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Game Engine Marketing Models Compared

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the what-about-the-pacman-engine dept.

Programming 243

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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Frothy Walrus (534163) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069802)


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069813)

i donate this karma to charity


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069818)

damn straight


Hadlock (143607) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069848)

hmm, what kind of script are you using to FP? the link wasn't fixed until at least 3 min after the story posted...

humpday quiz time! (-1)

Trolling Stones (587878) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069812)

Trolling Stones' lyrics quiz! - The Rush classic rock radio station staples version
See if you can get them all without using a search engine
You must provide the artist and song title for full credit.

1) run like the wind
straining the limits of
machine and man

2) any escape might help
to smoothe the
unattractive truth

3) i get home at five o clock
and i take a sip of an ice cold beer

4) philosophers and plowmen
each much do his part
to mold a new reality

5) always hopeful yet discontent
he knows changes are permanent
but change is

g to the oatse
c to the izzex
fo shizzle my nizzle i was farting so bad last night that the skunk outside plugged his nose!

Re:humpday quiz time! (1)

JudgeFurious (455868) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070226)

1. Red Barchetta from Moving Pictures
2. Subdivisions from Signals
3. Working Man from Rush
4. Closer to the Heart from Farewell to Kings
5. Tom Sawyer from Moving Pictures

Try something more challenging.

1) anarchist reactionary running-dog revisionist
hindu muslim catholic creation/evolutionist
rational romantic mystic cynical idealist
minimal expressionist post-modern neo-symbolist

Simple... (3, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069826)

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.

Re:Simple... (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069840)

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.


Re:Simple... (3, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069871)

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... (3, Insightful)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069954)

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... (3, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070196)

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... (3, Informative)

wizarddc (105860) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070076)

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.

Re:Simple... (2)

levik (52444) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069913)

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).

Re:Simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069898)

perhaps bill could licence out the Windows NT "engine" for $250,000, after all theres a demand for Windows, isnt there?

Not that much (5, Insightful)

PissingInTheWind (573929) | more than 11 years ago | (#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!

Re:Not that much (1, Informative)

jtdubs (61885) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069934)

Q3 technology is NOT top-notch. It WAS, for a game engine. But no more.

It's poly-counts are very low for today's game's standards. BSP+PVS, with indoor geometry only, is a bit antiquated. It supports no REAL lighting/shadowing model. There's no support for pixel and vertex shaders. The AI is almost non-existant. The network code and latency are mediocre by today's standards.

The Q3 engine is OLD. So is the tech behind it.

Now, it is mature, and it does expose a relatively usable API for mod developers and such.

But, just to implement all the Q3 tech, including BSP+PVS, Q3 Shaders and a loader for the Model files and Map files would take two good 3D engine programmers about a week.

Justin Dubs

Re:Not that much (1, Redundant)

topham (32406) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070005)

Your funny. A week?

Yeah, if they had all the design documents and source code sitting in front of them.

Your funny.

Re:Not that much (1, Informative)

jtdubs (61885) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070070)

Okay kid.

I implemented a basic BSP+PVS engine that supported Q3 maps and shaders in a weekend.

I did NOT implement Q3 models. Nor sound. Nor networking. Nor a stable API for mod developers.

But, a basic BSP+PVS engine that supports Q3 maps and shaders CAN and HAS been developed in a weekend. I've DONE it.

Two good engine coders, in a week, should be able to do the same. Plus add in Q3 models.

It still doesn't help them get a mature API for mod folks, but it is a working tech demos.

Justin Dubs

Re:Not that much (2)

DrVxD (184537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070188)

> But, a basic BSP+PVS engine that supports Q3 maps and shaders CAN and HAS been developed in a weekend
And what are your license terms?

Re:Not that much (3, Insightful)

topham (32406) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070206)

And doesn't mean the results can actually be used in a GAME ENGINE. not a fucking viewer.

Re:Not that much (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070223)

Just because I can write a OpenGL Teapot viewer, doesn't mean Nintendo should hire me.

Basically, you're writing a model viewer ,and a program to import the Quake III textures, light maps....

