Yesterday, there was some big news that came from Keen Software House, the masterminds behind Miner Wars. Not only was there an update pushed out for Miner Wars 2081 that included some rendering fixes, saving issues, and difficulty balancing, Keen Software House also decided to release the entire source code to help encourage modding.
Full Update Details:
- Full game and engine (VRAGE) source code released for easy modding (360,000 lines of code) – available at our GitHub repository: https://github.com/KeenSoftwareHouse/Miner-Wars-2081
- Rendering engine has been rewritten from XNA to DirectX (better stability and performance, no more alt-tab crashes)
- Cooperative game saves inventory even for a non-host player (visitor)
- Normal and easy difficulty got a bit easier, hard difficulty got a bit harder
- Czech language localization
The most important news is the one about source code. We could say that Miner Wars 2081 is now open source but since “open source” means different things to different people, we are going to clarify it here: every customer who owns a valid Steam version of Miner Wars 2081 can download the source code from our GitHub repository, make changes, compile and run. He/she can distribute these changes as a source code or compiled DLL. The only restriction is that the work can be used only as a mod to Miner Wars 2081.
This source code has been released under very friendly and non-restrictive license, but please don’t confuse it with open source and/or free-software. More info: https://github.com/KeenSoftwareHouse/Miner-Wars-2081/blob/master/License.txt
When asked why they decided to release the source code, Keen Software House had this to say:
Why have we decided to release full engine and game source code?
- It increases the value of Miner Wars 2081 for existing and new customers
- You can do any change; you have the same level of control as we do. Do you want to change some hard-core stuff in our rendering engine, physics, GUI? Change AI behavior? Add a new mission? Change a shader? Change a texture or model? Make a totally new game (total conversion)?
- You are not limited by a plugin API (you have full source code for game and engine)
- Engine & game written in C#, which is a very intuitive language and luckily still with reasonable performance
- You can start within minutes, low entry barriers. See this quick 2 minute video tutorial: http://youtu.be/4z3JbBxhMYI
- You can learn from our source code, contribute to it, fork it
- Interesting modifications can get into the next Miner Wars 2081 update or our next project
- We are very curious where can this lead and if this approach would be useful for our future projects
To those who would think that we did this because we are abandoning Miner Wars: no, we are not abandoning it. In fact Miner Wars 2081 is still selling well, covers our monthly bills and we believe that this step will increase our sales.
Aren’t we afraid of any risks? Well, we don’t think there are any direct risks other that some competition stealing our genius and top-secret ideas and code, but after seeing that game development is 99% about being committed and able to finish your project and only 1% about ideas, we don’t worry about this much. And to be honest, our curiosity about what would community do with the code is high and we just can’t stop ourselves from making this move.
In the past we have tried a similar approach – get members from our community and let them help with the development. Unfortunately this didn’t work well – this type of job requires face-to-face contact. So we decided for this different approach, everyone is free to do whatever he wants, we are not pushing others to do what they don’t want, and they don’t push us, and if we luckily meet in the middle ground, both sides are happy.
Please enjoy this update and let us know your opinions.
The Miner Wars Team
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