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Why Xonotic isn't as popular

#1
Tongue 
imo Xonotic doesn't have a huge playerbase because nobody really knows about the game.
I was looking for a portable game that needs no installation and this is the one I just didn't know it exists. The game is pretty impressive not even considering it's a portable game. So ye maybe the game makers should think more about how to advertise the game or let people know it exists because it's extremely fun
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#2
A while ago, there was a plan to release the game on Steam once it hits 1.0. But the community faded away and development cycle slowed down massively. The game is still v0.8.2, and Steam has taken a different approach to its management as well (so releasing it on there doesn't automatically mean promotion anymore).

Xonotic is a fairly solid game in terms of game mechanics, but it has plenty of issues. New players still come around frequently, but, for one, the game does little to no job to explain how it works. I know proper tutorials are already in the works, but as of now the singleplayer "campaign" merely goes over game modes. Weapon mechanics and physics (which are a huge part of what makes this game so fun) are only explained in the guide on the site; reading should be something extra to adjust your playstyle, not a requirement to have fun.
But then, even if the player reads it and gets hooked onto the game's mechanics, it's likely that they'll be disappointed with how the game actually ends up being played. I'll give a few examples:

1) Overpopulated servers. For example, DM is really chaotic in terms of other people just suddenly appearing on top of you while you're fighting someone else. Most DM maps are balanced around 4-8 players. How many players does an average server allow? Twenty, fucking, four. Even as a somewhat experienced player who frequently comes out on top (I'm nowhere near as good as a lot of people out there, though) I do not feel accomplished after winning such a game. I can not utilize my brain in these games, I can only bruteforce my shit through it. If I come close to top with a small deviation (meaning the game was more or less balanced), it feels like pure luck and I still remember all of the times I died through no fault of my own. Now, imagine what a newer player with little to no game sense will feel as they experience basically the same thing but can't even get any kills. Sure, I could sit on an empty server and wait until someone joins. But they won't. And less enthusiastic players won't sit on an empty server either.

2) The maps people choose. Evilspace, spaceapple, revdm1, xoylent... First of all, knockback from Blaster + floaty physics that are designed to help new players move around as fast as pros mean you'll fall off. A lot. Revdm maps are designed around Nexuiz physics, evilspace - around Quake 3 physics. Secondly, evilspace works with 4-6 players at most, revdm1 - 2-4 players. What's it, the server has 14 players on it? HELL YEA, EVILSPACE TIME! There are LOTS of good maps. There are even remixes of these maps that are much more adapted to this game's flow (revving) or give more room for breathing (relent). But you rarely see them anywhere.

3) Team balance ethics. People just don't give a crap, and server configuration doesn't help. A TDM game can end 50 to -6 and no one will budge to correct the balance. If people on the weaker team leave the server due to excessive stomping, a really tiny message will flash in a corner of the screen nobody ever looks at. Most servers are also configured to not allow people to join teams in a way that makes people have uneven player counts, which, I am sure, has contributed to a mindset that you shouldn't bother with trying to balance teams by skill manually. Automatic team shuffling (whether stat-based, ELO-based or whatever) has never worked and will never work in any FPS game that allows enough player expression that it's not excessively boring/repetitive, and in games like Xonotic especially so.
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#3
(02-18-2019, 08:43 PM)Lyberta Wrote: There is no fun to play when you know where the items are and you can kill 90% of players just because you have so much health or armor.
Yes there is fun to play and that's apparent when you try and go against the 10% that you can't win against. If you couldn't control items in this game, you would be stomped with aim alone and you wouldn't have any way to come back if you're simply being outaimed all the time. Health and armor pickups adds a strategic element that is not random or luck based.
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#4
Quote:Which brings Xonotic to the most boring game ever made - chess.
Speak for yourself. If you hated the pickups part of Xonotic, you could have just converted to instagib or any other point and click shooter out there. Your fetish for the random didn't emerge out of demand, but out of your niche preferences that you desperately wish resonated with others as well.
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#5
(02-19-2019, 05:59 PM)Lyberta Wrote: Adding random items & loot was the best contribution to the game and made it so much fun.
Also, wasn't the random items mutator YOUR contribution?
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#6
(02-19-2019, 04:13 AM)isCasted Wrote: 1) Overpopulated servers. ...... (omit) I can not utilize my brain in these games, I can only bruteforce my shit through it.

