[Cc-nz] Open Doom/ Quake (It's all about google!)
j2.coates at qut.edu.au
Wed Sep 17 21:05:01 EDT 2008
This is an interesting discussion - I'm glad you started it, Hamish.
Creative Commons Clinic
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From: cc-nz-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:cc-nz-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of strypes
Sent: Thursday, 18 September 2008 10:38 AM
To: Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand discussion
Subject: [Cc-nz] Open Doom/ Quake (It's all about google!)
Kia ora koutou
As noted by Hamish and Sam, the open sourcing of the Doom and Quake code
applied to the software 'graphics engines' that provide the 3D
environment of the game, features like physics (gravity, momentum etc),
movement of characters, mechanics of combat between characters etc. For
ID, they are basically giving out obsolete code, code that has been
improved as much as possible without being completely rewritten to take
advantage of new innovations in graphics hardware, newer processors and
RAM etc. They had already done a complete rewrite on the engine for
their newer games, and they won't release that until it is also obsolete.
As noted also, the trademark visual look of the games, design of
characters, weapons, other props, layouts and textures of environments,
remained copyright or trademark of ID Games. Keeping the art under
copyright and the names under trademark protects their ability to profit
from the nostalgia re-release market.
However, as I understand it, you could put out a completely free version
of either game by creating a new set of art for characters, buildings
etc under a free license (eg CC-Attribution) and distributing it with
the original ID engine. I'm not sure which license ID used, but it was a
true 'open source' license, you could even sell your game legally
without giving any royalties to ID. Problem is your game would have
neither the most up-to-date 3D gameplay, not the familiar 'look'n'feel'
of fan loyalty of Doom of Quake. On the upside, you could build an
entirely different genre of 3D game, something more exploration-based
like Myst, or something for kids. It wouldn't necessarily need to be
game based on fighting.
The really exciting possibility I thought of when I first heard about
the release, is that a developer community could aggregate around the
codebase, as it did around the Mozilla project when the Netscape source
was released, and develop a modern open 3D engine around it. A free
software 3D graphics engine could have multiple applications, from
building free stand-alone games, to online meeting environments like
The Matrix has you, follow the white rabbit... ;)
Hamish MacEwan wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 6:11 PM, Jessica Coates <j2.coates at qut.edu.au> wrote:
>> Hmm - I haven't thought about this enough to be certain, but it's hard to see how someone could use/distribute an open source game without effectively using and distributing the maps within it.
> The architecture of the game is to separate the engine from the game
> data. The latter is provided in .WAD files. The source code
> (available under the GPL here:
> http://www.idsoftware.com/business/techdownloads/) for the engine is
> distinct from the .WAD contents.
> It is thus still necessary to purchase the game to legitimately use
> any free software derivatives.
> As Sam notes, it had educational and publicity benefits plus allowing
> ports to other platforms which also drove the sales of the game (to
> get the wads.)
> DooM is now the litmus test of a device's programmability and
> performance, there are even digital cameras that are up to the task.
>> I wonder what the legal consequences would be?
> Of distributing the wad files, bad I would think.
>> Jessica Coates
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"To use proprietary software is to invite the developer to put his boot
on your neck. It's power that nobody should have."
- Richard Stallman
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