I’ve been using Ogre primarily because it’s the only free graphics engine I can find without necessary functions (real time shadows, render to texture, etc.) disabled and it uses the one open source license I can actually understand.
Last week my brother pointed out that Unity now has a free version so I’ve been trying it out. After using it I fell in love with the simplicity of the WYSWYG editor, not having to wait minutes for the project to rebuild after making small adjustments, and the ease of physics integration. In fact, I can’t even motivate myself to go back to my Ogre/Havok combo, which is just staring at text until it’s time to test.
But to get what I consider basic functionality (real time shadows and render to texture) I have to pay $1500 when the only reason I even have a computer is because I did $1100 worth of work for my brother to pay off the $450 computer he built me.
So after noticing that sun lamps now cast shadows in the game engine and finding ways to get RTT into the game engine I decided to seriously look at the Blender game engine for the first time since… I don’t remember how long it’s been but UV mapping was done by pressing the F key in object mode so it’s been quite some time.
But the same thing that drove me away from it then is on the verge of driving me away again, and that is trying to figure out the license. Now I know the player is GPL, as is Blender, but if I understand correctly once you render out an image or animation or export a mesh for use in Unity or Ogre the images, animations, and models are under whatever license you choose to release them under.
But what about games made in Blender? Now I don’t have too many problems with GPL. Doesn’t bother me one bit if the end user wants to mod the crap out of it until none of the original artwork remains. To me it’s like buying a chair, deciding you don’t like the color, and painting it. The problem I do have with it is a big one. From what I understand if something’s released under the GPL license you can technically and legally sell it but the end user has full distribution rights.
Let’s say I make a game, doesn’t matter the game engine but to keep it generic we’ll say the entire thing was done with the DirectX SDK, and release it as open source but charge $2 per download. One user can buy a copy then legally put it on his website for free download, essentially meaning no one ever needs to pay for it again if I understand correctly.
That’s not really a model I can afford since I’m just doing this to get a bit of pocket change. In fact, if 100 people buy it that’s 4 tanks of gas and considerably more successful than I anticipated but if it’s released as open source 99 of those people could download it from the first customer, meaning I wouldn’t even be able to afford a gallon of gas.
So does the license mean that I just have to give them access to Blender (and by extension the Blender player) if requested (links in the documentation, etc.) or does that mean that all intellectual property in the game (models, textures, audio) becomes GPL?