As an update to the ongoing saga between Improbable and Unity in regards to SpatialOS, Epic Games have now jumped in to take advantage of it. To be clear, I don't consider myself biased in any way towards any game engine, especially as I am not a game developer.
As a quick overview of what happened:
- Improbable put out a blog post, claiming Unity overnight blocked SpatialOS and made Unity out to be a real bad company. Improbable then open source their Unity GDK.
- Unity made their own response, mentioning that they told Improbable a year ago about the issues. Let's be real here, revoking the Unity licenses of SpatialOS wouldn't have been a quickly-made decision. Unity have also mentioned repeatedly now about making their TOS (terms of service) a lot clearer.
- Epic Games and Improbable team up to help developers switch game engines.
To assist developers who are left in limbo by the new engine and service incompatibilities that were introduced today, Epic Games and Improbable are together establishing a US $25,000,000 combined fund to help developers transition to more open engines, services, and ecosystems. This funding will come from a variety of sources including Unreal Dev Grants, Improbable developer assistance funds, and Epic Games store funding.
See the full Epic Games blog post here.
I can't help this feeling that Improbable and Epic Games somehow planned this, it feels a little off. To secure a partnership with Epic for rather a lot of money and so quickly, feels like a pretty big PR stunt. Frankly, I feel bad for the folks at Unity as it seems like they've been played here.
Unity does have a lot of issues (especially often on Linux) but this whole situation feels like a made-up farce to make Unity out to be worse than it is. Their terms of service have been pretty poor though, Unity certainly aren't angels and haven't helped themselves.
Again though, this only highlights some of the dangers of using proprietary game engines for your projects. I don't consider myself a zealot in any way towards absolutely preferring open source game engines, especially when closed source alternatives can do a lot of things better, but it should be ringing some alarms bells for developers as a reminder of how they're not really in control.