This forum is read only and just serves as an archive. If you have any questions, please post them on

1 decade ago by lucascaro

Hi there, and sorry if this has been asked before, but...
We just finished the global game jam and here in cordoba, argentina, several teams used Impactjs for their games.
We all love it and think it's worth the money.

But, most of the students didn't have the money to buy the engine and I was wondering if you had considered releasing Impactjs with a dual license, free for free and open source games and paid for commercial games.

This works for lots of sofware and it even might be great for impact itself, having other people collaborating with the project.

Maybe this is too far from the engine's philosophy but since I thought it could work and even be beneficial for both the engine and people wanting to do free html5 games, I'm asking here...

Another option is having a free and a commercial version of impact, like unity does..

Just some thoughts... I hope you consider the idea and we can use impact in an educational environment for free (and then you can get people buying it to make commercial games, because it rocks!).


1 decade ago by Arantor

It has been asked before and the answer is no. and talk the licensing aspect and the conclusion is that it isn't worth it to 'dual license' for the general customer.

Your case may be specific, and it would be worth contacting Dominic directly about a bulk licensing scheme for your students. However, considering that unscrupulous users can already obtain the main Impact source without much in the way of effort... you do the math as to how viable dual licensing really is.

1 decade ago by lucascaro

Thanks, Arantor.

For me, the fact that unscrupulous users can already obtain the main impact source without much effort is one of the key arguments for suggesting a dual license.

But then again, It's not up to me and Dominic's work is totally worth it, I just wanted a way for students to know this. I'll talk to him about an educational license.

Thanks again for replying.

1 decade ago by Arantor

Would such a dual licence include the level editor? That's probably the other question to answer - it's one of the biggest reasons I have no issues with the licencing of Impact is because even though the main code is derivable, the level editor is not.

1 decade ago by Chmood

I finally read the full licence and all the comments of the PhobosLab's blog posts mentionned before.

What I've learned :

- Javascript libraries / frameworks tend to be hard to protect against piracy and reverse engineering. Someone wrote "JS/html communauty is driven by sharing and openness". And some day we'll have some "ImpactJS [full crack].torrent" on the net...

- Many business model or terms of use suggestions were not so bad, as "add a trial version" or "monetize services instead of code" or "if you get a better job, what will we do ?" (including lucascaro's one : "we want to learn it !"). I hope it will be possible in the future...

- HTML5 / canvas games market is still small, but yet inspired by conflictuous tendencies : GPL popular libs (jQuery, Modernizr...) VS (proprietary) online games market.

- Price is not the point. 100$ is nothing for a quality pro tool per-user licence (even in early stage), while also being 100 times more than a casual / underground / student / fan / interrested folk would pay for.

Thanks for the reading @Arantor, it makes me a bit less naive.

1 decade ago by Arantor

- Javascript libraries / frameworks tend to be hard to protect against piracy and reverse engineering

Yup, and this one's not avoidable either, because the script implicitly has to be provided to the user in order for it to work. You can mitigate it with obfuscation but unless you're very clever, obfuscation can break things and/or slow things down. Not to mention that it isn't that hard to unobfuscate things again.

And some day we'll have some "ImpactJS [full crack].torrent" on the net...

You mean it isn't already? At this point, you can assume that someone has indeed done that.

- Many business model or terms of use suggestions were not so bad

Here's the problem: most of those business models don't work the way everyone thinks they do.

It's been my experience that people use trial versions not to see if the software is suitable and to be upgraded, but to simply perform the tasks they need at that moment in time. They don't pay for tools from the outset unless it's a tool that they've been led to believe is a miracle tool for them (e.g. Photoshop)

And in this particular market, how exactly does a trial version of Impact work? Answer: it doesn't. The nearest thing to a demo is to see what's been done with Impact, e.g. Biolab Disaster, all the things we all produce and share - that's the best trial that actually works.

