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Jan 15, 08 - 8:50 am
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Not all open source software is Serious Business.
A project that caught my attention in the last couple of days is a port of the classic Infogrames / EA title SimCity — released for just about every platform known to man — into an open-source implementation named Micropolis.
Thank programmer Don Hopkins for his hard work.
Since the original SimCity source code has been released under the GPL, he decided to make a version that runs on Linux and port it to the OLPC.
Said port — named “Micropolis” for the same reason that community builds of Firefox are not called Firefox — has been heavily rewritten to run well as a modern application, and is still a bit of an ongoing project.
Bill Simser has been writing a series of posts documenting how to create a playable game from this code on Win32, and for anyone interested in programming — and not just game programming — it’s absorbing reading.
I also read with no small amount of fascination the long-term goals for Micropolis — things like multiplayer support and porting to many other languages are all in the works.
I think there’s a lot more than nostalgia at work here. Aside from SimCity being a hugely influential and fun game to begin with, I think game programming is one of the better ways for people to understand open source — either as a programmer or a user.
Once explained in that context, I’d think open source becomes that much easier to understand in other contexts — and concepts like the lvarious licensing schemes and whatnot can be related in a fairly straightforward way.
If there’s one thing about open source that remains something of a mystery to most people, it’s why open source development works the way it does.
You may not persuade people to become programmers, but you can at least make their job a little less mystifying.
On a side note, my longtime favorite open-source game remains NetHack. You’d never think a simple cursor and some ASCII graphics could still be so addictive in this day and age.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 at 8:50 am and is filed under Gaming, Open Source, Software. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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