How open source changed my life as indie dev

My game Planet Stronghold is present in the Humble Weekly bundle, celebrating Open Source! I thought was cool to share how I moved from closed source engine to open source.

It was Summer 2008. I had just finished coding a new space wargame in C++, using commercial libraries. They were good, but the real problem was that developing a game with them was taking so long! I’m not a good coder, and not having a big community or easy access to code examples, support, was a big deal for me.

At same time, I had an idea for a college dating sim, but I wasn’t an expert at all with it. So I contacted my friends at Hanako Games who made the game Summer Session using Ren’Py for me.

I never heard of it, but seeing the final result, I got curious and started to look into it more carefully. At those times, Ren’Py really wasn’t as good as is today, and doing anything except visual novels or simple dating sim was a real effort.

I must say that I immediately was impressed by the community at Lemmasoft (Ren’Py official forums) and Ren’Py author himself, always trying to do his best to do support for the engine. The fact that the engine was open source was a big plus, there were a lot of examples/code snippets available, and so I decided to learn it.

I was shocked to see how easy was to use, and how cross-platform it was, thanks also to the decision to use the powerful Python as language.

Six years later, I now use Ren’Py to do all my games, and adopting it was probably the best decision of my indie career ever. Without it, games like Loren would have taken at least twice the time, and ports of my games to Android or iOS wouldn’t have been so easy. And in times when having Linux support is going to be crucial in the next few years (SteamOS anyone?) is good to know that Ren’Py is already supporting it without the need of any big change! 🙂

Of course, there are other cool open source engines: I just wanted to share my experience with one of them. If you’re a game developer, check all the ones supported by the bundle!

So that’s my story. Thank you, Ren’Py, it was a blast so far! The minimum I could do was to offer one of my games to support your cause 🙂

This entry was posted in development tricks, general, indie life, open source. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to How open source changed my life as indie dev

  1. Rincewind says:

    I got Planet Stronghold!! Yayifications!! =)

    Lemma forum are a great place!! I lurk there regularly.
    Maybe someday I will finish my short visual novel and going to start posting for real.

    And Ren’Py is fantastic.

  2. Pingback: Wild Steam – all about video games and Steam | Wild Steam this is a place where you can speak out about the games, incentive, sales, ask for advice and more.

  3. Pingback: Thank You: Planet Stronghold has been greenlit! | TechGump

  4. Maxim says:


    I understand that you added a lot of your own code to work with Ren’Py while developing Planet Stronghold and Loren.
    I’m not sure if you bounded the code within the Ren’Py source or made it to work separately.

    Have you open sourced your code so others can also make such RPG’s using Ren’Py?

    • admin says:

      No I haven’t opensourced it since it would really be nuts to use – you really can’t just look at the code and make it work. And I don’t want to do any support for it 🙂

      • Maxim says:

        Still I think a lot of people can benefit from it.
        Making a simple visual novel into RPG with skills and stats.

        Maybe it is worth to comment briefly on the important parts of the code and release it.
        You have been using this great engine for years, it’s only fair that you also give back what you can – after all that’s what open/free source is all about.

  5. Chase says:

    How did you port your Renpy games to iOS?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *