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ATTN ALL, question about Dark Radiant & professional use


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Hello everyone,

Firstly, and at the risk of seeming dishonnest for starting this with compliments considering what I'm gonna ask in this topic, I'd like to congratulate every one involved in creating "The Painter's Wife": all of you did an incredible work, at Thief 2 "Life of the Party"'s level of quality and even better yet in that there are a few occurences where the ambiance varies, with different "tones" evoking different feelings in one same big mission -that specter was chilling, especially its disturbing "voice(s)", congrats to everyone involved in its creation !
I haven't had the possibility to try other missions yet, since according to what I've read a SSD must always have ~20% of its capacity left free for and my SSD is at 40Go left before going full, but of the couple of "one-shot missions" I've tried for the moment, The Painter's Wife stands out, with Sir Taffsalot's Sword being a great hommage to the member of your forum that made this sad decision.

Now, the heart of the matter.

I'm 39, handicapped and almost unemployable due to both my handicap and my professional life at this point, too weird for the local anal-retentive standards on a job resume. That's why I decided to create a video game. No less... but since I'm very roughly "the Richard Halliwell / Sheldon Pacotti-kind of guy", having been creating homemade tabletop wargame & RPG rules as well as fictional universes since the last 20 years, and being aware of what can and cannot be done after modding various games until now, I know I can make it. I have my back against the wall anyway, so it's almost not like if I have a choice 🙃

After months of hard thinking and spent reading all the documentation I could find about the Id Tech 4 engine, I think that using Dark Radiant as an engine is the way to go for me: I'm in favor of free software in the GNU sense of the word, I want my game to also be a modding platform where everything needed to create a FPS-RPG is already built-up by making all my RPG game design systems usable freely by anyone by releasing all of that intellectual property, fictional universe of the game included, under a Creative Commons license, as a way of sticking the finger to what the video game industry has become -DLCs and all these scams like disc-locked content that'd be made illegal in 5 seconds if it concerned any other industries, I scream your name with reeee-ing rage. :D 😡


So here's the question I'd like to ask to the ones here that have built Dark Radiant / The Dark Mod: would you allow me to use it as a base on which to build my game ? (bolding and italics just to make the question stand out from that wall of text)

Knowing that of course, my game will be sold: the price I'll be asking is for the whole universe and game systems I've created, I'm not aiming to "make money on your efforts" of course.

If my understanding is correct, Dark Radiant is a fork of the Id Tech 4 and includes enhancements not present in the original basic Id Tech 4, so using TDM / Dark Radiant as a base will allow me to save a precious time during the development instead of re-beginning a new engine from scratch, that's why I'm asking.

In exchange, everything I plan to add to "my fork" of the Dark Radiant Engine will be freely available for everyone and thus re-usable for The Dark Mod, which means including not just my game design sub-systems for gunfights, for stealth, for dialogue simulation etc but also everything that I plan to implement, such as for instance procedurally generated faces for npcs like Far Cry 2 did, as well as all the 3D models I'd have commissioned during development, etc. But only, of course, after the release of the game.

I may also contract various people here for work I can't afford to take the time to learn on my own, by the way: programming, 3D models, and animations, mostly. Who is interested ?


Hoping this topic will receive quick replies 'cause the clock is kinda ticking for me these days professionally-wise, I wish to anyone having read until this point to have a nice day, and if you've spotted grammatical mistakes in what I wrote, please let me know, English is not my maternal language so even if I write fluently I'm not beyond progressing yet -actually as long as I won't pass as a native I won't be satisfied 🙂

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I personally have no objections but even if I did our GPL license would prohibit me from doing anything about it other than complain.

 

As long as you keep in mind that our "Assets" are non-free.

That is to say, we use textures that have non-GPL licenses and our artists have contributed models,

textures and sounds with the expectation that they would not be used for commercial purposes.

 

Feel free to do what you want code-wise just be aware that our "art assets" cannot legally be used in a commercial product.

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Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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I was under the impression that MD5/PROC/etc file formats are proprietary and belong(ed) to Activision>Zenimax>Bethesda>Microsoft, whoever...  Unlike MAP files, those are specific to idTech4 and compiled to binaries.
I would also assume "art assets" would expand to cover script files like .DEF/etc?  

Because of the nature of TDM, if there are modded files like this, no harm no foul, but to do the same commercially might be risky.
But please don't get me wrong, I wish it were all straight-forward and possible.

