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PC Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Multi Theft Auto - San Andreas Goes Open Source 127

dan writes " Multi Theft Auto is a third-party modification for Rockstar's hit title Grand Theft Auto San Andreas — and it has become open-source after over four years of closed source development. As a (somewhat) regular player of MTA since the early days of GTAIII, this hit me by surprise, somewhat." (The news is on the project's front page, from which dan extracts more details, below.)
dan continues: "Some of the interesting parts of the post: 'Today we are marking a new milestone in the history of Multi Theft Auto. After over 11000 revisions since 2004, contributions by over 16 world-wide developers, 1554 files and well over 550.000 lines of mostly C/C++ code, we have made the decision to re-launch Multi Theft Auto as an open-source project.

By open sourcing our project, we are encouraging anyone who is willing to participate in this project, to participate. For that reason, we are not 'just' offering our source code: we have also opened our bug tracker and will be offering public access to our nightly build system that will be compiling a build every day (and has been long used for testing purposes). This way, any developer will be able to run the latest revisions, file bugs or submit patches.

This is particularly exciting given that the released source is based upon the MTA Blue core, which in theory can be applied to any single player game. The source will no doubt be useful and provide foundations for future projects and the progression of the mod itself.'"
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Multi Theft Auto - San Andreas Goes Open Source

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  • Anonymity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:20AM (#25870149) Homepage Journal

    I've seen a bunch of "open source" game projects where the developers use pseudonyms to contribute. A few of these projects don't even have any contact information to get in touch with the developers. This basically makes their licensing pointless. Anyone can slap the GPL or a BSD-alike license on a bit of code, but it doesn't mean anything unless someone is willing to stand up and claim copyright on the code.. and that means a real human with a legal name. Throwing some code, that you value, out into the world without your name on it isn't philanthropy, it's just stupidity. If someone wants to shut down one of these projects, all they have to do is claim that they wrote it. They then can write up a DCMA takedown notice and the actual authors have no way to prove that they are the legitimate copyright owners.

  • Re:Anonymity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:26AM (#25870173) Homepage

    If someone wants to shut down one of these projects, all they have to do is claim that they wrote it.

    And pray that you don't get a serious legal smackdown laid on you if it ever did happen to go to court. There are ways to demonstrate authorship and link pseudonyms to real people when you get down to it; they're not perfect, but are you willing to risk the chance they work?

  • Re:This is news??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:52AM (#25870297)

    So I assume you also avoid any open source software that runs on Windows or OS X?

  • Re:Anonymity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:03AM (#25870345) Homepage

    what's to stop someone from downloading all of the files and revisions, removing the author's names and replacing their own, and putting up their own MTA site claiming that they were the original authors?

    i don't see how typing your name in a text file is going to provide any kind of added protection against someone trying to take credit for your work.

    whether they use a pseudonym or not, the original MTA authors still have several important things on their side:

    • a public history of publishing the code on the web (i.e. they have users, fans, and site visitors as their witness)
    • they probably have unpublished files like raw artwork, PSD files, e-mails, and other local records of their development
    • they own the domain name, web hosting account, Google Code account, e-mail address, and other accounts used in the project's development.
    • they have the truth on their side.

    book authors publish under pseudonyms, or noms de plume, so why can't programmers?

  • Re:Anonymity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:10AM (#25870383) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, that's not how it works.

    See, these guys don't want to be identified. That's why they don't have their names on the stuff. So basically the only way they can stop someone from fucking them over is by identifying themselves..

    It's a pretty obvious catch-22.

  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) * on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:48AM (#25870539) Homepage

    It's missing the serial number generator, and is thus incomplete.

  • by cwcpetech ( 733201 ) on Monday November 24, 2008 @03:02AM (#25870589)

    All our source code available through this project page is licensed under the GPLv3 license. This excludes any dependencies and our net modules for both the client and server: these are still covered under our proprietary license. These modules have been excluded because of reasons involving security and cheating, but contain only a minimal amount of code.

    No reason not to include them in source form.

  • Re:Now hiring! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by donaldm ( 919619 ) on Monday November 24, 2008 @04:20AM (#25870819)

    Oh come on! GTA's attitude is best summed up by the advice "If you kill that hooker, you can get your money back." Comparing it to charity work is a bit silly.

    Killing as many people as you can in GTA is quite acceptable however we cannot pick up a Hooker and bang her in a car, killing is ok but not the other thing, Think of the children! :-)

  • by VendettaMF ( 629699 ) on Monday November 24, 2008 @05:06AM (#25870947) Homepage

    "More than 16 worldwide developers"

    That'd be 17 worldwide developers then?

  • Re:Anonymity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plantman-the-womb-st ( 776722 ) on Monday November 24, 2008 @07:59AM (#25871561)
    That is a point certainly, but the question would be was the project they contributed to GPL at the time they contributed, and if not, did they retain the rights to their code, and if so, did they consent to their contributions being licensed in this manner. Muddy, curly and all manner of other words that describe a messy situation, but I'd bet a few lawyers out there wouldn't mind spending a few years arguing over it.
  • by yoyhed ( 651244 ) on Monday November 24, 2008 @08:33AM (#25871705)
    MTA was an amazing thing back in the days of GTA III and Vice, and even SA, particularly because of how it was programmed. But now GTA IV has eclipsed all the previous games just on its merits as a single-player game, and Rockstar has implemented a better version of MTA officially into IV.. kind of sad that the MTA devs won't have anything to do on this one.

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