Responsible for some vaults, a few ideas and no code.

Principles to believe in:

These are some idle thoughts by a non-coding Crawl developer about open source (OS) and open development (OD) in the context of roguelikes. First, what is what, as there don't seem to be strict definitions around.

OS: The game's source is available.
OD: The developer(s) of the game react to input from players.

Obviously, OS is a binary concept, whereas OD comes in shades.

Here is my personal take on some well-known roguelikes:

It is obvious that OS has some immediate good consequences:

OS has one obvious disadvantage:

And there is one implication of subjective value:

Some feedback from Crawl's development:
Over time, very many ideas have been suggested on the trackers, some of them exceptionally good, many of them quite good. It turned out that there's no way the devteam could code all the outstanding ideas, let alone the ones which are only nifty. So we resorted to explicitly flagging some proposals as “patches wanted”. It was highly surprising how quickly content rolled in.
A slime god was discussed for some years already. When we made clear that the god would be used (by marking it with “patch welcome”), we got code within a single week. Testing and polishing took some time, but 0.6 saw the addition of Jiyva, the slime god.
Several developers are able to draw tiles for Crawl, but it seemed that tiles production would inevitably lag behind… given the onslaught of new monsters, portal vaults etc. After publicly announcing which tiles are missing, and how to make tiles, it took less than three months to catch up. This was only possible with a community effort.

We have learned a lot from these experiences. First, we've become much more generous with handing out commit rights (especially after we moved to git, so that branching became very easy). Second, we rely a lot more on outside code. Among others, the slow god, the starting screens and the better half of the Demonspawn revamping was made like this.

Given all these advantages, what are the reasons for some developers to forfeit open development/source? Here are some attempts to examine that:

That said, I would summarise the matter as follows:

For example, in Crawl we have rejected some tiles, levels/vaults, patches and reasonable ideas over the years.

If you're starting out with a small roguelike game, it seems best to follow a policy like this (the following assumes you only care about the quality of the game):

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user/dpeg.txt · Last modified: 2010-04-14 23:45 by dpeg
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