Game Development Games Geek / Technical Linux Game Development Marketing/Business

Quake 3 Source Now Under GPL

It’s been in the news for some time, but it is still very cool news: Quake 3: Arena Source GPL’d

id has been pretty good about releasing the source to their older game engines. It’s not a new idea for the company. Apparently you still have people who think that the GPL is about stealing someone’s work, as this comment shows:

A Shame
Why did not you buy this game ?

Quake 3 is a great game, it costs few bucks

You want games for free, so I ask you to work freely, without salary.
Give your goods for free if you ask the games for free !

Huh?!? id released the source code to their engine under the General Public License. The game data and scripts remain proprietary, so you can’t legally play the GAME unless you pay for the proprietary data . It isn’t like some GPL zealots hacked into their servers and placed the code under the GPL. It isn’t like Carmack will come out with a statement like, “It is with great regret that I must inform everyone that we’ve lost our source code to the scourge of the GPL; however, we will not give up. We will fight back, and we will win!” It was a conscious decision to release the source, and no one is under the delusion that it is a free lunch except for people who think that the GPL equates to legalized piracy.

The Complete Text of General Public License
The GPL covers whatever an author wants to cover. Some games, source code and data, are covered under the GPL entirely, but the terms are restricted to the engine’s source code in this case. Therefore, the GPL dictates the terms of copying, modifying, and distributing the Quake 3 Arena source code. Not how you actually use the program. Not what you can do to the art or music that comes with the game. Copyright law gives id exclusive rights to the Quake 3 Arena engine source code. If they want to allow people to read the code, change the code, compile the code, redistribute the code, etc, they have the right to do so. The GPL is simply one of a number of standard documents to express what rights they are allowing others to have.

Don’t worry. No one is ripping id off.