Ton: Remove the Game Engine? Naahhhh

To newcomers to this thread: Read the first page or two, then skip to this post

“We understood from your keynote last year that the BGE was going to be removed, and were surprised to hear something different this year”
Ton: “Remove the Game Engine? I didn’t say that? Really? Naaahhh.”

Also, if you’re interested, there was a BConf talk about using BGE to create an overlay for the TV coverage of a cycling race. (and the powerpoint was done in BGE).

So, at BConf 2017, we had a meeting with Ton to find out what the plan for the BGE was (we is the company I work for and another company. This included community members such as martins and olm-z).
Disclaimer: I am just a human being. This post is based on what I heard, scribbled down, and remember from the conversation. It is in no way an “official” post by anyone. However, I’d like to think it gives a relatively accurate picture of where Ton pictures the GE is going.

First up, who is Ton?
For some the name “Ton” will mean nothing to you, so: he is the BDFL for blender (Benevolent Dictator For Life). In short, he is the person who was the lead programmer when blender was not open source (back in 1995), lead the drive to open source it in 2002, and now organises the direction in which blender is developed. His is (essentially) the final word about what comes and goes in blender. So, if we want to find out about what’s happening to the Game Engine, Ton is a good person to ask!

The Good News:
As can be seen in the quote at the top, Ton was extremely surprised when we posited the idea that the GE was going to be removed. So at the very least, blender will continue to contain a real-time engine. However, he is aware that the GE was written a long time ago, and hence he wants to create a new game engine. To distinguish it from the old game engine, he called it (in his roadmap post) an interactive engine.

What does Ton want from the “new” GE:
He wants the next GE to use as much of blender as possible. His “Interactive Engine” is a layer on top of the viewport and blender depsgraph that allows user input, timed events and so on. All of the rendering, the animations, the modifiers, everything from blender itself will be part of the GE. And really, why does the GE need it’s own renderer and depsgraph? If the one in the viewport isn’t fast enough, isn’t it better to work on improving the ones in blender than to maintain a separate one? In this way, we ensure that the experience using blender is as fast as possible - because if you optimise the GE, you also optimise blender itself. It also help ensure that a new GE is not a massive development as many of the features a game engine need are already in blender.

Ton is not concerned about competing with AAA game engines. His aim for the GE is the same as it is for the rest of blender: Allow artists to make things. In this case “things” is interactive content. If it competes with AAA game engines and people produce games and sell them, great. If not, well, people are having fun using the tool. The focus is on the ability for artists to build interactive content.

Speculation Warning: This does suggest (though it wasn’t asked) that the ability to export created games may or may not be a feature in the new GE, but even with the current blender it is possible to have a blend file that auto-opens to a running game taking the entire blender window. With the new changes to the viewports and workspace system, this should allow the creation of “standalone” applications - with far more compatibility than the current GE. And think about it, there will be no more “why no bpy in the game engine.”

What about UPBGE?
Sorry to say this guys, but it looks like the UPBGE is not going to feature in any way in the GE’s future. Why? The goals of the UPBGE team do not meet the vision that Ton has for the interactive engine. The UPBGE team is maintaining and adding feature to an engine that is rather old. Ton is wanting to replace the entire engine with something new so it doesn’t get stuck in the past the way the current engine is. He views the UPBGE project as a bunch of developers having fun on their own little bit of code. He has nothing against it (and indeed supports people having fun programming), but it does not align with his view for blender. He is willing to work with the UPBGE team, but only if they come across to his (as the BDFL of blender) view - to use as much of blender as possible, and have as little GE-specific code as possible. Yes, it is harder than continuing to upgrade the current GE, but in the long run - which is better? As an example: the UPBGE team are porting EEVEE’s shaders to BGE.'s renderer Ton would rather they use the EEVEE directly. [edit Jan 2018: Youle has created a branch of UPBGE that uses EEVEE directly]

How about logic brisks and visual programming.
Ton laughed at me asking about these. He mentioned that he programmed them initially in … 1996, and he looks at them as something useful at the time, but no longer sufficient for the job at hand. The good news is that he is does want to keep visual programming - his goal is to let the artists make interactive content. As such, things like nodes are not off the table, though he seemed (in my opinion) to be looking for an even better solution. We know there are issue with scalability of nodes for programming, and to me it seems he is trying to find a system that will allow higher levels of abstraction. I am keen to see what he comes up with.

