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Open source initiative

Discussion in 'Engineering & Reverse Engineering' started by Blastfrog, May 28, 2017.

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  1. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    I have never understood the whole closed-source nature of a lot of the projects in this scene. Honestly, I think the source code of hacks should be open to the public in general. It wouldn't harm anything, and would be useful for so many purposes. What if nobody ever shared the disassemblies of the base games that we have now? The hacking scene would still be where it was in 2005, and it would suck hard. If people could build off of the work of others freely, can you imagine how much further it would take the scene? There'd be a massive explosion in creativity and shared quality.

    We have disassembled SEGA's commecial work and we distribute a slew of modified versions, illegally and without express permission. And then SEGA is kind enough to tolerate it, retaliating in no way, with full knowledge of what we're up to. The scene is standing on SEGA's shoulder. By extension, the scene also stands on the shoulders of the hard work of those who disassembled the games' code, cleaned it up, and released it for public consumption, precisely for the reasons that I am advocating for. I think the results of that speak for themselves.

    Isn't it a tad hypocritical to reverse engineer SEGA's work, only to turn around and be like "no you can't see my changes"? I'm not saying that anyone is entitled to this, just that it makes a lot more sense to do things in an open-source manner, and absolutely no sense for closed-source to be the status quo. There are very practical benefits to modelling ourselves after the Doom community's ways. It's foolish to cling to one's modified source, given all that. It's not actually a problem when one writes their own engines from scratch (though open-source is still preferable), but this is derivative work I'm talking about here.

    Hypothetically, what if in the absence of source, a really good hack was disassembled in the same way the base games were, and the author became upset? I don't feel that people have much room to talk about 'their' code, given the nature of the foundation of all hacks, let alone the permissive example that SEGA themselves have set. Sharing is caring, etc, a misplaced sense of property is not healthy for creative communities. There is a bigger picture here. Hacking/modding communities are built upon collaboration, cooperation and sharing. I'm disheartened by this closed source mentality being so prevalent in this community. Recognition, praise and credit is quite enough. Anything more is selfish, shortsighted, and lacking in perspective and respect for what came before them. Frankly, the way I've seen some people act about derivative code here is disgusting and arrogant, in some specific instances.

    Not wanting others to make poor use of their code is an invalid concern. It's actually completely harmless and can easily be ignored. The cream always rises to the top. On the opposite end of this, what if someone used some cool features from an existing hack and made a far better hack of their own? If your content doesn't hold up when its corresponding code is used for better content, then perhaps it's more that you're a good coder than game designer and shouldn't be so insecure, possessive and protective about it.

    I've heard concerns of potential plagiarism. Needless to say, plagiarism is intolerable. Should anything like that happen, it will be easy to spot, and they will be publicly lambasted for it. Not to mention, if the source is open, it makes confirmation even easier, and a lack of source would be cause for further suspicion in cases like these. "Somebody might do something wrong" is never a good reason not to do what's right. It's really not an issue, source should be shared regardless of what one worries others might do with it. Someone pulling some crap has no bearing on the value and authenticity of the original author's code. I highly doubt that people would side with a plagiarist if/when such issues are brought to attention. Besides, it'd take some serious balls to blatantly claim the work of others as their own: I think such a scenario is more than unlikely, and it can be dealt with swiftly and appropriately should it ever crop up.

    The open-source nature of the Doom community has served it extremely well. People use each other's code all the time (with credit OFC), improve upon it, and often these improvements make their way back into the mainline projects. As a specific example: GZDoom vs. ZDaemon, both forked engines of idTech1. The Doom source was originally released under the Doom Source License as opposed to the GPL later on. GZDoom, while open source, has only recently moved to GPL, but has always been open source. There was a fork called QZDoom that made some major improvements, and all of this was backported to GZDoom. It is literally the most advanced and useful Doom engine out there. ZDaemon, on the other hand, was based on ZDoom (basically an early version of GZDoom by a different author), but they chose to close their source after forking. Look where it is now: buggy as shit and horribly out of date, unable to run any mods newer than 2004 or so.

