I Novae engine as a Service?

#1

Hey @INovaeKeith,

This is just a thought but with the radical success of Unreal Engine 4 Engine Subscription and Soon Cryteks EaaS (Engine as a service)…

  1. Clean up the I Novae Engine UI, polish the tool set up and provide documentation for developers.
  2. Charge 5% gross revenue for using the I-novae engine commercially (or Something Similar to that effect) and charge more upfront for the source code licenses with no royalty.
  3. Develop and Release an Asset store where people can upload art assets and code assets for the I-Novae engine.
  4. Release the I-Novae Engine to the public.

You could charge 20 dollars USD for the service. I would pay this happily on a per month basis. You could do this also pre-kickstarter to gather momentum for battlescape and its kickstarter and a way to draw in more people to these forums and get to follow you on twitter/Facebook pre-kickstarter. This also could supplement your companies income before you go to kickstarter. You do not need to provide source code access for indies or anything like that. Just give us a programming language we know like C# and some documentation and we are good.

Thank you for your time,

  • Ben
#2

This is something I have been thinking about heavily over the last month or so. Obviously any situation where we can begin generating revenue would be a super big deal for us and would decrease the amount of time you all would have to wait for progress on both the tech and our games however there are some concerns on our end:

We have no documentation and our tools are very rough at the moment. All you can really do at the moment (via tools) is create materials and meshes. We (currently) have no animation system, no scene editor, no planet editor, and no particle editor though the engine itself supports all of that except animations. We also have no documentation whatsoever.

This wouldn’t be an issue however full source licenses are much more of a tricky subject for us. The reason Epic can offer source code is because they are such a dominant force in the industry and they have a ton of money + talent. Our core differentiator is our planet tech. If somebody with more resources then us copies our planet tech that puts us in a pretty rough situation. For that reason we’re quite particular about who we give access to the source code at the moment.

This is our plan however we don’t currently have the resources to build this.

This has been the idea all along.

Given the immature nature of our tools and the (current) lack of animation support in the engine I don’t know if I would be comfortable charging $20 a month - particularly when you wouldn’t get full source code. That being said we do have a bit of a chicken and egg problem. People want to use our tech to build games/whatever (we get emails every week), we really want to be able to let them do that, however we desperately need revenue to get the tech to a point where it’s mature enough to let them accomplish their goals without us providing significant support.

The idea that we have been discussing internally was adding an engine access pledge tier to our Kickstarter for people who want early access to the tech. We’d also release a Wiki so that our community could help us write the engine documentation as we all go along together.

Perhaps a middle ground would be charging $7 a month for early access and for those of you who sign up within the first week we could offer a discount locked-in price of $5 a month for 2 years or some other bonus. I’m open to suggestions. We really want to bring our tech to market both for all of you to use and to build the games we want to build so we’re definitely interested in hearing from all of you about the best way to do that.

3 Likes
#3

Hey @INovaeKeith - I would pay seven dollars a month for early access most certainly just to help you guys develop your tech. I really do not need full source code access it would be nice however not necessary. Shader access on the other hand would be needed.

Just give me an IDE, some core tools and I will be set - Hell if you did this I would do some publicity stuff for you guys!

Just make sure that the tools are stable. That is all I ask if you do this :smile:

Thank you for considering this,

  • Ben
#4

@INovaeKeith - Would it be OK if I posted this on some other forums to draw some more people in to give feedback?

Just curious :smile:

  • Ben
#5

Yeah go ahead and post it wherever you want. You would definitely have access to the shaders however in the case of materials it would probably be easier just to use our built-in shader generation.

#6

Alright sounds good!

I will report back soon :smile:

#7

Go ahead and spam some sites for me.

  • Ben
#8

My opinion is that you’re relaying on a now obsolete business model. Epic’s source code release is a game changer that will screw a lot of other small engine distributors, especially the ones omitting support to indies by providing SDKs only or source access at outraged (for common individual) prices.
 
While Epic’s terms are not ideal, they are reasonable. One thing most people didn’t yet realize and other engine distributors don’t want to mention is, that by making a source code accessible to virtually anyone, they solved the biggest issue their engine had, and that’s generic restrictions. Udk was mainly a FPS engine, while it was possible to use it for other types of games, one was limited to working from a top layer, so, it was near wise impossible to address MMO networking, endless worlds or any other different genre specific things without paying a large sum to obtain the source. Now anyone can grab the engine, and any competent programmer can easily wait few months so engine becomes stable, then grab it and implement procedural world generation algorithms along with endless worlds etc…while it wouldn’t be an easy task, it would surely be a sane one as after one would do it, he would have everything else already there - toolset, rendering engine, I/O, networking etc.
 
Reason I’m saying this is, that if you’re worrying about someone having more resources and grabbing your planet tech algorithms while leaving you in dark is a waste of your energy. A competent developer only needs 20 bucks and few a couple of months to get familiar with engine and apply procedural world and infinite streaming stuff since there’s bunch of code and tutorials of various level on the internet doing/explaining exactly that, and while not exactly the same, a surely more feature (engine & toolset) complete product. I am sure it’s just a matter of time, before someone will create a space sandbox, mmo or alike add-on for UE, same like in Unity but with a difference that this time, it’s going to work on a baseline without any hacks and poor man’s solutions. From there on, only work for any indie is on a game-logical aspect and content creation. Market is saturated with aspiring, gifted content artists and developers dying to test them self in a game creation process as long as they agree with the project’s vision.
 
Bottom line is, how will you respond to this?
You’re currently stuck in development hell, you can’t go further and you can’t go back. If you take the Epic’s way, you’ll at start earn a pocket change with subscriptions and maybe even enrich as well as develop further your engine with communities help and as final, hope for real money to start poring in with royalties. Or, you can stick to current business model and maybe in a semi-reasonable time produce something.
 
