At the very least their game will last much longer (i.e. will work on newer distros for many years) if they open it up. Plus people will package it for every software channel, etc. They can build and maintain a community around their game for no cost after it reached its end of (commercial) life.
I'm happy that more companies are realising that open-sourcing your code is not all bad and lost profit.
I won't pay for anything with DRM. Even if the game itself doesn't have DRM the availability via those third party services means you are stuck with them which is also a form of lock in.
Being open source depends critically on the license chosen and is why people make distinctions with free(dom) software. The Id approach was to make the actual code GPL but the game assets are not open/free.
first what are we talking about - the possibility of putting around 22 KLOC 3D engine and game code (mostly Objective-C 2.0, some C, some shaders, some python) under the GPL.
the game data files can't be "open sourced" because of legal reasons (licensed material).
the way we see it:
(+) open sourcing is The Right Thing To Do (tm) - nearly all code produced at CoreCode is currently BSD licensed.
(+) enables outside contributions and enables support of systems like BSD that we can't support ourselves
(-) may actually be difficult getting the game into linux distributions if the game data still is not "free"
(-) source code is "cutting edge" and difficult-to-build since it requires newer packages than are available in distributions at the moment
(-) problems with the online high-scores and cheaters!
the main questions are:
• is there any interest in getting the game open source at all?
• since we want the project to at least cover the expenses we are contemplating open-sourcing when the expenses are met - kinda making the source code and accompanying positive long term effects another incentive to buy. does that sound reasonable and what kind of "formalization" would be needed for this "deal"?
• is there also some interest in having the game-data free-as-in-beer later on? e.g. another deal, the data will be freeware once and if the project has made some specific % profit so the whole thing can enter (restricted) linux repositories?
>At the very least their game will last much longer
i'll take this as a +1 for interest
>I won't pay for anything with DRM
well the game is DRM free, please don't call the fact that the game is currently only available on some online distribution platforms which you may not like "DRM". we've also submitted the game to the ubuntu software center which hardly seems like a lock-in. anyway, offering the game through platforms like Desura instead of selling it on the Website is a matter of resources and not wanting to lock-in someone. if someone knows about a pre-made free platform for selling software like the "Humble" Bundle uses, including handling of payments and downloads, just let us know ;-)
Very interesting ideas, but i dont think that it matters when your game needs newer packages. You can always compile your local ones and newer distributions will ship it. The demo data could be packaged as well to test it.
>You can always compile your local ones and newer distributions will ship it.
yes its a "problem" that will go away sometime. no distribution today carries libobjc2 at all, but this could also change
>The demo data could be packaged as well to test it.
yes true, though it needs to be considered that it should be easy for people who have the full bought data to play with a distribution-provided binary. i guess some changes need to be made there but nothing too difficult.
well the game is DRM free, please don't call the fact that the game is currently only available on some online distribution platforms which you may not like "DRM".
The "only available" is the issue. This means use is restricted to where those are available for practical purposes. This is also a good argument for open sourcing the code. It means that platforms can make it available and they'll worry about libraries and other compatibilities. This completely removes all of that friction from user consideration. And someone is bound to port it to Android :-)
On the game data side what I suggest you do is make a small amount of the data "open source". You'd need a demo anyway so have enough that anyone can get the code and a useful subset of data to play, hack and improve. Then you sell the full game experience (data), future episodes etc.