Crowdfunding a game I'm developing: ReTux (Mario-inspired game)

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onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

http://igg.me/at/retux

Yeah, you have to use non-libre JavaScript to contribute to it. :( I tried to find a crowdfunding service without that problem, but CrowdSupply is the only possible one and it doesn't seem suitable for this kind of thing.

Also, on that note, it's possible to see the campaign without JavaScript by modifying the page, though I can't figure out how to make a Stylish style to do that automatically. You just have to set the display attribute of a div inside a div with the class "col-xs-8 i-main-column" to something other than "none" (or just unset it, which makes it "inline" by default).

Anyway,

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Huh, I hate when I make mistakes like that. Oh, well. Something to the effect of "contribute if you wish" was what I was going to put there.

t3g
t3g
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$50,000? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH

onpon4
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To be clear, $50,000 (= 2500 $20 contributors) is the point where I would do things like quit my day job and suspend other active projects if necessary so that I would be able to work on the game full-time. Even $10,000 would be something I'd consider a success, but that wouldn't be enough for me to do anything extreme like that.

If I do work on reTux full-time, I roughly estimate that finishing the game would take about a month. I would then probably release version 1.0 of the SGE Game Engine, and start working on another game, again, full-time. (I've got a few ideas on the table for what I could do next.)

Jookia
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I don't exactly get it - would I be paying for an expensive engine remake developed behind closed doors?

onpon4
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I wouldn't call it an "engine remake". It's an entirely new game. Similar in some respects to SuperTux et al, but with various differences. For example:

- The completed game should be a lot shorter than SuperTux's ambitious goal, and have a lot less features. This means the game will be finished a lot faster.

- Tux doesn't transform in this game. Powers come from objects that are carried around, and health is just a health bar.

- This game is accessible to colorblind people, something a lot of game developers in general tend to neglect. :)

- I'll be hiring some artists to clean up the rough edges of the graphics. For example, giving Tux a proper run animation (right now, a placeholder of the walk animation feet and kick animation arms is used). Most libre game projects pretty much depend on volunteers.

- I threw away the whole "lives" concept. Instead, you indirectly lose points when you die, by losing out on some of the level's time bonus.

The campaign is basically just a different way to "sell" the game I'm trying out: selling the game to the public entirely, rather than just copies.

Jookia
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Joined: 08/01/2015

Will you push the cleaned up art back to SuperTux? Why isn't the game developed in public?

onpon4
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> Will you push the cleaned up art back to SuperTux?

Naturally. :)

> Why isn't the game developed in public?

It's not been developed in public specifically so I could give this crowdfunding idea a try, actually. For the past few months I've been using Git to make a history, though, so if the goal is reached, that Git history will be pushed to a public repository and at that point it will be developed in public. Also, I've been uploading videos showing my progress on this since the beginning of this year:

https://goblinrefuge.com/mediagoblin/u/onpon4/m/retux-engine-development-warp-pipes-slopes/
https://goblinrefuge.com/mediagoblin/u/onpon4/m/retux-engine-development-2-backgrounds-scrolling-item-blocks-3797/
https://goblinrefuge.com/mediagoblin/u/onpon4/m/retux-engine-development-3-spikes-lava-enemies-damage/
https://goblinrefuge.com/mediagoblin/u/onpon4/m/retux-engine-development-4-the-first-level/

The first one actually has a link to what the source code of reTux was at that point.

Jookia
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If you don't reach the $50k goal, the history will stay private and code will be thrown over the wall to them - why not give it to them regardless?

JadedCtrl
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To quote the IndieGoGo:
"If the goal is not reached, don't worry; the game will still be finished, it will still be completely libre software under the GNU GPL, and you will still get your perks. I just won't necessarily publish ReTux to everyone at no cost as described in the previous paragraph (I might charge for copies instead, for example), and may take a bit longer to finish the game."