 

 

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As @nbohr1more said, TDM engine+game code is under GPL license, which is almost impossible to make money with. This cannot be changed, because that's Id Software terms for releasing the Doom 3 source code.
The game assets are under Non-Commercial Creative Commons, which forbids using them in anything commercial. This license originates from TDM developers, but it is most likely impossible to change too.

I think you can freely use DarkRadiant as an editor for making maps/levels for your game, but these maps will only be compatible with idTech4 engine, and you won't be able to use any version of idTech4 in commercial game due to what I wrote above.

@LDAsh, format cannot be intellectual properly, only its software tools and documentation can be.

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To clarify, you can sell code under a GPL license, but the license requires you to release all of the sourcecode in a form people can compile it, and it retains the license. So practically you can't stop people from just taking the sourcecode, possibly changing some things, compiling it, and independently releasing it for free. Also, outlets like Steam really don't like GPL licensed code because it puts them at risk. And they already mentioned that all of the game assets are strictly non-commercial. So idTech4 derived things aren't the best platform for a commercial game.

That's separate from what our team thinks. I don't think you'll get much objection from us for trying. The whole point of GPL is to give people the most freedom to do what they want with the code under it without past devs standing in their way. Even that said, it probably wouldn't go over well if you just blatantly copied massive chunks of the game straight. One guy that had been on the team was doing something like that for a commercial project and got some pushback and grumbles. But that would have been different if he had been an outsider doing a completely different project with a very different look and feel and they just needed the base to build from. That would be more respected. But, again, that's aside from the issues above.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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You're mixing up a few different things here.

DarkRadiant is just the editor. Its source code is fully GPL, but if you're just using it as an editor to create maps, the license doesn't matter — you can release those maps under whatever license you want. DarkRadiant isn't in itself a game engine, so you can't really make a game out of it, although you could use it as your preferred editor for producing maps with your own game.

The Dark Mod source code is the game engine, and it is GPL. It is not unlawful to try to sell a game based off it, but it would be commercially rather difficult — why would people pay for your game when they can just download the source (which you are required to publicise, according to the terms of the GPL) and build it themselves for free?

The Dark Mod assets include all of the textures, sounds, models etc used in the Dark Mod, and the majority of these are released under a non-commercial Creative Commons license. This means that it would be unlawful to use these assets in a game that you wish to sell commercially.

What you could do is use the Dark Mod GPL code as your game engine, then release a commercial game using 100% original assets that you create yourselves, and require people to pay for the game which includes your assets (while they could still download the engine source code under the terms of the GPL). This is essentially what ID Software did when they made Doom 3 open source: you can download the game engine code for free but you still need to buy Doom 3 if you want the full game including all of the content.

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5 hours ago, LDAsh said:

I was under the impression that MD5/PROC/etc file formats are proprietary and belong(ed) to Activision>Zenimax>Bethesda>Microsoft, whoever...  Unlike MAP files, those are specific to idTech4 and compiled to binaries.

A few misconceptions here:

  • Neither MD5 nor PROC are binary formats.
  • Even if they were binary formats, this would not affect licensing. Intellectual property does not generally make a distinction between "binary" and "text" formats, which are technical not legal terms (and not particularly well-defined even in the technical world). Being "specific to a particular engine" is also not relevant, particularly when that engine is itself open source.
  • There are several open source MD5 exporter plugins available, and PROC files are generated by the id Tech 4 map compiler which is also open source. So even if formats could be proprietary, it is difficult to see how these would qualify, being entirely producable by open source tools.
  • As stgatilov says:
4 hours ago, stgatilov said:

@LDAsh, format cannot be intellectual properly, only its software tools and documentation can be.

Even Microsoft under Steve Ballmer could not prevent open source tools from loading and saving .DOC files, which is considered a "proprietary format" because it is not publically documented, not because it is actually illegal to read or write it.

You can't in general "own" a way of organising data in a file, although you could:

  • keep the specification secret (e.g. DOC files)
  • apply a restrictive license to the documentation or SDK required to read and write it, forcing open source developers to use reverse engineering to create their own, possibly non-compliant implementations (e.g. FBX, VST plugins)
  • in certain jurisdictions, take out patents covering particular aspects of the algorithm (e.g. most recent video codecs, MP3 until fairly recently).
  • require a valid file to contain a large block of trademarked or copyrighted content (such as your company logo), making it legally impossible for third parties to create files which your own software would accept. I believe some of the consoles have used this to prohibit third party games.
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Hello Cecil of Cynope others already said much of what you wanted to know but here is a example of a comercial game being made on idtech 4 and using Dark Radiant as their tool of choice for levels. 

