The curious case of Kilobolt using my book’s code

Update: James Cho from Kilobolt contacted me via e-mail. We had a very lengthy discussion, here’s the entire conversation, start reading at the bottom. James agreed to put up a link to the book. To those sending hate-mail to Kilobolt: please stop, that’s my job, and my job only. Our community is better than this, and your thoughts are better expressed in the comments below and on the forums. I leave the original post intact so you can judge how much of an ass i made myself look like 🙂

So, a few days ago i found Kilobolt’s “Android Game Development Tutorial”. The tutorial is currently the #1 search result on Google for the terms “android game development tutorial”.

Obviously, the code on that page is my book’s code. While the author states that he improve the framework, all he really did was fuck up the formatting, and add modifications that will ensure that the game will run horribly on any mid-level device. The tutorials explain nothing, hand waving via phrases like “you don’t have to understand this”.

That’s fine. The code is Apache 2, so legally all is well. If people want to learn from such a poor resource as this tutorial, that’s cool with me as well. If you want the real deal, click on the book image in the top right corner of this page. Or find a backup copy on the internet. The code is here.

What’s a bit funky is that the tutorial pages are full of ads. They are everywhere. Fair game, the code is Apache 2, but it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

Here’s what’s not fine. I wrote a friendly comment on one of the tutorial pages. That was deleted/not approved. After that, the author appearantly shit his pants a little and added the paragraph about the code being based on my book. Without linking to my book. I tried to contact the author via e-mail, twice, but never got a reply.

Now, just to make sure i get my message across properly: i love when people use my stuff to create awesome things, be they commercial or non-commercial. I have no problem with not getting a “cut”. I do have a problem with leeches like Kilobolt, that take the hard work of others, sell it as their own, not even giving a single bit of credit where its due, and monetizing it heavily. I also have a problem with poor tutorials, that explain nothing, give terrible advice in form of horrible code, while making the reader think they are learning something worth while.

It kinda sucks that things like this happen. Again, form a legal perspective it’s fair game, and i do not complain that someone’s using OSS code for commercial endevours. However, the way Kilobolt is doing this (no credit, then a little credit, no replies to e-mails, censoring of posts) is disgusting. The book was one of the few ways i try to make a bit of money from libgdx and all the other gaming related things i put out there for free. Seeing it being ripped off like this doesn’t evoke the greatest feelings.

Here’s a link to the “Android Game Development Workshop” i gave a while ago. It contains extensive slides explaining everything, and comes with full source-code. Do yourself a favor and use that as a resource, instead of this horrible money grab by Kilobolt.

22 thoughts on “The curious case of Kilobolt using my book’s code

  1. Perhaps you should use a license that requires attribution if you want attribution.
    I know hindsight is 20/20, but still…

  2. Yeah, like what the fcuk are they doing?

    And they’ve thanked the donors in which they think is “without whom this tutorial would not be possible:”

    Well for me everything is impossible without your book.

    just sayin. 🙂

  3. And don’t forget about trackers )

    edit: i removed the tracker links :p

    this is one of the biggest trackers in pors-ussr, and if you have rights on book (of course), you can e-mail to admins and your book will be prohibited forever. I can help with translation, but i think admins can use translater to read your mail 😀

  4. That would really *&%^ me off. You are more level headed about this than I would be. Thanks for all your hard work. Maybe you should look into turning your book into an HTML site and I’m sure that Google would end up pointing in your direction instead.

  5. If he has done nothing legally wrong I don’t see why you are complaining in such an over the top way. Surely by calling him a “leech” you are actually opening yourself up to litigation?

    I can see why you’re annoyed but you just chose the wrong licence. You had expectations about what you wanted people to do or not do that was enshrined in the terms of the licence.

  6. can’t change license now, should have used a different, why are you complaining…

    Really? Some guy uses your work with barely a word and you don’t have any reaction to it. Mario never hinted at wishing he used a different license. He was just stating that he was irritated at this crappy tutorial with potentially slower code existing based solely off his work, full of ads sitting at the top of Google search. This would irritate me as well. Keep up the great work, and thanks for the warning.

    And calling somebody a leach opening you to litigation… I prey that the prosecutor that takes that case gets disbarred.

    “I urge you to resist the need to understand every line of code”
    In a third party api fine, but in your own code?

    I just hope too many libgdx viewers didn’t click over to his sight giving him more views 😀

  7. Mario, I think that’s the tax for “growing big”. The framework, the blog and also the book now have a significant place in Java gaming industry. Now you will have a contact with smarty-pants outside of mostly nice guys from the community.
    But, unlike graspee I don’t think that our world is just about licenses and legality in meaning what is not forbidden is allowed, because otherwise it would be unbearable here.

  8. Annoying for sure…

    On the other hand, the Kilobolt web site looks like it’s been set up by 14 year old script kids.

    I would not worry too much about it.

    I would be pissed off it was a professional and grown up organization trying to rip you off.

    But… since it’s kids… it’s probably best to just to give them a hint that you’re offended, and ask them to do better in the future.

  9. Unfortunately some people will give credit and other will not.And it’s not always because they don’t appreciate what you do.Sometimes they just look for attention and claim other’s work to be their own.
    I am a musician. I’ve released an album one year ago for free and I’ve found it all over the web redistributed in legal and not legal ways (like Pirate Bay ).

    Some web stores even sale it for money even though I’ve released it for free!
    Well that’s actually a crime ! I’ve got mad at first , but after a little while I’ve realized that the fact that someone is so interested in what I did , that they are ready to break the law for it , means I’ve did something good that worth it !

    You are my rock star Mario ! Remember this next time someone steal your work.
    Don’t get offended by random people who try to be as awesome as you are .

  10. How can that be called tutorial? all are nothing but recreating interfaces for already available classes 😐

    And OMG that’s the biggest Like banner I have ever seen in my life!

  11. Hi MARIO.
    This is semajhan, who mentioned this to you.
    Glad everything is solved.
    I was getting many hate comments so I decided to just “agree” with them and tried to contact you.

  12. Well, kudos on doing key word research, and investigating further.

    I’ve always been worried just the small set of tutorials I’ve done have been ripped off, and on a Chinese site somewhere, with people seeing my tutorials there instead of my website.

    But ripping off the entire book!? Well, at least it isn’t your sole livelihood – I hope you can get a hold of him and work stuff out!

  13. Interesting, I actually got a simple game up and running after reading his tutorial, and I really liked how step-by-step it was – most of the Android or technical tutorials I’ve found have steep learning curves, or they suddenly expect you to know a ton of things without really explaining it metaphorically or as if I were a 5 year old.

    I was planning on reading your book sooner or later, but didn’t exactly imagine that Kilobolt was ripping your code off. I’m sorry to hear that sort of malpractice.

  14. Mario – would it not be an idea to make your own basic version of a tutorial like this, might be a great way to advertise your book.

  15. HI, I’m glad that I found this article, and I found it by searching for solution “Kilobolt game source”, cause solution on theirs web site doesn’t work. I’m experienced developer, web app, but never developed anything for mobile and that kilobolt tutorial took 2 days of my life.
    Thanks for this post and I hope you sell your book in million copy’s.

  16. when you say “run horribly on any mid-level device”, what does mid-level mean exactly? Anything between Android 2.0 and 3.0?

  17. oh man, just spent 5 days with their tutorials. Clarificaiton: is the Flappy Bird clone tutorial also involved with this incident?

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