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25. January 2019


Just in time for the Global Game Jam Unity have released Unity Playground.  Unity playground is a Unity project containing 6 mini games, each built entirely on a set of single task reusable components.  The intention is to make it easier for youths, students and beginners to get started developing games using Unity without having to jump into code.

Details from the Unity Store:

Unity Playground is Unity’s first project dedicated entirely to our younger users, educators and anyone looking for an initial introduction to game development in a more simplistic form.


This 2D, physics-based project contains a collection of single-action Components which you can use as building blocks, and combine them to create any type of gameplay. Simplified Inspectors for both Playground scripts and built-in Components mean that new users will not feel overwhelmed by the amount of options.


In addition to all of this, the project comes with six example games to play and learn from. Use the Playground for teaching, learning from, or just introducing yourself to the world of Unity with loads of colourful 2D art assets and some great environments to experiment with.


Unity have additional details of the Playground up on their blog.  The code is available on GitHub and is released under the MIT open source license.  If you are interested in learning more or seeing the Playground in action, watch the video below.


GameDev News


16. January 2019


The ongoing saga of Unity vs Improbable has finally come to an end, with Unity reinstating Improbable’s Unity licenses, rewriting the controversial Section 2.4 of their EULA and also implementing a change so EULA/Terms of Service agreements are perpetual to the attached Unity version.  This change makes developers mostly immune to retroactive EULA updates, a big point of contention in this entire ordeal.  If this entire event is new to you, you can read about how it started here, then how Unity responded here, how Unreal Engine took advantage here and finally an update from Improbable on how their technology worked with Unity here.   With the clarifications from Unity, I think we can declare this entire conflict resolved.

Unity blog on the update to the terms of service:

Today we have updated our Terms of Service, Section 2.4. The language is at the bottom of this post.

The TOS update highlights that developers can use any third party service that integrate into Unity.

Some of these services will be supported, others will not.

The distinction is that with a supported service, we understand the technology. We make sure the service and Unity work better together for developers. We also ensure that the supported service always runs well on the latest version of our software, so we can help future proof your project in Unity and ensure access to the latest tech.

Additionally we have created, and will continue to create our own services. We will integrate our own services, but we will not block developers from using competitive third-party services.

Details on the change regarding retroactive terms of service changes:

When you obtain a version of Unity, and don’t upgrade your project, we think you should be able to stick to that version of the TOS.

In practice that is only possible if you have access to bug fixes. Thus, we now allow users to continue to use the TOS for the same major (year based) version number, including Long Term Stable (LTS) builds that you are using in your project.

Moving forward, we will host TOS changes on Github to give developers full transparency to what changes are happening, and when. The link is https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/TermsOfService.

And finally, an update on the status of Improbable:

Today’s change in our TOS means Improbable is no longer in breach by providing you a service, and that we are able to reinstate their licenses. But we do not consider them a partner, and cannot vouch for how their service works with Unity as we have no insight into their technology or how they run their business.

We know Improbable was in violation even before the December TOS update and misrepresented their affiliation with us. Although SpatialOS is not a supported third-party service, it can continue to be used for development and shipping games.

We are holding an AMA on r/Unity3d at 10 a.m. PST to discuss this TOS update in more detail.

And finally, the new and much improved section 2.4:

Unity developers are free to use any service offered to Unity developers (each, a “Third Party Service”).  Unity does not have any obligation to provide support for any Third Party Service provider or Third Party Service under this Agreement.

Third Party Service providers may not, without Unity’s express written permission: (1) use a stylized version of any Unity name, trademark, logos, images or product icons, or other Unity-owned graphic symbols; (2) use a product name confusingly similar to a Unity product or that could be construed by Unity developers as being a Unity product or service; or (3) create or use any marketing materials that suggest an affiliation with, or endorsement by, Unity.  All use of Unity’s trademarks must comply with Unity’s Trademark Guidelines.

This… is why you never watch the sausage being made… it ain’t pretty until it’s done, but in the end, you’ve got a delicious sausage I suppose.

