Recently I wrote about the wonderful open-source no-code world of GDevelop and featured some of the games made in it.
It’s a beautiful accessible tool that’s very welcoming to newcomers.
GDevelop is running it’s third gamejam, and I’m going to be participating in it too!
I have to say again how encouraged I am that such wonderful tools and communities exist.
Recent criticisms levied toward how Adobe is collecting customer’s pictures into machine training sets (see this Mastodon post ), or other discussions about how Microsoft Office 365 sends every photo and screenshot you add to Word to Microsoft 365 Intelligent Services without prompt (see also this Mastodon post), AND discussions from people who visited Adobe Max (Adobe’s yearly conference) talking about how Adobe’s interest seems to have shifted toward AI… can leave one pretty jaded about the state of our commercial tools.
Common tools that we all use, need, and have built our resumes around seem to be hostage to the whims of large corporations that will monetize us in more ways that we can imagine, and not just through a very expensive monthly rent like Creative Cloud.
I’ve felt anxious about the tools that I use for longer than I can remember now because I feel like these larger corporations (Google, Apple, Adobe, Microsoft…) that have the largest grip over our daily creative lives don’t really care about making great software anymore. If they ever did.
It’s chilling to me to hear stories about how Adobe is shifting focus to AI because it feels like our general mindset about the role technology can play in our lives has changed.
Granted they promise that this will be ethical, but the fine print in conversations surrounding this seem like anything but… The fine print seems to say more than the promises in the press releases.
As a surface concept, something like write a prompt to have AI generate a picture promises tremendous good. I’ve seen examples of what a difference that can make for people with disabilities and their relationship toward art creation. Things like this can potentially make our tools, and our workflows, as artists better… I’ve said some things in defense of AI art on Twitter at the beginning (I still don’t think it will “replace artists”, these conversations aren’t new)… BUT overall reality is looking different. Seeing how recent “groundbreaking tech” concepts seem to shift more in the direction of scams instead of the ideals of improving life for everyone, I have to question if tech can even be a good thing anymore.
It seems like the promise is there, but it’s no longer in the right hands.
For example, I lived to see email become a thing. I saw search engines become a thing… I remember life before and after them.
All these had their own concerns but they delivered on improving our lives.
I have to wonder… if email were invented today, under the current tech-bro regime, would it even be a good thing? COULD it even be good?
I can imagine postal workers protesting over social media about how it will replace the postal system, with tech bros gleefully taunting the inferiority of physical mail, all the while email not really being the email we know today but a giant scam to sell advertising, personal information, and collect data in the scammiest possible way.
I feel like, when considering the current popular mindsets surrounding tech culture, it is doomed to be exploitative rather than good.
So, to conclude a long opening rant…
I am given hope by tools like GDevelop (or the many others I wrote about) because they are independent of that.
They feel like either the remaining vestiges of a better era, or alternatives that will always be relevant because the mainstream necessitates alternatives.
Either way, I think it is critical that alternative tools (no mater the scale or technical nature) be supported by us.
If we find an alternative tool, we should shout about it off the rooftops to give it as big of a chance as possible. Without them, the tech-bro scam will win.
So let’s rally around these wonderful alternatives, and these wonderful communities that drive them!
The other day I was asked if I wanted to participate in this next GDevelop Game Jam #3. One thing led to the other and now I’m judging in a special category they created just for me called “The Nathalie Lawhead Award”.
This jam features a lineup of prizes. To quote from their page…
The Judges’ Awards are as follows:
$100 + $50 USD goodies store credit + A copy of Zorin OS Pro = 1st place prize
$50 + $50 USD goodies store credit = 2nd place prize
$50 USD goodies store credit = 3rd place prize
$30 USD goodies store credit = 4th place prize
$30 USD goodies store credit = 5th place prize
Finally, The Nathalie Lawhead Award recipient will be chosen by our guest judge and will receive a 6-month GDevelop Gold subscription as well as $40 of in-store credit at our goodies store.
The jam starts Jan 27th and ends Feb 5th.
I’m excited to be part of this and can’t wait to see what people make!
I will also write a curation about the games, to continue highlighting the beautiful things people make in GDevelop.
It’s another wonderful tool, and I really hope more people find out about it.
You can read more about the jam in their official announcement blog post here: https://gdevelop.io/blog/gdevelop-game-jam-3-is-here
You can join the jam on the itch page here: https://itch.io/jam/gdevelop-game-jam-3
And you can get GDevelop for free here: https://gdevelop.io/
Note that it also has a browser based editor that you can try out.
GDevelop is a beginner friendly tool. If you’re looking for alternatives, now is as good of a time as any to try it out!
In other news…
The monthly indie game compilation and artful zine: Indiepocalypse Issue #36 dropped today! This is also another alternative thing to get into.