Thursday, January 20, 2011

How to Advertise your FOSS game

Have a nice new FOSS game that no one knows about? Make it known through these (rather obvious) tried and tested ( not really ;) ) methods:


A Delicate Balance
Make a nice generic post with a couple (not too many!) screenshots, relevant links etc. Also, remember to stick around and answer questions and generally contribute to the forums you are posting to, you don't want to be a spam bot ;)

Post on the FreeGameDev forums! Fastest way to get an article on the blog, and a bunch of helpful people willing to give you a hand with development ('' previous parenthesis ;).

Linux Distro Forums: Always a safe bet (links go to relevant gaming sections)


0A.D. video posted in 2007 that still attracts players

Make Video for Advertising goodness! Videos > Pictures > Words when it comes to marketing.
Upload to Youtube/Vimeo/Vidsiteofchoice and attach it to the posts you make on the sites mentioned below

Post everywhere! The more places you have presence, the more eyeballs fall onto your work, the more players you attract. There are lots of places to post to, so give this task to some of those pesky FOSS hangers-on who don't code or make art (Like me! :D)

General game databases:

  • ModDB / IndieDB : ModDB recently split into two, IndieDB is where you want to post if you have a standalone game. Also, these sites are huge so it will be harder to get noticed
  • GameBoom : The site sponsoring OpenGameArt, Gameboom wants to host communities for (preferably FOSS) games
  • IndieGameMag : Haven't had success with this one, but it allows for user submissions so...
  • The Indie Gaming Source : Another database for indie games, nice categorization and more indie than IndieDB ;)
  • GameJolt : For freeware games only! Gives you hosting space for files as well, kinda like sourceforge like site for games - the development tools :P Has a special section for open source games

Linux Only

If the game runs on Linux, here are a couple of Linux gaming sites where you can post to:

  • Linux Game Database  : Nice database for all kinds of Linux games
  • Gaming on Linux : A community like news site for Linux games
  • Linux Games : Another blog (hiss :P) that allows for user-submitted articles
  • Penguspy : Another database like site but with strict quality moderation 
  • HappyPenguin / LinuxGameTome : Most well known Linux game database, it has been down/sickish of late though... It's served the community well though, so lets not talk bad of it 

Web Aggregators:

Kind of hit-or-miss because they require people to vote for you... Getting your audience right is key, reddit's subreddits are good for this

  • Slashdot : The g.old standard for geek/open source news aggregation, a tad difficult to get published though 
  • Reddit : /r/linuxgaming , /r/gamedev , /r/indiegaming , are good subreddits to submit too, not all of them at once though, that'd be spammy ;)
  • FSDaily  : A free software specialized news aggregator
  • Flattr and YouTipIt : Aggregators with cash backing (but more on those later ;)
  • Wikipedia : If you're lucky, Wikipedia can point a lot of people at your game. However, it isn't really a place to market your game/service, so you have to have some kind of proof that your game is noteworthy


 Use / Twitter to get news to your readers fast. has nice groups, such as !fossgaming and !linuxgaming that you can join and post news to. Having timely updates show users (ones that don't know about commit logs) that the project is active, and all that social media stuff :P

Blogging in general is good as well, keep people updated = keep people excited and interested = get people playing (for example proprietary/open source game developers Wolfire)

Development Centric Advertisement

Knowing who you want to market to is an essential ingredient to a successful campaign; while you might pick up developers on more general sites, specialized, development centric sites have a far higher ratio of developers/users

  • Freshmeat : A database of open source software, with lots of game projects on it
  • Sourceforge : The biggest open source project hosting site (not researched, ain't Goat an exemplary journalist), it does have the best project discovery features as well. You don't necessarily have to host your code here; it's still a good place to have a presence on
  • Engine forums: If you use Ogre, post on the ogre forums, if you use blender, BlenderArtists is a good place etc. Not a very difficult concept ;)
  • Engine Databases: If your game is codeveloped as an engine (which is horrifyingly prevalent) DevMaster is an example of a place to post your engine on. Rather successful in my experience with Syntensity
  • : A pretty active game development community

Release Early, Release Often!

And repeat all steps above on every release. Golden rule and all that


The internet is big, Goat's memory is bad! Comment below if I missed anything and I'll update the post.. Or maybe move it to a wiki page...