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W4 Games formed to strengthen Godot ecosystem

hesdeadjim

By forming a company they can finally provide “official” (though guarded by NDA) console support for Godot. This is by far my biggest issue with the engine and why it’s a complete non-starter for any serious game development.

It also means they could provide paid support when Bad Stuff happens with the engine. For a similar reason I have enterprise support with Unity, and it’s been worth it’s weight in gold.

Kyrio

One of the creators of Godot, Ariel Manzur, already has a company that provides signed developers access to NDA'd console ports of the engine. It's not official in any capacity, and isn't advertised by Godot more than the other companies that offer the same services (Pineapple Works, gotm.io, etc.)

I assume it's going to be the same if W4 ever moves into porting.

JoeyJoJoJr

I wish these companies would provide more information on the path to exporting for console. I know there are NDAs, but even for smaller libraries like Monogame and Heaps they at least mention that you can access a repo to do console builds. For the Godot path I was under the impression that you need utilise these companies as a publisher in order the build for console, which opens up a whole host of unknowns at the outset of the project.

Kyrio

Indeed, these are for-profit companies who will handle the porting job or assist you in it (they're not all publishers, mind). They could be more transparent, I agree, but as they want to sell a service, public documentation is probably not their priority. That would be the Godot project's role, except as they explained in a recent blog post [1], as a free software and entirely public project (not a company), they couldn't work on console-specific code let alone host it or document it. It could be done in private by volunteers, but it hasn't been the case so far, only for-profit companies did it - likely because of how complex it is, and how tricky working with console manufacturers is.

So the state of Godot on console is out of Godot's hands, and that's why there is no documentation on it right now. But that might change with a company focused on bridging the gap between Godot and console manufacturers, which one of the W4 founders is alluding to [2].

[1] https://godotengine.org/article/godot-consoles-all-you-need-...

[2] https://twitter.com/reduzio/status/1556931546665422851

echelon

This is all so smart. Commercial support and premium features are huge.

Over time Godot will eat into both Unity and Unreal. No indie developer will want to hitch themselves to these locked down commercial engines. Only big gaming firms will do it, because they want the support and maturity. Or niche businesses, such as ArchViz. They have teams to do license negotiation.

For indie devs, this is the first time you can "own your entire codebase" while including a technically capable and sophisticated engine that wasn't written in-house. This gives them free reign over how to distribute their games and code. They can even give their players full access to the code itself, which is a game changer for preservation and modding.

As Unity and Unreal mindshare drains, Godot will pick up serious steam. An entire ecosystem will form. Godot will catch up, feature for feature.

Epic Games is currently chasing {games, film, archviz, automotive, Geo/GIS, etc.} with Unreal Engine, meanwhile small and nimble startups will leverage open source Godot to fully throw themselves at each of those markets. They'll do a better job than Epic could ever do with their divided attention.

Godot is going to change the future of several industries. It may slay the game engine giants.

Google, Amazon, and Apple will begin contributing to Godot. If the writing isn't on the wall for Unity and Unreal by that time, FAANG support will make it crystal clear.

W4 Games needs to make sure it protects itself from AWS Luna, Google Stadia, etc. so that it can set terms for those platforms favorably in the future. That way it can continue making money from building up this incredible platform.

DeathArrow

>As Unity and Unreal mindshare drains, Godot will pick up serious steam.

Any reason to think Unity and Unreal mindshare drains?

echelon

New game developers picking up things for the first time will hear about Godot's advantages and choose it over Unity and Unreal, since it's arguably a better fit for where they're at. Over five to ten years, this will have a non-negligible impact on the pipeline of engineers and games.

Apple also has a huge beef with Epic Games, and I wouldn't put it past them to give giant grants to Godot. They can make use of the output for their own needs.

bovermyer

Wait... so PC-only game development isn't serious?

hesdeadjim

Picking a game engine that subtracts hundreds of millions of potential players from your game without huge engineering effort to support a single console? Yea, that's a problem.

Thankfully, Godot is solving it!

TillE

There are many successful game genres which are functionally PC-only, because you cannot reasonably play them with a gamepad. See Paradox grand strategy games, for example. Those "potential buyers" never existed.

johnnyanmac

Best to start small with your first few games regardless. porting is always harder than the industry leads on to suggest and to be frank, your first games will suck a lot. Porting can come after making something people want to play.

