raylib recently hit version 3.5, it's been more than 7.5 years since I started working in this project and for the last 2 years I've been compiling some numbers about the project evolution.
All of the graphs presented show an increasing popularity and usage of the project. It's interesting to see that during the first 5 years of development, raylib was not specially popular, it was used mostly by me to teach videogames development to my students, actually, that was the origin of the library, but in the last two years project exposure has grown exponentially.
Let's check the numbers!
NOTE 1: Provided numbers last measure was done on February 20th 2021. NOTE 2: The dotted lines in the graphs represent data I didn't have so it's just estimated.
Those first graphs show raylib performance on GitHub platform, I think they illustrate pretty good project evolution from a development point of view.
raylib development started on August 2013, on my summer holidays, but it was on October 24th 2013 I added the project to GitHub. It was the first time I was using GitHub. Since that day I've been using GitHub regularly, pushing commits, solving issues and creating many projects.
As you can see in the first graph, commits have been constant over time, almost being a straight line. About issues solving, it has grow along project evolution, thanks to the acquired experience and, specially, thanks to the invaluable help of project contributors.
GitHub Stars count don't say much about the project, the amount depends on many factors, like the project type or the programming language but the graph illustrates an increasing exposure of the library over time, specially in the last two year. Lot of people is aware of its existence and lot of people seem to like it.
I think GitHub contributors is a way more important number for the health of the project. In the last years many people has get involved with the project and helped in some way to its development, that's amazing! Personally, every time I check a new library on GitHub, that's the first number I look for, many contributors could be a sign of a long life.
itch.io is the primary platform to download the raylib ready-to-use Windows installer containing a preconfigured environment plus the library. Most starter uses probably choose this option to start playing with raylib. Next graphs show raylib performance from users perspective.
Despite raylib Windows Installer was added to raylib several years after starting the development (September 5th 2016), downloads have grown fast! Recently it reached the 30000 downloads, a nice milestone. Worth saying that more advance users probably prefer to clone the repo from GitHub or download the library from GitHub Releases. At this moment, raylib GitHub Release downloads count is around 26000 downloads, the number of forks is 655 forks (Feb.20th, 2021) and there is no way (as far as I know) to know the number of repo clones.
Another interesting number on itch.io platform is the number of collections that have added raylib on the list, it increments raylib visibility within the platform but also shows there is an increasing number of people interested in the library.
Since the beginning I tried to create a community around raylib, I tried some options like a custom forum, free node IRC, Gitter chat... but none of those options worked as expected... The first network where raylib fit very well was the Handmade Network, raylib follows handmade software development principles and there is a great community with amazing projects in there. I believe it was a key network for raylib exposure to the world.
Right now, raylib most popular network is Discord, actually, it has an official open-source server (https://discord.gg/raylib). In the last two years the number of members has kept growing and growing, reaching the milestone of 3000 members just some weeks ago.
I must say that Discord is also the network where I put more time in the last year, checking it almost daily and trying to help raylib users. An amazing community has grown in that time with lot of users open to help and teach other members, improving the library and showing amazing raylib creations! A detail to mention is that I tried to personally welcome every new member joining the server, I believe users are the most import part of raylib.
About raylib reddit, it was created long time ago and it was a bit abandoned... but in the last two years members count has grown exponentially!
Worth to note that there is also an official raylib Youtube channel but I haven't used it much yet... at least for the moment... but it's on my TODO list!
Finally, here it is the raylib performance in sponsoring platforms. raylib is a free and open-source library but I appreciate donations and contributions.
Patreon platform didn't seem to fit for this kind of product very well, with multiple ups and down and a very variable amounts of money received. It requires continuous engagement and, sincerely, I was not regular publishing updated, I usually prefer to write code.
By July 2019 I was accepted in the new GitHub Sponsors program, I think this option fits better raylib, after all, all raylib development happens in GitHub, so, GitHub Sponsors can better follow library development and improvements. At the beginning, number of sponsors grew quite fast but lately it seemed to get stuck with some ups and downs.
I should also mention two recognitions received: a Google Open Source Peer Bonus award and an Epic MegaGrant. They not only help a lot to raylib exposure but also provided an economic contribution that allowed me to put more time on the project.
In any case, anyone interested in sponsoring the library is really welcome, feel free to contribute in any of those platforms or just contact me.
raylib is growing very fast at this moment, from a development point of view but also from a users perspective. I'm trying to manage that fast growing in the best possible way despite my limited resources.
raylib has always been a side project while working as a teacher or trying to run my own businesses. In general, my free time for the library has always been limited and even I sometimes worked on it almost full time, it's still a hobby project... It would be really great if I could push raylib further to be able to work full-time on it and make it better but, in the meantime, it will always be my weekend project to help my students to learn videogames programming.
Feel free to comment! :)