Sign in to follow this  

Legal what rights do you retain / what is allowed AFTER open sourcing a project?

Recommended Posts

Hi all, hope this is okay to post here.

There seems to be a myriad of open source licenses these days and then multiple versions of each one so it begins to become confusing as to which you should use and when.

My scenario is I have been working for some time on a rogueish engine that I've always intended to open source when the base engine is finished and release to whomever is interested in it. People would be welcome to use it to make their own (non-commercial) games out of it as per the norm. The engine is very modable before you even get to the source so its flexible for multiple types of project.

To that end, in the back of my head I'm thinking one day I could REALLY polish it up and make something commercial with it as the base engine. But do I lose my right to do that if I've given away the source as "open" for other peoples non-commercial ventures? Would I be obliged to share my changes, if any, to the base engine? It seems obvious that if someone else submitted code to the open source public repository that i COULDNT use that without permission and thats fine.

But what if someone contact me and said hey I really like the work, could I license this to do something commercial? I'm guessing I could license *my* version of the source as long as it had no one elses contributions included? This project is not in the wild yet for what its worth, I'm just trying to get a more solid understanding of what actually happens to your rights as author after you've declared "open source". 


Thanks for your time! :) 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

In most countries on the planet you can not give up your natural rights in your creation, not even if you sign a contract. There are some significant exception to that, including some in North America.

You'll notice that most "open source" software licenses are licenses (permissions) to use and possibly distribute a work derived from copyrighted code.  Some licenses require that you distribute a copy of the sources wit the derived work, but not all do. All of the licenses work by having you, the creator of the work, maintain the original copyright and as the creator, you can continue to distribute the work under any license you please.  That includes a license involving the exchange of funds or the acceptance of liability, or dropping a condition of making the code available.  Your choice.

Keep in mind there are billion-dollar multinational corporations that do nothing but distribute Free software.  Being commercial and being "open source" are orthogonal concepts.

Also keep in mind that enforcing your copyright and asserting control of your code is done through tort law.  That means you have to pay lawyers and stuff even in the event of a dispute.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ooooh  ooooh. I wrote a couple of pieces on this.


I should probably update these, to be honest, but reasons. I have a couple of clients who have "open-sourced" certain components of their game, but generally I've advised them to simply open source the mod tool and not the game itself. Ping me directly for specific questions. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
That was literally perfect. Very detailed and everything I wanted to know, thanks!

I may have some more specific questions in future - when you say "ping" do you mean pm? (Sorry I'm clearly not down with the cool kids anymore :p)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

That was literally perfect. Very detailed and everything I wanted to know, thanks!

I may have some more specific questions in future - when you say "ping" do you mean pm? (Sorry I'm clearly not down with the cool kids anymore :P)


yup, just shoot me a PM on here or on Discord, (Cherished#9159), or shoot me an e-mail. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By _Engine_
      Atum engine is a newcomer in a row of game engines. Most game engines focus on render
      techniques in features list. The main task of Atum is to deliver the best toolset; that’s why,
      as I hope, Atum will be a good light weighted alternative to Unity for indie games. Atum already
      has fully workable editor that has an ability to play test edited scene. All system code has
      simple ideas behind them and focuses on easy to use functionality. That’s why code is minimized
      as much as possible.
      Currently the engine consists from:
      - Scene Editor with ability to play test edited scene;
      - Powerful system for binding properties into the editor;
      - Render system based on DX11 but created as multi API; so, adding support of another GAPI
        is planned;
      - Controls system based on aliases;
      - Font system based on stb_truetype.h;
      - Support of PhysX 3.0, there are samples in repo that use physics;
      - Network code which allows to create server/clinet; there is some code in repo which allows
        to create a simple network game
      I plan to use this engine in multiplayer game - so, I definitely will evolve the engine. Also
      I plan to add support for mobile devices. And of course, the main focus is to create a toolset
      that will ease games creation.
      Link to repo on source code is -
      Video of work process in track based editor can be at follow link: 

    • By JeZ-l-Lee

      We are about finished with our new word spelling game: "LettersFall 110%™".
      We need help testing the Android version of the game now.
      You can get everything at below GitHub web page:
      (Android version link on Google Play, HTML5 version link, & full source code)

      Game source code is 100% M.I.T. open-source!
      Game was made using current AppGameKit 2.
      Let us know about any issues or suggestions for improvement.
      Many thanks!


