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Unity game engine releases free license

77

unityUntil a few days ago the well established game engine 'Unity' had a $200 indie version for purchase, which has now been dropped in favor of a free version. Great news for indie game developers and Blender users as Unity has a strong degree of Blender support built in.

Check out the Unity free section at the official website here and the license overview section here which gives you a good idea of what the free version includes.

For Blenderheads theres a discussion thread underway on Blenderartists.org, a good place to ask any questions.

Its probably also a good idea to read the indepth article on Gamasutra with heaps of information on the new free Unity and an interview which details a lot of background information on why the new license has been released.

77 Comments

  1. Now, if only I could get the download link to work,
    wonder if it needs javascripts to be enabled,
    must go check the possibility out. :)

    edit:
    note to anybody else using adblock,
    you need to disable it on unity.com for the download link to work!

  2. Wow cool :D downloading now :) Too bad some stuff is disabled, on the other hand, they still need to make money so it's understandable. (btw you misspelled probably (you typoed probubly :p)) Anyway thanks for the heads up :D

  3. That's awesome news! I've always wanted for this, mainly just to see if I can really get my head around this app and get something working in it before I foot the price of the full version.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. The license is NOT free. It's freeware, which means it's given away at no price, but developer is forbidding you to do certain basic things with the software. Basic things like knowing what the program actually does, having control over the program, being able to see how the program works, modify it and contribute by sharing your modified version.

    Blender is free, this is not.

  5. A Linux *and* GNU whine on the first post! Yay!

    We trialled Unity in our game development subjects this semester and have found the Unity people to be excellent to deal with and Unity itself, for both teaching and Indie work, blows most other engines in it's class away. Visually it's not quite up to par with the current A-list engines but it makes up for it with it's toolset.

  6. what a shame! i just asked the unity guys to give me some thousand euros on top of their free (and by the way amazing) software, but they didnt want to!! so its not free...

    seriously, whats more important for you guys? a free software for the sake of being free, or a useful, well developed piece of software you can use for your professional work?

  7. I'm a veteran game developer working with several other veteran developers in a new startup. We chose Unity for our projects because it's hands down the best tool for making game content we've ever used (and we've used many engines for well over a decade). We've literally been making a game demo a week (I mean an "pro" looking demos)

    Even if you have some issue with commercial software (which many who use Blender do), you should still get Unity and give it a try for awhile. The worse thing that happens is that you actually learn what a good game content tool should look like.

    On a side note, I'm pushing Blender as a Max/Maya alternative in-house (not to replace them, but to side-by-side with them). The only reason the rest of the team is taking this seriously is because I've proven how useful Blender is when coupled with Unity (it's like Blender's gateway drug).

  8. I'll take a look at this. It's a shame the Blender Game Engine has restrictions for commercial use. This engine just states you may use it commercial so I have a look!

  9. GPL didn't (at least directly) stop you from any commercial purpose.
    A warning of freedom been taking away is not a whining.
    If it was a whining then why Blender is a free software after all?

  10. Uh, there is some useful information missing from this news specifically about target platforms. And thus for which part of the blender users this is "great news". And that is a misuse of the term "free" as this community understands it. Other than that it's certainly an interesting development.

    @LOGAN What? BGE has no restrictions on commercial use. Its problem is that it is "too free" in an environment that doesn't reward you for it, making it less useful to a lot of people. There is a difference.

    @ CorsairX trolling about the legitimate complaint of the absence of linux as deployment platform? On a BLENDER page? REALLY? You gotta be fucking kidding me.

  11. i can't test but can the browser compiled program run on linux?

    but lack of linux = eh. There's several GPL engines out there that support linux, other pay engines etc. It's not like they're lacking.

    *blender & unity aren't "free" according to the definition of free. both have licenses that put restrictions on them. Unity doesn't let you do certain things (like access to the code w/o $$) & blender doesn't let you do certain things (like distribute w/o providing access to code). True free would be putting it out there, no restrictions, no licenses, etc.

  12. @ a user: the GPL does stop commercial use cold - mostly due to its viral nature. Go do some research.

    @ paul_: 1) Blender != Linux and 2) it's not a legitimate complaint. Any Indie game developer could start on the free version and switch to the full version when they get the cash and by supporting Windows & OSX, Unity covers about 95% of desktops out there.

    A Linux port would require significant effort (especially if it is to remain consistent, a goal of the determinedly cross-platform Blender). And that effort would mostly be wasted because many Linux users include the "Fweedom! Fweedom!" crowd that the first poster clearly belongs to and they won't pay for software anyway!

    Blender Foundation provides installers provided for *5* operating system of which Linux is only one.

  13. @ a user: I have. Most commercial software libraries (and for this purposes, a game-engine would be a library) do not allow an end user to re-distribute the source code. If you mix that code with your own code and a GPL'd library then the GPL would consider all of the code in your application (the commercial library, the GPLed library and your own code) to be subject to the GPL; including the requirement to distribute all source code.

    This means to publish your application, you would have to either A) violate your agreement with the commercial vendor or B) violate the GPL.

    Which means in the real world: the GPL stops commercial development, except in the exceedingly rare situation of an all GPL'd codebase.

    And to answer your rhetorical question: The reason why Blender is free software (it isn't btw, it's GPL'd software, free software is public domain or BSD-style licensed) is because the community stumped up the cash to BUY it from the NAN liquidators.

  14. Seriously people, if you want to do anything successful in this world you need to look at everything, free or otherwise. Its an extremely powerful engine for how simple to work with it is and it has blender support for god sakes. Cartoon Network made their entire Fusion Fall MMO in it, its got power. Now their giving you a version for free to mess with. Sure its a little underpowered, but they need to make money too, heaven forbid people make a living. I for one support them.

