Shall we update Defold license or user agreement?


From time to time we hear that game publishers and legal people of bigger teams don’t like our EULA. So we’re trying to see what shall we push for changing in it.

But to make the change well…

  • Have you ever experienced any restrictions (with publishers, company management, etc) because of Defold’s EULA?
  • Can you provide any examples or reasons for not using Defold because of specific points in our EULA?


Excellent initiative! I’d hate to see that Defold is rejected on the basis of our EULA. Please share your experience here. We’re very open to discuss and push for changes if they make sense!


I will describe my claims in the form of possible situations. Maybe they are not related to EULA.

Situation 1
We develop the game and offer it to the Publisher. The Publisher wants us to port the game to a platform that is not supported by Defold.
Possible solutions:

  1. pay for access to the source code of Defold and port it yourself.
  2. pay the authors of Defold for porting.

Situation 2
We have published the game and on some platform an unsolvable problem appeared that must be fixed very urgently. The authors of Defold throw up their hands and give a period of 1 week and we launched an advertising campaign for $100K.
Possible solutions:

  1. pay for access to the source code of Defold and fix it yourself.
  2. buy 1 day of premium support and a dedicated developer from Defold will fix everything promptly.

Situation 3
King decided to stop working on Defold, and our large project for Defold is in the final stage. Our Publisher is furious.
Possible solution: to get access to the source code of Defold and to finish to do everything yourself.

I want the solution of these situations to be described in the EULA or you launch the premium support of developers. So publishers and developers do not worry that we have some kind of non-standard closed source game engine which is impossible to obtain due to legal issues.


also I made a nice thread at reddit, that suggests legal problem may arise on any tech, depending on how lawyers look at it:

that is said, huge thanks to @aglitchman for your time! Any other cases/feedback regarding Defold maybe?
We’re assembling it all and bringing to legal as soon, as we have several cases (to base our arguments on).


Main concern I would guess people may have with it is the power King keeps to force any dev to stop using Defold software and stop distributing games made with Defold software if they wish to update them. I don’t believe King would do this, but imagine a competitor comes along and tries to compete with King’s library of games using Defold. At any time, based on these terms (because King is more or less the sole opinion that matters for where there is interpretation involved for what breaks the terms), King could force them to move to pull their games and switch to a different engine. I’ll restate again I don’t believe King would do this I am only highlighting some areas others may have concerns.

you will no longer be entitled to use the Defold Software in any Games that you have created prior to the date of cancellation, even if you have published such Games via a third party publication platform.

you will, however, be entitled to continue to use the Defold Software in any Games that you have created prior to the date of cancellation for the life of such Games, PROVIDED THAT such continued use shall remain governed by these Terms.

Of course these are Cover Your Ass terms lawyers want. And I’m pretty sure that other engines have similar clauses but it’s still chilling for some people. (actually these terms are even harsher! not sure if they have ever actually used them to shut a dev down though)

What I would prefer is to just require devs to in no way show association with the engine. So they can’t say Made With Defold or have Defold logo in their games. I think either Unreal or Unity does this with adult games. Maybe that’s something to think about too. As long as people are not breaking any laws with what they publish, if you ask a developer to not associate a game with the engine label then that is fair to require them not to.

2.1 Please note that in order to create an account with us: You will need a Google email address

There’s another annoying thing is that currently there is no officially kosher way to link to the Defold software for download without having an account. It should be made a priority to include agreeing to the terms in the launcher whenever it changes so that people can download the software without needing an account. It will be another thing to reduce friction.

Another section I don’t like because of the bold parts

3.2 As a further condition of these Defold Licence Terms, you may not use or incorporate or distribute the Defold Software in any Games which:

could reasonably be viewed as unlawful, harmful, harassing, defamatory, obscene or otherwise objectionable;

There are many things people find objectionable. Of course the only person who matters here is what King thinks is objectionable, which people may not know. Again I’d prefer to simply leave it as prohibiting unlawful use (which covers most of the others listed), and giving King full discretion to prohibit a developer from saying they are using the Defold software / linking to it / using the logos in splashes or credits etc.

The word obscene itself could be interpreted to say no adult games can be made with Defold software. I know there is at least one in development for a long time. Is it obscene or not, should that dev fear or not?

or could reasonably be viewed as likely to incite violence

A lot of people think video games cause people to become violent despite the scientific studies which say otherwise. But still the only opinion is King’s on this so can violent games be made or not? Well, some ideologues even think the game doesn’t have to be necessarily graphically violent to cause people to be violent, they just have to have certain qualities which some people think reinforce whatever behaviors an activist may see as bad for society and the cause for violent behavior.

What if a South Park game was made with Defold? Would it break the terms with how crude and rude that IP can be? Or what about Rick and Morty? It’s often just as crude, violent and lewd.

I still have full faith in Defold and King and don’t believe they would abuse the power they have.


you’re awesome (and you know it). Thanks for taking the time for the feedback!