You can be ambitious and aim for the stars and try to become a de-facto indie engine for space based games. In that case you need to have a solid plan, one that acknowledges new circumstances and adjusts to them. Or, well keep the status quo and hope you wont fall behind by more ambitious competitors, which would be a shame considering the potential.

#9

You’re absolutely correct that Epic’s source code release is a game changer and it does screw most (all?) other small engine distributors. That being said it should be noted that everybody who’s getting screwed has built more or less the same product as Epic. Our core differentiator is our planet tech.

While their announcement makes things complicated for us in terms of licensing our technology I think you are dramatically underestimating the amount of work that it would take to integrate our planetary tech into UE4. Is it possible? Absolutely and it’s certainly something I have thought about since their announcement. However one of the core problems is that our planet engine would require such far reaching changes that we would have to actively maintain a forked version of the engine. Since the changes would be more significant than what is usually required of an Unreal Integrated Partner, i.e. it would be a fork of the entire engine and not just a plugin, Epic would probably end up owning our forked engine unless we worked out some kind of deal with them.

Epic’s offer is certainly compelling and full access to source code is certainly a big deal however, after evaluating the situation, we continue to believe that our technology is unique enough to continue on our present course. If you want to build a traditional game then absolutely UE4, Unity, or CryEngine is probably your best choice to go with at the moment. If you want planets, solar systems, and galaxies your best option is still to go with us and for that reason I believe that, while we can’t charge the same prices as Epic, there are good reasons to keep our product closed source and we will continue to do so until that calculus changes.

#10

@INovaeKeith - Just thought I would give my 2 Cents on this whole source code versus no source code.
Your planet streaming tech in very important to you I can tell. Why not do a partial Source code license?
Give us access to everything except the planet streaming tech source. Essentially partial source code.

So with the partial source code license here is what you get -

  1. You keep your planet streaming tech proprietary and Closed Source.
  2. You get commits for new features and the like.
  3. You start to get royalties and some income for your company.
  4. You get to showcase your engine with other peoples games as well as your own.
  5. You get to further develop your engine.

Anyway - Just my 2 Cents.

#11

I think we to some extend misunderstood each other as I wasn’t clear enough, sorry about that. I was not trying to advocate a migration to UE as that’s as you said, a complete waste of all your effort as well as against their license, or anyone’s common sense really.

What I was trying to portray to you, is how from my perspective things currently stand with relation to your current business model. While I did intentionally down played the unique/specific features of your engine as well as the effort required to pull it of, I did so because I didn’t want to prolong a already long post and most of all, stray from key points I was trying to pass.

To put it simply, I’m not downplaying enormous effort you all put in the engine, but reality is that a add-on developer only needs to solve the basic needs, like level streaming, procedural algorithms and simply pass this to indie, so by the time indie gets the engine, they’ve cut their work immensely since everything you have yet to solve, like art pipe, rendering, I/O, animations and as you already know yourself, basically crap load of things, are already there. So in that sense, it’s not really hard to focus on unique stuff like solar system, floating point issues and other stuff because that’s pretty much all one has to do really - and yes, that’s barely scratching the surface, but just to relay the point.

I like to believe I’m a rational person and as such, I do believe that a product doing only one thing will always, as long as it’s done right, outperform in that thing any other product that’s generic and tries to address more things at once. Problem with this specific situation is that you’re severely overwhelmed by a project and maybe not even half way through. Your current license makes sense but sadly due lack of man power you’re risking to fall behind to the point, it will simply be too late. Basically you’re risking to arrive single on a party where everyone has already hooked up - figure of speech.

To sum it up, what I was trying to say is, that a path Epic picked may work for you as well. It would solve your lack of man power as well as basically with some luck, speed up your process while at the same time also generate some income for you…sure a pocket change at start, but then again getting rid of bugs and enriching the engine is a salary itself as well as it brings you much closer to final product, where if you choose, start making real money with royalties or some other scheme. And so there’s no confusion, I’m talking about engine, not game. Game is something you market, deal with etc…that’s a completely different thing and in essence, it targets a completely different crowd (players).

Anyway, that’s really just my view on it. I’m sure there are many other angles, but looking at current state and with that little overview I have, I think it’s a sane conclusion. Or I just don’t see the big picture and am completely missing the point, which wouldn’t be the first either.

#12

You make perfectly valid points however at this juncture I don’t think it makes sense for us to try and fork UE4. The most important thing for us and for our tech is to launch a successful KS and then ship a successful game. That’s our primary focus right now - not spending another year trying to figure out how to integrate into UE4.

@headclot88 I don’t think it would be possible for us to do a partial open sourcing as most of our engine is heavily intertwined with our planetary tech - really the whole engine is built around that capability. Judging by the lack of activity on this thread I don’t think releasing a public SDK, be it open source or not, would generate much revenue for us. The road to success for us is shipping a product and while we want to provide a public SDK at some point our entire focus at the moment is on making Infinity: Battlescape successful.

1 Like
#13

He’s not telling you to integrate UE4.

What he’s suggesting is to corner the market on procedural engines, like Unreal did with FPS/3PS engines with UE, and Unity did with indie engines with, well, Unity.

I think. A tl:dr would have been nice.

Personally, I think that’s not a bad idea, but you guys should get Battlescape out first. That’s a more predictable income source and would make a great demo for the engine either way.

#14

We’re doing our best to corner the market on procedural engines but as you suggest our first objective is to ship a successful game =)

2 Likes
#15

Doing one will compliment the other, methinks.

1 Like
#16

Doing my best to help Keith.

KS $85. package - hope to share your adventure and upcoming joy this year 2016.
Warmest regards … Blues

:sunglasses: