Roundtable: The Future of Source Modding

This is the first in a new series of in-depth discussions on one particular topic or aspect of Source gaming. I hope to do around 3 or 4 of these a year.

This one, as you can see, is entitled “The Future of Source Modding”, and we discuss various aspects of this theme.

My guests for this show are Jason AKA GeneralVivi, Don AKA Unqueque and Robert Yang AKA CapmpaignJunkie.

I have to admit that my management of this discussion is a little weak and I could have structured it better. For that I apologize. In addition we had some technical issues and had to disconnect the call and start from where we left off. Hopefully, you won’t notice. Robert’s microphone was also generating lots of clicks and pops and at one point he muted for a while.

Lastly, William from Podcast17 and Au Heppa from Human Error were also due to join us but were unable to.

Jason, Don and Robert have agreed to stop by and respond to any comments, so feel free to ask them your own questions.

Attention iTunes Users: All my podcasts are now available via the iTunes Store.

Listen to the podcast

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Published

4th April 2011

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21 Comments
  1. Twitwi 15 comments

    4th April 2011

    Very nice feature.
    And wow a good discussion, I like the thing they said, it was like, indies kills mods (of course said in a milder language)

    And what a nice idea with the unity, drop in and it will work. (to get that in source)
    Another thing I think they didn't mention was the coding language in unity, it's not just C or something like that, it's multiple languages so it's possible to get more people involved in the project if they are familiar with one of languages, I think that's genius.

  2. Aaron M

    5th April 2011

    one of the main reasons why I started the mod of the year back in the day on moddb to promote mods that were teams and the old school of making them. Regular mods, school based mods, dev team mods. I remember trying to break this story of the diff mod teams and people would think I was crazy.

  3. All good men from Valve-ERC days. You should find more people like them.

  4. Herr_Alien

    5th April 2011

    Let's begin:

    Quite a lot of discontent towards Valve's engine updates. Now, I am pretty sure Valve is not deaf to this. They know. So why do they "break" compatibility that often?
    – they don't care; their own products run ok, screw the mods
    – they're understaffed
    – (somewhat similar to above) they started too many projects at the same time, but that also bring significantly more cash.

    Their tools also seem to be more difficult, from what other people complain. Very likely much more difficult than Unity, don't know about UDK. Again, the same possible reasons come up.

    And there's one more reason: Valve doesn't license its engine. It says it can to it, but in reality, Valve doesn't get a lot of it's money from engine licenses. id, Epic, Crytek, on the other hand, they get have game engine licensing as a business plan. This means they must create easy to use engines and tools, otherwise they will not make as much money.

    So, if Valve doesn't get money from engine licensing, what is their source of income? The games they developed (when was the last Valve-developed game released?) and possibly from Steam.

    And my feeling is that Valve is focused more towards Steam. More towards publishing than development. And I think that's why lately they're just buying dev teams. And porting Steam to PS3 and Mac.

    @Phillip: For Quake 4, they released only the game code, not the full source code, as they did with Quake 1-3.

    @being protective over code: ID software open sourced engines. But they did that AFTER the engine was milked up dry of money. I'd say that 1 year after a mod is releaser it would be safe to expose the code for it.

    As for the other guy selling the re-compiled Lugaru, the issue is not because he sold the recompiled binaries, he also sold the art assets. And only the code of Lugaru was GPL-ed, not the assets …

    ReplyEdited at 10:08 AM, 5th April 2011
    • Twitwi 15 comments

      5th April 2011

      — they don't care; their own products run ok, screw the mods
      — they're understaffed
      — (somewhat similar to above) they started too many projects at the same time, but that also bring significantly more cash.

      I deffently think they care, and I don't think they are understaffed either.
      I think it's because what you can make with their tools, are all you need to make something good.

      And what do you mean:

      @being protective over code […] I'd say that 1 year after a mod is releaser it would be safe to expose the code for it.

      why is it not safe to release the code? (as long as it of course is after release)

      and lastly

      As for the other guy selling the re-compiled Lugaru, the issue is not because he sold the recompiled binaries, he also sold the art assets. And only the code of Lugaru was GPL-ed, not the assets

      The code was under the same license as the asserts and that said

      can be redistributed for free, but cannot be resold without our permission.

