Thursday, September 15, 2005

Open Sores: Part 2

So it's that time once again and, true to my word, what was started last week will come to its conclusion one week hence. If you're looking for an introduction, read last week's post (linked above in case you're not reading this on the main page), because I'm just going to get right into it. Proceed.

Grandeur, And The Delusions Thereof

Okay, so this was sort of touched on last week, but in the context of feature creep, not features planned right off the bat. What I'm talking about, if you're curious, is the over-ambition that sends so many new projects swirling down the crapper before the game is even playable. You want proof? Hop on over to the Linux Game Tome and see how many unfinished, never playable MMORPGs you can find before your eyes start to bleed. Sure, it's one of the most often attempted, hardest to create game genres out there - just because it's the best example of feature overloading doesn't mean it's the only one.

Even if you're using a solid pre-built, pre-tested engine and a solid toolset you don't have to develop yourself, building a game is a demanding task. Deciding you're going to build your own engine and spending three weeks working on the particle systems that still don't work isn't going to make this task any easier. Deciding early on that the open source MMORPG you haven't written any code for yet is going to have features that titles with multimillion dollar budgets haven't properly implemented yet isn't going to help either.

Isn't Everybody As Hardcore As Me?

Now this one isn't strictly limited to open source games, as it effects all games out there, but certain open source games certainly should be looking at their shoes and twiddling their thumbs in shame over this one. Game designers often seem to be at war with the people playing the games they create. People don't play games to be punished (at least not most people), they play them to have fun. There's a reason its called a game.

I think the reason that this seems to crop up in open source gaming so much is plain and simple: A.I. code is hard to write. There's a reason so many of the games coming out on the open source scene are strictly multiplayer focused. The problem is that boosting the hit and attack points of every monster and plopping down forty more of them doesn't boost the fun factor by the same amount. Just because you can plow through them all without a scratch doesn't mean that everyone will, or even want to.


So that's it for my bitching, for now anyway. Before I wrap this up I'd like to say that for everything that's been said in the last two posts, I have nothing but love for the open source gaming scene. It's grown by leaps and bounds over the years in terms of quality, quantity and creativity and I'm sure it will continue. Thank you for the great games, folks.

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