Discussion: Removing the Source Code requirement

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
June 7th, 2014 11:13 am

Well, it looks like it’s time to talk about removing the Source Code requirement from Ludum Dare. For 12 years, one of the key differentiating factors between the Compo and Jam has been the requirement for source code. You were never required to GPL the code, just share it. It still belonged to you. Alas, this generosity is getting abused more and more these days.

Please help me out by posting other reports of abuse in the comments. I seem to get these every so often, but I’ve neglected to keep a record of them. I will add them to the list above.

Proposal: Source Code is Optional

There are definite benefits to everyone sharing source code, so we don’t want to discourage it. But at the same time, the internet sometimes abuses good thing, and the source code has been abused for a few years now. Not to mention, some companies make it difficult to report fraudulent apps, so I would rather err on the side of the community and make it entirely optional. That’s my thinking anyway.

This ultimately means that the difference between the Compo and the Jam are the following:

  • Compo is Solo, Jam is Solo or Teams
  • Compo is 48 hours, Jam is 72 hours
  • Compo assets must be created in 48 hours, yourself. Jam assets can come from anywhere (pre-existing, Google Image Search, etc). In a way, using 3rd party assets is *like* working in a team, even if you’re solo.

Share your thoughts in the comments.

For reference, an older discussion on this topic.

60 Responses to “Discussion: Removing the Source Code requirement”

  1. PoV says:

    An interesting suggestion I received was to hide the source code field from outsiders. I actually do like this idea, but it would require some reworking. My ideal way of doing this would be to have 1 or 2 hidden fields, in addition to the 5 link fields.

    What I’m suggesting above is *NOT* hiding it from everyone, just those without accounts. The vast majority of people that benefit from the code are not necessarily people that have participated, so restricting source viewing to only people that participated defeats the purpose. The point of sharing is for other people to learn from, so restricting access is bad.

    That said, I still think it may still be time to make source sharing optional. Hiding the source code links does not solve source code abuse, but it will help more casual cases of theft. Anyone with an account could still get access to the code in this system.

    • LukeZaz says:

      Another thing to consider is that having the source available helps check for malicious software. There was one (probably unintentional, but it was there) virus I know of that @Nition pointed out that had a virus in it’s HTML. Having the source out there allows you to double-check for anything like that. My choice would be the third option you mentioned in the comments; to hide the code to all viewers without an account.

    • XrXr says:

      I think this is a nice middle ground. Maybe let the participant set the visibility, show to everyone, show to other participants show to people who have rated 100+ games etc.. etc..

      • Ravetcofx says:

        I am for this idea, it allows the participants to do what they are most comfortable with.

        Also imo, people should be including licenses in the code, which can help greatly

        • strong99 says:

          But even when you add copyright and a license in every file, malicious merchants/devs remove them anyhow. Especially when they want them to be in a store. It’s quite easy to replace the devs name with yours.

  2. sorceress says:

    The root of these problems in my opinion is that too many think our compo is open-source.

    I’ve argued in favour of removing the source code requirement before. Encourage people (strongly) to include it, but respect them if they choose not to.

    The rules say this about source code:

    It’s mainly a formality in case we need to deal with disqualifications.

    I don’t see how it can be proof of anything though. Code doesn’t show that you made your game in 48 hours, nor that you worked alone, nor that you made it in LD weekend. So how exactly does it help to disqualify a game?

    Some argue that code should be included for educational purposes if nothing else. I believe there would still be enough people happy to supply it for that purpose.

    With the size of LD now – even if (pessimistically) as little as 10% of people supplied source code, that would still be over 200 games you could learn from. Which is actually more than the number of compo entries we got for LD three years ago.

    • stqn says:

      Sorceress wrote: “The root of these problems in my opinion is that too many think our compo is open-source.”

      But this is exactly the case; when the source code is available then it is open-source, by definition.
      Maybe you meant “Free Software”. But this also comes with restrictions, unless it’s CC0 or Public Domain.

  3. Folis says:

    I agree with sorceress’ view of things:

    Strongly encourage, but don’t force it. This way everybody can choose.
    As far as I can tell very few people have problems with posting the source code, so it shouldn’t change the compo too much.

