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Game Engine Marketing Models Compared 243

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-the-pacman-engine dept.
death00 writes: "GameDev has an interesting story about the success of Garage Games Torque engine (the engine behind Tribes 2). I especially find it interesting to see the number of developers working on high-quality games based on the Torque engine. The basic premise is that Garage Games gives a full license of the Torque engine to a team for a project for $100 USD per developer. The only caveat is that you must publish any finished works through Garage Games. Perhaps id software might consider doing this with the Quake III engine once the Doom III engine comes out. From my understanding, the Quake III engine currently licenses for significantly ($250,000 USD) more than that. Instead of waiting 2 more years and GPL'ing the full source, why not license it for cheap after Doom III comes out, then GPL later?"
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Game Engine Marketing Models Compared

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  • by biglig2 (89374) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:29AM (#4069891) Homepage Journal
    Well, they GPLed the Quake engine pretty quickly - I think it not unreasonable for them to keep the Q3 engine closed a while longer - shouldn't the community encourage companies who GPL their stuff after they've moved on? It's bette rthan keeping it closed forever.
  • Re:Not that much (Score:1, Informative)

    by jtdubs (61885) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:34AM (#4069934)
    Q3 technology is NOT top-notch. It WAS, for a game engine. But no more.

    It's poly-counts are very low for today's game's standards. BSP+PVS, with indoor geometry only, is a bit antiquated. It supports no REAL lighting/shadowing model. There's no support for pixel and vertex shaders. The AI is almost non-existant. The network code and latency are mediocre by today's standards.

    The Q3 engine is OLD. So is the tech behind it.

    Now, it is mature, and it does expose a relatively usable API for mod developers and such.

    But, just to implement all the Q3 tech, including BSP+PVS, Q3 Shaders and a loader for the Model files and Map files would take two good 3D engine programmers about a week.

    Justin Dubs
  • by ShaggusMacHaggis (178339) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:40AM (#4069982) Homepage
    Remember, the Torque engine is based on the Tribes 2 engine, but includes many more fixes and tweaks. IMHO, The Torque engine is right up there with Q3, and in some cases better. When is the last time you have seen the Q3 engine render true outdoor scenes, complete with terrian, and not enclosed in a "box"?

    The torque engine also has amazing networking code. Even if you hated the Tribes games, they have always had the best networking code out of any multiplayer game out there.

    GG have also been contracted out to finish the final Tribes 2 patch. Apparently they are getting something other than money in return for doing the patch. Perhaps rights to use certain code from the Tribes 2 engine (Sierra made them take out some code from Tribes 2).

    Rumors are that GG has been contracted out to do the next Tribes PC game as well.
  • Re:Not that much (Score:1, Informative)

    by jtdubs (61885) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:51AM (#4070070)
    Okay kid.

    I implemented a basic BSP+PVS engine that supported Q3 maps and shaders in a weekend.

    I did NOT implement Q3 models. Nor sound. Nor networking. Nor a stable API for mod developers.

    But, a basic BSP+PVS engine that supports Q3 maps and shaders CAN and HAS been developed in a weekend. I've DONE it.

    Two good engine coders, in a week, should be able to do the same. Plus add in Q3 models.

    It still doesn't help them get a mature API for mod folks, but it is a working tech demos.

    Justin Dubs
  • Re:Simple... (Score:3, Informative)

    by wizarddc (105860) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:52AM (#4070076) Homepage Journal
    I think the author of the article wants to keep the Doom III engine super expensive. He's talking about making their current engine, the Quake III engine, license on the cheap before they GPL it like they did with the Quake I engine. But you make a good point. Except for the legal ramifications, the software could easily be shared. But generally, those legal ramifications are enough to convince anyone who will be publishing a game through id to think twice before sharing that 3d engine.
  • Re:Not that much (Score:2, Informative)

    by The Axe (93018) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @11:34AM (#4070386)
    Half-Life is _NOT_ based on the Quake2 engine. Rather, Valve licensed the Quake1 engine and replaced most of it with their own code. Valve did license the Q2 engine, but never used it.
  • Bad Editorial (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrVxD (184537) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @11:39AM (#4070413) Homepage Journal
    > From my understanding, the Quake III engine currently licenses for significantly ($250,000 USD) more than that
    Either your understanding is incorrect, or you've misrepresented it. Unfortunatly, most of the posters here assumed you were correct. An overview of the license model can be found at id's website [idsoftware.com]. It's actually a $250,000 gaurentee against 5% of wholesales. (You get much more than the license for that of course - you get all of id's developers for a day long Q&A session too). Alternatively, non-GPL projects can license Quake or Quake 2 for a flat fee of $10,000.
  • Success? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Schnapple (262314) <tomkidd@@@viatexas...com> on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @11:59AM (#4070545) Homepage
    I bought Torque back when it came out (it was called the V12 engine back then). I've gotten sidetracked with other things (my real job and a side business) so I haven't been able to give it enough attention to be able to produce anything with it, but I hope to get back to it soon.

