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Cross-platform game engine 'Defold' source code opens up

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Cross-platform game engine Defold has announced that the source code is now available under a reasonably generous license, along with the formation of a Defold Foundation.

It's interesting as the owner was King, a popular mobile game developer (Candy Crush amongst others) who also acquired the Defold engine from others before them. It was already free to use and cross-platform but the next step was announced today.

"We are immensely proud to be able to open source Defold and we’re eager to start the journey as an open source game engine together with our great community of game developers building games using Defold. We would also wish to thank King for believing in our open source vision and entrusting Defold to the Defold Foundation." says Björn Ritzl, Product Owner, the Defold Foundation.

"We’re hugely impressed by the Defold team, and look forward to seeing many great gaming experiences come to life. We’ve seen millions of players already playing the King games run on the Defold engine and we’re excited to see the community come together even more, with the support of the Defold Foundation." says Tjodolf Sommestad, Chief Development Officer, King.

Note: their license is derived from the official Apache 2.0 License. The Apache 2.0 License itself is approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), although I'm unsure on how any of their tweaks to it would affect the official use of the "Open Source" term. Likely not properly correct to actually call it open source but it's close. This is likely another "Source Available" type of situation. It's still fantastic news regardless.

This new Defold development team and Foundation sounds good. Developers from King will be working on Defold full-time, with the Foundation board headed by Sara Cederberg from King and other industry people like Elin Eriksson (Women in Tech Sweden).

Excellent news really. I'm looking forward to seeing Defold continue to be a good free and open game engine. Not only does it support cross-platform building to Linux but the editor is also available on Linux to make games with. It's also getting Vulkan API support this year!

Find out more about Defold on the official site and now GitHub too.

As an example of a recent (and awesome) game made with Defold, check out Fates of Ort.


Update: the Defold team have since quite quickly acted on feedback, and no longer say it's open source but that it's "Free & Open" instead.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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19 comments
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Patola 19 May
Seems you cannot fork it for commercial purposes:


(...)
“Game Engine Product” shall mean software used for video game development. This
includes both the content authoring software and the software used to show the
created content.
(...)
4. Redistribution. You may reproduce and distribute copies of the Work or
Derivative Works thereof in any medium, with or without modifications, and in
Source or Object form, provided that You meet the following conditions:

a) You do not sell or otherwise commercialise the Work or Derivative Works as a
Game Engine Product; and

Any software that has the dreaded "NC" (Non-Commercial) restriction is by definition not open source. I must add that people that try to prevent the huge benefit of using the code for profit do not understand the very idea of open source. Commercial gain is the most important incentive for people to work on the code and the best leverage for it to be popular.


Last edited by Patola on 19 May 2020 at 10:05 am UTC
dreamer_ 19 May
The Defold License

The Defold LicenseYou are free to commercialise any software created using Defold
... but:

The Defold LicenseYou can not commercialise original or modified (derivative) versions of the Defold editor and/or engine

Therefore I don't think it qualifies according to OSI definition due to rule 3:

Open Source Defintion3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

So in other words: it's not Free (as in freedom), it's free (as in beer), with source released license which is pretty permissive and close to Open Source definition.

I bet it will be a good choice for many developers despite of this.
Liam Dawe 19 May
Actually, they're pretty clear on it:
QuoteYou are free to distribute original or modified (derivative) versions of Defold
So they adhere to rule 3 ;)
Patola 19 May
Liam DaweActually, they're pretty clear on it:
QuoteYou are free to distribute original or modified (derivative) versions of Defold
So they adhere to rule 3 ;)
But not to rule 6, which says "No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor" -- in this case, commercialising the derived software. It is NOT open source.
Ehvis 19 May
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Patolaa) You do not sell or otherwise commercialise the Work or Derivative Works as a
Game Engine Product; and

Any software that has the dreaded "NC" (Non-Commercial) restriction is by definition not open source. I must add that people that try to prevent the huge benefit of using the code for profit do not understand the very idea of open source. Commercial gain is the most important incentive for people to work on the code and the best leverage for it to be popular.

This is a peculiar one. They don't allow you to make a derived game engine a commercial product, but they do allow you to make a commercial product using a derived game engine. Is this really a problem for free software?

Is it allowed to make a fork of GCC and sell the resulting product?
dreamer_ 19 May
They do not adhere to rule 3, because forks can be distributed only under non-commercial license (unlike Defold itself).
dreamer_ 19 May
EhvisIs it allowed to make a fork of GCC and sell the resulting product?
Yes. That's why it is called Free software.
Liam Dawe 19 May
dreamer_They do not adhere to rule 3, because forks can be distributed only under non-commercial license (unlike Defold itself).
Rule 3 doesn't state it has to allow commercial works though, it's simply about allowing the same license, which it does. Don't mix that up with other OSI rules about commercial works, which would go under point number 1 i believe.
Patola
Liam DaweActually, they're pretty clear on it:
QuoteYou are free to distribute original or modified (derivative) versions of Defold
So they adhere to rule 3 ;)
But not to rule 6, which says "No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor" -- in this case, commercialising the derived software. It is NOT open source.
No, rule 6 is about what it's used for, not the redistribution of it.

It seems like the only rule they don't fit in with is rule 1, because as a whole they don't allow you to sell it on. In this case, they're like 99% close to the OSI definition bar that 1 thing. Close enough?


Last edited by Liam Dawe on 19 May 2020 at 10:48 am UTC
ignaloidas 19 May
QuoteNo, rule 6 is about what it's used for, not the redistribution of it.

It's iffy, if I make a painting program in it, I may not be able to sell it, since it can be used for game development.


Last edited by ignaloidas on 19 May 2020 at 11:06 am UTC
Liam Dawe 19 May
ignaloidas
QuoteNo, rule 6 is about what it's used for, not the redistribution of it.

It's iffy, if I make a painting program in it, I may not be able to sell it, since it can be used for game development.
Their license is clear on things made with it, they're yours.

QuoteYou are free to commercialise any software created using Defold
I don't think you can be any clearer on that, for software made using it.

Edit: Digging further, they do need to clarify the actual license text, you're right on that as Remi from Godot pointed out on Twitter.

I've updated the article title and text to be a bit clearer.


Last edited by Liam Dawe on 19 May 2020 at 11:21 am UTC
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