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Thread: Unigine Does Terrain Tessellation, Confirms OS X Plans

  1. #1
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    Default Unigine Does Terrain Tessellation, Confirms OS X Plans

    Phoronix: Unigine Does Terrain Tessellation, Confirms OS X Plans

    While Unigine's pre-release orders for OilRush aren't going in a steadfast manner (right now they're up to only 899 pre-orders; +91 from yesterday), they aren't getting discouraged by these initial sales figures. The Russian developers continue work on further enhancing their advanced 3D engine...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTE5OQ

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    If the game is released in June, pre-ordering is the worst thing you can do from an economic perspective: You lose the interest your bank would give you, and thanks to inflation the game will actually be *cheaper* in June, because the price has already been fixed and they can hardly increase it again. Also, Unigine may lower the price until June or have some kind of promotion (e.g. you get a multi-platform-license for the same price if you buy on a specific date).

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    Quote Originally Posted by sturmflut View Post
    If the game is released in June, pre-ordering is the worst thing you can do from an economic perspective:
    That depends on why you pre-ordered. If you are trying to save money, the best thing to do is to not pay for it at all. And only eat ramen. And wait several years for it to go on sale, plus the hardware to run it will be considerably cheaper then.

    I personally use my spending to reward behaviour I want to encourage and retard behaviour I want to discourage. It is in my interest for games to be on Linux since the operating system is free, so I pre-paid for this (and got some fun out of it) plus the Humble Bundles. By a similar measure I do not give TicketMaster a single cent.

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    Imo support for MacOS might be more important for Unigine than Window$ or Linux because the folks using Macs are known to be more willing to buy stuff, they are more hungry for sophisticated games since relatively few sophisticated games ship with OSX support and because (let the flames reign on me!) there's quite a lot more mac users than linux.. although I'm myself using ubuntu.
    In other words it's worth supporting both linux and mac cause they'll mostly buy your games/stuff because they're hungry for games and/or because they want to support such companies so they might buy the game even if they don't want it a lot, plus you get a lot of publicity (mostly for free) because mac and linux users are the most vocal ones.

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    Default academic licence

    Last year I asked them for an academic licence for a small research project and they refused. I think they need to be a bit more flexible if they're going to get their engine out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jubei View Post
    Last year I asked them for an academic license for a small research project and they refused. I think they need to be a bit more flexible if they're going to get their engine out there.
    Why does this surprise you? Unigine is not known for their friendly licensing terms. They don't value freedom; they don't trust their users to compensate them for their work; and they don't think that it is reasonable to sell content (such as games) while open-sourcing their engine. If they don't value freedom, why would they value academic research? Neither freedom nor academic research is as lucrative a value proposition (in monetary terms) as selling full-price engine licenses and full-price proprietary games. While profit is possible within the confines of a free/open source ecosystem, I think it's safe to say that those seeking to maximize profits can still do so using traditional proprietary licenses. And so here they are.

    Although to me it seems kind of foolish to set such a high price for the engine. If you look at the success of Valve, much of their income comes from high-volume, low-value sales. They will mark down a title by 75% for a few days, and make more money during the sale than they made the entire first week of selling the game at full price. High unit volumes are really the best way to maximize profit when you're talking about digitally distributed (software download) wares -- the price becomes almost irrelevant, as long as it's something. So IMO, even as far as proprietary licenses go, they fail.

    If other engine licenses go for upwards of $10,000 with profit sharing, I say they should sell theirs for $1000 royalty-free with no platform restrictions and full source code. Think of the massive unit volume they could get from that: any guy with a dream of making his own game can buy a fully featured engine and get right to work pursuing his dream.

    And if we peek just for a second outside the proprietary realm, I think they could still do fine financially if they would open source their engine, and then make games and sell the content under a proprietary license. So the AI, unit scripting, game rules ("business logic"), textures, models, sounds, videos, would all be under a proprietary license, distribution restricted by copyright and requiring a license to use them. But the core engine written in C++ would be open source.

    They could do that and have no problems making profit, because people are willing to pay for unique, irreplaceable content. A software engine is a generally useful thing that has an unlimited number of applications; art has a specific, limited number of applications, after which it becomes "overused", "hackneyed", and other undesirable terms, thus guaranteeing that you won't see the same model or texture used in games ad infinitum. You can't, by contrast, "overuse" generally-useful software.

    Of course, this model would depend upon them successfully making interesting games with actual gameplay. If game #1 is any indication, they've got a ways to go before they can get past the tech demo mentality.

    Anyway, I think they support Linux primarily for these reasons that I can tell:

    (1) There is very little competition (for the high end gaming market), so they get a huge portion of the market share and can then work on widening the size of the market, entrench themselves and get rich. Surely getting rich is their utmost goal, not supporting free software.

    (2) Investing in robust cross-platform support is pretty much a one-time effort, and in the waning days of Windows, there is little justification for not doing it -- especially if you are just starting to write your engine in the late 2000s and want to prepare yourself for the next decade. Once you have the infrastructure established around it, building engine enhancements and entire games on top of a cross-platform architecture is not much harder than doing it for a single platform. You can see this in the general purpose context from the ease of deploying Qt apps on Win/Mac/Lin, almost without regard for the platform. Cross platform is good business sense, and there's a sort of positive feedback loop where, the more cross platform stuff is out there, the more economical it is to write new cross platform stuff. This applies both within the proprietary walled garden of a corporation, as well as in the open source software space. Eventually you will see that your costs for continuing to support cross-platform will be lower than the profits you make from opening up to the other platforms' markets.