GameDev News


10. January 2019


Well… this has certainly been an interesting day.  It started off with Improbable blogging about how their license with Unity had been terminated due to ToS changes and that they would no longer be able to function as a cloud based networking layer for Unity game developers.  Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney chimed in on Twitter about how bad of a mistake this move was.  Then at the end of the day, Unity responded essentially saying Improbable was lying, clarifying what the news terms of service mean for mean for Unity developers and “platforms”.  So that’s the end of the story… right?

Wrong.

Enter Epic Games, announcing a partnership with Improbable, and a $25 million dollar fund to “help developers transition to more open engines, services, and ecosystems”.  Details from the Unreal Engine blog:

First, we want to reaffirm our partnership. Unreal Engine provides full C++ source code for everyone, and its license (https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/eula) ensures it remains open to all game developers and middleware providers, and enables all to collaborate together through SDKs, services, and forks of the source code. Likewise, Improbable is developing a completely open Unreal integration for its online game development platform, SpatialOS. The combination enables developers to rapidly build and deploy both session-based and persistent online worlds across all platforms with the functionality of Unreal Engine and the increased possibilities of distributed computing and cloud services.


Epic Games’ partnership with Improbable, and the integration of Improbable’s cloud-based development platform SpatialOS, is based on shared values, and a shared belief in how companies should work together to support mutual customers in a straightforward, no-surprises way.


We believe we are at the beginning of an unprecedented age of inclusive online games that become parts of our everyday lives. Enabling this will take much more than Epic or Improbable; it will take a vastly more mature, broad-based industry to enable this future: a community of companies connected by values such as fair and openly disclosed business terms, respect for developer choice, and full interoperability between platforms, software, and services. We encourage others with a similar vision to reach out, so we can find ways to make it come sooner.


To assist developers who are left in limbo by the new engine and service incompatibilities that were introduced today, Epic Games and Improbable are together establishing a US $25,000,000 combined fund to help developers transition to more open engines, services, and ecosystems.  This funding will come from a variety of sources including Unreal Dev Grants, Improbable developer assistance funds, and Epic Games store funding.

Ouch!

GameDev News


10. January 2019


Earlier today Improbable released a blog post stating that due to ToS/EULA changes, it was no longer compatible with Unity and was being shut down.  A number of developers responded to this action, including game developers that used SpatialOS and whose games future was now in question, as well as developers of other game engines and technologies.  The only person without a comment was Unity itself, until now.

Unity have released this response to the entire issue, telling a much different version of the story.

Some key excerpts from the statement:

More than a year ago, we told Improbable in person that they were in violation of our Terms of Service or EULA. Six months ago, we informed Improbable about the violation in writing. Recent actions did not come as a surprise to Improbable; in fact, they’ve known about this for many months.

Two weeks ago we took the action of turning off Improbable’s Unity Editor license keys. This is a unique case — and not a situation we take lightly — but Improbable left us no choice. This was the only course of action to protect the integrity and value of our technology and Unity developers.

We believe that even though Improbable is violating our EULA, game developers should never pay the price for that. We have been clear with Improbable that games currently in production and/or games that are live are unaffected, and we would have expected them to be honest with their community about this information. Unfortunately, this information is misrepresented in Improbable’s blog.

The timeline in the dispute seems to match almost perfectly with Unity’s move into the networking space, as publically announced here.  Fortunately for developers who are currently using SpatialOS technology in their games, Unity insist that they should not be hugely impacted:

We are genuinely disappointed that we have been unable to come to an agreement with Improbable, and their improper use continued until we took the action we did. Despite this fact, we can assure developers that they will be able to continue development while we resolve our dispute. We are committed to ensuring that developers will receive support for any outstanding questions or issues as we work through this problem.

If you are using SpatialOS, please contact us directly at [email protected] or visit support.unity3d.com so we can address your questions and resolve your problems.

Finally some justification for why they updated their EULA/ToS:

From time to time, Unity will update its Terms of Service (TOS) to reflect how we run our business and address questions from our partners and customers. In December, we made clarifications to our Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions because we received requests for clarification as the industry is evolving quickly.

At the core, the Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions terms are still the same as before. We received feedback that the language was ambiguous, so we updated our Terms of Service to be clear on our distribution and streaming restrictions. We will continue to listen to the community and clarify as we can.