    I'd like to explain myself if anyone finds me to be too argumentative: I'm heavily opinionated and will speak my mind, but I am also open-minded and will immediately change my position if presented with sound reasoning. That being said, I cannot possibly imagine a good counter-argument to what I am proposing here, but as I said, my ears are open. The basis of this is prioritizing logic/reason and a desire to realize potential to its fullest. I don't take things personally unless other people make it personal, and I hope that others don't take my arguments personally, because it's not meant that way.
  2. Knucklez


    I love 2B 'n' ass. Member
    Well in this collective sense, then I agree with this entirely.

    Many in the scene work on projects that most of us downright adore and can't stop playing, only to get the announcement that they no longer have the drive to work on it anymore. By that, I'm referring to many here that are behind well known hacks or are essentially famous in the community.

    I often think, "All this hack needs is some of this added in or tweaked quickly and it'll be perfect for me." However, what I want in someone elses work doesn't ever go past a suggestion, except in the case of Tiddles who incorporated a good amount of things into S3C that I've suggested over time and for my favorite game too. But it becomes aggravating when you love someone's work and wish you could add something to it for your own enjoyment to get more out of it, but they couldn't care less about your opinion or least of all your needs.

    I say this because I recently PM'd two people here who I'll say are among the best at what they do and have a high standing here. I contacted each of them with suggestion(s) for one of their older hacks that they quit on or left unfinished. To no surprise to me, they both ignored my question(s) and I strongly assume they also "unread" my PM to make it look like they never read it. Smart.

    Anyway, most of all the hacks put out on Retro can use tweaking or adding to for their benefit, as well as for our enjoyment and appreciation there of. I would like to actually add to some works what their authors never thought of or fix the slew of bugs that people never bother fixing in their Sonic 1 and 2 hacks, which is inexcusable and annoying. I'm sorry that you can't take a few minutes of your time to go back and fix the spike bug (among others). No, I will not just deal with it. Put some integrity in your work and quit being lazy. People here obviously care about the hacks they're provided with and the hackers couldn't care less if they missed a couple things. Well I do, and if I want to fix something then I can and should be able to. If you want to act like L0st, then get lost.
  3. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    My focus is more on using bug fixes, features, etc, to benefit the creation of new works. But yeah, customization of existing works is a definite plus as well.
  4. MainMemory


    Kate the Wolf Tech Member
    I believe that Sonic hacks should be open source in general, but I also believe in respecting when another hacker does not want their content that they put time and effort into creating to be made public for anyone to use and edit however they want. I have released the source code for Knuckles' Emerald Hunt, but the public source does not include some of the music at the request of the authors.

    I also make it a general rule to put the source code of new SADX and SA2 mods on my GitHub account, but nobody really cares about that.
  5. Clownacy


    Tech Member
    What does that have to do with what I said...? I didn't say you weren't allowed to voice your views, and acting as if my disagreeing with you is somehow on the same level as that is downright insulting.

    It seems like it to me, considering you push the point that 'you hack Sonic, so you shouldn't defend your code'. Not to mention this line:

    Sounds to me like you're saying that the group at large should milk other people's work for all its worth, even against their will.

    It's a necessary evil of any ROM-hacking group. There's no way around it (besides outright quitting, anyway). How is it a bad thing that we don't force the same evil on everyone else? Cool, it makes me a hypocrite. I'm more concerned with the fact I illegally break copyright law every day. At least it's only the one entity I'm doing it to, rather than every hacker here.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, because I really don't want this to be true, but between these messages...'re telling us that, in order to morally-redeem ourselves, we should actively upset other hackers by exploiting their work for the greater good? Somehow I think that would make us even more morally-bankrupt than you make us out to be. That last line in particular has a lot of dangerous implications: I believe in mutual respect, but you'll only respect someone's wishes if they have the same views as you? Now, that is elitist.