But all of that is tangential to why I wouldn't recommend Godot for a first game not unless you are already a competent C++ programmer and are ready to dig into the engine for problem. But I always like when I can chime in on how frustrating the porting process is.

Shorel

Some big ones I care about are still PC only.

Like iRacing.

no_wizard

For a Game Studio no, I don't think it is.

For a Game Engine yes, it relegates you to an (albeit still quite large but inevitably an order of magnitude smaller) niche and hinders adoption significantly

cpeterso

I've read that Godot doesn't support consoles (out of the box) because it can't integrate NDA'd console SDKs and tools. But why can't the Godot IDE use a plugin architecture that delegates to console SDKs and tools that the game developer has installed on their own machine?

ehutch79

It's that it can't sign the NDAs in the first place. From what I understand, getting godot to output graphics on a switch or ps4 or whatever isn't the hard part. It's meeting quality control metrics from nintendo, sony, etc. When you partner with a company for porting, it's their experience that you're getting more than code.

shmerl

Incumbent consoles should stop using this dinosaur approach with NDA for their SDKs. What century are they from? There is zero point in any of that.

japhib

It’s legally required by Sony, Nintendo, etc

shmerl

Exactly what I'm saying. It's a completely dinosaur idea. There is no need for them to do it.

jcronenberg

A TL;DR from one of the founders on godot's subreddit:

New company independent from Godot, funded by venture capital (so has enough money to build products until it can actually make money).

This company will build products and propose services which are yet to be announced - there's a hint that one product will be console ports.

This company will provide funding to the Godot project so more contributors can be hired, and will also donate its own employees' work time for significant contributions to Godot (we'll soon announce some).

But as importantly, it will provide the level of commercial support that bigger studios need to be able to switch to Godot.

https://www.reddit.com/r/godot/comments/wk5ji6/hello_world_w...

hesdeadjim

Only good can come from this. Any additional real competitors in the game engine space is a welcome effort.

throwgaway29

> funded by venture capital (so has enough money to build products until it can actually make money)

What a dumb move.

> more contributors can be hired

Game development is in the dictionary definition of the mythical man month.

> But as importantly, it will provide the level of commercial support that bigger studios need to be able to switch to Godot.

Nobody is going to do that.

You know how Hacker News is really negative about stuff that turns out to be a huge success? There should be a name for the opposite, where a bunch of nerds get really excited about something that will definitely remain insignificant.

carlosdp

You could have said the same thing about Blender (open-source 3D modeling/animation software) a few years ago, and you would look like an idiot today.

_manifold

It's actually surprising to see the amount of negativity surrounding Godot on HN. The top comment in the thread about Godot's 3.5 release was someone talking about how Godot's feature set is "below average" compared to Unreal. I think you would be hard pressed to find any Godot user that thinks it is in the same class with a product developed by hundreds of engineers at a billion dollar company. Yet, because it has an enthusiastic user base (which is a good sign for a FOSS project), that somehow it has to compete with all solutions in its category. To your point, it would be like comparing Blender to 3DS Max or Maya in the mid 2000s.

slezyr

> > But as importantly, it will provide the level of commercial support that bigger studios need to be able to switch to Godot.

> Nobody is going to do that.

> You know how Hacker News is really negative about stuff that turns out to be a huge success? There should be a name for the opposite, where a bunch of nerds get really excited about something that will definitely remain insignificant.

Let's call it trolling.

I work with B2B software(software library) and... professional support sells well, and companies are ready to pay a lot for it. Many customers won't even buy the software without support.

johnnyanmac

>Game development is in the dictionary definition of the mythical man month.

this isn't a too many cooks situation. There's definitely enough separate work to establish separate teams specializing in various aspects. graphics, editor, input AI, etc... There are dozens of features in an engine that can all be a full time job for a dedicated team of engineers.

also keep in mind the actual wording of Brooks law:

>adding manpower to a *late* software project makes it later

This is very much a long term thing, not some game in crunch launching next month

ouraf

Anyone found info on how much seed capital they got? The company itself has been dormant for 10 months, so I'm curious to see how much they needed to make this a reality

https://www.solocheck.ie/Irish-Company/W4-Games-Limited-7050...

moomin

If I were then I’d be working on an asset store. But I’m sure they’ve already done the math on this.

georgeecollins

If they don't, someone on HN really ought to focus on this! I've loved this engine for a while (and I have used Unity and Unreal in commercial products) but there needs to be infrastructure to support it.

