I’m getting really tired of only being able to play 1/3 of the games because I have a Mac. Practically every game-making option has some way of being cross-platform, and people should be utilizing that. We now have 1400 people entering games into LD. That means we naturally must have a huge demographic of users in terms of OS and machine capability.
According to w3schools, approximately 5% of users are on Linux, 10% on Mac, and 80% on Windows. Back when LD was starting and we had maybe 100 entries, that meant that just 10 people would have issues playing games that stuck with the “Windows-only” requirement LD has. Not a huge deal. But now, there are 140 people playing on Mac and 70 people on Linux. That’s a whole lot of people being left out in the cold if you decide to go with just Windows versions of your game.
Do you really want to keep over 200 people from playing your game? Me neither. That’s why I think libraries like XNA which force Windows-only should be actively discouraged from Ludum Dare. Yup, that’s a giant opinion. I don’t mean to offend. But unless you can give clear instructions for getting your game to run on mono or wine or anything else, I’d say avoid that.
Even worse than Windows-only games are people who throw their source up expecting others to compile it (Python users, I’m looking at you). That, in my mind, is completely unacceptable. Even if I happen to have Python installed on my machine, do you really expect me to figure out how you need your source run? Nope, I want to double-click something and play. Even better, I want to go to a website and play from there.
I know Objective-C and I really like it. Does that mean I’m going to make a game that’s Mac only? No sir. Because I want people to play my game. Why don’t you?
There are a whole lot of options for making games that are very portable. Here’s just a few of them:
- Java (check out LWJGL, jME, Slick2D, javagaming.org for lots of gamey options)
- Unity (XNA users, you can even code in C#, also great for putting post-compo games on the app store)
- Python (pyGame has a lot of options, can even be compiled into binaries!)
- C++ (my lord there are so many cross-platform libraries here)
- haXe NME
That list goes on. Go ahead and add more in the comments below, and also you can yell at me for whining all you want.
But really, I think we need some kind of official requirement on this. Windows-only is a relic from when LD was a tiny hobby place. Now that it’s a tour de force in the indie game world, it needs to move on. Let’s change that policy!
(removed GameMaker, as it can’t get on Linux and people don’t think it’s a viable gamedev option)