    I consider myself a pretty 'open source' guy: I've written more guides than I have hacks, I've given away sound drivers, made hundreds of commits to the Git disassemblies, and contributed to open-source tools and two open-source hacks. I'm well-aware of the benefits of giving away assets, and I think the benefits of sharing these things should be made known. But I don't think we stand for the same thing, here. As I've pointed out above, you don't seem to just be in it to recommend people share more of their work. You're actively denouncing people who don't, suggesting we do downright-heartless things to them, and then blame them for bringing it on themselves. You wouldn't just be hurting people who don't give back at all: you'd be hurting those who do, but just don't give back 'enough'.
  6. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    I want to emphasize that I am terrible at being diplomatic. Please try to focus on what I am saying, and not how I am saying it. Believe me, I've rewritten this post a thousand times already, I'm tired of revising it to sound less arrogant than earlier drafts, so I'm just gonna go ahead and post it now.

    I was just responding to what you said. I'll ask you the same thing; what does that have to do with what I said? All I said was that I don't like the clinginess that a lot of folks around here have to their code changes... How can I have a conversation with you if you make stuff like that up out of left field? To insinuate random shit like that when that is literally not even close to what I said is insulting, actually.

    Did you miss the key word "hypothetical"? Seems like. I'm not saying that we should all go around ransacking code without permission, because I'm not. I was just trying to make the point that we stole the code from SEGA first, so in such a hypothetical situation the hack authors don't have much ground to stand on if they were to complain about it happening to them, too.

    But yes, we should milk each others' work for all it's worth. Voluntarily, of course.

    Like hell, it is. How is it even remotely "necessary" to hog (pardon the pun) code? It's literally pointless and benefits no one, not even the authors. Just to get some weird emotional satisfaction over being the only one with the code improvements?

    I'd say so, yes. We stole from SEGA, not much wiggle room here, no way of getting around that.

    I don't think you're really getting what I'm saying at all, your entire response indicates as much. To clarify: I respect that we shouldn't just ransack each others' stuff without permission. I don't respect the "it's mine, all mine, and you're never going to see it" attitude.

    Again with this bullshit. Your reading comprehension needs serious work. I'm not saying that to be insulting, I really mean that you seem to be unable to grasp the intent of my message and are attacking me over things I've never said. The first quote in particular is baffling. I can at least see how one could misconstrue the other things, but how the hell did I ever say that you implied that I said you were saying that I wasn't allowed to talk about this?

    For the billionth time, it's like you read some alternate-universe version of my post and not what I actually wrote. This isn't about "morals" or "ethics" or anything like that. It's about taking an example from communities that do open-source as standard practice, seeing how that benefits everyone, and applying it here. It's simply about practicality, about realizing this community's fullest potential. Things are pretty good right now, but they could be even better.

    Remember my point about the disassemblies of the base game? Remember how fucking awful hacking used to be when we worked directly with the ROMs? We should take the benefits of open source to its natural conclusion, rather than this half-assed approach.

    My time away from the Sonic community has given me a different perspective. I think the way things are done around here are frankly backwards and foolish for no gain.

    That's genuinely cool, and a good thing.

    Given the previous quote, I think we actually do, at least to an extent. I'm just emphasizing that it should be strongly pushed as standard practice, is all. You seem to be fine with the status-quo, I'm not, and I'm making it known. Hopefully I can convince others, at least through reason, as terrible as I am with the whole "acting diplomatic" thing.

    This is a good approach. Content is a different matter than code. I'm only concerned with code sharing, here.

    Even then, the important part is that you're making an effort to do that. Who knows, it may come in handy to someone someday, even if it's years down the line.
  7. amphobius


    doing more important things with my life Member
    I exclusively choose what happens to what I do.

