This project was inspired by this blog post on FOSS games' need for a distributed content management platform. With the help of other FOSS gaming teams and support of other organizations, we aim to coordinate the creation of such a platform.


Lack of good content is the #1 impediment for FOSS games. Most developers are not artists and the challenge of content creation is much more difficult than code. The need for FOSS content is the same for code, but current platforms that exist for code do not offer features needed for content. Code is all text and much easier to handle, while content is difficult as you cannot “diff” a picture or a blender file. On top of that, while distributed code development has been refined since computers were invented, content is a much newer ground, especially to apply FOSS distributed development to, and it simply hasn't received any of the focus and effort that code has.

Not Just Games

Distributed content development is the #1 hindrance to the development of FOSS games, but a platform for such would additionally serve pure content projects, unlike games which are code + content. Audio and video, especially computer animation, production would benefit greatly from such a platform.

Platform base

A base for such a platform must be chosen.

  • Launchpad

    • Less duplication of effort: no need for two codebases or a new server cloud
    • Separate project would have a high chance of failure for above reasons, not conceptual reasons
  • http://opengameart.org/

    • Too much focus on games.
  • New platform, start from scratch

Big Investment

This project requires a huge investment in coordination, time, code, etc. Support from companies and organizations would be extremely helpful in propelling this project so that FOSS gaming can reach the same tipping point other FOSS software is on the verge of. Canonical and The Blender Institute may be prime contenders. Blender lacks a large amount of hard cash to accelerate the field but they are highly organized and Canonical does have such financial resources. Others should be considered as well.

The business case for Canonical has a lot of potential. Commercial content development (games and (animation-)movies) is a very large market. Canonical is currently providing commercial subscriptions, expanding this to the content market might be commercially interesting as there is no competition.

What's needed

  • Consideration of various types of content
    • Models
    • Textures
    • Audio
    • Video
    • Images
  • Content hosting
  • Interpretation and visual representation of binary data as
    • Gimp files
      • Understanding layers
      • Resizing
      • Diffing so you can see where changes are made
    • PNG and jpg files
      • Understanding that they can be (resized) derivatives of gimp, photoshop or painter binary source files.
    • Sound files
      • Display a wave table
      • Diffing by showing changes in this wave table with revisions
      • Understanding volume changes.
    • Blender files
  • Allow "pooling" of content not directly related.
    • 3D artist love to have lost of titled textures (pictures where the left side matches the right side and top matches bottom)
    • Same with 3D models that are textured, rigged and animated.
  • Game content needs to run in a game engine, changes to the engine will have consequences for the content.
    • Maybe have something like FTBFS when content is not compatible with its engine
    • Test cases
  • Better support for pre-production stages
    • Storyboards, scripts.
    • Concept art
  • Better support for production stage
  • Better support for post-production


GamingTeam/Projects/DistributedContentDevelopment (last edited 2009-09-14 11:30:15 by danny.piccirillo)