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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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  • Simple... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moridineas (213502) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:19AM (#4069826) Journal

    How is this a good question? It's simple.

    why not license it for cheap after Doom III comes out, then GPL later?

    Easy, they want to make money from it! If they can charge $250,000 and sell copies of it, there's clearly demand for that product and as a result id gets money (again, this is their goal). It's not like id gets anything from other companies licensing their software OTHER than money.

    • Missing the point that they could force them to release the finished product through ID if they actually want to make any money off it.

      That would become the revenue stream.

      jh
      • Re:Simple... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moridineas (213502)
        You know the old saying a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush? In this case, 250k in the bank is better than any amount in the air. There's no guaranteed a finished product will emerge. Not to mention that for $100 John A H4x0r could get the source and gnutella it (hey information wants to be free right, I bet he'd even have supporters on slashdot for "opening" the doom source code), and then id's lost their state of the art 3d technology advantage.
        • Re:Simple... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cutriss (262920)
          However, anyone looking to make money on it had best look out. id might lose a few bucks here and there on some small indie developers, but you can bet that id's lawyers will be watching anything that breaks $10K in sales and do some checks to verify if it's using the engine. If they find out that it is, you can bet that the suits will fly.

          Bear in mind - You're not paying $250K for a license to use the software. You're paying $250K for a license to redistribute works based on the software. If someone tried to jump the gun, id might find the beans spilled with their new graphics engine, but you can bet that legally, they'll have every right to stop people from publishing anything moneymaking based on it without prior consent (Read: payment)
          • Re:Simple... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by metlin (258108)
            Good point.

            Another thing is that you're also paying for the expertise, something that id has gathered over the years.

            A good 3d game engine which can make use of the latest technology, one that makes hardware designers consider your game as a test subject is something that does not happen everyday.

            The primary reason id is where it is because of that expertise, which is what keeps them coming up with better technology & products everytime.

            Although an el33t Jack h4x0r kid might be able to get the code and do something worthwhile, just how long would it last?

            Forget the legal ramifications, there is a high probability that even before somebody does something worthwhile with it, id would have come up with something much better, guess which would sell better?

            Besides, it's not just the 3d engines that count, gameplay does count too. id has a double shot advantage in that area, I feel.
        • Re:Simple... (Score:3, Informative)

          by wizarddc (105860)
          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.
      • Well, I think it's probably because iD isn't really into publishing. (If memory serves GT is the publisher of most of their games).
    • It's not like id gets anything from other companies licensing their software OTHER than money.

      Actually, every successful licensee is an advertisement that increases the reputation of id technology. In fact, id has gone so far as to cultivate this in licensing Quake 3 [idsoftware.com]: "QUAKE III Arena engine licensees are part of an exclusive club that will remain exclusive because we are capping the total number of licensee companies."

      Effectively, Raven, Ritual, et al. compete, as well as pay, for the privilege of showing off id's latest engine.

  • Not that much (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PissingInTheWind (573929) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:20AM (#4069827)
    For top-notch 3D technology like the Q3 engine, it seems to me that 250 000$ isn't that much. Just try to imagine how much would cost a few programmers to develop a similar engine... if you can find comptent enough programmers.

    Of course, the price tag puts it out of hobyist's reach, but we all know that, eventually, we'll be allowed to look at the source for free.

    Go Id!

    • Amem, brother (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pac (9516)
      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.

  • $250,000? Sounds like they made enough money already. I can think of at least 4 games that use the Q3 engine...that's quite a chunk of cash.
    • Re:GPL now (Score:2, Insightful)

      by prefect42 (141309)
      But they're in the business of making money, not doing good for the people. If they can make more money out of it by not GPLing it, then they should keep it.

      Also, how long did it take to develop the Quake III engine? How many people? They're free to recoup their costs as they like.

      jh

    • But other games used the Wolfenstien Engine, and a couple of games used the Doom engine, and a bunch used the Quake/Quake II engine.
    • Re:GPL now (Score:3, Insightful)

      by joib (70841)
      Um, you know, most businesses bigger than Bobs Lawnmower Repair Shop will use that $1000000 quicker than you can say 'cash flow problems'.
  • If they can make money off of Quake3, why on earth would they GPL it?