Skin Deep

You can just do the same. 

 

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9 minutes ago, HMart said:

Hello Cecil of Cynope others already said much of what you wanted to know but here is a example of a comercial game being made on idtech 4 and using Dark Radiant as their tool of choice for levels.
Skin Deep

Hmm... I wonder how they do it 😀

Option 1 would be negotiate a license from Bethesda, but I heavily doubt it is possible 😁
Also, it cannot be used with dhewm3, since it is no longer fully owned by Bethesda.

Option 2 is to release the game binaries along with GPL source code for executable, but lock all assets under proprietary license.
So everyone is able to build and modify executable for free, but without assets it is useless, so players have to buy the game.
Don't use Doom 3 assets, names, trademarks in your game, and you should be fine.
Of course, there would be problems with Steam integration due to GPL license of source code, but merely distributing game via Steam is not a problem.

Yes, this is definitely valid way to use both Doom3 or TDM engine and DarkRadiant to create a commercial game.
But it is strictly forbidden to reuse any of TDM assets in a commercial game.
And I'd suggest choosing dhewm3 over TDM in such case, since its code is much cleaner.

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So it seems like the best approach would be, to strip as much of TDM right down to the bare bones, definitely removing all images, geometry and audio, except for the basic crumbs used for technical reasons to get the engine actually loading up, and distributing that freely and openly in accordance with the license - and then trying to figure a way to monetise the additional PK4s?  Would that work?  It might even be possible to code a custom launcher and also monetise that, and rig that up so that the engine only really even functions when launched from that, just so you might be able to do things like serialise/canary-trap that and try to prevent folks from just sharing the assets around without paying.  A launcher may also allow you to refactor certain iffy details on launch, if that's neccessary.

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10 minutes ago, LDAsh said:

It might even be possible to code a custom launcher and also monetise that, and rig that up so that the engine only really even functions when launched from that

Sounds like tivoization to me, most likely GPL 3 does not allow that 😛

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I wasn't trying to suggest anything too fishy...  I guess all it would really do is refactor some vital content (mainly scripts and assets) to actually launch an otherwise functional bare-bones engine, that otherwise wouldn't without some validation first, such as an e-mail address or serial.  In reality, it's nothing a half-witted computer-competent person couldn't do themselves anyway, if they knew what was going on = not to interfere with the terms of the license, since it doesn't cover those assets.  I guess the whole reason for bringing that up is to fortify the monetisation of the PK4s and to canary-trap the project.  This is FAR from "DRM", if anyone gets that idea.

I don't mean to hijack or derail the thread, sorry.

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5 hours ago, stgatilov said:

Hmm... I wonder how they do it 😀

Option 1 would be negotiate a license from Bethesda, but I heavily doubt it is possible 😁
Also, it cannot be used with dhewm3, since it is no longer fully owned by Bethesda.

Option 2 is to release the game binaries along with GPL source code for executable, but lock all assets under proprietary license.
So everyone is able to build and modify executable for free, but without assets it is useless, so players have to buy the game.
Don't use Doom 3 assets, names, trademarks in your game, and you should be fine.
Of course, there would be problems with Steam integration due to GPL license of source code, but merely distributing game via Steam is not a problem.

Yes, this is definitely valid way to use both Doom3 or TDM engine and DarkRadiant to create a commercial game.
But it is strictly forbidden to reuse any of TDM assets in a commercial game.
And I'd suggest choosing dhewm3 over TDM in such case, since its code is much cleaner.

Option 2 is the right one, no need to negotiate a license with Bethesda and like you suspect, I also don't think they would even license it anymore, afaik none of the idtech engines can be licensed now, they are exclusive to Bethesda own studios.

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6 hours ago, cabalistic said:

I really have to ask, though - why not Unity or Unreal? Or Godot, if open source is important? All three of them are much more modern engines and probably a lot easier to work with, in general. You'd have to find a very specific advantage in using idTech4 to justify that route, imho.

I was thinking especially at Godot too, but had the idea that their 3d engine part is less sophisticated than idTech4, but I could easily be wrong. But in general even if the 3d engine isn't as powerful it's still probably easier to get all the other aspects of a game right.

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10 minutes ago, datiswous said:

I was thinking especially at Godot too, but had the idea that their 3d engine part is less sophisticated than idTech4, but I could easily be wrong. But in general even if the 3d engine isn't as powerful it's still probably easier to get all the other aspects of a game right.

