Even the Ocean is almost seven years old at this point. By today’s standards, that means the game is straight-up ancient, and we might as well face facts: with the rate at which technology changes and grows, it probably kind of will be sooner rather than later. Which is part of why it was recently “99%-open-sourced”.
So, a quick glance at the Steam page reveals that Even the Ocean is available for both Windows and MacOS. Not bad, but where’s the Linux port, and what’s this about the Mac version supposedly being broken? Well, according to Melos Han-Tani – who, with the help of Marina Kittaka, made the game – getting it to actually compile on Linux has him stumped.
So why 99%-open source it?
A lot of games have been given a brand new lease on life after the release of their source code – even ones dating as back as, say, 1993, because you better believe the original Doom wouldn’t still be alive and kicking like it is today, had it not gone open source as early as 1997. But it did, it is, and I for one am eternally grateful for John Carmack making that call, despite not knowing what to expect in the years following. Which is to say, a slew of genuine awesomeness and an extremely active modding community, even a full 30 years after its original release.
As for whether Even the Ocean will find that same extended longevity from having its inner workings publicly visible/available remains to be seen. If nothing else, perhaps a Mac and/or Linux user with ample knowledge can help fix the former and get the latter to actually compile. Without errors, preferably. Sure would be pretty darn neat, especially since the title apparently has a relatively small but dedicated fanbase. In some ways, that’s potentially better than a vast number of people having bought the game… only to, for example, never even install it. Sure, the money would have been better, obviously, but I’m not convinced that would do as much for the now available source code as a smaller, more tight-knit community.
(Technically it is not “Open Source” because that would require me to give everything away for free. There’s a clause that prevents us from getting screwed by someone just selling the game as-is or copying it completely.)
One hopefully capable of helping futureproof the game, as at some point, a version of Windows – the #1 gaming platform by far, at the time of writing – will be released that breaks something or other in Even the Ocean. Or a version of MacOS. Or Linux, if someone ever manages to get that version working in the first place. Futureproofing a piece of software with the help of fans by making the source code publicly available is rarely a bad idea. Provided you ensure that all the right licensing-related boxes are ticked prior to pressing that big old release button. Which, as you can tell from the above quote, they most certainly did in this case.
But is that it for Even the Sea? Not exactly, as Melos Han-Tani does mention in the blog post how he’d “love to do a fan zine at some point, or a ‘guide to Even the Ocean’ featuring its beautiful background art.” I’d definitely be interested in the latter, as the game looks incredible. Putting the soundtrack’s bonus music on Spotify is also potentially on the menu, but aside from those things, that’s the end of that. The game itself is “pretty much” done. I’m sure fans are going to get up to something interesting with it, now that the source code is available, though. Fingers crossed.