    Also maybe we can put in a notice that all assets/code/whatever belong to their respective owners and may not be used commerically etc. without permission? Just so we have actually mentioned it clearly and visibly.

    • Kelly Thomas says:

      > we can put in a notice that all assets/code/whatever belong to their respective owners and may not be used commerically etc. without permission?

      No matter what the outcome of this discussion this should be included on each entry’s page adjacent to the download links.

      This is the default position unless the author specifies otherwise and there is no harm in being more explicit. Of course mere words wont protect us from bad actors. Nonetheless it will it will clarify the situation for people only casually aware of LD.

  4. SonnyBone says:

    But source code is already optional. If you don’t want to submit the source code, then you enter the Jam. Yes, there are risks involved with putting your source code out there, but you have to be smart about it. Don’t just send the world your entire game. I alter my source code so that you can read it and learn from it but the assets have been stripped out with a few other important bits changed. What you end up with is something that can’t be compiled without a ton of work, and the thieves don’t want to put in any serious work, so they go somewhere else. Then when the judging window is closed, I delete the source. Those that are interested after the compo ends can contact me and I will send the source if I still have it. I have never encountered any problems using this method.

    If you remove the source code requirement, then it will be yet another thing that blurs the line between the compo and the jam. I’ve already become frustrated with the changes made over the years, and I’m afraid that the removal of a source code requirement would be the final nail in the coffin for me. I do Ludum Dare to learn, grow, and help others… but that doesn’t seem to be the focus of LD any more. If source code is removed, then LD is just another exhibition.

    • Detocroix says:

      This. I prefer Ludum Dare because you can learn from what others have done, not because you can compete with other people. I really don’t like how highest rated entries are advertised as winners… Ludum Dare is about learning, not being the best of the best and the greatest legend of the little internet games 😛

      Then again, I’m also, personally, slightly annoyed how Jam games get the same exposure as the compo does and how people don’t seem to understand that Jam = 1+ people, some premade assets and 50% more time and then harshly compare Compo games to Jam games. E.g. why does this game have so little polish compared to THIS cool ass game. Duh.

  5. Detocroix says:

    I prefer the openness of the Compo… Just because few individuals will abuse it doesn’t mean you (us) should throw hands up in the air and give up. If you are afraid your 48 hour code could be abused (or art, or audio, or whatever) then you can always participate in the Jam.

    I don’t feel like the whole source code thing is that much about the proof as it’s about learning. It’s nice seeing what kind of approach did people have to things, how they setup their art and so forth. I only check those from a few games, but it’s very interesting and I’ve learned quite a few new tricks that way… tricks that would have been lost if source code wasn’t a requirement for the compo.

    • Detocroix says:

      One more random thing related to this. Even without source code it’s VERY likely they can just clone your game in LESS than 48 / 72 hours if they want to. Sure they can’t make a quick few buck cash grab (I really doubt they can get much from it…) with the sources, but it’s still something created in few days.

  6. vinull says:

    I’ve only entered in three LDs – 2 Compo and one Jam so I could enter with a team of me and my daughters.

    I don’t think the violators are assuming it’s open source – they simple don’t care and just see another quick turn around for the App Store. That said, I don’t see any problem with making the source optional. I’ve been working so long in managed languages that I don’t even think any code as “hidden” – I may or may not have looked at Hearthstone code when I saw it was developed in Unity =)

    Other ideas might be to remove source code links automatically once the vote results are final (I’m assuming most thieves wait for the list so they know what games to target) or to have source links only visible to some (say, those with a game submitted similar to voting or even requiring 10 submissions). Both of these would require coding work and probably not worth the time which could be spent elsewhere.

    • Detocroix says:

      I like this idea. Source code visible to (active) participants. The system already suggests to get to 20 ratings as soon as possible and it could require that for the source codes to be visible.

  7. visard says:

    Is this really a big problem?

    “It took Unity only 7 minutes to get my tweet and lock his account”

    It seems they can handle it, so no need to change the rules here.

    btw. maybe kill the root of the problem: disallow the use of unity, … in the compo

    • Detocroix says:

      And every other game engine and every library too? I don’t think that’s a very good idea…

      • visard says:

        Most libraries and engines don’t make it so easy (or even possible) to sell stuff like ie. the unity engine with the assets store.

