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EA will be releasing the C&C Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert source code under GPL3 (reddit.com)
993 points by haunter 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 246 comments





One of the best things that could happen to the gaming landscape would be if companies like EA and similar learned from Microsoft's move to open sourcing more software and involving the community more gives them a lot more goodwill and business as a side-effect.

And then us gamers get more long-lived games as a benefit as well.


But Microsoft has not open sourced anything that was making $ for them. Neither windows nor any part of office, or any part of enterprise suite. What Microsoft has open sourced are things where similar stuff was already open source, and Microsoft wouldn't have made much money selling those. e.g, VSCode, tyepscript.

EA also open sources stuff like that. They even have open sourced a java library to be able to write async await style code in java. They off course won't open source money making games, and neither does MSFT.


We probably don't expect these companies to open source their primary competitive advantages. We expect them to open source things once good_will_value > expected_sales_volume for a given title/piece of software.

The thing is right now Microsoft is getting into the habit of open sourcing things that hit that criteria, and EA is just flatly evaluating that to False every the time. Even when they aren't actively selling a title they own the rights to. The expected value of a title you don't sell is $0 [0], so in effect they're valuing goodwill negatively!

When it's framed that way, it's actually pretty dumb for EA not to be making that calculation. If they do and open source more low sales titles, EA will make more money from better goodwill, and consumers will get more value from older games

[0] This isn't strictly true, because they retain the rights to sell the title in the future, and that option is worth something. But barring very strange circumstances, we expect that if an old title isn't worth the effort to sell today, it likely won't be in the future either. The option is not worth a ton vs. the goodwill of open sourcing it.


>We expect them to open source things once good_will_value > expected_sales_volume for a given title/piece of software. The thing is right now Microsoft is getting into the habit of open sourcing things that hit that criteria,

Which of their former good selling products has microsoft open sourced? Which of the microsoft open source projects were formerly for sale. I am very sure it would be very very few, and only in those areas where open source competitors are already strong.

EA does tons of stuff open source. Have a look at their GitHub. I am not even sure microsoft has made a similar amount of their internal libraries a available.


From GitHub:

Electronic Arts: 27 repos

Azure: 1.8k repos

n.b., I work in Azure, make your own conclusions.


It's mostly templates, SDKs, etc.

MS is open-sourcing the pieces of cheese that lead to their proprietary cloud-shaped trap. I don't think they've open-sourced anything related to Azure itself (i.e. if I wanted to run my own Azure-like cloud).

I'm not saying it's a bad or even unethical strategy. I'm just saying that MS is not, remotely, an open-source company.


Service Fabric is open source. SF is basically what powers Azure and tons of other MS cloud based software like sql azure https://github.com/Azure/service-fabric

I would actually go so far as to say it is an unethical strategy. It's just a popular one. And a very successful one.


How about VSCode and .Net Core?

I work with asp.net web api and angular (typescript) but I think the point stands.

> Which of their former good selling products has microsoft open sourced?

Neither Visual Studio Code nor .NET core fits this criteria. Visual Studio IDE is not free and open source and neither is the older version of .NET framework.

Launch a .NET core application inside visual studio code. Even that comes with a warning saying you can only use the debugger within certain limited situations.


So it's quantity v. quality. As others said, don't pretend to make people believe you have 1.800 repos worth of useful software. EA may have only 27, but at least it's something you may benefit from even if you're not a customer of theirs.

I don’t pretend that 1.8k are super useful, but I’m still measuring apples to apples. I looked at the EA repos before posting. There’s a few C++ libs, some forks of Kubernetes components that don’t seem active, and some other misc stuff. It’s meaningful, sure, but I think MS does provide plenty of high quality code to close the difference.

Honest question, approximately what percentage of those repositories are original works and what percentage are forks?

The difference is that Electronic arts publishes things that I might actually use, unlike Azure.

there are plenty of use cases for the azure stuff, even if you personally don't see a use for it.

Are we on Reddit?

[flagged]


Posting like this will get you banned here regardless of how right you are or feel you are. If you wouldn't mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and sticking to the rules when posting here, we'd be grateful.

We've had to ask you this before recently, too, which is not good. Would you please take the intended spirit of the site more to heart?


Did someone forget?

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

I'm really not sure where your vitriol for Azure is coming from. If you want to respond to the point, you should -- if you can avoid going off because you have an axe to grind with Microsoft.

And the point about emails is a real head-scratcher. Most of us have been online for a long, long time. I expect there are quite a few people working at Big X with a @hotmail, @gmail, @yahoo, hell, @sbcglobal personal email that they use for the rest of their online life.


> Microsoft is garbage and you know it, that’s why you use gmail.

Hot take. How about simply that they have had their email address a lot longer than they've worked at Microsoft?


Some even prefer to use a different email service other than the one run by their employer.

Not OP, but hotmail predates gmail.

Sure, but that doesn't mean anything in this case.

This kind of attack is uncalled for. Please avoid this.

One aspect EA might be considering are potential losses in other product lines, say if fans were to expand old games with new campaigns that are better than what EA is offering today.

For Microsoft this seems to have worked out fine - they’ve helped create an eco system around VS Code and now they are integrating it in all sorts of ways with their paid services.


> One aspect EA might be considering are potential losses in other product lines, say if fans were to expand old games with new campaigns that are better than what EA is offering today.

Valve especially has made a ton of money buying and selling fanmade expansions to their games, way more than they would have by not allowing mods


Good point, it really depends on how companies decide to look at this topic and what they decide to optimize. The „old“ Microsoft probably wouldn’t have created a platform for Mac devs deploying on Linux as another comment in this thread described.

I don't think people understand how large of a funnel VS Code is. Half the keystrokes I type in a day end up in a Microsoft product, as I dev on a mac and deploy to Linux. Crazy times.

You’re moving the goal posts.

Is he? He's just saying both MS and EA are equivalent in what they open source right now.

MS is open sourcing their platforms which is more valuable than their products from a community benefit perspective.

EA has open sourced tons of their internal libraries which are "more valuable than their products from a community benefit perspective." Just take a look at their GitHub. What "platform" of theirs has MSFT open sourced? Which of those were an important platform of MSFT. EA is atleast releasing something which made them money as open source.

> What "platform" of theirs has MSFT open sourced? Which of those were an important platform of MSFT?

Uhh, .NET?


I thought mono was developed by a team outside Microsoft.

Microsoft open sourced all of dotnet. Runtime, class library, everything.

All of .net is open source? So you can now run any winforms or wpf app in the operating system of your choice? That's great.

Winforms is a thin wrapper around windows APIs, so no, you can’t.

Not the debugger it seems :(

What about SONiC?

https://azure.github.io/SONiC/

OSS NOS that runs in white box hardware from Broadcom, Mellanox, Centec, etc. ASIC driver includes closed source items depending on the ASIC vendor.

