Where to start… at the beginning would be good. I stumbled across the Heart Forth; Alicia kickstarter page while checking for updates on Chucklefish’s Starbound. Even as I pushed a post to G+ with the #GNiE hashtag, the game had already passed the initial funding goal.
Fair enough, I’m a sucker for sprite based games. As I mentioned on G+, I consider Grandia to be one of the best looking games of all time. Decades later the sprite-work and animations are still largely unmatched. So, any game that makes me think of Grandia’s sprite-work, or raises memories of Tales of Phantasia, or evokes the style of Seiken Densetsu… Is Doing Something Incredibly Right. A quick scroll down the Heart Forth; Alicia kickstarter page, and it was almost like looking at a demo reel of what Sprite based games might have been able to accomplish if polygons hadn’t taken over.
Without even reading through the updates or making sure there was a Linux client, just based on the visible sprite artwork, I registered as a backer myself. The existence of a Linux client is normally a litmus test of my own for whether or not a Kickstarter funded game is worth paying attention to. The basic argument for this litmus test is fairly simple; a developer following quote/unquote “Good Coding Practices” will be able to develop and ship a binary that will cross compile and execute on multiple platforms. If a developer is not able to immediately and simultaneously push updates to OSX, Linux, and Windows in one shot; then something in the development tool chain is broken. At some point the developer used a proprietary API, a proprietary Library, or wrote code that is explicitly tied to a single platform.
A quick glance at Steam’s Linux games collection or Humble Bundle quickly demonstrates that independent developers generally understand the concepts of “Good Coding Practices.” It is much easier to hit multiple platforms with a single source code base that is as platform-neutral as possible; rather than having to pay for other developers to come in and re-write the platform-specific components for a new platform the original developer was unfamiliar with or unable to target.
The bit about having to pay for a porting job seems to be what happened with Heart Forth; Alicia. While the first update specifically mentioned that Linux+OSX support was in discussion, it wasn’t till the fifth update that the contract cost of paying for that work was revealed. On a lot of levels, I don’t really fault Alonso Martin for adding Linux client support as a stretch goal. As I understand the history Alonso started his game nearly 7 years ago; and there have been significant changes in the ease of developing platform neutral code since then. It’s a bit much to ask a single developer working on his own special personal project to take time and learn different development practices.
So, with the heavy handed, not-at-all subtle, sledgehammer-like “Good Coding Practices” bit out of the way…
Heart Forth; Alicia is funded. Some of the stretch goals have already been met; and others remain. For those downstream who read this, Heart Forth; Alicia looks and sounds like a title that is probably worth your hard-earned cash.