        (Also the programming part of the compo is so unbalanced. “Multi-million dollar” engines vs. small open frameworks and a lot of your own code.)

        • Detocroix says:

          There are barely any “multi-million dollar” Game Engines these days and absolutely nothing stops you from picking up a game engine and just writing a game on it for Ludum Dare, or using better libraries / frameworks for better renderers. Most of the “best” Ludum Dare games are not visually that impressive or complex anyways and that’s what the “multi-million dollars” would bring most to the game… if they used it more.

          Asset Store is the biggest store and easiest to access store (at the moment) but not the only one… and majority of the source code abuse cases have been about actually selling a game in ios/android and not it’s assets. Sure it’s easy with Unity, just couple of buttons and you’ve got a built, but not enough of a reason to punch everyone.

    • namakemon says:

      I checked the guy’s offending products before Unity deleted them, they had reviews dating back to several months.
      In the Unity forums he hints that he already had products deleted before and he just reposted them.

      And don’t forget the devs who bought it (who knows how many) got scammed too, as they think they bought the proper rights to use that source code and art.
      So it is not only about the ludum darers.

      • visard says:

        “And don’t forget the devs who bought it (who knows how many) got scammed too”

        Sorry to say, but it’s not the problem of ludum dare and dev’s that got scammed should get a refund from unity.

        “In the Unity forums he hints that he already had products deleted before and he just reposted them.”

        Unity is to blame for.
        Maybe dev’s should think about the release of the source code and the impacts.
        But they have already the choice, join the jam.

        No need the change the compo.

        Like others say, its also about learning. Don’t reduce this.

  8. FyberOptic says:

    I would say it’s unbelievable, but it’s not really. Some people suck.

    I’m mixed about the source code issue. I think being able to see how someone did something is a nice part of these kinds of competitions. For example, I was just recently looking at a Java4k competition entry which blew me away, and had to look at the source to see how they managed to do it. I think it also helps to encourage participants to compete aboveboard.

    Like someone else suggested, maybe give the participant the option for their source to only be viewed by other participants. This unfortunately still hurts people who didn’t participate, including those looking through past competitions, but it might help with peoples’ peace of mind.

    LD may have enough influence these days to get prompt results when these kinds of things happen though. So maybe there should just be a central way to report these things by the community, so that they can be handled in a more public way. After all, when someone steals a competition entry, they’re affecting everyone in the community, not just the person they stole it from. The fact that we’re having this conversation is proof of that. If these swindlers see that we take this kind of thing seriously, they might think twice before stealing again.

  9. ncannasse says:

    I don’t think that’s a good idea to remove source code requirement. After all that’s maybe the best way for people that get into game dev to learn. When you find a game you like, you can actually look how it was done, I find it a great think.

    Given the number of LD games that were made up to now, I don’t find there are many abuses compared to for example releasing an actual game, which often get copied over and over. Of course, it’s more easy to copy when you have the source code, but not having it have never prevented copying, especially when you have a fresh new idea.

    More importantly, I think that we should not care. Our games are not open source, but at the same time we are not planning to make a living of them (I mean, not the ones we make for LD). Graphics can be either extracted or print-screened, music can be recorded, idea and scenario can be stolen. Most of the other aspects of the game can already be subject to abuse, I don’t think that we should just make an exception for source code.

    • visard says:

      “Most of the other aspects of the game can already be subject to abuse, I don’t think that we should just make an exception for source code.”

      I agree, the whole game and each part (not only the code) can be abused.

      The solution can’t be: not release the game!? 😉

      So don’t take a hit at the source code.

    • sorceress says:

      Any AAA commercial game can have it’s assets stolen by the methods you describe. But usually it is very obvious where they have been stolen. Consider things like WoW icons, Starcraft music, or dota character models. If a person extracted these assets and used them in their own games, then people would recognise them. No doubt about that.

      But code is somewhat different because we don’t see it directly. Source code needs greater protection because it can be much harder to recognise where it being used unlawfully. It can go under the radar to quite an extent.

  10. atomic_swerve says:

    Personally, I like having the accountability of showing my source. I think LD is a great opportunity for collaboration and that includes learning from each other’s code. However, I don’t feel like there’s anything lost by “gating” source access to active participants…they’re the folks I’d want to have reviewing my code in the first place!