  15. @CorsairX : Then, most proprietary software license would suffer similar behavior of their derivativeness hence they would prevent commercial development and are viral. I've been hired to develop software in GPL, many coders around the world have been hired to develop GPL softwares. According to your understanding, you seem to limit the commercial practice to one standard and ignore all the other ways of commercial practices.

    And Blender is actually a free software. I really doubt that you have actually read GPL or understand it or think that your own context is actually making any sense, unless you are playing with wordings. Blender is certainly a free software in Free Software Foundation's definition which the free means freedom to the users. And remember that BF didn't use proprietary softwares in their production line for some reasons. Please also remember that community did buy it from NaN as it was promised to be RELICENSE it to GPL which indeed is a free software license. And many contributors are contributing to it only because it is a FOSS. Due to the that, they can't even add exceptional clause to allow non GPL commercial practices similar to Linux kernel. I strongly suggest you to spend time doing more research in the field of Free and Open Source Software to continue with further discussion.

  16. Pure_bordem, yes, you will probably be more "successful" if you think success means having a lot of money. I know that these days, many people think this way, I don't and I find this behavior very sad.

    CorsairX, you are basically arguing that, for people to have freedom, they must be allowed to have slaves. The GNU GPL restricts people from making non-free software out of free software (have slaves). Also, you are allowed to keep your drawing/music/story under a different licenses, you only need to make them separate from the source code/binary.

    LOGAN, you are allowed to sell GNU GPL software (that includes games), the GNU GPL does not forbid commercial use.

    Donluco, I prefer freedom before practicality.

  17. "Unity 2.6 True cross-platform game development, optimized." Considering that statement, how is it not legitimate to request linux be added as a platform? How many people are using unity to make commercial Wii games, considering how few indie people are even allowed to make real wii games at all. Was enabling that platform a good investment?

    And linux people are willing to pay for good games, hell they are paying absurd monthly fees to get windows games running on their boxes using compatibility services. And in a recent example of "world of goo" given the choice to pay-what-you-like linux players payed on an average almost twice as much as windows users did... but hey fuck them, right?

    Btw, I actually like what i see of unity and if it was deploying to all the platforms I need, it would be a damn sweet deal and I'd be all over it, upgrading to pro as soon as it's clear that it holds up.

    Btw2, I also prefer MIT, BSD or even LGPL over GPL licensed components in my applications. That doesn't change that a news post on a blender centric site should be able to unambiguously distinguish between free beer and free software from the word go.

  18. well, i used unity for quite some projects: its pros: performance quite good.... pro list ends here ;) - its cons: no linux, worst support i've ever seen (and i payed for pro, you'd expect some support there - i am still waiting for fixes that keep me from publishing a finished games, that i was told 'a programmer beeing on it' in march 2009), no installer (for your product, you have to manage yourself), iphone dev is quite complicated (it generates a xcode project, where you'll have to set up all apple specific stuff by hand... EVERY TIME you cross compile to iphone)

    yes its free (and limited), but for a few bucks more you can get stonetrips shiva: its cons: performance is not as good as unity's (but still quite good) and it costs money (but much less for usable version then unity)... cons list ends here ;) - its pros: linux support... great company support, you usually get answers in the forum within hours (by the company - if not then by the community), automatic installer generation on windows, iphone dev is easy, export your project and drag it onto their iphone 'packer', thats it.

    i have payed about $1500 for unity and about $150 for shiva unlimited (which is enough for my purposes) and i use shiva for everything from now.

    shiva reads collada 1.4 and works just fine with blender. there are a number of people in the forum using blender as one and only modeler package.

  19. @ a user: If I use a commercial vendors library, I enter into a contract with that vendor regarding how that vendors software will be used. I can do that multiple vendors because the vendor will be concerned only with how their product is used - they don't care about the other libraries I use provided I use their library as it is licensed to me. Each may have different terms but provided those terms don't conflict, I don't have an issue.

    With all respect, if you are doing contract software development you need to go and see a good IP lawyer soon. You don't seem to understand the full implications of the licenses you're tangling with and you could land yourself in a lot of hot water.

    I'm aware of the FSF's definition of 'free software', I just disagree with it - I prefer the OSI's. As far as I'm concerned, the GPL is just as restrictive as any commercial license and I far prefer the BSD."Do what you want with this code, just don't sue us" - *that's* freedom!

    @ gundampilot: I am arguing nothing of the sort and your comparison is absurd. And how nice that a GPL app will let me own the output from that program!

    @ paul_: oto's post stated that it was not "useful free" and I called him on it. Not a legitimate complaint, at least in the context of this story. The wii has sold 50+ million units - I dare say Unity thought it was worth a go, given that they made the effort.

    I'm not aware of the world of goo information, so I can't really comment. In regards to your second 'btw', my question is: Why? Blendernation posts news of interest to Blender and this is news of interest. The impact of the licensing details would be up to the reader and they'll figure it out themselves.

    @ yokljo: if your happy to run off web stats, I'll trade your link to a graph of search terms for a link to a story on about how Linux finally cracked the 1% mark! http://www.itwire.com/content/view/24793/53 - this story puts Windows + OSX at just shy of 98% and Linux at.... 1.01%

    I don't object to the idea of Linux port of Unity, I think it'd be a good thing as more choice almost always is, but I do object to this "Fwee software!!!1!" nonsense.

  20. @CorsairX : I wasn't talking about license under a contract (you paid for it, who cares?), if you want similar contract, just contact the GPL owner and ask for other comfortable license. If you want to use GPL library for your own company, you can use the GPL library legally without having to release any code. And that's what the license was made for, to protect users' freedom. Similarly, you cant relicense most proprietary softwares to the others, w/o agreement from the owner, or just bought the whole company, pay taxes et al. If such GPL restriction was viral, what would this thing be? Cancer?