    The article/press release states that they have 10,000 people in their community but it doesn't say whether these people all bought licenses. Anyone can visit the site [garagegames.com] and sign up for free, giving them forum access (except to the SDK forums). I have no doubt they've sold thousands of licenses to the Torque engine, but not everyone who's a member of GarageGames has licensed it.

    When you get the source you can use the preconfigured projects to build an "example" - a fully working program and some demo levels. It compiles on Linux, Windows, and Mac and for Windows at least you can use Visual C++ 6 (I think Visual C++ .NET/7 also works if you tweak it a bit), CodeWarrior and now MiniGW (which is free). GarageGames for some time now has been saying thet would release a "demo" of the engine, basically the binaries of the example. They've since stated that they want to hold off until Version 1.2, but that hasn't arrived yet (current version is 1.1.2). They do have a demo of Realm Wars, a community project, which pretty much "serves" as the demo.

    The reason the demo is significant is because the Torque engine, like Tribes 2, is heavily scripted. A scripting language powers all the "important" stuff, like game code, to a higher degree than say Quake 3. Having access to the scripting language (the compiler is built into the engine) means you can make more or less a completely different game touching no engine code. The downside being that unless you place in controls or distribute compiled scripts only, everyone gets access to your code.

    If you buy the engine then you're paying $100 for engine code you may never touch. The demo has all the scripts neccessary to make a new game. Of course the downside is that you can't then legally charge for your game or modification, which depending on your idea may be important. Also, if the engine limits anything then you're stuck unless you bought the engine.

    Still, Torque is 1000x better than free engines, cheaper than a non-GPL license for Quake 1 ($10,000 and it's an old engine) and it has lots of neat community features built in (I'd wager a bet that you'd have much more fun with it than trying to talk to Epic about Unreal - GarageGames is more used to newbies - like me).

    Still, I do wonder how it is they're calling it a "success" so far. Don't get me wrong - I love the engine and I love the ethic GarageGames has, but they were thinking it was going to be six months before a game was published - here we are one year later and no games have been finished - and only 2-3 I can name off hand I know of are nearly done. I know $100 x however many they sold is a bit but as I understand it a lot of that went to the lawyers that got the funsies with the Tribes 2 licensing done. GarageGames is the place now doing the final fixes to Tribes 2, so they have that revenue coming in (which, since GG consists of former Dynamix employees, makes sense) but other than that I hope people start finishing some games soon, or else they're going to have problems staying afloat.

    Still, when Tribes 2 came out, many people's hardware couldn't take it. Now the hardware has surpassed it and so now the engine looks and plays really good - the Torque technology is sound and hopefully people get to experience that soon.

  • by doublem (118724) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @01:49PM (#4071232) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people are tearing the following line: "Instead of waiting 2 more years and GPL'ing the full source, why not license it for cheap after Doom III comes out, then GPL later?"

    This hostility is clearly based on a misreading of the post.

    What the poster appears to be doing is suggesting id delay the GPL release of the engine in order to license it cheaply AFTER they are no longer charging a quarter million for it.

    This would mean the GPL version would be a couple of years later, and id's publisher would be licensing the QIII engine for a few hundred to a few thousand well after they would have otherwise released it as GPL.

    The idea is to have id squeeze a few more dollars out of the engine, instead of giving it away.

    And all the English challenged ./ers get their knickers in a twist, thinking the poster wants ID to give away something instead of charging for it.

    The poster is suggesting id charge for something that they would otherwise be giving away.
  • Amem, brother (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pac (9516) <paulo...candido@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @02:38PM (#4071585)
    It is always good to hear from fellow warriors in the the ancient and bloody crusade agaisnt the NIH syndrome.

    People are so quick to dismiss money and effort already expended, specially by others. Marketing and technology people, in one of the few issues they fight side by side, also seem to like the sense of power and control a in-house development project gives you. So any defect in a piece of technology is enlarged, all good points forgotten when you want to sell you petty adventure to the board.

    One year down the road, when the board is in everybody's necks about ROI and other little corporate details, you can almost believe all that blood and fear will teach people a lesson. But no, in the next project or in the next company you will see the same people adapting their reasons to the new scenario.

  • by stubear (130454) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @03:28PM (#4071914)
    I think you should go through design school before you speak for the lot of us. I believe there is a VERY small minority of designers who truly believe they will have the impact of Paul Rand, Jan Tschihold or Saul Bass. The rest of us just don't like our work being ripped off by a group of people who lack talent to truly appreciate or understand our work. Being a graphic designer or artist is not about being able to use Photoshop, it is being able to communicate with visual and/or typographic elements.

    Now, this is not to say that we won't get involved with OSS projects. In fact, I am currently the project lead for the OBOS creative design team. I've developed some ideas for a new GUI for the OS and am currently in the process of coming up with some new methods for working with a computer through a GUI. I'm donating my time and effort, not because I want to give the OSS community graphics they can rip off but because I have skills this project (and many other OSS projects frankly) could use. I also want to test out some ideas I have in GUI design and I can't do that without a project such as this. Since I don't program and none of the programmers can design this is seemingly a win-win situation for this group.

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