    (3) There's the nouveau factor: Linux is cool and new, with a lot of buzz going on around it. Word of mouth (and word of social network) spreads quite well with novellites who appreciate (or seek out) new, cool technology. These users want to use the coolest, latest stuff, and that includes Linux and games that run on it.

    As it stands, Unigine is just a very traditional business, exploiting a fairly untapped market by providing a supply where demand exists. It's smart business sense, but they have no interest in the common welfare of others, else they would open source their engine, or at least provide actually affordable academic licenses at $50 USD per developer (even that is a lot, depending on where you live) with a non-commercial use EULA.

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    +1 Very well said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cl333r View Post
    Imo support for MacOS might be more important for Unigine than Window$ or Linux because the folks using Macs are known to be more willing to buy stuff, they are more hungry for sophisticated games since relatively few sophisticated games ship with OSX support and because (let the flames reign on me!) there's quite a lot more mac users than linux.. although I'm myself using ubuntu.
    In other words it's worth supporting both linux and mac cause they'll mostly buy your games/stuff because they're hungry for games and/or because they want to support such companies so they might buy the game even if they don't want it a lot, plus you get a lot of publicity (mostly for free) because mac and linux users are the most vocal ones.
    Didn't a developer comment on this before, maybe Wolfire? That supporting Mac and Linux in games usually generates great word of mouth among the community and Mac and Linux users tend to then buy a disproportionate amount of the game compared to their market-share vs. Windows users. Supporting OS X in this case makes a lot of sense since they already have an OpenGL codepath.

    Similarly, supporting iOS should be an easier transition because the OpenGL ES codepath is already in place. A tower wars format RTS like OilRush would seem ideal on touchscreen devices especially tablets like the iPad and iPad 2.

    And once the Heaven or Tropics benchmarks are available we'll have a very graphically intensive cross-platform benchmark to compare Windows, Linux, and OS X. Unfavourable Source Engine benchmarks between Windows and OS X really put the fire under Apple to improve their OpenGL drivers and Unigine can definitely do the same again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sturmflut View Post
    If the game is released in June, pre-ordering is the worst thing you can do from an economic perspective: You lose the interest your bank would give you, and thanks to inflation the game will actually be *cheaper* in June, because the price has already been fixed and they can hardly increase it again. Also, Unigine may lower the price until June or have some kind of promotion (e.g. you get a multi-platform-license for the same price if you buy on a specific date).
    Nope. At least in the US, interest rates are abysmal. I get less than 1% at my bank. So letting $20 sit in my account for the next 3 months would probably earn me a nickel. Big whoop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by allquixotic View Post
    Why does this surprise you? Unigine is not known for their friendly licensing terms. They don't value freedom; they don't trust their users to compensate them for their work; and they don't think that it is reasonable to sell content (such as games) while open-sourcing their engine. If they don't value freedom, why would they value academic research? Neither freedom nor academic research is as lucrative a value proposition (in monetary terms) as selling full-price engine licenses and full-price proprietary games. While profit is possible within the confines of a free/open source ecosystem, I think it's safe to say that those seeking to maximize profits can still do so using traditional proprietary licenses. And so here they are.
    Hiring developers to put together an engine like Unigine is not cheap at all. There is a reason why open source games like Nexuiz aren't up to par with Unreal. The amount of effort required to do that is not something anyone would do for free in their spare time.

    Although to me it seems kind of foolish to set such a high price for the engine. If you look at the success of Valve, much of their income comes from high-volume, low-value sales. They will mark down a title by 75% for a few days, and make more money during the sale than they made the entire first week of selling the game at full price. High unit volumes are really the best way to maximize profit when you're talking about digitally distributed (software download) wares -- the price becomes almost irrelevant, as long as it's something. So IMO, even as far as proprietary licenses go, they fail.
    Valve acts as a store, and they make money by selling other people's products. Unigine isn't a store like Steam. I don't think Valve is making truckloads of money from licensing the Source engine. Engine licensing is all Unigine is doing.

    If other engine licenses go for upwards of $10,000 with profit sharing, I say they should sell theirs for $1000 royalty-free with no platform restrictions and full source code. Think of the massive unit volume they could get from that: any guy with a dream of making his own game can buy a fully featured engine and get right to work pursuing his dream.
    If they sell licenses at $1000 a piece, they might make enough money to pay one developer for a year. The license cost of Unigine is a one time fee, especially with what you're advocating for. They won't make money off the sales of the finished product. So if this one man development team goes on to make millions of dollars, Unigine would only get $1000 under your system.

    And if we peek just for a second outside the proprietary realm, I think they could still do fine financially if they would open source their engine, and then make games and sell the content under a proprietary license. So the AI, unit scripting, game rules ("business logic"), textures, models, sounds, videos, would all be under a proprietary license, distribution restricted by copyright and requiring a license to use them. But the core engine written in C++ would be open source.
    So anyone can take the engine, make a game and then sell it and make millions while Unigine gets nothing?

    I think what you're not understanding is Unigine has to have some way of making money off their work. If a game developer doesn't have to pay Unigine for the engine, then how are they going to make money?

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