BTW. A big note about Free Software (from Towns forums in main site).
I already posted this in the main forum at the main site. But I want also to address the comunity here.
I should told you first that English is not my native language. It is Spanish. In fact, I am from Spain too, like the main developer of Towns. Sorry for any mistakes I am going to make...
Free software, is not just putting the source code in the public. Free software is a wider concept. The thing is, here, you are talking about free software like a way to abandon the project and its future to an unknown entity of people who is going to corrupt it somehow.
The fact is, the option of keeping the project controlled by the original Towns team and also releasing a free copy of the code is perfectly compatible. It is also the best approach to free software, as I saw it many times in the past.
There are an amazingly big list of companies that release their software under a free license, and also makes a ton of money. Ubuntu is the first that comes to my mind, but in fact this forum if probably running in a GNU/Linux server (free), with an Apache web server (free), using a MySQL database (free) and PHP as the main language for the application itself (free). This forums, phpBB, are a free project too!
There are also tons of amazing games developed as free software there. They have a clear approach, they have a common plan and they worked flawlessly. OpenTTD, OpenArena, Battle of Wesnoth...
The key thing of free software is that it let people to communicate and collaborate between them, empowering them to achieved thing impossible for a little team.
If you understand my point and you want to have an incredible game and get the most out of it, this combined solution implies...
... for the developer:
- Apply a free software license to all the code and a set of basic assets to run it and distribute them in a site like GitHub.
- Organize the building process of Towns to allow anyone to build it and test it. Your goal here is to allow people to contribute back their progress.
- Lead the development of Towns with a collaborative working tool, like a Wiki or a Trac. Organize the goals and milestones and specify your point of view for the development community. Deploy also a bug/issue tracker (you can use the one in GitHub, or Trac) to allow common users to report bugs.
- Support the development of Towns as you can. You may use part (or all) the money you received to hire a programmer to solve the needs of the project and follow the specified goals. I am certain that this will meet the expectations of the people who paid for the game. You are not abandon the project to free software, you are opening it to allow the project to grow past your personal possibilities and restrictions.
- Also, you should create a way to allow people to contribute user generated content, because that is the bare bones of this project and many other.
... for future contributors:
- Learn the ways of the forc... means, free software and contribute for the project somehow. You can help creating assets, coding, creating a OST, whatever. Your effort will be used to make the project bigger and more incredible.
... for future players:
- You, as always, will be able to log into Towns and download the game, and play it. If you download the game from the Towns site or network, you will always have a good copy of the game, authored by the original team.
This solution that I propose, is tested and proved successful by a huge amount of projects out there. And this is just the beginning.
About the main two disadvantages the developer can fear, two notes:
- Players getting the game for free and not paying for it. Lets face it. Most of them were not going to pay in the first place. Also, they are users and testers, and they will contribute to the project. And the most important, you can find different sources of income, like the monetization of the Steam distribution, a Humble Bundle, donations. Dwarf Fortress works just with donations, and is not even free software...
- Forks. There is not a single example in the entire history of free software when forks harmed anyway a project. They always create a constructive feedback relation of patches/corrections/ideas and eventually merge with the main project or get abandoned. If some fork even progressed as it own, you should feel proud, not loss.
If you want to keep reading about free software and its philosophy, please, go to de FSF site and read about their definition of free software (https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html)
and their licenses (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html).
Available in lots of languages. Also, consider other approach to free software like the Apache foundation or the MIT approach.
Regards and thanks for reading me up to the end!!!