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A lot of game developer still worry about being more open with their code but it seems Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV, Super Hexagon, Dicey Dungeons) believes it was worth it.

There are certain legitimate reasons to worry about going all-in with open source, but we're not here to debate that. Plenty of developers have warmed up to the idea of open source over the last few years, with Cavanagh now being amongst them. Cavanagh opened up the source code to their puzzle-platformer VVVVVV back in early 2020.

Now on the 11th anniversary of VVVVVV's launch, Cavanagh has a fresh blog post up to go over a previous Game Jam but they also gave some thoughts on the source code drop too. It's worth pointing out though, the code is open but not under a proper OSI-approved open source license. It's certainly a good step though!

So what happened? Well they accepted and merged over 400 pull requests from the community, which will result in a big new release of the game later this year. They got a port to the Dreamcast, the Haiku operating system and there's also a webassembly port now too.

Summing up their thoughts on opening the code, Cavanagh said "So, I guess for other game developers thinking about doing this, here’s a data point! Only good things have happened. This whole thing has been a really positive experience, and I’m really glad I did it.".

Nice to see such a healthy experience!

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TheSHEEEP 13 Jan
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Quoting: Klaus
Quoting: TheSHEEEPObviously, if there is a security component (e.g. servers for multiplayer or MMO games), it is probably unwise to open up code, as it will make it much easier to find exploits.

Conventional wisdom is rather that open-sourcing leads to safer, not more easily attacked, code. Not sure though how this translates to MMO servers; It is usually stated in the context of trusting the security of a platform in terms of correctly used encryption etc.
For third partly libraries, certainly.
Something like OpenSSH greatly benefits from being open source.
But that is because the people using it have an increased interest in its continued improvement.

If you open sourced some (in-use!) MMO server code, you'd be pretty much the only user.
And the only people with any real interest in the code would be those looking at it for various reasons (including finding exploits that they won't disclose).
I don't know who would even have an interest in improving server source code of a running MMO beyond the extremely small cross-section of heavy users that can code and have the time and interest to code on that particular thing.

You might get lucky to catch the interest of some capable being who reports some security issues.
You might get unlucky to catch the interest of some capable being who absuses some security issues.
Not a decision I'd make if I ran the business.

Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 13 January 2021 at 9:02 am UTC
elmapul 13 Jan
open sourcing an existing sucessfull comercial game is a thing...
i cant be sure that developing one in open source works...
its easier to find help if you already have an fanbase and already profited from an minimum viable product.
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