After you draw/load one poly, you just loop to do the rest.

Does your viewer run at an insane speed?

take two good 3D engine programmers about a week. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070007)


There's the starting gun. You've got two weeks, on your own. Tell you what, we'll cut you some slack. How about three weeks, then.

Slightly more seriously, how about positioning the Q3 engine against some others for features and performance. How about Crystal Space, for instance?

Re:Not that much (5, Insightful)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070033)

But, just to implement all the Q3 tech, including BSP+PVS, Q3 Shaders and a loader for the Model files and Map files would take two good 3D engine programmers about a week

Including the extensible modules? And the network code? And the sound code? And everything else?

And have it be virtually bug free?

Yes, as you said, it's old now. But you also said that it's mature, and that's one thing that can't be replicated in a week. Or a month. Probably not even a year.

Hell, you want to talk about an old codebase? Look at Half-Life. It's still based on Q2, and it's still one of the most popular online games.

Dropping $250k for a stable core is nothing if you're serious about things. Sure, you'll have to extend it to bring it up to current standards, but RtCW did just that and did quite well in the market. So has SoF and SoF2, amongst others.

Yes, the Q3 core is old, and shows it. But I think you drastically underestimate how long it would take to redevelop it from scratch. There's quite a number of open source (under various licenses) game cores out there, and they've taken considerably longer than a month to make and aren't approaching Q3's capabilities yet. Yes, I suppose you could argue that they're not made by "good 3D engine programmers", but that doesn't help the situation for a fledgling company now does it?

Re:Not that much (2, Interesting)

jtdubs (61885) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070117)

I wasn't arguing over the same thing that you are responding too.

I agree, making a mature engine takes time. I agree, paying money for a stable core and codebase IS worth it.

No, I didn't mention implementing the networking, or sound, or mod system. In fact, I mentioned NOT implementing them.

But, like I said. The tech IS old. The graphics functionality can be written in a week. I did it in a weekend.

It's the rest of the codebase, and the maturity, that makes it worth buying.

Justin Dubs

Real World (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070062)

Welcome to the Real World... where professional programmers have to fill out all kinds of paperwork and attend all kinds of meetings.

Just getting the features of such an engine approved takes months when you are doing it for a large corporation. Even a small company would require enough paperwork to take up a week or 2. Lets say these programmers make $80,000 a year.

The first month is all in "feel good" meetings and move-ins and proceedures and such.

Lets say that this company is using ISO 9000, ok...

Requirements. The clients (in this case the company) meet and gather the artists/programmers/so forth. They discuss what the game should do, physics, characters, so forth... to the degree that it will affect the engine. They go to buttloads of meetings for a couple of months.

Specifications. The file formats, the colors, the network protocols... This happens AFTER requirements, and since it's a group write, it takes a while too.

Design/Implement. Yeah, this would be quick and easy, but you need documentation for everything. You need to get everything approved by higher ups.

Re-Implement. Artist A needs feature B that wasn't mentioned in the requirements or specs.

Document. Before anybody can use it effectively, you need them to know what it is. This takes a long time.

Just the MEETINGS required to start programming take more than a week if you're going to sell it. Now, if you're in your house and know exactly how you want EVERYTHING before you start, a week is probably more than fair. Profesional programmers in the environments that ID is selling to? You can't write an engine for what they're selling that for.

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070105)

I can't wait until school starts and you have to go back to class. Your statements are juvenile dick-waving, and completely false.
I'm sure you have implemented a next-generation game engine that is better than Carmack's. So let's see it. Oh, and where is your Ferrari?

Re:Not that much (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070191)

Can I safely assume you're not a developer? If you are, how much to hire, you sound outlandishly good.


GPL now (1)

prisen (578061) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069838)

$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 (2, Insightful)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069859)

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.


Not only THAT engine... (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069906)

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 (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069919)

You think that $1,000,000 is quite a chunk of cash for a business? It's nothing. Really, for a business of any size at all, $1,000,000 will barely cover operating costs for a couple of years. And that's assuming very few staff, very small offices, and no production costs.