Now to be fair they are doing this to force the traditional switch vendors to support what they need to run their network at a lower cost. Both Arista and Juniper support SONiC on their HW and I believe (fact not in cache right now) that Cisco supports the SAI configuration layer.


I believe a good portion of Mechcommander 2 source code was made open source (enough to compile and play it), although I don't know if the licence fit the definition of open-source

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MechCommander_2

* https://web.archive.org/web/20161220070747/https://www.neowi...


That´s good learning by Microsoft: In the 1990s they "competed" against Netscape with the "free" web browser... it was shocking that they gave it for free, but in reality they were buying eyeballs.

Nowadays, they have seen that if they provide software as "open source", and not only "free", not only do they get eyeballs, they also get "feel good" points from the community, and I assume they use that to attract customers to their revenue streams (Azure I guess).


> it was shocking that they gave it for free

It certainly shocked the developers of its engine. They licensed it to Microsoft for a share of the profit and ended up suing Microsoft over that stunt.


That's very interesting! Do you happen to have any reference where I can read more about it? (a search on internet explorer profit licensed lawsuit didn't show anything relevant).

They may not have actually sued, just threatened Microsoft with an audit.[1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyglass,_Inc.#Browser_wars


Source code without assets is not game, it is just code

VSCode was a fork of the open-source project Atom, and it was never closed-source as far as I know.

VSCode was not a fork of Atom. They started afresh. This is possibly why it’s much more performant than Atom.

Interesting, I always thought VSCode was a fork of Atom.

After some research, it looks like electron was previously called Atom-shell, which is where the confusion comes from for a lot of people.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17221917


It's also interesting to note that the core editor component/library of VSCode (called Monaco) predates Atom. It was used in a variety of places in Azure even before Atom built Atom-shell/Electron, and got a lot of early stress testing in powering the Dev Tools source code views in IE as far back as at least IE 10, IIRC.

I wonder if we could create a tax incentive for this. For example, if a publisher commits to open sourcing N years after release, they get a break on sales. Or get to capitalise R&D more aggressively during development.

I would love to see it applied also to hardware, so that for example when a 8 years old phone that nobody would buy anymore gets opened (including chipsets) small Linux distros can be ported to it, turning it into a hacking platform, IoT terminal, media player, navigator, etc. instead of a paperweight, or worse, more junk into some 3rd world landfill.

IMHO, I think this counters a philosophical point of open source software.

The open code to the software we use should not be a handout or a gift ex post facto.

The open code to the software should be an invitation: to collaborate on it, audit it, or frankly do anything you want with it (e.g. WTFPL); before, during, and after using it.


There are times to hold fast to ideals, and times when demanding purity is self-destructive. (And of course wisdom is knowing the difference, and much harder than it looks.)

Open source should be a big tent - it should be an answer to questions people have many different motives for asking. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.


The old cathedral vs bazaar argument never goes away ;)

That's like saying "landlords shouldn't be incentivized to hand over apartment over to residents after x years, because all housing should be publicly held"

You're not wrong, but given the world we live in the incentive would be better. And I would say that's the sort of "non-reformist reform" that's liable to push towards the ideal, not appease and reinforce the status quo.


> That's like saying "landlords shouldn't be incentivized to hand over apartment over to residents after x years, because all housing should be publicly held"

> You're not wrong

"Not wrong" seems like a... generous... description of this viewpoint. Lots of places tried the system of "all housing is publicly held"; it was not a success.


Ironically of course WTFPL is in fact not "do anything you want with it" despite the claims of the author and fans of the license.

https://opensource.google/docs/thirdparty/licenses/#wtfpl-no...

https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/29718/is-the-wtfpl-g...


I'd never read that Google page before. I can't make sense of the section there named The ‘restricted’ licenses. It says:

> Third-party software made available under one of these licenses must not be part of Google products that are delivered to outside customers.

This policy covers all 3 versions of the GPL. And yet they made Android, based on the Linux kernel.


It’s really quite infuriating to me that I can’t just say “yeah I made this, but anyone can have it.”

I mean, really. It just seems batshit insane to me that this is problematic.



It's the original spirit/sentiment behind patent law and copyright law. Copyright sort of lost the thread on that one over the course of its extensions, but in the case of the book the "source code" to construct the book is very similar to the contents of the book and a limited copyright term was supposed to imply that eventually the public would have access to it after the brief monopoly rights granted to the creators of the work.

As copyright pushed to things beyond books that also made it easy to forget that original "open source" idealism behind copyright. It's tougher to build a new movie out of the components of a published movie than to build books from the components of published books.

Patent law is where the idea was applied to something that needed "source control preserved": describe an invention in complete detail in a public registry so that others can recreate and get a powerful limited monopoly on it, but as soon as that limit hits everyone should be able to recreate it.

Software patents have long been a mockery of that original spirit of patent law, but "open source projects by companies get stronger piracy protection/what have you for the first X years of their registered life" is really what software patents should have been in the first place, based on the original goals of what patents were for.


"You can't take a dying project, sprinkle it with the magic pixie dust of "open source," and have everything magically work out." -- jwz, 1999

Create that tax incentive, and 99% of publishers will slap the "open source" label on something 5 or 10 years old which is completely unmaintained, unusably buggy, and virtually unreadable. Nothing of value will be gained, and big companies will have yet another tax loophole.


This would be a great idea. Could probably have larger and more beneficial results than the government just funding research projects.

A lot of newer games probably include middleware licensed from other companies that make relicensing more challenging

And also, art assets - I've touched on this briefly with an older game from the studio where I work, and basically we could probably release the source code, but since it was a racing game we couldn't release the art assets as they are copyrighted by car manufacturers(or at least it would be a significantly complicated legal problem to not be worth the time).

I believe that's standard and well-understood; Quake's source code has famously been GPL for decades (thanks, Carmack!), but all the data files (e.g. art assets) remain copyrighted.

You can always release the game with some generic art and offer the copyrighted assets in a shop. With some luck the game becomes popular and people add further assets to your shop. Demand some commission and you may have created a cash cow.

Sure, but this particular game was from the late 90s - we looked at re-exporting some of the assets and I have no idea how you'd even approach it without significant time investment, the tools used to make the original art no longer exist(we have the source code for the game, but not for the tools used at the time, I've gone through stacks of old CDs that had backups and 9/10 discs were just gone, completely corrupted), or used hardware that would be difficult to source(like cutscenes made on silicon graphics machines, there is no good way to edit and export these project files on modern machines)

I’ve got a top-spec Octane2 with all the development tools that’s languishing and needs to be put to work.

I’m sure I’m not the only one (though the number is vanishingly small). It’s difficult to know how large the community is without nekochan.

Hope springs eternal. :)


As a former SGI user, I'm afraid we'll never see emulation happen.

SGI emulation has been a thing since the late 90's with SimOS (console only though) and more recently with MAME (full support for Irix desktop) as well as user space emulation with qemu-irix.

