What if Doom 3 were open sourced? - Good and Bad

Story: What if Doom 3 were open sourced?Total Replies: 2
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Aug 04, 2004
10:41 AM EDT
This is a very interesting thought. I am a gamer and I am a (not fulltime) linux user. I have been playing Quake online since 1997 (A little Quake1, a lot of Quake2 and now Quake3). I have truly seen the "business" from inside.

Releasing the source code from the start would, I think, be a tremendous thing for game developers, and other developers whom might find a game engine useful. Releasing the engine souce code does have one disadvantage though. It kills the game that it originally came with..

Let me explain.. For a end user, a gamer, sitting at home playing Single Player Missions against the computer, releasing the source code does nothing. She/he keeps playing in single player mode happily ever after. She/he may ofcourse get some benefits by the new games that are released due to the open source code.

An online gamer is something completely different.. There are honest ones and dishonest ones. It's the latter that will kill the game with the open source code. To put it simple - they will cheat it to death. Cheats have been available in all times but when you release the source code, the cheats will get more sophisticated and difficult to detect. This is what happened to Quake2 (R.I.P) after the source code was released. The cheats virtually exploded. The gamers had the same source code to look in, as the anticheat programmers. It ended up being a ridiculous duck race where one end tried to outrun the other. New cheat, new anticheat, new cheat, new anticheat. The cheats came out withing hours of the anticheat. While it took weeks for all serveradmins to upgrade their servers so that connecting players had to be using a certain anticheat to be able to play, it only took hours for the players to obtain a cheat that simulated the anticheat software. A cheat complete with wallhacks (see through walls) and aimbot that on the other end looks like a legit anticheat software. This will also happen to Quake3 when they later this year release the source code.

The game is kept alive and hot because of the online communities. They arrange tournaments, they make own levels, they build websites promoting the game.. without a game that's alive and hot, what use is it's game engine? Who'll want it beside the odd hobbyist?

The game engine can be as free as it wants.. it's a good thing for game developers and others. New games might pop up that are build on the particular engine, due to it's freeness.

You can't separate the game engine from the game and hope all will be well.

What's really interesting here is that releasing the source code to something, is not always a good thing! It might be a good thing to release the source code of a wordprocessor but it's NOT a good thing to release the source code of a game like Quake/Doom. Not while we still are playing it actively online.

It's in peoples nature to cheat. If you can get an advantage over other people, many will. You would be surprised to know what kind of people adapt to this behaviour. Adult men and women with families of their own, I've even seen cases where these adult people also were clan leaders and server admins. The kind of people one might think you could trust! Gamers are not "just" pimple faced 14 year olds.. Alot of us are between 30 and 50 and many of us are knowledgeable in programming.

It takes out the whole competition on who's got the best skill, wanting to improve your own skill, practicing, having fun.. it kills the game.

Aug 05, 2004
2:59 AM EDT
Interesting line of thought.

Would open source kill Doom 3? If the technology were developed and released as an open-source project, would the actual game content of Doom 3 matter? I feel like most developers would look at the project as a chance to tap into Carmack's technology and release their own game based on that technology. What id actually do with that technology (ie, the actual Doom 3 product) would be "just another project". Maybe, then, id wouldn't be creating a "game": maybe all they'd be doing is creating an engine, like the Crystal Space engine?

Would an open-source version of the Doom 3 engine this early on be bad for the industry? Currently developers have only two options: license a current engine, or make their own. If there were a third option -- use an industry-leading, open-source engine -- wouldn't *everyone* use the Doom 3 engine? Would this promote innovation in video game graphics, or would it prevent it? (I agree with the article, btw -- I think it would only enhance innovation.) Surely, the development of other engines, such as the Unreal or Crytek (etc) engines, would suffer as a result. (Perhaps they could be open source too?) Would the availability of such open source technology spur a rash of el cheapo, garage developers, flooding the market with products that possibly do not do the source code its based on justice? Surely this would sink the PC game industry as we know it -- the multi-billion dollar industry that it is, where developers spend lots of money and stand to make even more. But would this necessarily be a bad thing??

The concept of an engine the calibre of Doom 3's gusto being open-source is tantalising. I look at what garage developers are doing with the Quake 2 source code, and I'm really proud of id for committing that code to the gaming and programming community.

An open-source engine the likes of the Doom 3 technology would absolutely change the gaming the world and so many other technological industries. It's a crazy thought. This message was edited Aug 5, 2004 10:05 PM

Aug 05, 2004
5:52 AM EDT
Its an interesting concept, perhaps something along the lines of the Trolltech QT licensing model could be used, open for non-commercial use, and paid for commercial use might work. Although i believe their current strategy is a good one for leverageing maximum payback for their engine research and development and at a later stage opening it up for community use, its a win win situation for iD.

For now i think iD has it right.

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