December 1, 2010 2 Comments
Approximately three weeks ago, I saw a presentation by a company called Wild Pockets that created a game development tool using a proprietary browser plugin that only supported the Windows operating system. At that presentation, I criticized Wild Pockets, claiming that it’s only useful for small-scale projects and I mentioned that their entire development platform is proprietary, and locked down to the Wild Pockets website. Having the entire platform and all games and software created with it restricted to the Wild Pockets website is a critical design flaw, and I’m sure it’s seen that way in the eyes of any serious developer considering using the platform. Also, the fact that users have to install another browser plugin that’s only compatible with Windows machines, doesn’t use open web technologies, and is not open source discourages some potential users from installing the plugin and experiencing the game, as well as preventing certain users from being able to use the platform at all, such as Linux users like myself. Even though WebGL is still a technology in it’s infancy, and it’s not quite as fast as OpenGL is yet, it’s making progress towards being a viable web technology, and I think it would have been in Wild Pocket’s best interest to choose to rewrite their software to run entirely using WebGL and new HTML5 technologies, such as video and audio tags. That would ensure that their technology is available to the broadest possible audience, and allow users to experience the software developed using their technology regardless of their operating system, and without installing any additional plugins. Overall, I wasn’t very impressed with WildPockets, and I suggested to them that they should open source their platform in order to reach a broader audience and attract developer attention. The response I got when I asked if they had any plans of open sourcing their software was to “ask that question again in three weeks or so”, at which point I immediately assumed that they were already planning on open sourcing their technology, and they were not allowed to reveal any further information due to a non-disclosure agreement. Since then, I almost completely forgot about Wild Pockets because their technology wasn’t very impressive to me, and they failed to catch my interest, until now that is. I just recently got an email from Wild Pockets announcing that they are open sourcing their platform, and the code will be available on Launchpad, which is owned and operated by Canonical, the maintainers of Ubuntu, the Linux distribution that I currently use every day. Although I will still probably never develop anything using Wild Pockets, the potential for their technology dramatically increased since they open sourced it, as open source enthusiasts will likely implement new features and port it to other languages, and I will continue to keep an eye on WildPockets as it continues to evolve. A copy of the email sent out by the Wild Pockets team is below.
With an ever growing community and the fast moving world around us, we’ve decided to make a tremendous change to Wild Pockets that we think you will be excited about. We have had many requests in the past from developers who have not only wanted to work with Wild Pockets, but that have hoped to actually contribute to the engine itself. We are extremely happy to announce that this will now be possible. Over the coming week Wild Pockets will be transitioning into a fully open source project.
We are very proud of the Wild Pockets platform and the incredible content that the community has built on top of it, and now we want to see it become an even greater asset to the developer community. As of December 1st, 2010 you will be able to access the source code for Wild Pockets on Launchpad at http://www.launchpad.net/wildpockets. The Wild Pockets website will continue to host the builder environment and community content, and it will now include links to the open source project as well. Documents such as the Builder Manual and Programming Manual have been transfered to the new Wild Pockets Wiki where they can be easily updated by the development community.
We are excited about this upcoming transition and hope that you will continue being involved in the advancement of not only the Wild Pockets community but the underlying engine as well. If you have any questions or would like more information please send an email to [email protected].
Looking forward to seeing what you will build next!!
- The Wild Pockets Team