Why have we seen no progress on the GE for 2.8 then?
I mean yes, the GE is there in 2.8 builds - but I couldn’t get it to do anything. And in Tons words, “it’s not the priority.” With a multithreaded depsgraph in the pipeline, and the EEVEE renderer nearing completion, and the rework of the scene and layers and engines system, that’s hardly surprising. It really shouldn’t be as these things that are being added in 2.8 are the features we will see in the new interactive engine. We will see multithreaded animation updates, we will see the EEVEE renderer inside the GE. So until those are “more complete” it isn’t surprising that the GE has been left alone somewhat for now.
Additionally, the BF needs someone to take care of the GE - to supervise it’s development full time. They need someone who can dedicate a year or so of development to ensuring that the GE meets the goals of the BF. Until this person appears, or someone currently working on other things becomes available (there is someone in mind), then the GE will likely stay much as it is now.

***So hopefully this will end some of the speculation about the GE’s future, in particular, this post counters the myths:

  • BGE is going to be removed - well, yes, but there will be a new interactive engine added when it is
  • UPBGE is the new BGE - no it’s not (though it is great to use while we wait for the new engine. I enjoy using UPBGE, so don’t stop guys!)

If you have any questions, you can ask in this thread and I will try to answer. Bear in mind we did not ask technical questions, so if you want to know “Will it support feature x?” - sorry, but I have no idea.

So, it seems nothing is changed in Ton’s opinion since 2016, when he first spoke about the “interactive engine”. Which I believe is the right direction for improvement of bge.

Speculation Warning: This does suggest (though it wasn’t asked) that the ability to export created games may or may not be a feature in the new GE…

I really hope we can find acceptable way of exporting the “interactive engine” to a “standalone”
So, what we’ve learned from this, is that BGE will stay in its current state for at least an year and if someone wants to use new features will have to use UPBGE.

Thanks sdfgeoff for this great report. It makes the things totally clear.

It is not really a surprise that Ton does not rapidly change his opinion on this kind of long lasting questions. That would be a devastating habit for anyone in such a position. He needs to have clear long term goals that are though through and can be executed accordingly with an advantage for the user base.
If you have a look at other topics like the dependency graph, he mentioned the advantages years ago and the project is still ongoing and the users are going to get the actual functionality in 2.8.

Referring to the other thread: Since there is always a lot of speculations going on, it may actually harm the user base, because there are many wrong speculations circulating. Even though Ton is usually rather precise in this statements, they tend to be ripped apart and misrepresented, which indeed may harm the users.

Thanks for the report !

How about logic brisks and visual programming.
Ton laughed at me asking about these. He mentioned that he programmed them initially in … 1996, and he looks at them as something useful at the time, but no longer sufficient for the job at hand.

Glad I wasn’t crazy :slight_smile:

I don’t know how to feel about the interactive mode although, and saying that Blender can’t have somewhat of a game engine competing with today’s professional solutions is a bit pessimistic, how did Blender as a 3D modeling software get to the level it is today relative to the other tools ? I think its a bit the same, we just need time (ok its been 20 years, but since the last few years good improvements are being made).

Making the GE more integrated with Blender is nice, but having the possibility to export the game will always be a benefit, if can be done. Now if nobody wants to take his time to implement such a feature I can also understand, with Open Source Software its about how much people are willing to contribute right ?

Ton: Remove the Game Engine?

  • сome on man, Ton is not an idiot:eyebrowlift2:. And if he turns his brains on even more, he will make a fast export to Android. And there will be a lot of happiness in our brother, as well as a lot of games-cubes (primitives) on Android, with the words - “Look, I have my cube on the phone:eek:”

Agreed. Thanks for taking the time to gather this info and to post this.