    That said, a free Github repo is still public, and I don’t want the burden to be on LD to host my code or anything. Obscuring the repo’s URL in the submission is probably the best middle ground I can think of, unless there’s some other trickery I don’t know about.

  11. savethejets1 says:

    I would be sad to see this go. I think it’s a great tool for learning, and is unfortunate that a few bad apples would ruin that for the rest of us.

    I worry that one of the unfortunate effects of taking away the source requirement is that the nature of the competition would change. I could see LD turning into more of competition (with the goal of winning) than a fun compo coupled with a chance at learning.

    So I’d say if we are going to go down that route that I’m more in favour of hiding it somehow, maybe even working in a request button or something. At least then you’d know who has your source code?

    As SonnyBone pointed out you don’t need to post your assets with your code, so maybe educating people who enter the compo could see some benefits?

    I guess we have to ask, if source code requirement goes away will that really stop people from doing things like this? I mean there are tons of ways a bad seed could get this anyhow, do we really want to hurt the other 99% by taking it away?

  12. joppiesaus says:

    No. I don’t like this going away. I like Ludum Dare also because of that. I can learn from some other people’s code(I know it isn’t open source).

  13. somebear says:

    It’s sad that people have been abusing it, since the sharing of source code has always been a big plus for me personally. I have learned so much reading the code of great entries over the years, and it would make me sad to see that aspect go away. That said, I would expect it to be limited how much value code created by a single person during 48 hours.

  14. Kamikaze_Tutor says:

    A game I worked on with Make A Game was snatched by Jaludo, a company in the Netherlands whose modus operandi is to find and redistribute flash games to a large list of shady free browser game sites and profit with ads.

  15. BNeutral says:

    A better question is, supposing things stay the same, do you plan to enforce having source code? I remember many compo entries “forgetting” to include source and either nobody cared or there was no way to disqualify the entry.

  16. binarycrusader says:

    As a long time lurker of ludum dare (voting and evaluating a few times), who has a far less exciting day job programming, I’ve greatly enjoyed the privilege and opportunity to read source code for games submitted to the compo.

    Sadly, many people don’t realise that unless there’s explicit permission, you don’t have the right to use the source code and others simply don’t care.

    I would really regret the loss of this as some of the most inspiring submissions have been a great joy to read, providing an extra layer of understanding behind the developer’s mindset.

    Having access to the code reminded me a lot of the “good old days” where a kind inquiry to the programmer behind of a C64 or Apple program would often result in source code and a silent understanding to not abuse it.

    However, I also understand that the status quo cannot be maintained. Something must be done.

    I like PoV’s suggestion the best so far; limit it to those with accounts, or those who have at least either voted on games or participated in the compo.

    I’ll admit I’m biased and selfish here as I haven’t yet gathered the courage to participate in the compo, but I would be saddened by the loss as I feel every ludum dare I’ve watched has moved me a little closer…

  17. GaTechGrad says:

    I wonder in how many of those cases the developer posted their code *and* assets. Whenever I submit my LD entry, I just submit my code. I don’t submit any assets (graphics files, 3D models, music, or sound effects). I only submit the C Sharp (*.cs) files in my Unity project’s “Scripts” folder. I would be amazed if the thieves are actually taking the time reproduce all of the assets to work with the stolen code.

    • strong99 says:

      Aren’t the assets already selectable from your game files itself? Your game contains the assets you don’t provide in the sourcecode? Or do you also add encryption to your files in the game itself?

  18. GFM says:

    I never looked at releasing the source code as a problem. Since people could learn from it and “The code from a game written in 48 hours isn’t likely to contain anything super top-secret” (as it appears on the rules and I actually agree), I was really OK with that. I never really thought that people could rip off game jam entries… naive me…

    I looked at sources only a few times, and mostly out of curiosity. Still, I like the fact that people could, if they wanted, look at the source of my terribly coded game (LD#27 had some ugly stuff… XD). But I’m sure that some only do post the source because it’s required by the rules…

    If it really were about eligibility, having a timelapse of you making your entry would be a better proof than only the source code… But I can see many problems with that (people might not want to do it, and they must keep their privacy, if they want it).

