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Game Closure "DevKit" For Mobile HTML5 Games Is Open Source

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the sense-of dept.

Software 37

First time accepted submitter Chris Taylor writes "Silicon Valley startup Game Closure has open-sourced their HTML5 game development toolkit. The trailer video showcases some interesting new technology. It allows game developers to write code in JavaScript on Windows, Mac and Linux desktops to rapidly create and then deploy new games on the Internet, Android, and on iOS cellphones. The source code for the entire stack is available on GitHub, including the changes to Google V8 and Mozilla SpiderMonkey."

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How does this company make money? (5, Insightful)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about a year and a half ago | (#42902759)

I appreciate the contribution of an engine of this nature, but I have to wonder how the company behind it can remain viable if this is their only 'product'?

Very Small Rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42902841)

I appreciate the contribution of an engine of this nature, but I have to wonder how the company behind it can remain viable if this is their only 'product'?

They're a witch! Buuuuurn them!

Re:How does this company make money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42902945)

The code is available under the GPL. My guess would be that they'll still sell you a non-GPL licensed version of the SDK so you don't have to open source the game you made on top of it. Qt works the same way.

Re:How does this company make money? (4, Informative)

niado (1650369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42902985)

Their licensing options are here. [gameclosure.com]

I think they have a few games, and are using their open source devkit partially for marketing purposes.

Re:How does this company make money? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911865)

you're doing it in javascript. you might just as well opensource it.

you have to display their logo on startup and contribute changes to the engine back if you want to do a properiaty game for free.

Re:How does this company make money? (1)

OdinOdin_ (266277) | about a year and a half ago | (#42938547)

Qt is LGPL as well, with a linking/classpath exception. Read license for exact details.

But you don't have your make your resulting application GPL or LGPL when using Qt. Part of the reason for the linking/classpath exception is to ensure the Copyright holders interpretation is understood rather than maybe another possible interpretation.

While I do not know the full details of the DevKit licensing you made an implication concerning Qt that some readers might misinterpret if they did not know Qt licencing any better.

Re:How does this company make money? (1)

scuzzlebutt (517123) | about a year and a half ago | (#42902953)

Maybe they sell support?

Re:How does this company make money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42903135)

Why not?

Free updates and possible contribution from 3rd party devs.

Devs get a free library while it helps the company spread their technology since it has a wider adoption.

Free games help promote the library.

Someone wants to release a commercial game? Pay a license, fuck bitches and get money.

Everyone could win. At least, that's what they're betting...

Re:How does this company make money? (1)

euxneks (516538) | about a year and a half ago | (#42903195)

I would guess that freemium games are what make them money. There's a lot of games out there that sell in game resources in order to progress more quickly - in this way you can give away a game and still make money. It's pretty wild.

Re:How does this company make money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42903281)

Maybe their products are games and the engine is a means to an end? Seems like solid logic let users generate interest, find the bugs, write the newbie guides all that... I dunno. I'd Bing it or RTFA but I'm too lazy to even log in...

Re:How does this company make money? (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42903863)

They make games and sell them to people. Open-sourcing their engine is valuable because, if it generates sufficient interest, they get continual reports on bugs, compatibility issues and the like from sources other than people bitching about their game that doesn't work on their obscure device, saving the company's reputation.

Having a widely-adopted framework for games might also lead phone manufacturers to test against that (if it gets big enough, which is doubtful), further increasing their compatibility, and give them publicity and a good rep. Really, unless there was some huge competitive advantage in their framework, it's a case of win-win - or at least win-dontlose.

Browser Compatibility? (2)

voice of unreason (231784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42903183)

Can anyone find something saying what browser versions are compatible with DevKit? That's often a sticking point with HTML5, especially with older IE versions

Chrome Frame (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42910915)

Any game that runs in recent Chrome should run in (desktop versions of) Internet Explorer using the Google Chrome Frame plug-in. So in terms of needing a plug-in, it's probably no worse than Flash.

Mac OSX only at the moment... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42903349)

I'll be sure to keep an eye on this. It looks promising!

Different from PhoneGap? (2)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42903439)

Anybody know how this differs from PhoneGap? Any comparisons or comments as to which is better and why?

Re:Different from PhoneGap? (1)

Chris Taylor (2841463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42904151)

Anybody know how this differs from PhoneGap? Any comparisons or comments as to which is better and why?

The major difference would be that this toolkit is specialized for mobile and web games, so it has additional tools to help game developers.

Re:Different from PhoneGap? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42904417)

> The major difference would be that this toolkit is specialized for mobile and web games

That's not a particularly useful answer. It basically means nothing. PhoneGap is for wrapping webapps into mobile apps. So a generic answer of "but it says it's specialized for games" doesn't really answer the question. Some of the information on the Audio and Animation sections is useful in optimization, but it's not unique to this engine. You can find the same information from Sencha conferences/talks.

Re:Different from PhoneGap? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911891)

Anybody know how this differs from PhoneGap? Any comparisons or comments as to which is better and why?

The major difference would be that this toolkit is specialized for mobile and web games, so it has additional tools to help game developers.

yeah but has anyone taken a look at it? does it make canvas etc stuff work the same _well_ magically over ios/wp/android over or is it just another kit offering bridging of native accel, file etc apis to web-frame?

Re:Different from PhoneGap? (1)

mikehenrty (2847761) | about a year and a half ago | (#42975513)

PhoneGap works by wrapping a WebView in a native application. So for all tense and purposes, when you run a PhoneGap app you are actually just looking at a webpage (with API access to hardware features) thats framed inside your application. The problem with this when it comes to games is that the HTML5 Canvas API has extremely poor performance in the mobile browsers, and so Canvas based games will not run well in a PhoneGap app. The GC DevKit, on the other hand, specifically targets the CanvasAPI. Instead of running the game code (javascript) in a WebView or mobile browser page, it has it's own JS runtime, and forwards the Canvas API calls directly to the GPU (using OpenGL). That is why it is able to get the kind of performance you see in the video.