If the funding goal isn't reached, onpon will distribute the game, but it won't be gratis. 'Tis a good thing for onpon to do.

hack and hack
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Joined: 04/02/2015

I'm not sure I understand:
So it's a game sold and licensed as free software.
But neither the game nor the source code will be available at no cost, right?
so essentially, you're relying on the buyers to respect some kind of non-redistribution clause?
IF that's the case, wouldn't that be against free software principles (I insist on the "IF")?

Not judging, just trying to understand how that works.

lembas
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> But neither the game nor the source code will be available at no cost, right?
so essentially, you're relying on the buyers to respect some kind of non-redistribution clause?

Fortunately that's a non-sequitur. (The conclusion does not follow from the premise.) I believe he intends to charge but won't be restricting distribution.

> IF that's the case, wouldn't that be against free software principles (I insist on the "IF")?

That's certainly true.

onpon4
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Correct, as stated on the campaign page, it's under the GNU GPL. So I can't, and won't, stop backers or others who get a copy from sharing or selling copies themselves. I wouldn't want to do that, anyway.

hack and hack
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Ah, so it won't be freely available, BUT there won't be restrictions regarding redistribution, right?

onpon4
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Exactly. :) It will be available gratis if enough is raised, however.

ADFENO
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It's OK to sell free software:

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.en.html

However (just to be sure I'm between the two battlefronts, :D), if he
chooses the GNU GPL, he mustn't charge more for the release of source
code, except the sufficient amount to cover the costs associated with
that release of source code.

Note: I don't know if other licenses like GNU AGPL, and GNU LGPL also
have this notes regarding the release of source code, but I strongly
recommend you to double-check.

Respectfully, Adonay.
Have a nice day.

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onpon4
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I make a habit of always distributing source with binaries. In fact, it's quite possible that everyone will get only source, because I've had trouble making "frozen" binaries with cx_Freeze lately, both on Windows and on Trisquel. (This is why the binary distributions of Pacewar haven't been updated, despite quite important improvements since the last one.)

hack and hack
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Thank you, didn't see that one.

So it's distributing free software for a fee.
But not limiting it for obvious reasons here.

While proprietary software is limited in order to sell more.
But there's the potential for abuse, and the limit to fully use it.

What comes to mind is how to actually make money with free software?
There's the example of the guys at Ardour who demand a minimum fee. They seem to do fine overall. The Gluglug seems to do that too.

Without changing the subject of the thread too much, do you guys have other examples that come to mind?

lembas
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Well, Red Hat is one giant example, a billion dollar free software company. However you can also download their product for free under the name CentOS.

(Redhat does alot of business I understand with the us gov. And looks like Red Hat started sponsoring CentOS in 2014.)

ADFENO
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To my knowledge: RedHat doesn't sell free software. They sell non-free
software which is open source, not free software. So, that doesn't
qualify as "selling free software". See:

https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.en.html#RedHat

Respectfully, Adonay.
Have a nice day.

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hack and hack
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I see, so same should be about CentOS. It's the same source code, but it's not exactly the same team in charge.

an FAQ about Free software/Free culture values would be a nice addition in Trisquel's documentation.

It's funny how my main spontaneous objections to free software are about money. The usual stuff:
wouldn't that kill the drive to create better and better stuff?
Won't people pay a dime if it's available for free?
Won't people lose their jobs, in such a fragile current economy, etc.

I've read several answer to most of these, like studies showing that people who share stuff spend more than those who don't, thus they end up rewarding the author/artist/whatever,
or that changing for a more ethical job is a solution to consider (though not everyone would risk that), etc.

In essence, I think my real objection is about getting one's reward stolen by someone better at communicating that work, or with more funds. It wouldn't feel like a good experience.
I think it happened with Angry Birds. I think it was "heavily inspired" by a game with a Castle, of course very similar. It's like that Nike logo story as well (though i think the author did fine anyway). Or Tesla.

That's not less unethical than proprietary software.
Right now I'm a bit stuck between both schools of thought.
I mean abuse can be a two-way street, with and without copyright, right?