I'm running a Irix 6.2 desktop on my PC right now.

Also fun fact: up to version 6 of the MIPS port of NetBSD, you could run Irix binaries. I'm pretty sure it can boot in qemu-mips which would be another avenue for some ability to run certain Irix software on PC.


For some reason this has completely bypassed me! I've been taking care of my Octane and Indigo2 so I can open my old PA and SI|3D files.. I will definitely look at this.


I'd say go for it and release just the source code, no assets. If there's enough people with the time and passion to recreate/replace the assets, they will. If not, no harm done :)

Car manufacturers are also specifically notorious for being terrible counterparties in any negotiation

This is why the original Doom (1992) source release had no sound, for example.

Bink Video is another common obstacle for games from the mid-to-late-'90s.

> A lot of newer games probably include middleware licensed from other companies that make relicensing more challenging

Commonly Physics Engines, like Havok and others.


Also, the SDKs for console ports may be under NDA. I’m looking at you, Nintendo Switch.

Microsoft XBox, Sony Playstation, this is not unique to Nintendo.

No real reason to call nintendo out here, every console i know of has been that way for many generations.

The reverse happened. MS learned from EA. The source for the first simcity was released in 2008, back when MS was still calling GPL and Linux cancer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SimCity_(1989_video_game)#Micr...

Can't wait for MS to learn from EA and open source Windows 95.


Microsoft did open source 1983's DOS: https://github.com/Microsoft/MS-DOS

Given they've only made it to DOS 2.0 so far, it might take them a while to open source Windows 95, but it no longer seems like an impossibility either.


Well, the first thing I thought while reading this was that it would have been great if Microsoft had released the source code of Age of Empires with the release of the Definitive Edition, as well as considered a LAN mode.

Unfortunately, while AoE2:DE is an awesome game, they have done neither…

Good thing that there are projects like OpenAge going on!


id Software, a much smaller company, open sourced the source code of almost all their games and ported them to operating systems known not to be profitable. The benefits of those altruistic decisions are simply unmeasurable. They did all this while still having to work an insane amount of hours to ship their ambitious products.

For example, not long ago, Quake II RTX was released by NVIDIA as a way to demonstrate the advanced raytracing capabilities of their new RTX cards. A decision made in 2001 (open sourcing Quake II) continues to benefit the world today.

Decades ago, Sun Microsystems open sourced OpenOffice, Java and Solaris. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice and is one of the few office suites available free of cost.

Before Microsoft acquired Github, Github open sourced Atom, an editor similar in scope to VS Code. They also open sourced Electron, which is the framework used by VS Code.

Smaller companies have been doing much more. Microsoft has open sourced some interesting projects, but to say that companies are open sourcing projects because Microsoft is a pioneer in open source is just 4/20 talk.

Microsoft will never open source strategic projects like DirectX, Microsoft Office, SQL server or Windows. They will keep making money hand over fist.


In this vein, Frictional Games (Amnesia The Dark Descent) released their first game and game engine.

https://github.com/FrictionalGames


And Warzone 2100 http://wz2100.net/

https://github.com/electronicarts/EASTL

EA has a few things open sourced.


They don't want long-lived games. They want you to buy new games

... or semi-long-lived games you keep being squeezed for until they shut off the servers, as is the current fad.

You have to ask, "what would it hurt?".

Imagine if Bungie open-sourced Destiny and Destiny 2.

Sure, you don't have to buy the game anymore to get the software, but they also don't have to let you onto their immersive and highly moderated and orchestrated servers. They can offer their own signed builds that you need to access the official universe.

So you could still break the game apart and build new content for fun, but the main game could still stand on its own and still be easy to sell to people because you're not selling the world, you're selling the experience.


They wouldn't be able to discourage private servers. Unquestionably legitimate private servers have a huge advantage over the official, for-pay server.

Beyond goodwill – which imho would likely be relatively minor given what the average gamer cares about – open-sourcing in the hopes of stimulating mod support is a very cool idea. It looks like EA is providing a map editor, but having the DLLs out there makes it more possible for dedicated users to really tinker with game logic and internals, and (hopefully) create the kind of ongoing sophisticated DLC for other players that EA isn't willing to create and sell itself.

I wonder if active support for open source by game companies will eventually reap the benefits it ostensibly does for big tech companies. For example, by open sourcing React, FB not only can influence JS frameworks in general, it can cultivate a hiring pool of engineers already familiar or proficient with React internals. There's already limited precedent with game companies hiring creators of big-time mods (Valve hiring the creator of Dota). But I'd think more open source support and reducing the friction for fans to become creators would surface even more talent.


> EA is providing a map editor

The original Red Alert came with a map editor way back when as well :-)

It's probably been 22 years (!!), but IIRC it was strictly for editing terrain only. You couldn't place buildings, place units, or script scenarios.


Anyone remember the v2 rashdown map that someone made which became popular online? Bottleneck at either side, tanks through the middle, Tesla towers and v2 rockets to shoot over the rocks.

Seems like now there should be a universal map format and then a compiler to target different backends. I know each engine has its own capabilities and bugs, but it would be sweet to be able create a level using a universal format and run on unreal, unity, quake3, etc.

This goes at least as far back as Doom/Quake/Wolf3D(?) from ID software. Literal decades before MS started opening things.

> And then us gamers get more long-lived games as a benefit as well.

Which is only in the interesst of small companies, but against the interesst of big companies. Basically any single-game-company has a strong interesst in a long-selling game, take Minecraft, Stardew Valley or League of Legends. They are selling the same game for a decade and make good money with it. Though in case of League of Legends it's "game as a service"-approach, not just a single game without any extras.

Big companies like EA on the other side invest regulary in development of new games and need people to buy them all. Thouhg, they do have those "game as a service"-types too, for example Sims, which get's flooded with small extra-content, skins and little crap. Allowing modding there would totally kill this business-concept, because then people would not need anymore to buy the costly stuff from EA, but get it for free from somewhere.


> learn from Microsoft

Apparently, Microsoft is now the exemplary open source hero. Previous to them, there was none other to learn from.


Of course not, but I think Microsoft is the biggest example of a huge company turning around from "open source is cancer" to "let's try to do open source for some things".

I'm sure there are more examples of companies embracing open source after previously looking down on it, maybe you have some names handy?


It's not important what any other company has done. Motivations and end goal is. Microsoft's embrace might be a vampire's.

Long term, the involvement of companies like Microsoft in OSS and OSS communities might be damaging, not beneficial.


Microsoft embracing things is definitely not a good thing. There are plenty of reasons to put irrelevant stuff on their very own Github, but altruism is very down on that list when it comes to enterprise, especially Microsoft. Fool me once and all that. Microsoft might be pioneering the wolf in sheep clothing model, but I for one, better liked the honest, openly hostile approach.

I'm going to reconsider my point when everyone can compile their own fork of Windows and Office.