    ID software is in business to make money.

    Unless of course by "GPL Later" you mean 15 years from now when quake3 will seem like pacman compared to other games.

    --me

    • 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.
    • They've already GPL'ed quake2. Did ID software do it to make money? I don't think so.
    • Because as soon as they start flogging the Doom 3 engine the revenue from the Q3 engine will basically cease. So they wait a little while, until the press has died off, and give it away GPL'ed.. wahey.. we're in the press again.

      Thats how business works.
    • by Zathrus (232140) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @11:01AM (#4070135) Homepage
      If they can make money off of Quake3, why on earth would they GPL it?

      They won't. id is not stupid.

      But, based off past procedures, you can expect the Q3 source to be GPL'd within 1-2 years of the Doom3 release. They did it with Wolfenstein, they did it with Doom (sans sound code), and they did it with both Q1 and Q2.

      But, like I said, they're not stupid. It's released well after its licensing value is near zero and under GPL. Want to make a commercial game using the old Q2 engine? Sure -- pay id Software $10k (a heavily reduced price) and you can have the exact same code as what's under GPL -- except that you're not bound by the GPL.

      It's one of the few ways to make the GPL work for companies to make money. Of course, even then, you'll get rabid idiots decrying the fact that it's not GPL from the start, and that you can actually get a non-GPL license in exchange for cash.

      Fortunately most people are sane and simply thank id Software for contributing to the public knowledge base in such a manner.
    • > , why on earth would they GPL it?
      Same reason they GPL'd Doom, Quake, Quake 2.
      Basically, not only is Carmack one of the best programmers on the face of the planet, he's also a really great guy.
  • Not id's business (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    id is in the business of making games, not publishing them. Activision publishes them. It takes a whole different expertise to get games on the shelf and sell them than it does to come up with new technology. id's business, which it excels at, is the technology, and if they wanted to be in the publishing business I'm sure they already would be.

    So don't expect to get a commercial Q3 source code license for $100 any time soon.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:24AM (#4069861)
    I, too, feel that companies should license out their products for peanuts. How stupid is id for licensing their Quake III game engine for ~$250,000?!? Doesn't id know that information wants to be free? I think its time for a boycott! Give me GPL or give me a pirated copy!!!

    Next thing you know the RIAA is going to start asking consumers to start paying for music...the bastards!

  • "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."

    I don't think id publishes their own games. Doesn't activision do that? So rather than taking a percent on profits that Garage Games seems to be doing, id is taking the lump before, which seems like the better route as your pretty much guaranteed that lump, even if the game tanks.

    • According the id's website, the license [idsoftware.com] for Q3 is based on:

      For a single title license, we charge a $250,000 guarantee against a 5% royalty of the wholesale price for the title.

      Now, IANAL, but that reads to me as 5% of the wholesale price (i.e. per unit royalties), with a minimum of $250,000 paid up front. So they're gaurenteed the lump and, if your games is a success, they get royalties too.

      Of course, you can also license Quake/Q2 for non-GPL projects for a flat fee of $10,000

      (Oh, and the link doesn't work properly since /. is modifying the anchor tag. But at least it gets to the right page.)
  • Perhaps a very cheap non GPL license on Quake 3 would still compete too much for licensing with Doom3 that gpl'd code wouldn't. In addition I doubt iD wants to mess with marketing a bunch of previous engine games while trying to work with the new one. I think they'd rather wait a bit longer release the code GPL'd and not have mess with it any more.
    • What's so hard about marketing multiple game engines?

      Get the Doom III engine fresh from our coder's heads only $250,000.
      Now reduced the famous Quake III engine, $125,000.
      Act now, supplies are limited.