GPLv3 - do! not! want! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42903501)

https://github.com/gameclosure/devkit/blob/master/LICENSE.txt

::vomit::

--libman

Re:GPLv3 - do! not! want! (4, Interesting)

All_One_Mind (945389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42903671)

I've been developing on enchant.js which is licensed under MIT license:
http://enchantjs.com/ [enchantjs.com]

It's written by 3 Japanese developers I believe, so some of the documentation is not in English, but of all the HTML5/JS engines out there, this one seems to be the best. You really got to dig around for documentation, but when you do find it, almost everything is laid out and it has everything you need for Android/iOS/Desktop based games. It also doesn't require node.js or other dependencies, which is one reason why I dismissed DevKit here almost immediately, aside from the GPL3 license you pointed out.

Re:GPLv3 - do! not! want! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42904351)

> of all the HTML5/JS engines out there, this one seems to be the best

This is a bold claim. ImpactJS, Sencha Touch (1 & 2), Construct2, and now gameClosure all have UI widgets + design systems. If Views aren't baked into the framework, I don't understand what "best" is supposed to mean. Enchant has a link to how to do mixins which is really illustrating how a library that can be used to help make games is not the equivalent of a game engine.

Re:GPLv3 - do! not! want! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42904405)

Thanks for the tip - I'll keep it in mind.

I usually write raw JS without a framework, and am thinking of someday spinning off my own framework for the types of interfaces I tend to design - very spartan and textual, with a menu bar on top, and lots of keyboard shortcuts. If I ever do more game-like graphicsy stuff in JS, I'll definitely have a look.

--libman

Re:GPLv3 - do! not! want! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42919473)

If I'm not mistaken (maybe I AM mistaken), this is comparing apples and oranges. Enchantjs and most of the zillions of other javascript game libraries are ONLY pure javascript. The main benefit of Game Closure is that it has an additional backend that compiles the game using native iPhone / Android graphics methods. Of course iPhone / Android are capable of runnig a pure javascript game, both through the browser and as an app, but presumably it would not run as quickly as a Game Closure game which gets translated into OpenGL.

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

Comparisons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42903531)

It would be nice if somebody could step in and compare to http://impactjs.com/ and/or https://github.com/phoboslab/Ejecta.

Commercial License (2)

heezer7 (708308) | about a year and a half ago | (#42903899)

"5 Game Closure reserves the right to revoke this license at any time for any reason." That part is a little scary.

Re:Commercial License (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42904377)

Why is that scary? That's their licensing (under the dual licensing). The GPL is not revoked.

Re:Commercial License (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42909755)

You probably want to use that license if you plan to make money on the games you release for iPhone and Android.

That rule together with
"4 You must keep any communications related to this license absolutely confidential."
means they can extort you for license fees by threatening to instantly revoke your license. Or perhaps just because they don't like the game you made.

I would not use it if I was planning on making money, I would feel much more comfortable with a license I pay for that is not completely one sided and subject to the whim of that party.

Re:Commercial License (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42910415)

sadly, if you were interested in making money, the truth is that you wouldn't still be clinging to the html5 band wagon.

Re:Commercial License (1)

heezer7 (708308) | about a year and a half ago | (#42910977)

Yeah what the others have said. If you were investing time into a product and them BAM, no more license.

Dual licence - HAH !!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42904969)

Regarding their non-GPLv3 option:

"Game Closure reserves the right to revoke this license at any time for any reason."

This basically makes the is GPLv3 licence ONLY. That clause makes the other option a non-option since it allows them to do whatever the hell they want.

Online gaming support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42905185)

Does this have network support? I mean can you code an online game with this? I'm still on XNA, but I would love to have something like that but on html5. Any recommendations?

Re:Online gaming support? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42911047)

It's JavaScript. You can tunnel to the online game's server through a WebSocket [wikipedia.org] in any JavaScript environment that supports WebSockets, which currently includes [caniuse.com] everything but IE <= 9, Android Browser, and Opera Mini (the version that does all the rendering server-side). And if your game is turn-based, you can still do your updates through XMLHttpRequest.

Pascal / Delphi (1)

Barryke (772876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42909795)

Pascal (including Delphi and Oxygen) developers should have a look at Smart Mobile Studio.
http://smartmobilestudio.com/ [smartmobilestudio.com]

This bascially compiles pascal to javascript. This brings a lot of features to javascript, and you code actually stays human readable. Its fast too.

Quite many frameworks already exists (1)

tp_xyzzy (1575867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42909831)

There seems to be plenty of gaming libs and frameworks already available. Not sure why this announcement would be special? In recent open source gaming competition there were 48 games, and pretty much every one of them was made with different frameworks, so it means there must be at least 48 different gaming frameworks available. Announcing new gaming framework is not a big event it seems.

Why is this announcement special ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42919359)

If you take the time to read about the story you'll learn that this company is an experienced team from Stanford's StartX program who recently declined acquisition offers from Facebook / Zynga, and instead raised $12M from top venture firms.

Your argument implies that game libraries are all roughly equivalent, which I see as a dangerous type of simplification that would cripple almost any objective evaluation.

Javascript, on mobile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42910721)

Won't this run like shit? Running an interpreted language, inside a browser, inside a mobile device. Yeah, that seems like an efficient way to release a game...

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