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Games Software Entertainment Linux

Status Report From the Open Source Games Community 81

Posted by Zonk
from the there-are-some-great-ones-out-there dept.
qubodup writes "Free Gamer, an open source gaming blog, has recently become the center of open source artists, developers and gamers. In its forums, the GPU-hungry Classical Java RPG and the Neverball-killer irrlamb have found their second home. So did sub-communities like extremist free gamers, who insist on games not only be free software but also to contain free content and want to build a knowledge base of existing free games. There are also free content artists, which address an old problem of open source games and want to supply graphics and sound for projects in need of game media."
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Status Report From the Open Source Games Community

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  • wrong link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Simon80 (874052) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @06:52PM (#20674237)
    wtf, zonk, you're supposed to be editing before you post. freegamer.net is obviously not an open source games blog. I think the submitter meant to link to http://freegamer.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]. I have no clue how someone could screw that up though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @06:53PM (#20674251)
    *crickets chirp*
  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @07:36PM (#20674763) Homepage Journal

    If I develop a game, and I want to distribute it under a copyleft license, what license should I use? Due to the lack of a native file system implementation on some platforms, the code and its related assets (graphics, sound, maps, etc.) must be combined into one executable file, but the GNU licenses appear to require that a single executable file be distributed under a single license. Licenses based on the Creative Commons Attribution License ("CC-BY") are not intended for software; instead, Creative Commons recommends GNU licenses for software. However, the GNU software licenses are not compatible with any of the Creative Commons licenses. Section 4(a) of the Creative Commons Attribution License versions 2.5 and 3.0 allow a contributor to require that downstream distributors remove the contributor's copyright notice, but the GNU licenses do not allow the removal of copyright notices. Is there a way to solve this without having to track down every single artist on Wikimedia Commons individually and ask them for waivers of this requirement?

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Brian Gordon (987471)
      Forget copyleft in this case, just go with a permissive license. After all, if you're going to be sucking in non-GNU work into your application, you shouldn't relicense it with the GNU virus and take their work. That clause is in the GNU license for a reason; even RMS realized that it's unfair to take others' free work and glob it together with restrictions the original author didn't intend. Copyleft is fundamentally incompatible with what you're looking to do. If you want to copyleft your own code then it'
      • by tepples (727027)

        Forget copyleft in this case, just go with a permissive license.
        Even many permissive licenses, such as the FreeBSD license and the MIT license, appear to require preservation of authors' copyright notices. But Creative Commons Attribution License and its related licenses allow an upstream author to forbid a copyright notice after the fact, which debian-legal has condemned [debian.org].
      • but when people make their work freely available you simply cannot put it in your executable and relicense the whole thing.
        Why not? The MIT license (generally considered to be one of the permissive licenses) for one specifically permits sublicensing. If the original author did not want you to relicense his software he shouldn't have specifically allowed it in the license, it's as simple as that.
        • As a nitpick, there's a difference between relicensing and sublicenseing. Someone please correct me if I get this wrong: Relicensing is placing a new license on a piece of software (or other work), which is a right that only the copyright holder has; whereas sublicensing is a non-copyright holder applying additional terms on a work that do not conflict with the license he received it under. So I think the GP meant to say sublicense. Additionally, he claimed

          > "it's unfair to take others' free work and glo
    • by Simon80 (874052)
      The GPL probably only prohibits the removal of copyright notices from the GPL licensed work, without caring what you do with the other works, even if they're distributed in the same file.
    • by nuzak (959558)
      I rather doubt that including a GPL'd asset into a JAR would or could trigger any kind of requirement, since it really is "mere aggregation", as much as packing them into an ISO image for a distribution would be. The JAR *is* the filesystem in your case.

