Prospects For Open-Source Engines Now That UE4/Source2/Unity Are Free?
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 8 March 2015 at 10:49 AM EDT. 40 Comments
LINUX GAMING --
How do you think the community-based game engine projects like ioquake3 will evolve now that Unreal Engine 4, Source 2 Engine, and Unity 5 are "free" for use by game developers?

While Unreal Engine 4, Source 2, and Unity 5 aren't out under a free software license, the source code is now freely available and there's no upfront costs to game developers until they start selling their games. This will be rather lucrative for indie game developers with having access to the AAA game engines and content creation software / asset editors without any huge fees as in the past, but where will this leave the open-source, community-based game engines?


The Oddest Non-FPS Title Powered By ioquake3


Obviously the projects like ioquake3 aren't going to immediately cease to exist as many of the developers involved simply do it as a hobby/passion project. But for those game developers seeking out a game engine based on its merits that doesn't require any financial commitment, there's more competition now from these "free" AAA game engines over going with the open-source id Tech 4 engine or other alternatives. Besides these AAA game engines (generally) having superior graphics rendering technology over the current slew of free software game engines, the modeling/editing software for the open-source game engines tend to come up short of the AAA alternatives. Some of these open game/engine projects have already been on life support without the competition from the leading game engines going free.


Most Open-Source Game Artwork Is Awful


The jMonkeyEngine Java game engine project is out with an interesting blog post entitled In the age of free AAA game engines, are we still relevant? Given all of the news this past week at GDC, I figured propelling this topic for some weekend discussion in the forums would be interesting. So let us know in the forums how you think the free game engine craze will evolve. Do you think any of these AAA game engines will ultimately end up going for a real free software license in the future?
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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