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Licensing and Version Control!

#16 User is offline James K 

Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:40 PM

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View PostConan Kudo, on 10 March 2012 - 09:56 PM, said:


Well, SEGA doesn't have a problem with fangames as long as there's no chance for commercialization (and thus potentially driving away sales from SEGA).


You can still sell GPL licensed works though.
http://www.gnu.org/p...hy/selling.html

Quote

Actually, we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If this seems surprising to you, please read on.


So the real issue is: If a game uses Sega-trademarked content and is being sold - It's is an entirely different issue that doesn't have anything to do with the engine you use to make said commercial Sonic game. If anyone *sold* a Sonic game made with CryEngine, Unity, UDK, Adobe Flash, HTML, EggEngine, SonicGDK, GameMaker, or even BlitzSonic there would be trouble, regardless of whether it's a custom-built GPL engine or not.

I don't see any problems with a permissive BSD/MIT/ZLIB license because there's no trademarked/copyrighted content in the graphics system, collision system and physics system, or engine itself.
This post has been edited by James K: 10 March 2012 - 10:42 PM

#17 User is offline Conan Kudo 

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:37 PM

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View PostJames K, on 10 March 2012 - 10:40 PM, said:

View PostConan Kudo, on 10 March 2012 - 09:56 PM, said:

Well, SEGA doesn't have a problem with fangames as long as there's no chance for commercialization (and thus potentially driving away sales from SEGA).


You can still sell GPL licensed works though.
http://www.gnu.org/p...hy/selling.html

Quote

Actually, we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If this seems surprising to you, please read on.


So the real issue is: If a game uses Sega-trademarked content and is being sold - It's is an entirely different issue that doesn't have anything to do with the engine you use to make said commercial Sonic game. If anyone *sold* a Sonic game made with CryEngine, Unity, UDK, Adobe Flash, HTML, EggEngine, SonicGDK, GameMaker, or even BlitzSonic there would be trouble, regardless of whether it's a custom-built GPL engine or not.

I don't see any problems with a permissive BSD/MIT/ZLIB license because there's no trademarked/copyrighted content in the graphics system, collision system and physics system, or engine itself.


I never said that you can't sell GPL-licensed works. I said that there's no chance for commercialization. And the fact is, there isn't. Commercial game production companies won't touch GNU licensed stuff at all out of an irrational fear of viral license infection. In any case, if the engine was LGPL licensed, any GPL code linked to it wouldn't automatically convert the engine's license to GPL. It would remain LGPL, as the two licenses are explicitly compatible.




#18 User is offline Gen 

Posted 11 March 2012 - 01:02 AM

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Well I guess one good thing, is we can always relicense later. In the beginning it may be nicer to have things as LGPL as things evolve, to generally ensure that progress is made and no douche bag comes along, forks it, and closes it off from everyone else. Everyone benefits from the changes that get recontributed back, and people can still generally keep their game's code private through a scripting language that can be compiled into byte code, and the ability to dynamically link native game libraries with the engine.

If later on, everyone agrees that it may generally be a good idea to relicense under something more permissive, or even if people just generally feel it's at a point that we can do bigger and better things with it, there's always the relicensing option.

At that stage, the engine would probably be far enough along that no one would have to worry about someone forking it, making it better, then dangling the improvements over everyone else's heads with the intent of never contributing them to the public. It's more about ethics here than anything I believe, and the enforcement of them through whichever open source license we go with in the end.

#19 User is offline Gen 

Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:53 PM

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It's been decided that for the time being, we will be licensing the engine under the LGPL. The repository will be hosted at BitBucket using Mercurial until such a time arises when we'll need to switch hosting providers. Thankfully Mercurial is supported by many version control services, meaning migration should literally just be a matter of reuploading the repository to another provider.

#20 User is offline LocalH 

Posted 21 March 2012 - 06:07 PM

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I want to add a little note regarding IP and games - the core rules of a game are not copyrightable in the US, only a specific implementation. Relevant citation and quote:

Quote

Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles. Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author's expression in literary, artistic, or musical form.

