Open sourcing your games as solo game developer - a game changer

22. February 2024

In this post I would like to show what impact open sourcing my games had and why you should consider open sourcing your game too.

I already presented at SFSCON 2023 what similar effect publishing my games on F-Droid had on my games.

More visibility

Having games open sourced, gives you a lot of visibility on Github or your favorite git platform. Your repo might pop up on online searches or even Github's discovery section. This brings you quality users and potential contributors.

Besides that, you can add your game to many awesome lists or websites that feature Open Source. Here, a list of the few games I've got listed in:

More visibility means more downloads, which bring to a higher ranking on game distribution platforms.

Quality feedback

Getting feedback from users is quite hard. Even harder is getting good feedback. In my experience, this is the most drastic change you'll see, when open sourcing your games.

This will change drastically, when you open source your game. Because more technical people will see your games and they cannot only describe the bug or problem much better, but can also give suggestions on how to fix it. This helps a lot, especially as a solo game developer, where you might not have much time to test all parts of your game, each time you make changes. I also got a lot of feedback through e-mail, since I open sourced my games.

Be different, be one of a few

Given the scarcity of Open Source games, your game will be one of a few thousands instead of millions. It is true that Open Source has a small audience, but there are still a lot of people out there caring for Open Source.

If you use donation platforms, this people will also be more open to support you, since they understand better your situation.

Better portfolio

Letting other people see your code could be intimidating. They might feel their code is not a good enough or feel afraid of critics. Don't worry, nobody will point fingers at you or comparing your code with the Linux Kernel code.

But whenever you want to impress someone, showing your source code and your ability to use git, it might be really handy. So landing a new job or a project as freelancer, will be easier with an active [your favorite git platform] profile.

This applies to any software related work, not only games.


I won't get to deep into licenses, since it is a complex subject (and I'm not a lawyer).
But here I want to share my experience and knowledge with you. It is important to know that code and assets should have different type of licenses. The most common software licenses are GPL or MIT and for assets the mostly used licenses are Creative Commons license as the CC0-1.0, CC-BY-4.0 or CC-BY-4.0. Here you can find some tools to find a license for your assets that fits your needs


I chose the copyleft AGPL-v3-or-later for my code and CC-BY-SA-4.0 for my assets. This are copyleft licenses, that means that you are free to study, use, modify, share and that all derivates keep the same license. The AGPL has a special clause about distributing code over network. So technically if a cloud gaming provider wants to distribute my games, he would have to share the code with the users. This would not be required with the GPL-v3-or-later license. But as said before, I'm not a lawyer and this are my personal thoughts. Do your research or get a lawyers advice, if needed.


Some might prefer permissive licenses as MIT and CC-BY-4.0 This licenses give the user the same rights, but only require attribution and don't require sharing the modified code, when distributed. That means that someone might simply take your game, modify and release it, without having to share the modifications.

Contributing to Open Source Ecosystem

The Open Source world is already huge and well known. But this doesn't really apply to the gaming industry, where Open Source games are still quite rare. In my personal opinion, this would make the gaming scene a better world, where game developers can learn from each other and improve games. Or simply imagine being able to see the code of your favorite game, and being able to use, study, modify and share it!

If you believe in Open Source Software, be the change the gaming industry needs: make your games Open Source!

Can I still sell my games?

After all this, some might have the question if they still can sell their game. And the answer is yes!

Being open source doesn't restrict you from monetizing your games. There are many games and apps that are open source, available for free on F-Droid or other platforms but sold for money on Play Store, App Store or Steam.
The best example that comes to my mind is Mindustry sold on Steam for 9,99$ (~15k reviews) but open source and available for free on all other platforms.

Every feedback is welcome

Feel free to write me an email at and comment on Mastodon or HackerNews.

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