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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


2. January 2019


Back in November, Epic Games announced they would be giving away content from the Unreal Engine marketplace.  Yesterday they announced the January content that would be made available for free.  While half of the content released is available free forever, the other half is only available for free during the month of January, so be sure to add it to your cart before then!


The January free content includes:

All of the above are available for this month only.  The following assets have been made permanently free:


Learn more about the above packs in the video below.

Art GameDev News


1. January 2019


2018 was an interesting year in game development.  In this post/video, we take a quick stroll down memory lane and look at some of the key stories as they occurred throughoutGameDev2018 the year. 

GameDev News General News Programming Design Art Totally Off Topic


12. December 2018


Fresh on the heels of releasing their new online store leverage the technologies they developed creating Fortnite, Epic Games have announced plans for a cross-platform online multiplayer game service, that is game engine agnostic and completely free for developers!  Rolling out in stages, it will start life as a C SDK, with Unreal and Unity (yes, that Unity) game engine implementations starting with cloud saves and online storage and adding new features such as logins, achievements, friends lists, voice communications and more as time goes on.

Details of the roll out strategy from the Unreal blog:

The service launch will begin with a C SDK encapsulating our online services, together with Unreal Engine and Unity integrations. We’ll start with a core set of features and expand over time. Specifically:

  • Cross-Platform Login, Friends, Presence, Profile, and Entitlements (coming Q2-Q3 2019 to PC, other platforms throughout 2019): Provides the core functionality for persistently recognizing players across multiple sessions and devices; identifying friends; and managing free and paid item entitlements. This will support all 7 major platforms (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch) to the full extent each platform allows per-title.
  • PC/Mac Overlay API (coming Q3 2019): Provides a user interface for login, friends, and other features in a game-agnostic, engine-agnostic way.
  • Cross-Platform Voice Comms (coming Q3 2019 to all platforms): Epic is building a new in-game voice communications service supporting all platforms, all stores, and all engines, which will be available for free. (For developers needing an immediately-available voice solution, check out Discord, Vivox, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, and Mumble.)
  • Cross-Platform Parties and Matchmaking (coming Q3-4 2019 to all platforms)
  • Cross-Platform Data Storage, Cloud-Saved Games (coming Q2 2019)
  • Cross-Platform Achievements and Trophies (coming Q3 2019)


The services described above are just our first steps. As you can see from our game and engine efforts, we’re also working on further support for user-generated content, enhanced social features, anti-cheat, and more.


Simply put, there has to be a catch here, but I cannot determine exactly what it is.  This could potentially be a massive opportunity for game developers looking to support multiplayer in their game and a huge shot across the bow for technology providers that make their living providing such services now for a fee!

GameDev News


4. December 2018


Steam just got another major competitor and this one is pretty amazing.  Fresh on the success of launching their own store and payment ecosystem to support the game Fortnite, Epic Games are opening that system up to other game developers.  Perhaps most impressive, they are doing it with a 88/12% revenue split, massively lower than the standard 70/30% cut at other game stores such as Steam, Google Play and the Apple App Store.  It will initially launch for Windows and Mac, with Android and other platforms coming soon.  You are not required to use Unreal Engine to publish your game on the store, however if you do the deal gets even better.  As part of their 12% royalty, they will also cover the Unreal Engine 4 license costs!  Additionally they are also launching an affiliate program to help encourage influencers to drive traffic to the game store.

Details of the new program from the Unreal Engine blog:

Soon we'll launch the Epic Games store, and begin a long journey to advance the cause of all developers. The store will launch with a hand-curated set of games on PC and Mac, then it will open up more broadly to other games and to Android and other open platforms throughout 2019.

The Epic Games store will operate on the following principles:
All Developers Earn 88%
Developers receive 88% of revenue. There are no tiers or thresholds. Epic takes 12%. And if you’re using Unreal Engine, Epic will cover the 5% engine royalty for sales on the Epic Games store, out of Epic’s 12%.


Have a Direct Relationship With Players
People who buy your games automatically subscribe to your newsfeed so you can reach them with game updates and news about upcoming releases. The newsfeed is front-and-center.  You’ll also be able to reach your players through email, if they choose to share it.


Connect with Creators
YouTube content creators, Twitch streamers, bloggers, and others are at the leading edge of game discovery. The 10,000-strong Epic Games Support-A-Creator program helps you reach creators, so they can help you reach players. If you opt to participate, creators who refer players to buy your game will receive a share of the revenue that you set (tracked by code or affiliate marketing link). To jumpstart the creator economy, Epic will cover the first 5% of creator revenue-sharing for the first 24 months.


Developers Control Their Game Pages
As a developer, you control your game page and your newsfeed. There will be no store-placed ads or cross-marketing of competing games on your page, and no paid ads in search results.


All Engines Are Welcome
The Epic Games store is open to games built with any engine, and the first releases span Unreal, Unity and internal engines.


When You Succeed, We Succeed
We’ve built this store and its economic model so that Epic’s interests are aligned with your interests.  Because of the high volume of Fortnite transactions, we can process store payments, serve bandwidth, and support customers very efficiently. From Epic’s 12% store fee, we’ll have a profitable business we’ll grow and reinvest in for years to come!


Watch the following video for details of why I think this move is going to be absolutely game changing!  The words “Steam Killer” are said a lot, but I honestly think this one is the biggest competitor yet.

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