Material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container may be registrable.


This is why there are legally fifty million Tetris clones out there, and why The Tetris Company has only been able to make the clones change their name from *-tris or Tet-*. It is 100% legal to make an engine that mimics Sonic-style gameplay to the tiniest detail, as long as no assets copyrighted or trademarked to SEGA are used.

To reiterate - SEGA cannot do anything to your engine even if it exactly replicates any actual Sonic engine in behavior.

There is one tiny caveat - I'm not aware that any exist related to the Sonic games, but apparently specific game mechanics can be patented. To draw another parallel, many RPGs have D&D-style "D20" mechanics under the hood, even though D&D is owned and licensed by Wizards of the Coast. Just don't reference Sonic in any of your documentation or advertising/pitch literature (think words like "high-speed fluid platforming with accurate physics and 'roll-in-a-ball' attack methods" instead of "Sonic-style platformer").

#21 User is offline Sofox 

Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:12 AM

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With the revival of this project, I'm thinking of changing the license to MIT.

This reason is that the license is clear, understood and flexible. While it's possible to commercially release a game under LGPL or dual license the engine, ultimately it's confusing and the idea of this project is to make a widespread and popular game engine, and ultimately, lead to a lot of high quality 3d games being created who were helped into being by the existence of this project. This is hard to do if the developers are suddenly afraid that some legal detail will set back all the work they put into the project (of course, this is very unfair. GPL and open source are important licenses, it's just that when you're engaging in a project that's going to last for months with a lot of personal investment and creation of new things, many people want to be absolutely sure they can do whatever they want with it afterwards).

As James stated, both SDL and Ogre3d went to more permissive licenses. A more recent addition to the list is the Torque Game Engine by GarageGame, which many developers were happy to see. The main problem with a permissive license is that someone can take the code and move in their own direction with it. I think that's a chance worth taking as ultimately, it'll still lead to a new game in the world that wouldn't exist without our project. I know the idea of someone profiting off our work isn't the best feeling in the world, but ultimately the goal of this project is to help game developers while creating something we can be proud of that leads to a lot of good things being created. Also, any game that uses our engine will still have to attribute the our Project (under the MIT license).

I believe there are other things to say on this, such as how it will be important to foster good relationships with developers so we can help eachother, but ultimately I think I've covered my important points.

Unless there's strong opposition to this, I intend to change the license in the next few days.

#22 User is offline Aerosol 

Posted 24 November 2012 - 05:27 PM

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I don't know much about licenses and whatnot, but ultimately, what I want is a game engine created by members of this community. What is done with it by others after the fact isn't of much concern to me, as long as they aren't claiming the engine as their own. So I'm okay with this.

#23 User is offline Sofox 

Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:03 AM

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Found a website that gives simple summaries of various open source licenses.

Take a look if you want to know more.

MIT: http://www.tldrlegal...nse/mit-license

LGPL: http://www.tldrlegal...-%28lgpl-3.0%29

#24 User is offline Aerosol 

Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:27 AM

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Thanks for that.

While aspects of the LGPL are attractive (namely, the fact that the original source code must be included in all distributions [unless I read that wrong]), ultimately I do prefer the MIT license. You're right, it's just as, is not more flexible than LGPL, and would reduce confusion down the chain (if that happens).

#25 User is offline Sofox 

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:12 AM

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Cool.

I'll give it a few more days for others to speak up, then if there are no objections I'll update the LICENSE.txt file in the source code repository to contain the terms of the MIT license.
This post has been edited by Sofox: 27 November 2012 - 08:18 AM

#26 User is offline Sofox 

Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:47 PM

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I've changed the license to MIT in the most recent update.

#27 User is offline Sofox 

Posted 07 March 2013 - 08:09 AM

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To confirm, the source code repository is at: https://bitbucket.or...ius-game-engine

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