      That said, I would tend, if possible, to steer clear of assets that are GPL'd. The concept of GPL'ing a texture or clip just doesn't make a lot of sense, and it indicates the creator either blindly slapped GPL on without thinking, or it "inherited" the lic
      • by tepples (727027)

        I rather doubt that including a GPL'd asset into a JAR would or could trigger any kind of requirement, since it really is "mere aggregation", as much as packing them into an ISO image for a distribution would be. The JAR *is* the filesystem in your case.

        From the GPL:

        A compilation of a covered work with other separate and independent works, which are not by their nature extensions of the covered work, and which are not combined with it such as to form a larger program, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the compilation and its resulting copyright are not used to limit the access or legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. Inclusion of a covered work in an aggregate does

        • by grumbel (592662)
          ### If the app's source code included a program that unpacked an asset archive appended to the executable, would that be enough to make the final work an "aggregate"?

          Since you are only packing the files into the executable due to hardware limitations this is really no different then a .tar.gz, .iso, reiserfs, ext2 or whatever, especially when there are tools to properly extract the files from the binary and replace them, which there of course are, since you distribute source according to the GPL.

          The safest
    • by vrmlguy (120854)
      Take Linus Torvales' approach. He simply defined exactly what types of combination he would consider to be aggregations and which wouldn't. If you package everything in a .jar file, then append a clause to the GPL license stating that for the purposes of the GPL, only things in the 'bin' directory are covered. If you have everything as resources in a Windows .exe or .dll, do someting similar, maybe all odd-numbered ids or something.
      • by tepples (727027)

        Take Linus Torvales' approach. He simply defined exactly what types of combination he would consider to be aggregations and which wouldn't. If you package everything in a .jar file, then append a clause to the GPL license stating that for the purposes of the GPL, only things in the 'bin' directory are covered.

        I have a couple questions about your proposal:

        1. If my program includes libraries written by other people, do I have authority to do this? I'm guessing not. Mr. Torvalds owned the whole copyright in Linux 0.02 or whatever the first version of Linux under GNU GPL was.
        2. Practically, how do I manage the case where an author of something in the CC licensed portion of the Collective Work invokes the copyright notice removal clause? Do I have to make available some specific mode of contact and maintain its accurac
        • by vrmlguy (120854)

          If my program includes libraries written by other people, do I have authority to do this?

          You probably don't (although the Linux and OpenBSD communities are hashing out the details of this even as we speak), but you do have the ability to clarify that your use of GPL or CC licenses in your works does not "contaminate" code or media that were originally issued under some other license. You can read Linus' exact thoughts on the subject here: http://kerneltrap.org/node/1735 [kerneltrap.org]

          Practically, how do I manage the case where an author of something in the CC licensed portion of the Collective Work invokes the copyright notice removal clause?

          Let's see...

          If You create a Collective Work, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Collective Work any credit as required by clause 4(c), as requested. If You create a Derivative Work, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Derivative Work any credit as required by clause 4(c), as requested.

          I'd say that you delete the licensor's name from every file that you distribute. If you make old versions ava

  • by sofar (317980) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @09:05PM (#20675631) Homepage

    these games *DIE* because the developers pick tools that nobody wants to maintain in the long run. Look at irrlamb: written in scons, needs boost. This is bound to die a quick death as a project. Java gaming? maybe, sure it is cross platform, but your app is horribly VM limited and performance will sucky no matter how you tweak. You kill your project and game by choosing the wrong development tools.

    frozen-bubble keeps getting revived but in the end is not compileable with newer versions of SDL_perl. A tragedy, but I ain't gonna fix this, even if it won fancy awards.

    the better the toolkit, the longer lived the project - look at the old quake engines...

    I would donate plenty of money to anyone who picks a sane tookit to develop a 3D MMORPG that *encourages* development (no python, no boost, no java, plain autotools, C, no c++, SDL+GL, gtk+, no wx). Bring it on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by qubodup (1103165)
      On the Free Gamer forums there is a "FOSS games targetting users with lower end hardware?" discussion and one of the members insisted that games have crappy art/gfx/snd because the dev-tools suck.. Sorry sofar, I'm pretty clueless, and don't understand: do you want library independence or, the contrary + the game written in high-level? Which tools *do* you want for a game development?
      • by tepples (727027)

        one of the members insisted that games have crappy art/gfx/snd because the dev-tools suck.. Sorry sofar, I'm pretty clueless, and don't understand: do you want library independence or, the contrary + the game written in high-level?