    PS. And I've studied commercial laws for an entire year, part of commerce school.

  21. No CorsairX, it's not absurd, it just suites you to disregard my opinion this way. You are whining that the GNU GPL does not give you the "freedom" to make non-free software out of free software. You are arguing that "the BSD license" gives you the freedom to take away the freedom from others, so therefor it's more free. There comes my analogy.

    The whole purpose of the Free Software Foundation is to support free software and ONLY free software development, so why wouldn't they make this restriction?

    What I meant when I wrote about "keeping the art part of a game outside the binary/source", had nothing to do with "output", but you were probably too busy being a troll to notice that. What I meant is, you can keep your art out of the free software game and license that art under a different, whatever you like license. Therefor, you are able to restrict the art part of the game and this way, basically the whole game, because a game without art is not much fun.

  22. RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE lets get angry and start flame wars. long story short, it used to cost, now it doesn't. if you don't like something don't use it. hugs and kisses :D

  23. @ a user: the GPL is viral in the sense that one piece of contaminated code means that all linked code is considered subject to the GPL: i.e. code must be released if the application is distributed. Commercial libraries normally cannot be distributed in source form, but the compiled executable can be.

    As to your solutions: 1) Contact the owner for a separate contract... well, doesn't that work around the GPL in the first place? Evil Nasty Company is now free to make changes to their version of the code without sharing. Secondly, you'd have to get agreement from all contributors to code - unless there is a single maintainer, that's harder then "just contact the owner" - and in any case, if the owner refuses, we're right back to square one.

    Your second solution, don't distribute the application, is of course no solution at all to someone trying to develop a product to sell.

    @ Gundampilot: I do not believe that commercial software is inherently wrong and I therefore consider the negative comments by oto, a user and others to the effect that Unity is "bad" because they won't release the source code to be (at best) inappropriate. I tend to orbit in the BSD sphere more then the GPL and what I have seen there disproves your "slaves" theory. Were Blender to be re-released under BSD license you would find Ton and co would just keep on trucking, even if a closed source version was released.

    I ignored your analogy because it is flawed and poorly worded; such highly emotive language is automatically suspect.

    You are correct in that I didn't read your statement re keeping art assets under different licenses and for this I apologise. I'd also point out that this ability has precious little use in the real world; see the development of the Blender gamekit as an alternative to the BGE.

    @ a user, Gundampilot and paul_: You have all accused me of trolling yet not one of you has posted anything on topic... besides license bitching. Little bit cheeky, no?

  24. Working as a contract programmer for several years by now I only had 1 (one) customer that asked for a linux port of a gui-enabled app. Most just connect to the linux server using a win / mac client. Also, when getting paid for a job, it doesn't really matter if you have to shell out some bucks to get things done according to the dev-plan. It all comes down to one thing: This is work !!! I 'd rather spend some time with my family !!! If lib foo or app moo does what I need, I contact the copyright holder, pay for it, use it --> Honey I'm home :) I even pay for seminars and workshops to be able to pick up new technology without much hassle. It's all about time. I enjoy using linux in my spare time and I need to get work done -- and feed my family.

    Translated into the blenderverse: I need a working and proven and valid pipeline and workflow. I need documentation that is up to date. Any additional seminar / ressource is great . The BF-Projects are a doing a great job in providing both.

    Translated into the unityverse: Think about the amount of work, time and money they now give away to be used for free. If you need more features, just buy it -- or try to build a comparable app yourself. No money: use the free version on your COMMERCIAL PROJECT, from the outcome buy the pro. What would you actually do with the source ?? Compile it ? Why ? Add features ?

    Reading these comments on almost every news that says "now for FREE" I would be very interested in the profession of the poster(s). On a fun basis I understand each of them.

    I'm not trolling. So what are you folks earning your money with ? Do you have 1 or 2 children ? Any hobbies ?

    Best regards, Christian.

  25. @CorsairX : And how come changing the GPL code w/o sharing is evil? The license commercially permit it. Nobody force you to put your code under GPL. It's your own decision. Or didn't I detect any sarcasm properly?

    And why do you use something that its rights belong to several people or something you didn't know for sure that you will certainly get a proper contract later, knowing that you are going to release your product to the others. Is that a problem of GPL or commonsense?

    The second one is not a solution to someone who wants to sell their product proprietarily, agreed. But it was raised just to invalidate the points that GPL did stop commercial usages.

    What's next? BSD'ized Blender so people can freely improve Autodesk products' animation code? I can't wait for their next free products!

  26. @a user, no, nobody's ever going to be interested in BSDing something like Blender. Really, BSD or GPL probably wouldn't make much difference in the case of a complete application like Blender. it's not like Autodesk don't have programmers of their own.

    The issue of GPL v BSD is really with libraries and things like game engines, which aren't finished pieces of software themselves but are used in finished software. A good example is Blender's rigid body physics library, Bullet, which is I believe under the MIT license (similar to BSD). Bullet is heavily used in the professional game industry. Real, proprietary, big-time games use parts of Bullet frequently and the development contributed by those big-time companies often (not always) goes back into the open source software. But the game industry titans aren't going to suddenly release their hit Playstation titles as open source, so if Bullet was GPL it would be totally useless to them.

    So if you like the way Blender handles rigid body physics, then you should appreciate that this is made possible in part by professional game makers making proprietary, closed-source games using the Bullet library. That is to say, full-time work by coders who have families to feed.

