Issues with developing a closed source / commercial app with the GE

Hi folks,

As someone who has written a few tuts for the GE, and has also fixed some bugs, I should be in a good position to answer this, but I’m sure I’m as unsure of the answer as many GE users.

I’ll use an actual example of a 3D project that I was going to create using Blender, but decided to use Director / Shockwave 3D instead ( as this is what I use in work every day, and also I know that I can release closed source apps with absolutely no comebacks ).

Hopefully this will raise some discussion, and some firm answers as to whether Blender could be used in this way. For a commercial developer for me, this “unknown” element makes it difficult for me to use Blender as part of my work. If I purchase Director for around £1000, I know that I won’t ever be asked to release my source code, or pay any additional fees for using technology that happens to reside within Director.

PROJECT - 3D Comic Book Viewer

I’m creating an image viewer, that uses the 3D graphics card to allow the user to zoom / pan around the page easily.

It loads CBR/CBZ files - a well-known format for storing digital scans of comics.

I’m writing a blog about the development of this viewer right now - you can also download a working Windows prototype of the viewer from the blog at the link below…

RELEASE ISSUES

For the purposes of this discussion, lets imagine that I’ve developed the this exact project using the GE, as a commercial developer.

Firstly, I’m not going to release the source code for the application - it’s going to be a closed source project.

Secondly, there is a potential that the application will be used in 2 commercial environments.

  1. I’m going to sell multiple copies of the application online for $10
  2. I’ve got a $1000 contract to use the application as part of a commercial interactive art installation ( where it runs on a wall-mounted screen over a 3 month period )

There may be a few reasons for remaining closed source…

  1. I’m not comfortable releasing my poorly written code to the public
  2. I don’t want my competition to have access to my hard work - ie I don’t want them to be able to take my solution, and use it to implement similar solutions for other potential clients in that area.

As mentioned above, imagine that I haven’t developed in Director, but I have used Blender and the GE to make it.

What potential issues would I now face, if I didn’t release the source code.

On a related issue, I’m aware that the .blend file can be extracted from a .EXE. We can ignore this fact for now, and take it up as a separate discussion later on ( eg modifying the Blender source code to create the resulting EXE in a different way ).

I’m looking forward to the replys, which will hopefully make it easier for me to use Blender in my commercial ( offline ) projects - which will of course lead me to fixing more bugs in Blender.
Mal

What potential issues would I now face, if I didn’t release the source code.

On a related issue, I’m aware that the .blend file can be extracted from a .EXE. We can ignore this fact for now, and take it up as a separate discussion later on ( eg modifying the Blender source code to create the resulting EXE in a different way ).

There was a script called ‘Blender starter’ which allows you to sell your games commercially without violating the license.

On the second issue, C-106 Delta was developing a program which adds many layers of security to your .exe file so you can’t convert to a .blend.

Keep on fixing bugs in the BGE, your work is appreciated.

Dude, looks like a paradox to me…:spin: Does all this “competion” really exists at this level, like you said?

Lets suppose yes… If all of this is about low budget solutions… I don’t see you point, sorry :confused: Untill your competidors hack your project probably you are going to be working at another solution :wink:

BTW nice post. Interesting questions. Respect!

Well ofcourse if a project is commercial it is natural not to release the source code. I think its unquestionable. There is no need to give as reasons why.
If we want blender to become popular and advanced game dev program…then we need commercial projects made with it…with closed codes as is everywhere in game industry. So go on do your project earn some money and good luck.
Let people ask you : “What are you using to do this great project…can we use it in our multimilion projects.” :))
Say-“yes its Blender”. and thats all, Blender will become popular.
But good pro-work needs money. No one is going to do something great witout any money.

PS. malCanDO, did you use Flash and ActionScript in your current work?

you dont have a problem. read the faq on the official site http://www.blender.org/education-help/faq/gpl-for-artists/#c2130 .
"So I can make games without having to worry about the GPL, right?

That is correct, games are program output and therefore not covered by the GPL. The Blender team is committed to making sure that Blender can be used for both GPL and non-GPL games without any license conflicts. The standalone executable is actually just a ‘tarring’ of the standard Blender Game Engine executable and the game blend files, and thus the game is not subject to the GPL. (Previously this FAQ erroneously stated that this would subject the game data to the GPL). However any changes to the the Blender source code of the game engine would still fall under the terms of the GPL.
So I own the copyright to all output?

In almost every circumstance for blender, only the code and other GPL’d files themselves are covered. Any output of such material is copyright the person who produced the output, in this case, the artist."

some also only release .exe files to prevent the disclosure of sourcecode. i dont think you’ll have a problem, unless you are dristributing a modafied version of bleneder as the viewer.

maybe is my fault for using gnu/linux,but this copyright thing makes no sense to me.

copyright laws and closed source leads to piracy,which leads to restrictive laws that takes our freedom from us.
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

i’ve seen people waiting 3 days to get an illegal 3ds max copy from p2p,when they could have had blender after a few minutes.and this only seems to lead to losing our freedom and rights.

ok,that’s enough,take it easy on me;that was just my 2 cents…

p.s.if your not proud of your code,isn’t it better to release it and see how others can help,isn’t it what they tell you to do in this forum’s,so you can get help?

cheers.

I’ve seen a lot of posts say the opposite, that distributing a “Saved Runtime” is actually a modification to the code and a derivative work… and therefore must comply with the GPL license and must therefore make you release your source code…

That the only way to keep your source “closed” is to distribute the player and your .blend separately (perhaps with a bat file to open one in the other) , which leaves the source pretty open really!

There’s a lot of conflicting views on this… How does one KNOW who to believe?
It’s certainly much nicer to distribute a runtime, which even if it isn’t secure is certainly going to put off a lot of casual ‘attacks’

maybe is my fault for using gnu/linux,but this copyright thing makes no sense to me.

copyright laws and closed source leads to piracy,which leads to restrictive laws that takes our freedom from us.
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

I love linux and open source and try to use it for all my work now! I love the philosophy and like to try and pass on some good, be that scripts, advice, feedback whatever…

On the other hand I do a lot of work for clients who pay me. This is good, it means I can feed my family!

My clients don’t want to end up with the stuff they’re commissioning becoming open source… this can lead to situations where Blender could be used on high profile projects but i may not be able to take advantage of its full power because of the license.

Lucky for me that Blender isn’t the final delivery platform and that my blender GE based milestones are for the clients internal use only…

That may not ALWAYS be the case though, so given direct information from this thread I have one world view, a couple of weeks ago there was a similar thread about the GPL and distributing blender GE games that came out as a polar opposite in terms of advice and opinion

HOW DO WE GET CLARIFICATION? Do we need to go to the Dev Team? the FreeSoftwareFoundation? Legal advice from lawyers?

maybe better integrated external game engines (so that there easy to develop for, but the final distributable result is un-encumbered by any blender code or license) or even the blender game engine being a plugin itself is the final answer…

Either I’m seeing things, or this page doesn’t say this anymore. Visit the page again. Whereas when rd03 accessed the page (and supposedly copy/pasted here). Where it used to say:

The standalone executable is actually just a ‘tarring’ of the standard Blender Game Engine executable and the game blend files, and thus the game is not subject to the GPL.

It now says:

With stand-alone games however, any data that is included inside the actual stand-alone executable is covered by the GPL. If this is a problem then you should set up the stand-alone player so it reads from external .blend files.

… what happened.