Will wargaming migrate from Desktop Publishing (DTP) to true Freeware/Open Source designs? We see this with VALOR & VICTORY
, a squad-level WWII tactical ground combat system that's been out on the internet since 2008. I have no idea how many people have played the game or built their own game sets from the PDFs on the website
. But I like the idea of collaborative wargame design, development, and playtesting. Is this a future trend?
I don't know how many of you are LINUX devotees; I've been somewhat hesitant to dip my toes in that particular direction, although I am sorely tempted. I will confess to have downloaded Sun Microsystems OPEN OFFICE onto my PC and my iMac and feel like I never need to have MicroSoft Office again. Freeware. Open Source code. Many have hailed that as the future of computing. Its devotees border on the zealous--certainly the advantages are clear if you are willing to overcome some mental hurdles. I don't know--I've had Open Office for over a year and never had a problem with it. Or felt the need to tinker with it. I just enjoy using a free word processing, spreadsheet, and graphics package (haven't explored the other applications on it yet).
Certainly the VASL and now VASSAL "map cabal," CYBERBOARD aficionados, and other online gaming support folks are going in this direction. We all benefit from it, certainly. The question is, are we going to see the same thing happen in the design and development of games, much as we see with VALOR & VICTORY? Could this be the tip of a looming iceberg? What might this mean for traditional game publishers?
Some may run the other way from this. For me, I think it should be embraced. I imagine companies working out a deal with the authors of V&V to make professionally printed components for the game for those who don't want to print and assemble their own. Those of us who have seen what Tom Cundiff has done for variant counters in his OLD SOLDIERS magazine know what the art of the possible could be. Imagine "print on demand" components for VALOR & VICTORY. I'd be tempted to put in an order.
What do you think? Could this be a future direction for wargaming? If so, why? What would get people interested in it/excited by it? If not, why not?