You feel like you're in a time warp from which you can't escape. Once or twice a year, the same topics come up (Why aren't you on Steam? When is the campaign coming? Can I use your stuff for my commercial project? Why aren't you doing a remake of Thief Gold?)

I also wonder why the OP doesn't think of something newer and more manageable like UE first. Felizitas recently demonstrated what can be done with it.

23 hours ago, Cecil of Cynope said:

In exchange, everything I plan to add to "my fork" of the Dark Radiant Engine will be freely available for everyone and thus re-usable for The Dark Mod, which means including not just my game design sub-systems for gunfights, for stealth, for dialogue simulation etc but also everything that I plan to implement, such as for instance procedurally generated faces for npcs like Far Cry 2 did, as well as all the 3D models I'd have commissioned during development, etc. But only, of course, after the release of the game.

I may also contract various people here for work I can't afford to take the time to learn on my own, by the way: programming, 3D models, and animations, mostly. Who is interested ?

No offense, man, but I think we've already had something like that here at least twice. If my recollection is correct, we never heard from these posters again, and the reason for that is quite simple: It is a hell of a lot of work to implement such an RPG infrastructure on top of the source program without deep knowledge.

Apart from that, programming, animating and creating 3D models - that's the main work on such a game. The OP seems to think that we have here contributors in abundance. We all know, that's not the case. Thus, the chances are quite low that people can be recruited here. At the moment we don't even have someone who can add missing animations to existing characters. Thus, it would not be well received if someone from here would agreee to get "contracted" (what does that even mean?) for creating animations....

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone, and thanks a lot for the quick answers, I really appreciate it, even if I don't quote you personally I'm thankful for every answer :)

Oh and while I'm at it, thanks for the forum administrator among you that added a Dark Theme to this forum: I cannot stand bright light due to my handicap, usually my own web browser settings (black background + green fonts color) work but sometime it makes some pages unusable if contains white images used as icons for example, so I had to wear sunglasses for a few hours to browse the forum more or less comfortably before noticing that I could turn a Dark Theme on which makes reading much less painful for the eyes, thank your for adding that option :)

Thanks for the information, HMart, I'll check that :)

LDAsh, Demagogue and Stgatilov, thanks for your replies, about your interrogations regarding how would I manage to sell a game developed under a GPL licence, well I'll have to remain mysterious for now, but that's something I have thoroughly thought about ;)

I'll never use Steam to sell the game though, I was absolutely against Steam from the very beginning of its appearance and it's only because I'm forced to install it and to play games that I use it, so for me it has always been out of question to become dependent to Steam's system... not to mention that they've started to behave as political censors according to what I've heard not too long ago, so I'm not going to risk investing 5 years of work and expenses just to end up censored for being "problematic" or other vague and non-defined concepts at the whim of anyone from Steam.

Anyway, thank you Nbohr1more and the other TDM developpers :)

Now all I need to do is to contact someone where I live who's specialized in the legal and fiscal aspects of commerce to see if my idea is viable, but the way I thought it out, it should be.
Actually the only thing that would make it non-viable is whether it would be Governmentally Approved by the State or not to create something and sell it without having to create a company and be registered as a seller/artist/editor first, that whole usual administrative bullshyte here requiring people to find by themselves which pigeonhole they can belong to and face the fiscal consequences if they make the sightliest mistake... 🙄 😠

 

On 5/7/2021 at 12:15 AM, nbohr1more said:

I personally have no objections but even if I did our GPL license would prohibit me from doing anything about it other than complain.

As long as you keep in mind that our "Assets" are non-free.
[(...)]
Feel free to do what you want code-wise just be aware that our "art assets" cannot legally be used in a commercial product.


Yeah, that's what I had planned from the beginning actually: to not use your assets since they belong to you all, and also because, as a matter of fact, well, my game's universe being contemporary, I don't need any of TDM's sounds, 3D models, musics, textures, objects etc :)

For example, most of the locations of the game's story and universe are "modern day-ish" for lack of a better word: glass buildings, appartments, houses, warehouses, etc... about the music and sounds, that's something I've planned to create on my own anyway, I just need to "get back at it again" and find a GPL music editor or maybe, if I finally, definitively, decide to go for a 1970's style music, I'll simply contract Shawn Lee, his work on Bully/Canis Canem Edit's music is exceptionnal.

So in a nutshell, I won't need to use any of TDM's assets, and for the couple of things "close from TDM's assets" such as old manors & antique objects and the related textures that will be needed since I've planned to have "old areas" in the ficticious city I've created as the main location of the game's story, I'll contract people to make that. :)
 

 

On 5/7/2021 at 9:57 AM, OrbWeaver said:

You're mixing up a few different things here.

