I’ve been thinking about switching to open development for Volo. Open development, in short, means that you make the development process very transparent. There are several things you can do, including:
- Maintain a publicly available, detailed log of all important developments.
- Keep in close contact with the community, by all means available.
- Make some or all of your game’s assets (code, models, textures, etc.) available online. (Under GPL licence, and for preorderers. People still have to pay for the actual game.)
By doing this you sacrifice privacy for exposure, which is something any small-time developer can always use more of. By being so open you can maximise the chances of serendipitous events happening. You can make a lot of friends, grow a community before the game is out, and people can support the project in all kinds of ways. For example, people can create their own modifications, and fix bugs that you’ve missed.
Anyway, Wolfire (developers of Lugaru and the upcoming sequel Overgrowth) have a more detailed post about this, so I’ll let them explain it: Wolfire’s PR Tips.
The reasons I’ve started thinking about opening up Volo’s development process are numerous. Here’s some of the important ones:
- The game needs to grow a lot if it is going to survive. And it will not do that as long as it stays within the confines of my bedroom.
- Some prominent indie developers have succesfully used open development to make a name for themselves. Look at the Humble Bundle to see what I’m talking about.
- I like sharing. If people can learn from my work then let them. If people can contribute to my work then let them.
- Unity does not support an easy way to facility game modification, even though it should. This means you cannot, for example, use the Unity Basic edition to write a new multiplayer mode for the finished game using Unity script. This limits my options for allowing mods, unless I integrate my own scripting tools, or go open source.
So what do you think? I know that you like to know what’s going on in my work-shed, I know that you really want mods,, and I know that some of you would be delighted to contribute some content to the game. Also, would you consider paying for a game that’s not nearly finished for a chance to play with the source code, or just to support a smalltime developer?