Indie Dev Pushes for More Transparency By Open Sourcing Their Own Game Code

It’s rare for developers to let people see under the hood, because the process of making games is so hard, messy, and even these days, secretive. It’s even rarer for a developer to throw open the hood simultaneous with the release of a new game, which is exactly what designer Melos Han-Tani did earlier this week, when he released the code for the movement controls in his new platformer, Sephonie, so people could better understand how it works.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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Worth also mentioning that Blendo Games has open sourced almost all of their games

This is in part to them using various id Tech engines which are licensed under GPLv3

The industries aversion to open sourcing code is an odd one. I feel like when people hear “open source” they take that to mean “free” which it’s not. You can have paid open source projects!

The very popular Aesprite editor is open source but a paid product. Granted it is under a nontraditional license but it still is open source with the only real restriction being you cannot distribute a compiled binary of Aesprite. This means that yes if you are willing to you can download the code off github and compile your own copy of Aesprite without paying anything.

People are also way too worried about other people stealing their code. If you make a game in Unity for example someone can reverse engineer the code fairly easily. There is no such thing as the silver bullet of protection. It’s like piracy, if someone is determined enough to take your stuff it’s going to happen.

I can’t help but think of how cool it would be if there was just an industry wide project that just shared bits of code for others to use and improve upon. A giant library of different types of movement mechanics for example would be amazing and would allow people to just get in and start creating more.


It’s also worth noting that the code isn’t the only part of the game which you’re paying money for, so “open sourcing” your project doesn’t suddenly mean that there’s no reason for people to buy it***.

(Look at, for example, all the Quake games, since you gave the id example:
the source code for each of them is open-sourced * [and has been for a long while, especially for the original Quake].
however, the sounds, compiled maps ** , 3d models are all still closed - they’re the “assets” that you’re buying when you buy a copy of one of those games now. [And the fact that the engines are open-sourced has arguably made the games longer-lived, as there are improved engines around now based on the original source code]. )

*id also released the quakec files [essentially the scripting in modern games terms], but under a restrictive license. The modern id just rereleased all the quakec for not just the original game, but its two original mission packs, and the machinegames mission pack that was created for the Quake Rerelease Engine last year as GPL though, which is nice.

**Romero released the source for the Quake 1 maps a while ago, but apparently he did so without asking id, and they’re from beta versions of the maps. (Plus, you’d need the textures too.)

***also, a lot of game engines themselves are open-source or semi-open (all the Unreal Engines from 3, Godot, etc).