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Topic Starter Topic: Eurogamer Article on Doom's Open Source History

Shambolic
Shambolic
Joined: 11 Apr 2000
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PostPosted: 02-01-2017 02:20 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


The many faces of DOOM's afterlife

Nice little article on how Carmack making Doom's source code open source affected its longevity, prompted by ZDoom's developer ceasing her work on the project.

And to be honest, this is what makes me saddest about id's absorption by Zenimax. I doubt very much whether we'll see the source code for id games moving forward open sourced. I regarded the addition of Snap Map to new Doom as a very cynical, short-sighted move on Bethesda's behalf, symptomatic of id's reduced control over their own content.
If the community has access to the same tools the developers had or have, a game's life can be extended past its point of sale indefinitely. This is important when regarding games as part of cultural history and not just products.

I still play Doom to this day, a couple of weekends ago playing some co-op ZDaemon with some friends from over at the Through the Looking Glass forums, and it's still a remarkable game that's been massively improved upon to a mind-boggling extent by the dedicated modding community.
Indeed, it's amazing how the features of ZDaemon in particular make a mockery of most modern games, with an easy to use browser, simple account creation purely for finding friends and not gathering user information, automatic, free and fast download of maps needed to play on the server you're connecting to, and a simple wizard to help you set up your own server. Many modern games developers could serve to learn by id's early example.

But I suspect most games from this era will become unplayable relatively quickly when compared to Doom, thanks to the inability of the gaming community to keep them up-to-date.




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Cool #9
Cool #9
Joined: 01 Dec 2000
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PostPosted: 02-01-2017 04:50 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Calling Snapmap a cynical short-sighted move is doing it a disservice. While I don't disagree with most of what you said, it's known that creating content or mods for more recent games (across the industry) is getting increasingly difficult due to the complexity and demands of the game and the content creation pipeline.

The result is that modding and custom content creation for games like Doom 3 and Rage were almost non-existant (especially compared to the heyday of the Quakes). Having the source code available isn't guaranteed to extend the longevity of the game.

Snapmap can therefor also be seen as a clever way to lower the demands for content creation and leverage the creative abilities not only of those with a technical (PC) background, but also those who simply pop the disc in their games console and would normally not even consider the possibility of creating custom content.

So I wouldn't call Snapmap cynical. I would rather look at it like a clever attempt at reviving that modding community type of thing.

Sure, having access to the gamecode required to write mods would open up more possibilities, but such a thing is aimed at a different (or rather, much smaller) group of people than Snapmap. At most, you could argue that both should be available next to each other.




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Shambolic
Shambolic
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PostPosted: 02-01-2017 05:33 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Well, there's more to Snapmap being cynical than just what I wrote above. After all, a regular map editor could also have taken advantage of existing assets, so while I agree that modding from the ground up, including texture work and model creation, is substantially more complicated now than it has been in the past, a level editor to pump out maps using existing assets is a much better proposal.

In addition, given that this engine has the level editing tools built in (as it has done since Doom 3), cutting off consumer access to it remains suspicious.

Why not provide both snap map and access to the built in editor?

One, it means map information can be abstracted and compressed even further, where a snap-map construction isn't actually the map itself but rather metadata about how the pre-fabricated snap-map modules fit together. Nifty idea, very cool. No argument from me there, although it limits complexity.

Two, and this is the more insidious aspect that undermines community longevity, it means that Bethesda host all snap-map constructions on their servers and maintain intellectual property rights over anything constructed in snap-map.

I understand that it's possible to download snap-maps from the community in the game itself, but without the community having access to the source code, 20 years down the line new Doom probably won't work on whatever operating system is the flavour of the time unless Zenimax fund compatibility development over those 20 years.

I'm pretty sure original Doom will still be being played 20 years down the line.




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Cool #9
Cool #9
Joined: 01 Dec 2000
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PostPosted: 02-01-2017 08:16 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Mat Linnett wrote:
without the community having access to the source code, 20 years down the line new Doom probably won't work on whatever operating system is the flavour of the time unless Zenimax fund compatibility development over those 20 years.


I guess that's a good point, but realistically it shows how spoiled we have been with id Software. Do you think we'll still be able to play Overwatch in 20 years? DOTA2? League of Legends? None of their respective developers have made the game source code available.




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Messatsu Ko Jy-ouu
Messatsu Ko Jy-ouu
Joined: 24 Nov 2000
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PostPosted: 02-01-2017 08:18 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Or, to look at it differently, how many games from 20 years ago that *havent* released their source code are still playable on todays machines?

Quite a lot actually. Pretty sure that if someone wanted to run Doom2016 in 20 years they probably could, with the right amount of software.




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Cool #9
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PostPosted: 02-01-2017 08:34 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


One difference is the advent of online services though. To play something like DOTA, Overwatch or Hearthstone, you'll need the backend infrastructure Valve/Blizzard have put in place to still be able to play it. With that gone, those games are rendered unplayable.

But that's not entirely related to the availability of sourcecode (except for that if you know the protocols, you could theoretically implement your own backend system)




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Shambolic
Shambolic
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PostPosted: 02-01-2017 09:13 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


MKJ wrote:
Or, to look at it differently, how many games from 20 years ago that *havent* released their source code are still playable on todays machines?

Quite a lot actually. Pretty sure that if someone wanted to run Doom2016 in 20 years they probably could, with the right amount of software.


True enough, but games modded to the extent Doom or Quake have been, with engine enhancements allowing for creation of more complicated maps and gameplay than the original game?
zDoom, EZQuake, GZDoom, Brutal Doom, Quakespasm, Arcane Dimensions... the list goes on. It's all wonderful stuff that wouldn't have been possible without Carmack's open source policy.

And there are very few games that support that level of modding with an active community so many years after their release. Yes, lots of games may be playable, but improved and with active communities?
I'd say releasing the source code was instrumental in these games' continued success.

And Eraser, your point about games with an online component has had me upset with the stupidity of not releasing this stuff to the community for years. Look at the number of interesting MMOs that are no longer playable in any way, shape or form thanks to the publishers being stingy with their source code. Sure, a lot of them may have been shit, but historically, a lot of these things are incredibly important, yet lost to time in legal black holes.




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Messatsu Ko Jy-ouu
Messatsu Ko Jy-ouu
Joined: 24 Nov 2000
Posts: 43620
PostPosted: 02-01-2017 10:12 AM           Profile   Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Mat Linnett wrote:
MKJ wrote:
Or, to look at it differently, how many games from 20 years ago that *havent* released their source code are still playable on todays machines?

Quite a lot actually. Pretty sure that if someone wanted to run Doom2016 in 20 years they probably could, with the right amount of software.


True enough, but games modded to the extent Doom or Quake have been, with engine enhancements allowing for creation of more complicated maps and gameplay than the original game?
zDoom, EZQuake, GZDoom, Brutal Doom, Quakespasm, Arcane Dimensions... the list goes on. It's all wonderful stuff that wouldn't have been possible without Carmack's open source policy.

And there are very few games that support that level of modding with an active community so many years after their release. Yes, lots of games may be playable, but improved and with active communities?
I'd say releasing the source code was instrumental in these games' continued success.


No argument there.Your other post though implied that a game can't be playable on future OS's unless the source code is available - a flawed logic. Just wanted to set that straight :)




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