Full featured game engines Unreal Engine 4, Unity 5, Source 2 are being offered free

There seems to be an amassed #release of free game engines according to #UnrealEngine 4, #Unity5, and even Valve’s #Source2 engine. Even more impressive is that each engine is cross-platform, supporting #Linux, Mac and Windows PC.

Now, we will do our best to break this down for you, whether you are a developer or gamers. And do keep in mind, we list these engines in no particular order.

Unreal Engine 4

Epic Games announced that it was transitioning Unreal Engine 4 to a subscription model last year. Followed by a successful year of experimenting, the company is now going one step further: As of just recently, the engine will now be completely free for all to download.  Even all the future updates for Unreal Engine 4 will be free as well. So why did Epic decide to go free with their acclaimed game engine? The blog stated this change will expand the company’s reach to a larger audience who are not yet familiar with the Unreal Engine.

You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed.

This is the complete technology we use at Epic when building our own games. It scales from indie projects to high-end blockbusters; it supports all the major platforms; and it includes 100% of the C++ source code. Our goal is to give you absolutely everything, so that you can do anything and be in control of your schedule and your destiny. Whatever you require to build and ship your game, you can find it in UE4, source it in the Marketplace, or build it yourself – and then share it with others.

Current subscribers will receive a pro-rated refund for their most recent monthly charge; anyone who ever had a paid subscription will also receive a $30 credit for the Unreal Engine Marketplace.

Unity 5

The latest version of the Unity Technologies incredibly popular multi-platform engine has released Unity 5. This is the next version of its 3D game engine and editor, where Unity co-founder and CTO Joachim Ante called Unity 5 a “massive release.”

Unity comes in two plans:

  • Unity 5 Professional, which adds a number of features new to the latest iteration of the engine (notably, its Cloud Build service package) and its analytics packages, as well as its Team License tools for larger studios.
  • Unity 5 Personal, which is completely free to developers with revenue or funding less than $100,000 a year, and which includes the full engine (but no advanced services package.)

The only platform (of the 21 which Unity supports) that Personal cannot build to out of the box is the Xbox 360. So developers will also need valid licenses to publish to the consoles the engine supports.

The upgrades to the engine are indeed substantial — beyond the service package that comes with Professional. The way it handles graphics has been revamped — shading, global illumination, and reflection probes (more on all that in this Unity blog post).

Unity’s recently installed CEO, John Riccitiello, calls Unity 5 “the biggest step forward in the history of our company,” contrasting it against all prior full-version releases; talking up how the company’s huge engineering staff is pushing the engine forward. And the company already has a much bigger team than Epic, and it’s set to grow.

Source 2

Valve is officially deputing its long-rumored Source 2 engine at GDC this week alongside a host of other new technologies, and it’s expected to launch at a competitive price: free. Source 2 will be “available for free to content developers,” according to Valve‘s Jay Stelly. “This combined with recent announcements by Epic and Unity will help continue the PC’s dominance as the premier content authoring platform.”

Details are not quite clear if Source 2 will be ‘free-to-use’ like Unreal Engine, which charges royalties on revenue, or if “content developers” excludes certain entities. We do know that it’s targeted at both developers and modders.

“With Source 2, our focus is increasing creator productivity,” said Stelly, according to the press release. “Given how important user generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not for just the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games.”

Valve also announced a Vulkan-compatible version of the engine. Vulkan is a cross-platform graphics API formerly called ‘Next Generation OpenGL.’ Support for Vulkan is in line with Valve’s push to get PC gaming away from Microsoft’s DirectX API and onto Linux.

That is all we know about about Source 2, we do not know when the engine will be available, or what exactly the business model will look like. Valve is directing everyone to an empty URL, which is not help just yet. Hopefully more details will be released soon.

This is all well an good, but again, all of these game engines support Linux, Mac and Windows PC, along with some Android and iOS as well. Which could very well lead into some solid game develop in the very near future.

What sort of impact do you think these free game engines will have on Linux gaming?

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