I can imagine one possible answer: "that work doesn't belong to you anymore. Be happy that someone made it proprietary and stole your reward". My mind is maybe listening, but my heart is telling you that working my ass off for the benefit of some douchebag stealing my life work is an injustice. and I'm not talking about peer-to-peer here, since when people love the author's work, usually they buy from him/her one way or the other.
I'm not talking about big companies either, though I know they are the ones who benefit (and abuse) the most of copyright.

EDIT

Nevermind, I think I got my answer. To protect the small people from such actions, there's copyleft. Whew, I'm nearly a full convert haha

I'll give it a bit more thinking and time, though. and read the books you suggested, lembas.

The beauty of copyleft and the whole free culture is that the true value of the work will shine and be rewarded (at least on paper). Or I just go back to the desk until I can make it work.

Makes me think about a jazz musician I think, who actually distributes his music under a free license. I'm sure I'll find him again. That could be a good addition too to the Trisquel documentation, some sort of hall of fame in various activities.

lembas
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I should have been more careful, only 99% of what they sell is free software. The remaining 1% does spoil the broth. (How come this sounds so familiar?)

Magic Banana

I am a member!

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You mean 1% of the software Red Hat redistributes (and maybe supports), right? As far as I know 100% of what Red Hat develops and distributes is under a free software license. Please correct me (and point the proprietary software) if I am wrong.

lembas
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I mean the non-free firmware mentioned on the fsf common distros page.

onpon4
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I'll actually probably publish the repo at a much lower level than the goal. Almost certainly will do so if it reaches $25,000, for instance. But regardless, sure, anyone who gets a copy of the game can have a copy of the git repo as well, in the event that I don't publish it.

hack and hack
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This is something I'm going to keep an eye on because it's an interesting case of living from creative work with free software. For example, will the game be available for free as well?

I really like the way you thought about the gameplay/story.
I suggest that you could go even further from cloning Mario with a twist (like many other classic platform games).

For example, why pipes? Mario was a plumber, so that's one of the rare things that made sense (there's also all that Alice in Wonderland stuff with the shrooms, mixed with reptiles, and... Oh, btw, if it's not too late, don't watch the movie).
Why not some kind of igloo entry design instead?

Why not a sliding-on-the-belly level?
Why not a GNU partner with a winter coat?
Or some levels without snow, where Tux would have to refresh itself regularly to survive (some kind of timed level with checkpoints maybe)? Sure, a penguin jumping around breaking ice blocks isn't realistic anyway. But it make the gamplay more related to the character.
Why not make the evil bosses look vaguely (without risking legal problems) some iconic proprietary software, like Amazon's smile, (jail) windows, Google's tentacle monster wearing letter glasses, Apple's "Nazi" style world (with bananas instead), etc.
Just some random stuff that comes to mind.

I mildly like the "no lost life" idea: it reflects an idea of hard and steady work without "losing your life" (like "it sucks, but keep going, it's not the end of the world"). But at the same time, It somehow means you can't lose. It's like playing with unlimited coins, it's fun for some games, but not for all, and only for a while. Also lives are easier to visualize.
But it's still a good idea that deserves attention.

Regarding the graphics, the best free software example to me was a multiplayer game with bunnies. Can't remember the name, but the artwork and animation was top notch.
I don't know if ReTux will be in pixel art or with svg (or however handmade drawings are made), but pixel art is easier to make it look good IMO.
Also, I don't know if you're aware of Mario's inception (graphically). I know that to make early Mario easier to spot while jumping around, they gave him white "Mickey Mouse" gloves. There's an article about that on the web somewhere.

Just a few thoughts, cool initiative :)

onpon4
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> For example, why pipes?[...] Why not some kind of igloo entry design instead?

Mostly because SuperTux already had these graphics, and they look good (though strangely enough, it doesn't support using them as warps).

And hey, who's to say the pipes aren't some kind of oil transport system? :)

> Why not a GNU partner with a winter coat?

