You did it! Native game development is coming to Linux
In just three weeks, the Linux community has successfully funded the development of Leadwerks for Linux. This means we're going to bring Leadwerks 3.1 to Linux, with native support for developing Linux games...so Linux games can now be completely free from Windows.
It's been an amazing few weeks. During this time, we also successfully completed our Greenlight campaign to make Leadwerks available on Steam and take advantage of features like the Steam Workshop. You can see from the graph below that our campaign did better than any other software in Steam we had data for. The votes look like they would have gone a lot higher, but Valve approved us early!
I also had a chance to prototype the major feature of Leadwerks 3.1 I was most concerned about. I wanted to implement a new terrain system that would remove the limitations of our old one, and thought that a technique I call "dynamic megatextures" would be a good solution. Basically, this works like id Software's megatexture technology, only the virtual textures are generated on-the-fly rather than being paged from the hard drive. This means the entire terrain can be uniquely textured, but it doesn't require the hard drive space megatextures usually need:
Getting that knocked out of the way makes me confident we can deliver Leadwerks 3.1 for Linux according to our original vision.
Before we get too much further in the campaign, I'd like to talk about stretch goals. These are an unofficial custom Kickstarter campaigns have started using to put extra funding to good use. They work by saying "If we reach this level, we will deliver these extra things, if we reach the next level, we will deliver more". So basically it's a linear list of items, proceeding from one to the next.
I'm not sure if that's a great idea for this campaign, because it means I have to choose a linear list of items. If I pick A, B, and C, and people don't really care about B, we never get to do C. I took a poll giving backers the chance to rate different stretch goals, but the responses are spread across a lot of different things. Kickstarter is a fantastic tool for testing demand and seeing what people really want, so why not put that to use? I want to propose an alternative approach for stretch goals:
What if I add a $100 reward for each of the top stretch goals people want, and pledges for that reward would be used to fund that item? I can limit the number of pledges, so that if the maximum is reached, then we will deliver that item. For example, one reward might look like this:
OCULUS RIFT SUPPORT (60 available): If all rewards are claimed, we will deliver support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, running natively in Linux.
In other words, this would allow us to "multithread" the stretch goals, instead of pursuing them one at a time, and me having to guess the order to place them in. I think this would also give us a clearer picture of the needs of the Linux community, because the stretch goals aren't dependent on one another. What do you think of this idea?
And congratulations, Linux community! I'm happy to make Linux a core part of our company's focus moving forward.