    Anyway, GPL, BSD, proprietary, these are all just ways to license software. None of them are evil, and none of them are inherently the best way to go for every purpose. GPL is perfect for Blender, BSD-style is perfect for Bullet, and proprietary seems to work just fine for Unity.

    Everybody back to work!

  27. Linux isnt a proven gaming platform yet. It may become one but it isnt at the moment. Unity is supporting the most viable options: consoles, Windows, and Mac. Why would they support linux when it could end up simply costing them a shed load of development time with a minimal return. Time they could spend keeping their current customers happy, building a solid userbase and making a living for themselves. I can never get over how demanding some free software users are, they seem to expect everything to be served to them on a plate for free

    No one forces people to use linux and you cant expect to force commercial developers to support your choices unless it will give them a worthwhile return. If there truely is a viable number of linux gamers then make a petition and let developers know its not such a risk to develop for you.

  28. TonyM: That's why free libraries should use the LGPL, which permits linking. And as for being "demanding," the squeaky wheel gets the oil - if you're not the majority, and you don't raise a stink now and then when you get ignored, you will inevitably get both jack and squat. This applies to far more than just computer OSes.

    Most of this discussion would be avoided if the English language didn't conflate liberty "free" with no-charge "free", as half the discussion is pointless argument between people who value one more than the other. Usage of "freeware license" as opposed to "free software license" would prevent such confusion.

    And CorsairX, are you trolling, or just retarded? Even MS gave up that stupid "viral GPL" spiel by now - to put it simply: if you want to use *MY* code in *YOUR* program, you need to either accept the license I chose to put on *MY* code, or else talk to me and negotiate a separate licensing agreement. Claiming it's "viral" as if it infects your software without your knowledge just tells us that you're a thief with no respect for my property rights in my code. Don't add other people's code to you program without checking who it belongs to and what they wanted their code used for, and there's no problem. Comlaining that $software is under the GPL amounts to complaining that the auhors didn't simply give you their code, which is rather....whiny and demanding.

  29. As someone on the inside making commercial games, I can tell you for a fact that the first Linux platform any studios / publishers really care about is Android. Anything previous was simply hobbyists doing it for fun with no expectation of profit and no proven market to sell to, including Id's ports (there's nothing wrong with that). Android is seen as likely becoming the dominate smart phone / mobile device OS over the next few years. Also, believe it or not, very few pro game developers care about linux (we already have our plate full with the 360, Wii, PS3 and PC/Mac).

    If Linux ever truly becomes a force on the desktop, which I think it will, then gaming on it is likely to be via browser plugins and the cloud - something that will enable linux to leap past the growing pains the PC had and take direct advantage of the best tech. Technology like Unity will very much be a big part of this (think of Unity as the "Flash of Game Engines").

    Blenderheads should be grateful for Unity as it's by far the best thing possible to date for getting Blender into mainstream game development.

  30. On a side note about the whole licensing issues - it costs me way less money to buy Unity than it does to pay a lawyer to figure out if my project is clear to distribute when using some types of software licenses. Trying to convince a publishing partner to invest in a project is very difficult with some of the licenses and then, Nintendo, Sony or MS will still have to approve the project for their platforms (assuming it's for a console). The easiest way to figure out if you're in the clear is to look at projects that have already been released with the technology you want to use.

  31. nXain: if you're talking about GPL/LGPL/AGPL licenses, a call to the legal department of the FSF will generally answer your question quickly and inexpensively. They've already done the legal heavy lifting involved

    Basically, if it's GPL, then any code that links to or encompasses it should be GPL, too. If it's LGPL, you can dynamically link your non-LGPL code, but not statically link, to it. (EG, if you can swap out a newly downloaded -and-compiled library for the one you linked to, you're golden.)

    If you're really worried about legal issues, though, you should hire a lawyer no matter what you do to check for patent issues, which exist regardless of license.

  32. I'm the original developer of the BGE, and the Bullet library and I've been involved in many licensing discussions, and I know that (L)GPL is not the right license for game engine technology. (Just look at what happened to Ogre3D: they just switched from (L)GPL to MIT for a good reason):
    http://www.ogre3d.org/2009/09/15/ogre-will-switch-to-the-mit-license-from-1-7

    It is better for a game engine to use the BSD/MIT/Zlib license, so I recently started working on GameKit.
    http://gamekit.googlecode.com . GameKit uses Irrlicht or Ogre for Win32/Linux/Mac graphics and Oolong for iPhone graphics, Bullet for physics, and readblend to read .blend files.

    Unity is a nice engine, but there is also some room for an open source, BSD/MIT/Zlib style licensed game engine based on Irrlicht/Ogre/Bullet/Raknet etc) with rapid workflow with Blender.

    There is another discussion thread with poll, trying to point out what the best features are from Unity, compared to BGE:
    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=170611

    Cheers,
    Erwin

  33. (I tried to post a comment with links but not sure it comes through so again without links, just google)

    I'm the original developer of the BGE, and the Bullet library and I've been involved in many licensing discussions, and I know that (L)GPL is not the right license for game engine technology. LGPL can releave the issues of GPL but not in all cases: some platforms don't have dynamic linkage. It happens when working with publishers or big companies, their legal department uses non-disclosure-agreements that don't allow usage of (L)GPL. Just look at what happened to Ogre3D: they just switched from LGPL to MIT for a good reason!

    It is better for a game engine to use the BSD style (including MIT/Zlib etc) license, so I recently started working on GameKit at gamekit.googlecode.com. GameKit uses Irrlicht or Ogre for Win32/Linux/Mac graphics and Oolong for iPhone graphics, Bullet for physics, and readblend to read .blend files.

    Unity is a nice engine, but there is also some room for an open source, BSD style licensed game engine based on Irrlicht/Ogre/Bullet/Raknet etc) with rapid workflow with Blender.

