This week in open source games: August 10 - August 16, 2014

The fall of Gary Gygax, keeping tabs on Linux ports, and more

This week in open source games
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Open source games roundup

Week of August 10 - August 16, 2014

A quiet week in open source gaming news. I spent most of my gaming time trying to figure out Divinity: Original Sin, which... isn't out on Linux yet, but will be soon. How soon? Good question.

In this week's edition of our open source games news roundup, we take a look at how Gary Gygax lost control of Dungeons & Dragons, keeping tabs on crowdfunded Linux games, and more.

How Gary Gygax was ousted from D&D

Jon Peterson, author of Playing at the World, writes about the late days of Gary Gygax's tenure at TSR, Inc., the company he co-founded to create Dungeons & Dragons. It's a story that delves into labyrinthine stock strategies and ruthless board meetings, subjects that seem at odds with the imaginative role-playing game. After several years of astounding success, the company was forced to restructure after the tabletop gaming market bottomed out. After Gygax attempted to retain copyrights to his creative works and joked about resigning, he was asked to resign, and when he refused, was terminated from the company he had helped create. It's a surprisingly detailed account of a nasty corporate takeover, and the last thing you'd expect from the people who invented a monster called a Flumph.

What's the status of that Linux port?

Lots of crowdfunded games add Linux support to their stretch goals, but it's usually low-and-to-the-right on the burn down chart. A thread over on the Linux Gaming subreddit has Linux gamers bemoaning the timelines (or lack thereof) for many of these ports and questioning whether these add-ons are even worthwhile. Gaming On Linux's Liam Dawe pops in to direct folks to a (somewhat sparse) wiki entry on his site detailing games that have yet to deliver. I'd recommend that we also need a list of those campaigns that promised Linux support and delivered it (e.g., Shadowrun Returns, Broken Age), as well as how long it took for it to be implemented after the Windows or Mac versions shipped.

SuperTuxKart releases track editor beta

If you're a fan of the 3D kart racer that features the Linux kernel mascot and other open source friends speeding around racetracks and participating in zany race-related hijinks, rejoice. You can now create your own tracks. From the announcement:

"Did you always want to create a track, but found Blender too complicated? Are you not afraid of trying a software which may crash? Are you ready to work hours on a track just to kill the program and lose everything? Are you good at finding bugs, reproducing and reporting them? Cool!"

Check out the editor's manual and a tutorial, too.

What is open gaming?

If your friends are unsure about what open source games are all about, we've got something that might help explain. A few weeks ago, we released a new resource page on the site that answers the question: What is open gaming? It covers video games and hardware, board games and open game design, and it's totally free and CC-licensed. So share it, remix it, and spread the word.

Got something to add to our open source games coverage? Follow on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news on everything open source. If you have any news you'd like to submit, shoot us an email through our contact form or reach out to me directly on my personal Twitter account.


About the author

Michael Harrison - Michael an unrepentant geek with a love for games, the social web, and open source projects to share with his kids. He writes about raising geek children at GeekDad and records a podcast about games called The Dice Section. You can follow him on Twitter at @oldbie.