    As I see it, it’s much more about the community now than about eligibility. So, I think savethejets1 suggest is the best so far: make people request the source, instead of simply leaving it available to download. This would mean more trouble if many wanted to download the source of one game, but at the same time it gives more control to the developer.
    The second to best is PoV’s suggestion of hiding the download link only to registered users. But nothing keep people from registering whenever they want…

    Well, that’s my opinion on the matter. :)

  19. ncannasse says:

    Also, please note that in most of the cases, the game binary was copied “as-it”, which unless you site-lock your game is the most easy way to copy and host it on another website, and doesn’t require the source code. Copiers are lazy people by nature.

  20. LTyrosine says:

    my 2 cents opinions: remove source code requirement (or leave as optional). Start a time-lapse requirement, let it be the key to submit an entry (more can be learnt from time lapse than by source alone). Join jam + compo again in one master 72 hours compo. Reshape judging to address issues with reviewers that rate 10000 games spending 10 seconds each to gain more views to their own entries.

    • sorceress says:

      Start a time-lapse requirement

      I think this is unrealistic.
      1) the privacy issue alone would make it unpleasant.
      2) timelapse files can take up a lot space that not everybody will have. Let’s not assume everyone taking part is using a modern PC. Some people make games for DOS, or retro consoles, or board games, for which there is no timelapse software.
      3) uploading the timelapse video to youtube, would mean that the person must have a google account. They may not agree to the (somewhat unpleasant) terms and conditions for making a google account.

  21. Jed T. says:

    Require only the source code publicly but game assets are optional.

  22. oldtopman says:

    (If this looks a bit long, read the first and last paragraphs. If you want to reply, you need to read the entire article.)

    The requirement to publish source code in the Compo entries for Ludum Dare is one of the defining facets of this community, and as such, should not be removed. I see many posts above me with lots of different reasons, so here I’ll only address what use the source code for, and why posting the source is not an excessive burden.

    I use the source code to learn how things are done. Despite all of the learning resources and books available, both online and off for free and at cost, there is a serious lack of source code for completed games. Requiring source code allows curious developers and gamers to see what makes these games tick. I have looked inside the source code of *every* game I reviewed in LD28, learning methods used, and getting my eyes on real, working source code from a bunch of different languages. There are no other places I know of where I can look at over a thousand examples of working code for every language imaginable. In several difficult games, I have actually edited the source code in order to progress through the game, complete it, and review it fairly.

    Publishing the source code is not an overburdensome requirement either. It is true that several games have been stolen, but that is the worst case scenario. I mourn for the money that was practically stolen from them by some opportunistic thieves, but regardless of the source code requirement, theft is inevitable with almost five thousand games being published a year. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that nobody has bundled up the games here and attempted to sell them. Nevertheless, I am proud to belong to a community run by people responsible enough to look at the procedures and see if they can stop something they may be partly responsible for.

    Primarily, people have a choice. If you manage to write a positively marvelous game in forty eight hours that you are going to sell as part of your career, you have *always* been allowed to enter it into the Jam. There are only two incentives to avoid joining the Jam (people can filter out your game during rating, and Compo is cooler), and the difference will be kept low to prevent cheaters from having a large incentive to lie. If you need to keep the inner mechanics of your game secret, just tick the “Jam” button!

    Secondarily, the value of these games is (strictly speaking) low. I’ve only made games during the LD with one exception, so I understand how valuable and rare these games can seem. However, you made them in less than three days. You could make over a hundred in a year if you really tried! I’m not saying that to justify someone stealing your hard work; it’s yours even if you only spent an hour on it. I’m making these statements to remind you that your game is only a thousand lines of code long, has ten minutes of gameplay, and hasn’t been playtested in the slightest. It’s nothing industry-changing, and in the case of almost every game I’ve played here, a combination of 2-3 simple libraries in a fairly standard method (exactly why I like looking at the source code). My games here have been rewritten by several people in order to demonstrate how I suck at programming, and they’re extremely simple. Of course, that’s only my opinion, while the control needs to go to the person who created it.

    If you find yourself shaking your head at every assumption I made in the previous paragraph, you’re always welcome to tick the “Jam” button and keep the code to yourself. Nobody’s forcing you to write your game in *exactly* 49 hours, forcing you to use *exactly* one person, forcing you to make *all* of your assets during the time, or forcing you to release *all* of your code. People struggle with the rules all of the time, and that’s what the Jam is for. You aren’t forgotten, shamed, or looked down upon. You’re right there along that guy who writes his libraries from scratch during the time limit.

