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Thanks for posting this. I've had a few toes (ok maybe a foot) in the indie game development world for quite a few years now, and they're definitely amongst the group of developers who are the most averse to putting their shit on github and open sourcing their libraries etc.

The game dev community has a love/hate relationship with open source: on one hand a lot of widely used tools are under open source/free software licenses (box2d, SDL, etc.), but on the other hand you'd be hard pressed to find an indie willing to release his source code (Jason Rohrer I love you).

There's definitely a technical reason for it (game code is often hacky and not that reusable), but I've observed that it has to do more with the sense of pride of the developers ("my code is too ugly people are going to think I am a bad developer").




>There's definitely a technical reason for it (game code is often hacky and not that reusable), but I've observed that it has to do more with the sense of pride of the developers ("my code is too ugly people are going to think I am a bad developer").

Or maybe that they just don't want to compete with people building on --or even outright cloning-- their products. Of course, they're perfectly happy building on others' work.


This isn't entirely true. There are indie games that are open source or have publicly available easily accessible source code.

LD48 requires that you open source games in the jam, so that's 1000s of games with available source code, even if most of them don't live on Github. Quite a few Humble Bundle games are open source as a result of the bundle (http://indiegamebundle.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Humble_Bundle_...) I can think of other indie games that are open source, Stephen Lavelle's games (http://www.increpare.com/), Game Maker Spelunky, Mari0, Infinite Super Mario Bros. Roguelikes are also usually open source.

Libraries or contributions to frameworks that have come from indie game developers include MojoShader (http://icculus.org/cgi-bin/finger/finger.pl?user=icculus&dat...), MonoGame for Mac OS X, Linux and NaCL, (http://supergiantgames.com/index.php/2012/08/bastions-open-s...), Flashpunk and Flixel.

I also think it's unfair to knock game developers for not open sourcing their games. Last time I checked, many startups open source libraries and helper code, but very few of them open source their product code. The indie game community is also much smaller than the startup community and also less technical on average.


Thanks for your thoughtful reply!

It's definitely getting much much better, as you described it - but it still has a long way to go. I do tend to hang out more in very FOSS-centric circles, so maybe my perspective is a bit skewed by this.

(and I do agree with you re:startups - I wish we saw more open source product code. Gittip is doing a great job with that: https://github.com/gittip/www.gittip.com/ )


> definitely amongst the group of developers who are the most averse to putting their shit on github and open sourcing their libraries etc

Yep. I'm sure the majority of them are also GPL violators.

They love to take but never give back.


Well that's a rather harsh accusation. Do you have any evidence to back that up?

Since when has "it's nice to share code" turned into "you're probably a criminal if you don't share code".


That's a funny question. The plethora of open source code available and the miniscule number of open source 'indie' games suggests something is askew.

But one look at today's 'app store' ecosystems and current game dev culture is all the evidence I need. It's a profiteer's paradise.


Your comment is appalling. I wish there were less people like you in the world :)


You appear to have some gripe that goes beyond your ridiculous accusation. It sounds like you're bitter against closed-source in general, but just won't come out and say it.


Yeah I would like to eventually open source my code (at the very least, the javascript portion which is used to mod/script/edit the engine will DEFINITELY be open source). Not all decisions are mine to make (I have to generate a monetary return as I have a small investment, then we will see how things go from there). :)




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