Monday, November 18, 2013

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Attention, Indie Devs: Glitch Art & Code Goes Public Domain!

Glitch intro 3 

This is a great gesture: Stewart Butterfield and the other developers behind Glitch, the innovative-but-defunct MMO with a cult following, have released all art and code associated with the game to the public domain. As Iris noted last week, Glitch has already inspired an endless runner game for iOS, so now that the game's uniquely quirky art assets are free for the world to play with, we should see any more Glitch-inspired experiences. Free idea for all the many Second Life fans of Glitch: How about reviving Glitch as a mini MMO in SL?

That said, get Glitch free assets here.

Hat tip: Reddit's game developer subreddit.

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sparky

I think it's a shame. When TS held it in the vault it had value. They could have sold it to someone seriously interested in a derivative game. Now, all that beautiful artwork is valueless. Why would someone want to spend time/money to build a game on IP that has no value?

Oh, wait, you said put it in SL. Makes sense.

melponeme_k

@Sparky

I thought the exact same thing.

Recreating the game is totally out of the question now.

TS has totally messed up this game from day 1, from not preparing it properly, bad marketing, not allowing signups, to blaming existing customers for not SPENDING ENOUGH MONEY! Than they devalue their product by letting it free.

Watch, some big ass company will make money off of it, and they won't see a dime. I hope that makes them rethink the open source witch brew sham.

Iggy

Sad to agree with the cyber-capitalists. Open Source works best in an established gift-economy, such as one one we academics often use to create and share knowledge.

But I am not in this for the money. Glitch was about whimsy. Try monetizing that in the Social-Darwinist-economy of America.

sparky

@melponeme_k

Well said.

The pattern of devaluing started long before they shut it down. The final straw was when Stewart made those hard won and treasured rare items available to anybody who could push a logon button.

Iris Ophelia

From an outside investor's perspective, how much value or appeal do you think there really is in an MMO that had to shut down due essentially to lack of interest?

The kind of people that buy up assets to relaunch games are very likely not the kind of people who would see Glitch as something worth pursuing. Period. The market is SATURATED with MMOs now, and MMOs are very expensive to run and maintain and support. Glitch was great, but I don't think there was ANY risk of it being bought out, especially not at this point one year later when what interest their was has faded. Best case scenario someone would have bought it and turned it into a hyper-monetized Zynga-style nightmare just to make it worth their while.

However, now that they've released the assets, and even the client code? Fans who wouldn't be able to buy it whole can revive it themselves as a community. It's probably far more likely you'll see a Glitch revival now than it would be if they held off waiting for a buyer. It's not too far from what happened to Uru Online, really. More to the point, there also may be more derivative works that you will get to play that would have never existed otherwise.

As to the question of why would someone make a game based on IP that's valueless, that's easy. Because they love Glitch? Because they want to make a game? Independent and hobbyist game-makers do this all the time. There was never any danger whatsoever of a big publisher picking Glitch up and that hasn't changed at all. What has changed is its accessibility to the people who are more likely to do something, ANYTHING, with it.

Tiny Speck put a lot of work into these assets so people could enjoy them. That was kind of the point of Glitch-- to delight people. That work isn't delighting anyone growing dusty and forgotten on a hard drive somewhere.

Iris Ophelia

Incidentally, I don't think Glitch in SL would work well as these assets are mostly 2D characters and backdrops. You would probably have to create all your own stuff to translate the experience into SL well, outside of maybe some sort of gallery/tableau display.

melponeme_k

@Iris

This game never had a huge launch. They were in BETA FOREVER. Then had a lottery system for new players. Then went back to BETA. They had a godawful trailer which didn't sell the game in any understandable fashion.

How can you say there was no interest when they did NOTHING to encourage interest? The little interest they did have they killed in the crib with no easy way to sign up.

Not to mention that they gave away the store with little in the way of shop items that catered to big spenders. This whole game was a mess.

They could have held out for a developer who would buy the assets and create a game for it. But no, they shot themselves in the foot once again and let it FREEEEE! WHEEE! Now they get nothing.

sparky

@Iris


As far as there being a better chance of hobbyists picking up the mantle and recreating Glitch I fail to see your logic.

On one hand you say that no buyer will touch it because of lack of interest and great expense and on the other hand you say that the community will come together and save it?

Aside from the fact that the last year has proven that nobody from the community is capable (or willing) to step up to the plate, the possibility of ANYONE trying to get that server-side javascript running reliably is next to zero.

Stewart himself said numerous times that a primary reason for not selling was because it would TAKE THEM MONTHS just to train somebody to keep it running. It required constant babysitting.

No, it's highly unlikely that you're going to see this artwork anywhere other than in some hobbyist copy-cat side-scroller - a la Glitch Run.

The market may be "full of MMO's" as you said, but there's not a single non-violent MMO worthy of the download, and certain not worthy of paying real money. Glitch had that potential, had it been in the right hands.

I'm not sure why you're defending Stewart, because there's nothing to defend.

sparky

@Iris

One more thing. You say that the purpose of Glitch was to "delight people".

If that were the case it would still be running - whatever it took.

Despite the romantic musings of few, Glitch was only ever about one thing - making money for the investors. Butterfield himself admitted he was only in it "for the kill". Once it was apparent it wasn't the "kill" he was seeking, it was kicked to the curb.

