Game in question is Spore. I'm fascinated by space and this game has been my favorite for years.

Now, I would try to reverse engineer as much as I can as an experiment because I am interested in generally how game works under the hood. On example what steganography algorithm is used to hide models in pictures or algorithm for generating planets and solar systems etc... I can think of a million different things.

But, some of my wishes are also to put this reverse engineered code public on my GitHub as my work. I don't know if this would be okay legally and if it wouldn't create some type of a problem because I put my work public.

Of course there is a rule that sometimes you cannot fully reverse engineer something, especially something like a game this big and code wouldn't be 100% equal as the source. But again, this is something to ask before even starting. It would be something really interesting, that's something I know for sure.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is probably more of a question for law.stackexchange.com. But the answer is probably that you can reverse-engineer the code but you can't publish the reverse-engineered code, because that would be a copyright violation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Jan 12 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ What does the Terms of Use and/or the End User Legal Agreement of the game say about it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt
    Jan 12 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that's where my plan for this to go public goes under. From the user agreement it's mentioned that any service or product must not be reverse engineered or extracted data from. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 12 at 15:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Then I suppose you have your answer. As Philipp said, I suppose you could do it privately and not publish the results. I'm not condoning reverse engineering, I'm just saying that it would be hard for anyone to know about it. FWIW, though, since you generally don't want to copy a game but create your own or improve upon another game, it's generally more useful to figure out of a way you could do it in your own context rather than how they did do it in their own context. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt
    Jan 12 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hm, yeah. Interesting idea. Thanks everyone! \$\endgroup\$ Jan 12 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


From the user agreement it's mentioned that any service or product must not be reverse engineered or extracted data from.

Then no, it's not OK.

As luck would have it, this story just crossed my feed today: Revealing Mortal Kombat II Code Leak Pulled by Warner Bros.

It describes a situation where a user uploaded Mortal Kombat II's source code to GitHub:

The lawyers at Warner Bros. took exception to this by issuing a swift DMCA takedown notice that Github (sic) adhered to by disabling public access

So even a game significantly older than Spore still has the intellectual property rights to its source code protected by copyright law; that protection is actively enforced by corporate legal teams, and GitHub will cooperate with those measures.

Even if your reverse engineering efforts produce code that is not identical to the original source code, I'd wager that's not a fight you want to pick with a legal team the size of EA's.


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