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Does using an open source 3D engine made under the GPL mean that when you are done with your game you can''t sell it, and have to distribute all of your source code freely? Just curious, Thanks BC - Free Your Mind -

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I''m no lawyer, but that is how I understand it. Now there is a difference between GPL and LGPL. Supposedly you can use LGPL as a DLL and not give up rights to your main program, but its unclear enough to me that I stay away from GPL and LGPL stuff.

Jack

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You can sell it, but anyone with a copy can redistrubute it to whomever they like however they like without paying anything extra back to you.

So you''ll sell at least one, but that first customer would be within his rights to put your game up for free download afterword.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Customer would be within his rights to post the source code for free download. The data files that make up the game are a different story.

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The person who buys that first copy has the freedom to do what he want''s with the game, as long as he gives others the same rights. So he could give away binaries of the game, but he would have to deliver source code on request, and that person would get the source code from you. You can still sell you game, but others have the same rights as you. If I understand the GPL correctly, you can charge people for the source code as long as the price doesn''t exceed the binary. So if you sell the game for $29.99, and someone requests the source code, you could ask for $29.99 for it, but onece they have the source code, they can change it, or not changeit, and compile new binaries, give them away, or if your game is obscure, they could take it and sell it for more in a larger market for say $39.99 instead of your $29.99, but he would have to give his customers the same rights you gave him.

If he added some neat new features you want in your game, you can add them back to yours. This is one of the good points of GPL licensed software, and other Free/Open Source Software. Since the code stays open, and everybody has the same freedom and rights, the improvements get passed around to everybody, and in the end can produce better software. Most people belive you can''t sell Free Software, but you can, and companies like Red Hat have done well doing so for years. Even though you can download Red Hat Linux for free, many people buy it because they don''t want to spend a lot of time downloading it, or they want the physical media and a manual and a box, or they may want support for their game, which comes with the box set you buy.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
ive always wondered what happens to GPLd software once traditional copyright expires, i know its a long time 70yrs or something, but from that point technically anyone could make it closed sourced without having to distribute source from that point on. am i right?

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no you cant charge for the source code beyond the cost for the media and shiping.

if you use GPL code, then basically consider the stuff yoru selling the artwork and other game content. the binaries can be sold with the content, but you must provide the source code to whoever gets the binaries. i HIGHLY suggest staying away from GPL code if you want any control over your game and who gets it.

AP, true, but being how GPL works as long as new ppl add code, or the code keeps getting updated the copyright will never run out. copyright dies 70yrs AFTER the copyright holder dies. chances of that happening on a worthwhile GPL project? not very large since ppl will always be working on it.

basically anyone who gets a binary has legal right to the full and complete source code for FREE. so you have to send it to them in a timly manner. this is why all GPL apps tend to come in source code form and why its sometimes hard to find them precompiled.

again, you CANT charge for the source code. the only way you could is if the code was 100% yours and not under GPL.

DONT use a GPL engine if you plan on selling or want to keep the code confidential. you would be surprised how fast the open source community would create there own content and make purchasing your content a waste of money (unless you have great artists and writers).

brandon6684, please delete or modify your post. its VERY inaccurate. you cant charge for someone elses work. you cant charge for the source code and teh copyright extends only to the content not the actual binary nor source code that makes the binary.

CheeseGrater you should change your post as well. while its true that stupid open source maniacs will resort to pirating the game, they are not allowed to legally distribute anything beyond the source code and binary. all artwork, sound, data files, levels, readmes, etc are all under copyright by those who created it and thus cant be distributed by anyone. GPL specifically deals with binaries and source code ONLY. it gives NO rights to anything else.

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Anonymous,

In theory you''re right. After the copyright expires, GPL programs become public domain just like anything else. But considering how long copyright lasts these days its pretty meaningless. How much software will be useful nearly a century from now? Absolutely none.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
i know that my question was largly hypothetical and unlikely to ever happen(unless the copyright expiration date changes).