DarkRadiant is just the editor. Its source code is fully GPL, but if you're just using it as an editor to create maps, the license doesn't matter — you can release those maps under whatever license you want. DarkRadiant isn't in itself a game engine, so you can't really make a game out of it, although you could use it as your preferred editor for producing maps with your own game.

The Dark Mod source code is the game engine, and it is GPL. It is not unlawful to try to sell a game based off it, but it would be commercially rather difficult — why would people pay for your game when they can just download the source (which you are required to publicise, according to the terms of the GPL) and build it themselves for free?

The Dark Mod assets include all of the textures, sounds, models etc used in the Dark Mod, and the majority of these are released under a non-commercial Creative Commons license. This means that it would be unlawful to use these assets in a game that you wish to sell commercially.

What you could do is use the Dark Mod GPL code as your game engine, then release a commercial game using 100% original assets that you create yourselves, and require people to pay for the game which includes your assets (while they could still download the engine source code under the terms of the GPL). This is essentially what ID Software did when they made Doom 3 open source: you can download the game engine code for free but you still need to buy Doom 3 if you want the full game including all of the content.

Thanks a lot for the clarification OrbWeaver, I tended to confuse Dark Radiant and The Dark Mod source code until then :)
And about your suggestion, you guessed exactly what I had in mind for the development of my game :) ;) 
 

On 5/7/2021 at 3:46 PM, cabalistic said:

I really have to ask, though - why not Unity or Unreal? Or Godot, if open source is important? All three of them are much more modern engines and probably a lot easier to work with, in general. You'd have to find a very specific advantage in using idTech4 to justify that route, imho.

And as stgatilov pointed out, TDM is a very specific derivative of idTech4, so even if you absolutely do want to go idTech4, there are probably engine clones that are better suited for it.

Well, the problem with Unity or Unreal is that they remain proprietary engines somehow, at least that's how I understand it, and I think this may cause problems notably with the After-Sales Service Support... since to modify Unity or Unreal one needs to pay a licence as far as I know, it means I'll be the only one, with the dedicated programmer I will hire or form a partnership with, to solve bugs: however, what if some bugs appearing after the game release are way beyond that programmer's capabilities ?

My reasoning is that one of the interests of using a GPL engine such as Id Tech 4, and specifically this one as it's a quite well-known one, is that since anyone can work on it at anytime after the release, even the most complicated bugs to resolve could be solved by people much more competent than my programmer or than me -all I've did until now about coding is trying to write code in Turbo Pascal 7 when I was 12: most of the time it didn't work, and when it did, it actually worked not the way I wanted but I didn't dare to object. It may anger the Machine Spirit, you never know, so let Its Sacred Will decide of what It will do. 😁

Godot, that's an engine I've never heard about... thank you for the information, I'll do some searches on that, however since Datiswous said that their 3D engine may be less sophisticated than id Tech 4, I may not use Godot, but I'll see... for the moment I still tend to think that TDM is the best solution, notably since my game will include stealth gameplay mechanics and Thief-based stealth gameplay is the only viable stealth gameplay method ever made.

One thing I wonder, though, is if Id Tech 4's damage system would work to translate my PnP RPG gameplay system... I will make tests in the coming weeks with Dark Radiant to see what I can do with projectile-based weapons, and study more how the .PAK files about weapons work: in TDM there's only a bow and it seems to be treated as a projectile-based weapon, I'm going to try to see how the whole thing works regarding accuracy, "magazine capacity", etc, by hoping there are comments left beside the code lines.

If anyone has information on this subject, how the bow works technically in its .PAK file, I'm all ears :)

 

On 5/7/2021 at 1:01 PM, stgatilov said:

And I'd suggest choosing dhewm3 over TDM in such case, since its code is much cleaner.

Thanks for the suggestion, I've started reading about dhewm3 since yesterday, but apart a cleaner code, what more does it have than TDM ?
 

 

 

On 5/7/2021 at 11:05 PM, JackFarmer said:

No offense, man, but I think we've already had something like that here at least twice. If my recollection is correct, we never heard from these posters again, and the reason for that is quite simple: It is a hell of a lot of work to implement such an RPG infrastructure on top of the source program without deep knowledge.

