Thursday, September 08, 2005

Open Sores

This week's post is going to be sort of a full on rant-mode type of thing, so just be aware of what you're in for.

A large portion of Avert Your Eyes is dedicated to open-source gaming and gaming on open-source platforms, so it's obvious that I'm a fan. There are, however, a few things that drive me nuts about the whole open-source gaming scene, and that's the focus of this week's post. Proceed to number one:

If You Don't Like It, Fix It

Anybody who's followed open source gaming for a while has surely run into this one at one time or another. Someone submits a bug report, mentions something they don't like a game, or offers any other form of what could be considered constructive criticism, and is met with the response: It's open source, fix it. Because, you know, everybody in the entire fucking universe is a programmer. Nobody who enjoys gaming could possibly do so without a deep knowledge of how the engine rendering these beautiful scenes works, down to the machine code itself... You know, like how you can't enjoy a cheeseburger without being a butcher. Chop it yourself.

Honestly, I do know how to program - beyond that, I'm a roll-your-own type of guy. The type who runs a backup system he wrote himself, instead of one of the countless backup packages out there, more or less just for the hell of it. That being said, I have little ambition to slop through somebody else's shitty C code to add a feature I'd like to a game I don't care about that much in the first place. Non-programmers are going to hate you for this more than I do. If you want your game to be played by more than a few people, don't ever do this.

You Can't Please All The People All The Time...

...but a lot of open source projects try to. Ambition is a great thing, as long as it's actually within the scope of what you can and can't accomplish. Far too many games have died out when the handful of developers behind them start to become stretched too thin - not only having to accomodate their own feature-creep ideas, but those of the community surrounding the game as well.

It's an easy thing to do, especially if it seems that it's going to bring a more solid user base to a project that's lacking one. One of the problems (among many in this particular case) is that, often, users don't have any idea what kind of effort it would take to implement their ideas, as good as they may be. This, of course, is deliberatly leaving out the shitty, "d00d, w0t dis game n33dz is m0r3 r0ck3ts!! l0lz0rs!" suggestions.

This is starting to run a bit long, it's pushing midnight, and I'd like to get this up while it's still Thursday - so this bit may turn in to a two part kind of thing. I haven't covered all that I'd like to, so unless the Anarchy Online 16.0 patch comes out between then and now and I get sucked up in that, you can expect more. Out.

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