    In conclusion, what is proposed here has already been implemented. The source code is already optional, as the equal Jam is open to everyone who feel the slightest inclination to conceal their code.

    P.S. Mad props to @PoV for caring about the community so much.

  23. udo says:

    Personally, I say make the source code optional (and providing it only for judges sounds like an excellent idea, too), but make it a hard rule that people have to supply EITHER a screenshot timelapse OR the source.

    Taking past discussions into account I know I’m probably in the minority saying this, but as LD grows larger we’re going to need stricter rules, not more liberal ones. I think the essence of LD is that we come together to make an entire game in 48/72 hours, and I believe we should be harsher in enforcing this during voting. Providing the source or the timelapse is not only a great learning tool, it’s also a way to keep participants honest.

    I know this sounds weird since I said before that LD is a competition you primarily have with yourself, but it’s still something where you have to prove yourself in the face of tight and clear constraints. These constraints are designed to be a challenge, and they level the playing field. Getting rid of them is not a good idea.

  24. strong99 says:

    To make it less easy to copy maybe we need a “source code to pdf image” converter or an “online view code” tool showing the code and assets in their original state but made a bit harder to copy as images. It makes it less easy to copy paste into any store.

    But with text readers these days it’s just a bit more work for them to copy. I would go for PoV’s idea of hiding source for non-members. Anyway, I already noticed that checking the source is not really useful to check for users who already used pre-created assets.

  25. rojo says:

    Honestly, I don’t see the problem with hiding the code from non participants. If it’s really about learning, I guarantee that most people are going to learn way, way more from trying and failing (or succeeding) to make their own LD entry than they will from weeks of parsing other LD entries. Additionally, there’s nothing stopping developers from sharing the links to their sources outside of the LD sandbox (Twitter, blog, etc).

    You could take my suggestion down a notch and give developers the option to hide the source link from non participants, rather than doing it automatically.

    Still, the problem doesn’t seem prevalent enough yet that we can’t try the approach of limiting the source links to those with accounts first, and then ramp up from there, or try an entirely different solution if it proves to be ineffective (which I have a feeling it will). As with my initial suggestion, there’s nothing stopping developers from sharing the links outside of LD.

    • rojo says:

      I wanted to add that a participant in my mind would be someone who has submitted at least one LD entry at some point in the lifetime of their account. Ideally they would have voted on at least 20 entries as well.

      • strong99 says:

        I already see some participants rate a 100 games within a few hours after the competition, what if the copycats just add a dummy entry and rate randomly?

        Although, like you said, rate 20 games, what if: get rated 10 times by people who have already participated a few times with atleast a “medium” score?

        • Managore says:

          Requiring a minimum average score will ultimately exclude some developers. I think what rojo suggested isn’t foolproof, but it’s much, much better than nothing.

        • rojo says:

          As Managore said, I’m not sure a minimum score requirement would be the right way to go – after all, it seems reasonable to expect that the people with the lowest scores could get the most benefit from others sharing code!

          Also, it’s possible some truly “motivated” people will do exactly what you described. The idea behind my solution (though definitely not perfect) was to make them have to put in a little more effort than just following a link, so that the casual copyjacker might be deterred. It’s sort of how door locks don’t stop a criminal who really, really wants to break into your home, but it’s enough of a deterrant to many.

  26. Ryusui says:

    I’ll admit this is exactly why I’ve always gone for the Jam rather than the Compo: I’m uncomfortable with making my source code public, just in case this sort of thing happens.

  27. NeiloGD says:

    If games are being stolen, then perhaps having a license to cover the games that are stolen? Not that it prevents anyone stealing, but it does mean a cease and desist can be sent over easily.

  28. csanyk says:

    I disagree with removing the show your source requirement for the compo. People who don’t want to show their source have the Jam. Leaving it as optional for people to show their source or not is already here. For those who continue to choose to share their source, they are still vulnerable to their code being misappropriated.

    Personally, from a code standpoint, anything I create from scratch in 48 hours is unlikely to be of high enough value to be stolen. Things like the game idea itself, the rules, the mechanics, might be, but those can be “stolen” with or without source code.

