Besides a regular release on Steam and itch.io (and more!) for Linux, Windows and macOS, we will have a separate open-source release under a GNU GPL license after a successful Kickstarter. This is aimed at modders, LAN-ers and tinkerers, and includes a simple command-line server, the engine and the full game logic. The game assets will be made available under a non-commercial license. This way, it allows starting AI and multiplayer battles from the command line. The upcoming singleplayer campaign will not be included, nor will the community and matchmaking services from the official game server.
After working for over a year to build Epicinium from scratch in C++ and SDL2, this is a risky decision for us. In hindsight, it might have been easier to go open-source from the start. However, we still think it's the right decision. We are enthusiastic users of open-source software ourselves, and we support being transparent on what's running on your machine. We would like to enable our community to do extensive modding and customization, and to allow fellow starting game developers to use (parts of) our engine for their own games.
Some examples of what you can and cannot do with the open-source release:
- Compile the C++ client/server yourself and start AI battles from the command line.
- Compile the C++ client/server yourself and start LAN or online battles from the command line, play with other people using the open-source client.
- Code your own, customized version of Epicinium that works however you wish: your own graphics, combat system, a 3D version, add a bunch of units or remove your least favourite - go crazy.
- Distribute the aforementioned customized version, provided that you release its source code under a GNU GPL (or compatible) license as well and you correctly attribute the original code to us, A Bunch of Hacks.
- Request for your favourite customizations to be incorporated in the Epicinium master branch via a pull request.
- Use (parts of) our code in your own game or application, provided that you release its source code under a GNU GPL (or compatible) license as well and you correctly attribute the original code to us.
- Learn from the code, use it in a classroom or academic setting.
- Stare at the code until it is imprinted in your retinas.
- Play the (official) singleplayer story campaign.
- Use the regular release's advanced multiplayer and community features, including connection to the official server, ratings, matchmaking service and integration with Discord and Steam.
- Distribute the code, the compiled binary, any modified version or any derived work, without releasing such under a GNU GPL (or compatible) license and correctly attributing the original code to us.
- Use any of the game's assets, including sprites, sounds and music (or derived works), in a commercial release.
- Use the Epicinium name or logo in such a way that may suggest your work is created, published or endorsed by us.
- Rely on it to provide the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (it's 42).
- Feed your pets with it (it's not nutritious).
Of course, these are just examples meant to clarify. The exact legal nitty-gritty will be covered in the license text of the open-source release. In the mean time, don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.