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A Look at Open Source Software and Game Development


To start, we want to cover a bit about what exactly open source software is and its effect on modern game development. Open source can be thought about as decision that starts with the creator of the software. It is a way to give permission to other game and software developers to collaborate with each other to improve or modify the original program. It is a commitment to the entire design process and the game design community. Open source refers to completely accessible source code and in many cases, the design elements that are associated with that software.

Enhancement is also an important part of the open source philosophy. Game source code has for the most part been proprietary software with licenses held only by the creators. This is especially true with gaming engines which are sold to gaming companies for development. However, in the case of a few game developers such as ID Software, they released their source code for games like Quake and Quake 2 which created a very large community of game mods and may have even launched a few careers in the gaming industry.

The most important factor of open source software is that the developer has much more control over what they can create. The programmer is able to change portions of the code or even remove those that are not to their liking. This is especially a boon for programmers that are just learning to code as it assists them in becoming more proficient at programming.

Another positive aspect of open source code is that, when there is a community attached to the particular code, bugs are detected and fixed much faster than code that is shielded from the public. Does open source mean free games and free software?

In fact, while most open source products are free, the developers are permitted to charge for their product. The licensing for open source software often and almost always requires the developer to keep the code open. Because of this, most programmers simply release their creation as a free product.

However, it is not uncommon to find that a developer will charge for other supplemental services related to the installation of the software. This would be something like paid tech support for the product.