Apart from that, programming, animating and creating 3D models - that's the main work on such a game. The OP seems to think that we have here contributors in abundance. We all know, that's not the case. Thus, the chances are quite low that people can be recruited here. At the moment we don't even have someone who can add missing animations to existing characters. Thus, it would not be well received if someone from here would agreee to get "contracted" (what does that even mean?) for creating animations....

 

No offense taken ;)

I'm not surprised that from time to time people pop up here, ask a few enthusiastic questions about a project they're starting and eventually never come back because the task is more difficult than they initially thought, personally I'm fully awayre that creating a FPS-RPG almost "by myself" is the kind of accomplishment that would be called miraculous, but I'm confident I can make it if I find a competent programmer, as I've been creating homebrew RPG systems since a long time and almost made it professionally if the team didn't blew up because of unresolved differences of vision and pent-up animosity between a few people that grew until it was too late, so after modding a few games to test my ideas I think that's doable.
That failed project I just mentioned is actually the reason why I'm more inclined to not form a team of developers and instead to contract people anywhere I could find them: by "contracted", I mean paying people here or there to realize a single work, be it an animation, a 3D model, etc, the same way, say, a shop owner would contract a painter to create a painting for the shop's storefront. When you contract people that are outsiders to your project instead of having to juggle with the egos of a dedicated team, you limit the risk of failure :)

I do have another potential project on the side, that said, totally unrelated to video games and that is so daring that I'd be the first surprised if I manage to set it in motion, so if suddently I disappear from The Dark Mod Forums after 6 months of activity, don't be surprised, even if I'll do my best to run both projects at the same time, given that this second one is pretty long-winded and can remain casually "tried on the side" while I work on that main video game project.
 

Anyway, about the recurrent questions that are asked once or twice a year in similar topics such as "Why aren't you on Steam? When is the campaign coming? Can I use your stuff for my commercial project? Why aren't you doing a remake of Thief Gold?", maybe creating a FAQ and making it a sticky topic would work, personally I haven't found something like that in the various sections of the forum, maybe I've missed it that said.

Edited by Cecil of Cynope
I was not 15 at the time, I was 12 : )
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Well good luck to you, but don't underestimate how much programming time will be required, and how much this is likely to cost.

A competent programmer working alone might be able to produce a reasonably decent game in six months. Based on average programmer salaries in the UK, this would cost in the region of £20,000. You could try a site like Freelancer.com and find some delusional guy in Delhi who hasn't actually read the brief telling you he can do it for $150, but that's not going to work out well for you.

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On 5/7/2021 at 4:57 PM, OrbWeaver said:

What you could do is use the Dark Mod GPL code as your game engine, then release a commercial game using 100% original assets that you create yourselves, and require people to pay for the game which includes your assets (while they could still download the engine source code under the terms of the GPL).

I suppose I don't need to belabor this anymore, but this is the core answer for this thread. But I did want to say, there are actually good reasons to use our engine beyond the things you already mentioned. It's right at that level (2005 base) where an individual or small team could get traction on developing it. But even aside from that, not to pat ourselves on the back too hard, but IMO our engine is pretty awesome and would be a great base for a lot of kinds of games, especially of the immersive sim / semi-open world type and complex AI. It has a lot of pretty sophisticated systems, advanced AI alert states, the S&R simulation system, the location system, the systems for objectives, readables, scripting, soft shadows, AO & the like....

People could argue that the Unity or Unreal engines are better for general purpose, and it's true they do have big communities with lots of modules that do lots of things, but working with our engine in DR is also really pleasant to build with. And if your game is of a certain type (the immersive sim type), I think you've got a headstart with our systems than starting from scratch with those other engines. Also it's not like you'd be alone. You could probably ask questions in this forum too, since many of us know this engine really well by now and might help answer some questions. (That said, our community doesn't mix well with commercialization, so probably not good to mix us too much into the project, but you know, within reason.)

I've always thought it'd be a good base for aspiring devs to use for all sorts of games. So I'd actually be excited to see what someone could do with it. Not, of course, just a blatant copy of our game, but if someone could stretch the legs of our engine, I think it could be a good base for some really cool and original games.

Anyway, you can take that for encouragement. Good luck for whatever you decide to do anyway.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/10/2021 at 10:34 AM, OrbWeaver said:

Well good luck to you, but don't underestimate how much programming time will be required, and how much this is likely to cost.

A competent programmer working alone might be able to produce a reasonably decent game in six months. Based on average programmer salaries in the UK, this would cost in the region of £20,000. You could try a site like Freelancer.com and find some delusional guy in Delhi who hasn't actually read the brief telling you he can do it for $150, but that's not going to work out well for you.