There is also the https://www.openra.net/ project which provides reimplementations of the classic C&C games. Me and some friends played it a few times on Linux, OSX and Windows and it worked smoothly :)

Direct link to OpenRA's 4/20/20 release highlights video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2sQP3YYBMA

As noted elsewhere ITT, "we made the decision to go with the GPL license to ensure compatibility with projects like CnCNet and Open RA."

Given the progress of OpenRA, and quality of the above release video, the open source version seems like it is likely to eclipse the capability of the original game in the foreseeable future.

I'm curious what the OpenRA community pulls out of this newly released source code that can be used directly or by reimplemented in OpenRA to create substantial leaps in progress.

I'm also curious which of the existing OpenRA algorithms and methods are better or more efficient than the original source.

Regardless, this release and the resulting introspective should make for some good reading!


What I like about OpenRA is that they not only extended the game, but also rebalanced it. A lot of units have behavioral changes on purpose. Artillery, GPS, helicopters, mammoth tanks, tesla infantry... they all allow quick changes of strategy and don’t allow the old style gameplay of just spamming mammoth tanks.

The only thing that is unbalanced at the moment is sea vs land. Allied cruisers with GPS are just overpowered and almost unconquerable.


Allied cruisers with GPS were always OP, to be fair.

What’s interested me about projects like this is the how of it all? Are they decompiling binaries to help write their version? Copying assets/textures/sounds? Or is it a painstaking clean room type of implementation?

It varies from project to project but I think usually they reverse engineer the asset formats and then reimplement the game engine to use that. Then you have to provide your own copy of the original game to use the assets (graphics & levels), or use demo versions.

Some games are decompiled versions of of the code, e.g. Devilution which I'm fairly sure is not legal (though I doubt anyone is going to care).


The Remaster is a visual and auditory improvement that maintains the original gameplay, save for a few minor UI improvements.

OpenRA rebalances the game significantly, improves the AI, and greatly modernises the interaction with units.

They both have their place and utility.


Also OpenRA is an engine so is supports Dune 2000 to some extend. This game is less famous but I love the tactical opportunities offered by the various type of soil.

Dune 2000 was my childhood RTS and deserves way more love. Brilliant live action video cutscenes, music, and unit design. I've always found it to be more interesting than the Dune world in general

Open RA takes some liberties and so isn't really a good comparision. https://github.com/TheAssemblyArmada and https://github.com/OpenDUNE/OpenDUNE are extremely faithful, and probably why this is happening (CCHyper from TheAssemblyArmada is on the community Council, for example).

I didn't know about these projects yet. They look impressive as well, but are currently Windows only, which is a deal breaker for me.

They are only Windows only because one needs to completely re-the game before porting it. With the source release I am not sure exactly what will happen, but I imagine we'll get Linux versions soon :).

Love OpenRA and play a few times each month. They release regular updates, and the gameplay is just as I remember it.

Cannot wait for the Tiberian Sun variant (currently under development).

There is also Open Source Game Clones [0]

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20110442


> After discussing with the council members, we made the decision to go with the GPL license to ensure compatibility with projects like CnCNet and Open RA. Our goal was to deliver the source code in a way that would be truly beneficial for the community, and we hope this will enable amazing community projects for years to come.

Sweet.


People pining for other games might find this list handy: https://osgameclones.com

Didn't know there were a lot of them! Thank you for sharing!

As someone who got to be quite good at Red Alert back in the late 1900's, I look forward to taking a look.

While the commercial value of the code dropped to about 0 over a decade ago (or did it?), eventual release of source code is better than never releasing source code.


I laughed at "1900's" — technically, you could have gone with "1000's" just as well :)

Or "last millennium"

https://cncnet.org/ certainly still has players

I can't wait till they release the source code for FIFA 20 in about 2045. There is so much speculation in the community on how the game is rigged that I will be the first to download that repo ;-)

Wonderful. Now please open-source SimCity 2013 so we can fix it.

If you're looking to just play the classic C&C games including Red Alert, either single player or multiplayer, check out cncnet.org.

I've been playing old classic multiplayer games with some friends while we're isolating. Halo 1 for PC, BF1942, Battlefield II. All free or like 5$.

Red Alert mostly ok under WINE on OSX or Linux but it prompted me to get windows running on a machine.


Battlefield 2 can't be bought nowadays, but that doesn't stop a small community from working on mods even now. Forgotten Hope 2, one its biggest mods (a complete WW2 overhaul), had a new release last Friday.

That’s awesome! I’ll check it out.

Forgotten Hope was originally a badass mod for BF42 that added a ton of extra units. That and Desert Combat got me into gaming and modding back in the early 00’s!

I learned how to write scripts and markdown running cod and BF servers.


Battlefield 2 was the last battlefield game I really enjoyed, after that the scale of the game got a lot smaller it seemed. Other than the kinda clunky gunplay it feels like the high point of the series to me still.

Many of the community mods have excellent gunplay. I really recommend playing them. The 2005 graphics are offset by the very high framerate we can achieve on modern hardware. Also mods like forgotten hope have fixed many of the original game 's bugs.

Do you still need a valid product license to play online anymore?

Officially yes. In reality no.

Forgotten Hope 2 has its own workarounds and launcher. Other mods (and vanilla players) use BF2Hub, which wraps around bf2.exe I think to redirect DNS calls to the defunct EA and gamespy servers.


I used this guide last week, it worked and now we play on TheGreatEscape where there are ~20-40 players nightly.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Battlefield/comments/6xx6za/bfl_the...

edit: this was for BF1942. We haven't tried BF2.


The post mentions TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll, I assume it's not the whole source of the games, is it?

Most likely the whole engine and the bare metal game without the arts/graphics and music/sound. That's how a lot of opensource clones work.

For example OpenTTD [0] was reverse engineered and you have 2 options to actually play the game

- either have the original game and use the arts/graphics and music/sound data from the original files

- use the open source remake of the arts/graphics and music/sound

The 2nd option where a lot of open source clones fail. It's one thing to have the engine and the bare metal game but the actual arts/graphics usually takes more time to recreate. That's where OpenTTD is really successful because you can just download the game and play.

As another example an open source clone of Red Alert already exist [1] but it's just the engine. To actually play you need the original arts/graphics

0 https://www.openttd.org/

1 https://www.openra.net/


To just make it playable you can just have any bunch of people with suitable tools make placeholder art, a sprite that says "TANK" on it is good enough for the tank moving code to run.

But that looks really bad, and to make it look good (as almost any even mid-budget video game looks) you need an art director who can deliver consistency. For a small game that art director might also just make all the art, so it ends up consistent that way, but games even from the C&C era are too big for that to be realistic, so now you've got several (and maybe hundreds of) volunteers making art and they need to obey that director's stylistic vision or the result is something that lay people can see is "wrong" but they aren't sure exactly why.

