First time I've been back here in almost 4 years. I haven't done any Ogre coding since 2019, but the Unity "fee per install" pricing change has me looking at my old Necro Mutex engine and thinking "Hmm, maybe coding your own game engine instead of using Unity wasn't the massive mistake I thought it was."
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I think the thing to take away from all this is that all commercial game engines out there are now unsafe.
They are owned by companies that only make them to get money, and if their policies can change this much in the industry of hundreds of game companies, maybe commercial game engines are a liability for game developers.
My project: https://imagindar.com/
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Personally I believe one should prefer FOSS engines because you are in full control of everything; and you definitely don't want to have the core foundation of your business to depend on someone else entirely.
This is common sense in other industries (aerospace, robotics, cars, simulation, finance, pharmacy, oil drilling, server infrastructure, etc) except for Government contracts.
Even Valve shied away from Windows once they realized how vulnerable their position was and went all in into Linux (Mesa + Proton). The Steam Deck is their first major success after almost a decade of investing into replacing Windows.
Having a few proprietary wheel cogs along the way is ok (e.g. using Autodesk vs Blender, Adobe vs GIMP) because they don't compromise the very core. If the company one day becomes unreasonable, you can replace them at a cost (ultimately it is always a cost vs benefit analysis; owning everything also means you have to allocate resources to maintaining it; and if the proprietary alternative is much superior then you pay for the license and choose to believe they'll stay reasonable until you're done).
Unreal Engine is a bit odd because legally Epic could one day screw you (e.g. they could raise the % to 50% of the revenue if they wished so); but unlike Unity, Epic decided to hand off the source code. That doesn't make it FOSS; but it gives you better control; i.e. you can be certain that if Epic tomorrows wants to charge a fee per install, they can't technically do that simply because you can compile your own version of UE stripped of analytics.
Of course my bias is towards FOSS engines (e.g. OgreNext*, Godot); but if I try to stay impartial, practical and open minded; UE is not in the same situation as Unity; when you put it in a SWOT analysis**.
When you put Unity in the Threats axis, it is full of them. That is a no-go for any well trained manager; and that's the reason I, as an advisor, always told my clients to prefer UE over Unity (when I couldn't persuade them of using FOSS or it wasn't a good fit for them).
*OgreNext is a graphics engine, not a game engine.
** The wikipedia article isn't very good at doing an ELI5. The SWOT analysis is very simple: You create 4 lists.
Strenghts & Weaknesses are things innate to you & your company. They are things you can fix or take advantage of.
Opportunities & Threats are things external to you and there's not much you can do about them. You can at best mitigate the risks and try to take opportunities. There are rare exceptions (e.g. you can buy off your competitors if you have too much money), but normally Threats are really bad. And Opportunities are available to you but also to anyone else.
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Every game engine out there is unsafe.. even FOSS has its own short coming but it is question of pros and cons and what is your weightage against them. Some of us value FOSS very much which is okay so they will stick to FOSS no matter what. For me, I choose UE4 because source code is all there for you to see, build, study. I can also see that the owner (Tim Sweeny - who used to be hardcode programmers) and I still see his immense love in tech as evidenced in tech acquisition, generosity (metahuman, quixel, monthly free marketplace items). It is in dark contrast with the other CEO who only loves money making far more than product development.
p/s: Welcome back everyone..
And a washed-out dream
They follow the pattern of the wind, ya' see
Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me