Could games development utilise open source art assets?

Could games development utilise open source art assets?
Michael French

By Michael French

February 28th 2008 at 2:56PM

OPINION: Our design columnist explores ways to help save costs

Inspired by the recent availability of SimCity under the GNU Public Licence, our design columnist the Alpenwolf has posited an interesting question in his latest column: could the games industry benefit from distributing art assets in a similar fashion?

He says: "Because budgets are so massive these days, more people have to sign off on every project and there’s greater financial pressure on games to appeal to the widest possible market. This is not the way to stimulate creativity and design brilliance, but rather imitation and design mediocrity. This isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just the natural evolution of the industry. If it weren’t for the fact that a few of the industry’s most innovative minds also happen to be some of its most vastly successful ones, we might all be reduced to developing clones of the latest clones of the previous clones.

"Perhaps EA’s release of ‘Micropolis’ may hint at the way, after all, an awful lot of game art is pretty similar to the art used in other games. What if instead of releasing game code, developers were to release their old textures and models into an online pool from which everyone could draw as needed, thus reducing the need to draw yet another space laser or oak tree?"

To read the full piece, click here.