There's a little element of this in the programming side. One guy who stubbornly insists on calling loop variables 'x' another insists they should be named 'k' and three others who don't care can already get heated. Or maybe you've run into somebody who believes code should use character U+0009 for indentation instead of using U+0020 as god intended. But the players won't notice that part, whereas if the art isn't consistent that's very visible and detracts from the experience.


>Or maybe you've run into somebody who believes code should use character U+0009 for indentation

"The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning." John 3:8


"These shall ye use of all that are in the charcodes: whatsoever hath US-ASCII in the keyboards, in the memories, and in the disks, them shall ye use.

And all that have unicodes in the keyboards, and in the memories, of all that move in the disks, and of any living thing which is in the extended ranges, they shall be an abomination unto you."


That effect is pretty visible even in the successful open projects like Wesnoth. Love it to death, like much of the art in isolation, but sometimes you get pretty jarring clashes in style.

At least with OpenRA you can legally download the original game content ISO CD images (EA released them as free(beer)-ware a while ago) - the only thing missing is about half of the single-player campaign missions as OpenRA can’t play the original game missions directly so the project’s contributors recreate them by-hand,

> you can legally download the original game content ISO CD images (EA released them as free(beer)-ware a while ago)

Is it possible to download these ISOs from EA today? On Origin, Red Alert is only available as part of the Command & Conquer The Ultimate Collection, which isn't free of charge.


It was mirrored on FilePlanet IIRC. This was about 8-9 years ago though.

its missing missions? my openra has missions, i thought it would have been complete. only thing i noticed its missing is the so awful they are amazing videos

> its missing missions? my openra has missions

Only about half of the missions


If I remember correctly, in the early Days of OpenTTD you basically were lost without the files from the original. It took quite a while for the artwork to catch up and finally surpass the original.

The solarus engine is undertaking similar steps currently. It was originally released with a zelda fan game and alongside(but not included with) an a Link to the Past asset pack. Recently though the devs have been working on open source/CC replacements for all the proprietary graphics and sound.

Here’s the language they use:

“Electronic Arts will be releasing the TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll and their corresponding source code under the GPL version 3.0 license”

I assume “their corresponding source code” means “the code for those DLLs”, but I do wonder why they bother mentioning the DLLs at all.


Even weirder considering the games were for DOS originally - and DOS doesn’t use DLLs at all.

They released remastered versions of both for windows, so maybe that was the most readily available version of the source code they had.

They probably wrote some kind of generic loader or wrapper for starting these games for pretty much exactly this reason (them being originally DOS games, thus expecting a DOS environment). The games then are compiled as DLLs and act like some kind of plugin for the generic loader, which is a self-sufficient project compiled into an executable.

IIRC Red Alert came with a DOS version and a DirectX 3 version for Windows 95

two separate double CD cases, I think?

Just two CDs. One with the Soviet campaign videos and the other with the Allied campaign videos. Other then that, both discs contained full copies of the game for both DOS and Windows 95 - users were encouraged to lend the other disc to a friend so you could play multiplayer.

This continued with Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2. Generals came on two CDs but it used the “install disc” + “play disc” system rather than the “lend one to a friend” model used previously. Then CNC3 was released on a single DVD.


What a stunning era that was. I remember swapping discs with my friend after I finished one campaign.

I remember my friend borrowing the soviet disc and never giving it back... Til this day I've never played the soviet campaign.

I'm pretty sure it was only one CD. Keep in mind that the 600MB of CD was just huge at the time, so more than enough place for both versions.

At the time I had only an old 486 with a 500MB disk under DOS, and I played this game quite extensively.

I even remember cutting the sound to gain a few FPS, which enabled me to go from "unplayable" to "barely usable" ^^.


Red Alert was released on two CD's, Allied and Soviet, mostly because they each had the video clips for the campaign you were playing.

Same applies for Tiberian Sun. GDI and NOD CD's.

I have them all via the "The Command & Conquer Collection" released back in 2003.

Source:

Red Alert: https://i.imgur.com/xD7j08b.jpg

Tiberian Sun: https://i.imgur.com/xD7j08b.jpg


I have an edition of Red Alert somewhere that includes the expansions as well, which adds up to 4 CDs. It sounds big, but it's not unheard of in this era. Riven was released on 5 CDs and The 7th Guest on 7 CDs, if I remember correctly.

I think this code release is to enable mods only. To make it possible to develop a MyGame.dll with custom behaviour and/or art. It wont be possible to make a total conversion, standalone.

So the talk about open source might just be marketing fluff.


> these open-source DLLs should assist users to design maps, create custom units, replace art, alter gameplay logic, and edit data

The pathfinding code and the networking will be interesting to look at.

Explanation of RTs networking in that period:

https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131503/1500_archers_o...

I did a Python implementation here: https://github.com/eamonnmr/openlockstep


Any bites? Anybody make a game with your tech?

None yet, but I don't really blame them. As-is it uses TCP rather than UDP. Also, if you want to prototype an RTS you'd probably make a mod for Starcraft II - the air is, I think, well and truly sucked out of the room.

With regard to pathfinding, there is this great video on some of their challenges at the time [1].

1. https://youtu.be/S-VAL7Epn3o?t=414


So they're releasing the code?

But what about the art assests. Moving to the future, those become more valuable, particularly as coding becomes more advanced. While coders have a habit of happily rewriting things to make them work better, visual stuff has a lot more nostalgia factor, as well as actually having them available makes the progress made on the code side seem a lot more real.

Surely this isn't the only game where code is only part of the issue (if it is, I really don't know what the plan is in this instance).


Also here https://www.ea.com/games/command-and-conquer/command-and-con...

They also confirmed it will be in C++


If you want to see what can be done with a donated codebase, look up Freespace Open[1], which, from the original code of Freespace 2 from Volition (a game I loved, but that wasn't very successful) was improved a great deal by the community around it, with several improvements to assets, game engine, and even generated several total conversions.

[1] http://www.hard-light.net/


Would be glorious if at some point they also released sources for the voxel RTS's (Tiberian Sun, RA2).

I'd rather play those two games using OpenRA. Releasing Tiberium Sun (> 20 years old) RedAlert 2 (also 20 years old) would be a great move that actually made a difference.

I've found Generals fun too. Specially multiplayer.

I would absolutely love to see the Tiberian Sun engine's source code. The graphics setup is totally unique-sprites and voxels coexisting in a 2.5d world with lighting. Lighting! Used to great effect in the dark and grimy graphics.

Apparently the old EA head has moved on to be the Unity CEO. Good for EA, but makes me worry about Unity

To his credit, in 2007 when John Riccitiello was CEO of EA, he was instrumental in supporting our successful campaign to relicense the original source code of SimCity Classic free under GPLv3 and bring it to the OLPC XO-1 children's computer.

