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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Steam for Linux

From: Bianca Gibson
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Steam for Linux
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2012 14:00:29 +1100

Years of archives of some good (though small) creative commons licensed games can be found at My own is at

Although AAA games have huge budgets, they are often managed extremely poorly and have high staff turnover. Someone high up in a big publisher (I think activision?) said that their strategy for improving employee retention was to scare them in to staying, saying they wouldn't be able to get another job or the new job would be even worse, and they were trying to take the fun out of making games. Often the staff will get mistreated, and have to work ridiculous hours, I know someone that worked 120 hour weeks.
They may not even get credited for a game that they worked on for years and left a few months before release (LA Noire).
Sometimes 24+ hour marathon shifts. Keeping a sleeping bag under your desk.
Managers will often be promoted from within - when a big publisher took over an acquaintances old work they promoted the lead programmer to CEO. He was not a good CEO, and now that studio has shut down.

Not really creativity fostering environments, or well managed. I don't think they money is spent efficiently in a lot of circumstances, and I've seen some really smart developers leave the games industry because of that treatment. These people that leave because of the mistreatment might still like to do hobby project games, and maybe could be tapped to create Free Software games if we can connect with a sizeable proportion of them.

A lot of people think that a lack of creativity is the weakness of AAA games. Rather than go for exactly the same thing, I think we'd be better off excelling where they don't, making indie games instead of AAA style games. Indie games have much smaller budgets and teams, so would be an easier starting point. Rather than trying to make the next skyrim, go for the next fruit ninja.

I do think that steam for gnu/linux is a good thing. I have on multiple occasions almost talked people in to running mostly free software, but the games have kept them on windows. It will also make some people that currently dual boot for games spend more time in a free software OS, maybe even all their time. Although running proprietary software at all is not ideal, it can reduce people's use of a proprietary OS.

What we can do if we want to take the approach I'm suggesting (go for indie games):
- Use steam for GNU/Linux to encourage gamers to start using a Free Software OS, or spend more time in a Free Software OS
- Engage with the indie games community and learn from them - more free software people at events like the global game jam, and local meetups
- Make games :)

As for why steam is considered good:
Gamers hate DRM. They like playing games, DRM makes it hard. Restrictions on steam aren't so much considered good as less bad. You can play it on as many computers as you want (just need your account), it has an offline mode (though people hate that you have to sign in online then go offline).

Some DRM requires a constant internet connection for single player games. If you have dial up (only thing available in some areas), they constantly loose the connection and crash.
Some games install root kits for DRM.
Some games install software that has in the license agreement that they can pull whatever they want from the computer and send it off to the publisher.

Obviously steam is less bad than some other DRM.

On 11 November 2012 02:15, Michael Mehrazar <> wrote:
On 11/10/2012 09:54 AM, Alexey Eromenko wrote:
> Actually Google Chrome has an offspring, a Free Software version called
> Chromium browser.
> It has few differences vs
> Chrome : no flash, no built in PDF reader, and no auto-updates, but it
> works great on my Debian machines.
> Chromium is great, and I can recommend it.
> -Technologov

I'm well aware of Chromium. In fact, you got it mixed up, Google Chrome
is based off of the free software project Chromium. (Both are developed
by Google however)

However my point is not that Firefox is the only acceptable free
software browser to use, obviously there are many such acceptable
browsers. My point is that it's very important that free software
remains easy to use, otherwise, non-technical users will not be able to
use free software. And Chromium, unlike Firefox or Google Chrome, is
fairly difficult to download and update, unless it's part of your
distributions package manager. (Which is not the case for Windows or Mac
OS, which is where the majority of our target audience still lies)

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