Unity has blocked SpatialOS - What's up and what it means for us


  • DymStudios - CEO

    Hi everyone,

    as some of you may know already, some totally unexpected (and very bad) news broke out today: the Unity’s block of SpatialOS.


    The article I've just linked explains everything in detail, but in a nutshell:

    • In December, Unity updated its TOS adding a new paragraph - 2.4, which you can find here.
    • The paragraph is (IMHO) badly worded and open to interpretation, but it seems to make the use of Unity as a server forbidden. Mind, we're not talking about having a Unity client connect to a generic server - that's still fine. What's now forbidden is to have a server that uses Unity processes to simulate the world - like what SpatialOS does.
    • The change went either unnoticed or wasn't anyway given the proper interpretation until today, when, completely out of the blue, Unity revoked Improbable's licence for breaking the new TOS.

    Mind, this doesn't affect Fractured only. Fractured is not the only game developed with Unity + SpatialOS, and Improbable is not the only service allowing using Unity as a server. I don't know how many projects either released or in the making have been totally screwed overnight by a one-directional, entirely unannounced decision by Unity, but it's certainly many.

    In fact, their decision affects even very small studios and individual developers who might be self-hosting a Unity server!


    What does it mean for Fractured in the short run:

    • Development-wise, nothing, we keep working towards Alpha 1 as usual.
    • Testing-wise, we're taking our Pre-Alpha servers down until further notice
    • There might be some delays in the testing schedule, but nothing dramatic.

    In the long run, we're confident the people at Unity will understand the move they made goes against their own interest and decide to retrace their steps. Considering the news has broke on mainstream media too, we're fairly sure it might even get resolved in a matter of days.

    In the meantime, we'll keep touching base with the press, put pressure on Unity, and keep you up to date on any development.

    Thank you all for your understanding.

    Jacopo


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    fingers crossed


  • TF#7 - AMBASSADOR

    I am shocked that they would do this. There have been multiple projects over the years announcing that they would use the same or similar solutions that likely won't be able to now. What?!

    I hope you guys can figure something out nice and quick. Out of curiosity are there any other engines you could consider using? I'm aware that would cause massive delays, but in a worst case scenario is that at least possible? 😞


  • TF#7 - AMBASSADOR

    From the mainstream media article:

    The key change in the terms of service appeared to be a new block from Unity on using its engine for cloud gaming services that do not have specific authorisation. Narula speculated that the change, and subsequent block was “probably either an accident or a negotiating tactic” on the part of Unity. “We’re waiting for someone in the west coast to wake up and make some ransom demands, basically.”

    Obvious interpretation: They realize the value that can be delivered through using Unity as a server in this way, and want to update their existing licence agreements to extract more value (fair). But instead of being upfront about it, they're deciding to be assholes to set up a stronger negotiating position (dickish).

    Worse interpretation: They realize the value that can be delivered through using Unity as a server in this way, and they're planning to develop their own Unity-as-a-server platform in place of SpatialOS, so they're blocking any possible competitors from using their own technology before announcing their own product.

    Or it could be something else entirely. What do I know? 😅

    Fingers crossed guys! Hope this gets resolved with an updated licensing agreement sometime soon.


  • TF#8 - GENERAL AMBASSADOR

    Keep it up and do your best


  • TF#7 - AMBASSADOR

    Getting robbed of the very foundation you are working with overnight. That's very mean. Or bad thought through.

    I hope this get resolved soon without major issues on your side.


  • TF#6 - DIPLOMAT

    Wow that's an unfortunate event... Hope it gets solved soon.


  • TF#3 - ENVOY

    Itll work out eventually


  • TF#3 - ENVOY

    @prometheus Sorry you guys have to deal with this B.S. Hoping for a quick resolution soon. Fingers crossed.


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    That confirmed all the bad behaviours of gaming industry.

    A cause more to be proud to support a small studio for their great idea! ☝


  • TF#4 - EMISSARY

    This is disappointing news. Although, I'm sure it's only a bump in the road 🤞 . Keep up the good work.


  • TF#7 - AMBASSADOR

    Trying to bring as much awareness as I can to this in my gaming circles. Hoping that if enough attention is brought to this issue the developers of the Unity engine will re-evaluate their decision all that much faster.

    If they don't.. there's other reasonably-ish priced engines such as UE4. They've got SpatialOS support far as I can tell. They aren't exactly geared for an MMO out of the box, but the engine is quite robust in theory. Having the potential to work in a player dense online title. Could be worth poking around in to gauge the viability of it. Never hurts to have a backup plan, yeah?

    Arguably it is even easier to work with than Unity in my opinion. This is of course not accounting for the legwork needed to make it function for large scale online only enviornments.. but yeah. It's something.

    Relevant links:
    https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/spatialos-gdk-for-unreal-now-available

    https://docs.improbable.io/reference/12.0/unrealsdk/introduction


  • TF#7 - AMBASSADOR

    Wow.

    So of course the one MMO with reasonably planned out development plan has its core library sweeped out from under their feet.

    Hopefully that will turn out to be a temporary obstacle. I wish all the devs best of luck!


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    Unfortunately it is not news that someone would like to hear but we all knew that there would be some obstacles in the race for the fractured and there will be more in the future but we will all continue to support this incredible game and waiting for good news.✌


  • TF#9 - FIRST AMBASSADOR

    Well not the first time vague terminology has screwed over the gaming world and it certainly won't be the last, let's hope they rectify stuff fast so we can all be worry-less just as fast hm?


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    Let's hope that it will get resolved fast ✌


  • TF#3 - ENVOY

    @Prometheus Don´t loose morale!! We belive in you and support you! You guys made me dream about a reeeally cool game like i havn´t seen in quite a while. Obstacles may come you just got to find a way around it! no matter how big and intimidating it may be, there´s aways a way!

    Keep up the hard work!


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    Could Improbable make a twitch/youtube stream about it to push some type of social media campaign?


  • TF#7 - AMBASSADOR

    @daegalus Almost looks like their was a dispute and they didn't come to an agreement on it. So now both are out to make the other look bad. Probably a weird power move from potentially both sides hoping to get a better deal or something crazy like that?

    That or one party involved did something dumb and now we are getting to watch them both go at it like children on the playground. Bleh.

    I don't know. I hope I'm wrong on both my crazy guesses.


 

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