      So therefor non of it should be sold.

      I hope I didn't down you, it was not meant to be harsh. :)

      • Herr_Alien

        6th April 2011

        @why is it not safe to release the code? (as long as it of course is after release)

        One of the guys from the podcast mentioned that one reason why some modders keep their code closed is because they fear somebody will take it, develop another mod and release it before the original mod does. Basically stealing their thunder. That's why I said one year after release: enough time to build a playing community around the mod.
        If you are really open, you can distribute the code even earlier than the launch date. We did that with our AvP2 mod, and nothing bad happened.

        @The code was under the same license as the asserts and that said

        You're mistaken. Jeffrey Rosen said, and I quote: "However, the license made it very clear that the authors retained all rights to the assets, characters, and everything else aside from the code itself."

        http://blog.wolfire.com/2011/02/Counterfeit-Lugaru-on-Apple-s-App-Store-developing

        Only the code was GPL-ed.

        ReplyEdited at 8:21 AM, 6th April 2011
        • Twitwi 15 comments

          6th April 2011

          @open sourcing mod code
          I'm not saying release the code before the game, I just think it's a long wait, but it might differ from mod to mod.

          @license.
          Could be me reading wrong but:
          http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Lugaru-goes-open-source
          says that both is under the same license and that GPL license said -> do not sell.
          of course the may have edited that post in light of the copying.
          but the GPL part was meant as free to use, permission to sell.

          • Herr_Alien

            6th April 2011

            http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Lugaru-goes-open-source

            It says:

            "which means you can distribute modified versions of the Lugaru code, but they must also be open-source under the GPL. The game assets are included in the snapshot, and can be redistributed for free, but cannot be resold without our permission."

            The code is GPL-ed. The assets are included in the [code management tool] snapshot. That doesn't mean that they're covered by the same license. They further say that you can only redistribute them for free.

            The other dude sold both the code [which is OK, GPL allows you to sell code, even if it's not originally developed by you] AND the art assets [which is not ok, since they were not covered by the GPL license].

            Final quote: "Please note that the game data is not under the GPL, and forbids commercial redistribution."

  5. Since he probably won't self-promote, I'm going to take the liberty to link to Robert's latest blog post which is a follow-up to our roundtable discussion: http://www.blog.radiator.debacle.us/2011/04/death-of-mod.html

    Good discussion that you guys might be interested in. I don't fully agree but I'll post my own thoughts there.

    ReplyEdited at 3:42 PM, 6th April 2011
    • Actually, I wished he had posted it here first, rather than split the discussion.

      • Radiatoryang

        6th April 2011

        I always skip 15 paragraph comments. (TL;DR). Blog posts are much better formats for essays and rants. Sorry.

        Uh, in my defense, I link to this post in the first sentence!

        Plus, I wanted to talk about modding in general, not just Source modding.

  6. Image link to wrong page.

  7. Botolf 43 comments

    6th April 2011

    Great talk Phillip, definitely would love to see more of these :)

  8. Generalvivi

    7th April 2011

    Yeah, check out Robert's blog post for sure!

  9. Thanks for adding your podcasts to iTunes, Phillip. English iTunes link is here: http://itunes.apple.com/en/podcast/id430551208

    You might want to try encoding at 128 kbps for better quality, I noticed a difference between our live chat and the 64 kbps version that you released. Bigger size, but might be worth it.

    • I'll check the difference. Being a little site I need to worry about file size, especially for streamed content. I can't change it for this recording because I didn't record it in any higher bit rate.

      I had already added the link to iTunes to just above the stream and download link. I am curious to see how many listeners will come from this.

      • Yeah just to be clear, I just wanted to give out the English iTunes link, you've linked to the Spanish version.

  10. FokkerTISM

    13th January 2012

    This link is broken. Fix it, please.

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