But here how i see it.. the original creator of the software owns the copyright to it, otherwise the GPL license could never be enforced, as people could do whatever they wanted with it(make it proprietary), he then allows others to use and modify the source code aslong as they follow the rules he sets.. the key point is that legally he will allways be the sole copyright holder, nomatter who contributes code after that they will have no copyright claims(am i right with this?)... can that person legally reverse the GPL and make it proprietary? i guess they couldnt stop others using the software under the GPL conditions, but he would be legally able to produce his own proprietary software?(cause he still owns the copyright)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
i know that my question was largly hypothetical and unlikely to ever happen(unless the copyright expiration date changes).

But here how i see it.. the original creator of the software owns the copyright to it, otherwise the GPL license could never be enforced, as people could do whatever they wanted with it(make it proprietary), he then allows others to use and modify the source code aslong as they follow the rules he sets.. the key point is that legally he will allways be the sole copyright holder, nomatter who contributes code after that they will have no copyright claims(am i right with this?)... can that person legally reverse the GPL and make it proprietary? i guess they couldnt stop others using the software under the GPL conditions, but he would be legally able to produce his own proprietary software?(cause he still owns the copyright)


No. People who contribute code retain the rights to their contributions. The original author can''t issue a non-GPL license of software with someone else''s GPLed contributions without getting the permission of everyone who''s contributed to the code.

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My interpretation is that you could sell a game with a GPL''d engine but proprietary content, where the content consists of artwork, music, and a script to drive the game''s plot. Users would be free to redistribute your engine and its source code, but not the content; so you could potentially make money this way.

And if you think content is easily replaced, look at all the LucasArts games which share the Scumm engine, or the several megabytes of scripts that drive the Ultima7 games.

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Of course. I''m not saying that everyone should use the GPL. In particular, anyone spending huge amounts of money to develop a cutting-edge engine will probably NOT want to GPL it.

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JSF; the argument about making the code opensource and the content proprietary has been used before..

The problem is that after I (as a programmer) have spent 12 months coding an engine, the last thing I want to do is to give it away for free. This sabotages my future job-prospects (people that may previously have wanted to hire me for my engine experience can now get the engine for free and put a couple of fresh grads at quarter the price to hacking it), it sabotages the programming profession (the *good* thing about re-inventing the wheel is that they''ll pay you 50K+ a year to do so), and it allows all sorts of nasty hacks to your code (I shudder at the thought of an MMOG where the client-side code is open-source).

Most of the arguments are, of course, extremely selfish, and far removed from the lofty ideals of GPL. Such is life

Allan




Fe doeyr, Frender Doeyr,Ein sjoelv doeyr paa sama vis.
Eg veit et som aldri doeyr, dom over kvar ein doed.
Cattle die, Friends die, You yourself will also die.
I know something that never dies, the memory of every dead.

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what you have to know too about the GPL is that no commercial use could be done. LGPL can do that: ie. A NanoSoft company could use your LGPL engine freely and make a game on it, for making money. you''ll surely be disappointed.
GPL prevents you from that. Theorically... as it''s not licensed, any company could reuse your code partially as a complete ghost... that''s the worst thing could happen (on all non official copyrighted licenses.).
The GPL would claim all its rights the day all softwares will be open sourceS... so later. we could compare then, what''s the real differences about what you do, what they do, what everyone do for doing this specific stuff.

GPL is good if you wrote it a big part alone, quite conceptually well done, so other programmers could join easily. But if you just begin, there are so many unrespectfullness people that could steal all what you done... It''s you to decide what you want. The sources are what concretly you thought and modelize the stuff you wanted to make. It''s quite precious. Otherwise, open them would permit to make the best manner...

i hope my ''charrabia'' could be understood.

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Odin: You''re thinking about what you might lose under the GPL. And you''re right. I get paid to write EDA software, and I certainly don''t plan on doing it for fun and then releasing it under GPL.

IF I thought I could write a modern 3D game engine that could be used commercially, I wouldn''t make that free either.

But that''s unlikely. I''ve been working on a ''retro'' engine and tools that are at least 10 years out-of-date. I''m not losing any money making them GPL. But, I have received a LOT of help from other developers who were willing to work on GPL''d software. And our ''product'' has had 10,000''s of downloads. For me, it''s been a lot of fun, and given me lots of experience in an area of software development that I normally wouldn''t be in.

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