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[dupe] EA Is Releasing Command and Conquer and Red Alert’s Source Code (kotaku.com)
135 points by miobrien 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

Previous discussion from yesterday: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23249964

I'm glad that EA is doing this. I certainly don't think we should expect it, but I hope releasing source becomes standard. With more and more games moving to SaaS and microtransaction-heavy, I feel like the core of the game doesn't contribute to the bottom line as much as it used to.

With so many remasters/remakes being released, it's obvious that studios care about their games, but I think it should be made obvious that releasing source is the real path to preservation. Look at the recent build of Super Mario 64 for the PC. The game went from being able to run on a handful of systems (13.56 million Wii U's, 101.63 million Wii's, 32.93 million N64's) to nearly every modern x86-based computer. And now that it's being ported to ARM systems as well, we'll probably see Mario 64 running natively on hardware for probably the next 25 years, well past the life expectancy of many of the systems it officially was built for.

Releasing source could also contribute to the bottom lines of the companies. By Activision releasing the source to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1-3 (please dear god I hope they do this), they could actually release those games on digital platforms like Steam or Epic using ports/code improvements they didn't have to write. Hell, if THPS1-3 were open sourced, I might attempt a port for the first time.

The Dolphin emulator wiki keeps a list of GameCube and Wii titles that shipped their retail releases with debug symbols included. [1]

It'd be painstaking reverse-engineering work, but I'm curious if more games in the future could have these sorts of "clean room" decompilations, provided the compiler toolchain can be realistically approximated.

[1] https://wiki.dolphin-emu.org/index.php?title=Ships_with_Debu...

>a handful of systems (13.56 million Wii U's, 101.63 million Wii's, 32.93 million N64's)

I get that you're speaking relatively, but you and I have a very different idea of what qualifies as "a handful". Also, you could arguably add 154.02 million DS systems and 75 million 3DS systems if you include the slightly improved Super Mario 64 DS.

Keep in mind that most of those Wii U's and Wii's definitely did not have Mario 64 actually purchased on it, as well as the fact that you can no longer purchase the game for those systems. With the price an N64 and the cartridge go for these days, playing the original hardware is considered a premium.

I'd consider the DS version to be its own game. I love it, but with such large changes to the core gameplay it's certainly not a port, and it's not a remaster. Personally I think Nintendo should just release widescreen versions of both to the Switch, maybe with Mario 64 DS being an overhaul DLC.

> could actually release . . . using ports/code improvements they didn't have to write.

Porting the code is the easy part. The hard part is relicensing the original music, art, and other essential assets.

Consider the recent rereleases of Crazy Taxi, which were missing the iconic punk rock songs because a deal couldn’t be reached with the music companies. Not having the original music surely led to decreased sales. A THPS rerelease would probably face similar problems.

Yes, absolutely. THPS is just more of a personal wish.

> Look at the recent build of Super Mario 64 for the PC

That build was made with either stolen source code or code decompiled and distributed without without a license from Nintendo. It is not comparable to an intentional source code release by the owner under some copyright license.

It's decompiled and reassembled code and completely legal. The port binary that is floating around is not legal because of embedded assets. Sure it's not the same as intentional source code releases, but it's still a code base that is going to be passed around from platform to platform.

> It's decompiled and reassembled code and completely legal.

If it’s created by disassembling Nintendo’s code, then it is derived from that code and it infringes Nintendo’s copyright.

According to your link the situations in which decompilation is legal are extremely limited. For example, under EU law, (1) "a person or entity must have a licence to use the program to be decompiled" and (2) "Article 6 prescribes that the information obtained through decompilation may not be used for other purposes and that it may not be given to others."

Anyway, I'm not saying that the Super Mario 64 decompiled code project isn't cool, because it is. It just probably infringes Nintendo's copyrights in the code, not just in the assets like levels, graphics, and music.

My god what good memories I have with Red Alert.

That intro will forever be engraved in my memory.


Man, I wish Microsoft would opensource Age of Empires source code. That community is still around miraculously and would most likely rejuvenate the game.

Do they have it? I was under the impression that they had to resort to hacks in order to release the recent remastered version.

The UserPatch mod for the older CD release is really interesting, as it modifies the binary to give a lot of new AI script functions. Some of the ones for customized targeting have almost a declarative, map/filter feeling to them, such as `up-filter-range`. [1]

I think the newer versions of the C++ compiler are much more optimizing today than compared to what what Age of Empires II released on. I'd imagine it wouldn't be possible, or perhaps a lot harder, to make these AI mods with the Steam re-releases.

[1] http://userpatch.aiscripters.net/reference.html

Definitely. AoE2 is a lifetime game for me. I played it in middle/high school, stopped for a while, picked it up in college for 2 years, stopped for 5 years, was amazed it was still a thing in late grad school (2013), stopped for 7 more years, and have just restarted playing again during the lockdown :) voobly is still a thing, and the best part is I’m still using my cd’s from 2002 with the free Aofe patch (pre-steam) from 2014 to play!

0ad is pretty good though. Not quite Age of Empires but still pretty decent.


I would have thought the commercial "remasters" mean no open sourcing, but EA is doing both, so I guess not.

Under GPL, huh, ain't that a rare treat!

Fun fact: this was the last game Virgin Interactive released before getting bought out by EA.

Red Alert on PlayStation 1.... damn, I spent so many hours playing this game with my friends. Great memories.

What kind of mods will people make?

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