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Liberated Games Launches 168

Crusader writes "Two LinuxGames staff members have launched Liberated Games, a site devoted to cataloguing full commercial titles that have been released for free by the developer or publisher, either with the full source code or without. The current list is available here; the site tracks releases for all major computer platforms (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux), so feel free to submit any missing games to the list."
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Liberated Games Launches

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  • Two points (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @03:09PM (#10103712) Homepage
    Slashdotted, so I can't check this myself...
    • Is this site tracking entire games that have been freed (like Abuse) or games where only the *code* has been freed (Quake)? Abuse is in the public domain and anyone can post or download it; Quake's art still belongs to iD and posting or downloading the entire game, pak files and all, is a violation of their copyright.
    • I see a lot of people linking to abandonware sites. Abandonware is still copyright violation, and its status in that respect is no different from zero-day warez (only the arguments and justifications surrounding it are slightly different). If this site is dedicated to only tracking games that are completely and officially free, good. Maybe it will encourage game companies to free products that cannot possibly be a revenue stream.
  • by Andreas(R) ( 448328 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @03:14PM (#10103745) Homepage
    The website seems to be Slashdotted, however, I've been following for a while. It's fine that the source code itself has been released to the public, but there's almost always some kind of "catch" which prevents the game from being successfull after the new release:

    Game data is not released under GPL. This is obvisly a mayor flaw, and will render the game unplayable. This includes Doom, Quake 1, 2 etc.

    The licence is too restricted. This includes Civ :CTP, where the license will not allow you to fork your own project. Therefore noone is willing to do anything with the new code.

    The release of the code happens too late, so the game isn't "interesting" any more. (Eg. Wolf 3d)

    Still, by all means, more GPL'ed games is a good thing!

  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @03:21PM (#10103781)
    Linux would make a great gaming OS, you can minimalize background proccessors and tweaking-ability is great.

    What exactly would you use the OS for on a console? Drivers are unnecessary since low level access can be compiled into the game binary and anything the game might need can be on the disk. Having an abstraction layer in between would become an issue, for one thing the layer will probably be less flexible (or less efficient) than direct hardware access and for another thing the shipped version would have to be declared as final, they couldn't update it if they discover a bug or need new features, it could break compatibility with older games. Besides, Linux wasn't designed for being used as a games platform.
    If a game wanted to use a customized Linux, the dev can customize Linux themselves and come out with exactly the version they want. No dev could complain about the OS lacking some vital feature.

    Also, delivering the source code as mandated by the GPL would be a problem, where would you store it?

    Linux might help pirates and hobbyists to interact with the hardware, but a console manufacturer wants neither group involved and there wouldn't be an advantage for the commercial developers.
  • by lessthanjakejohn ( 766177 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @03:27PM (#10103812)
    I'm not too knowledgeble with this stuff, but if we have the Windows version of the game, Can you make the original game work on Linux by copying over the pak files and the textures, etc?
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @03:27PM (#10103817)
    Yeah, but any DOS game is so old that you could probably emulate it, so it could run in Linux or Mac OS X
  • by arose ( 644256 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @03:41PM (#10103894)
    I'm rather interested in free content than in free engines.
  • Effect of release? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @03:42PM (#10103906) Homepage
    If you didn't buy the game, you're less likely to have a manual. You're also less likely to take it seriously since you didn't have to pay for it. For an online game like Tribes 2, the effect of making it free (in an effort to promote Tribes: Veangeance) has been to introduce to the game servers a neverending supply of people who have absolutely no clue what they are doing and ask stupid questions.

    If they had read TFM or played the training missions, they wouldn't be so dumb. But they didn't buy the game, so they feel like they can jump right in and nothing bad can happen because if they get banned, oh well, they can just get another CD-key for free.

  • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @04:37PM (#10104265) Journal
    Game data is not released under GPL. This is obvisly a mayor flaw, and will render the game unplayable.

    Just because you're too cheap to buy the original game doesn't make this a "flaw" in source code releases.

    The "source code release" is just that--source code--not models, or art, or sounds, etc. Port the engine to whatever platform you want and use the data from the original game (that you bought) to play it as is--or better yet create your own damn game data and do something new.

    I think that's the biggest problem with the open source community (and I'm not talking about the people who actually do productive things like code and test, I'm talking about the other 90% of the community.) No matter what somebody gives you--for free, no less--people complain that they haven't been given enough.