That's actually a type of thing I was thinking of, and there's a basic framework in place that should make adding multiplayer support relatively easy. Whether or not I do it mostly depends on how much the art for the second character would cost. (I haven't actually decided what the second character would be, but I do like the idea of using Freedo as long as he's more than just a recolored version of Tux.)

> Or some levels without snow, where Tux would have to refresh itself regularly to survive (some kind of timed level with checkpoints maybe)?

That sounds like the water levels in the Sonic games. I can't say I'm fond of those.

> Why not make the evil bosses look vaguely (without risking legal problems) some iconic proprietary software, like Amazon's smile, (jail) windows, Google's tentacle monster wearing letter glasses, Apple's "Nazi" style world (with bananas instead), etc.

If I were to do that, it would be as a hobby side-project. The main antagonist of reTux is the yeti, which has been given the name "Raccot". He's the king of the snow people, or something along those lines, and Tux has to stop him and his army from taking over Icy Island. Just a lighthearted, relatively generic story. :)

hack and hack
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True, it could be an oil transport system. That's kind of dirty though. Even as a statement against pollution, it's a bit weird. But doable.

As for the secondary character, even if there's no rules, it makes more sense to me to be a GNU/Tux or GNU/Freedo duo. Just like GNU/Linux. It could even be some kind of cooperation game, where one is needed to reach an obstacle, and vice versa for another obstacle, etc.

Yeah, the timed levels are not the most fun, it's just that it brings some variety.

As for the bosses and worlds, I admit that's a huge amount of work. But it can look lighthearted too, like Pixar movies, it can be understood by children and adults differently. But sure, it's not meant to be propaganda either.

As for the boss, Raccot, again to add more depth to the story, IMO it could be better if somehow related to global warming or something. The opposition heat/ice is interesting, even in terms of gameplay.

I want to insist on a "sliding on the belly" feature : what's a penguin without that? :P

But these are merely suggestions from somebody who've never tried to make a game. Just making the character go forward would be a nightmare for me to do.

Btw, why Python?
I heard of Löve, and (probably easier) Gdevelop (but probably not as memory-friendly). What do you think of these?

onpon4
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> Btw, why Python?

Partly because I'm the author of the SGE Game Engine. :)

> I heard of Löve, and (probably easier) Gdevelop (but probably not as memory-friendly). What do you think of these?

They seem to be great, though I've never used them myself.

tomlukeywood
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"I heard of Löve, and (probably easier) Gdevelop (but probably not as memory-friendly). What do you think of these?"

if your programming in lua i think luasdl2 is the best game library for making a game engine anyway

onpon4
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> As for the boss, Raccot, again to add more depth to the story, IMO it could be better if somehow related to global warming or something. The opposition heat/ice is interesting, even in terms of gameplay.

You mean, like the ice melting machine in Tux Strikes Back? Sure, that's a possibility too. The exact story isn't finalized yet; just that there's the snow people led by Raccot which are causing some kind of trouble in Icy Island.

hack and hack
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Wow that's awesome, you made the game engine?? That's a compelling reason indeed.

As for the storyline/characters, as stated it could be much more interesting (to me). same for the graphics, they look amateurish (though most of the maps look quite good). Again, that's subjective, but still.

For a first run, this is not so important. But in the long run, it could be what makes it not just a good game, but a great one.

I'm really impressed that you've written the game engine, I'm eager to discover the possibilities!

JadedCtrl
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reTux looks great so far, onpon.
Just contributed to the Indiegogo, and as often said in comment sections, "first!"
I hope reTux reaches the goal, and I look forward to it's release.

onpon4
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Thank you! :)

SuperTramp83

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good luck with teh project!

jxself
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Great - Thanks, onpon4! I'd like to see more people doing what you're doing and developing free games commercially like this. Free from the start. Not free code with non-free graphics/sounds. Or that start proprietary and are made free later on when the code is thrown over the wall (and no longer compiles or runs on modern systems.) Etc.

