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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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dreamer_ 19 May, 2020
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).
Purple Library Guy 19 May, 2020
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, 2020
Makes me think you should have a legal advisor on GOL staff Liam.
tuubi 20 May, 2020
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Quoting: 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, 2020
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: 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.

Quoting: 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, 2020
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!
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