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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

maybe.

I'm honestly considering it. Not because I don't have time for HA! anymore (just the opposite in fact, I've spent more time on it lately than I have in months.) I'm considering it because I actually have a renewed interest in working on it and improving it and (gasp... finishing it!)

I'd like to open up the source code, and get some help. I don't expect my little game to ever become the next Crawl or Nethack (google as needed) but I would like to see it realized. I know there is some really crap code in the game so there are definitely areas for improvement.

I've been working on it since .NET 1.0, .NET 1.1, and now .NET 2.0 so while I've rewritten a few things (like screen writes and key handling) to support the newer console class, there are still a lot of improvements to be made.

I know my code will catch some hell from people with nothing constructive to offer, and that's definitely a factor I'm weighing against the benefits of opening the source. Like I said... I already KNOW there's crappy code in there... and that some things might not make much sense. That's one reason I'd like some help.

I'd also like to write more about what goes on in HA! under the hood. If I open up the source code, I can point to specific parts of it and write a few thousand words now and then about the theory behind this or that. Or how and why I decided to implement things a certain way.

Opening the source would also (hopefully) make it easier to restructure some things so that it could be more extensible. I'd like to get it into a state where other people could use the basic HA! engine (such as it is) and write adventures of their own.

Whether I open the source or not, development will continue and I will still be the primary maintainer. Any code changes, suggestions, enhancements would be welcomed and considered, but I would still have the final say on what goes in HA! Of course if the source is opened, you can make your own variant with your changes if you like. I would just need to put a license of some sort in place that says anything you make from HA! should be free and open source as well. (Not that I picture anyone actually charging money for HA! or its derivatives, but you never know...)

So anyway... I'm curious as to what other folks think about this. I haven't made my decision yet.

Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2006 5:51 AM Game Development , General Interest , Heroic Adventure! | Back to top


Comments on this post: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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Nah, you're just too lazy to finish on your own. <chortles>

:-)

Left by CodeMonkey on Jul 20, 2006 6:39 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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I'd love to see HA! go open source and would be happy to contribute as time allows.
Left by Jay Miller on Jul 20, 2006 6:52 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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Thanks Jay! I'm definitely leaning in that direction.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 20, 2006 6:54 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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I think it would be kind of cool. Often wondered what was under the hood as it were. Were you thinking of some sort of source control ie subversion, vault, cvs, etc?

I'd contribute when I could, though I couldn't really tell you at this point when it would be.
Left by Dave Kekish on Jul 20, 2006 7:30 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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Well, I use VSS at home, but I'm flexible. Maybe a GotDotNet project group or SourceForge or something like that. I honestly hadn't thought it out that far yet.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 20, 2006 7:47 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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I think it'd be really cool to open source it. I'd be willing to try to contribute some stuff as well.
Left by thorkia on Jul 20, 2006 8:48 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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I'm not sure it's worth the hassle or harassment to open it up to the world.

Do the gains you'll get really outweigh the cons of making it open source? It sounds like all you really want is for a few people to help you iron out spots in the code and either spark you into new creative heights or offer their own creative contributions.

So, I think a better option for you, rather than going full open source, is to bring trusted individuals into the HA! development fold and only give them access to the code.

Then you can limit your headache, but have developers who are genuinely interested help you contribute.

Plus, just in case you ever do get to a point where HA! might become cash worth, you haven't open sourced yourself out a a potential income.
Left by George on Jul 20, 2006 11:00 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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no I genuinely think I do want to open the source so people can see it, read it, maybe even learn something from it. Not to say I dont want help too, because obviously I do, but I want it to be totally open ala NetHack or Crawl (although I doubt it wil ever reach that level of popularity.) Also, I really doubt HA! will ever be a cash worthy venture, although the things I learn from it may one day...
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 20, 2006 11:08 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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Well, open sourcing it would not necessarily cut off your income potential. If it ever got to a "cash worthy" point, all you would need to do is change the license. And if your original license was worded in such a way to indicate that any contributing code to the project transfers the copyright for the contribution to yourself, you would have nothing to worry about.

I would suggest you open source it. Then you can get the help you want, plus help others build there own rogue likes.
Left by thorkia on Jul 20, 2006 1:05 PM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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A couple people have suggested codeplex {dot} com as a possible home... so I'm investigating that as well as alternative licenses such as the Microsoft Shared Source licenses as opposed to the (possibly) more restrictive open source licenses.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 20, 2006 1:44 PM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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I'd be curious to see how the code has evolved and maybe chipping in some updates and changes. It's been a long time since I've seen the source. Besides, I've been bored lately and trying to decide on a project to work on, I've been particularly interested lately in how AI routines in games are done.

Picking the right license would be the key to making it open source.
Left by Paul Pearce on Jul 20, 2006 1:59 PM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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Oh Please Please Please Please Please open up HA! source code, oh Great Celestial Archon of Supreme Wisdom. I've been following HA! for a couple of years, and the only thing that releases slower is a product from Micro$oft.

Seriously, I've used your dungeon generation code (and made some improvements), but would love to see the full implementation. Sometimes I've spent an evening or two trying to figure our how to handle something trivial. An open-source or open-collaboration project would be just the solution.

Anything to help get it out the door faster...

-Owen
Left by OwenG. on Jul 20, 2006 6:21 PM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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So, here is the way I see it.

Pros:

1. Get some community involvement in finishing up a great (albeit very hard (unless you use reflector and cheat...)) game.

2. Give something to the community. Maybe someone can benefit from the work you have already done, and save themselves the time of having to figure things out.

Cons:

1. People will probably make fun of you for something, or you may end up on TheDailyWTF or something.

2. Its going to take some time to manage everything, and coordinage community changes, if you want to accept them.


As far as I'm concerned, Con #1 is pretty much a "get over it" type of thing. Everyone has written bad code, and if you don't know of a better way to do it a year later, what have you learned in a year?

It's Con #2 that would be the decision maker for me I think. At this point, I don't have a lot of extra time to be managing something like this, but if you have the time and energy to do it, it couldn't hurt to give it a shot.


Obviously there are more factors, but those would be the major ones for me. So, I say go for it if you don't mind the time commitment.
Left by Rick on Jul 21, 2006 7:17 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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You could put it on SourceForge under their games section and see if you can use Subversion as Source Control ? it's fantastic for things like this.;.
Left by Russ C. on Jul 21, 2006 7:49 AM

# re: Heroic Adventure! goes open source...
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I think Rick said it the best... As long as you have time to manage and integrate the changes that people have made then I say go for it.

As a bonus, you get to experience that nice warm fuzzy feeling you get when you share knowledge with others. :o)
Left by Perry on Jul 31, 2006 5:52 AM

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