Re:GPL now (3, Insightful)

joib (70841) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069984)

Um, you know, most businesses bigger than Bobs Lawnmower Repair Shop will use that $1000000 quicker than you can say 'cash flow problems'.

Re:GPL now (1)

prisen (578061) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070004)

Not like that's their only income (duh), and I'm sure more than 4 games have been licensed. I was merely stating that I'm sure they've milked enough cash from one source and can more or less afford to GPL it rather than make a "petty" $100 or $200 per developer.

GPL Quake3 ?? Ummm why? (2, Insightful)

zaqattack911 (532040) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069843)

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.


Re:GPL Quake3 ?? Ummm why? (3, Informative)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069891)

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.

Re:GPL Quake3 ?? Ummm why? (2)

codexus (538087) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069909)

They've already GPL'ed quake2. Did ID software do it to make money? I don't think so.

Re:GPL Quake3 ?? Ummm why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069959)

GPLing engine doesn't mean that you can't continue selling it. When you are using GPLed engine to create game, the result must be also under GPL. How many companies making shelf-games are willing to do this? They would rather buy (and still can buy) license without GPL attached.

Re:GPL Quake3 ?? Ummm why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069992)

you are pretty damned stupid arent you...

Quake and Quake 2 were GPLed within 4 years of it's release.. quake3 engine will be GPL'd probably in 24 months.

Hell, all of the half life series is based on the quake 2 engine..

please get a clue before posting... I'm betting you are one of those people that would wakl into downtown beruit and ask "you guys having a war here or something?"

Re:GPL Quake3 ?? Ummm why? (2)

onion2k (203094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070134)

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.

Re:GPL Quake3 ?? Ummm why? (4, Insightful)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070135)

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.

Re:GPL Quake3 ?? Ummm why? (2)

DrVxD (184537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070230)

> , 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 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069860)

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.

Re:Not id's business (1)

qurob (543434) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069926)

Back when iD published their own games, they were very successful too.

Too bad 'Shareware games' don't exist at the level that they did in the 90's. Apogee, iD, Epic.....*sigh*

Re:Not id's business (1)

aronc (258501) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069950)

Actually.. shareware more or less took over. When was the last time you saw a game that was released that didn't have a demo come out for it? Demos == shareware "levels".

Standard Slashdot Answer (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#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!

Re:Standard Slashdot Answer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069883)


Re:Standard Slashdot Answer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070031)

Yuch, obviously an ID shill.

Re:Standard Slashdot Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070171)

Action must be taken

Make people (expecially me) pay 4 fun is just a naughty form of prostitution
=> ID = WH***S

Re:Standard Slashdot Answer (1)

madman2002 (468554) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070182)

hmmm, obviously you missed the point of the article. The Torque engine is licensed for peanuts because any game made using the engine myust be published through the makers of the engine, Garage Games. Now I'm not a genius but I think the royalties they'd recieve from just ONE successful game would be WELL over $250,000. If id sold their engine for a lower price (hell it wouldn't even have to be too much lower) and set up the same rights to publishing deal, they'd make a LOT MORE MONEY. Personally I'm all for open source and Free software but I understand that in the game industry it's simply not practical. I hope to go into the industry once and you can damn well be sure I plan on getting paid, but if it's up to me the source for any game I'm involved in will be GPLed and released AFTER the game has been out for a while just like id does now.

BTW, I haven't heard anyone on /. say that the RIAA are bastards for wanting people to pay for their music....I have heard people call them bastards for trying to get the power to bypass the justice system and blast P2P networks off the net simply because they have "reason to believe" that piracy is occuring.

Looks to be a couple reasons why id doesn't (2)

yeoua (86835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069868)

"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.

Doom 3 licensing (1)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069870)

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.

Re:Doom 3 licensing (2)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069912)

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?

Re:Doom 3 licensing (1)

drzhivago (310144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069951)

First off, id has only been GPLing their old games/engines after 2 generations have passed. So, Quake 3 won't get GPLed at least until after they start working on the next game after Doom 3.

