As of a few minutes ago I am now officially licensed as a developer to use Torque 3D Professional. Swivelgames really stepped up to the plate with this one, contributing the funds to cover both my license and his own. Before I talk about what this means for you as users, and as modders of FreeBuild, I'd like to also give a really hearty round of applause to Eric Preisz and the rest of the crew at GarageGames. As some of you might be aware, the normal licensing model for T3D is incompatible with the style of modding we all know and love from the Torque Game Engine and requires that the script sources for a game be closed, and that developers not distribute the editor tools for the game. Since FreeBuild is supposed to be a free and open experience for both players and modders, I felt it would be a betrayal of you as a community to upgrade to T3D under such an agreement (as much as I was envious of the modern technology available to licensees of T3D). Eric (the CEO of GarageGames) worked with me to create an alternate version of the license which would be more compatible with my goals for community involvement. This process involved tremendous dialog spanning the course of almost a month and a half, and standing on this end of it all, I am very pleased with the way in which everything turned out, and I think you will be too.
What it All Means (For Modders) :: Under the new licensing scheme I will be allowed to openly distribute the source code to FreeBuild, or any other project which I undertake, as long as the game remains free.
:: Users will be allowed to modify the scripted source code to change their game play experience, or even to create new games as long as they also maintain open sources and keep their game free as well.
:: I am allowed to distribute the Demo version of the Torque level editors, but not the full versions (which are only available to licensees of GarageGames). The demo version of the editors allow you to edit maps, but place a limit on the number of objects you can place in the scene. Given that most of our maps have traditional been a very few number of objects (terrain, interiors, skybox), this shouldn't be a problem for most of you.
:: From a legal/licensing perspective it sounds like total conversion mods would be allowed under this scheme (if you can work within the constraints of the demo editor), but Eric expressed concern that this would encourage freeloading off the licensing scheme. As a measure of good faith towards GarageGames, I would ask that if you are planning a total conversion mod of some sort, you speak with me first, as I would like to look into sources of funding to provide licenses for budding game developers within our community.
What it All Means (For Players) The system requirements for T3D are higher than in TGE, though not at all high compared to most modern games. Some of you have expressed concern that your older hardware will be unable to perform to the level required by the new engine. Rather than giving up on FreeBuild, I ask that you work with me to bring a reasonable game play experience to others with the same sorts of hardware. Unlike a big game studio, I'm looking to cater to an existing community, not to make profit by selling eye candy, so I am more than willing to look into the specific problems you may be having with your machine (particularly machines with older Intel graphics cards).
I think that's all for now, but if you have questions or comments, please post them in the attached thread. Lets give one last round of applause to Swivel, Eric Preisz, and the GarageGames crew.