    If I don't want to share my work, that's my prerogative. It's not so much a matter of plagiarism as much as it is control over the work I've done. I want to have final executive say in what happens to that.

    I have made information public, helped others, and worked with others, but that was at my descretion. I have nothing to owe to anyone.
  8. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    You say that as if that wasn't already my position. All that I am saying is that it's silly not to share code. Keyword: share. Not steal. There's a huge difference between criticizing and demanding. Seems to me that you two think I'm demanding anything. I'm not. I'm just calling it how I see it and trying to push for sharing to become much more common here, is all.
  9. Eduardo Knuckles

    Eduardo Knuckles

    Not a loved one, but the most hated person. Banned
    Someplace somewhere
    Project S.A.M.G.
    No. Just... No. I did share stuff for such a long time and I always credited every single people who had help me in my hack during the almost 15 years that it's being worked, but as opposite of what I did, most from the stuff I shared were put in other projects but people persisted in use them without to at least to tell to the public I was the author or that I applied effort on the minutes, days or even the weeks I applied to create such thing. Not that I care about this too much, but if the sources or contents gets to be publics as you suggested in the main topic, at least the creators from some of the contents would be considered, in theory. But this doesn't happen in practice. So, that's why I think it's better to the people to share their work as open source only if they feel they have to do this. The more protected it is, the better it is.
  10. MarkeyJester


    Nothing's Impossible Resident Jester
    I did not ignore your PM:


    I went to Finland on the 5th of May to meet Natsumi for three weeks. I had only just got back on the 26th on Friday. I saw your PM and thought it would be an absolute delightful surprise for you, if I gave you a private ROM with the fixes in place that you suggested. I applied all but one of your suggestions, and then called it a night when I headed off to bed about midnight.

    You closed the conversation before I had the chance to even see it =S

    I don't ignore people, I know exactly how that feels. I remember the days of being blatently ignored by others like Tweaker. Knowing how that feels, you know that by ignoring people, all you can expect to achieve is a negative response and viewpoint. Don't get me wrong, I know you weren't to know that I was away in Finland, and I understand that. But you really shouldn't just assume the worst of something =(


    My verdict on source code is this:

    It's MY source code, and I'll do what I want to do with it. Not you guys.

    At the end of the day, I am the one with my own source code, the entire situation is in my hands, it's under my control, you do not have the power to make me do with my source code as you desire. Only I have that power. Your morals mean nothing to me, don't waste my time. I will share my code if and when I want to share it, when I am feeling in a good mood and generous, and you will do well to learn that.


    The cute one here Tech Member
    Having made open source hacks, open source programs, and open source tools, I am very offended by your accusations and harsh language, and therefore I wish for your thread to be thrashed by the Retro staff. Oh, but while I wait for that to happen, I may as well as show you how your attitude is downright toxic.

    Me, as a Professional Sonic Hacker™ in fact, do understand. It is quite simple actually; We wish to work on our projects, in secret, without people knowing too much, snooping through our code, or disrupting our work, so we can provide you with entertainment. And in fact, we often do the project to amuse ourselves before amusing you, so we are number 1, right? We wait until our project seems complete enough to us, before making a release, and giving people a full look into what we've accomplished. Then, we expect people to be surprised and interested in our works, critiquing, asking questions, doing videos, whatever. The ecosystem with many people is quite simply, that. Open source hacks don't fit the picture well, unless we are certain we don't want to work on them anymore. However, for many hackers, that point may never really come, they'll either keep working on it lazily, or put it into the "to-do pile". Some people will decide to forget about the project in favour of doing something else, whether it be a hack or some other kind of thing. People don't really have an incentive to release the source, ever. Thats why they don't.

    One can only hope~

    It could for some hacks. Think like, MegaMix. The hacks been on work for years, with minimal information given out, and they have been slowly building up the game on their spare time. Just imagine what would happen if some of this information got out. Oh wait...