      Do I get the job?
    • They are willing to license the older engines for $10,000. Q3 Engine is an active product, why license it for less than $250K?
    • > Perhaps a very cheap non GPL license on Quake 3
      Such as the $10,000 non-GPL license for Quake & Quake2? I expect to see the same treatment for Q3 when Carmack & co. deem that to be the right thing to do.
  • This license would seem more suited to id's business model than the GPL and should be considered as a replacement. Not only would iD open up a new revenue stream for older game engines, but also the community would continue to learn and benefit from the open sourced system (while being able to produce non-commercial titles without restriction).

    If anything, opening the source while employing this licensing scheme would be more make the code more useful to the community by allowing for commercial titles to be released using the code (the GPL's requirement that all derivative works be licensed under the GPL makes commercial development unfeasible).

    The only worry, from iD's perspective is that licensing older engines would cannibalize the lucrative sales of the most recent engine.
  • What the fuck? (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Lukey Boy (16717)
    This is pretty much an advertisement, which in turn points to what's pretty much a press release. Nice post guys! Go ahead, mod my ass down. You know this story eats it.
  • by Jorrit (19549) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:28AM (#4069889) Homepage
    I'm the project manager of Crystal Space so my opinion on that 3D engine doesn't really count :-)

    However I think that you should at least take a look at it. It is now becoming VERY mature and the API has stabilized about 95%. Several projects are now using it with great success.

    Crystal Space is an Open Source and portable 3D Engine licensed under LGPL. It runs on GNU/Linux, Windows, MacOS/X, ...

    Crystal Space has lots of features. In latest release (beta release) we also have support for shaders (bump mapping, per pixel lighting, things like that) and many other new things.

    Crystal Space also has a VERY active user community and an IRC room that you can visit (#CrystalSpace on the OpenProjects network).

    The url is http://crystal.sf.net

    Greetings,
    • How is its speed? Last time I looked at it its speed lagged significantly behind, say, that of Quake 2 / 3 games for some visually comparable scenes, even with hardware acceleration...
      • Well we're always working on speed. There is a new visibility culling plugin in CS right now which is roughly based on dPVS. It is fully dynamic (no precalculated BSP/octree or anything) and should be very fast when it is finished. At the moment it is already doing well but I still have a lot of work todo.

        Also we're busy improving the OpenGL renderer a lot. Using vertex buffers, and OpenGL extensions when available. Expect to see speedups there as well.

        Greetings,
  • Success? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I don't see how you can call this a success. The article says that there's hundreds of game projects based on their engine. id Software makes more money selling just ONE Quake3 license.

    Maybe they'll make more once some of these games ship, but I doubt it, considering how small of a percentage of games are profitable.
    • Thats probably exactly what they want, hopefor. They want the next hit, while iD limits the engine to those with purpose (money/ thought out project, etc) these guys are throwing it against the wall and seeing what sticks.

      For good or bad. The downside? It could mean their name gets attached to some really bad games.

      If they are smart they will publish those they think aren't very good under a different name.
  • Makes Sense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by siskbc (598067)
    Actually, the suggestion makes sense.

    1. THe value of the Quake III engine will drop dramatically when the Doom III engine comes out.
    2. id would get an easy way to increase their market share as a publisher. What better way than to tempt gamers with a free (or nearly free) engine?
    3. Would keep the company who made Tribes from doing the above. Which would you rather use - QIII or tribes engine? Which sounds more prestigous on the promo?
    4. Would be a great talent "minor-league" - virtually give the engine to anyone and it will encourage new up-and-coming developer teams, who will work with id.

    All in all, there would be a number of advantages for id. QIII won't be worth as much in a year or so, why not do it?

    Admittedly, I doubt they will. Companies have a kneejerk reaction to giving anything away, especially something they're selling for $250,000 now.
  • by levik (52444) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:37AM (#4069953) Homepage
    I'm sure Garage Games would be more than happy to lisence its engine to peple for $250,000. The only problem is, they know full well that for that much money, a company can go out and get themselved the Q3 engine, and nobody would look at their offering, because "everyone knows Quake3 is the best".

