Novadude987

Experiences With The Gamebryo Engine?

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I was recently investigating potential game engines the other day when I stumbled upon the Gamebryo engine. Videos and tutorials of this game engine were very scarce and it prompted me to post this topic. Is Gamebryo outdated or is it a good game engine? If it is a decent game engine, how does their pricing work? Any responses are appreciated.

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On 11/10/2017 at 4:57 PM, Novadude987 said:

I was recently investigating potential game engines the other day when I stumbled upon the Gamebryo engine. Videos and tutorials of this game engine were very scarce and it prompted me to post this topic. Is Gamebryo outdated or is it a good game engine? If it is a decent game engine, how does their pricing work? Any responses are appreciated.

Is there a reason you would like to use Gamebryo? To be honest, I would be using either Unity or Unreal due to the popularity and mass resources. They also offer better terms for licenses which is extremely important and often overlooked by many new developers looking to release games commercially in future. From what I remember Gamebryo doesn't list terms publicly, and you have to contact them to build that package.

Unreal has by far the best deal to date in terms of AAA engine with a very reasonable license fee of 5% of gross revenue after the first $3,000 USD per product per calendar quarter.

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I used it a decade ago and it was a competent choice back then. Also back then you used to pay half a million dollars to license a game engine though, so it was quite a different market...

Any site like that that has an evaluation form and a "sales@" email address typically isn't going to be "indie affordable"/cheap like the mass-market engines such as Unity/Unreal (or the open-source ones like Godot!). If they're paying sales people to personally handle every prospective customer, they're probably not looking for people who aren't serious about throwing down a huge chunk of cash... But you can always email them for an evaluation and see :)

3 hours ago, Rutin said:

Unreal has by far the best deal to date in terms of AAA engine with very reasonable license fee of 5% of gross revenue after the first $3,000 USD per product per calendar quarter.

If you're planning on making a game that pays you a normal salary (not a hobby / free time game), this actually works out to cost you about double what a Unity pro subscription for each of your team members would. It's not as cheap as it initially looks. Also for a AAA game with a $10M budget, they'd probably end up paying at least $700k in licensing, which is crazy, so they'd definitely negotiate for a better deal than that.

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1 minute ago, Hodgman said:

If you're planning on making a game that pays you a normal salary (not a hobby / free time game), this actually works out to cost you about double what a Unity pro subscription for each of your team members would. It's not as cheap as it initially looks. Also for a AAA game with a $10M budget, they'd probably end up paying at least $700k in licensing, which is crazy, so they'd definitely negotiate for a better deal than that.

The price is cheaper when considering unit sales of average indie games. I personally look at this in terms of hobbyist sales. Assuming a high 3000 unit sales per year at $4.99 is $3742.50 USD per quarter equaling $148.50 USD per year less the $3000. Or with Unity Plus per seat each year is $395.00 USD, or Pro at $1500 USD per seat each year. Unreal would be your best choice in this scenario for a one or very small studio.

If you're considering a much bigger sales count of $30,000,000.00 USD, yes Unreal will cost you way more at $1,499,400.00 USD per year, but I doubt the OP will be bringing in those numbers, and my comment is geared towards beginners trying to sell their games, I doubt even sales of 3000 units for any unknown studio without a decent marketing budget and strategy in place would happen.

I also don't consider Unreal and Unity in the same class of engines in terms of out of the box features. Unity has come along way and is still making ground, but it's not on par with Unreal yet in its entirety. I do agree without a doubt that Unreal will cost a lot more with larger revenues, but I don't see this as an issue with any beginner game developers releasing indie games.

Big brand studios usually have different packages in place besides what we see as a flat 5% due to predicted revenue, and a successful track record of sales that guarantees Epic Games a big commission if they close a deal for that studio to use their engine.

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1 minute ago, Hodgman said:

Yeah that's why I said "normal salary" - $15kpa is nowhere close a normal salary. It's a very profitable hobby though :)

I would be like a little kid at Christmas to make $15k per year back when I started game development! Regardless of his choice, everyone has to consider the true cost of fees before going commercial and yes I agree that beyond the norms Unreal will scale higher, that's how they get you by the small number as the entry. :) Then you have to account for additional royalties depending if you release the game on Steam or other platforms that may charge x% per sale, ect...