I'd like to see a perk somewhere between the $20 and $500 level though because I'd like to give you more than $20 but $500 is a bit steep for me. Perhaps I'll just buy multiple $20 ones until I reach the amount I want.

Thanks again! I also mentioned this on pump.io to hopefully attract attention.

onpon4
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You don't have to contribute exactly $20 to get the $20 perk. Any amount that is at least $20 will allow you to choose it. You could even contribute $1000 and only pick the $20 perk if you really wanted to.

tomlukeywood
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so your making a improved fork of the super tux engine?
or are you making a new game engine from scratch?

also what platforms will be supported?

looks good though i think i will give money

onpon4
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I don't consider reTux to be a "fork" of SuperTux. I took the art assets (graphics, sounds, music) of SuperTux, but reTux is otherwise a completely new game. None of the SuperTux source code can be found in reTux's source code. In fact, it's a completely different language (Python as opposed to SuperTux's C++).

ReTux should work on any system that both Python (either version 2 or 3) and Pygame can run on. This includes all of the commonly used desktop operating systems (GNU/Linux, Windows, OS X, BSD), but probably not Android, at least not right now. If I can get cx_Freeze to work, I should be able to make binaries for GNU/Linux (built from Trisquel) and 32-bit Windows available. In the worst case, though, all that means is you have to install reTux's dependencies and run the Python script. I will make sure to have a distribution with all the pure-Python dependencies included so that all you have to install yourself are Python and Pygame.

tomlukeywood
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ok
btw if i found a simple tutorial about using pygame on android:
http://pygame-catalin.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/working-with-pygame-subset-for-android.html

so is the game in a fully working state now?

the funding is just to make it better?

onpon4
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Yes, the game is fully working. The only essential feature missing is the final boss, Raccot the yeti.

ADFENO
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Wow! That's amazing...

I was thinking: Is it possible to replace Tux with Freedo? Or get an
Easter egg to do that?

I mean, a lot of free software activists think that Tux doesn't
represent us free software activists anymore. See:

http://hemingway.softwarelivre.org/fisl16/high/41a/sala_41a-high-201507091402.ogv

P.S.: I think that a lot of free software games, which are really
developed with software freedom in mind, should replace Tux with Freedo,
or have an Easter egg to do that. :D

Respectfully, Adonay.
Have a nice day.

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Freedo is cuter than Tux, too. I mean, those button-esque eyes, with that adorable blank face...
Tux is more well known than Freedo, however. The game'll get more attention with Tux than it would if Freedo was the main character. So the smartest move would be to not make Freedo the main character, it seems. And requesting easter eggs and extra characters? onpon has enough on his plate as it is!

ADFENO
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Well, perhaps an Easter egg then. :D

Something to make players wonder "what is this blue penguin with a brush
and towel? And why the name Freedo?" then they research a bit and find
Linux-libre and get to know more about software freedom and why it
matters, and well... I'm speechless because of the many possibilities
here. :D

Respectfully, Adonay.
Have a nice day.

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hack and hack
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Joined: 04/02/2015

Good idea, Freedo (and I'd add GNU).
There could be an oiled leak level where Freedo would have to get clean from that and would look like Tux in the mean time.

Or where freedo would be some super-sayajin power up.
Problem is, Tux is much easier to notice on most backgrounds.
But it's doable.

Or just make the state change related to the free software struggle in some other way. Like without free software, you get very weakened by the spying, and limited in your actions.

Freedo's towel and brush could be weapons. but imposing them on the people to "liberate" is a bit too radical. Not sure it's a good idea. I mean adopting free software is supposed to be n informed free choice. Not forced.

Anyway, not sure I understand what I'm writing anymore, I'll give it a rest.

arielenter

I am a member!

I am a translator!

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Joined: 08/25/2010

Hahahaha! This is so silly, I had the same idea of replacing Tux with freedo on SuperTux for a play through I was hoping to do xD

I just donate. I'm sorry it's not very much, but I'm afraid I have to many deeps already :(

onpon4, I have seen you in this forum for a very long time, I really think you are someone that can be trusted.

