Well, to be honest one of the big problems is there is no money in it.
Those of us who are writing games are doing so mainly as a hobby,
pretty much volunteer work, until something better comes along. Guys
like Liam get a new job that automatically takes priority over
L-Works. Dan, as I understand it, got a position with the college he
attended so no longer had time for DanZ Games. Justin ends up pulling
50 hour weeks at work that obviously takes priority over BSC Games.
Even Philip has mentioned if he gets a real job programming Blastbay
Studios is going on the back burner, and he'll release games on an if
and when he can basis. Being in a similar situation myself I can't
blame them for putting a hold on any games in development to work a
real 9 to 5 job.
Not only that but things are different since I started USA Games in
2004. Back then it was pretty much assumed everybody, and I mean just
about everybody, in the VI community was running Windows. Yeah, there
were a few Linux users, perhaps a very small handful of Mac users, but
there were so few you could blow them off as not really worth the time
and energy supporting. That has really changed over the last few
Ever since Apple added Voice Over to Mac OS X more and more VI
computer users are looking at Mac OS as an alternative to Windows.
We've got developers like Cara Quinn who worked on Jedi Quake now
using Mac. We have Josh from Draconis Entertainment who is now a full
time Mac user. I know there are several others over on the Mac
Visionaries list who simply don't use Windows any more, or they
purchased a cheap Netbook to run a few Windows games etc they can't
run on their Mac.
Not only that, but if you haven't been keeping tabs on the Braille
Soft poll Linux is getting a fairly healthy number of votes.Last time
I checked Windows was at around 133 votes, and Linux had 75
votes.That's better than 50% of the votes were cast for Linux alone.
If you put the number of votes for Mac OS and Linux together Windows
holds its own, but it is a very very close thing. So Linux and Mac OS
are definitely growing markets to explore as far as developing
accessible games and other blind friendly products.
As for myself I am pretty much a full time Linux user now. The only
reason I maintain a Windows PC with Windows 7 on it is so I can do my
job, and produce games I can sell to the VI market. Otherwise if it
weren't for those two issues I wouldn't have Windows XP, Vista, or
Windows 7 installed on any of my computers. Everything would be Linux.
However, as you might guess as a developer we now have to decide what
market or markets we want to support. I don't think it is as clear cut
as saying 85% of the blind run Windows so let's write Windows only
software. I am personally in that 15% who don't really use Windows
outside of work so would be ignoring my own platform of choice just to
market my games to satisfy a larger Windows market. I'm not really
happy with that state of affairs, because if I'm writing, developing,
and producing a product it should be able to meet my own
specifications too. I've not been able to really do that as I've had
difficulty coming up with a good cross-platform design that really
works commercially. Given enough time I might be able to do it, but
I've got preorders etc hanging over my head like the fabled sword of
Anyway, even though Windows might be a bigger market commercially
speaking it isn't a market I really prefer to support long term
myself. At least not directly using DirectX, XNA, and all the
Microsoft specific APIs. No, what I've been doing behind the seens
with games like STFC 2.0 is I've adopted an open source design using
LibSDL and C++. I've successfully cross compiled the alpha with the
MingGW compiler so it is certainly possible to create Linux, Mac, and
Windows software, but it can be difficult to do if the game inquestion
is complicated like MOTA. All this extra work developing a game for
Linux, and then making sure it will run on Windows too takes all the
fun and enjoyment out of developing it for me.
Besides that, there are other projects I've been thinking of
developing specifically for Linux I thought would help open the
platform to more Windows users. While there are a number of decent
apps there are areas like OCR, for example, that doesn't quite compare
to Openbook or K1000 I'd like to see someone create. There are a lot
of audio editers like Audacity that are ok, but I haven't found
anything that is 100% comparable to Sony Soundforge Pro. As a musician
I want some quality sound editers like that which would not only help
me personally but anyone else who is a musician, game developer, sound
effects engineer, etc. There are some apps for Linux like Filezilla
which is a good piece of software, but could use someone like myself
to go in and fix some accessibility issues here and there so it would
work better with Orca. Lots of things like that which would improve
access for us and since it is all open source I would love spending my
free time doing something like that rather than writing games and
other software to promote Windows which I really don't use myself any
I guess what it really comes down to when you write accessible games
you get tired of it. At some point the developer asks himself/herself,
"when do I get to do what I want to do? Why do I always have to
produce games for the blind when I could be doing something else more
constructive with my time? What is in it for me?"
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