        Whether or not the program is written in a static language compiled to native code, a static language compiled to a virtual machine, or a more dynamic language, has 0 to do with art/gfx/snd. What we need are some design documents for what would constitute good tools to develop art/gfx/snd, beyond just "GIMP and Audacity".

    • by Nasarius (593729)
      I'm with you on Java and funky build tools, but what exactly do you have against C++ and Python? They happen to be the tools with which many successful commercial games have been written, and are quite nifty when used properly. What's the last major 3D game that was written in C?

      My ideal toolset is something like OGRE + OpenAL + Bullet or ODE: wrapped up in a small, fast, C++ core with a stable Python API. Lay down some sane code style rules, and you can write the vast majority of a complex game in Pytho
    • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @10:32PM (#20676331) Homepage
      All thus buzz over toolkits, lack of graphics and stuff... its pointless. Those are not the problems of Free Software games, sure, they can annoy, but they also would be pretty easy to fix. They are not what makes a project succeed or not. The game design that is *BY FAR* the biggest issue. It is the lack of a team, the lack of a vision and the lack of basically everything that makes a game a game instead of just little graphic tech demo.

      If you for example look at a MMORPGs, we almost had it already back then in seven years ago with WorldForge:Acorn. It might not have been the best looking MMORPG ever, it might have not been the best code base, but it was there and running. In seven years of time you would expect that it would have expanded, got polished and all that stuff. Nope, didn't happen, UClient (the 2D client running Acorn) got ditched and WorldForge seems to be toying around in 3D now. I don't really know and don't really care what they are doing right now. They simply haven't managed to get a game done in all those years even so all the bits and pieces where already there and that is simply sad. They simply don't seem to know what they actually want to accomplish. Know maybe the will come out with a playable game one day, but I kind of have given up hope.

      Its really that simple, most people simply prefer to toy around instead of deliver a finished game and most 'teams' are horrible unorganized in that *nobody* knows what they are actually trying to accomplish, everybody is just pulling their strings, all in different directions and going nowhere in the end.

      People always say that ideas are cheap and handle them as basically worthless, but from my experience its exactly what the Free Software world lacks. People with good ideas, who know what they want and who have the will to drive a team to accomplish that goal from start to finish.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by LunarCrisis (966179)

        People with good ideas, who know what they want and who have the will to drive a team to accomplish that goal from start to finish.
        The other solution, of course, is to work on smaller ideas so that it takes fewer people less time to complete. Some of my favourite games could be (or where) written by a single person in some form, for example Geometry Wars or rRootage.
      • by vrmlguy (120854)

        In seven years of time you would expect that it would have expanded, got polished and all that stuff. Nope, didn't happen

        Amen, brother! Have you ever heard of Todd McFarlane or and Eric Larsen? Back when Image Comics got started, most of the founders preached these grandiose ideas about what they would be doing with their new company. McFarlane stood out by saying that his plan was to get an issue of Spawn out every month, on time, period. And he did. If you look at Image now, only two of the original comics survive, Spawn and Savage Dragon. They were the only ones not plagued by missed schedules and late shipments. W

        • Dammit, I just used my last mod point.

          I agree completely. Follow through is the single most important thing you can have as a creator, regardless of your medium. In regards to game development, the real trick is finishing a project before you start the next one. It doesn't matter if you have a vision in which the One True Game is laid out before you. Finish your current project, within it's original scope first.