I actually don't think this is necessarily a drawback for beginners, and less serious players like me. I do enjoy team play with strategies, but I also often pick the most crowded server to attend, just to have some brainless fun.

(02-19-2019, 04:13 AM)isCasted Wrote: 3) Team balance ethics. People just don't give a crap, and server configuration doesn't help. A TDM game can end 50 to -6 and no one will budge to correct the balance.

I do see players jump to the winning team, but mostly beginners. Most of the time I see veterans switch teams to help with the balance, at least from my experience.

(02-19-2019, 04:13 AM)isCasted Wrote: If people on the weaker team leave the server due to excessive stomping, a really tiny message will flash in a corner of the screen nobody ever looks at.

Really? I've never seen this. Would love to know what it looks like.
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#7
(02-19-2019, 09:25 PM)Smilecythe Wrote:
(02-19-2019, 05:59 PM)Lyberta Wrote: Adding random items & loot was the best contribution to the game and made it so much fun.
Also, wasn't the random items mutator YOUR contribution?

I like that we have varieties, so thank you for your mutator, @Lyberta.

I do see values in both designs though. I personally like things to be more predictable so I can improve myself in that frame. For me, players (including myself) are the variables.
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#8
Yaaay, another balance thread.... well, inb4.

On topic: yes, it would be nice if xon got promoted a bit more but none of the devs have experience with advertisement and i don't really think it's a direction we wanna go. Slow natural growth is fine too as long as we're sustainable... which the number of active players seems to be so far even if i'd prefer slightly more. Out effort would be much better spent by no losing players who *do* discover xon by for example having an in-game tutorial. One is in the works but probably not ready for 0.8.3.

Off topic: I find it ironic that everybody thinks adding tiny 5s item jitter for megas will completely ruin vanilla, yet players seem to crave randomness and create it anyway by joining overpopulated DM servers and then voting for the tiniest maps. The only way to win is to rush everything and hope for a random kill before someone spawns behind you and randomly kills you. Crowded DM teaches people the exact opposite of the skills useful in other modes and the more DM gets popular the harder it will be for those players to graduate to sane modes so when DM finally gets boring for them, they'll stop playing xon altogether. Glad i am not the only one who finds DM dumb.

Off topic 2: My experience is that strong players do care about balance in team games and spec or switch when the game's unfair. However note that vanilla is very sensitive to tiny skill differences and the tiniest advantage will get larger as the stronger team has more map control, especially if the weaker team can't get to vortex. That's right, i mentioned the gun that ruins xon again and i fully know where the thread will be heading.

Off topic 3: the imba teams nagger is a flashing text in the top right corner which appears (i think) when the difference of team numbers is greater when 1. it's completely useless because
a) it should weight players by their points per second instead of counting everyone as 1 (and even then the scoring of some modes is plain wrong), you can have perfectly balanced 2v3 and perfectly imbalanced 5v5
b) nobody notices it because it appears in the exact same spot as keybind hints when spectating (which might not flash but fade in and out) so people learn to ignore that spot. Being near the mini scoreboard which nobody uses (except when watching recorded videos) doesn't help either.
c) sometimes as a strong player no matter which team i join it will be imba and i just want one quick game. Not my fault xon is frustrating when losing, heck, it's sometimes (especially in CTF) frustrating when winning.

