This Week In Miscellanea: “Open Source”

1. Barack Obama has selected Julius Genachowski to lead the FCC. He isn’t

Talented Internet Guy, Say Headlines

Talented Internet Guy, Say Headlines

all that well known, but he did work the campaign trail (on the net), and is widely credited in headlines as a champion of net neutrality. To what extent he really is is a good question – if you only read one link in this post it should probably be this one – but there remains cause for hopefulness, at least when you consider the former alternative.

 

 

2. Open source code  is almost as old as the internet, and a statistically relevant portion of the ‘net itself runs on open source CMS. The idea of communally working on (or stealing) software, games, mods and music is endemic on the internet, and has caused it’s share of problems. There have been some seriously ham-fisted attempts to stop mash-ups and file sharing, but wise users are trying to figure out ways to make the collaborative aspects of the internet work for them.
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For the past few years a Canadian film project has been pusing the boundaries of what “open source” means. the project  is “RiP: A Remix Manifesto,” a documentary film about copyright and remix culture. Like many other documentaries, this one is the brainchild of one creative filmmaker, in this case 514-based Brett Gaylor. Unlike any other documentary, this one wants you to edit it, score it, and remix it to your heart’s content… and if your work is good enough, it could be included in the feature film. The movie has already premiered, but that doesn’t mean that the remix is complete – the SXSW film festival has already challenged Gaylor to show a different version of the film than the one that recently opened in Canadian cinemas. Check it out.
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3. On a lighter note, have you ever wanted to open-source your legs? Are you tired of only being able to take 1m strides? Don’t stand for that shit. Buy some Velocity Stilts and leap those pounds away.
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5. UPDATED: The tragic, glorious end of Problem Sleuth from  MS  Paint Adventures! Synthetic, made-to-order life within 10 years? Picture is unrelated!
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Indy Developers, VWs to Usurp Publishers?

EA's Board of Directors

Video game publishers are dead. They’re walking corpses. They just don’t know it. 

Fighting words from Corey Bridges, a veteran of Netscape who in his time has also been involved with some other interesting projects. Bridges, who is a co-founder of The Multiverse Network Inc., was speaking at the South by SouthWest Festival in Austin, Texas.

Bridges predicted that the future of games development would mirror the history of Web itself. He said that the initial belief that large media companies would provide quality online content turned out to be false, that the majority of interesting content on the Web is created by everyday people, and that the most important Internet media companies (Google, Youtube, etc) got their start outside the existing media establishment. 

Bridges maintains that game publishers are already in trouble, due to high costs of development, short shelf life of games and low developer profits. These factors discourage experimentation and create stressful conditions for employees, he said. 

Bridges believes that these conditions, coupled with the increasing availability of broadband and middleware have created an environment that encourages indy game development, which is happening simultaneously with an increase in the popularity of virtual worlds (for which Multiverse is a universal client and tool).

The future of games, according to Bridges, involves new genres for a variety of gamers, not just the hardcore ones. Playing games will lose its stigma as an entertainment medium, much like manga in Japan is accepted. Virtual worlds will begin to blur with the Web in general, and the virtual world, game, and social network industries will cross-pollinate. Publishers will [continue to] consolidate and will survive, but with more competition from “boutique firms” who will offer developers financing, management, marketing, and recruitment without as much need for physical distribution.

It’s a bold statement. Can indy developers truly hope to compete in the long run against the big publishers, with all their industry clout and resources? We know that games developed independently can be lots of fun – but do they have the chops for a 12-round bout with the likes of EA?