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49 minutes ago, Rutin said:

I would be like a little kid at Christmas to make $15k per year back when I started game development! 

$15kpa for a full time job is about $7.50 to $8.60 per hour, which is so low as to be highly illegal where I live ;) We're talking before tax here too... but here, it's also below the taxation threshold so the government won't bother even taxing you because you're too poor to survive already.

Personally, if you're at the point where you'd be excited to work full time for half of minimum wage, you shouldn't also be trying to run a money-making business at the same time. When I started out, we didn't have every single newbie gamedev downloading Unreal for free and unsuccessfully trying to sell their beginner-level games for money. It's a lot easier to make a learning project when you simply don't involve money at all. You should just focus on increasing your gamedev skills to the point where you can get hired by a legit/professional gamedev company, start building your career, and then continue to improve your skills at an exponential rate because you're now spending every day surrounded by experienced professional gamedevs. You can also put a chunk of your "normal salary" that you have now into a savings account, so once you're at the point in your career that you've out-grown these companies and want to start your own legitimately, you've got the capital to do so without starving to death.

49 minutes ago, Rutin said:

Then you have to account for additional royalties depending if you release the game on Steam or other platforms that may charge x% per sale, ect...

Yeah I was taking that into account. Most digital stores take 30% of gross, and the fact that Unreal takes royalties on gross earnings is what makes it misleading - that 5% gross can easily become 10% net.

It's interesting to look at the numbers from the perspective of a yuppie (that's a "young urban professional" for you young folk!) though. Let's say they live in a big US city, maybe LA, have worked as a programmer, but want to quit their job and become an indie game developer!

Spoiler

A typical gamedev salary in the USA is $80k/year. At a typical start-up it's more like $120k, but that's straying. Let's say you set the bar low and are happy at half your old programmer's salary though, which comes to around $40k (which may sound like a lot if you're not in the workforce, but if you live in a big city, it doesn't go far)... Each year you then need to sell $40k / 70% = ~$57k at retail, so that you'll end up getting your $40k after the middleman takes their slice. For simplicity let's say you release one game a year, it makes all of it's sales in one quarter right after release, and that you make exactly the amount of sales that you required to meet your target of $57k. Unreal takes (40k/70%-3k)*5% = ~$2700. If you then pay 25% income tax, you're left with just ~$28k, which is about half of what you made gross! It will also probably just pay your rent in LA (with no money left for food, electricity, transport, etc... so you quickly go back to your old job before you become homelesss). This also means that Unreal takes about 10% of your actual earnings :|

Personally, I'd say that if these numbers sound like a large amount of money to you, then you're a hobbyist... in which case Unreal's licensing is an amazingly great deal for you :D Never before has so much great games tech been freely available to everyone like this!

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3 hours ago, Hodgman said:

$15kpa for a full time job is about $7.50 to $8.60 per hour, which is so low as to be highly illegal where I live ;) We're talking before tax here too... but here, it's also below the taxation threshold so the government won't bother even taxing you because you're too poor to survive already.

Personally, if you're at the point where you'd be excited to work full time for half of minimum wage, you shouldn't also be trying to run a money-making business at the same time. When I started out, we didn't have every single newbie gamedev downloading Unreal for free and unsuccessfully trying to sell their beginner-level games for money. It's a lot easier to make a learning project when you simply don't involve money at all. You should just focus on increasing your gamedev skills to the point where you can get hired by a legit/professional gamedev company, start building your career, and then continue to improve your skills at an exponential rate because you're now spending every day surrounded by experienced professional gamedevs. You can also put a chunk of your "normal salary" that you have now into a savings account, so once you're at the point in your career that you've out-grown these companies and want to start your own legitimately, you've got the capital to do so without starving to death.

Yeah I was taking that into account. Most digital stores take 30% of gross, and the fact that Unreal takes royalties on gross earnings is what makes it misleading - that 5% gross can easily become 10% net.

It's interesting to look at the numbers from the perspective of a yuppie (that's a "young urban professional" for you young folk!) though. Let's say they live in a big US city, maybe LA, have worked as a programmer, but want to quit their job and become an indie game developer!

