Should Assault Cube become 100% Free?

This has always been in the back of my mind, especially the fictional project talked about later in this post. After seeing a dev recently reveal that simply having a helpful website showing off what the textures look like was not really legal due to some iffy licensing. So here is this post.

Becoming more standard in the open source community are games that are 100% free to use, share, edit, mod, etc. Usually under a GPLv3 license, the code, art, and sounds all contribute to the public domain to be continually used and improved throughout the years, and aid other projects and forks in becoming a reality. A lot of Assault Cube’s content, mainly in the graphics and sounds departments are under non-free and somewhat restrictive licenses. It seems most of this stuff has been made by people who only wanted it for AC and nothing else.

But how many dreams have fell short due to these restrictions? How many programmers made their dream first-person RPG based off of Cube/AC only to fall short due to lack of available art and sounds? Most people have a different game in mind for themselves to add work to it, so finding a team right away isn’t the easiest thing to do, no matter how great your idea is. Just like potential coders who study open source code and use it to help their learning process, graphics and music and sounds and everything else is just the same for potential future contributors.

So having the few talented graphics guys in the community re-make all of the textures and such under a completely free license may be too much to ask of Assault Cube itself at this point. Maps and other content are already there, not free to use. So AC is too far in at this point to go completely free. And with a controversial dev-community relationship, being able to be forked instantly probably isn’t the greatest move. Which leads to the idea of an overall fork that is free all around. ‘Open Assault’ or something like that could be a nice addition to the open source gaming community.

By accepting nothing but gplv3 or similarly free licensed content(including maps!), Open Assault would end up a completely different game. All new graphics, sounds. For the maps, this would allow official maps to be improved upon later. Look at AC’s maps. You have guys who leave, then their maps are outdated and unable to be fixed(ac_snow). The main issue for some like me in supporting something like that, is it could be competition for Assault Cube. No dev team really for Open Assault. You would have a few trust worthy guys who can add content to the game’s svn. The community is the dev team.

Anyone with the right skills can step up and make new mapmodels, textures, sounds, music, code, etc. and if good enough quality it’ll be added instantly to the SVN. New weapons, modes, features that would be denied in other games could get added here. Now obviously a community without ‘evil overlords’, and non-stop community based decisions leading an active development, some players would definitely come on over from Assault Cube. But overall, AC’s superior, more mature infrastructure and veteran community would keep it the stronger of the two.

Will the AC dev team really miss the arrogant overly competitive players being rude and pushing them for new features and releases? Or GEMA players? The majority of players just pub on AC, have fun, and that is all. They would stay there. AC would be fine. Maybe even better off. Now for the better part for AC out of this. Since all Open Assault content is free to use, AC’s dev team would be able to take what they want and throw it into AC. Even having their own devs improve on the content as well. It’d be a win-win situation.

Now obviously Open Assault is just an idea and not actually happening right now. Larry wasn’t given his guarantee that his halftime mode would be implemented as long at it was bugless. That feature doesn’t exist still. If someone showed up with the code and weapon model for a rocket launcher, it’d be laughed off the forum. Instead of considered, balanced, and added. An anything goes game and community may sound like chaos, but it can also be true freedom; and extremely helpful for many. This may even be something the current AC Dev team would be interested in doing itself, and letting this project be their experimental area. Sure they can do some svn trunk stuff for experiments, but this would be a place for normal players to get in on the action.