    Not often no. Aside from clueless kids with no taste using your code, most people would either do it by themselves, ask someone else to do it, or not bother. The only people who would really benefit, are people who don't quite know everything, but are willing to learn. They may get new ideas, tricks, techniques, and information from seeing open source projects. However, these people aren't too common really.

    Few elitists would be doing amazing ASM hacks, and rest would be still be debating over whether its "pallet" or "palette". Just look at SMW community. Its ridiculous.

    Are you unaware of linear time perhaps? It would not be where it was in 2005, it would just not be where it is currently.

    Do you have access to this alternate timeline? //

    Not a lot probably. The important pieces of open source and free-to-use stuff already has taken us quite far, what benefit would being able to take code from any hack give us? Repetitive hacks but in a different way. The people who run the show don't need the source codes of the most popular hacks to survive.

    Au contraire!

    Actually, with the Classics Hub, they actually kinda gave us permission to do whatever with their games. It is illegal sure, but SEGA ain't gonna sue anyone over this.

    They aren't gonna sue us for using their disassemblies, surely? Not that they even could.

    That's a very lofty assumption there. I am gonna award you 10 idiot points for that comment. Please be more mindful next time.

    Maybe. I don't care though.

    Please prove your claim. From where I am standing with this reply, I think it actually makes way more sense to do things closed-source than open source.

    Go tell that to some FPS modding community or whatever, where that statement has more relevancy or truth behind it.

    I will cling to my source as I like. Its my source, I made it. Fuck off trying to leech off of my work please, unless I specifically give you a permission to do so.

    Never heard of derivative work that is closed source?

    Aaaand here is where you show your true colors; You are an asshole! Damn right I have room to talk about "my" code! I wrote it! Sure, if I just changed few lines around the codebase and said "I wrote this game", then yeah, I'd be an idiot, but by the way I do hacks, most of the code changes are completely original code written by ME, it means I also OWN the code! If you are not happy with that, take it up with the courts. If someone disassembles my hack, and I was particularly pissy about that, I have the right to get angry with the person, or even sue them.

    Too bad that humans by nature are possessive, and your shitty little post wont make a difference.

    Too bad that you completely fail to see it...

    PFFT HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAH You think this community is about collaboration, cooperation, or sharing? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA GIMME A BREAK!


    OH, so we are the selfish and shortsighted ones now? Really? Look in the mirror mate...

    Quite frankly, the way you are in this very post, seems more disgusting and arrogant to me, than everyone who think its "their code" are in this whole community.

    Tell that to the thousands of hack who have highly abusable jumpdashes in them.



    Yeah, 0.00000001% of hacks sure, rest, no. If someone is really promising and wants help on something, I will give. But you don't see these people often, so the point doesnt hold any weight to me.

    Or how about you stop being such an idiot for once.

    You seem a tad too optimistic here.

    Give the people some secret government information that exposes them for doing something wrong, but could also help terrorists in some way? Surely thats less black and white as you lead on?

    That's a very stupid statement you made. I am gonna award you 25 idiot points for that comment. Please be more mindful next time.

    Again, you seem far too optimistic for no good reason here.

    Well good for the Doom community then.

    None of that is really relevant or applicable to Sonic community.

    The way you worded your post does not in any way fit in with what you wrote here. In fact, you came down as very insultive and arrogant. You see, I am all for open source hacks. As noted, I've released one myself, and privately have shared sources to most of my hacks to various people. I release open source stuff to encourage people and to show them that they can do so without any bad consequences. The difference between you and me, is that I try to encourage people to do it, and you try to force them by telling them any other way is wrong and immoral.
  12. Clownacy


    Tech Member
    In hindsight, that one line about disassembling others' hacks really threw me off. I thought you seriously wanted a free-for-all. Sorry about that. Not a fan of having words put in my mouth, either. On another note, I think we have different definitions of 'respect'. When I was referring to respecting others' wishes, I meant following them, not just thinking they're okay. I'm all for finding reasons stupid, too. I just don't think it's my call to defy them based on whether I agree or not, which I thought you were going for.