    In short, I think “stealing” is a problem without any good solution. There is always risk that must be accepted if you want to exist at all. And “stealing” can be good, too (thinking about the learning opportunity represented by the visible source, as well as our rich remix culture, mashups, and intertextuality).

  29. csanyk says:

    An idea for dealing with the bad kind of “stealing” is to expose it and out it. Maybe a “hall of shame” page on the LD website, identifying documented cases of code theft, along with case history and resolution for those who are curious enough to know the whole story.

    • Kamikaze_Tutor says:

      A “Hall of Shame” could be seen as a warning sign for new developers to stay away from Ludum Dare though…

    • strong99 says:

      And would buyers of games from App stores look in the hall of shame? Most of them don’t even bother checking the permissions they allow on their phones (e.g.: location, contacts, personal photos).

      But, adding a separate page mainly about “how to solve copycat cases” with cases could be useful indeed.

  30. shockedfrog says:

    I think, in a way, LD is pretty much out of control. This is a positive thing, in a certain sense – the ever growing, more lax nature of the event means that every few months we get a larger community here, more attention, more great, fresh games and ideas. The LD community and gaming communities in general benefit from it.

    While I’m still hoping for an alternative to LD that gets the right balance between crazy and controlled, I think LD should embrace the crazy and so reducing the rules (which aren’t enforced well in the first place) is a good thing. The judging is so meaningless that I don’t really care how much anyone cheated anyway. 😀 On a more positive note, I think that most entrants will still be happy to share their source anyway, either by default or on request (including it should definitely still be encouraged) and so there wouldn’t be any great loss.

    Also, not requiring source helps with welcoming people who would otherwise be embarrassed to share their LD code, or those who would get stressed over what they do or don’t need to include, or those whose entries don’t actually have source in the first place.

  31. Gravity Games says:

    I’m going to be honest. I originally was going to be in support of removing the source code requirement, but after reading the other posts here and thinking about how I feel about my games personally, I think we should keep it. I mean, yes, it proves absolutely nothing about if you actually spent only 48 hours working on the project, but it is pretty much about learning. The only stuff that I would be upset about getting stolen are easily stolen anyway, considering that, as previously mentioned, graphics can be screen-capped, music can be recorded, ideas can be stolen, with or without source. To be honest, as long as it wasn’t downright theft, laziness, or copyright infringement, I would honestly be just fine, and in fact honored if someone wanted to use my terrible source code in one of their games. Yes, I would be mad if someone stole it, but the people who are willing to steal it would probably just pay someone to clone it anyway, it WAS made in 48 hours after all. I’m not saying that stealing these games is alright, but if you REALLY want your source code a secret, then enter the Jam. Yes, you’ll have to compete with games with way more polish, way better graphics, and music that isn’t just you humming or screaming into the microphone, but if your game is fun enough to have to keep source code from a 48 hour job secret, it’ll probably do just fine.

  32. Robber says:

    Why not make it optional ? as LD is a great community, if you would want to know how someone achieved a particular game mechanism, effect, style or something in their game, why not just ask them for the code personally ?? you might even get some tips or pointers on top of that

  33. Dry Tree says:

    How about a requirement for partial source – even just a single class file, but something where participants feel they did a good job, or implemented something in a clever and new way, or just really challenged themselves. I think it would be great to allow (and encourage!) reformatting of the white-space and full clear commenting in the days following the compo – as long as the functionality of the source is not changed at all.

    This added time for comments would allow people to learn more easily, plus by selecting only the code that each participant feels is their ‘best’ it’s going to be great stuff to learn from. (Also, it gets people in the habit of commenting their code for other people to read, as well as getting familiar with reading other programmers’ commenting style – which is a very useful skill for anyone who’d like to work in the industry)

    Then a “code” category could be added to the scoring!! This is something that I have always felt is sorely missing.

    And finally, there wouldn’t be enough published source that anyone else could rip-off the entries.

    So it’s a win-win-win situation :)


    P.S. on the subject of voting categories why oh why isn’t there one for “gameplay” or “mechanics” or “systems design”?! Surely, this is *the* most important category when reviewing a game!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

[cache: storing page]