EA Donates Original City-Building Game, SimCity, to ''One Laptop per Child'' Initiative: https://ir.ea.com/press-releases/press-release-details/2007/...

>REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 8, 2007--Today Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced the company will donate the original SimCity™ -- the blockbuster 1989 game credited with giving rise to the city-building game genre -- to each computer in the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative. OLPC is a not-for-profit humanitarian effort to design, manufacture and distribute inexpensive laptops with the goal of giving every child in the world access to modern education. By gifting SimCity onto each OLPC laptop, EA is providing users with an entertaining way to engage with computers as well as help develop decision-making skills while honing creativity. This is the first time a major video game publisher has gifted a game to the world.

Open Sourcing SimCity, by Chaim Gingold: https://medium.com/@donhopkins/open-sourcing-simcity-58470a2...

>Excerpt from page 289–293 of “Play Design”, a dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Doctor in Philosophy in Computer Science by Chaim Gingold.

>[...] The next chapter looks closely at the code to SimCity, which is possible only because it has been open sourced. There are few instances in which a company has open sourced the code to a commercial game, which makes the story of how this happened remarkable for a number of reasons. Recounting this story not only explains the provenance of my research materials, but reveals how social forces, in this case a heterogeneous collection of agents and agendas, shape software.

>[...] Surprisingly, Electronic Arts agreed to the arrangement. Their legal counsel, in consultation with Eben Moglen (Columbia Law Professor, general counsel to the FSF, and OLPC advisor), worked through the legal logistics. This effort was aided by Hopkins’s discovery and copying of the original Maxis/DUX licensing agreement, on a lark, while working on The Sims. Hopkins did the coding work of the conversion. EA executives approved of the endeavor, no doubt aided by Will Wright’s legendary persuasiveness and considerable prestige, not to mention the prestige of the OLPC project itself. [...]

Demo of SimCity on OLPC XO-1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpKhh10K-j0

>OLPC SimCity Demo: A demonstration of OLPC SimCity running on the One Laptop Per Child XO-1 laptop.

OLPC / EA Contract: https://donhopkins.com/home/olpc-ea-contract.pdf

>This license and distribution agreement (this "Agreement") is entered into as of September 4, 2007 (the “Effective Date”) by and between ELECTRONIC ARTS INC., a Delaware corporation with its principal offices at 209 Redwood Shores Parkway, Redwood City, CA 94065-1175 (“EA”) and ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD ASSOCIATION, INC., a Delaware corporation, located at One Cambridge Center, Cambridge MA, 02142 ( “OLPC”).

Free SimCity Source code: https://github.com/SimHacker/micropolis

>Open Source Micropolis, based on the original SimCity Classic from Maxis, by Will Wright.


why? what makes you say that?

Don't miss this open source re-release: https://github.com/Warzone2100/warzone2100

If you like strategy games


Hey EA, how about the Bullfrog games next?

Yea, I'd always wanted to make a Dungeon Keeper 2 clone. Please!

I wonder why it's not more common to open source abandonware that has exactly zero remaining commercial value. These game companies don't even have to remain as maintainers/stewards of the code. It doesn't even have to compile. Just release it, and many people will get it to work! How much expense could it be to get an intern to upload the code to GitHub, slap a license on it, and never look at it again?


War for the Overworld https://wftogame.com/ is basically DK3, down to having the original narrator from DK1/2.

I'm a big fan and played WFTO quite a bit at to the point it's hard to go back to DK2. Sadly their AI got much worse with the 2.0 patch and I gave it up.

There is a Dungeon Keeper 1 remake https://dungeonkeeper.fandom.com/wiki/Dungeon_Keeper_FX which similar to lots of these efforts uses the original artwork and sounds.

There are some other DK clones and descendants, but my second favorite would be the very late Dwelvers https://dwelvers.com/ which has been in development for an eternity and the developer shows up once or twice a year with an update. This is the most ambitious of the DK clones as it includes a much larger economy and even the long promised above ground!


Depending on how old it is, the source code probably doesn't actually exist in a lot of cases. Game studios weren't exactly up to the latest standards of version control, by and large. Maybe there was a self-hosted CVS instance, or a dusty old version of Perforce, or a NAS that had the drives fail eons ago...

Even in that case, the copyright holder could still "release" the published binaries under a FLOSS license, and encourage the community to reverse-engineer a viable source code out of them. An overt legal endorsement of such community efforts may be just as compelling as an actual source release.

> I wonder why it's not more common to open source abandonware that has exactly zero remaining commercial value.

If it's actually abandoned, then there's probably nobody around who can do that.

Otherwise, what's the incentive? And there's always someone who thinks they can milk the title by selling it in a retro bundle or a cheap remastered edition. Of course, these days you don't even need a remake to milk old titles.

https://www.gog.com/game/dungeon_keeper_2

https://www.gog.com/game/dungeon_keeper

https://www.gog.com/game/magic_carpet


Yes! The source for Magic Carpet would be awesome!

Let's check https://osgameclones.com/#magic-carpet-games : there's a ‘reverse engineering of game Magic Carpet 2 from assembler to c/c++ language’.

Found this Theme Hospital project recently, as long as you have a paid for version of the game, it works great https://github.com/CorsixTH/CorsixTH

There is also this clon— er, “spiritual successor”, which got some pretty good reviews: https://www.twopointhospital.com

It's also by the people who made the original.

The internal namespace is also TH2, I'm sure people can figure out what that stands for

I'd love to play Syndicate again.

Does anyone know if there are any similar modern games btw?


https://osgameclones.com/#syndicate-games : aside from FreeSynd, there's ‘Syndicate Wars Port’, but both are halted.

Satellite Reign is considered to be a modern take on Syndicate.


Awesome! thanks

Also, from the videos, Satellite Reign is the most atmospheric foggy neon I've seen in a long time—probably since some maps for Q3.


Syndicate pleeeeease :)

Meanwhile we have to enjoy Freesynd and Dosbox.

What does a "RedAlert.dll" actually contain? I guess it is not the remastered engine, it is not the models, animations or textures. It won't contain the mission briefing videos, the mission briefing texts or even the mission maps. It is likely not the multiplayer maps, the net code, and especially not the multiplayer server. And it sure is not the awesome music. That dll file might be mostly unit config, like the old rules.ini, but with a bit more code. It is still nice for modding, and the community will make "new games" for free, that will require the proprietary remastered engine and models/textures from EA to be played. Hey it is still EA. And €20 (one time) for the non-open sourced parts aren't even that much. So yeah if it would run on linux instead of DX11/Win64 only, i might even be interested, but i think i will stay with OpenRA.

Most of the rest of the game is already probably visible in plaintext. And the big thing is, they're not releasing the copyright to their intellectual property around Command & Conquer: So to legally use this, without providing your own assets, you have to own a copy of the game.

But presumably, if you own the game, you now have everything you need to modify it however you like.


