Well, I can't really see why not. License the engine and provide support to commercial projects and let the community have it for free. In the end, you get free marketing from it, because anyone can pick it up and run with it. Many of the big game engines/games have SDKs anyway, which allow a lot of customization... this is just the next step and it makes total sense.
It wouldn't shock me if they did this. It would be what I consider the ideal future model for gaming development, open source engine, pay for the game assets.
In terms of the engine itself, it's not as ridiculous as it seems at first glance. However, it does seem quite unlikely to be true in light of the announcement in August that it would only be used for Bethesda-published games. I guess it's possible to reconcile those positions by having proprietary licensing exclusive to Bethesda, but that still seems like a stretch.
It absolutely definitely beyond any doubt will be NOT Open Source in terms of the OSI definition.
It's become pretty standard these days to give developers the complete source code to an engine. It's impossible to make a noteworthy game on top of a generic set of tools. The difference between "open source" and "Open Source" is that the latter does not allow discrimination against a field of endeavor, which basically means that you can't have non-profit or indie-only clauses in the license.
It's just like how there's a huge difference between "free software" (proprietary game demos are free and are software, after all) and "Free Software" (four essential freedoms and all that jazz).
The licensing of the engine even to indie developers is not surprising. The moddability of Oblivion and Fallout 3 were huge selling points of the games. Even if id/Bethesda has no intention of licensing to other commercial developers (which seems silly, that's a huge revenue stream in itself) it still is not far-fetched to just release the code to the engine.
It's not like games make heavy use of patents or secret IP. Just about every neat game engine trick you could want to know you can learn about at GDC or similar places. Games aren't about the tech. They're about the _game_. Which is 95% content.
It's not in fact very hard. The engine is id's, so they own the copyright, so they can licence it both under an open-source license, and a normal license.
Originally Posted by Ex-Cyber
The problem then becomes what their model for accepting contributions will be -- maybe they don't, and the engine is just a dump of what id does (but you can fork it of course), maybe they accept contributions, but you have to give your copyright to them (as seen in some other dual-licensed projects), or maybe it'll be the more common "you keep your own copyright", but that would make proprietary licensing harder.
Finally, to those who point out some other FREE engines, remember that FREE != open source, for example you can have your free unreal engine, but you can't really take the code and port it to linux.
I was thinking of it more in terms of reconciling the attitude. Obviously id can multi-license as long as they're not depending on unsuitably-licensed third-party code (and I know Carmack has specifically said that he sought to avoid anything that would prevent it being open-sourced somewhere down the road), but the framing of the statements suggests a strongly proprietary kind of mindset that doesn't seem to fit with an open-source release.
Originally Posted by [Knuckles]
Well unreal engine must be full of 3rd party code. Id software prefered to write all parts on their own - therefore they can opensource it. But i see no reason to release the code at launchen when they don't want to licence it to others which they stated before. Maybe they changed their mind and want to attract more studios now - as they already lost many to Unreal engine in the last years. Would be certainly an impressive come back - no idea what Unigine will do then - from point of marketing an id logo on the cover would certainly sell better...
Looks like they removed the vital "open-source" part.
Doesn't come that unexpected.
It could be open-source in the literal meaning. It's not "Free Software" as per FSF's definition, but the source is none the less available. Perhaps even giving freedom to non-commercial usage. MAME is already distributed under such a license (source code is available, but only for non-commercial applications. Commercial uses are prohibited and require special licensing).
Originally Posted by elanthis
If id does it, it would be a smart move for them because :
- requiring paid license from big developers wanting to create commercial games don't cut id its main profit source.
- at the same time, making it freely available (source included) for non-commercial games will increase its mind share among homebrew project, attract more hobbyist developers, increasing the general "know-how", and thus increasing the overall value of the engine (it will be something that more people know to use. So if you're a big studio starting a new project, id Tech 5 is a good bet because lots of people already use it and have the necessary know-how. Thus more sold license for the "commercial" version). Exactly the same effect as that sought by EPIC after releasing free dev-tools and making the engine available at no cost in some specific situations.
- also making it open to homebrew increase the chance of it being used in some project, which could be commercialized at some later point in time (think Team Fortress, and the likes) and id could profit from attracting developers to its platform (you want to write your cool game ? Here take this source, it's free for small fishes like you. Oh, your game is *really* that cool and generate a big *buzz* ? Hey, let us help you polish it and sell it !)
- and overall by making it "more free" (i.e.: source available too) as the concurrence (Source, Unity3D, Unreal, etc. which mainly makes the engine and dev-tools available at low or no cost). Thus attracting more from the highly valuable creative brains in the open-source friendly world. (Hey, look at us ! We're cooler than Epic and Valve : we give source-code too !)
- also, down the line, the transition to GPL will be smoother.
From a marketing point of view, it might indeed make sense to open the access to the source to more people.
It requires someone with the vision and understanding of the free/libre opensource software, and with the balls to attempt it. (id certainly have all of this)
It also requires owning all their own technology and not requiring external middle war (and Cramack has insisted on relying on as few 3rd party non-free elements as possible).
So it could be all possible, for a limited definition of "open source".
I think this was just a mistake.
ID typically open-sources their engines 5 years later.
It's id Tech4's turn, not Tech5.
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