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Re: game engines, game data, dependencies

On Wed, 07 Jun 2017 at 10:36:17 +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 06, 2017 at 03:55:48PM +0200, Adam Borowski wrote:
> > freedoom | game-data-packager: prboom-plus
> > * DEBATABLE: freedoom is too ugly to live, shareware Doom has assets missing
> >   for running pretty much anything Doom-related (and AFAIK its license
> >   forbids add-ons).
> freedoom is quite fun, actually, IMHO. I think this should be a Depends
> rather than a Recommends, but perhaps there's a way to use a doom engine
> without wads? Dunno.

prboom-plus is not useful without Doom-compatible wad files, but
maybe you are going to use it to play Doom (shareware or commercial),
Freedoom (Free) or Chex Quest (gratis) wad files obtained other than
via Debian, so a Depends would be too strong IMO.

This is analogous to how we don't give ScummVM a Depends on any particular
SCUMM game, and we don't give the darkplaces Quake engine a Depends on
either Quake data, OpenQuartz, Nexuiz, Xonotic or any of the various other
games it can play (many of them not in Debian).

I'm a big fan of distinguishing between the engine and the user-facing
"game" when packaging game engines that can potentially play more than
one game (as in set of game content with its own gameplay/level design -
for instance Quake III Arena, OpenArena and World of Padman are distinct
games that that happen to share an engine and the vast majority of their
game mechanics). The quake series in contrib exemplify this; there's a
mini-policy at

The Debian Doom mini-policy takes a different approach, and considers
the engine, not the game content, to be the important user-facing thing.
Wolfenstein 3D in Debian contrib is packaged the same way. I personally
think that this is misguided, and the user-facing things should be
Doom, Doom II, Freedoom etc. Otherwise we have the ridiculous situation
that the Doom game content, Freedoom and Chex Quest are treated as
essentially equivalent (data to be consumed by a Doom engine), which they
are clearly not; and similarly Wolfenstein 3D game content is clearly
not equivalent to its sequel Spear of Destiny, or to Super 3D Noah's Ark.
In each case a player halfway through completing one of those would be
confused and disappointed to get the other after a reinstall :-)

> >   On the other hand, this is an excuse for Doom engines
> >   in main.

The consensus reached between the ftp team and game packagers seems to
be that a game engine packaged like a content-free engine (quakespasm,
ioquake3) can go in main if Free data *exists*, even if that Free data
is not itself present in Debian. yquake2 is still contrib, because we do
not know of any Free data compatible with Quake II engines.

However, a game engine packaged *like a game* (e.g. menu entries
labelled with the name of the game) clearly needs to depend
on appropriate data. For games that are non-distributable (paid-for) like
Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Jedi Academy, I discussed it with the
ftp team and we agreed that "Depends: rtcw-data | game-data-packager" is
appropriate for contrib - conceptually, the game depends on either the
proprietary data (unsatisfiable within Debian+contrib+non-free), or a
way to get it installed to the right place (satisfiable within contrib).