Off topic 4: 3.6 BILLION operations per second on each of my 4 cores and it takes half a second for a letter to appear once the text gets too long and the scrollbar appears. If you know a software "engineer", as they like to call themselves, please ask them to call themselves software bricklayers instead because most of them clearly have no idea what they're doing.
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<packer> when i see martin-t's name my blood pressure increases

<[BOT]Hоtdоg> anyone here lives near martin?
<[BOT]Hоtdоg> will pay monies for shooting him
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#9
I'll add a few things to what martin-t said:

Brainless fun in crowded environments can be entertaining for casual or new players, but having pickups and low stack on spawn implies that you have to use your brain to move around, avoid enemies, build your stack in order to have any fun. Unless, of course, you really, really, REALLY like the starting Shotgun. In crowded environments it just doesn't work. Maybe you'll get another gun alongside the Shotgun, but it'd be almost equivalent to having random weapons entirely, except the randomness is rigged towards better players. Excessive randomness means your game is inconsequential, meaningless, and it'll feel repetitive no matter how diverse the results it produces are. Some people like their video games to be random and/or repetitive, but, as far as I'm concerned, generally people use video games to escape natural randomness and repetitiveness of life and feel empowered as a result. People who like their games random and repetitive generally prefer to play WoW and its clones (and even there they'll be a minority), and the most vocal ones will sit on thematic forums and complain about modern MMOs trying to pander to casuals by adding skill based elements.

That said, Weapon Arena is a thing in Xonotic. It will be random and brainless on crowded servers, but it'll most definitely be engaging and let new players understand how different weapons function. Just give a good starting stack (say, 135/65) and ditch some weapons from it (Vortex - definitely, Hagar - maybe, possibly some others too) to make it less frustrating to be on the receiving end. When certain people get bored of this mode, curiosity could attract them to a more balanced vanilla experience.
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#10
(02-18-2019, 08:43 PM)Lyberta Wrote:
(02-18-2019, 12:27 PM)sovietcat Wrote: because nobody really knows about the game.

I'd like to take a different spin on these words. I only learned about map control about 5 years after starting to play and it broke the fun. There is no fun to play when you know where the items are and you can kill 90% of players just because you have so much health or armor.

What I'm saying is: vanilla has insane rules and only 0.0001% of players actually know them.

Well you don't need to know those rules to have fun the physics and guns are interesting enough and just trying your best to dominate the match is really fun
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#11
(02-19-2019, 05:59 PM)Lyberta Wrote: Adding random items & loot was the best contribution to the game and made it so much fun.
This just sounds like you want to make a psychologically exploitative addiction machine.
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#12
(02-24-2019, 12:25 AM)Lyberta Wrote:
(02-23-2019, 05:53 AM)Antares* Wrote: This just sounds like you want to make a psychologically exploitative addiction machine.

I want the game that I can play for years and decades without being bored. Adding a shitload of roguelike elements is the obvious strategy.
 
Well, this thread is not about a game "you can play", but about how to make xonotic popular. Your personal example is useless cause your gaming tastes are quite unique and unpopular. Of course you have your right to develop the modes which are fun for you, but again - this thread is about general popularity.

I think xonotic already has gotten its own niche where it shines - competitive FPS gaming. So we should focus on exactly that. Developing casual game modes and diverting casual servers from XPM is not going to make xon popular. There're shittons of casual shooters, xon just has no way to compete against them... We need to attract competitive players, even if it means that some noobs gonna be disappointed on the casual servers. Casual servers should be just a intro servers where you can learn the basics before trying to fight against veterans in proper modes like duel.

Tournaments, prizes, media coverage, positioning xon as a competitive, noob-unfriendly elitist game, hackable, customizable, with amazing dev and player community, without any DRM cancer, without pay to win  - is what gets us a chance to become popular at least in our narrow niche.

Another big priority is defrag. XDF is an enourmously popular mode and XDWC-2018 was huge success with 170 (!) competitors participating. We need to invest some effort to improve it, cause it's quite bugged and there're some annoying incompatibilities with q3 maps.
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#13
(02-25-2019, 01:10 AM)Lyberta Wrote: I think branding Xonotic as elitist is the best way to kill it. I want more casual modes and servers. Right now the only casual server is Jeff's and I got a bit bored of it and want a different spin.