          Anyone of a certain level of intelligence can learn to write code. The real test is

    • by Jartan (219704)

      I would donate plenty of money to anyone who picks a sane tookit to develop a 3D MMORPG that *encourages* development (no python, no boost, no java, plain autotools, C, no c++, SDL+GL, gtk+, no wx). Bring it on.


      Wait what? You started off good but then you said "no c++". The large majority of the game industry uses c++. I can understand arguments trying to say c is better or some such but certainly c++ is a "sane" choice.
      • by andi75 (84413)
        I can comment a bit on the C/C++ matter. For any long term software project (i.e. not of the write-once-then-forget-quickly) software maintainability is the most important factor from a coding perspective. Also, on almost any long term software project, there's bound to be some crappy programmers getting their grubby hands on the beautiful code, making a total mess of things.

        If all they have is the C language, they can do some damage (stray pointers leading to some heap corruption, spaghetti code etc.), but
        • ever compared Stroustrup's book to K&R

          Yup, but Stroustrup also covers the STL.

          C++ can be very useful if you have tight control on the project, can enforce interface guidelines, coding style etc. etc. but in an almost "free-for-all" OSS project, it's just too dangerous to use.

          Then why do so many open source project use it? OpenSceneGraph, Qt (and virtually all of the gui toolkits), ... look on Freshmeat, C++ code is after C, and very competitive with Java. Yes, C++ takes some time to learn and c
          • by andi75 (84413)
            You mention OpenSceneGraph and Qt, which exactly proves my point. Qt is (or was, I haven't checked) entirely controlled by a single company, Trolltech, and OpenSceneGraph was basically a one-man show for years.

            Now try a collaborative project, like Crystalspace. I have observed the project for about 5 years, and the C++ induced complexity made me cry.
            • OSG is a far cry from a one-man project, at least over the last three years I've been on the mailing list...

              My point with Qt is, that, there are many projects using it, despite the fact it was written in c++. KDE, for example.
    • You might donate plenty of money, but would you program?

      I don't write games professionally, but I know a lot of people who do. I can tell you C++ is all over the place, as is boost. In particular, boost provides an implementation of TR1 which you can use on any compiler. Also off the top of my head, Eve (which is almost a 3D MMORPG) uses Python and seems successful for it, so I'm suprised you are so against it.

      Also, using plain autotools? I assume you'd want this game to run on windows, seeing as that is th
      • by sofar (317980)
        I have no idea why you want gtk+ but no wx

        there's a native gtk+ implementation for windows, and pretty much any platform

        the wx toolkit is extremely unstable. try compiling wx applications on a slightly-different distribution. remember the unicode mess? While the idea of wxwindows was good (portability), the implementation is horrible, and only suitable for binary-form distributions. Anyone doing development (i.e. compile) on Wx will get hung on the spaghetti of build requirements. The latest WxWindows often
    • by kalirion (728907)
      Java gaming? maybe, sure it is cross platform, but your app is horribly VM limited and performance will sucky no matter how you tweak.

      What are you talking about? Haven't you heard that Quake II, written in Java, can run flawlessly on a machine that's a mere 5 times more powerful than the the original required? And any day now we'll have the hardware to run a Java version of Quake III! What more do you want?
    • by mcvos (645701)

      Java gaming? maybe, sure it is cross platform, but your app is horribly VM limited and performance will sucky no matter how you tweak.

      Depends on what you want. The very excellent game Puzzle Pirates [puzzlepirates.com] uses Java Webstart. But if you want the most advanced pixel shading stuff in your game, Java is not for you. Although in that case, perhaps Open Source development isn't for you either.

    • Java gaming? maybe, sure it is cross platform, but your app is horribly VM limited and performance will sucky no matter how you tweak.

      Java itself is open source, so you can tweak it if you have a problem.

      Besides, this has been discussed to death, and I seem to remember the conclusion is that Java can be fast, and that most of the reasons people don't like it for game development are purely academic. For example, complaining about a "stop-the-world" garbage collector -- I believe newer VMs use a generation

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