    I was talking about reverse-engineering Sega's stuff. As a hacking group, we can't exactly avoid that.

    That wasn't sarcasm, if that's what the issue is. I don't know why else that needed reaffirming. I've been aware of this 'bubble' we live in for quite a while.
  13. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    Just addressing Natsumi here:

    I figured it would've been useless to try this. Everyone's so stuck in convention around here, it seems. And yes, I do get carried away. It's funny that you call me toxic for being unabashedly opinionated, yet you stoop so low as to repeatedly call me an "idiot," "stupid" and "asshole." Now that's some hypocrisy! Sorry for thinking it sensible to suggest a change to the status quo.

    What relevance does a project not being done have? Obviously, the source should stay closed until the project is released, and I wasn't suggesting otherwise. I'd also like to point out that I'm not actually, literally demanding that people release their sources, which you seem to miss. My tone may come across that way, but all I'm saying is that most projects ought to come with their source by default. In my own opinion and nothing more.

    What about linear time? I wasn't saying it would literally be 2005, that it would be like 2005. Or, to use your example, the pathetic state of the SMW hacking community as it is even today.

    You mock my statement that modding is often built upon others' work. This is objective fact, we would not be where we are without those disassemblies.

    And about the FPS thing; video games are video games. Genre is irrelevant.

    And you dismiss my statement about how the cream rises to the top and someone's shitty mod isn't harming anyone by being shitty. How is that not true? You didn't even elaborate, you just said "wrong."

    EDIT: The above text is garbage, disregard.


    Perhaps then, it may actually be better if this got trashed. I got carried away, and this probably isn't headed anywhere good. I'm already regretting how I handled myself here, and in the trial membership thread as well.

    I have the tendency to see something that I think could be improved upon, convince myself that I'm totally right, and then go nuts with it, usually with disastrous results. This keeps happening. It makes me question myself as a person in general, beyond just some silly forum that I rarely visit.

    Hopefully, should I keep my mouth shut in this thread for whatever duration it lasts for, everyone else can discuss the idea in a productive manner. I just wanted to put the idea out there in the hopes that there may be change and that the community at large could consider it. I allow my strong opinion to turn me arrogant (I'll admit as much, I am), and that is something I need to work on. I'm clearly no good at this kind of thing. Can't I even act my age? Seems not.

    Now I'm really fucking embarrassed. I'm gonna go hide in a corner for a bit, now.
  14. MainMemory


    Kate the Wolf Tech Member
    You know how you can get the idea of open source hacks out there? By releasing source code for your own hacks. Everything else is just words.


    The cute one here Tech Member
    You being opinionated does not make you appear toxic. What does is, you attempting to change how the community works based on flawed logic, and in fact trying to force people to act differently (or at least, to advocate such). The way I handled myself in the response is merely me being rather annoyed about what you said. If that is considered toxic, then it be so, I am a hypocrite, and such.

    Your post makes it sound like you are. Remember, I am also not a mind reader, I can only work based on what I am given. I don't know you personally, either.

    While yes, we would not be here without disassemblies, what I was mocking is how uncooperative this whole community actually is, and how little we work off of others work in the end.

    False. Games are really different between genres. Often genres seem to define how the game is as a whole, in every aspect. Doom is nothing like Sonic 1.

    I have personally seen so many great hacks just wither and get no attention, because some other hack that does something that people like took everyones attention at that point. I've seen this happen for 5 years now. I can't exactly give you any objective proof, because its not an objective matter.

  16. Overlord


    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    Long-term happiness
    Basically this, and tbh I don't think anything more needs to be said. People will do what they want with their own code. I'm all for more open sourced stuff but it's entirely down to the coder on that attitude - and I speak as someone who's released GPL3 utilities.
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