Glitch Free: Art From Closed MMO Enters Public Domain

By Graham Smith on November 18th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Make that chicken the star of your game. Go on.

Glitch was an ambitious 2D MMO that focused on crafting and socialising instead of combat or grinding. It launched its original beta in early 2009, came out of beta in September 2011, went back into beta that November due to a lack of accessibility or depth, and finally closed down in November 2012.

Or maybe that wasn’t final. Maybe that was just the beginning of something else. Tiny Speck, the developers of Glitch, have just released all the game’s artwork and some of its code into the public domain. That means you can now use it for whatever you want, including new commercial games.

From the page announcing the release, as reported by VentureBeat:

The entire library of art assets from the game, has been made freely available, dedicated to the public domain. Code from the game client is included to help developers work with the assets. All of it can be downloaded and used by anyone, for any purpose. (But: use it for good.)

Tiny Speck, Inc., the game’s developer, has relinquished its ownership of copyright over these 10,000+ assets in the hopes that they help others in their creative endeavours and build on Glitch’s legacy of simple fun, creativity and an appreciation for the preposterous. Go and make beautiful things.

Which is an extremely rare and wonderful thing for a company to do. They’ve released it CC0 license, which is basically the opposite of a license. It’s the waiving of all rights and copyright claims over a set of work.

Glitch was browser-based casual game set inside the imagination of 11 giants, and it aimed to give players the tools to create much of their own game world, from areas to items to avatars. It’s art style was consequently lovely, and better yet flexible. If you’re a student, a beginner, or a programmer without art skills, I’d imagine this is a helpful resource.

Tiny Speck was founded by Stewart Butterfield, one of the co-creators of image sharing site Flickr. That site began life as the tool for a never-released social game, and it seems like the same thing might happen again. Tiny Speck’s new project is called Slack. It’s not a game, but began life as a Glitch development tool to help the large team communicate.

Check out the parts available over on the Glitch site.

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22 Comments »

  1. InternetBatman says:

    This is great, and in the true spirit of the game.

  2. SominiTheCommenter says:

    This tag is criminally underused.

  3. DrMcCoy says:

    Would be great if they could release the server code under a copyleft license. AGPLv3 would fit perfectly.

  4. DrMcCoy says:

    Still, very nice of them to release what they did, though. Not gonna complain about that. :)

    …But: “You must be running Adobe Flash CS5 or later to open and use them”. Ew. :/

    • Didden says:

      What you expected them to, not only give it all away for free, but also then rework all the code and artwork to fit what you want to do with it? Put the following phrase together. Choosers. Beggars. Can’t.

    • Biscuitry says:

      That was one of the stated reasons for shutting Glitch down, though not the biggest one. They were increasingly seeing Flash as a dying technology, and it was one they were fundamentally tied to.

    • frightlever says:

      The company was nice enough to free the art assets, I’d guess somebody else will be nice enough to convert them.

      This is a large chunk of homogenised (in the the sense that the style is uniform) graphics which I’m sure will be showing up in projects for years. Such a positive move.

  5. mikmanner says:

    These guys are just great, I hope they don’t give up on making games

  6. phoeniciansailor says:

    Super nice of them. How refreshing. Will remember this next time I see a game from them.

    • Biscuitry says:

      Sadly, Tiny Speck aren’t in the game business any more. They doing some sort of business collaboration thing that looks useful to professional people who aren’t me, but no games. They let most of their staff go after Glitch closed down. I’ve lost track of most of them, I’m ashamed to say.

  7. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    It focused a whole lot on grinding, actually.

  8. frightlever says:

    Oh, more importantly these aren’t technically public domain, according to the github repositories I was skimming. They’re released under a very benign Creative Commons license but there’ll be, I would imagine, attribution requirements if you’re using them in your own projects.

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