Support us on Patreon to keep GamingOnLinux alive. This ensures we have no timed articles and no paywalls. Just good, fresh content! Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal, Flattr, Liberapay or Buy us a Coffee. You can also buy games using our partner links for GOG and Humble Store.

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

By - | Views: 13,887

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.
12 Likes, Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG, Humble Store and Paradox Interactive. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
19 comments
Page: «2/2
  Go to:

Patola 19 May
Liam DaweIt 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?

Not really, rule 1 is the most important and the "spirit" of open-source, which is to ALLOW COMMERCIAL USAGE. This is essential. That was what allowed for example Linux distributions to appear (even "non-commercial" distributions because they had to charge for the CD at the time). If a given license does not allow that, it is not open source by any stretch of imagination. It's like 1% of open source, not 99%.

Look, it's not that I want to dismiss the merit of this kit. But there is a difference from a true open-source software like Godot, and also there has been this late movement that tries to weaken open source by destroying and devaluing the actual meaning of the word. Please do not do that. This is not even sort of open-source. It's a travesty.


Last edited by Patola on 19 May 2020 at 11:34 am UTC
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned yet that you have to use their cloud-based compiler if you want to write native extensions (including for stuff like accessing a phone's camera).

They give you the sources to run that locally, but who wants to add "manage a docker instance" to their game development workflow?
Liam Dawe 19 May
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.
dreamer_ 19 May
Let's hope sooner or later they will see there's no practical reason to put those hurdles in place, and Defold will switch to a real Open Source license - their response is encouraging.

Otherwise, the engine looks really interesting, with plenty of tutorials and seemingly quite thorough documentation :) Seems like a great option for people who want to use it for its primary use-case (developing 2D games).
Well, it's not open source.
On the plus side, when I saw the headline I thought "It's probably some dying thing and the owners said 'What can we get out of this any more?' and concluded 'About all it's good for is a bit of community good will if we open source it'". But it doesn't seem to be that kind of abandonware at all.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 19 May 2020 at 6:38 pm UTC
razing32 19 May
Makes me think you should have a legal advisor on GOL staff Liam.
tuubi 20 May
razing32Makes me think you should have a legal advisor on GOL staff Liam.
Maybe he'll find a legal professional willing to work for exposure?
chr 20 May
tuubi
razing32Makes me think you should have a legal advisor on GOL staff Liam.
Maybe he'll find a legal professional willing to work for exposure?

Made me make a sound of amusement irl.

Liam DaweUpdate: 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.

Arguably that sounds worse. It muddies the waters. When "free" and "open" get used together, "free" usually means freedom. And "open" in software context means open-source or open data or open-hardware. This is neither. It is either a form of source-available or a form of open-source (the debate here seems to lean towards the former).

But alas, marketing and proper names of things cannot exist together... :(
britzl 20 May
Hello GamingOnLinux community! Defold product owner and long time Defold team member here. Nice to meet you all!

Our use of the term open source has certainly sparked *a lot* of negative feedback. We used open source in a colloquial sense (if there is such as thing!), and not according to the criteria set up by the OSD. There was no ill-intent and we are truly sorry if we upset people. We have made multiple changes to the site and to how we label Defold, we have tweeted about it and we have been in touch with the president of the OSI to discuss the controversy. You can read about the changes we made here: https://defold.com/2020/05/20/Some-thoughts-on-the-open-source-discussion/

If you have any questions regarding Defold I'm happy to answer them here!
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on Patreon, Liberapay or Paypal. We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!

You need to Register and Login to comment, submit articles and more.


Or login with...