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Karnaugh359333 karma

/u/stevenr4's answer is pretty great! TLDR, it's because of the rise of multiplayer and progression, which both put pressure on "game rules should be enforced consistently to ensure fair outcomes and meaningful achievements". Cheats tend to work against that.

You could still have cosmetic or other non-gameplay-affecting cheats but even those can get tricky quickly (e.g. does it change player silhouettes in multiplayer in a way that gives advantage?).

I think one of the most fascinating challenges in game design across the industry is the attempt by a number of games to marry multiplayer, progression, and meaningful user-generated content. UGC brings a lot of the same risks as cheats in terms of invalidating progression - remember e.g. Team Fortress 2 achievement farming maps.

Fun space!

Karnaugh359218 karma

Ooh fun question. This gets into the specific challenges of the games industry:

  • the goal is to build extremely custom experiences
  • constant pressure on performance (real time simulation!)
  • literally ~50 non-fungible subdisciplines need to work together to make an AAA experience, with a lot of blurry lines between their responsibilities, and many different development styles have sprung up to manage that

All of that pushes pretty hard against modularity, specifically in game clients. That tends to bleed over into content creation tools as well. Some problems have been solved modularly (look up game middleware, e.g. havok), but integrating those modules into your game tends to be very expensive and custom, and you tend to need heavy support to make them work with all your specific use cases, which means you want a company on the hook to support you - it's much riskier to adopt and maintain open-source solution even though it's conceptually a good fit.

Some teams have open-sourced big pieces of game tech (there are game engines, tools frameworks, others) but uptake (esp in AAA) has been limited because of those modularity and support problems.

On the backend/services/web sides, there's a lot more adoption of existing open source pieces (the problems have a lot more overlap with broader tech industry problems), and more potential to invent new modules that make sense to open source. Bungie actually open sourced a (small) piece of our web framework a few months ago, dipping our toes in these waters!

Karnaugh359119 karma

Hehe, I actually had a half-started paragraph about culture and secrecy and competitiveness but i wasn't sure enough of my argument so i deleted it.

I think 20-30 years ago there was more competitiveness and secrecy in games, more of a sense of "protect the secret sauce". There was less info out there, less to reference, so if you figured out something cool there was potentially very high value in keeping it secret. I think that's lightened up quite a lot at this point though - when we talk about open sourcing our code, competition/secrecy doesn't come up that much, it's more about "would this be useful to others, or would it be a reasonably small amount of work to isolate/modularize it such that it would be useful to others?". The answer is usually 'no', especially for client and tools code. The only other concern that comes up with any regularity is "would this give cheaters/hackers any advantages?"

Ultimately the conclusion of these conversations is often "let's share the concepts in a GDC talk or a tech blog article instead, that's way less work and offering an actual open-source module wouldn't be that helpful anyway if someone wanted to integrate it into their own game engine, because of how different all the engines are".

Karnaugh35969 karma

It's an excellent demonstration of the strength of the Tiger engine in generating emergent behavior.

It's also kind of a pain in the butt :P

Karnaugh35964 karma

Woooooof this is a huge question!

As Steven calls out, I think we've had a number of impacts by trying to share as much as we can via GDC talks (arguably GDC is the game industry's closest thing to widespread open source sharing, per the question about that!). I think/hope that over the years that's given a lot of people a leg up and reduced the need to reinvent wheels.

I think the wave of shared-world-shooters a few years after Destiny is something of a testament to the influence of Destiny as both a high level game design and an execution. Not throwing shade at those games (tons of fresh ideas, and there were shared world shooters before Destiny as well!)... but there were significant elements that felt like the sincerest form of flattery. :)

I'm not sure about Bungie's impact on industry culture. When I joined in early 2008, I felt like Bungie was more old-school and bro-y than other game studios i'd worked at. I think we've made a ton of progress since then in building a more inclusive culture, but i don't get the feeling that we've been some kind of standard-bearer? Feels more like we went through similar growth as a lot of other people and companies over the same time period. Still lots to do - Bungie in general and engineering in particular is still tilted white and masculine. To quote the values handbook section on Widen Your Perspective:

We acknowledge that the US game industry, specifically including the history and culture of Bungie engineering, has long been dominated by straight white English-speaking cisgender men from North America. We acknowledge that the effects of that dominance persist in today's patterns and practices, continuing to disadvantage or exclude underrepresented groups. We believe it's imperative that we actively identify and root out such inequitable or non-inclusive patterns.