Againt "I want", "I got bored". You're too focused on your own personality.
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#14
As long as Xonotic playerbase remains small, I think the most important things are:
  1. Raising awareness to the peak hours, when's the best time to find players online. Even among EU players, the most common complaint about this game is empty servers, which is sad because most of us can find matches nearly every day.
  2. Frequently updating the references to community events (tournaments and content releases) and groups (discord/irc channels), neither the forum or the website have a visible mention of Tommy's discord group for example.
I'm not saying that we should give up and stop aiming high. My point is that if a game has observably small playerbase, then there should be more talk about features and ideas that suit a small playerbase.
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#15
(02-26-2019, 01:51 AM)Smilecythe Wrote: As long as Xonotic playerbase remains small, I think the most important things are:
  1. Raising awareness to the peak hours, when's the best time to find players online. Even among EU players, the most common complaint about this game is empty servers, which is sad because most of us can find matches nearly every day.
  2. Frequently updating the references to community events (tournaments and content releases) and groups (discord/irc channels), neither the forum or the website have a visible mention of Tommy's discord group for example.
I'm not saying that we should give up and stop aiming high. My point is that if a game has observably small playerbase, then there should be more talk about features and ideas that suit a small playerbase.

That point with the peak hour is really good. When ppl see ppl online it motivates to go online more so the peak hours could be the basement to expand upon.
The second one could be some live-ticker on the main page like new tweets. Maybe even implement a twitter with a linked official account.(would cut some making-time) That way ppl see how active it is.
And that Discord should really be linked. When you just find out about it, it's like discovering a second secret community inside a community.

I think we should make plans on how to effectively aim high. The game is fun but the learning curve is pretty frustrating to new gamers. And with the data-privacy-politics here(whether good or bad doesn't matter) you cant really make something out of the elo system to help new players get a hang of xonotic. In it's current state it's just prestige for those who want it while you could have restricted noob/pro-servers. Seeing the skill on ingame leader-boards etc. could also help.
But I think Xonotic as it is already suits it's small playerbase while also limiting itself to it.

Maybe rewrite the 'single-player-campaign' to teach(or at least mention) the basics, advanced and tactical stuff thats all lying underneath.
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#16
In my opinion Xonotic gets a lot of traffic compared to most other arena shooters I've played in. I see a lot of new faces come in but the issue here is keeping them.

According to the stats I've been seeing Xonotic is actually way more popular than when I was more active a few years ago. I'm seeing 6-700 concurrent players on the weekends which is pretty big compared to other Arena FPS games. I'm seeing active duelers like X, Arch, Srkdy, and some other Anon's which I don't know.

One of the issues I've noticed in North America is the servers. The SMB servers (Kansas public, Kansas duel, NY duel) get pretty crowded during peak hours which is good but, they are very unstable once the server gets populated. This has been an issue for a very long time. Also, the map selection is down right terrible (on Kansas public). Probably about 30% of the maps on there for deathmatch have no business being played. For some reason the pictures of bad maps on the selection screen look enticing and people vote for them. Then they get fed up with the terrible map they've just voted for and leave. I'm working on updating the map list and giving my suggestion to the admins.