That is my point.. reusing or remixing the assets, like their "mammoth tank but with another turret" example, is just barely fair use, provided it is a free2play mod on their engine. All this talk about "open source" sounds nice, but 95% of the game is still "proprietary" and most of the code is still closed and the whole thing is still mostly about selling the enhanced edition. Which is fine. The news is just very misleading until you read the fine print.

That us how many open-source games works.

They release it so that you can mod it, but they don't give the assets for free.

Why is that a problem? Everyone wins.


What's more, they already released the original assets for free. The ISOs can be freely traded.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Homeworld 1. Yeah it's not GPL, not even a proper open source license, it's also not well maintained like the id ones and Warzone 2100. But it really helps the mod community (and even helps the Remastered 10 years ago).

EA says "this will be one of the first major RTS franchises to open source their source code under the GPL". Well it's not GPL, but Relic is famous for it's RTS titles like Dawn of War, Company of Heroes (and now it's developing Age of Empires IV). Homeworld is one of the best RTS games for me (only second to C&C).

Sadly we can't get the source of Homeworld 2 (they even lost the source code of expansion pack), which the Remastered was built on.


I loved both of these games when they came out, but I'm completely shocked that enough people still play this game to make open sourcing the code 25 years later a newsworthy event.

Unfortunately, even though these games were really popular, there's nothing reasonably current with their style of RTS gameplay. I think the Age of Empires franchise was probably the last one that had the same feel to me. SC3 is more of a twitchy high-speed reflex game that's too hardcore for a casual like me. Modern mobile games go with the town + battles setup, probably because games need to keep drawing you in (and getting you to pay) and not just be a session when you want it.

It's probably that combined with the nostalgia of 'old folks' like me. I'd love to relive the Wilhelm scream and cheesy futurism of C&C. And I will always love the wololo of AoE.


Bingo - this genre as a whole has kinda died out. I played all the C&Cs religiously so I'm squarely in their target market and will probably pay for the remastered.

I wonder if the demands of their control scheme had something to do with it. Other genres of games translate pretty well to consoles and mobile. RTS games (of the classic sort such as C&C, TA, WC1&2) seem to demand enough precision that keyboard & mouse are essentially required to play. So many people have consoles, phones, iPads, and laptops now. These games would not be very playable on any of them unless you could connect a mouse.

Check out the OpenRA project https://www.openra.net/

They are not open sourcing the 25 year old games, they are open sourcing a small part of the enhanced edition (now in presale) to enable modding.

This news has me more stoked than I'd like to admit.

They're re-releasing it on Steam on June 5th as well: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1213210/Command__Conquer_.... Maybe the source release will allow for Mac and Linux versions.

It is not the engine source that is released, just the "engine plugins that specialize generic RTS engine into Red Alert / Tiberian Dawn".

Is opensourcing the main DLL file enough to consider the game opensource?

I assume there are other libraries, artwork, and some kind of launcher exe, which would presumably remain closed source.

I guess it really jumpstarts the efforts to make an opensource version of the game, but it really might still be a long way off yet.


I am really impressed that EA went with the GPL v3 license. I would have expected them to use the MIT license.

It's not surprising: The GPL mostly torpedoes commercial uses, and EA does not want to give their competitors code they can use in their own proprietary games.

There is nothing in the GPL that prohibits you from selling games:

https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DoesTheGPLAllowMon...


It does effectively prohibit you from competing with someone else who compiles there code and puts up a download link for free. The “but you can still charge money for it” aspect has always fallen flat, especially since most people won’t pay for disks containing something they could download online these days.

You could presumably make a derivative game using the engine, and sell the game's assets, while complying with the licensing terms on the engine code.

I don't know any examples of this happening, but we've seen the engine/assets distinction before when DOOM and Quake were opened. Their source code was released as Free and Open Source software, but the game assets remain payware to this day.



Yeah but if I use this GPL licensed code as the basis of a new game, I have to release the source code for my new game as well.

The vast majority of game studios aren't willing to do this, so effectively releasing it under the GPL means that it's much less likely that a competitor uses the code.

Asset flips from other countries with more permissive (or just hard to access for foreigners) legal systems are already a problem for game developers--releasing the source code for your game would ensure that you'd be inundated with assets flips almost immediately if your game is any good.


Oh god you're going to get bombarded by the "I want to use free software and lock my product" people

They probably want it to remain free, and not get bundled into commercial projects. Great for end users though

If destroy any possible commercial projects, it's not necessarily good for end users.

What is impressive about it? The MIT license is more permissive, so using that would accomplish everything GPL does and more, no?

I'm not a lawyer.


Well, the MIT license fails to make people release their changes if they release some work based on it.

Technically yes, but it's understandabe that they don't want someone else to take the code, add functionality and make it closed source.

Gamedev is really a special case (if we consider Web Development to be the "common case"). The fact is, when a company open sources one of it's projects, it expects to "benefit" from open source, i.e. taking community contributions, and make these contributions into its other closed-source products to generate profits. GPL forbids this, and naturally most companies open sources with MIT/BSD. And follows a repository on GitHub, many issues and PRs, CI, periodic releases (feel free to replace "GitHub" with "GitLab" or some server on some university, replace issues with mailing lists etc.) - that's what we typically expect from an "open source project" backed by other companies, in some other industries (most notably web development).

It doesn't work this way in games (at least for now), EA is only releasing part of the code for modding purpose, EA doesn't expect an "open source community" established on this codebase, and I also don't think EA has the intention to take contributions directly from community (by "directly" I mean, in code). If you have something you don't like about the game, post a comment in Steam and if you are lucky the devs are going to fix it themselves. It has always been working in this way in games, and it's not changing despite the "open source" action. So in this case, GPL is actually more helpful for EA, as illustrated by other replies.

But what I really want to say is, being a C&C modder myself (I've been modding RA2/YR from 2009 and also briefly worked on C&C3 later), I wholeheartedly support EA's decision to use GPL. Not because it's good for EA, not because I'm also a fan of RMS, it's because of the specific situation of the modding community.

If we take a simplistic view of a mod, it's roughly composed of "assets" and "code" (the same could be said for full games but it'll be more complicated). For assets, there are awesome free content creation software such as Blender and Krita, and tons of learning resources on the Internet. One can easily become a quasi-professional artist given enough exercise (I, personally, have undergone such a process). Well there is also things like music, but they all work the same way in which you "just create something in some external application (which is usually very powerful and extendable) and throw it in the game". You are not really limited in terms of asset.

The real problem is in "code" - modders are ultimately constrained by a proprietary engine, which heavily limits the possibility of mods. Just think about it: when you're making a real game, you can think about "What is the most interesting stuff I can come up with?" and then implemented it in the game engine. But when making a mod, whenever a fancy idea pops up, you're obligated to consider "Can it be implemented in the engine?". Unfortunately, most of the time, the answer is no. And this goes on and on, till a point where your imagination is imprisoned by the capability of the engine, that you lost the inspiration to design anything novel.

