Free Game Alliance: Why One-Game-per-Genre

Free Culture Opinions

On the 19th of October 2011 ACT (Asean Common Time), the Free Game Alliance launched. One question I had in mind was why restrict to one game per genre in the organization.

I already had an idea to the reasoning behind the decision, however, I was leaning towards a different approach and objective than what the FGA have in mind. Here is FGA’s explanation and stand, to which I agree with the goal they have set forth before them.

The Free Game Alliance sees many FLOSS games as having not enough visibility or enough support to really become finished products, and that’s something FGA wants to improve.

Why “One Game per Genre” is powerful?

  • Provides enough variety in the games list while keeping the set relatively small
  • Select the projects who have the potential to become the best in their genre, inspiring other developers to join their effort and make the game even better
  • Ensures there is no competition between the selected games, they help each other in advertising and promoting all participants of the Alliance
  • Makes every project feel special and unique inside the Alliance, making the discussion between the developers a real learning experience
  • Provide to players the perfect set of games, so those can be expanded endlessly with new content
  • Help new developers to join forces around a single game per genre to have one finished product instead of ten (10) never completed

Do you agree? I do. If you search for FLOSS games, you will find that there are a lot you can play and at the same time a lot either abandoned or the development is too slow the general public might consider it dead.

There are also games that have multiple clones and/or forks it becomes tedious choosing which fork is worth spending our time with. Not to mention the fact that the community will be divided and as such make each small and feel empty.

Ahh, hold your reactions. I know that the beauty of Free/Libre Open-Source Software is having the freedom to choose and to develop your own. Correct? True it is. But are we at that stage in the FLOSS gaming scene where we can afford having 2, 3, 4 clones and/or forks of a single game? We still need to build a solid portfolio of FLOSS games. We need to concentrate our effort and resources to game projects with potential.

We need to be able to produce and champion games with gold status, release status, “graduates” so-to-speak. From there, I believe we can move on to the next set of games to help in development, ideas, community building, and marketing. Then on to the next set, and the next, and so on. More solid and guaranteed to have a long-life, support, and development, is better, right?

Unless of course the purpose of forking is of the level the Xonotic team went through when they were still part of Nexuiz, which you can read here and here, then that is understandable.

So how can you join the FGA?

Pre-Requisites in Selection

  • Be active. The project should have an active development stream, new code, new art, new data. It should have a good group of active developers committed to success.
  • Have a good community support. The game should be known enough to be popular or at least have a reasonable sized fan base.
  • Have the potential to be a leader in one genre.
  • Willingness to support open-source development in general and to support other projects part of the alliance.
  • Have an open development cycle. The project accepts contributions from the community and seeks new members. The team is open to let new members join the team and develop the game with them.
  • Have an OSI approved open-source license for the source code. The source code should be available to download.
  • The license for the art/data can be any. Copyright of both source code and art/data can be any. This is to allow projects to protect their uniqueness and style.
  • Be made by a non-profit/volunteer group and not by a commercial company.
  • Players can freely play the game without limits of time, without any monthly fee, and without having to purchase anything.

Personally, the games I like to see in the alliance are 0 A.D., OpenTTD, Scorched3D, Hedgewars, Super Maryo Chronicles, and UFO: Alien Invasion. With the exception of 0 A.D., I play all these games and I think these titles are a great addition and benefit to the Free Game Alliance and the FLOSS/FOSS community.

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