Thanks for the wishes of luck, and also for the information regarding the average programmer's wage in England, always interesting to know :smile:

I'm surprised that it would only took 6 months for a decent game, I actually planned for something around 5 years of development, since a FPS-RPG would be much more complicated. Then again, since almost everything gameplay-wise and universe/story-wise is already done, maybe I was pessimistic... what still bugs me is how much time and money would be needed for contracting work on the assets such as 3D models, objects of any size (weapons, furniture, vehicles, buildings, NPCs), textures and of course the animations, that's something I'm still wondering and trying to calculate.
I know I'm gonna have to cut corners here and there anyway, this project is gonna be a permanent exercise in finding a balance between various constraints... it's a good thing that open-world games turned out to be a mistake gameplay-wise, as I won't need as much development time since I'm building a semi-open world game :)

And now the ultimate quest begins: to convince everyone that open-world games were a false good idea and that semi-open world games are so much better, they shall all know this Truth, verily ! 😆

 

On 5/10/2021 at 12:35 PM, demagogue said:

But even aside from that, not to pat ourselves on the back too hard, but IMO our engine is pretty awesome and would be a great base for a lot of kinds of games, especially of the immersive sim / semi-open world type and complex AI. It has a lot of pretty sophisticated systems, advanced AI alert states, the S&R simulation system, the location system, the systems for objectives, readables, scripting, soft shadows, AO & the like....

People could argue that the Unity or Unreal engines are better for general purpose, and it's true they do have big communities with lots of modules that do lots of things, but working with our engine in DR is also really pleasant to build with. And if your game is of a certain type (the immersive sim type), I think you've got a headstart with our systems than starting from scratch with those other engines. Also it's not like you'd be alone. You could probably ask questions in this forum too, since many of us know this engine really well by now and might help answer some questions. (That said, our community doesn't mix well with commercialization, so probably not good to mix us too much into the project, but you know, within reason.)

I've always thought it'd be a good base for aspiring devs to use for all sorts of games. So I'd actually be excited to see what someone could do with it. Not, of course, just a blatant copy of our game, but if someone could stretch the legs of our engine, I think it could be a good base for some really cool and original games.

Anyway, you can take that for encouragement. Good luck for whatever you decide to do anyway.

Thanks for the wishes of luck too, I must add that the fact that your engine is an excellent base to begin with is something that kept pulling me toward it 6 months ago when I was wondering which engine I should choose and weighting each engine's advantages and inconvenients: considering that as you said all the main systems needed for an immersive sim/FPS-RPG game are already in place and all that would take is a few tweaks here and there, I've always been tempted to choose yours over Unreal and Unity, and the last update in February 2021 that enables it to use multi-core/multi-threading was the last push that incitated me to use TheDarkMod as a base.

About asking questions to people here about TDM, I did plan to ask a few things from time to time indeed, as it will avoid me to waste time discovering by myself how to do such-and-such thing, I do not think it will create problems as I'll offer a lot of stuff to your engine in exchange: for instance, I do plan to have an animation for the "mantle" action in my game, and since it's a very basic stuff that I can release without endangering the business plan for my game, that's among the first things that will be put at your disposal as soon as I'll have contracted someone somewhere to create that animation, I'll just give it to you way before the hypothetical release of the game :)

It won't be a one-on-one basis such as "one question asked - one gift in exchange" of course, I'll never have the money to do that without endangering the game's development, but I think it gives a kind of proof of my honesty on this subject. I see all of this as a kind of "distant partnership", so to speak: I save a lot of time by relying on TheDarkMod's engine, and I give back by making everything I'll create in my game regarding gameplay available to you to be integrated in your engine, everyone wins :)

I do hope that I'll succeed in this project, not just to finally earn a living decently but also because I'd love to see my work bringing something to TDM's engine to the point of making it containing anything needed to create any kind of independent FPS game, along with stuff sophisticated enough such as that procedural NPC faces generator I'd like to add if I can manage to make it / have it build, that would allow it to become a GPL rival to existing engines, as I said as a mean to stick the finger to what the video game industry has become, not to mention that with the compatibility of this engine with Linux: finally Linux users will have something with which to build better games. The reason why I'm still using Windows on a dual-boot is because even if time has passed since the 2000's, there's still a lack of great games for Linux... let's hope I'll manage to solve that, eheh.

