Games

Open source game development is just plagiarism

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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The emperors new games

This is a phenomenon I observed for quite a while now and I call it "The emperors new games" based on the fairy tale "The emperors new clothes" because the phenomenon is so similar.

The emperors new games are games that look new and great, but in reality they are nothing new or great, in short overhyped games.

Since I'm a game developer I observe the scene, especially the indie developer scene and see what becomes popular and what not. Those "emperors new games" make up a big percentage of all indie games, sometimes also mainstream or AAA games. The are characterized by being supposedly very innovative, intentionally funny, intentionally stupid, intentionally bad quality or intentionally badly designed and because it is all intentional bad, it somehow becomes good. Like there is one innovative idea and the implementation is all just lazy and intentionally bad and because the idea is so great it somehow becomes insanely popular. I don't name any specific games here, because then more people will hate on me than they do now already, so I just describe it as a general phenomenon.

I even had a person commenting me on Uebergame, that the quality is bad and if I had made it intentionally bad, it would have been better, since then I would not have tried to make it good. SO aiming for high quality, failing at it and only achieving mediocre quality is somehow worse, than aiming very low and achieve low. I think this explains the indie developer dilemma pretty good, since you cannot compete with AAA companies/quality you kind of have to aim intentionally for very low quality, because if the quality or art style is so much different from lets say realism, it no longer becomes comparable and you can free yourself from criticism. Of course that is what many developers seem to go for, it also has the great benefit in making production much easier and much less costly. So a win-win-situation basically, less cost, more easy to produce, less criticism, better ratings and more profit. Well it is of course not a win-win-situation, it is a great loss overall, since almost nobody is trying anything good anymore, like aiming for high quality and so the end consumer ends up with overall inferior products.

Now stage two begins and the end consumer also joins the insanity and starts brainwashing themselves into believing that those "Emperors new games" are somehow good instead of seeing them as what they are, just junk and nothing new. In fact most of those games probably would be better of, if they were made as mods for a good game, since then you would not only have the innovative idea, but also the good quality of the game it was modded, good graphics, physics, performance etc. This would be better in almost any way, at least for the end consumer,  but the producer could not make much money from it, since the game he modded does not belong to him. This is where open source would come into play, removing the disadvantages of copyright and even allowing people to make money from their mod as they could release it as a new product and sell it, at least if it is not GPL licensed, which would destroy that concept again.

This phenomenon described here is also a bad side effect of capitalism, since capitalism always needs growth and to sell new products, even if there is nothing new to make. In case there is nothing new to make there is a great solution for that, you can just pretend there is something new. Like repackage something existing in a different style and you have a new product. By making repackaged products or intentionally bad ones you can save lots of production costs and the saved money can be spend well into marketing aka brainwashing people into believing there are so magical great new games, which in reality do not exist. In the fairytale "The emperors new clothes" people were fooled into seeing the nonexistent clothes for real, because they did not want to admit, that they are too stupid to see them. In the games industry there is a similar effect, people like end consumers, reviewers, let's players etc don't want to admit, that their new innovative games don't exist and so they fool themselves into believing they exist. Of course it is just a metaphor, those pseudoinnovative games of course exist, they only don't exist on a meta level as they are just repackaged products marketed as something new or intentionally badly produced and so are missing the supposed innovation or technical progress.

In the gaming culture this all then manifests as people ironically enjoying those "Emperors new games" or enjoying that they are so bad and showing it in let's play videos or on stream. Some also enjoy not enjoying something and make an entertainment out of that. Others just like to hate on something, so they intentionally buy intentionally badly made products and then complain that they are so bad. Overall it is just a weird phenomenon to observe for me so I had to write it down as a therapy for me, since the brainwashing does not work for me I guess and I cannot see the supposed "Emperors new games". As a child I always dreamed of the technical possibilities of future games, but now where I live in the future, things are just getting worse. Instead of using the new technical possibilities to it's full potential, the trend goes to badly repackaging old stuff and only pretend it is new and innovative instead of doing something new and innovative for real. Of course this does not apply to the industry as a whole, but sadly it is a big negative trend that affects probably the larger portion of the industry.

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Uebergame 1.1.2.0 released

This update adds a mostly nonexistent Battle Royale game mode and 4 completely new large scale levels exclusively made for that game mode.

The backstory is that, since almost every multiplayer game has Battle Royale style game modes now, I thought I need that as well, or better said, people suggested that to me. I even met people who wanted to team up with me creating such game modes, two of those seemed serious with it, so we set up tasks to do and a schedule, where I would be designing the levels and the other person would do the coding.

To make the long story short, the other people all ran away, without having done anything and I of course did my part and finished the levels. Since the creation of those large scale maps took so long I wanted to release it anyway so they can at least be played without having to wait even longer for the game mode to finish, that is why the game mode is mostly nonexistent so far, except a few improvised features I quickly made to make it all work.

Other changes in this version are of course some new art assets mostly for the new levels, some fixes for the art assets, some gameplay balancing changes and a single player game mode template, for developers. The story behind the single player game mode is, that before I planend to do the Battle Royale game mode we planned to create a single player game mode, which meant someone was helping me with it and he actually did some coding, but then also ran away and was not seen again, that is why that gamemode is not in use yet and only a template as inspiration for developers.

And finally a short description of the new levels:

1. Riverside Park

A medicore sized park area, roughly 0.5 x 0.5 km in size. In the middle it is crossed by a big alley road next to a river and on the sides you can follow several footpaths through the park area. It also includes some lakes and little forests.

2. Volcav Island

Also 0.5 x 0.5 km in size, but this time it is an island with a volcano like mountain in the middle you can climb and below there is a rather large cave system you can use to walk underground from one side of the island to the next. It features dense, but small vegetation without big trees, so it only offers decent cover, if you duck behind it. It also features the recycled lighthouse from the watertown level adding a little more playable area to the rather small level.

3. Lonerock Island

This is a big island 1x1km in size. It is very high with very steep walkways, but in between there are occasional flat areas with pretty dense forests. You can climb most of the mountain peaks, which gives you a great overview and great possibilities to snipe, but you are also pretty visible and it often takes some time to climb onto there.

4. Rocky Highlands

This is probably the biggest map this update, though also 1x1 km in size, but since it is not an island, but a square area, it features a more playable terrain. The level is set in the mountains, but also feels mediterranean from the looks. In the middle there are a few little mountains and inbetween in the valleys there is a road network with little villages of up to a few buildings each, which are fully accessible.

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