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Landscape of open source games

Yo Frankie! An open source platformer created using Blender.

Yo Frankie! An open source platformer created using Blender.

I recently gave a presentation on the landscape of open source software in computer games at the Univ. Rey Juan Carlos, where I am currently visiting the Libresoft research group. My slides are available here.

While much of the talk covered well-known libraries (SDL, OpenAL), game engines (Ogre, Irrlicht), physics engines (Bullet, Tokamak), and content creation tools (Blender, GIMP), there were a few surprises. One was how many open source game-creation systems I found (4, more than the zero I expected). These are Game Editor (2d with export to some mobile devices), Construct (2d, some 3d), Novashell (2d), and Sandbox (3d). Another surprise was the game Yo Frankie! (pictured above), which has very high quality animation and artwork, and was produced using Blender.

A disappointment was the state of open content sharing. While some sites, like OpenGameArt and New Grounds provide tagging with a Creative Commons license, far more common are sites like Google’s 3D Warehouse that have site-specific terms of use, and provide no ability for artists to indicate they are willing to share their work via Creative Commons or an open source license.

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