  Reveal hidden contents

A typical gamedev salary in the USA is $80k/year. At a typical start-up it's more like $120k, but that's straying. Let's say you set the bar low and are happy at half your old programmer's salary though, which comes to around $40k (which may sound like a lot if you're not in the workforce, but if you live in a big city, it doesn't go far)... Each year you then need to sell $40k / 70% = ~$57k at retail, so that you'll end up getting your $40k after the middleman takes their slice. For simplicity let's say you release one game a year, it makes all of it's sales in one quarter right after release, and that you make exactly the amount of sales that you required to meet your target of $57k. Unreal takes (40k/70%-3k)*5% = ~$2700. If you then pay 25% income tax, you're left with just ~$28k, which is about half of what you made gross! It will also probably just pay your rent in LA (with no money left for food, electricity, transport, etc... so you quickly go back to your old job before you become homelesss). This also means that Unreal takes about 10% of your actual earnings :|

Personally, I'd say that if these numbers sound like a large amount of money to you, then you're a hobbyist... in which case Unreal's licensing is an amazingly great deal for you :D Never before has so much great games tech been freely available to everyone like this!

It's all interesting stuff to think about. 15 years ago when I started I was forced to use very non-user friendly engines. Now I use in house engines that have no restrictions on the revenue side. I think most people posting in the beginner forums are going to fall under that hobbyist category, and would be more than happy if even have 100 people buy their game within a one year period. I would have been happy back then to use either Unity or Unreal at the time considering the cost for a mainstream engine.

If someone is looking at doing this full time in a grand scale, you of course need to account for all the true costs including taxes on taxable income, operating expenses, professional fees, advertising, along side engine costs, ect... I run a few businesses, and structure my pricing appropriately to account for all these costs, including being able to have enough meat left over to cut dividend checks out of my corporations, otherwise you're just in business at no real long term gain. People need to consider game development as their business if they wish to make a long term plan in generating a revenue to live on, and that takes a lot of risk, time, and financial commitment that stems beyond a hobbyist mentality.

Yes, 15 years ago I did this on the side for fun, so yes I would be happy to make 15k in that one year. Anyone that has ever ran a successful business knows that the chances of being out of the red zone for the first few years is very low. Most people who have been employees their whole working career cannot relate by experience, only theory. I was making below minimum wage when I first started my first company because I didn't even take a salary, and now I don't even worry. This is coming from experience, and anyone who starts a business expecting to make their full-time salary within the next years following their open date are in the wrong line of work. You're going to put in hundreds of days of work without seeing a nickle, and most likely investing personal funds or credit to get a company working, this is how the real world works in business.

I see your sarcasm, and that's fine. Unreal is still the better option for a hobbyist developer and I'm sticking to it.

Edited by Rutin

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7 hours ago, Rutin said:

I see your sarcasm, and that's fine.

That wasn't sarcasm :D

 Unreal is an unbelievably great deal for hobbyists. When UE4 picked this strategy (and undercut pretty much the whole engine licensing industry), it completely shook the foundations of gamedev.

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At this point I just want to add that with Unreal you can have a custom license and you can switch to one at any time. The custom license allows you to remove all royalties.

The custom license is flexible and you negotiate with Unreal for it so you could even just lower the royalties if you wanted. The custom license is per person so if your a business you could arrange for a single lump sum.

A custom Unreal license also has other benefits as better customer support from Unreal and access to Unreal development network, access to the Unreal development branches and code that other users have to wait for.

Then there is the fact that by contacting Unreal for a Custom license could theoretically boost the chances of gaining a Unreal developer grant.

 

I don't know what the actual cost of a lump sum payment could be, I talked to a developer on a Unreal team and he mentioned $300 000 although I think that was for all the employees on the team. I do know that the cost changes on the game and company and that you can get a custom license from the start, if your willing to pay a large sum for it.

 

The good news is the part where you can switch the license at any time, this means that after your games start to earn real money you can just switch to the custom license.

Lets face it, there is no way a game like Battlegrounds would still be paying royalties.

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Thank you all very much for your replies. It was always my intention to go with Unity 5, then possibly Unreal 4 later, but I was just researching my options and happened across it. I will be honest I was considering getting in touch with Gamebryo but after you guys' helpful comments I think I will stay loyal to Unity. You guys are the best!

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