been proven that certain big companies work to sabotage open source software.
But in the end I think my Master ans Slave theory is the most plausible, where the Slaves actively refuse to create anything, which I can confirm from my experiences. They like to worship their idols of pop culture, which are their Masters, in this case game development companies. The open source gaming scene only realized one part of the problem, which is the proprietary part of the software, but they still want to worship their same evil Masters and they think they can solve the problem by either begging their evil Masters to produce more ethical products, or to steal their products and "liberate" the products that way, which are of course both logical fallacies and will most likely never work.
The only real solution to this problem can be, to stop being a slave and become a master, or at least chose a better master.
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