Terraria devs donate $200k to open-source engines after Unity snafu

Unity might be facing the ire that comes with a near-universal condemnation of a new policy change, but at least things are looking up for two open-source game engines.

On Tuesday, the developers of Terraria announced that their team plans to donate $200,000 to two open-source game development engines: Godot and FNA. This announcement follows one made on Sep. 12 by the widely used game engine, Unity, regarding a change in its pricing policy that sparked outcry from game developers.

“We unequivocally condemn and reject the recent TOS/fee changes proposed by Unity and the underhanded way they were rolled out,” Terraria developer Re:Logic said via X on Wednesday. “The flippant manner with which years of trust cultivated by Unity were cast aside for yet another way to squeeze publishers, studios, and gamers is the saddest part. That this move was wholly unnecessary pushes things into the tragedy category — a cautionary tale the industry will not soon forget.”

Unity is a well-known game engine used by AAA and indie studios alike. Popular games like Pokémon Go, Hollow Knight, Rust, and Hearthstone, among countless others, use Unity. On Sept. 12, the company announced a pricing policy change that would tie fees to game installs and to instances of the Unity Runtime code booted up on a player’s device. This would be in contrast to developers paying royalty percentages based on their revenue (as with Unreal Engine, for example). The change was seemingly universally condemned by game developers, including Re:Logic. Terraria doesn’t run on Unity except for a few elements on mobile and console platforms.

Since the original announcement, Unity has said that the company will change the new pricing policy. The company has not announced details on a new pricing plan, but said on Monday that it would release details in a “couple of days.” For many developers, though, the damage has been done.

Re:Logic took the opportunity to voice the need for more accessible game engines: “We do not feel that a simple public statement is sufficient. Even if Unity were to recant their policies and statements, the destruction of trust is not so easily repaired. We strongly feel that it is now equally important to get behind some of the other up-and-coming open source game engines.”

As a result, Re:Logic decided to donate $100,000 each to two open-source engines. FNA, a game engine that repurposes Microsoft XNA Game Studio 4.0 Refresh libraries, will get $100,000, and so will another open-source engine called Godot. On top of that, the studio plans to donate $1,000 a month to each studio moving forward, so as to support their ongoing work.

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