John Carmack (id software’s lead SMAERTY MAN GRAPFX CODAR, and genuine rocket scientist) updated his relatively new Blog hosted at the Armadillo Aerospace site. In addition to his thoughts on graphics, he posted this regarding the lack of a Quake 3: Arena source release:
I intended to release the Q3 source under the GPL by the end of 2004, but we had another large technology licensing deal go through, and it would be poor form to make the source public a few months after a company paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for full rights to it. True, being public under the GPL isn’t the same as having a royalty free license without the need to disclose the source, but I’m pretty sure there would be some hard feelings.
Previous source code releases were held up until the last commercial license of the technology shipped, but with the evolving nature of game engines today, it is a lot less clear. There are still bits of early Quake code in Half Life 2, and the remaining licensees of Q3 technology intend to continue their internal developments along similar lines, so there probably won’t be nearly as sharp a cutoff as before. I am still committed to making as much source public as I can, and I won’t wait until the titles from the latest deal have actually shipped, but it is still going to be a little while before I feel comfortable doing the release.
Check out his blog for more on this subject, and others.