Impact without the level editor is good, but any trial would have to include the level editor, and consider that if you're using Impact in any shape or form, you're a programmer - it won't be hard for you to untangle any protection embedded into the source any other way.

HTML5 / canvas games market is still small, but yet inspired by conflictuous tendencies : GPL popular libs (jQuery, Modernizr...) VS (proprietary) online games market.

I don't think it's that conflicting, and I think you might want to be aware of something... jQuery is firmly not GPL and for a good reason: if it were, Impact's level editor would have to be as well since it uses jQuery. (GPL is a very awkward licence in the real world, most of the time it actually doesn't work nearly as well as the FSF think it should)

The reason Flash still has the dominance is not because HTML5 makes it hard to monetise (it makes it no more or less hard to monetise, and in some ways makes it easier to protect your work, when it's not a single blob containing everything) - but because it's been around what feels like forever and is everywhere as a result: there's a lot of developers, a lot of experience and training and so on, and Flash is in any practical definition mature. HTML5/Canvas is not yet mature, it only crept into IE in the last major iteration, meaning that it's still a poor second place in terms of being accessible to users.

Please don't tell me that Flash is harder to access than HTML5/Canvas, nor Java - because it's not. In the last year I've had to reverse engineer client software written in both Flash and Java because the folks paying me didn't have the source code and the original programmer is long since disappeared. Neither is particularly hard to unpick, it's perhaps not quite as easy as HTML/Canvas, but we're talking spending 30 seconds as opposed to 10.

Price is not the point. 100$ is nothing for a quality pro tool per-user licence (even in early stage), while also being 100 times more than a casual / underground / student / fan / interrested folk would pay for.

I dunno. Impact is over a year old and is pretty mature at this point. It's certainly cheap for a pro tool per-user licence, but I don't think it's 100 times more than a casual user might pay.

Thing is, Impact doesn't exist in a vacuum. On a similar vein, you can acquire the paid AppMobi GamePro Pack for $99 which covers having more tools and a 5-use licence for Impact, which is certainly more attractive (even at the same price point) to a casual/fan/interested party.

Honestly, though, I'm not averse to there being a barrier to entry into the market. If you don't want to pay for it, nothing prevents you from rolling your own system to approach it. Remember, you're not just paying for the software, you're paying for someone to have implemented it, tested it and worked around a number of the kinks in the current browsers - and unless you're willing to do that work yourself, paying suddenly looks a lot cheaper.

1 decade ago by Chmood

Obfuscation sounds like piracy-proofed software/hardware protections : a perfect waste of time and ressources. Cracked in no time, plus painful user experience, and decreased performances. Obfuscation theory looks more attractive than its actual applications...

jQuery is dual licenced : MIT + GPL, I dunno what it implies in terms of redistribution / derivatives. I also noticed in the past some argumented critics against GPL licence (concerning the Blender game engine re-selling, they seemed to end up in distributing separated packages). Far from being an expert in licensing, and as a daily user of js/php free libraries, I'm just acclimated to open-source tools.

And : impact core still could be useful, even without the level editor.

My opinion is than many folks here (including you and me) want impact.js to become more and more popular, and become the next big thing in online gaming. We all are proud to support Dom's hard work on this project. Though it hurts me to see good-willing persons, wanting to learn and dive into impact with no financial concern, being blocked with licence or money issues.

What you wrote about Flash's maturity VS HTML5 jungle is totally right, and I'd love to see modern projects like impact making the norms and standards support evolves in a good, quick way...

1 decade ago by Arantor

While I'm a long standing advocate against obfuscation, when the choice is between completely unprotected and something, which in this case does not significantly affect overall performance (and has side benefits in fact), it's not quite so bad.

