racer home

The Plan


Home Racer's development is not a race in itself.

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There still seems a lot of confusion about where Racer may be headed. More precisely; headed where 'free' is concerned. I'll try to be clear about this.

First, my full intentions are that a free generic Racer application will always be available, in binary form at least. So people can play with cars, physics, graphics and have a nice game. I have in fact stated this to some people that inquired about licensing the game or its source code.

However, on the other hand, I have been working for about 2 years now on this game, and it contains a lot of details and knowledge on car physics. This, in the normal world, is worth quite a bit of money. Now, with the success that Racer's been having, I do like to gain financially from parts of it as well. Especially if other people were to take (parts of) Racer, create a commercial sim, and make good money off of it. I feel in that case I deserve a piece of the pie.

The future then: the source code may be closed; this is due to multiplayer code (it would enable cheaters to create modified programs a bit too easily), and also due to the fact that some proprietary source code may be trickling in. At the moment I'm working with a company to control high-end steering wheels. The code to control that is proprietary for a large part. I could leave it out of Racer but that may get cumbersome. I have the idea to give out the source then to known people who can compile needed versions of the software, for example Linux/DRI executables (I can only generate the Linux/nVidia ones).

Do note that although the source code is then closed down, the original source code (v0.4.9 currently) is still available, and is for car game programmers already quite a big repository for ideas of structuring, handling and actual physics code. The more Racer's source code progresses, the less understandable some of the structure will be.

So where would I make money? I don't want to make money selling a game myself; too much trouble with licenses and everything. Where I want to make the money is licensing the physics engine and the source code for other to use COMMERCIALLY. The first prerequisite is always that the source code remains mine (!). I didn't put 2 years (and ongoing) of time in it just to see my baby get used for some arcade racing game and then dumped thereafter, leaving me without my pet project.

Now, the current versions are available, and may be mirrored, so they may never have to disappear. Recall that even with GPL, you can release one version under GPL, and the next under a complete new license. Just look at what happened with TuxRacer. So even under GPL you're not obliged to stick to the same license for the lifetime of the product. So for me releasing Racer for free on the web is good enough; you can use the version like that (non-commercially) and that's it. I might release the v0.5.0 release under GPL, after which I close down the source for the general public. So if I take funny steps, someone could always step in and take a detour based on the v0.5.0 code. That might be the best way to rid all the suspension of my back.

As a final comment, let me restate that this was/is a hobby project. I've never ever invested so much time in a single project. It means very much to me, as well as there being a free version on the web. With commercial version, you get into licensing your cars and tracks, which is a completely different road that I would like to leave to others, while I continue and refine the engine.

I hope this is satisfactory to most of you...


As Racer grows, there are a few things that change. People seem to think there's a whole development team doing this game. In fact, there's only 1 man maintaining the source, and small contributions (though well welcomed) were done by Uwe Schuerkamp and Dominik Pospisil to get controller & sound support for the Linux version.

Still, some complaints are being risen that the game isn't GPL-ed. Here are my thoughts on this.

First, I've never stated Racer is an Open Source project. The 'free' is just that it's available for free, and it is. The 'open', which I dropped a long time ago, was admittedly a word that could be interpreted as if this was Open Source. It was targeted at the relative ease with which you can add tracks & car to the game.

Second, some people feel (I think) that I mislead them by offering the source code as a download for free. They believe I'm taking you all on since I can move this project into a more commercial one everyday. Sure, that's possible, but not the outset. The idea is to keep a free Racer program at all times, but still maintain the possibility of having the earned privilege of selling the engine to someone who wants to do a commercial car sim. This wouldn't mean that Racer becomes extinct at that point; it will just mean that someone is using the engine, can modify the source code without having to release it (closed source), get some licenses for cars & tracks and bring out a real game. Why would I want this? First, to have more good sims on the market (although I must admit there's still a lot of work to be done on Racer's engine still, but the physics part is getting very complete) so perhaps there will be another Grand Prix Legends-like sim that will please the hardcore simmers. Second, money, yes, ofcourse, there's fun in that. I've spent tons of time in this project, and I can see that's it's starting to be worth quite a bit, so I don't want to pass on that. Perhaps you'll disagree with making money, but those are my feelings. The idea of providing a free and good quality race sim will always be there, no matter what spinoffs there might be.

So no, this game will never appear on SourceForge. I don't see the need for a multitude of developers doing what I consider my hobby. Perhaps when I feel I get bored with the project, and stop my developments, I would make it open source. Sure, no problem. And as people are having trouble with my not following the 'standards' when releasing sources (which are mainly there for people's interest, to look at specific parts to see how my approach was), I'm thinking very hard on dropping source code releases from now on. It seems people expect guarantees, GPL, and lifetime support for free once you do this. I don't agree with that, and if it is such a hassle, then I won't. Ofcourse, normal binaries will still be available, and interested people can always obtain the source, but just not on a public basis.

I hope you all still understand that this is a hobby of mine, that I'm trying to develop a good carsim, esp. for Linux, where one is severely lacking, and all this is just for fun, and I'm doing my best to keep it that way.

Thanks to all the people who support Racer. It will always be there.


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(last updated December 30, 2014 )