Divesting the assets was just a way of putting a bullet in it.

Iris Ophelia

When I say lack of interest I really mean a perceived lack of interest. I agree that their marketing and overall strategy was never on point, but we know that because we're very close to it. From a distance, almost none of that shows but the bare bones fact that it didn't succeed because there weren't enough players. "There were trailers, hype, they even tried a relaunch, and it still bombed! No thanks."

That doesn't mean that the people who DID play it weren't devoted to it. Why didn't they do anything in the past year? Well, what COULD they do, before now? The odds are still that the art will be used in a lot of neat little tributes and nothing big, but it's impossible to say for sure. Someone somewhere has their heart set on recreating it, so who knows how far they'll get. Someone has already recreated Marrakesh Meadow in HTML 5 and it's only been a couple days. http://revdancatt.github.io/CAT422-glitch-location-viewer/?v=0.2

Maybe it won't be an MMO, since MMOs are very hard to run and no amount of delight in the world is worth pulling you and your team into financial ruin... But I wouldn't turn my nose up at a single player version of the Glitch experience either, and that is many times more likely to happen now than it was before.

And Sparky, for the record: Glitch Run isn't a copycat. It was originally developed as an official tie-in to Glitch back in 2011, sort of a test for their Mobile API. Then things went south and it was seemingly put on hiatus. The app's developer, formerly of Tiny Speck, released it last week as a standalone with TS' blessing. In a slightly kinder world, Glitch Run probably would have been the first official Glitch App.

As to developers being money hungry or whatever, all that tells me is that they probably would have sold the assets if they could have. And they haven't, likely because they couldn't. So like I said, at the end of the day releasing the assets isn't hurting them, and is giving the fans the chance to do something with the property as opposed to the big pile of nothing that would probably happen otherwise.

Kramp

glitch is dead so this does not make a big difference... i would be happy to see Glitch returning but then i think it will never. stewart is just a bazillionaire that lost interest in his latest toy. will be fun to see how his new product Slack is doing. for sure it will be a HUGE kill! rofl

but giving away parts of your product for free is still a major mistake for sure. same with the SL code. since LL made it public a majority of users is on firestorm or one of the other viewers. sadly it seems that the people who run these viewers are all oldbies that want SL to stay as it was in 2006. so they do not add many improvements coming from LL. of course changes are yucky because you do have to learn, but now for the majority of the users SL is not developed anymore. so what was the reason for LL to give away control about their own product? just another hippie ide of Phil? please stop the **** giving away your work for free to people who do not deserve and can not handle it!

the best is the developers of non LL viewers complaining about that it is too difficult to add the new features. shows what they know about coding, without LL these viewers would not exist at all.

sparky

There were people lined up from Sept 2011 ready to play, but for most of them the door never opened. By the time they were ready to open widely, the interest was already gone, the players were on to something else, and they were anyway left with a sour taste. The "marketing" you mentioned never addressed the core market that was left wanting. In this biz (and I speak from experience) you can't ignore your core without consequence.

By spring of 2012 Glitch was a much different game, anyway.

"What could they do"? There was nothing to do? City of Heroes would argue otherwise. All possibilities were open if a group had organized, presented a plan, and moved forward. Players lost interest in a revival because Stewart publicly popped every prospective bubble.

Pointing out something like a recreation of Marrakesh Meadow only serves to prove my point. Stuff will dribble out here and there in such a way that soon it will lose all value. Value is built by uniqueness and now that is gone.

No need to condescend about your knowledge of Glitch Run. I know exactly it's germination and who made it. If you re-read what I really said, I was actually complimenting them because I was saying that others will just copy-cat them. A sides-croller, however is not even close to grasping what Glitch is about. I wonder how many people would line up to play a World of Warcraft side-scroller if they decided to shut the RPG down?

I think you misunderstand my main point. I don't think releasing the assets hurts TS. I could CARE LESS what it does to them. It's what it does to the players and people who held out hope for a return. They didn't sell the assets for one simple reason, Stewart Butterfield. He had the power to make a deal happen in any fashion that it could have, but he didn't. Even turning the assets over to a community consortium would have been preferable to this.

Bottom line is Glitch got in the way of Slack. My estimation is that his attitude was - "If I can't have it, nobody will." Hence, putting a bullet in it by making it public domain.

melponeme_k

I can support Sparky on how they totally dropped the turkey with sign ups in 2011. The only way to get an invite was to sign up with an email address at their site. Only random people got an invite and I surmised that it was by lottery method. Because I got an invite almost immediately but there were other people on the wait list for months who never received one. After that, you had to depend on people already in the game to send you a family/friend invitation.

They were almost there in the game in 2011. There was a seed that looked to be something interesting. But it was obvious they had problems in platform growth and game direction.

Take housing for example. When I started it was a commodity that was much sought after, sold fast and created a burgeoning Real Estate flippers market. This was the one real success in the game. It created value.

Apparently the makers didn't want that. Because after they went back to BETA, they closed housing and released it free to everyone. You no longer had to work for titles, leases or money to buy the house. Everyone just got one and they were bone ass ugly compared to the previous incarnation. So they took the one hallmark with value in their game and then totally destroyed it.

Its too bad they did that to the actual game as well. But I wasn't surprised.

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