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ET3D

How about open sourcing the Android games?

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It's rather frustrating that Android versions of Double Fine games work on only a small subset of devices (unlike games from pretty much all other developers). I understand that DF does their Android development internally, so maybe that needs to change. Either DF should hire a company that develops Android software for a living, or it could release the source of these games and let the community do its best to fix them.

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I know some of their earlier mobile games were funded by Dracogen, so they would probably need to be open to it as well

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I'm talking more about the PC conversions, like Broken Age and Grim Fandango, which only work on a small percent of devices. I had more success with for-mobile games. I'm sure the Double Fine adventure games would sell decently if the majority of Android users could buy them.

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Not sure why not. Going open source doesn't mean you're sharing the content for free. Besides, that wouldn't be a problem for Broken Age.

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The profitability of "premium" (non-free-to-play) mobile games has been kinda questionable for a few years now. The people raking in dolla bills are doing so with in-app-purchases. Doublefine briefly experimented with this model on Middle Manager of Justice (which IMHO was easy enough to play without buying anything, so not many people did. Doublefine is just too damn gentle & friendly to make a cutthroat, lucrative, addictive phone game like Superhero Mobile Ant Farm Slot Machine 9000.)

Add to that the costs of supporting many different versions of Android across a wide variety of devices, and the prevalence of piracy for single player offline games on Android (above 90%), and you've got an even weaker business case.

Even on iOS, with far fewer device models & OS versions to support, and way less piracy, a lot of companies are saying it isn't cost effective to keep updating their premium games. iOS is set to probably go 64-bit-only later this year, and there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth for teh millionz of 32-bit apps left in the dust.

So, I wouldn't hold my breath! (Esp. for open source)

It would be interesting if there were third-party Android devs who, on spec, might take under-supported apps & games and update them to see if they fare better, in exchange for a cut of subsequent revenues. Kinda like what Doublefine is doing with Schafer's old Lucasarts games, on a much shorter nostalgia cycle. But, I don't know if there are. Yet.

Edited by aratuk

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If they're doing an Android version, might as well do it right. :)

There are quite a few 'premium' games on Android, and companies who do them often do more, so I imagine that there's some profitability. It's true that a lot of adventure games end up with 10,000-50,000 sales (Google Play figures), but Double Fine ends up with 5,000-10,000.

Many dev house use third party Android devs for the Android version, and it could be a good path for DF to take. The reason I thought about open sourcing is that I think the community could also do that, given that the games (Broken Age and Grim Fandango) are already available for Android, just very limited in the devices they can run on.

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On 29/04/2017 at 7:20 PM, ET3D said:

Not sure why not. Going open source doesn't mean you're sharing the content for free. 

That's literally what going open source means.

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6 hours ago, ThunderPeel said:

That's literally what going open source means.

Not at all. Open source means you're sharing your code for free, nothing else. All game resources are still copyrighted. Get a bit of familiarity with classic open sourced games, such as Doom or Descent, and you might understand this better.

In fact, there are already open source games with Disney content, namely Jedi Academy and Jedi Outcast, and far as I can find, they were open sourced after Disney bought Lucasfilm.

And I just want to add that open sourcing doesn't even mean you're losing copyright over the code. It's often the case that the source code comes with a permissive licence, and people can do anything they want with it, but it's also possible to distribute the code with a much more restricted license, like NVIDIA is doing with its technologies or Amazon is doing with Lumberyard.

Edited by ET3D

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OK, so it's a question of semantics... you're literally giving something away for free. (Usually it's everything, but I guess Doom is the exception, and I don't see why DF couldn't follow suit.)

Let me ask you, though: If you're just talking about the code, and not the other assets, how do you expect people to run the code and debug it? With Doom it's easy because you have an open platform (Linux), but how would that work with Android?

Edited by ThunderPeel

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It's not just a matter of semantics, but of concept. You're giving away something, but you're not giving up any rights. You still have full rights to the game, nobody else can sell it or use your assets. Most commercial games that went open source that I'm aware of use this model (such as the two Star Wars games mentioned). You still need to buy the original game, you put a new executable alongside the game assets, and that executable accesses the assets and runs the game. Those open source games do allow developers to sell the port (without the full game), that's generally common for open source in general, that it can be sold (even though in most cases it's given away for free). But it's not a problem to create a license that doesn't allow selling or even giving away modified versions of the source.

As for development, you don't need an open platform to run the code and debug it. Windows is very convenient, and developing for Android is free (as is developing for Windows; Visual Studio is free and a good IDE; in fact it also supports Android development).

Edited by ET3D

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Making something open source is actually quite a lot of work to set up and support, and we'd also need to get a new license from Disney for most of them which would be complicated. Because of that we're not really able to go open source easily, even if we wanted to.

We've actually stopped developing games for Android entirely now because it's impossible to support all the different handsets with such a small team, working from one game to the next in the way we do. The sales from that platform never made up for the cost of supporting it, which is a real shame, but that's how the cookie crumbles i guess. Putting energy into making the games open source would in all likelihood not help us to sell many more copies, at least not enough to make it worthwhile.

We did recently post a fix for Grim Fandango Android to fix some of its compatibility issues, but nothing else is planned for that or any other android title at the moment! Sorry! 

 

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Been watching this thread, thanks for the detailed reply Spaff, confirmed my suspicions that it would be more complex than feasible.

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Yeah, thanks a lot Spaff. I forgot to reply. (So thanks Bidiot Bales for posting and reminding me about this.)

It was clear that the sales weren't that good, but it was also clear to me that the sales weren't that good because many people just couldn't buy the games. I certainly would have bought Broken Age and Grim Fandango if they were compatible with any of my devices. I did end up buying the Grim Fandango for Android when it featured in a Humble Bundle, and I might play it when I get a compatible device, but that likely won't happen soon.

I think it's unfortunate that Double Fine got itself into this chicken and egg situation where the port isn't good enough to be bought and therefore the money doesn't enable making it better. Not that Android is a great market for PC style games, but DF games could have been more successful.

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