    There is another discussion thread at blenderartists.com in the game engine section. It has a poll and discussion trying to point out what parts of Unity rock the most, compared to BGE.

    Cheers,
    Erwin

  34. Erwin Coumans: Wait. What exactly are these platforms that don't support dynamic linking? Linux supports dynamic linking. So does Windows. Mac, too. What are you working on where you just can't dynamically link to an LGPLed library?

    reality2: Heh. Naughty commenter! Quit trying to reboot the flamewar.

  35. @TonyM : Actually, BSD Blender can be very useful to me. There are many mini libraries in Blender that I can use in my MPL library but I can't so I have to write my own. And I am actually not against BSD/MIT license in anyway since they are fine free software licenses. Developers are free to use any license they see it fit, I don't think they are evil, my point is that users should be concerned that they are sacrificing their own freedom to rely themselves with the softwares either should avoid them if possible.

    @Erwin : I'm sure you can always add an exception clause to extend the way of how the library got linked. ie., to make the library less BSD if you really want that. Despite that, big companies should be able to pay for some additional exceptions to allow them to use the library in BSD style.

    @Dr.D : Some mobile systems, AFAIK, doesn't have dynamic linking.

  36. @Dr.D: The Apple iPhone, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft XBox and Sony PlayStation 3 developer agreements won't let you dynamically link against LGPL licensed software. Apart from that, when doing R&D on new platforms it is better not to be restricted by (L)GPL, so the BSD/MIT/Zlib license is more suitable for game engine tech.

    @a user: The BSD/MIT/Zlib license doesn't require exceptions from my perspective, so it is a very suitable license. We had several discussions, and Ton Roosendaal mentioned they are not interested in switching the licensed of Blender nor BGE from GPL.

    Anyhow, it is good to see that Blender 2.5 develops in a better tool for game development either for its built-in BGE, GameKit, Unity or other game engines.

  37. @ a user: I'm not sure what you're saying in your first paragraph - can you clarify? To respond to the rest of your post: you seem to be misunderstanding what I'm saying - what I'm trying to say is that all contributors to a GPL'd library must agree to a user receiving that library under a different license and if some of those contributors object then the library cannot be re-licensed without removing their contributions. What I'm getting that, except in a well organised project, its not as simple as "just call 'em up and get them to re-license".

    I understand your point that it doesn't stop a business using a GPL product in-house without having to distribute but throughout this debate I've been talking about a product that the company wishes to distribute (either sell or give away) so in that instance you haven't invalidated my point.

    @ Dr. D: I'm sensing a bit of a TLDRish flavour to your post which is a little frustrating. What I've said is very simple - the GPLs definition of derived work mean that it is not compatible with the vast majority of commercial libraries because those libraries license will almost always prohibit redistribution in source form. This precludes the use of GPL'd libraries in the vast majority of commercial software.

    I defined viral in this context fairly clearly (to reiterate: the GPL is viral in the sense that one piece of contaminated code means that all linked code is considered subject to the GPL: i.e. code must be released if the application is distributed) so I'm not really sure where all the thief in the night stuff came from. On that note, what is with GPL folks not being able to discuss something as prosaic as software licensing without using the sort of language more common in epic poems or parliament?

    But I digress. What I have said are simple statements of fact, not judgements or demands. For the record, the first thing I check is the license on any library, open source or otherwise, that I'm thinking of using precisely so that I don't get caught in the bind of choosing between respecting the authors wishes or committing a breach of contract.

    Which brings me to a key point: I will always respect the author/vendor/contributors wishes; be it to sell, to GPL or to BSD. I have no issues with commercial software and on a philosophical level I prefer the BSD (if your going to share, share) over the GPL. But I will respect the creators wishes and I make no apologies for getting irked by GPL/GNU zealots who cannot do likewise.

  38. @CorsairX : Many serious GPL softwares doesn't have that many contributors and allow alternative license. QT used to be one of them. Blender used to reserve the right to do the same practices (not any more). For these kind of projects, you can't just contribute to them directly w/o doing proper copyright assignment. Allowing GPL usage makes their product popular and makes it easier to build community and easier to get informative bug reports to improve their own product (just getting bug reports, not accpeting third party patches w/o copyright assignments) What I am trying to point is,
    since the beginning, GPL didn't stop commercial. Softwares aren't falling from the sky, people made them available and GPL is their restrictions. The license itself didn't prevent commercial practices, it's the people that try to prevent some commercial practices with GPL and it's the people that use GPL to support and motivate their commercial strategies, it is also the people that try to protect users' freedom with GPL, which is a tool and not just some rules. It's a tool that, at the least of it, guarantee end users' freedom to use their softwares.

    Anyway, I am quite tired of this debate, so good luck with it.

  39. @ a user: The situation you describe there is a work around of the GPL by providing a mechanism for people to acquire a non-GPL version of the code. It's a good thing and it works well.... but it's still a work around. Serious GPL project would probably meet the criteria for "except in a well organised project".

    And you and me both!

  40. Good to see another war of ideologies on BN (rolls eyes)...While I will always be on the strictly GPL (except when there is no viable GPL tool), I have to question the ire being directed at Unity and its merry band of satisfied users...Yes there are some fools making false claims about GPL/BGE and the definition of free as in beer versus free as in rights, but best let the ignorant be blissful, right? I do see the hypocrisy of people claiming to love Blender but hate GPL -- especially on BN -- but really necessary to build walls of contempt against each other.

    And what is the difference between Unity and Indigo or Kerkythea or other proprietary but 'freeware' (if you can call it that) tools? If you are willing to sacrifice software freedom for alternative benefits, do so, but don't rag on GPL just because it doesn't quite suit your exact desires perfectly. No one should be that selfish...

