Thursday, July 21, 2011

NOLF2 source released but to what end

The commercial abandonware 2002 game No One Lives Forever (trailer) has been released under the GPLv2.

The NOLF2 source code has been released under the GPLv2 by Touchdown Entertainment. Along with the game source code, you will find the engine source code, as well the tools behind it. It's great news for the entire NOLF2 modding community, since now we'll be able to keep the game alive!

I have uploaded the package to free services since the Touchdown Entertainment website is down:

It isn't yet clear what license the assets are released under, but as with most commercial game source releases I suspect that it is not part of the source release.

Do these commercial source pseudo-Free releases have any merit beyond giving loyal followers a way to keep their fun alive? It has been of great benefit to have had the ID engines released as Free software, but they were the platform for a number of very significant free projects that would later transition from freeware mods to true Free software.

If the source release is a way to say thanks to the fans, why not bundle the media too?

The same recently happened with the more popular Arx Fatalis. The Arx Liberatis developers are doing a valiant job of cleaning up with the ultimate goal being a native Linux port (currently WINE reliant) but is this just a commercial company using the open source community to keep a dead game alive and milk the last few drops out of their dying cash cow?

I'm not impressed by decade-old game source releases that do not include the full media for the game. It's still not Free, even worse, it's still not free. If anything, it is arguably a negative for the open source community because it reduces the pool of developers who might otherwise contribute their skills to a more worthy cause.


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