Post news RSS Podcast 17 - Developing Mods as F/OSS

A great discussion with William, Andy (from Overwatch), John (from Overwatch), Andrew (from RNL), and Tony (from FIX Korea Co., Ltd.) about developing mods using an open source model. Is it feasible? What tools are at your disposal? Also information about Podcast 17s newest Videographer position.

Posted by on

Hello fellow ModDB fans,

This week on Podcast 17 we had a great discussion hosted by Andy, lead of Overwatch. He proposed developing mods using an open source model. What are the advantages/disadvantages? What tools are available and other examples in the industry. It's a great listen for all mod developers who are eager to move into a new way of development and publication. Check below for the full list of participants as well as brief points of interest.

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce our Videographer position. Full details can be found on our blog, but in short, Podcast 17 needs help moving into a video show for our live listeners. If anyone has any experience using services such as livestream, or ustream feel free to give us a shout. Full details can be found here.

Developing Mods as F/OSS

Andy is joined by William, John, Andrew and Tony.

  • Andy (aka. AndY)Host
    Development Lead of Overwatch.
  • William McMahonHost
    Owner/Operator of Podcast17.
  • John Reese (aka. nuclear_eclipse)Guest Host
    Software Engineer for Overwatch.
  • Andrew RitchieGuest Host
    Software Engineer for Resistance & Liberation.
  • Tony Sergi (aka. Omega)Guest Host
    Senior Programmer for FIX Korea Co., Ltd.

Key points:

  • Making Overwatch Open Source
  • Open Source in the Industry
  • Source SDK Discussion
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Going Open Source
  • Tools for Open Source

Full show notes and links can be found on our website.

Podcast 17

(Special thanks to the Overgrowth team and Iiro Jäppinen for providing these nice icons!)


Nice podcast. It seems that community involvement is what will further the mod scene. Our medium sized team has the usual positions open of concept artists and coders, of which there seems to be few with spare time to join another team. We have been internally discussing how to get the community involved with our mods progression in a way that would be encouraging and motivational and not require the dedication that a full team member has to put into the project.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote

Just going to paste in here some of the comments made on the podcast17 site:

It’s difficult to open source games. The main issue is creative control over the game:
- there’s one thing to allow other people to read your code, access your art assets etc.
- then there’s another thing to allow other people to commit code to your game, allow them to change art assets to your game.
With the second option, it is hard to get your idea of the game implemented: the community might chose to turn your envisioned zombie shooter into a 3rd person police investigation game.

id Software released the code of their engines AFTER finishing their products. And while they did release their whole code for idTech1, 2 and 3, it didn’t release the entire code of idTech 4. They released only the game code, meaning the parts of the code that would allow you to create game entities. No access to the low level stuff. From that point of view, idTech 4 is similar to Source SDK.

There’s also a big difference from releasing the CODE under GPL license and the ART ASSETS of the game. id NEVER GPL-ed their artwork. And from their perspective, of sharing the technology, they don’t need to.

Nice point on using the Source SDK and the EULA. Once you use the tools for any game, you agree to the EULA governing the SDK, and most of them do not let you commercially exploit them.
Distributing the mod as a ‘source’ package would indeed consist in selling third party assets (maps in Maya, models in 3DS etc) with a script that would compile them in game proprietary formats. That would normally be legal.
However, this would be:
- technically very challenging for the developers
- technically very challenging for the users. What if an error occurs during the ‘compilation’? As a user who just payed 20 USD for the mod, how would you feel?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.