In particular the baking process applies JSMin which obfuscates things insofar as removing most comments, spacing etc. While it's trivial to reinstate the structure and indentation, it isn't so easy to put comments back. In any case, the level editor is not supposed to be distributed in a baked project (and the licence does state as much)

jQuery is dual licensed, the bottom line there is that the MIT/BSD licence is what they're ultimately happiest with, because it is least restrictive on what people do with it, but it doesn't 'guarantee the freedoms' that GPL does. I'm really not a fan of the GPL, because it has the implicit factor attached to it that any GPL licensed code can only depend on other GPL licensed code, with the exception of 'system software' and where it is running through a 'common interface'. Thus you can have GPL software running on a non GPL operating system, or you can use a proprietary client connecting to a GPL server (and vice versa) but you can't have a GPL library integrated into a non-GPL application (which is why the LGPL even exists).

The situation isn't even as clear cut as I've implied there, because the trigger is redistribution; you can build something on top of GPL code and not distribute the source - provided you don't distribute the binary. Of course, the situation is murky for web apps in general, and it's a rabbit hole best avoided (GPL wasn't designed for scripting languages at all, let alone ones that notionally exist the way web apps do)

Yes, we'd all like to see Impact succeed, but at the same time, there are other practical matters - not just whether Dom should be (rightly) compensated for his time and effort in Impact.

Let's take the hypothetical route that it becomes licensed in such a way that there is a freely distributed, legal branch.

Firstly, it's going to cause a rift for those who already paid for it (unless there's some obligation about the types of use for the free branch)

Then, who's going to support it? Support here is erratic at present based on people having the time to offer thoughts, and if there's an influx of free users, I guarantee you there will not be a matching influx of people to support it.

More importantly as far as support goes, I've seen this played out with Unity, and I have to say I agree with some of the longer-established people there: I wouldn't offer help to anyone unless they'd at least tried it themselves or owned the paid licence. Not because I'm a hard-ass or anything but simply that I don't have enough time to sit and write masses of code for people. People that buy into the software have a sunk cost to deal with, it gives them a reason to invest time and energy themselves rather than just complaining that people aren't helping them - I've seen enough of that on the forums of free packages, that people use the software and seem to have this expectation of quality support, very quickly, from people who are volunteers, and I'd really rather that not happen here.

It would, in fact, probably be worse here because there is already an inherent barrier to entry of coding skill, and if you lower the other barriers, like cost, the market will become substantially larger - far beyond the resources to support it.

(Yes, I realise this sounds incredibly cynical. But I've seen this so many times in the past, going back over a decade, and as one of the people who offers support here, it would put me off offering support. It's often hard enough trying to solve problems for people that can actually code, let alone trying to talk a significantly larger group of non-coders through how to do it. You'd end up with a forum full of people asking how to write basic JS and it would feel like every other topic would end in 'Go buy a book on JS')

I too would love to see modern projects like Impact being the norm, but opening the floodgates isn't the way to do that, certainly not until Canvas itself becomes more common place, with other side issues (like HTML5 audio settling down), and then maybe the position can be revisited. But I'd still be sceptical.

You see, the other part of the problem is a group of people I've had to - reluctantly - deal with lately, where they wanted to produce a site, they had probably 80% of the functionality they wanted, out of the base packages they'd acquired of free/open source software. But the remaining 20% (and the specialised and complex part), they wanted to be done for them, and they actively told me that they didn't want to pay for any of it (because the base software is free), yet they were building the entire site specifically to make money out of. I would be concerned of this attitude getting into play here.

1 decade ago by FelipeBudinich

I just want to add one point to the discussion:

@lucascaro: If you are a student, ask your university, college, school to buy it for you and your classmates. You are their customer, so you've got leverage on them. On the other hand, Dominic owes you nothing.

1 decade ago by guywithknife

Just wanted to add a data point to the mix: I bought a license even though I barely use it. I have yet to do more than tinker with the provided sample games, yet I still think it was totally worth the $99.

Anyway, students aren't as poor as they make themselves out to be - when I was in uni, I and everyone I knew was able to afford alcohol somehow, for example.
Page 1 of 1
« first « previous next › last »