But that won't matter to professional game developers. They want the latest and best, and that would be Doom 3 or what comes after. Sure, the hobbyist and small time developers would love to get their hands on the Q3 engine for cheap, but that is mutually exclusive from the big time devs.

Oh, and id does zero marketing. They leave that up to the publisher, which is Activision for the most part.

Re:Doom 3 licensing (2)

topham (32406) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070083)

They are willing to license the older engines for $10,000. Q3 Engine is an active product, why license it for less than $250K?

Alternative Licensing Scheme (1)

LaNMaN2000 (173615) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069886)

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? (1, Flamebait)

Lukey Boy (16717) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069887)

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.

Re:What the fuck? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069958)

Actually, the article *is* a press release, which should make you very suspicious when it comes to discussions regarding GG's financial situation.

The engine's actually quite good, but I think GG's business model is terribly flawed. Even with a good engine, game development is *very* expensive, in large part due to asset creation. If you're committing to a release-grade game in the FPS/3rd person/RTS/whatever mold, then engine licensing or development really shouldn't be your greatest concern.

Nice idea, though. *shrug*

Shameless plug for Crystal Space (5, Interesting)

Jorrit (19549) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069889)

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



Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070041)

Was the Tribes 2 Engine any good though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069890)

I played T2 a few times and I couldn't really evaluate the graphics/engine quality to any extent because the game was so horrible. From an aesthetic point of view (I don't care about gigatexels or polys or whatnot) how pretty was the T2 engine compared to, say, SOF2/Wolf/JK2/Q3A?

Re:Was the Tribes 2 Engine any good though? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069908)

In comparison, Tribes 2 is that odd film of scum that forms beneath the average turd when it hits the floor.

Wait... what's lower than that?

Tribes 2 is teh sux++++++++
Tribes was even worse. Save your money, don't but these games!

Wrong model ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069916)

... for Id, anyway, since they neither engage in nor have any interest in distribution, and most other models -- e.g., recovering a percentage of a large number of low-margin products, such as GG -- would be feasible for what is still a small shop.

Still, there's a lot of useful engines and tools out there for the taking. My favorite (unreleased) engine is the OSX-centric Dim3 [klinksoftware.com], which looks like it's going to be a fantastic tool for rapid prototyping. Imagine the workflow benefits of prototyping assets and gameplay without having to stall the pipe waiting for development.

Success? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069917)

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.

Re:Success? (2)

topham (32406) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070043)

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.

Re:Success? (1)

ShaggusMacHaggis (178339) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070095)

I believe the profits are split 50/50 between the developer and garage games (i could be wrong that that). If that is the case, and someone makes "the next hit" using this engine, 50/50 is quite good. (really good actually). I believe the normal split is 20/80? (80 percent going to publisher) ? I could be wrong on that. It might be more like 30/70

If I remember correctly, Sierra actually gets first dibs on all games published using the Torque engine. If sierra doesn't want to publish it, then the developer can go out on their own.
(or maybe next is through Garage Games, then after that they can go out on their own, not sure)

Re:Success? (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070104)

They have the rights to publish games under their engine, that doesn't mean that they can't sell those rights, or leave them unpublished if the game is so crappy that it would reflect badly upon the publisher.

Makes Sense (2, Insightful)

siskbc (598067) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069922)

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.

First off. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070042)

iD Software aren't publishers, and they've shown no interest in becoming publishers. iD Software is essentially John Carmack, and that means iD Software is all about the Engine. Period.

Secondly, they've already licenced the Quake III Engine to who knows how many developers, if they turn around and start selling the thing for $100, the lawsuits will come flying fast and furious.

Third, there's no WAY Carmack will ever consider releasing the code to the engine until all of his licencees have released their games based on that engine. He's said as much on numerous occasions.

Fourth, that $250,000 get's you alot more than the engine. It get's you access to Carmack, and as I recall, he (and iD Software) will help them implement up to two engine features exclusive to their product.

Fifth, there's no need to do it at all, you already have all kinds of tools released to do major modification work with the engine. The only thing you don't have is the engine source code, which apparently does have value, since they can charge $250,000 for it, and they're not having any trouble selling that.