  41. Lehmann, I don't think my personal life is of your concern, so I don't fell telling you how I earn my money. I don't think it really matters to the discussion anyway, and it seems like splitting it into two different directions. I believe the development of non-free software is wrong and immoral, and whether you agree with that or don't, that's one discussion. Whether it's OK to do something wrong to earn money, make living and feed your family, that's another different discussion.

    I could explain why I think development of non-free software is immoral, if you want me to. But you should keep in mind my views when I try to answer your second argument.

    No I will try to answer your "I need to feed my family" argument. Doing something immoral to "make a living", does not make that action good. First of all, developing software is not the only job a person can make living with — there are many jobs and no one, and no software developer is forced to "make a living" developing non-free software. No programmer is going to die if he is not able earn money by developing software, so no one has the right to make that excuse.

    Second, I don't have children, but, if I know I won't be able to take care of a child and live my life as good person of my society, I'm simply not going to have children. So, no one has the right to make that excuse either. It's especially bad when you have children, and make bad and immoral actions so you can earn money — because of the example you are going set up for them.

  42. WOW, I've actually played around Unity for some time, and I loved it. It is created for noobs like me who know nothing in programming. I mean, it works like plug and play, u take a code and plug it in, u don't have to write ur own code. Toolset is amazing, its just great. Probably best tool from all free software for creating landscapes. Maybe I'm not sure it is possible to take landscape from Unity to Blender, haven't tried it, but that would be wow thing.

    Unity is great for anyone, especially for any noob out there like myself coz u make games in days.

  43. Cheers GundamPilot I dont think i've had such a good laugh in weeks. When you leave home and get a job perhaps you will see the world differently.

  44. Gundam Pilot I doubt you would die if they took your social welfare away and threw you out of your parents basement either.

  45. @ Gundampilot: I know I'm going to regret this, but having been told that what I used to do for a living (and now just moonlight in) is immoral, I confess a certain curiosity as to why....

  46. @nXain

    "very few pro game developers care about linux (we already have our plate full with the 360, Wii, PS3 and PC/Mac)."

    yeah, but what pro game developer would use unity? it is missing many aaa features.

    i am a indie developer and as indie developer i am the potential customer (and actual customer) of unity and i cannot ignore linux, just ask 2D Boy if you don't believe me ;)

    android is quite a downer for me, i could not even pay a developer to install the dev environment for the few buck i currently made out of 3 titles.

    anyway, back to topic, i don't know what unity has to do with blender. it reads 3d data, as far as i know unity starts the 3d applications, like blender.... ooooor cinema 3d, etc. and exports the data in a format it can read. which makes it no different then any other 3d format reading application and i am not sure if i want to read news about houdini dropping prices on this page.

  47. its funny how once people start posting in a negative way things never seem to turn for the better. Reading all the post here (mostly negative and flaming) and the ones at blenderartists (mostly postive) you would think people were talking about two different things.

  48. @G.o.D.

    "very few pro game developers care about linux (we already have our plate full with the 360, Wii, PS3 and PC/Mac)."

    "yeah, but what pro game developer would use unity? it is missing many aaa features."

    That depends on the target demographic, platform and business plan. For example:

    Platform / PC AAA shooter = Crysis / Unreal / etc.
    Platform / PC AAA RTS = some other proprietary engine
    Wii = Unity
    Facebook app = Unity
    iPhone app = Unity
    Casual PC / Mac game (average hardware) = Unity
    Xbox live game - Either one
    MMO - Any (from Flash to Unreal)
    Android App - very interesting...
    Training simulation - Anything that fits

    I'm making the assumption that we're talking a third party studio and not 1st party (i.e., owned by MS, Nintendo or Sony). Also, I'm making the assumption that you're not one of few studios that own their own AAA engine (Epic). There's a much bigger market out there than just AAA shooters (or other AAA games). For most third party studios and most projects, Unity is probably a better fit that a top of the line AAA engine (of which I've worked with several over the years).

    Also, if you wondering why I put in business plan (which means you're not in the game industry), it's because the business plan determines the design and tech for the project. I.e., why would you pay $600K for Unreal + royalties and then pay many artists to make awesome content if the target market doesn't support that (you might as well just burn the money). A game engine needs to enable the product to be built cost efficiently and hit the target, not provide a list of features that may or may not be relevant.

  49. @nXain

    depends on what you need:

    fluids? cloth? particles (physics based)? path finding? steering behaviour? remaining ai stuff? none there in unity

    a game without heavy ai or physics can easy be done without any major effort by using open source technology, like blender - or if you want to sell your stuff - a combination of irrlicht + bullet e.g. (or other). i have used unity for some projects and the 'noob' effort they are going does take some experienced c++ programmer longer to find ways around its limitations as programming the project in c++

  50. @G.o.D.

    I'm working in a studio environment with veteran developers (my two leads have over 25 combined years of experience...) So far, they have been even happier with Unity than I am. Never before have I had features prototyped as fast as they are going in Unity, including a large amount of physics based gameplay.

    The thing is, I don't expect Unity to be 100% of the answer. That's what I have engineers for. Any place we find a gap that needs to be filled, we're determine the correct answer based on the project's needs. This especially applies to A.I., where normal game solutions are generally inadequate for much beyond pathfinding and shooting.

    I'm not saying that the same thing can't be done with other technology - that's not the point at all. I'm saying my team moves faster with Unity in creating usable end products that fit a wide range of needs, from casual games to training products. We come from the big-engine AAA game background and know well the advantages of those engines... and disadvantages (as well as building your own AAA engine from the ground up). Given a clean slate at a new studio, my lead engineers chose Unity and have been very happy with it. As the lead creative, I've also been very happy with it, especially in what designers are able to do without engineering support (thus freeing them up to work on other problems).