    So the chose this alternate model. The $100/developer model will probably not work too well for iD, who offer the services of John Carmack for a day to all lisencees, as well as a lot of email support, etc. Would it be worth it for JC to make a trip to teach 4 developers to use the engine, get $400 in return, and then have the game cancelled in developement?

    Besides, iD doesn't really do publishing. They publish through GT Interactive as far as I recall, so this revenue stream is not viable at all.

  • 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.
  • Support (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think the price differential buys you one very important thing: support.

    Do you think Garage Games is going to help every $100 USD developer out there, much less address any bugs/changes initiated by that developer?

    I know developers who licensed the Unreal and Quake engines got direct support from the developers, as well as successive version with bug changes and feature additions.
    • Support! (Score:3, Insightful)

      Actually, as a Torque licensee, the support has been pretty good. But because of the way the GG team has set things up, they don't have to answer all the questions - instead, you post to the forums online, and sometimes the community addresses the issue, sometimes the GG team does. All depends on who's fastest on the draw it seems. (I have, however, seen some newbie questions go unanswered - mainly because if they would have bothered using the 'search' function, they would have found the answer right off. RTFM & RTFW! Jeez people!)

      I've been happy as hell with it all - it's worked great, I've definitely gotten more than $100 in value out of it, and both the community support and GG's support has been great.
  • There are other engines like Genesis3D [genesis3d.com] which is open source and free.

    Destiny3D [destiny3d.com] is in development (suppose to be going to beta in the next few months) but is only $40 and is being written to compete with things like Quake 3 and Doom 3. Of course I'm a bit one sided due to being on the development team.
  • by smileyy (11535) <smileyy@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:55AM (#4070096)

    I'd like to license the Quake III engine because it rocks, but I'm too much of a cheap bastard to do so. Maybe if I post that on /. id will magically change their economic model for me.

  • by jvmatthe (116058) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:56AM (#4070099) Homepage
    Often the free software development model is criticized for simply rebuilding what has been done already. And I feel that the release of the Quake engines and DooM engines have exemplified this very inadequacy.

    I had hoped that we would see some really brilliant things come out of the GPL releases of these codebases, and, in reality some very good, cleaned-up clients have been developed. I certainly enjoy the mouselook, higher resolutions, and enhanced levels that have been developed from the DooM engine (see DooMWorld [doomworld.com] to see the kind of stuff that's out there). The improved QuakeWorld client [quakeforge.com] I'm aware of is pretty nice. And Q^2 [icculus.org] has a good Quake 2 client.

    But these are just the obvious extensions of what was already done. The community now has (for the most part) all the source and tools that went into making Half-Life, the most successful game to come out of all of these codebases. Yet, to my knowledge, no project has arisen from the community to mold the next such game. How about another story-driven game that people would compare to Deus Ex? Or an all-out action game in the same vein as Soldier of Fortune? Or how about a freaking free software teamplay game that we compare to Counterstrike so that Linux users can play a team-oriented online FPS using free software only and not rely on WINE or WINEX? Or meld two free software projects and connect a Z-machine interpreter with the Quake engine and make a text-command driven story with a 3D view of the action?

    These are things that would demonstrate just how momentous and visionary the release of the Quake source under the GPL was. Yet, all the community has managed to come up with is Quake++.

    People slam my posts for being negative lately. That I'm ripping on people that have done good work. That's fine, I've got the skin for it. (Try USENET...) I admit that some really find refactoring and coding has gone into redoing the Linux Quake clients. But really, I hear plenty of bitching about how Linux (and other free OS) don't have good games and don't get the attention of the big game companies. Yet, when empowered to do new and exciting things and to make your own games, the group is content to simply recompile Quake for the Zaurus and call it a day. That's good work, for sure, but it's not the kind of work that's going to move free software forward and make it the kind of interesting world that non-free software people take a real interest in.