    • By Argen
      Hello, I am Argen and I have tried to make a game for some time. However, I recently found out that for my idea, an open source would be best. However, the modeler we have right now does not animate or make his 3d models low-poly, and he needs somebody that can do that. So what we ask for is a junior artist that will join in with this volunteer position. If you are able to animate and/or help finish up his models, then that would be great. The game itself is a rogue like dungeon where you play as a Roman fighting off the hordes of mythology. It is an open source game, so just about anybody can join in with my permission. If you are interested, email me at You need to be open to using discord to communicate, for that is where most of our team is. Attached is a piece of our modeler's art. Be sure you are fit to work on it! 
      Thanks! Argen.

    • By Philippe Vaillancourt
      tldr: This is a community project to help aspiring solo game developers and designers, through small assignment projects, gain the knowledge and skills required to make a video game. If you are interested in contributing to the discussion, head to
      The problem with tutorials
      With the number of great courses, tutorials and other learning resources found online, more and more people teach themselves programming. Many will do so with the intent of making video games. But there is much more to designing and making video games than mere programming.
      Animation, anthropology, architecture, brainstorming, business, cinematography, communication, creative writing, economics, engineering, games, history, management, mathematics, music, psychology, public speaking, sound design, technical writing, visual arts AND programming; knowledge and skills in these areas can be invaluable to a game designer/developer. Thankfully, there is an abundance of resources available online that can help one acquire knowledge and skills in each of these areas individually. But for the aspiring solo dev, it’s not just a matter of acquiring knowledge in these areas, it’s also important to understand how to use all of that together, for the express purpose of making a video game.
      There is a plethora of tutorials available online that will guide you from A to Z on how to make such or such a game. In the process you will acquire a certain amount of technical knowledge, and that’s great. But you won’t really learn about the process of designing and developing a video game. The same can be said about the numerous lists that tells you the type of games you should be making, and in what order, in order to learn gaming making; first you make a Breakout clone, then you make a Tetris clone, then you make a Mario clone, then you make Wolfenstein 3D clone, etc. Again, this kind of advice will help you progress in certain technical skills, but you won’t have learned all that much about the process of designing and developing a video game.
      Making a video game is about making decisions. When you follow tutorials, or clone an existing game, the decisions are largely already made for you. To really learn to design and develop video games, you have to build them, from scratch, on your own (or with a friend or two). All aspiring game dev/designer realizes this at some point and so sets out to build their first game. Their REAL first game. One where THEY have to decide, design and build EVERYTHING. And that’s where everything goes to sh*t.
      Making video games is hard
      You see, making a video game is hard. I mean, REALLY making a game, from scratch. It is a daunting task and it can be overwhelming. So naturally, you turn to Google, and you learn expressions like “scope”, “minimum viable product”, “rapid prototyping”, “find the fun” and “start small”. All those two minutes videos and articles are very enlightening but in the end, it’s still very hard to understand how to keep a small scope when you have never REALLY made a game and you are invariably imbued with grand game-making aspirations. How small is small? What aspects of game making should I focus on? How many hours should I invest in making that first game? Those are just a few of the questions that an aspiring game dev/designer might have.
      Despite all the great resources out there for learning all the bits and pieces involved in designing and making a game, there is a complete void in terms of helping aspiring dev learning to put it all together in a progressive, manageable, way. What we, aspiring self-taught devs, are missing is a guide. Something that will guide us, progressively, on our game making path. Something that will help us focus on the right things, at the right time, while we progress on our learning journey – “yeah, maybe you should leave researching the use of Octrees in collision avoidance AI for later and first focus on figuring out how to make that white ball go from point A to point B, Phil”.
      What we really need are assignments, with deadlines and requirements. Oddly enough, if your Google “game making assignments” you will find a few examples of exactly what we need, but only for board games, or children Phys Ed games. Here is an example:
      This is exactly what we need. Exercises that help us focus our creativity and give us a set of guidelines, requirements and constraints. Allowing us to make MOST or at least MANY of the creative and technical decisions that go into making a game, while at the same time ensuring that we keep the scope small and that we focus on a few new concepts/skills. Every assignment would, gradually, expose the learner to new and more advanced concepts/skills, expanding the scope a little, culminating in a final, 2 to 6-month-long assignment where the learner is really making a game he can be proud of and call his own. Alas, this resource does not exist. At least I have found it. So, let’s do something about it.
      I propose that we create an open-source project on Github and create a “Game development and design self-education” curriculum. Basically, a list of game making assignments that would guide an aspiring game dev through the process of learning the required skills, methods and processes required to put a game together. The onus would be on the aspiring game dev to find the resources needed to learn the creative and technical skills required to meet each assignment’s requirements. If you are interested in contributing to the discussion, head to
    • By Enrique Navarro
      We want, Designers, Software Developers, Artists, Narrators etc... For a video game project. Contact and go to see what we can do. Thanks
  • Popular Now