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AndyGeers

Open Source Christian Point&Click Engine

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This is going to be a really weird post, and I really hope I don't get flamed for it, so please be gentle. I have a very weird idea of making some 3D Point&Click adventure games (sort of Grim Fandango style, but actually Pointing&Clicking like in the good ole' days of Monkey Island) and so am working on a reusable game engine particularly for this type of game. Now, having read some stuff (particularly this by Allegro's Shawn Hargreaves) I think that this would make a good open source project, since you could still sell the end games (which would obviously all be unique) but it would make the engine itself better if there were more people collaborating on it. The weird part is that I am doing this so that I can make some Point&Clicks as a means of teaching the Bible, since I think an interactive story is an excellent approach (it sounds weird, but I have some good ideas, I think). Since I'm doing this, I'm not sure how I would feel about people taking this engine and using it to make any old game (particularly if it involved things contrary to Christian belief, things in complete opposition to what I was trying to achieve). So my question really is this: would it work to make an open source license that said you could only use the engine for purposes not opposed to Christian belief? a) Is that too woolly a definition to be meaningful? Who decides what is or is not allowed? b) Is that even legal? Would it be considered as 'prejudice' or something like that? c) Are there sufficient Christian developers in the world to make it even vaguely worthwhile open sourcing a project under those conditions?

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I don't think there is anything wrong with including your philosopy in your license. This is your creative work. Take a look at http://dsd.lbl.gov/~hoschek/colt/license.html to see the cern colt license (It forbids usage for military apps):

"Written by Pavel Binko, Dino Ferrero Merlino, Wolfgang Hoschek, Tony Johnson, Andreas Pfeiffer, and others. Check the FreeHEP home page for more info. Permission to use and/or redistribute this work is granted under the terms of the LGPL License, with the exception that any usage related to military applications is expressly forbidden. The software and documentation made available under the terms of this license are provided with no warranty."

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The problem that will arise is how do you define "not opposed to Christian belief". And, furthermore, how would you argue that clause in court?

I don't understand when people try to do things like this. Forcing someone to go along with your religious beliefs won't convert them. In fact, it tends to have quite the opposite effect. I would toss your software out if I found that clause in the contract - and I'm Christian.

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Its perfectly legal, though not necessaraly very "rightious" in christian ideals either. Its no different from the NAACP scholorship excluding whites! Now, the only problem i find in this is you may limit the number of people that support your project because of what the license implies, and hence fewer contributers, slower production, less free-tech-support, etc. And the other thing that you should note is this... are you making it THAT much more difficult for people of contrasting belief systems to spread their message aswell? I dont think so.

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That's pretty vague. There are many variations in Christian belief (sometimes which are the exact opposite of each other). I doubt it would be considered prejudice, since (I would guess) it would only enforce that the *game* didn't have anything against Christian beliefs, not that the person/people creating the game aren't Christian. You might be able to make a clause that was more specific though (something about not violent, etc).

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Quote:
Original post by Deyja
I don't understand when people try to do things like this. Forcing someone to go along with your religious beliefs won't convert them. In fact, it tends to have quite the opposite effect. I would toss your software out if I found that clause in the contract - and I'm Christian.


Well, the point is that I'm not including that clause to convert them, the game is there to try and share the gospel with them in the hope that God will convert them. The clause is there to stop people putting the engine to uses contrary to what it was developed for.

Quote:
Original post by PaulCesar
Its perfectly legal, though not necessaraly very "rightious" in christian ideals either. Its no different from the NAACP scholorship excluding whites! Now, the only problem i find in this is you may limit the number of people that support your project because of what the license implies, and hence fewer contributers, slower production, less free-tech-support, etc. And the other thing that you should note is this... are you making it THAT much more difficult for people of contrasting belief systems to spread their message aswell? I dont think so.


I think it is different from excluding whites - for starters, there's nothing stopping non-Christians from contributing, (perhaps even using it for 'neutral' purposes).
The limitted number of contributors was one of my original points (c) -- I was kind of hoping that there might be the odd Christian developer on Gamedev who might express any interest they had at this point?
As for your last point -- of course it's not really stopping people of contrasting beliefs from spreading their messages, but I don't want to make it even the least bit easier to make games that I believe would have a damaging effect upon people who play it (I don't particularly want to argue this point - because I play 'violent' games etc. myself -- but I definitely don't want to let people use this engine for anti-Christian purposes).

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Quote:
Original post by AndyGeers
but I definitely don't want to let people use this engine for anti-Christian purposes


I don't understand what you mean by this. Do you mean that the engine should only be used for christian games? What about something that isn't necessarily 'opposed' to christianity so much as it's a philosophy that's entirely irrelvant to it, like a Buddhist game? Or what if someone wanted to make a game about greek gods and goddesses?

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&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
Just a quick write up of what you could include in your clause
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

* No actual or implied violance against any charactor unless taken from a biblical or historical referance

* No portrayal of any god, omnipresent being, or spirtual/devine entity unless the christian God is included in positive light by the narrerator and/or title charactor.

* Cannot promote gambling, drinking, or smoking.

* Cannot contain vulgar or profain language use, sexual situations, nudity, or promote anything containing the before mentioned.

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Quote:
Original post by Promit
I don't understand what you mean by this. Do you mean that the engine should only be used for christian games? What about something that isn't necessarily 'opposed' to christianity so much as it's a philosophy that's entirely irrelvant to it, like a Buddhist game? Or what if someone wanted to make a game about greek gods and goddesses?


I guess this is the big issue, and others have mentioned it too: as I said in my original post, it's too woolly to actually work in practice, isn't it?

Not that I want to get into a heated debate on this, but I don't think that Buddhism is a philosophy that is entirely irrlevant to Christianity... And it gets very confusing when you start talking about greek gods and goddesses and stuff. I guess at the end of the day then that means the clause would have to say you could only make Christian games with it, and as Roboguy pointed out, that effectively means including an entire Doctrinal Basis in your license agreement so that you can pin down what you mean by 'Christian belief', by which point you're probably left with a development team of...one.

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All personal distaste aside:

We shouldn't ignore the fact that open source licenses aren't in and of themselves a slam dunk in legality [at least in the US]. In a few European states, such as Germany if memory serves, the GPL at least has rulings in favor of it.

I am not a lawyer, but:

a) Yes, that's a fairly wooly definition. Something along the lines of "creator has sole descretion as to use of this software, and may revoke this license at any time, without notice." would more unambiguous and allow you the most control.

But then nobody would use it, since it's not really free.

b) This depends on the jurisdiction. Using something akin to above avoids all hints at prejudice.

c) I don't imagine so, given the... limited variety of faith based games on the market, or even in the shareware/freeware markets.


That said, an engine shouldn't be *for* anything beyond displaying images, playing sound, and maybe handling input. There is no context there, there is no reason. I think it would be overly limiting, if your project is good, to prevent its use.

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