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We make games, just for fun.
We start many projects. Some will be completed, some abandoned, some
repurposed or absorbed into other works.
Making money off something that should be fun, takes some of the fun out of it.
Figuring out taxes and fair shares is not fun, so we don't do it.
That said, you own your own creations. If you make a SMOGHEAP game and also
want to sell it, go for it. Just make sure it's cool with anybody else who
As for the name... Lots of SMOGHEAP's projects will spend the majority of
their lives as vaporware. Smog is like vapor, but messier and generally found
out in the open. And "heap" is a reference to the scrap heap, our common junk-
drawer repository where diamonds and rough mingle.
Fun doesn't need a lot of rules, but life's resources are finite and each
contributer has other obligations as well. So, some guidelines are presented
here, where a more serious enterprise would have a proper charter.
"What did you make today?"
Time is the most precious resource there is. Doing fun things wastes time, and
that's the whole point. Figure out an evening per week or a before-work ritual,
something you can honestly stick to for spending time making games for fun.
Maybe you doodle something. Maybe you have a bug that leads to an interesting
idea. Maybe you change the colors on something you made a month ago. The
substance doesn't matter; finding a rythm of making stuff, however small, does.
Sometimes, the answer is "today I made nothing". That's not a problem, and
it's not grounds for discouragement. Guideline, remember?
"You either care enough to port it yourself, or you don't."
Worrying about what platforms or underlying technologies a game should use is
not fun. We want to create the things we wish to exist, not to reach the
broadest demographics or harness the most fascinating libraries.
Suggested Workflow
A project has a better chance of success if it has a design document, and it
can't hurt to have some scribbles or concept art. Even if the document is
incomplete and subject to change, and your art is a pathetic doodle drawn on a
napkin saved as a blurry cell phone picture, check it in. The internet is full
of half-baked (or far less) ideas, a few more won't hurt. And if somebody
steals your idea and makes their own version, well, good, right?
A project ought to these files:
SMOGHEAP-CHARTER - A copy of this file.
COPYING - The license. GPLv3 suggested, but, you know, whatever.
README - The game's manual/documentation.
design.txt - A design document. Specs for the game.
work/ - For experiments and big files. (.xcf/.blend/.wav, etc)
The Scrap Heap
A shared repository, "scrapheap", is a place for idea fragments. Bits of code,
images, sound recordings, anything that might be useful for a future game
should wind up here. The function that draws funky patterns, the alien
critter, the sound effect of crunching a pop can. You made it, but don't know
(yet) what to do with it. Don't just leave it on your own computer, put it in
the scrap heap. One man's dead-end idea is another man's inspiration. One
person's random scribble is another's placeholder game hero.
Likewise, when a "real" game asset is created, toss a copy of that into the
scrap heap too. While we all have access and permission to swipe scenery,
enemies, sounds etc from each other's projects, it can't hurt to keep a nice
collection of random stuff, ready to be pulled into the next game.
As a matter of practice, consider putting your name into the metadata for all
assets you create.