Open Source *Game* Programming?

Henningsen peter at
Tue Jan 16 17:37:37 UTC 2001

I would like some advice on what to do in my situation. I am developing
artificial intelligence modules for computer games, and model games to
demonstrate and test them. I would like to do that in an open source
environment, and would like my code to be used widely in other open source
games. However, the only chance I have of ever seeing my creations in a
first class game is if they are picked up by a commercial publisher who then
will have to pay about a million dollars largely for graphics to get the
game up to AAA standards. If I publish under the GPL (as I have done) or any
of the other open source licenses I have seen and understood, a publisher
could simply take my work, add modifications to my code (to which I would
have access, since they would have to be open source also), add his
copyrighted graphics (to which I would >>not<< get access to use in my own
versions of the game, because graphics that goes with code is not covered in
open source licenses), and then he could sell it without giving me either
royalties or proper artistic credit (credit in the source files and the
Readme file is worthless in a game). I don't think this would be fair, and
therefore I will not release my work under a license that makes this possible.

The type of license I am looking for is one that is basically like the GPL
for non-commercial users, but that requires commercial users of my software
to acquire a license from me (which implies that I will be paid and get
artistic credit). Or else, a license that would force any graphics bundled
with my code to become freely available, and that would ensure that I get
proper artistic credit. So my questions are simple:

Is there any open source certified license that meets these criteria? If
not, is it possible to write one? Does anyone in the OSI have an interest in
addressing these specific problems faced by most open source *game* developers?

And a more philosophical question: If it is against the spirit of open
source to require commercial users to buy a license, why is that? I think it
is perverse to require me to offer my work as a donation to Microsoft and
other game publishers just so I can use SourceForge. Remember, the
modifications a publisher might make to my code are worth nothing. The
graphics is what is valuable. 

Peter Henningsen

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