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grigb's picture
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Joined: 08/31/2018
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I'm a Unity 3D developer, and I'm interested in porting FoldIt to Unity 3D so it can be played on desktops, mobile, iOS, Android, and even VR/AR hardware. If possible, I would like to develop a new Unity 3D version and open source it.

Is Foldit still active?

Is the continued adoption and playing of FoldIt still helpful to scientists?

Is any source code available?

All feedback greatly appreciated.


Joined: 03/30/2013
Groups: Go Science
Unity 3D and foldit activity

I can only speak to "Is foldIt still active?" question. Yep. We are definitely still here, still folding. Maybe not as large of a community as it used to be. But absolutely still loving this game.

Is it still helpful to scientists? I would say mostlyYes. It is not like The Protein Folding Problem has been solved or anything. I would say the jury is still out on the value of crowdsourcing this kind of problem. Design of new stable folded proteins has been a big part of the game these days. I would say the gaming community is certainly benefitting that effort. But i am speaking here merely as a player, not an active scientist.

bkoep and others at CGS can speak more definitively, and also can share with you their willingness to share source code. I believe Rosetta, the scoring engine underneath foldIt, is available under certain limited terms, which are spelled out at https://www.rosettacommons.org . Look into that.

Hope my response is helpful. Wanted to chime in, in a timely fashion, as no one else seems to be commenting. Bkoep can tell you more, and i'm sure will comment pretty soon.

bkoep's picture
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Joined: 11/15/2012
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Not open source

Thanks for jumping in, Anfinsen_slept_here!

@grigb, thanks for your interest in Foldit! Foldit is certainly still active, and we would love to have the cross-platform support offered by an established game engine like Unity.

Unfortunately, Foldit is not open source. Like Anfinsen_slept_here said, Foldit is part of the Rosetta software package, and depends in large part on the Rosetta code base. While much of the core Rosetta code is distributed with a Rosetta license (free for non-commercial use, but still not open-source), the Foldit source code is only available to developers who are registered with the RosettaCommons—typically researchers in academic labs that are part of the RosettaCommons.

Part of the concern with open-sourcing the Foldit code is the potential for abuse—there are a lot of trivial ways that Foldit could be made more "fun" as a game, but that would also undermine the scientific validity of Foldit players' work. Ideally, we would be able to open-source the Foldit UI while maintaining the underlying "science" more strictly. However, I think the current Foldit source would have to be refactored significantly for this and we have very limited resources (developer hours) available for such a project.

That's about all I can say about the issue. I will check with the rest of the Foldit team, and maybe a more experienced dev can give you a better answer. In the mean time, I know there has been more discussion on these Forums about open-sourcing Foldit (here is one such post).


Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, RosettaCommons