    At the end of the day, it's about the cost of using a technology to achieve the project's goals. "Free" rarely competes well against "efficient" in this context as my largest expense (by far) is people's time. As far as Unity lacking certain features - I just don't see that as a big problem. We just fill in the gaps as we need to on a per-project basis. Besides, with the recent investment and popularity of Unity, I strongly suspect those gaps won't be there for long.

  51. rgdfhdfhdryerztetz on

    These comments are being trolled!

    Gues the underlying technology, (MONO!, well no) .NET!

    Panda3D is working on features that make it also powerful deployment-wise.

    If they really wanted to spread Unity as much as they can.
    They wouldn't have coded Unity in .NET/MONO!

    Besites .NET is an interpret language, slower than compiling to binaries in one step.
    As with C++.

    .NET is actually similar to Java but without the cross-platform advantage.

    Stay away from it!

  52. @Gundampilot thanks for taking the time to respond. I asked the "what do you do" question out of pure curiosity. I thought it would help understand why some people always react the way they do with news like this. So do or don't answer. All the best with whatever you do. To be honest, I'm not feeling like doing something immoral so don't interpret any arguments from my posting as "excuse" for anything. I understand that you have a different opinion and am glad that you stated that before going into detail with "feeding my kids" and "children yes/no". Since we will meet again next time something will be given away to be used for free I am really interested why you think that com.dev. is immoral. No need to spoil the news anymore so just leave me a message on [email protected]

  53. Hey everyone,

    Let's see some UNITY in this forum, eh? =)

    It's easy to forget that Blender is a blended community of very diverse people - some 'hobbyists' with more time than most to contemplate changing the world with one app, others working as 'professionals' trying to get a job done so they can feed their kids, lots of students learning Maya etc but loving Blender in some ways more, etc etc etc...

    So let's wrap by all agreeing that:

    1. It doesn't really matter how software is funded - pre-selling DVDs, charging to download it, etc;

    2. It doesn't really matter how software is licenced - as long as you can use it 'enough' artistically;

    3. It doesn't really matter if you disagree - go and put your own time into making software instead and see if you can afford to give its code away for free or every version away for free, or anything away for free!

    If it weren't for NaN's earlier attempts to sell/licence Blender commercially - some of its functionality may not exist today as a foundation for a leading open source app.

    And the same can be said for the influence of a lot of commercial software. Ton has said in interviews that he started his love for 3D on an Amiga, which was made by a company... and a commercial product... and not affordable to everyone then. Yet his experience inspired him to think of making Blender.

    Another example - it's easy to criticise Apple as I've seen elsewhere - yet no open source phone (the Neo?) or even commercial phone, has come close to inspiring Blender game makers to make games for them like they do for the iPhone!

    Ditto for Unity - it's developing company is making its contribution to the wider community by paying developers etc in jobs to do what they love, putting out a version of their app that inspires those who normally couldn't afford Unity or their more expensive competitive products to be able to make games, and pay artists to have cool jobs, etc.

    If some of those people love Unity and pay for a better version, so what?

    -------

    And if some of those people read/hear about Blender working sweet with Unity, and discover Blender from there, is this a bad thing???

    -------

    Some day an open source equivalent of Unity may exist that is funded by pre-selling games or whatever. You want to wait? Well, if not, go and make it! Use some Blender code. Not one person is stopping you. Just as no one stopped Unity being coded. Learn how hard it is to do stuff 'yourself' when you aren't begging someone else for a freebie.

    But until that time, we should be appreciative of someones hard work ie Unity being available for use, just as we were when Blender was charged for but a lot cheaper than its competition.

    Not all great apps start as open source and not all ever make it to be.

    Blender didn't start this way and it's taken 20 years for it to get to its current state. Commercial 'companies' can't wait this long, hence their investor responsibilities, tiered prices, mixed licences, etc.

    The future economy is 'hybrids' - not all 'open' but a mix of open and closed inter-operating around standards.

    And if Unity and Blender can 'talk' together, then that's very cool! That's all standards are really about - inter-app/api/appliance communication.

    So let's see some better communication from this community, after all, it's meant to be built on standards? Open mindedness etc.

    It appears the Unity people are more 'open' and gracious than the Blender 'crowd' sometimes.

    Let's keep listening to the artists - the ones who use Blender... and Unity... and make them/us better... and all who choose to use Blender with Unity or any other app.

    It makes us all 'richer' in the end - artistically and more.

    And keep our 'unity' as a community of 'open minded artists'.

  54. Have been an Unity 'amateur' user for a number of years since pretty much first ever version,thanks to investing in the software for use at a couple of Universities I have worked at I have been able to play with the Pro version, the software is great for creative thinkers that want to get into game design sans programming and I am blown away that the Indie version is now free. Not sure why thats got the comments all fired up ! This is a fanatastic piece of software and has come a long way with Blender integration over the years.

    Its been said but for Rapid Prototyping this game engine is fantastic and at the end of the day the idea and concept is what makes a great game !

  55. Robert, I already left home and got a job. Perhaps now it's your turn to give me another one of your wise-ass theories of why I've still kept my views, considering. Or better, you should explain what's wrong with my views, since I guess I'm unable to learn otherwise.

    Lehmann, people like me reacted this way mainly because the author of the article lumped together freeware and free/libre software, as if they are the same thing. People like me, have high appreciation for free software and have big disapproval for non-free software — which freeware programs like Unity are — and thats why we don't like when they are treated as if they are the same.

