Don’t get me wrong, I’m very interested in open source games. The thing that
has confused me is that the closed source games seem to have a lower system
requirement than the open source ones do. That goes for the upgrades too. I
don’t like it when I’m playing Wesnoth on one of my older computers just fine,
and then I upgrade to the next release, and it’s choppy.
I’m not sure the first part is true, and I don’t think the second part
is related to the first.
The first is kind of subjective, but there isn’t anything in
particular that would make a particular game be faster (having lower
requirements) because it’s closed source. Quake 3 probably has the
exact same requirements whether you’re playing the most recent closed
source point release binary or the corresponding open source release
(of approximately same vintage). But different games, are, well,
different, so some have higher system requirements, and some are
lower. You can usually tweak the requirements a bit as part of
designing the game, and it might just be that commercial closed source
game developers make different compromises.
The second part I can relate to with Quadra. It’s got fades going from
screen to screen, implemented using palette manipulations. This made
it possible to have perfectly smooth transitions on my old 486DX4/100.
It’s also horribly choppy on my 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo machine, because
the palette is emulated (nobody wants to run their desktop in 8 bit
PseudoColor, it seems!), and that’s very expensive when doing it
Then, when I say I can make it fast again, say by using OpenGL to draw
a big black quad and manipulate it’s alpha, then it’d be ultra-fast
even on my old Pentium 225 MMX with a Voodoo card (assuming I could
get the bloody thing to work!), but my girlfriend’s laptop, which is
decently fast (1 GHz), but does not have 3D hardware at all (even the
cheapest Intel junk would be fine, but it’s got a Trident Cyberblade
XP4), wouldn’t be able to play the game at all (instead of just
having to tolerate the choppy fades).
Presumably, if I went the OpenGL way, I could add all sorts of nice
little effects, like particle effects when clearing lines and whatnot,
which would be very cool. But if I do that, it wouldn’t work anymore
for some slightly older (not super old!) machines. Meanwhile, you get
some monster machine, and a game that worked perfectly on a 486 has
choppy bits. So basically, everyone is complaining, and no matter what
I do, someone has reason to complain.
Sometimes I wonder how a company would fare if they did it close to the same way
some of the open source “companies” work. Have the game open source, but the
support for the game is paid. But then it seems most game companies are the
other way around, the game costs, but the support is free.
I think this would be horrible, as it rewards releasing buggy games
that need a lot of support.
But then, we they don’t use that model, and games like Battlefield
2142 are full of bugs anyway.
I’d really like it if the game binaries would be open source, and we
could buy the content (levels/maps, models, expansion packs, etc)…
I could have asked if there were going to be any companies PORTING commercial
games. That would be good as well. But I think it would be the best if
companies started from scratch some SDL based games. But then it seems
companies create the games, then license the game to porters who make it work on
other machines. So they get money for getting it to other machines. Would they
save or lose money by putting it to SDL from the start?
I’d like it too if they would use SDL from the start, to make it
really easy to port to other platforms, instead of stuff like using
Cider on Mac, for example…
I’d be willing to bet that even when they license the game to a
porter, that they’re not very friendly about doing it nicely (as in
taking patches from the porters back into the main game for general
bugfixes, say). I’d bet it’s more the “here’s a giant code dump” every
one in a while…On Sun, Jan 25, 2009 at 4:47 AM, Micah Brening <micah.brening at gmail.com> wrote: