Open-sourcing the SkookumScript runtime


#1

Continuing the discussion from Welcome to Script libraries & Overlays!:

I hear you - I was working with the FBX SDK not too long ago at another job, and the stuff would frequently crash deep in its binary guts, and it was a pain contacting Autodesk support and getting to the bottom of it, not to speak of long-winding internal legal procedures to approve sending over the slightest snippet of our source as a test case to Autodesk. It easily took more than two weeks before an issue was resolved. Luckily nobody heavily depended on that system yet at that time.

That’s one of the reasons why we made the source for AgogCore available (and the UE4 integration of course) and put everything up on GitHub. The SkookumScript runtime is still our holy grail so to speak but we do definitely consider eventually open sourcing it as well. But let’s see how things actually go on those other platforms first.


#2

@Nate and @GreatGuru - Totally agree with you both.

The SkookumScript runtime should just work with pretty much any platform. We have used it or test compiled it on most platforms and everything seems great.

During the beta period we are just trying to limit the variables that we have to deal with to ensure everything is working correctly. But we hope to add more official platforms soon.

As for open-sourcing the SkookumScript runtime - that is a very real possibility. We also need to determine if our model of basing our revenue from Professional versions of the SkookumScript IDE and Premium versions for consoles, etc. makes sense. If it all looks good then we will work towards making the SkookumScript runtime open source or something at least like Epic is doing with the Unreal Engine where the code will still be owned by Agog Labs Inc. though it will also be available to see it, modify it, get inspired by it, etc.

And it seems silly not to benefit from others willing to help out and contribute fixes and improvements back to the code base.


#3

Thanks you guys for your genuine input, that means a lot.

Once my friend’s studio licensed a close-source ai middleware and only found out the middleware company went out of business 1yr later and they have to swap out whole ai layer for unsolvable bug. While some studio might afford to change technology vendor, most indie don’t. I think that might be part of the reason why Epic’s “give you all source” move is so welcomed in indie community. For me, I like to learn the inside out of the technology adopted in my game and grows with it.

I’m sure not everybody feel the same necessity of source access, so the opinion might be totally personal.


#4

Actually we forgot to mention that we do in fact offer a premium edition of SkookumScript that comes with full run time source, at a higher pricing level. That is an option right now if you/your company would be interested.


#5

As you know thru emails, I have expressed the same concerns about not having source code availability… which is critical to Developers… esp… us Indie groups.

However, I am leaning towards being opposed to open sourcing your Source.

The fact that you have “Licensed Source Code” at a higher pricing level is more than adequate to assuage any concerns about not having source code available at a later time. My only concern is that the price point is pretty high. But, after a lot of discussion via Email, I am confident that Agog Labs is willing to work with people with different payment strategies.

Open Sourcing will result in:

  1. Slower Support
  2. Slower Progress

So, please don’t do that.

If someone is very concerned about source code availability, I advise them to discuss the “Premium Edition” with Agog.

Additionally, Epic is huge, and can afford to do a lot of things that won’t really affect their base line.
The main question before you open source your code is how will your income be adversely affected by that?
What happens if the current method of income fails… will open sourcing your code then result in a problem due to lack of the ability to monetize?

If anything… my advice would be to make the Premium Package more “visibly” available.
So that source code is not a problem.

Ps… sorry about the lateness of this post… just thought it was important to advise against Open Source in this instance.


#6

I assume that this is what prompted this post?

Hope you are having a good experience with SkookumScript and we have a big new release coming out this week. :madsci:


#7

Thanks for the insights. We are not planning on making SkookumScript entirely open source. The Apache 2.0 license is for the free version which, as it always did, relies on precompiled libraries for some of the functionality. So you can use it and ship a game (or anything) with it, you just don’t have the full source access.


#8

Actually, I just happened upon the post, but the Apache 2.0 Licensing is very apropos to the conversation.
The current system, where you open source the standard version, is great because of the availability of the Premium Version which then gives the licensee access to the runtime source.
As long as you guys have a way to keep SK alive and thriving!!!