    Again, I'm not making a judgment about the quality of the work that has been done. It's great. But now that you have the best raw materials from John Carmack, can we see real creativity out of the free software gaming world? (FWIW, I think CrystalSpace [sf.net] has done a good job of attracting some interesting new development.)
    • jvmatthe: I see what you're getting at, and agree for the most part, but I wanted to take issue with one bit:

      How about another story-driven game that people would compare to Deus Ex? Or an all-out action game in the same vein as Soldier of Fortune?

      Deus Ex [deusex.com] took professional, full-time game developers 3 years to make with a licensed engine. Solider of Fortune [activision.com] took (I believe) about 1.5 years with a licensed engine.

      High-quality single-player content is incredibly time-consuming to produce. I'm not saying good single-player games can't/haven't/won't come from the community, but it may be unreasonable to expect professional-quality, professional-length single-player games from folks who don't have the resources to work on them full-time. (But hey, feel free to prove me wrong! :)
    • You don't need GPL to get creative with gaming by a long shot, and the good "freeware" game writers had already moved on to the latest and greatest by the time Q1 & 2 were released as GPL.

      What made Quake so great was the ease with which it could be customized. Take Team Fortress for instance. A better multiplayer fps has yet to be released. Team Fortress Classic for Half-Life and even Return to Castle Wolfenstein are commercial releases that do very little innovation on a theme developed by people that didn't get paid a cent.

      The point being that Quake 1-3 were so open to gameplay modification that the GPL doesn't entice people who are donating free time to making games any more than the games did on initial release. Heck, Quake 3 even releases the same tools id created to make the games to end users. Why do I need to look at the code to combine z-Machine interpreters when Quake 3 already has the hooks for my customizations?

      The same thing's going to happen with Doom 3, I'd imagine. Quite simply, all the "opening/freeing" of the Quake code did was make it possible for hardcore programmers to bring it to other platforms. The gameplay talent already have all the tools they needed to move to the next level and more recent games. That's part of the beauty of the way id programs.
  • by FreeLinux (555387) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:56AM (#4070110)
    As you can see from this long list of postings, you are not running your business correctly. Your apparent success is obviously just an illusion. Since you are an engineer we can certainly understand that you may have mis-interpreted your success as being success. After all, you cannot be expected to be both an engineer and a shrewd business man.

    We strongly recommend that you abandon your present business practices and adopt one of these recommendations. The most prevalent recommendation is that you stop charging for your work and give it away. At the very least you should discount the price of your work so that it is in no way profitable. Since this is supposed to be a majority rule society, it is obvious that you must adopt this strategy.

    This recommjendation is in spite of the fact that the majority of the recommendations come from people that have no record of success to demonstrate the validity of their recommendations. Indeed, most of these recommendations come from people who have no business experience beyond a high school business class and certainly have never been in the position of running a successful company.

    None the less, it must be painfully obvious to a person of your intelligence that you must change your business policy immediately. To continue with your present practice is obviously folly.

    Sincerely,

    The community.

  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:57AM (#4070113)
    A typical A-class game costs 3 to 10 million dollars to develop. I'd say that 3 million is too low a figure in today's market, though it was typical several years ago. Let's say 4 million is a base figure. $250,000 is 6% of the total budget. That's it. Six percent.

    I'm not saying that the Quake III engine is state of the art, or anywhere near the only choice out there (frankly, it's the only engine that most gamers know about), but in the overall scheme of things, $250,000 isn't that much.

    The engine, of course, is only maybe 20% of the work required to make a game. Fanboy-types refuse to believe this, but it's true. Art creation is much more time consuming, for example. And there's lots and lots of coding that has nothing to do with the core engine. I'd estimate that graphics-type code is maybe 10-15% of a typical game. For complex games that are less gameplay-shy than Quake, this could easily be under 5%. The reaction to that is usually "But what else is there besides the graphics?" which is greatly amusing to those of us developing games for a living.
    • In many cases liscencing an engine from another company, be it the newest Quake engine, Unreal engine or whatever, can actually end up SAVING money. It very well may cost more than the quarter million or however much that particular company wants to try and develop your own engine with similar features, speed and stability. This is doubly true if the company working on the game is mainly designers/artists/msuicians and only a couple programmers.