I also have plans to make a RTS game using everything I've created during these 15 years working on my fictional universe with these two hypothetical video game projects in mind -everything is already built on paper: groups, vehicles and their respective designs, weapons, gameplay, story, "philosophical dialogues" for lack of a better term... you name it- that would follow the same principles and aim the same goal, but that's still day-dreaming for the moment :)

 

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This is an interesting initiative, I'll want to see how it goes. Wishing you the best of luck!

TDM and DarkRadiant are very modern tools... at least by FOSS standards, some code is technically +15 years old but that doesn't stop the end result from being as good as if it was made yesterday :) If it doesn't work out, I'd recommend taking a look at Tesseract (the engine Red Eclipse also uses) which supports modern graphics with the added benefit of having an in-game map editor and even allowing players to create maps in multiplayer!

I also have a dream to create an immersive game, which would contain elements from multiple games overall (FPS weapons, stealth mechanics, RPG leveling system, worlds generated in Minecraft voxels). Planning to use Godot for this one, but alas it's not something I'm ready to get myself busy with yet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd still be interested in at least screwing around with this same concept.  I had a look into what freyk/MirceaKitsune were working on, but I never was able to make much sense of it.  All I got working was a fairly nightmarishly tacked-together Blade Runner-themed map and never got any enemies or weapons working, like they had in some screenshots.  If they had any updated packages, I can't find them, but here are the links anyway:-
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B4ms8lQXkym7YThOQnpiTEZSeTg
https://gitlab.com/darkmodule/darkmodule
Admittedly, I didn't spend a whole lot of time trying to get guns to work.  Will have another look later.

This still leaves the question about scripts like DEF files.  I understand they're obviously copyright(ed/able) but on the other hand, there isn't exactly a billion different ways they can be created, unless one wants to get tediously neurotic about it.  At what point does it become a problem to just use them?  To what degree do they need to be 'reformulated' to be considered as original?  Is anyone even going to care?  If I just omit all graphics, all meshes/animations and all audio (to vaguely generalise), is that good enough?  After all, all of these kind of script files will be heavily modified anyway.  And then what is the alternative approach?  To manually type them all out again just to appease some sensibilities and technicalities, which seems like a huge amount of time to spend, potentially for nothing.

Maybe I'm overthinking it all but it seems worthwhile to fully clarify.

 

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Well, since the source code for Doom 3, on which TDM is based, was eventually released under an open-source license, my understanding is that it covers every line of code and every file such as DEF files, so that's not an issue... if my understanding is correct, of course.
But since Stgatilov said that "format cannot be intellectual properly, only its software tools and documentation can be", I think that it's correct, if format means "how you write your code and with which words you write it". Words cannot be patented or copyrighted, that's how IP law works everywhere in the world, even if some people try from time to time.

This was different for the software technique called "Carmack's Reverse" that was initially patented by Creative Labs as it was the work from both one of Creative Lab's engineers and John Carmack: when he later decided to release Doom3's source code, John Carmack rewrote several lines of code to achieve the very same result, just in case Creative Labs decided to claim a patent infrigement, but I think that's because the... well, let's say "the precise assembly of specific line of codes" could be claimed as patent infringement.

Pretty much as if John Carmack and Creative Labs had built a house with walls inclined in a very unique way never-seen-before to support a roof like-any-other-roof-everywhere-on- every-house, and that, later, John Carmack decided, just in case, to rearrange the way in which the house's walls were inclined to support the same banal roof because he wanted to give the house to anyone without risking to be sued by Creative Lab: with that change in how the walls are assembled, the work done previously by Creative Lab doesn't exist anymore and Creative Labs cannot claim anything. In this analogy, Creative Labs cannot and could not patent the bricks (the words) or the mortar (the lines of code) of the walls, only the way the walls were built inclined as it was a unique work done by them.
I'm not a specialist in Intellectual Property though, so I may be wrong.

Anyway, as long as the 3D models, animations, sounds and textures from the original Doom 3 and from The Dark Mod are not used, because they are under a Non-Commercial license, forbidding their use for a commercial project, everything's fine: so yes, you just have to omit all graphics/animation/audio assets and that's good enough :) ;)

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I'm going to politely disagree with these assumptions.  We're talking about "scripts" as content, not source code.  If we don't make a discernment here, things become too abstract.

 

Therefore, without a clear answer, I feel that the undertaking is just too overwhelming.  One could easily use data management to tweak all of these files about to make them unique from a technical point of view, but legally and ethically it doesn't sit well with me.  Also, to put it simply, trying to turn an arrow into a (delayed) hit-scan bullet doesn't sound like a good idea to me.  That's the only approach I've seen attempted so far.

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