  • by xgamer04 ( 248962 ) <> on Sunday August 29, 2004 @04:52PM (#10104380)
    Maybe you haven't seen an Xbox, or are missing Sony's near-monthly announcements about their upcoming hardware, but consoles are going to be doing more than just play games in the future. MP3, video-on-demand, that kind of thing.
  • by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @05:02PM (#10104433) Journal
    I don't know what their source license is, but I was able to apt-get install Beneath a Steel Sky onto my Debian box, so it seems to meet Debian's requirements for distribution...
  • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @06:14PM (#10104809) Homepage
    What exactly would you use the OS for on a console? Drivers are unnecessary since low level access can be compiled into the game binary

    In theory you're right, but there's a couple of reasons why nobody does like this actually :
    • The abstraction layer of the OS are making everything so slow ? Ok so let's drop the OS. Oh, and as we are at it : let's drop all librairies at all. Let's write a complete game in plain C from scratch. And let's drop the C and write the game using pure assemblere, so we can optimize every signle instruction by hand....
      Once upon a time it could be done like this. On some old 8bit console, all you had to do to create a game was to write a short program, under a few thousand instruction, It had only to read input from joy pad, a move 1 or 2 sprites on screen (using hardware sprites) and do some very basic sprite-to-background (hardware assisted) collision detections. This could be done by hand, without using any other library.
      Nowadays games are much more complicated : you've got more complexe graphics, you must have realistic physics. Your GFX hardware is much more general purpose (which is good), but that means you must implement everything ("3D mesh of a warrior running on a height-field ground" isn't a single hardware feature). Plus you have internet, savegames hardware (harddisk or memory stick) where files must be shared with other applications (hence the need of a file system) etc...
      Still wanna write a full online game, with a robust TCP/IP stack, and everything else including in-game voice-chat with other players ?...

      Modern console DO NEED an OS, because it's getting just to much work to re-invent the wheel everytime you write a new game. Yes, the OS adds an overhead, compared to hand-optimized assembler. But it removes a lot of head-ache from developpement process, and moderne consoles have more powerful processors : it's not only to make them run faster, it's also to make the overhead of OS and librairies more negligible.

      But any OS could do the job. Actually, some early console of this generation could run multiple OSes. The DreamCast had a minimalist BIOS that could just check and boot watever OS was on the GD-ROM. Most of the games were built using SEGA's proprietary system "Katana". But there were also a few games made using Microsoft's Windows CE (hence the "compatible with..." logo on the front []), most homebrew games are done using KallistiOS [], some fans managed to port the penguin to this console []. You have the choice of the OS (DreamCast will boot any of them), but you have to use one, because few sane people want to code a 3D application by hand in SuperH assembler....

    If a game wanted to use a customized Linux, the dev can customize Linux themselves and come out with exactly the version they want.

    Yes the "boot whatever customized OS you-like" is cool. But console esigner don't do it. They like to force THEIR proprietary OS because of :

    • Copy protection. Even as far as the NES and the Genesis, some version of the console had BIOSes whose only purpose was to check if the cartridge is licensed and if it's not imported. Beside of this, the BIOSes were completly useless. (Prior BIOS-less version of the console ran the same game without any differences, and today emulator don't need BIOSes to run this games). But it helped constructors to remove control form end users.

      Microsoft could have done some "boot your own favorite OS" console like the Dreamcast. But instead they've choosen to design a console with a Windows-2000-based kernel. The user has no other choice than to boot Dashboard, before everything else, and then the Dashboard will decide what the user can and can't do...

      And game designer HAVE to pay a license for the constuctor's proprietary OS because they cannot use anything else.

  • by Embedded2004 ( 789698 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @06:31PM (#10104900)
    The public source code is mainly just headers with a bunch of .lib files(precompiled c files) and unrealscript files thrown in. So the orginal post was correct when he said it was not the full source.
  • Liberated Games? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LuYu ( 519260 ) on Sunday August 29, 2004 @07:42PM (#10105261) Homepage Journal

    I was just looking at the Liberated Games, and the games I looked at (Aliens v. Predator and Homeworld) both require a purchased version installed in Windows or Wine to function. Further, the "source code" is not the source for the games, it is the source for an addon that allows the game to play in Linux. Being that such addons are not written by the game developers but some third party Linux enthusiast, it is not surpising these bits of code are free, but the games themselves remain proprietary and completely closed source.

    So exactly what is "liberated" about this? Are these games "liberated" because you only have to install them in Windows and not play them in Windows? Or is the mere fact that one can play games in Linux a liberating experience in and of itself?

    I expected some restrictions, like licencing or some similar unpalatable requirements, but I did not expect this "liberated" software to still be closed source. I am disappointed.

    Perhaps the site should create a rating system for types of "liberated" if it is going to define "liberated" so liberally.

  • by JamesKPolk ( 13313 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:46AM (#10107004) Homepage
    Er, how can you call people who don't produce any open source code part of an open source community?

    Of *course* users of free software are whiny. Read a user forum for *any* software and you'll see whining!

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents