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Petition to release Civ4 source code

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Creation & Customization' started by MatuX, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. MatuX

    MatuX Chieftain

    Sep 19, 2006
    Hey guys,

    I know I'm not (very) active in the Civ4 community, much less the mod one. Nevertheless and I'm an avid fan of this game since the day it came out.

    Which was a bit more than 12 years ago.

    12 years was the amount of years it took for John Carmack to release the source code of Doom 3 under GPL (even less for Wolfenstein 3D and Doom).

    I'm sure I'm not the first one to ever think of this, so, instead of the inciting approach, I'm going to ask, is there a petition to release the source code already? If it is, it's online? Can it be signed? Send an e-mail? Send a mail?

    And if you're wondering what would be the benefit of having Civ4's full source code? Well, we could port it to 64-bits, use as much RAM as your computer has available, leverage multi-core CPUs, compile it using a newer compiler to enable the game to use newer CPU instructions for performance, a native port to Linux, and enhance graphics.

    And yes, I'm a C++ programmer willing to dig into this, and yes I'm writing this as I wait for my turn to finish :)

    Thanks for reading :)

  2. embryodead

    embryodead Caliph

    Jan 1, 2003
    It's already released, which is why you see all the awesome mods out there. I'm talking about the game logic part, which is CvGameCoreDLL. The game engine part that handles graphics, network etc. is a middleware platform - Gamebryo - and cannot ever be released. It's not up to Civ4 devs or publishers.

    The CvGameCore sourcecode is in C++ and is available on the Beyond the Sword disc. From the things you've mentioned, limited multi-core support has been added by a number of mods (Master of Mana, Caveman2Cosmos?), although much more general changes to the C++ code, new features etc. are part of most Civ4 mods.
  3. Voyhkah

    Voyhkah Political Activist

    Apr 25, 2009
    Are you sure you're in the right place? This is the Civ4 C&C forums, and Civ4 was released in 2005, which is EIGHT years ago. Also, Firaxis has released the SDK, which is most of the source.
  4. johny smith

    johny smith Deity

    Mar 10, 2007
    I think MatuX got the years confused, but not everything in Civ 4 has been opened up. I am assuming he is referring to letting us have free reign on all of the things under the EXE locked away. Which would render everything to virtually open source. I would love to see it opened all of the way, but doubt it will ever happen. They made too much money on just one more turn. No reason to think they want to loose everything in this cash cow.
  5. aod

    aod Chieftain

    Dec 2, 2004
    Rio de Janeiro - Brasil

    If Firaxis wants money to open all code, what if we found a kickstarter project to buy civ4 code and open source it? FIrst we ask firaxis how much it would cost to license the code, and change the license to GPL, for instance, then we set the kickstarter campaign and pledge hosting the source on github. We need only the game core engine, not the libraries (blinck etc). I think we can harvest about 100k civ players to fund the campaign and buy the code for 500K (its old code anyway). That would also be interesting for freeciv coders and many mod developers.
  6. mintegar

    mintegar Warlord

    Apr 24, 2010
    Firaxis is making loads of money by selling bite-sized pieces of civ5, reintroducing features that where already in C4 but left out of the base C5 game for whatever reason as DLC. Its selling well, many people like it. To you really think they want more competition for this gold mine? :goodjob:

    The one benefit i could think of if the source where released is someone could build and release a 64bit version and therefore make more memory available to mods.
  7. Cruel

    Cruel King

    Jun 22, 2005
    São Paulo, Brazil
  8. Willem

    Willem Deity

    Feb 12, 2002
    Never going to happen. As embryodead pointed out, there are many assets in the game that have been licensed by Firaxis from third parties. Even if Firaxis was willing to open everything up, they wouldn't be allowed to based on the agreements they signed with the other companies. The SDK is probably everything that Firaxis was legally allowed to open to the public, you're not going to see anything else no matter how much cash you can come up with. You need to get clearance from all the other parties that contributed assets to the game, not just Firaxis.
  9. TheLadiesOgre

    TheLadiesOgre Aspiring Codesmith

    Jan 16, 2009
    While I do see the logic in not wanting to lose the "just one more turn" cash cow, they released the Complete Edition with no DRM.

    I know of several people who bought one disc and installed it on 10+ machines. I'd say that they've already given up on the Civ4 cash cow for the most part.

    However, as has been stated, Gamebryo would be the people to get to release the source for their part of the game. IDK if Gamebryo's contribution is being used by any other companies, if it is, I doubt they'd be willing to open it.
  10. Koshling

    Koshling Vorlon

    Apr 11, 2011
    I've been asked to comment on this, but honestly, I don't have anything to add really. The licensing issues behind the Gamebryo part of the EXE likely prevent any possibility of getting it opened up.

    If (somehow) it **could** be opened up however, it would almost certainly be relatively easy (for some values of 'easy' ;)) to produce a 64-bit build (which would solve scaling issues, or at least make the critical enabling step towards doing so), and longer term to make enhancements we cannot make now (multiple map windows say).

    There are also a couple of half-way houses, which **MAY** be slightly less legally entangled:

    1) Is there a more modern version of the Gamebryo engine (64 bit) which could be licensed and then integrated with the (less encumbered, legally) framework of Civ IV (which Firaxis probably could open up, IF they chose to)? If there is, and if its API follows at least roughly the same form as the version used in Civ IV, such an integration task probably wouldn't be TOO hard (still be a fair amount of work and MAY need some fairly specialist skills though)

    2) In principal someone could start a project to make a clean-room implementation that supports the existing DLL API. That would be a lot of work, but the end result would allow a simple recompilation of existing mod DLLs and allow the mods to run unmodified. This approach is both a lot more work, and still has SOME legal encumbrances:
    2.1) The DLL open source license only allows it to be used with a licensed copy of Civ IV, so the clean-room reimplementation would have to somehow be still dependent on the real Civ IV being installed (at least)
    2.2) The assets are covered by copyright and can only be used with a licensed Civ IV installation. Really just a separate manifestation of (2.1)

    3) As a left-field option, someone (or some project team more realistically) could offer/negotiate with Firaxis to modernize their code WITHOUT it being open-sourced (i.e. - act as an unpaid upgrade team for Firaxis on a Civ IV upgrade, with them still retaining all rights) on condition that:
    3.1) Firaxis license the resulting upgraded version to individuals (i.e. - 'sell it' in some limited sense) for a pre-agreed price (i.e. - a reasonable price for a game, which gives Firaxis some incentive and is reasonable for the player-base - say circa $20 a pop)
    3.2) Firaxis modifies the open source DLL license to cover usage with the upgraded engine
    3.3) In the event of (3.1) or (3.2) not occurring Firaxis pre-agrees to open-source everything that the upgrade project requires (i.e. - a back-stop renege agreement)

    In all cases, you have to question Firaxis' motivations and provide them appropriate incentives. They would seek recompense for any effort they would need to put in, and potentially for any impact on sales of other products (such as Civ V)

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