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The Xenko Game Engine recently became free and open source

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The Xenko Game Engine [Official Site, GitHub] recently released their 3.0 update which came with a surprise announcement of it now being free and open source.

Announced a few days on their official blog:

You read that right. Xenko 3.0 is out now, released under the permissive MIT license.

From now on, you can use and modify Xenko completely free — whether you’re a professional, a student, or just looking for a new hobby. This includes both the runtime and editor.

Main focus for this release was on the open-source transition, but Xenko 3.0 also includes some new features, such as a switch to the new C# project system, video, hair and skin rendering.

What's interesting, is that Silicon Studio are no longer going to be supporting it. This means that it's now down to the Xenko team to work on it independently along with the community. To be clear though, if you do plan to contribute they have a Contribution License Agreement they require you to sign.

As I understand it, they previously had a dual-license with the code under the GPL, but for those who that caused issues they also had a paid-for version. With it now being under the MIT license, it should remove any barrier for people to use it. Linux support, from what I've read is currently experimental. They also said on Twitter that the Linux build is currently disabled, but it should be enabled again soon.

It seems like a pretty advanced game engine, with support for both OpenGL and Vulkan. Nice to see it so open now, will be interesting to follow it along.

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Dunc 6 Aug, 2018
QuoteLinux support, from what I've read is currently experimental.
That's interesting. My understanding was that it's nonexistent. But hey, once it's open source it can always be ported. If anyone can be bothered to. (I'm trying really hard not to sound critical here. :) Honestly, it looks like a good engine.)
Liam Dawe 6 Aug, 2018
Quoting: GuestNo Linux installer/version. Can you even build on *nix without dumping time into the source? Kinda seems a pointless news article other than you can port creations to Linux..."experimentally." -lame.
There's nothing pointless or lame about reporting on a game engine now being fully open source. Just because it doesn't have totally tip-top Linux support in shape right now, doesn't mean it can't in future.
Liam Dawe 6 Aug, 2018
Quoting: Dunc
QuoteLinux support, from what I've read is currently experimental.
That's interesting. My understanding was that it's nonexistent. But hey, once it's open source it can always be ported. If anyone can be bothered to. (I'm trying really hard not to sound critical here. :) Honestly, it looks like a good engine.)
From their Twitter a few days ago:
QuoteYes, it builds on windows run on linux.
Note that Linux build is currently disabled in current release but should be enabled again soon (focus was getting MIT release out ASAP)

So they're working on it and with the bonus of the licensing changes, hopefully more people will come forward to help.
rkfg 6 Aug, 2018
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Hmm... each time I see a new game engine I'm basically interested in two things: what games were made on it and how good the graphics are. Xenko is lacking in both departments, unfortunately. I'd expect a showcase on the front page but there's none. And in that demo reel what they call "next level" looks pretty bland. Nothing I haven't seen in 2008 or so. Photorealistic skin rendering? It resembles cheap plastic at best. And, ahem, saying "photorealistic hair and cloth" while showing a completely bald and naked dude... Add C# to that, which, though being used in Unity3D, is still a weird choice as a game development language (for me, of course; I don't trust MS and their products). Maybe it will attract Unity3D switchers though, who knows. Other features are nothing outstanding as well.

I'm not trying to diminish their achievements and I fully understand how complex the modern game engines are and how much time one needs to make something like that from scratch. It's just that the competition in this particular IT field is quite strong and UE4 made it really uneven after going opensource (though not free) and forcing some of the other major engines to do the same. Now it's almost pointless to make a completely new AAA-quality engine if you can take UE4 or Unity and do whatever you want with it. Except you're a huge company making the next huge game with 9-digits budget, maybe then an in-house engine would be worth it (because of no royalties and license limitations).

I can only guess but probably they freed (read: abandoned) Xenko because they didn't have enough resources to compete with the leaders. And if you want an MIT engine with all the modern features, you might want to check out Godot.

Last edited by rkfg on 6 August 2018 at 4:07 pm UTC
HadBabits 6 Aug, 2018
Sounds like it could become abandon-ware in a year's time, at least to my cynical ear. But if you feel like supporting it, they do have a Patreon; currently sitting at $281 a month. It was only set up a few days ago, so who knows? Either way, I don't see anything wrong with giving some attention to a budding open-source community. Though it wouldn't hurt to add information about the current state of their Linux support to the article to avoid confusion :)
Shmerl 6 Aug, 2018
I'm also skeptical about C# usage for VR. Realtime requirements and garbage collector don't mix well.

Last edited by Shmerl on 6 August 2018 at 5:20 pm UTC
Liam Dawe 6 Aug, 2018
Quoting: HadBabitsThough it wouldn't hurt to add information about the current state of their Linux support to the article to avoid confusion :)
I did mention in the article text that it's experimental. I've added their tweet to it now too, but the information on their actual Linux support isn't overly clear, if it was I would have mentioned it directly of course.

Edit: Hopefully with it fully open, stuff like this can be properly cleaned up ;)

Last edited by Liam Dawe on 6 August 2018 at 5:30 pm UTC
Kristian 6 Aug, 2018
I have heard of C# used for gameplay code/scripting but this is an actual engine written in C#? I don't think I have heard of that before.
twinsonian 6 Aug, 2018
This is just a personal opinion but I installed this on a spare windows laptop to see what it was all about.

It wants (requires?) visual studio integration and even with that running a sample game took a very long time to even get up and going.

I didn't spend enough time with it to try and even pump out a linux version of the sample game and really wasn't impressed with it so far.

I do wish it a ton of success though as time goes on. It is great to see another tool for aspiring/established developers, but Ill be sticking with Godot, love, and gdevelop.
elmapul 7 Aug, 2018
contrary to popular belief, i dont think more competition is always good.
the issue is, one of the key advantages of open source is not reinventing the whell, and we will be doing just that if we contribute to that engine instead of, i dont know, godot.

competition means reinventing the whell instead of cooperating to build an better one, fragmenting the comunity and the efforts, sure, some times its nescessary because the maintainers of an whell arent competent enough or are doing some mistakes that no one knows yet that those things are mistakes, but later on in the future when we do realize that design mistakes, we would have another code base to work with if we have competition.

but still, i dont think they are doing it for noble/altruistic reasons, instead they saw they couldnt compete and instead of admiting to their users that they are wasting their time and they could have better sucess using other engines, they want to keep then on their softwares but self supporting instead of supporting then.

sure, that is an better ending for an engine than being left as an abandonware, at least people can self mantaing or migrate to another engine more easily, but if that engine proves to be useless, they will just waste more time.

in any case i wish then (and their users) lucky, i will not take a look at it because i'm fine with godot and unity, i was an engine hopper for to long and finally found an home with engines powerfull enough to make my game instead of having to migrate all over again due to engine limitations, i will not take a look at this engine because i'm already satisfied with what i have, but i wish then look and i hope they can cooperate with an better gaming world instead of fragment efforts for it.
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