I think the main concern here, that I can’t continue to use Defold if King close it.
This is not only about this line

it’s also about a technical possibility.

And I mean two main things:

  1. Engine Sources. Developer can’t continue to add new features and maintain the game without engine sources in case when Defold team would close or busy. For example OpenGL now marked as deprecated in new version of iOS and macOS. If something goes wrong, team that starts a big project today couldn’t publish it in AppStore (or sopports it for a long time).
    Possability to pay for source code or some other way for continue supporting is must have as I think.

  2. Build server. Even if you delete line when user must stop using Defold, and current engine features is enought for developer for a some time, it’s imposible to build the game without the build server. If you turn off the build server, development will stop.

I am sure that Defold has a great future! But buisness people believe in words on the paper, not in my confidence. I think, it would be great to have some workaround for this kind of gipotethical situation.


Yes, those are fair concerns too and suits will strongly consider them in decision making. As a 3rd party who has no insider knowledge, I don’t see King stopping support or development for Defold soon. Although later on who knows. They apparently have several projects internally going with it, and they have gained developer support thanks to publishing it. And Defold devs have said they wish to open things up as things go into the future.

If the worst happens I would probably port projects back to Monkey, but that would suck! Defold is too good!


It’s been five months. Has anything changed?

*Every UE4 developer has full access to the full source code of UE4 and nobody has sued Epic Games!


According to their public timeline, they will be gradually moving parts of the engine out into publicly available native extensions. This kind of process might continue with more of the engine being made into public components which the community can work on. Editor extensions are also on the near future public timeline.


Yes, this is definitely something we will continue to do during 2019. On Monday you’ll see one of the first steps in this direction with the webview being extracted into a native extension.

I’m pretty excited about this and the fact that we’re finally making some progress with this. And the solution we are discussing currently will be pretty flexible and even the MVP will be really useful!


thanks for bringing it back. It is indeed an important question.
And while I think you got the answer already, may I chip in and ask: what would be the primary reason for you to use the Defold source code?

Since I bet you do understand, that Defold source is hard to build and complex to use in individual environment…

Really, everybody is welcome to reply to my question to help us understand our user demands and requirements. We ask this question often, and the more replies we get, the more confident we feel.


I’d like to see the code to better understand how Defold is working. Plus with the source code I can address most important bugs that I experience or my clients and suggest fixes. The same comes for small improvements.
With source code I can also build more effective native extensions that function tighter with the engine.


I had a chance to synch with @aglitchman and several more people in a chat. Let me post a summary here for logging reasons:

  • Most people actually care about the source code access infinitely more than about Defold being open source.
  • In fact people actually like Defold having official vision, direction, philosophy and the development plan.
  • People want source code access for two reasons:
    1 - Security and safety “just in case”
    2 - To quickly peek on the code and see why their way of doing things in Defold is slow
  • As to bugfixes and possible open source contribution, people seem to be happy about the current model where they may contribute to Native Extensions or fork their custom implementations of the provided NEs.

Now of course we discussed it in a small group and Lerg’s motivation above also makes a lot of sense. So everyone is welcome to add to the discussion, provide additional points or just reiterate and agree on some of the points. This helps us to prioritise our work.


It would be enough to get Source Code Access.
I only need access to the code to be able to debug the engine code as the game starts. Perhaps I could give advice and recommendations on how to improve the engine. :hugs:


This so much!

If I had access to Defold source code, I’d use it mainly for debugging, peace of mind and very rarely, critical bug fixes before the Defold team gets to fixing them. I’d also add having the flexibility to begin porting if your game needs to support other platforms is a nice bonus of having source access (which falls under the peace of mind category).

Nobody’s asking for open governance when there’s already a team with a clear roadmap working on the engine, which listens to the community as much as this team currently does.


About the license, and to further state what @pkeod said:

3.2 As a further condition of these Defold Licence Terms, you may not use or incorporate or distribute the Defold Software in any Games which:

could reasonably be viewed as unlawful, harmful, harassing, defamatory, obscene or otherwise objectionable;


or could reasonably be viewed as likely to incite violence

Who defines these things? Specially in this politically correct era, anything can be called “the root of all evul”!

This type of thing is the main complaint i’ve heard from ppl when it comes to the terms. The central issue is that there should be no scenario where a dev is forced to remove content from anywhere, or anything of a sort that effectively destroys years of work.

Software is usually provided “as is” with no warranty or attached responsibility from the copyright holder. Meaning if you blow your house with it, it’s on you. So king really shouldn’t have to worry about what kind of content people make with defold.
I understand that king is trying to cover it’s legal front, but there is a cost to doing it this way.


To my knowledge these terms are defined per country. Basically our license is trying to prohibit people make illegal content. Definition of “illegal” again, differs from country to country.

That’s said, we’re aware our license is restrictive in many ways, and we at Defold would like it be more open, hence this thread overall.

Currently we’re looking at our EULA with legal. It’s been a somewhat long process, though…