The ton guy seems smarter than most of the people I’ve spoken with on here, features features features and no emphasis on user friendliness or it being well integrated into the program itself. Too bad guys, Ton has spoken, they’ll develop an engine that is well integrated into blender with visual programming and they’re not going to compete with unreal engine or other AAA engines but rather focus on creating a tool artists can actually work with to create games or interactive content. He seems to realize the importance of allowing non programmers be able to use the tool, because in the right hands any tool can be used to create impressive stuff.

UPBGE should exist, and the GE that ton purposes and aromory and ue4 and panda etc.

in the end darwin should call it.

I personally want-
The current GE but able to invoke more threaded commands some of them calling BPY and use EEVEE and get ue4ish graphics

(upbge speed but with ability to generate meshes in game and save game meshes to a .blend or animations or???)

can 2.8 add objects / end object in a scene using keyframes?

(so we can record game engine and render later)??

UPBGE’s survival among multiple built-in engines would require an extremely good level of power in terms of features and usability (a bit more so than where it is today), as it will have a massive built-in disadvantage (from a professional perspective) that can’t be fixed (the GPL license). This would especially be so if the interactive engine is done like Cycles and gets a more permissive license.

Because of that, even if UPBGE became the replacement of choice, we’ll still see the unfortunate effect of many experienced game creators staying far away from it (just the thought of gamers buying their product and selling a re-skin with little effort will be enough).

so reskinning in unity is not a problem now then :expressionless:

GPL can be avoided for assets, and stories, actors, even gameplay systems can be copywritten and trademarked etc.

also - btw

if we can edit, and save meshes in the ge - the meshes can be used in ue4 or unity or panda etc :smiley:

You must be talking about the so-called “asset flips”, those games use models and components that were bought online and quickly put together to make a quick buck. Meanwhile, I have not seen any story of major Unity titles like Cities Skylines being broken into, re-skinned, and re-sold under a different name (if that happened, there would be a story about it on every major gaming site). Games from Unity and other engines must be broken into using hacking software to even get to where re-skinning can start (compared to BGE games which can’t use encryption because buyers must have full access to the source).

Also, your gameplay systems aren’t as free from the GPL as you think. This stemmed from a misunderstanding regarding the license terms with Blender game scripts and addons. If the scripts interface with Blender in any way, then they go under the terms of the GPL (the FAQ on the Blender website was corrected after this was found out). Your Wrectified scripts and algorithms as a result fall under those terms, so they can’t be trademarked and they can be used if someone replaced the models in that game and called it Break-N-Make or something.

Personally, I can’t imagine anything dumber than focusing on pre rendered scenes, hemorrhaging a huge part of your user-base (including educators) and disrespecting willing contributors. But to each their own.

1 Like

we can encrypt assets using bpplayer

and sell them on the market this way

hadmi does I believe right now,
the only thing is we must share our code(python)
which I do anyway ;D

Could you explain what you mean with that a little more in detail?

Attempting a render engine that isn’t “real time” enough for real time is incredibly stupid in 2018. It’s not complicated.

So, if I’m seeing reading it right, the codebase we refer to as the “Game Engine” is going to be “Repealed and Replaced” in the near future.

What looks like it will be replaced with, though, should be the biggest concern of all. The main part is this: Will we still be able to make “games,” with it: Like, you know, the games we all see in these forums? Yeah, the “interactive content”, I can see. But really: How certain will we be able to create BGMC’s with it?

A Tomato Jones?
A Dreamrider?
A skateboarding simulation?
A Racing Game?

If there was any proof that yes, we can still make them in the new engine, then sure, keep it up developers. If not… Apparently, the “Replace” part of “Repeal and Replace” is officially lost, and we all lose the “game making” functionality.

  • But to each their own…. Yes, of course, I say - Ton is an intelligent enough person who will not do stupid things … :smiley:

Last I’ve read, the legality of surrounding a GPL program with an unbreakable shell is up for debate (there’s the argument that you are breaking the license terms if you don’t ensure that the source is easily accessible).

With that and the fact that BPPlayer is from a user who’s coding it in his spare time, there’s no guarantee that it will be around 5 years from now and no guarantee that it can even be seen as a good solution.

the .block file that is encrypted is seperate and not under gpl

the source code to blenderplayer itself is gpl, I think only the decript system is not gpl. (shared memory space?)