Most of those players are playing Insta/Jeffs server for the more laid back experience. I'd like to see vanilla being pushed but it defintely a harder experience to get accustomed to. Maybe it'll be worth trying to get some pickups going on in NA but its failed everytime.
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#17
Hi all. I think a problem in xon (in all xon) is that we have a lot players wich have fun new gamers who are interested in a new game shooting in pieces.And even if everybody knows all gamers need time and practice to understand how it works.So you came to xon (even with a little experience from other shooters) and you will see whats it all about and if its fun to play ....and you live in a map 3 seconds...againj and again.....and damned again. In that case the new players leaving in 5 min...and never return. That problem needs a big thanks to that guys wich do so under different accounts and names.Hope you have fun. Some admins want to help and made servers for beginners (good idea and thank you for youre work) sad to say that our lovely namechanger used that as a personal huntingground.Super,we are so proud of you.
A second problem is that xon was discriebet as a game for all,even when they are not using a core I5 or 7 and they dont have a g-force card for 500 and more bucks. The pro-gamers in xon knew what im talkin about. To have a chance in xon playing and some day winning depends on hardware too. But now the differents are gigantic.Some players have 60 fps and some have .....985 fps. A kind of a  border  to limit the fps could help to deal the cards new. No need to talk long about other facts like a fast network ect.I think everybody wich stays in xon spend a lot time with finetuning :-)))
Im sorry that i can name some problems but i dont have the fix for it. I love xon and i thank all people wich work on it to keep it alive. The spirit of xon is the fight with fair play. 
So greetings to all the fighters from
Defiant
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#18
(02-26-2019, 02:12 PM)Defiant Wrote: Hi all. I think a problem in xon (in all xon) is that we have a lot players wich have fun new gamers who are interested in a new game shooting in pieces.And even if everybody knows all gamers need time and practice to understand how it works.So you came to xon (even with a little experience from other shooters) and you will see whats it all about and if its fun to play ....and you live in a map 3 seconds...againj and again.....and damned again. In that case the new players leaving in 5 min...and never return. That problem needs a big thanks to that guys wich do so under different accounts and names.Hope you have fun. Some admins want to help and made servers for beginners (good idea and thank you for youre work) sad to say that our lovely namechanger used that as a personal huntingground.Super,we are so proud of you.
A second problem is that xon was discriebet as a game for all,even when they are not using a core I5 or 7 and they dont have a g-force card for 500 and more bucks. The pro-gamers in xon knew what im talkin about. To have a chance in xon playing and some day winning depends on hardware too. But now the differents are gigantic.Some players have 60 fps and some have .....985 fps. A kind of a  border  to limit the fps could help to deal the cards new. No need to talk long about other facts like a fast network ect.I think everybody wich stays in xon spend a lot time with finetuning :-)))
Im sorry that i can name some problems but i dont have the fix for it. I love xon and i thank all people wich work on it to keep it alive. The spirit of xon is the fight with fair play. 
So greetings to all the fighters from
Defiant

Ye, skill gap is sometimes unpleasant for both sides, but it's really an issue without solutions...
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#19
Smile, _para the discord link will be added shortly, i think we wanted to do it a long time ago and then forgot about it.... which makes me wonder how people manage to find it anyway.

_para the campaign should/could probably include tips and then there's the tutorial Spike is/was working on, though he seems busy with other things nowadays. If you know mapping, ask him about the status and he might tell you how to help.

(02-26-2019, 08:56 AM)SPLAT Wrote: I'm seeing 6-700 concurrent players on the weekends
Perhaps you mean daily? 600 concurrent players would be HUGE, like 50 active servers, i dare even say that's more than i want xon to have since the feeling of community would be lost.
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<[BOT]Hоtdоg> anyone here lives near martin?
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#20
I figured concurrent was a valid term regarding how many players on using Xonotic within a defined amount of time. Anyways, just today it was 550 players and thats more than any other Arena FPS I can find. Theres been quite a lot of activity lately.

I really don't think making a tutorial system would really change much as far as increasing population and getting players to stay. The resources already exist for those who wish to learn more about the game. Anyone willing to put time into the game to improve is more likely to stay, unlike those who just want a quick tutorial and to be done with it. Its an investment of time and frustration because theres not enough of players to categorize everyone fairly. Some players are just going to pick up the game better than others. Focus on improving gameplay and making new maps. Update the people weekly even if it seems trivial. A lot of people assume this game is dead for some reason.