This is what I have hoped for the free software community. Crown funding games :)

I hope you'll be able to reach your goal. For you and for all the free software community. Good luck for every one.

t3g
t3g
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Joined: 05/15/2011

I'll be completely honest with you. I would only fund a project like this if it was unique in concept and execution and not trying to be a clone of a Super Nintendo game from 1991.

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

Well i really appreciate your effort and think commercially developing and selling free software is the way to go...but:
The level you showed in the video looks exactly like supertux; same music, same graphics, minor changes in gameplay.

I'm a huge 2-d sidescroller fan; loved the mario games of course. I also played supertux1 and 2.
The differences between your game and supertux sound actually not so tempting ("...the game is much shorter.... only ice world" etc.)

I'm not sure, but isn't there a level editor integrated in super tux?
I think the final version of retux will probably be very similar to what somebody could have done with this level editor except of some minor differences that don't really matter (at least to me and, so is my guess, to many other players).
50 000 dollar for this sounds unachievable;
500 maybe, but i wish you the best.

Besides onpon, i don't think it is possible nowadays to make 50 000 with a mario clone, regardless if it's free software or not.
There are so many out there, everybody has played them and the original is of course always far superior.

A lot of free software enthusiasts like of course to have a free-mario clone and that would be a reason to contribute, but...
well, there already is (supertux 1 and 2).

But again, hope you succeed.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

> I'm not sure, but isn't there a level editor integrated in super tux?
> I think the final version of retux will probably be very similar to what somebody could have done with this level editor except of some minor differences that don't really matter (at least to me and, so is my guess, to many other players).

SuperTux has a level editor, though it's a separate program written in C# now. However, just using the level editor wouldn't have been sufficient. If I had based the game on SuperTux, I would have had to make engine changes, because I can't stand some of the design choices in the core of SuperTux's engine. (You might think of them as minor, but I think of some of them as fundamental flaws. They're little things, but they pile up.) Additionally, since SuperTux is in an alpha state, I would have had to fix problems in the existing engine anyway. I decided that starting over with the SGE Game Engine wouldn't be any more difficult, might even be easier, and would give me a chance to make the SGE Game Engine more mature, something else I wanted to do.

> 50 000 dollar for this sounds unachievable;
> 500 maybe, but i wish you the best.

$500 would be nowhere near enough for this size of a game even if I were just making the levels. At $10 an hour (slightly more than minimum wage where I live, but easier to do math with than $8.15), each level would only get a little more than an hour of work, on average. This isn't even taking into account making the maps (which doesn't take a huge amount of time, but does take some), and testing. The only way you could possibly do it that fast is if the levels are so terribly rushed that you aren't putting any thought into them, and you don't test them much. The game would succumb to repetition and other design problems because of this, and the lack of testing would almost certainly mean design problems would slip through.

For just the levels, if you want them to be good, I'd roughly estimate about 2 months of full-time work, total. At $10 an hour, that's about $3200. That's a bare minimum.

For the entirety of reTux, but not including whatever the cost of hiring an artist will be, I roughly estimate the bare minimum to be about $10,000 (or, about 4 months of full-time work for the engine, at about $10 an hour). That's why I said I'd consider $10,000 to be a success, but not successful enough for me to quit my day job over.

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

I see...
Well, my advice is:
in order to get more support, try to point out clearly why your game is MUCH better than the already existing supertux, and why it is really worth supporting it.
in order to reach your high goal, i'm sure you'll have to do more marketing for your game. I can imagine that the current website is not so convincing for many people.
For instance, after browsing the campaign website, i didn't really know why it would be great to have retux come to live (except that it's always good to have new piece of free software, but that argument won't be enough for raising more than a few bucks).

I did a lot of marketing in m carreer... i guess without the "i'm amazed" effect, people won't give enough money for the game to succeed.
Maybe you could improve the result just by presenting your project in a more attractive way.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

I've extended the list explaining what distinguishes reTux from SuperTux. Does that help?