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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.

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eldaking 11 January 2019 at 4:20 pm UTC
Three terrible companies causing a lot of damage.

One is trying to abuse the already bullshit copyright laws to limit how people can make games (with the probable purpose of pushing its own services). One is trying to use software-as-a-service to take control of how games are run both from users and from developers. One is trying to create a closed store full of exclusives, and opportunistically partnering with the second company to sneakily push their own products using the controversy.

Yeah, this is why software needs to be FLOSS, and also why software-as-a-service is bad. Don't make your games rely on stuff that some company may take away from you because of its new "business interests". And of course, developers shouldn't do this same stuff to your game and players (at the very least, no DRM).
Hal_Kado 11 January 2019 at 4:30 pm UTC
I don't think the people over at unity are in the wrong on this. If someone wants to run their code they need to have a license for it, for some reason Improbable thinks they should be exempt from that. Although one could argue by providing this service they do make the unity engine more attractive to devs....but its ultimately unity's call to make.

Epic getting into it is simply a marketing play, at best to promote the new store and convert people to their engine, at worst those dev grants come with a Epic store exclusivity requirement.
Dunc 11 January 2019 at 4:44 pm UTC
Quote... help developers transition to more open engines, services, and ecosystems.
That “more” is doing some heavy lifting there.

the3dfxdudeThis wouldn't be that Unity is making SpatialOS impossible to use with Unity, only that Impossible, the company is in breach of license.
That was my reading of it from the start. Impossible played fast-and-loose with the licence terms, and Unity clarified them. Pretty much a non-story, really.
Mountain Man 11 January 2019 at 5:16 pm UTC
I've never heard of SpatialOS.
Kithop 11 January 2019 at 5:36 pm UTC
Remember the days when devs would pride themselves on building their own custom game engines?

id Tech, BUILD, and yes, the original Unreal? (GoldSrc only kind of counts since it was Quake/Quake II-based, and I think even Source still inherits some of that)

Oh hey, remember when id Software were awesome and not only released Linux builds of their games, but when the next id Tech engine came out, they quickly moved to open source the previous generation? Which is why we have a bunch of stuff based on everything up to Quake 3-and-a-bit-of-Doom 3/Quake 4?

But nothing after, with all the personnel changes that happened, and, y'know, Bethesda.

I mean, don't get me wrong - going through all the notes for UE4 and there's some amazing work being done there, but yeah - if you don't want to write your own, there's got to be plenty of open source resources out there, or just take a look at Godot, apparently.

Oh, wait, I think I get it - we've had an entire generation of developers trained on Unity and/or Unreal Engine, so they don't know anything else / aren't trained/adaptable. It's the same vendor lock-in that gets us Microsoft Office as 'the only office suite anyone knows' (despite LibreOffice being perfectly fine and awesome), Oracle as 'the only "good" database server', Windows as the only OS the general public knows how to work, and how the little blue 'E' is 'The Internet'. At least that last one is now 'the primary-colour spinny wheel', and 'Facebook' is 'The Internet' for people.

The people who actually care about this stuff already know about the alternatives and are either already using them, moving to them, or at least learning of them and planning their next projects with them in mind. The people who don't care and continue to use proprietary stuff in spite of there being better, open alternatives... don't care. And we can't really make them care. All we can do is keep chugging along in our own parallel universe and ignore what goes on in proprietary-land. ;)
queria 11 January 2019 at 6:02 pm UTC
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Lol, I've just observed Tim Sweeneys tweets comments (linked from first comment here on GOL) being "censored"
... there was quiet some discussion about xamarin and c# and how epic changed rules
... when returning there (after reading bit about that xamarin stuff) all of it's gone now.
Heh, would say "Epic" fail :/
elmapul 11 January 2019 at 6:06 pm UTC
"Again though, this only highlights some of the dangers of using proprietary game engines for your projects. "

unreal engine is kind off open source...
i'm not sure about their licence but the code is
Kristian 11 January 2019 at 6:29 pm UTC
elmapul"Again though, this only highlights some of the dangers of using proprietary game engines for your projects. "

unreal engine is kind off open source...
i'm not sure about their licence but the code is

Source code being available is not really sufficient at all for this sort of thing and yeah UE4 licensing terms are very far from open source or free software. id Tech 4 is open source, Godot is open source. A bu ch of engines are open source. But none of the major ones(UE4, Unity, CryEngine, Lumberyard, Source, etc) are.


Last edited by Kristian at 11 January 2019 at 8:15 pm UTC
Termy 11 January 2019 at 6:30 pm UTC
I really liked Epic...in the past.
They really do try hard to make themselfs hated...
eldaking 11 January 2019 at 8:13 pm UTC
elmapul"Again though, this only highlights some of the dangers of using proprietary game engines for your projects. "

unreal engine is kind off open source...
i'm not sure about their licence but the code is

It is source available, not open source. The license is the important part, much more than being able to see the source code: you are signing a contract that severely limits your freedom to use that code, and could come back to bite you in the ass in the future.
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