      Besides, this is a capatalism wer are working in here, if the quarter million for the latest Quake engine is too much, well people will stop buying it and Id will have to revise their pricing structure.
  • I've got a simple answer for you: because id Software doesn't want to be in the publishing business. And unlike LithTech they don't really even want to be in the engine business, they simply take advantage of licensing opportunities when they arise. I'm sure id has known for years that they'd make a killing if they were nothing but an engine and technology company but they've consistently stated that they're a games company and engine licensing is simply icing on the cake. Not that I don't agree with your comments, I just don't think id is the company to work the way you suggest.
  • What about the Unreal* engines? They get licensed from time to time, but there's no info about that in this article.

    Technologically the Unreal engines have been superior to the Quake* engines from the start, but they used a different design model (everything is compiled UnrealScript) that makes them a little harder to work with than the old faithful BSP-type engines.
  • Wow, and Wow again, sometimes the Slashdot community takes the biscuit. Lets examine the facts

    Id as history of producing cool games, licensing the engine, releasing things to open source and... MAKING MONEY.

    They are selling Q3 for 1/4 million dollars a pop. Think of the number of games out there using this, now imagine the customer relations that Id will have if having shelled out all that cash Id release it for free within 6 months, so by the time your game is even halfway through development Joe and Ted are releasing games based on Q3.

    Then Id want to license DoomIII's engine, and everyone says "no f-in way we'll just wait a year and you'll Open Source the f-er" and Id suffer problems and Slashdot posts the "Id is dead" post and all the people who wanted the world for free be-moan their passing and wonder if all of the games will now be free.

    Business is about money, if Id can shift it for $250,000 then let them, if Tribes could then you bet they would. Also Id aren't a publisher so that model doesn't work anyway.

    AAARRRRGGGGGGHHHH sometimes the bone-headedness of the "it must be free" lobby makes me scream.

    If you want to be free then work for free and live off dust bunnies. I'd prefer to have a roof over my head.
  • by Glock27 (446276) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @11:18AM (#4070258)
    "database busy, please try back in a few minutes. do not hit refresh it will only complicate the problem, thanks GG"

    Looks like lots of Slashdotters are signing up...I will be as soon as I get the chance!

    What a great looking product for such a low price! I agree with GG that this should lead to some real innovation (for a change) and will also let some new game development stars emerge who wouldn't have had the budget otherwise. AWESOME!

    Also, Slashfolk, don't miss the fact that this engine uses open technologies (OpenGL/OpenAL), is already available on Windows and Mac, and a Linux client is in the works.

    Too cool, I can't wait to get them my $100 so I can start playing... =)

    (BTW on the id issue - give it a rest. I suspect id prefers to not have the support hassles this would entail...id is making plenty of money already!)

    • and a Linux client is in the works.

      What are you smoking? I'm working on a Torque project, on Linux, as we speak. The engine has had Linux support pretty much from the start.
      • What are you smoking?

        I can neither confirm nor deny that I'm smoking anything. ;-)

        I'm working on a Torque project, on Linux, as we speak. The engine has had Linux support pretty much from the start.

        Er, I read this [garagegames.com], which clearly says "Linux server, Linux client under development". Sorry if I got it wrong, I was just going by the website. Its good to hear that the Linux client is further along than that! :-)

        Do the various tools work under Linux as well?

        • Do the various tools work under Linux as well?

          Partly. All the built-in tools (level and gui editor, etc) work just fine, of course.
          The external tools (exporters, etc) don't. Then again, it's not much of a loss because they're for windos programs anyway. Most of them should run in wine, though. I know for sure the map2dif one does.
  • Id makes games, and for each game they make typically licenses the 3D engine for a secondary revenue stream. Id is NOT a publisher, they have Activision for that.

