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Lets take a specific example. The ioquake3 engine is licensed under GPL v2, however the engine can't do anything by its self, it needs code that has been compiled into .qvm binaries in order to create a playable game.

If I create the game code and all of the digital assets required to create a game that will run using the ioquake3 engine, does my game code need to be licensed under a GPL compatible license?

Obviously I would have to provide the source for the engine and any modifications I had made to it, but would the source for the game logic binaries also have to be available to those whom it was distributed to?

Also, looking further into GPL v2, if the game code was not considered to be derivative, if I had an installer that downloaded and installed the game code, and then separately downloaded and installed the engine, would that be considered distributing the two software's separately? It states that if two separate works are distributed as a "whole", then all separate works that are a part of the "whole" must be licensed under GPL.

What about two separate installers?

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  • The LGPL allows a commercial program to link to it without also being LGPL. The GPL does not. Some projects do offer exceptions.
    – sambler
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 12:06
  • Related: What is the status of in-app-purchasing code in a GPLv2 app? (generic app store). That question also asks about ioquake3, and the answers provide analysis that may answer your question.
    – Brandin
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 8:37
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    The actual code may be, but the art assets, models, etc. wouldn't be.
    – ivanivan
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 14:44

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