    I'm not going to answer you privately, since CorsairX is also curios.

    When I say non-free or proprietary software, I don't mean commercial software specifically, since I don't argue that people aren't allowed to make money by selling software.

    You may have heard the four freedoms that define free software:
    1. To run the software however you like.
    2. To study the software and change it.
    3. To distribute exact copies of the software — by selling it or by sharing it.
    4. To distribute your modified versions of the software — by selling it or by sharing it.

    There are several reasons why I think non-free software is immoral. One of them is that non-free software does not allow you to know how the program works and what processes does it do on your computer. Your only option is to blindly trust its developer, that he is not going to take advantage of you.

    With a free program you can always check the source code and see exactly what the program does. If you see something that you don't like, you are free to remove it. That's where freedom 2 comes.

    Of course, not everyone knows how to read source code and not even a programmer will be able to check and fix every software that he uses. But they can rely on the community to check and fix the software, collectively, and then share it between one another. So that's why you need freedom 4.

    Freedom 3 is mainly a matter of price. In my country, a public school teachers get paid ruffly between 300-450$ a month. Let's say there was no free software out there — no GNU/Linux, no OpenOffice, no Blender. If a school teacher wanted to use a computer or get one for his children, he would practically have no choice but to use illegal copies of programs and be labeled a criminal. Another choice would be to not use computers, because he can't afford them, and allow himself or his kid to be left behind. Do you think such a person deserves to be labeled a criminal? Or maybe he does not deserve a computer? Also keep in mind that there are even worse countries, economically.

    This goes for schools too, a person usually gets away with illegal software, but schools can't. In my country, public schools can't even provide textbooks to it's children, but they to feel it's justified to spend on software licenses.

    I'm also curious, do you think it's wrong to share programs, including games, between one another, between friends for example, or only a criminal would do that? I think it's very important for society to teach people that sharing is good.

  56. Wow... I can't believe the crappiness of some people's attitudes...

    You can't please some people...

    Did anyone say that Unity's offer was the cure to cancer? No...

    If it doesn't interest you or your beliefs preclude you from enjoying this offer then I'm sorry...

    If you feel the need to whine because you're precluded then STFU and GTFO

  57. Please don't use BN as the bullhorn through which you vent such deep emotions. Come together by agreeing that you can't, nor should not try to, change other peoples' ideologies. It is far better not to engage in debate if no one is going to be respectful... Just stop, please...

  58. Just my opinion here, but Gundampilot's list is a great list of why F/OS software is a good thing, and why it's important for F/OS software to exist. I think pretty much everybody on this forum believes, generally, that F/OS software is a good thing and should exist. Most of us are F/OS supporters of some kind.

    This doesn't say anything about why proprietary software should be "immoral" however. And to be honest, I think that's a very extreme and shaky position to take.

    Unlocked doors are great because you can look inside them. The world would be a horrible place if all doors were locked. That doesn't make locked doors necessarily evil.

  59. @Gundampilot Thanks for answering.
    --
    I tried the free Unity the last couple of days. Very nice. The JavaScript is very fast. When deployed to the IPhone :: is the JavaScript still interpreted there ? If so wouldn't this violate the Apple-Dev agreement ? It's great that once you get started everything seems to flow :). Very close to Actionscript3 / Flash / Flex. You can find some nice tutorials here: http://ethicalgames.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/the-unity-3d-tutorials-new-easier-to-find/
    The missing installer feature is not so nice though. Or I just did not find it.

  60. Until a few days ago the well established game engine 'Unity' had a $200 indie version for purchase, which has now been dropped in favor of a free version. Great news for indie game developers and Blender users as Unity has a strong degree of Blender support built in.Check out the Unity free section at

  61. TonyM, maybe I wasn't clear. I find proprietary software immoral because, you are treated as a criminal when you share it, you are forbidden to know how it works and you are forbidden to change the way it works.

    Alex Blank, you can change people's ideologies. I used to use non-free software too and didn't care much about free software. But then I changed.

    Mike L, I can't believe the crappiness of your attitude...

    You can't please some people...

    Did anyone say that he offers the cure to cancer? No...

    If it doesn't interest you or your beliefs preclude you from respecting someone's opinion then I'm sorry...

    If you feel the need to whine because someone is expressing his opinion then STFU and GTFO

  62. This whole conversation has been very enlightening. Thanks to all for participating and sharing their views. I haven't been as well versed on the different types of open source licensing and how they can be used, until reading the posts here. It's also very helpful to see different people's opinions of Unity vs other engines, since I'm a developer who may sometime soon be delving into this arena. Thanks to all for your informative and constructive comments!

  63. Please not that, while I think that proprietary license aren't immoral, I didn't think that the intention of developers to lock their users under basement for their own money is moral either (unless they do it to save the world from zombies). Thus the license itself is just a tool, it can be used by some moral reasons so that makes it moral in that intention. In general, I believe that proprietary software cause more harm than doing good to the society but that is just my opinion.

  64. I have tried unity3D and I think that it is excellent!
    One of the feature I really like with this engine is the backward compatibilty.
    It really work with Any graphic card !!!
    Yo frankie for example does not work (same for the blender game engine)
    if you have not game a ATI or Nvidia.
    People do not realise that standard do not use these graphic card.
    I have an Intel graphic card, an every single game that I have tried
    online or on my laptop which where made with Unity work perfectly.
    On the contrary the blender game engine crashes very often.
    Unity import of blender file is also very impressive...
    Unity will soon have a player available for Linux, and then it will take over the world.

  65. Guys cryengine 3 is available for free and is the most advanced and has the best graphics get it at http://www.crydev.net there recently released game crysis 2 was released using cryengine 3 and it was best known for the best graphic game.

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