The best we can do is just have a supporting community, host cups, games, prizes, pickups.

This is by far the least cancerous of any 'Quake' community I've been apart of.
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#21
(02-28-2019, 06:34 PM)martin-t Wrote: [1]Smile, _para the discord link will be added shortly, i think we wanted to do it a long time ago and then forgot about it.... which makes me wonder how people manage to find it anyway.

[2]_para the campaign should/could probably include tips and then there's the tutorial Spike is/was working on, though he seems busy with other things nowadays. If you know mapping, ask him about the status and he might tell you how to help.

1) I somehow stumbled upon it via google or the forum directing me to the thread where it's linked.

2) Sounds good. Maybe having tailored maps with simple explanatory graphics and minimal text are enough. Or animated models.


And that this is the most popular one sounds good to me. One more reason to start pushing the marketing.
I mean you could wait for it to be finished to have the greatest potential that new players will stick or you present it as unfinished community project and maybe attract some devs to finish it.
In the long run and regarding how long xon now survives with our quite active core community the second options sounds quite plausible to me. Then new players also would see some progress which keeps them interested even if not in the gameplay at first which could bridge the time it takes to really learn the gameplay.
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#22
Xonotic is not popular because people are stupid.
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#23
I get to know about Xonotic while looking for a linux-friendly and lightweight multiplayer FPS. At first i looked in GNOME Software, where i found Red Eclipse. But there were very few people, menu was very-very complicated, mechanics itself was also too complicated (i am a complete newbie in arena FPS), and i don't know, it just did not touch me.

Then i went to Steam and found CS-GO and TF2, which i played last time 15 ago. It was nostalgic but i also did not find what i wanted. I even wanted to try Alien Arena, which is also on Steam, for 2USD or smth, but i also was interested in smth more "linuxish".

So (ba-dum-tss!) i googled smth like "best open\free games linux, fps linux" etc. And actually Xonotic IS rather POPULAR in that sense. For example it is #2 in Slant (https://www.slant.co/topics/1933/~best-o...urce-games) among ALL opensource games. It is listed on ItsFOSS (https://itsfoss.com/free-linux-games/).

What made me suspicious about Xonotic was, no offense really, little bit dated look of a website, no, it is fine, just you can think that it was made long ago. And Xonotic Blog with latest post of JULY 2018 made me think that project is probably droped. But i decided to give a try.

And, man, it's AWESOME. Like in EVERYTHING. I have discovered few in-game tech problems (Segmentation fault bugs(?)), but they was not large.

Yes, it would be helpful for newbies to have IN-GAME better tutorial for weapons and movement like in Team Fortress 2. But i think it is a lot of hard work to make it, and it is not really MUST-MUST have. And that's all for the game itself.

Too much\too many people on servers. Difficult space maps for newbies (yes, they are). It is a gamer-base problem i guess. Maybe it can help to have 24/7 NEWBIE_Server with (T)DM and simple maps. Where top players will have little interest to play and you won't be killed/pushed every 5 secs. Maybe. But also it is not such a big deal. If you like arena FPS you will probably adapt sooner or later.

So, as it seems from a newbie newcomer main problem with Xonotic popularity is marketing, SMM, PR. More videos on Tubes, more posts in social networks can maybe raise game popularity. Also presence on different platforms like GNOME software and Steam (i am not a fan of it, and yes, i have read Steam related topic). Of course it is hard to do it without money and it is probably a barrier for or all opensource projects. By the way i did not find "Donate" page on website. Maybe it will make sense.
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#24
(05-10-2019, 08:33 AM)Lyberta Wrote: Well, Xonotic and Red Eclipse are the only 100% FLOSS FPS that I encountered. All other usually have some non-free assets. The most common being CC BY-NC. And Red Eclipse has some totalitarian dev.
Btw, with great interest i have read your notes on libre gaming, i hope this ecosystem will develop.
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#25
@Lyberta I'm wondering whether CC BY-NC limits us.
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