Sakos

> This will be achieved by W4 providing commercial products and services offering such as enterprise support plans and the possibility to access markets that were previously unreached by Godot, such as console platforms.

This is the most detail I could find on their site about what they're actually planning.

TulliusCicero

A common complaint about Godot has been the lack of an official path to console ports, and the Godot team have asserted that it's not possible for Godot itself to directly support this, due to being open source and non-profit. Looks like this is the workaround.

yrgulation

As soon as godot offers better support for 3d and matches at least unity’s hdrp i am switching to it. Had enough of unity’s crappy asset store and “engine”.

TulliusCicero

The 4.0 release is supposed to be much better for 3D games. It's about to go from alpha releases to beta ones.

k__

Does Godot have a better asset store?

yrgulation

Rather than the scam / low quality filled unity asset store, having none is better.

Edit: It may be an interesting idea to build one for godot tho.

DizzyDoo

"Having none is better"... but there are some incredibly useful assets on the Unity Asset store? Here are three off the top of my head that I've used for a while now and they're worth every penny:

Shapes - https://acegikmo.com/shapes/docs/

Easy Save 3 - https://moodkie.com/easysave/

InControl - https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/tools/input-management... (but I've also heard Rewired is excellent.)

Unity would be far poorer for missing them.

lewispollard

There is an asset library where free, open source plugins and resources can be downloaded directly in the editor. There was talk of possibly supporting a paid asset store like Unity's, but it's difficult to align with the open source culture of Godot,

null

[deleted]

mathnode

That’s great to hear. Most commenters are focusing on the issue with console development.

Godot themselves wrote about it in July:

https://godotengine.org/article/godot-consoles-all-you-need-...

It’s a fickle beast indeed. But what many people gloss over is the fact the option is there! Make your full game now or just a PoC, happy with the knowledge there is already help available.

madrox

I'm really excited to learn Godot. With the way Unity has changed, it increasingly feels like the right engine for hobby projects. I hope they avoid the missteps Unity made, but the approach they're taking here feels great to me.

jacooper

Great!, I hope this won't turn Godot into an open core model in the long run.

hlship

Read the FAQ; they are pretty clear that Godot stays MIT license as today. My read of all this is that they are intending to provide similar porting services as some of the others (who they mention and link to) BUT because they are core contributors to Godot as well, this yields the proper impression that they are here to stay whereas we don't know the plans of the other groups that incidentally provide Godot porting services.

In addition, being able to check the "enterprise support available" box on any kind of evaluation matrix could be a very big deal to larger developers.

hesdeadjim

Enterprise support is huge. When something is going wrong on platform X and you have a month before launch, you need access to engine experts with an SLA.

DeathArrow

Just checked out Godot's website and it still doesn't support Vulkan,although support for Vulkan was in the working since 3 years ago. DirectX and Metal won't be supported at all. C# support, even if added a long time ago, is still subpar.

I would like some focus into polishing and evolving the game engine.

Unless you work on very simple games, something like Unity is far more usable.

lewispollard

Godot 3.x will likely always be OpenGL for compatibility.

Godot 4 has 2 Vulkan renderers implemented already (a clustered renderer for desktops, and a simpler renderer for mobile).

C# support in godot 4 has been ported to .NET 6 CLR rather than mono and is in the process of being merged now.

TazeTSchnitzel

It's not like the engine will magically be better if it uses Vulkan. That's why the support is coming along slowly: the Vulkan renderer is completely separate from the others and uses different techniques.

thrillgore

This is great news for Godot. I know this has been bandied about for a while but to have a proper SLA offering partner for Godot legitimatizes it as 4 approaches.

rychco

Great news, I’m very excited for the future of Godot. Once Godot 4.0 reaches beta, I’ll hopefully have some time to play around with it for hobby projects.