Sixth, they've already got a great talent "minor-league", it's in all the Mod Developers, and level designers already working with the QuakeIII Engine, and the Tools already released, and it's been working pretty well for them, and other developers too, for that matter.

So there is no compelling reason for them to make this about face on the engine licencing issue, what they are doing now, serves them quite well.

Mods (-1)

TheBahxMan (249147) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069946)

Doesn't anyone realize that you can essentially use most availble engines for free through mods? Don't tell me you can't write an entire game through modding, as you are full of it. Just look at some of the mods availible for the Half-Life engine (CS, DoD, FireArms, etc..) and the UT engine (TacOps).

I think that if the hobbyist want to use the engines for free, he/she/it/what? can do so through modding. It's free becuase the mod is distributed for free...

If you plan to make money off of the engine, that's where you'll need to pay for the engine. It's how the capitalist system works, if you plan to market a game w/o paying for the engine, you're no better than warez fiends.

Apples and oranges... (3, Insightful)

levik (52444) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069953)

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.

Tribes 2 vs Quake III engine (5, Informative)

ShaggusMacHaggis (178339) | more than 11 years ago | (#4069982)

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 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4069988)

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.

A better idea... (1)

Linuxthess (529239) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070008)

Some of you guys mentioned that ID isn't a publisher, and doesn't want to get into the business. I agree totally.
ID should GPL out the 3D engine for a pittance to developers, and demand royalties when it's published!
They don't get the lump sum of 250K, but let them take a nice 10%-20% of every game published, and they'll be alright.


Re:A better idea... (1)

Wabin (600045) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070121)

Umm... then it would not be the GPL. Time for a primer on licensing...

Or... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070029)

An alternative would be to free the engine from the start, and then release the data (worlds, models, etc) under a conditional proprietary license...

Other Engines (2)

LightningTH (151451) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070063)

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.

on teh cheap? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070077)

Whaaaa??? And give up the "$250,000 XCOPY"???
Then I'd have to give up my 10 Ferarris and 7 Vipers and 17 C5's and my 8000 square foot house where I live alone (well just me and the bevy of chicks I keep around).

How can you even ask that of me????

Translation...... (5, Funny)

smileyy (11535) | more than 11 years ago | (#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.

Re:Translation...... (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070197)

Yup. This has to be the dumbest question I have ever seen on this site. "Why does ID charge $250,000 when they could charge $100?"

The really disappointing reality of GPL Quake (5, Insightful)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070099)

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.)

Re:The really disappointing reality of GPL Quake (1)

tsaotsao (161192) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070136)

I think it's asking a lot to expect that GPL first person shooters would be innovative when even commercial first person shooters are derivative and boring.

Your not just paying for a license..... (1)

Kelsur (601055) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070107)

Im currently part of a dev team and we are planning on making a game using the d3 engine when it comes out, we were originally thinking of purchasing the q3 engine to use for the game but decided to put it off.

This is why ID can charge 250k for their enging. First of all you are not required to publish the game with ID which is all the better because if you were forced to do that then it would be difficult for a game development company to break into the industry. Second you are not buying license to the engine you bought the entire engine. This means any changes you make in the engine do not have to be given to ID when your done and after all of your development if a company wants to license out their new modified engine to other companies they have the full rights to do so. ID allows this because they believe doing this will allow companies that have bought the engine from them to raise the money to buy the next engine and develop a game from it when comes out.

Ive worked with several games for mod development and I can say that ID probably does the most to support the community that develops for their games. They have provided full documentation for their shader system and their editor for q3 while most other games have half-ast documentation at best. Not to mention that 250k buys you a full day with all of the ID staff in question and answer sessions about anything in the engine.

A final point is that ID has been in the industry from its conception so you know without a doubt you are getting a product from a company which has been around for a while and will continue to be around for a while to come.

Dear Mr. Carmack: (5, Funny)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 11 years ago | (#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.


The community.

Re:Dear Mr. Carmack: (1)

Kelsur (601055) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070133)

You do realize that John Carmack is not the CEO of this company and he is exactly what you said an Engineer. While he has a say in the price of the engine he does not have sole say in its price.

