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barkholt

Unity Open development

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Hi everybody I am designing my own little game, and I have some thoughts I would love to get some feedback on. After having now used Linux for a few years, I have become thorougly impressed with the OSS movement - and wondered how its strengths might be leveraged in regards to games. So after lots of contemplation, I have decided to try a create my game using something like the following process: Make all you work easily accesible throughout the development process. Let people read and comment on you gamedesign as you write it, let them see you make choices regarding software-design and let them tinker with you game and code at all levels of completion. License everything so others may fork your work. Why would you want to do this? 1. Review. People will spot problems in all steps of development. They will make suggestions that you would never have thought of that could improve your game. 2. Community. Having people show interest in you game will keep the motivation higher. 3. Synergy. People will check out you work, be inspired to go further, and then improve all our lives with better games :) Some problems I see: - need for trademarking(I suppose?) if you want a unique product to sell. - greater trouble with security in any online part (or maybe not? Security by obscurity is overrated) - will anyone pay if they can get it for free? (my guess is yes, if trademark is strong enough - a normal users couldn't compile code if their life depended on it) Stuff I am wondering about: - Would people even be interessted in following a project like this? - To what kind of degree is this allready being done? - Are there hidden dangers I do not see? Kind regards, Michael Barkholt

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Original post by barkholt
- will anyone pay if they can get it for free? (my guess is yes, if trademark is strong enough - a normal users couldn't compile code if their life depended on it)


There will be people who compile and put it online just for kicks. But noone forces you to open-source your game assets, scripts, etc.


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Original post by barkholt
- Are there hidden dangers I do not see?


You can lose control of the project, particularily if you make an unpopular decision; re xFree86.

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Original post by Shannon Barber
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Original post by barkholt
- Are there hidden dangers I do not see?


You can lose control of the project, particularily if you make an unpopular decision; re xFree86.


Yes, but I would not exactly call that loosing control. If a fork happens, it happens because someone wants to make a game that is different from what I am doing. But it could potentially result in two games which look alot like each other.

Another thing I have worried a bit about, is that someone will implement my gamedesign faster and better than me :) But I really don't think anyone would want to implement other peoples designs just for kicks - unless it was something really special (which it probably won't be).

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Original post by Konfusius
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Original post by barkholt
- will anyone pay if they can get it for free? (my guess is yes, if trademark is strong enough - a normal users couldn't compile code if their life depended on it)


There will be people who compile and put it online just for kicks. But noone forces you to open-source your game assets, scripts, etc.


Yes, but with an enforced trademark(those things probably cost money?), they won't legally be able to use the name of the game anywhere (a bit like what Red Hat does).
It is true, I could license some parts more restrictivly - essentially what ID has done with Quake1/2/3 I suppose - all their data files remain closed. But that would also imply that people would have less of a chance following the gamedevelopment - maybe somekind of half-open license could be used. Personal use only - no redistribution.

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One problem I imagine is that if your game assets are released under a free license many other games will take your art and use them. There are not many good free assets available. Thus your game might loose it's unique look and it will be harder to distinguish it from other games. Your game might look just "like one of many" even though it's your own art. This might especially be problematic to you when many of the games using your art are of low quality. This could stop some people from trying your game. Other people using your own art is thus different from other games using your code.

Another thing is that even though your game is open source no one might have a look at it. You will need to generate some attention to make people investigate your source and design decisions instead those of the thousands of other open source projects.

Of course this shouldn't stop you from using a liberal license. But you should consider it's possible consequences and whether they match your intents.

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Original post by cmdkeen
Another thing is that even though your game is open source no one might have a look at it. You will need to generate some attention to make people investigate your source and design decisions instead those of the thousands of other open source projects.


Freshmeat.net, koders.org, having it on wikipedia, etc. tend to generate quite a nice amount of traffic. (My project somehow averages 3-4 new downloads hits per day [not counting cvs checkouts] ... from my signature). Not to mention submitting to repositories (if it is ported to linux) generates a lot of interest.

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Original post by cmdkeen
One problem I imagine is that if your game assets are released under a free license many other games will take your art and use them. There are not many good free assets available. Thus your game might loose it's unique look and it will be harder to distinguish it from other games. Your game might look just "like one of many" even though it's your own art. This might especially be problematic to you when many of the games using your art are of low quality. This could stop some people from trying your game. Other people using your own art is thus different from other games using your code.



That's exactly the problem we came up against and have to keep explaining to people how our licensing works. Our project is under 2 different licenses. The first is the engine/source code part which is released as GPL. The second is content like art/sound/music which is copyright and owned by our Non-profit organization ( we have a document people have to sign to contribute to give ownership to the NPO ). This turns off some artists but it turns on others because they know that there artwork will be protected and our game will keep it's unique look and feel.

Because of this some people have said that our game is not truely 'free' and opensource but I've learned to ignore those people :).

One of the major dangers we have found is trying to build a solid team. We have a pretty good core of people but adding to that 'core' can be hard. Often times people just want to 'scratch an itch' for a while and do a little bit of development and leave. So if they are working on mission critical stuff and just leave it's a bit of a problem.

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