Why the engine is so limited? I think we can just imagine the scenario: in the crunch of getting the game finished, the devs don't really care about moddability, they just want to get it working ASAP, then they do all kinds of hack all the way along. In the end the game works, but modding it sucks. They hardcoded many stuff directly into the game engine binary, which is perfectly reflected by this set of search result: https://www.google.com/search?q=hardcode+site%3Amodenc.reneg... ... Oh and this is only about modifying existing stuff, we haven't started talking about adding a completely new system yet ...

To overcome these limitations, modders did a tremendous amount of efforts over the years:

There are attempts to reverse engineer the binary and patch it for workarounds: https://modenc.renegadeprojects.com/RockPatch

Then this approach evolved, they analyzed the binary to get the class hierarchy of the game, then use C++ to write new logic, inject the compiled routines into the binary: https://ares.strategy-x.com

There are attempts to rebuild the complete source code of the engine by incremental reverse-engineering: https://github.com/TheAssemblyArmada/Thyme

There are attempts to rewrite the whole game: https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA https://github.com/OpenSAGE/OpenSAGE


Continuing the parent ...

It seems I digressed a lot, but while one can make very sophisticated models, the "upper limit" of a mod, and the ceiling of the modding community as a whole, really lies on:

* How one can extend the engine. But this makes sense only if one can do this, i.e. has the skill, time, and resource to do it. It's not just some arbitrary CRUD logic, it's bulks of assembly code compiled from poorly written sources (thankfully the compiler is also poor so not much optimization).

* How one can make the best use of the existing features of the engine in absurd ways. For example, suppose I want a tank firing laser from the sky (think about Athena Cannon in Red Alert 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbX7R3UYtzI), the engine doesn't offer such a feature. The solution is to set the Z component of the unit's "firing coordinate" to 65535 so it "looks like" firing from sky.

A more advanced example would be mimicing the sweeping laser of Colossus in Starcraft 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5YEI-_o5dQ), or laser of Future Tank/Giga Fortress in RA3. To do this, one can 1) Make a unit launch a V3 rocket, but make the rocket invisible; 2) Add a weapon to that unit, that automatically attacks the "rocket" it fires, make the weapon draws laser. Then as the "rocket" is approaching the target, the unit will attacking the rocket with laser, and as the rocket is moving, the laser will look to be sweeping. That's how you get this "BTS": https://www.moddb.com/mods/mklab/images/behind-the-scene

Surely this is a horrible hack and it'll break as soon as you have multiple Colossuses in a perimeter simultaneously - the laser weapon works by "filtering all rockets of a specific tag", but the tag can't be made specific to every "instance" of Colossus - there is just no such feature! They will just randomly pick a rocket fired by others and draw the laser and the whole stuff breaks up.

In reality, most people ends up in the later way because they can't do reverse engineering, there are many clever tricks just like the one above contrived by clever people. And even if you're working on the engine binary itself, it'll just be more difficult and time consuming to extract any non-trivial stuff from the huge sequence of instructions. All these won't be necessary if the game is open sourced. I personally feel sorry for all these brilliant minds "wasted" on these useless shits. And that's exactly why I don't do modding anymore (maybe I'll pick it up again if this open source of Remastered turns out to be interesting enough).

However, despite the grim situation, some people that's working on workarounding the engine just lock their stuff for themselves, for their own mods. They're not sharing. This means newcomers can't leverage their existing program databases to do new work, can't get their own features integrated with others, and even redoing much of others work (no source code access). As a result, fewer people want to get into this business.

This is not an accident: TibSun/RA2 uses their own ".mix" archive for storing assets and some of the code. It kinda like plain tar, just concatenate all files together w/o compression. But the format is designed to be read only by the game. It allows the archive to store only hashes of the filenames, the actually filenames can be omitted in the archive. When the game requests for a certain file it just use hash to identify the file. We have a GPL tool for working with these files. But to protect unapproved reuse of assets and modding of the mod itself, some modders intentionally omit the filename in archives of the mod they distributes to make it incomprehensible for other humans. They also tinkered with the file header so it's only readable by the game and not by other tools. This is, in fact, very reasonable, I'd say 60% people in the modding community are idiots, they're somewhat likely to just rip assets from other mods and use in their own mods without even crediting the original author. And sometimes it's just the author wants some "unique" stuff in his/her mod, and absolutely don't want others to use it under any term.

90% of the modding community don't know enough about free software, open source or GitHub (also reasonable since the modding community is just samples from ordinary players, and that's also why EA can't expect a proper "open source community"). They don't know how sharing stuff can make things much better. Of course it's their freedom to protect their work, and few people want to share stuff with idiots. I'm mostly with them for protecting assets. But as I said, the engine stuffs are different. These techs are critical for the future of the community, and are best shared as much as possible. I know someone who did some work on the engine, and has been treating these work as the most closely guarded secret since then, and even becomes paranoid. He once consulted me about "how to protect these magic from being exposed to the public with his mod". Well technically you can do it! (of course only to some degree) But what's the point of doing this?

That's why I think the GPL license mandated on the Remastered source can really make the community much more healthy. Though I'm not very confidence about it - I also discussed with the paranoid guy above about GPL long before the Remastered. I think one can easily infer that if one don't get the point of free software and open source, then he is also not likely to know GPL at all, even if he knows GPL he still can't get the point of it, and will hold the most utilitarianism view towards open source: If I can use it, then take it for myself and hide it deep inside my mod, if I can't use it, find some workaround to use it. After all, it's not likely that EA will sue a non-profit modder for a minor licence violation ...

Edit: Fix the typesetting


I'm curious about how this is allowed under GPL. Are you allowed to link GPL'd code against a closed source codebase? Shouldn't they be releasing the whole thing?

You're allowed to link GPL'd code that you own against your own closed codebase, because the GPL is just the terms under which you license your copyright to others. See also: "open core" and dual-licensed software.

I really hope this paves the way for a future where it's normal for old games eventually go open source.

Is the implication that C&C Generals will be released in 10 years? Is this a precedent or a once off?

That is so awesome! Great decision of EA for one of my 'all time' favorite game!

Now we need a post mortem, like has been done with the Doom source code!

Many, many hours of my life were lost to to C&C. It’s a fine game.

Does this mean I will actually be able to play Red Alert 2 on a mac?

nope. this is about original RA1 and C&C.

Bummer. I for the life of me, can't find a way to play Red Alert 2 on a Mac.

I’d rather have RA2 and Tiberian sun, but I’ll take what I can get.

Reddit appears to have just bought the farm

Just bought it. Can't wait!

Fuck, is this EA? I double checked and yes it is. I love the PO for this game.

Wow,glad to see that

Need AoE!!

Whoaaaa

Will it be easy to compile?

They should have picked AGPL, in case anyone tries to serve the game via streaming.



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