Their summary of what the changes mean to game developers:

From a technical standpoint, this is what our clarification on our TOS means: if you want to run your Unity-based game-server, on your own servers, or a cloud provider that provides you instances to run your own server for your game, you are covered by our EULA. We will support you as long as the server is running on a Unity supported platform.

As an example, if you have made a Windows or Linux player build of your game to be an authoritative game server and run that on a server in-house, you can continue to develop, publish or operate your game as usual. If you rent a server or pay for a cloud instance to run the game, you can continue to develop, publish or operate your game as usual.

Finally, and most important/impactfully, what it means for “platforms”:

However, if a third party service wants to run the Unity Runtime in the cloud with their additional SDK, we consider this a platform. In these cases, we require the service to be an approved Unity platform partner. These partnerships enable broad and robust platform support so developers can be successful. We enter into these partnerships all the time. This kind of partnership is what we have continuously worked towards with Improbable.


… so, there you have it.  The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.  Watch the video below for a bit more of my opinion/take on the matter and to share your own.

GameDev News


10. January 2019


Earlier today Improbable released the following statement regarding their cloud based networking service SpatialOS:

Today we must regretfully inform our community of the following developments.

  • Unity’s block of SpatialOS: The game engine provider Unity recently changed (Dec 5) and then clarified directly to us (9 Jan) their terms of service to specifically disallow services like Improbable’s to function with their engine. This was previously freely possible in their terms, as with other major engines.
  • What this means: Unity has clarified to us that this change effectively makes it a breach of terms to operate or create SpatialOS games using Unity, including in development and production games.
  • Ongoing negotiation: Worryingly, this change occurred during an open commercial negotiation with the company to find a way to do more together.
  • Revoked Unity license: In addition, Unity has revoked our ability to continue working with the engine for breaching the newly changed terms of service in an unspecified way.  This will affect our ability to support games.
  • Continuing service for all other engines: Users of all other engines remain completely unaffected and we are working with other engine providers to see if they can help support engine transitions for customers hit by this change.


The updated Terms of Service section 2.4 from Unity now reads:

2.4 Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions.

You may not directly or indirectly distribute the Unity Software, including the runtime portion of the Unity Software (the “Unity Runtime”), or your Project Content (if it incorporates the Unity Runtime) by means of streaming or broadcasting so that any portion of the Unity Software is primarily executed on or simulated by the cloud or a remote server and transmitted over the Internet or other network to end user devices without a separate license or authorization from Unity. Without limiting the foregoing, you may not use a managed service running on cloud infrastructure (a “Managed Service”) or a specific integration of a binary add-on (for example, a plugin or SDK) or source code to be integrated in the Unity Software or Your Project Content incorporating the Unity Runtime (an “SDK Integration”) to install or execute the Unity Runtime on the cloud or a remote server, unless such use of the Managed Service or SDK Integration has been specifically authorized by Unity.  Additionally, you may not integrate the Unity Runtime with a Managed Service or  SDK Integration and offer that integration to third parties for the purpose of installing or using the Unity Runtime on the cloud or a remote server. For a list of Unity authorized streaming platforms, Managed Services and SDK Integrations, click here.This restriction does not prevent end users from remotely accessing your Project Content from an end user device that is running on another end user device.  You may not use a third party to directly or indirectly distribute or make available, stream, broadcast (through simulation or otherwise) any portion of the Unity Software unless that third party is authorized by Unity to provide such services.


In a nutshell, the new ToS seem to prevent running any portion of the Unity runtime on a cloud based install without prior licensing of the cloud hosting company and Unity directly.  The timing of this is quite interesting following on the heels of a partnership between Unity and Google to provide cloud based networking services.

In the meantime, developers that built their game around Unity and SpatialOS are going through a bit of a rollercoaster ride of emotions right now, such as Spilt Milk Studio:

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Followed by:

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Unity have not yet released a public content although their forums are quite… lively.

UPDATE: Tim Sweeney, founder and owner of Epic Games was quick to comment upon Unity’s gaff here and to reassure Unreal Engine developers that this wont happen to them:

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