$250,000 in perspective (3, Insightful)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 11 years ago | (#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.

Simple answer (2)

coupland (160334) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070118)

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.

Because... (1)

RedWolves2 (84305) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070122)

If you license the rights to the engine and can then publish your work out to market you stand to make more money then to let someone else publish it and rake in the profit.

It kind of reminds me of the RIAA (Those F&#%s).

apples and oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070192)

don't try and appeal to people with a trollish remark about the RIAA (perhaps though, you are trying to convince yourself). This business model is sound for many reasons, but best of all it has the key quality for a free market... CHOICE. RIAA, while technically giving (from its member orgs) artists choice is in fact a monopoly organization. Their combined front is less a policing action within than an enforcement agent without to the point that vendors and distributors are actually punished if they do not go exclusively with RIAA. This means that the Mom'n'Pop Recording, inc. does not stand a chance unless it joins the RIAA. However by joining they would be forced to forgoe much of their unique an independent manner of business and service. Perhaps they were more centered around being a fair management service that has a stepped system for allowing the artist to either sell all (as is the norm now) or only sell rights for certain songs, or perhaps just a particular time.... or even better a straight percentage deal so that both get an equivelent benefit depending on the sales. Now Mom-n-Pop Inc. cannot do that in the RIAA.

If McDonalds starts charging more for fries, then I guess I either pony up the cash or go to someone else. My rights and liberties have not been infringed and I have enough integrity, courage and honor (not to mention logic and reason) to not find some way to force them to lower their price outside of competition.

Unreal/UT/Unreal II (2)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070142)

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.

Game engine issues (1)

fils (88044) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070145)

What was it, "first class games"? Never even heard of these games that the posting talks about. Sounds like a self serving post, would be curious to know the details of who posted it.

I don't know if id get's 1/4 million per license but if so it's not too bad for the Q3 A/TA engine (Alice, FaKK2, Star Trek EF and expansion, Medal of Honor (and upcoming expansion), RTCW (and upcoming Enemy Territory), Jedi Knights II, Solder of Fortune II, upcoming Star Trek EF II) have I missed any... read's like a who's who of top shelf games. Of course id get's even more of the take for RTCW and the upcoming Enemy Lines or whatever game as they developed the game and didn't really license it I guess.

The markets seems to be run by three main players: id, the unreal engine and litchtech (garage doesn't really rate inclusion in this group I feel, others might disagree, but with only tribes 2 as a real top shelf game to it's credit, I don't include it).

Of these id seems to be the most agreeable to many slashdot types. Using opengl rather than directX, dedicated to cross platform issues, linux server always there, and with the GPL'ing of Quake and Quake II I guess we all look forward to GPL'd Quake 3 some day, though the mod groups seems to be able to do amazing things even without the core source code.

The split right now seems to be the unreal engine pusing for really high polygon counts and and the new Doom III engine (also to be used in Quake IV I hear) pushing the texture/lighting issues more. Both look really good, I favour the Doom III not only because I like the company, but from what I have seen of both, it has a more cinematic feel to it.

I suspect both (and lithtech with NOLF and all) will do well as the market for this type of stuff continues to expand.

Personally, I look for the VRML/X3d stuff to continue to falter and any real succefull 3d matrix esq on-line environment to be born out of game engines like these or perhaps the MMORPG people or the GPL'd projects related to MMORPG work.

take care

Give it away... I don't understand business... (2)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070161)

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.

Devaluing the engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070204)

If fanboys get hold of the engine cheaply and use it to make a pile of lame games, won't that devalue the big sticker on the front that says "made with quake three"?

By charging a load of cash for the engine, it ensures that only the pros can afford it, and that quality is ensured and id don't get associated with a load of crap.

Uh, can't they do both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4070256)

Can't they sell it for £$250,000 then based upon the merits of ID software, get the game published through them? (perhaps with a discount).

The registration database has this message: (5, Interesting)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 11 years ago | (#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!)

Why would I.D. want to publish games? (2)

coene (554338) | more than 11 years ago | (#4070263)

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.
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