    Id is a small company, and they are very focused on large, time consuming tasks. They make 1 game at a time. Why would they want to publish a bunch of smaller games from people that have no way to pay them outside of royalties? This is a job for their publisher possibly (Activision), but Id doing it themselves probably wouldent make any sense. It would spread their resources too thin and stray from doing the things that makes them 1) Happy 2) Rich. Sounds like a no-win to me.

    The Quake3 engine is still very good technology, used in a lot of up-and-coming games. I dont think they can easily just drop the cost like that. I mean, how would you feel if you paid $250,000 for the Q3 engine last week, and now you can get it for $100? A bit angry?

    This is something Activision may consider doing (if they can work it out with Id). For minimal investment on their part, it makes a lot of sense so long as they have the capabilities to manage it.
  • 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?

    If I had code that people were willing to pay $250k for I don't think I'd drop my price any time soon. Especially if it was code that people were going to use to develop a product which will compete with my product.
  • 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.
  • This is interesting, because it brings to light the differences in business models. I see the guys at ID software with a much better plan. They don't have to sell the product. The problem with Garage Games method is that there is no guarantee of income, and they have to invest their own income to publish the game. They only make money if the game is a commercial success. The better it does, the more money they make. ID, on the other hand, has a guaranteed flat income.

    This really comes down to marketing leverage. Garage Games is not as large, or well know. In order to increase their credibility and the proliferation of their technology they have to take risks. The benefits can be very lucrative-- but are in no way guaranteed. I think you'll see Garage Games adopt a different model when they become as sucessfull as ID, because most business men you talk to will take guaranteed income as the cash cow any day. But good luck to their in either case-- I love Tribes.

  • 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.
  • I hate to be picky here, but what was on GameDev.net was a press release from Garage Games, not an actual story. So while we go there expecting an unbiased piece about 'game engine marketing models compared', what we get is what Garage Games was spinning.
  • I really don't see the point of a bunch of people having the Quake 3 source code. Unless your going to make something so mind boggling different from Quake 3 you don't need to have the source code, the mod community has shown this. Reaction Quake 3 or Quake 3 Urban Terror are great mods, they have very little in common with the 'standard' Quake III game. If you are gunning to make money, making a really cool mod is probably the best way to go, it worked for Counter-Strike didn't it? and unless you plan on porting Quake 3 to your toaster the source code is probably more than you'd need, afterall the sourcecode to Quake / Quake 2 has been available for a while now and i've yet to see any groundbreaking improvements.
  • Okay, perhaps I'm not understanding something here. I didn't see anything in their press release about the whole "$100 but you must publish through us" scheme, so maybe there is a critical fact missing here, but as I read it there is a huge problem for any developer choosing to use an engine under this sort of license.

    $100 is cheap, great. But the main investment in such a project is the developers' time. Lots and lots of time. Now, typically, if you've made a great game you have the option to shop it around to a lot of different publishing companies. Most of them will say no, but you might get lucky if your game is good and your pitch is good (naturally, in the real world you'd generally do this before developing the game, but the point remains the same). Main point, getting published ain't easy.

    So is Garage Games going to guarantee that they will publish any game produced with their engine? If so, they have no quality control and a few rotten apples (or a whole lot) will spoil their public image. If not, then any developer who spends all the time developing for this publisher-specific engine stands a very real risk of being screwed. If Garage Games says "no," the developer has no recourse -- they can't shop the game around to other publishers, because of the license.

    No developer should be stupid enough to place the fate of their project in such a position, where it can be arbitrarily killed by someone with no involvement in the project (yeah, I know, lots of companies work that way internally, but it's different here).

    So maybe I'm missing something. I sure hope so. But I can't see how they could use a scheme like this to publish games in a professional manner without screwing a lot of developers. Not to badmouth them -- I'm sure they're nice guys! But it seems like the only way this business model could survive would be to do that. Someone tell me the flaw in this logic, please.

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