I just read something interesting on Slashdot. The Unigine company is giving away a free license to their game engine to an experienced team willing to develop a top-notch native Linux game.
Ever since I became a Linux user, I have always wanted to make it a good gaming platform. There is no real reason that it can’t be one. People would like to say that there’s no market and all that but I disagree. I just think there isn’t enough effort in the direction yet. Some company just needs to take a bit of risk, release a really good linux game and watch as they rake all the cash in. Then, the other companies will take notice and there would be a greater number of developers treating Linux as a first class citizen.
I have discussed the idea with a couple of friends. One of my goals is to fund the development of a good Linux game engine and associated tools (such as the level designing tools), put together a good team and make one of those triple-A games. I would also ask my team to focus solely on the Linux version of the game. I wouldn’t make a Windows or a Mac port.
Then, I would want to sell the game at a reasonable price, perhaps 30 to 40USD. The best part is, I would also release the tools and the engine to those who purchase the game under the GPL license and also give out the artwork under some equally liberal license. I fully understand here that one could just buy my game and then release it for free on the Internet in a legal manner (since the GPL permits sharing) and I don’t mind that. Those who can afford it would most likely purchase it separately and those who can’t, can still enjoy the game. I also understand that others would port my game to Windows or Mac (since I won’t port them myself) and I don’t mind that either. Why should I mind about what my customers do with my game?
Some people have told me that this idea does not make financial sense but financial sense be damned! I know that this will work. People spend millions of dollars on random rubbish; why can’t I spend million of dollars on such an endeavour? I know lots of Linux fans would buy the game gladly. I am pretty sure I would make a profit after recouping all my investment costs. I would then use this profit to fund further development on Linux. Some might argue I’m being idealistic but hey, I’m still young. It is my duty to be idealistic.
The entire idea is so obvious to me, I really don’t know why no one has done it yet. It’s going to take me a while to enter the millionaire stage. In the meantime, I am going to email this Unigine guys and see if I can convince them to drop this competition thing and to just give a free license to all Linux game developers.