Gaming Open source is democratizing video game development

tom_mai78101

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The goal of Candy Wrapper is simple: stomp all the opponents on the screen. Once you’ve cleared the screen, you advance to a new level. It starts off easy, with just one opponent and one platform. But each new level adds more opponents and/or platforms. It gets challenging fast.

What’s really impressive about Candy Wrapper isn’t its charming 8-bit graphics, thumpin’ soundtrack, or Bubble Bobble-inspired gameplay. It’s how the game was made. It was originally created in less than 24 hours and with fewer than 100 lines of GameMaker code as part of a game jam — essentially a hackathon for making games. In 2020, creator Harmony Honey open sourced an updated version of the game they built using the open source game engine Godot.

“I learned a lot from open source projects,” Honey says. “I was really confused about how to build certain things, and picking through other people’s code helped a lot, so I hope my code can help someone else, too.”

Creating video games used to mean one of two things: creating all the graphics and programming practically every aspect of your game from scratch, or working for a professional studio that could afford to hire a team to work on different elements. It could be a laborious undertaking for beginners or hobbyists, and the barrier to entry for anything other than a text-based game was high. But that’s changed, as demonstrated by the vast number of game jam entries and indie games available on platforms like Itch. “Game development is democratizing,” says Johanna Pirker, an assistant professor, software engineer, and researcher at the Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science at Graz University of Technology. “You don’t necessarily need advanced programming and graphics skills to make a polished and professional game anymore,” Pirker says.

Game engines, point-and-click game-making tools, and graphics and sound asset packs make it possible for just about anyone to get started making games. And once they’ve created something, platforms like Itch and Steam give indie developers a place to publish their work. Game jams, meanwhile, provide opportunities for creators to meet and team up for projects—and that community can be the catalyst developers need to finish and share their games. “I’d been making games since middle school, but I didn’t actually release anything until I discovered game jams,” Honey says.

 
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    I bought an Ender 3 during the pandemic and tinkered with it all the time. Just bought a Sovol, not as easy. I'm trying to make it use a different nozzle because I have a fuck ton of Volcanos, and they use what is basically a modified volcano that is just a smidge longer, and almost every part on this thing needs to be redone to make it work
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    Luckily I have a 3d printer for that, I guess. But it's ridiculous. The regular volcanos are 21mm, these Sovol versions are about 23.5mm
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    So, 2.5mm longer. But the thing that measures the bed is about 1.5mm above the nozzle, so if I swap it with a volcano then I'm 1mm behind it. So cool, new bracket to swap that, but THEN the fan shroud to direct air at the part is ALSO going to be .5mm to low, and so I need to redo that, but by doing that it is a little bit off where it should be blowing and it's throwing it at the heating block instead of the part, and fuck man
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    I didn't realize they designed this entire thing to NOT be modded. I would have just got a fucking Bambu if I knew that, the whole point was I could fuck with this. And no one else makes shit for Sovol so I have to go through them, and they have... interesting pricing models. So I have a new extruder altogether that I'm taking apart and going to just design a whole new one to use my nozzles. Dumb design.
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    Can't just buy a new heatblock, you need to get a whole hotend - so block, heater cartridge, thermistor, heatbreak, and nozzle. And they put this fucking paste in there so I can't take the thermistor or cartridge out with any ease, that's 30 dollars. Or you can get the whole extrudor with the direct driver AND that heatblock for like 50, but you still can't get any of it to come apart
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