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Recent ToS update blocks the use of SpatialOS to make games in Unity

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AtomiCal, Jan 10, 2019.

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  1. AtomiCal

    AtomiCal

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    Yes, and to clarify my point, it is exactly what I want for those type of games.

    But I also want what SpatialOS offers.
     
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  2. GameDevCouple_I

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    I still very much think we need to wait to actually hear the other side of this 2 side story.

    Improbable have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying to frame this badly, no one here has heard the actual conversations between the organisations and we haven’t heard unity at all on this other than to say we will get back to everyone.

    Sure, it may result in a climb down but there may be much more to this and therefore an unforeseen outcome. Anyone saying this is bad for developers is jumping the gun, and the people who made unity originally (who are and will always be indie to the core and if you don’t believe that go back and watch them speak at any unite) are still key stakeholders and I refuse to believe that they would back this unless justified.

    But I have also been wrong in the past.
     
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  3. Lyje

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    Any given solution itself may not be structured as a service, but if it runs on a server, this clause could well prohibit its use.
     
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  4. glenneroo

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    I wonder if this has anything to do with SpatialOS raising the most funding ever for a European tech startup ($500M)? Granted it was in 2017, but still, their valuation is around $1B... and as others have mentioned, Unity plans to suddenly release their own competing solution.

    More speculation but I would guess Unity wants a cut of that juicy pie (and probably SpatialOS doesn't want to pay more for a special license)...
     
  5. Lyje

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    As before - it requires no context or understanding of Unity's intent to say this clause is a bad thing for developers. There may be good reasons for it, there may be good intentions, the whole thing may be a mistake, etc etc. But this vague clause effectively puts developers in potential legal jeopardy for simply developing a game that uses networking. Even if Unity never uses that power, it's a bad thing that it's there.
     
  6. PeterJK

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    Indeed. Would be happy to pay an upfront fee if there was a guarantee of no terms changes.
     
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  7. Lurking-Ninja

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    That is factually not true. This ToS is problematic (you have to pay some money up for Unity, depends on the agreement you may make with Unity) if you want to use the engine on the server side. It has nothing to do with networking in general. Please try to stick to the facts.
     
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  8. AwakenedRage

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    Is there any time estimate of when Unity will respond?
     
  9. JBR-games

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    How did you know what the Unity team was going to announce.. ?
     
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  10. Laurence_Whaites

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    What frustrates me a little bit more than usual in this situation is the history of Unitys previous network solution, UNet, which wasn't fit for production at any point in its lifetime and seemed to be maintained by a vastly under-staffed team to no fault of their own. After 6 months of development with their tech we gave up and moved to Improbable's. I'm sure the story is similar for many other developers of multiplayer games on Unity. Now, having forced us to look elsewhere for network solutions and disbanding their own previous net tech completely, they want to force the hand of those who came to the rescue where, without them, almost all multiplayer games developers would have moved to other engines.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  11. Murgilod

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    So basically it's only a problem if you want to handle game networking in a way that has been proven to be functional and robust since the 90s. Got it.
     
  12. Lyje

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    As Murgilod states, the fact is that it puts a very, very common network design in a legal grey area. Furthermore, the wording is vague enough that no-one can be certain exactly what kinds of networking could be caught by it. You can only find out by testing it in court, regardless of any clarification of intent from Unity.

    My point is that it makes networking in Unity games - other than using Unity's new service presumably - a big gamble for any developer. Are you going to risk years of dev on a game that Unity might decide to just kill at a later date? Based on your interpretation of a fuzzily-worded clause in a ToS?
     
  13. Flurgle

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    I hear Unity is preparing a response, not sure when it is going to be posted. I don't want to bombard the guy, but if you PM me I can give you source on the info.
     
  14. BiosElement

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    Since there seems to be some confusion, the common pattern for running a secure multiplayer game is to have the client request a change while locally making it while notifying the server of the change. Then the server authority makes the change and lets the client know what actually happened. This means the server needs to run the game as well, minus the pretty graphics, to make it as authoritative as possible.

    This isn't a bad quick reference: http://www.gabrielgambetta.com/client-server-game-architecture.html
     
  15. firakasha

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    You mean until a new ToS comes out that makes it illegal, right? I think that's the real issue that everyone is having here; that apparently Unity can just up and change their ToS and immediately invalidate potentially years of development by their users.
     
  16. Michapik

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    I'm so lucky that I didn't select SpatialOS - looks like my choose of Atavism was the best one.
     
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  17. Teila

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    Would be true if Atavism was a cloud service rather than a framework/engine. :)
     
  18. Flurgle

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    It sounds like this thing was overblown from what I hear (and hope), but we'll see. Lots of quote "misinformation", said a high level Unity person.
     
  19. hippocoder

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    For thread information, quoted from another thread (merged here now).
     
  20. Digika

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    What this fine gentleman and a scholar said.
     
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  21. 5argon

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    I just caught up with that news and just read the new ToS, it seems like you just cannot stream/broadcast the runtime from cloud. Like, purchase one Unity and share the rendered screen or its function to more people by having that one instance working on a server.

    The person from UE in Twitter said "Did Unity just prohibit all cloud-hosted multiplayer games?" looks like either an overreaction or PR stunt, if my understanding is correct. "You couldn’t operate Fortnite, PUBG, or Rocket League under these terms." it will breach this ToS only if those games run 1 UE runtime instance on a server, then somehow stream data/image from that instance to the player's device (which also may run UE) which I think is unlikely? (The following of his tweets hoewever are facts)

    This raise a question, what if I made a game with "2 Unity projects" pattern with one running in the player device and one running in the server for calculation? (Because I want to use C# and UnityEngine dll for those calculations, and I don't want to learn Node etc.) The "server game project" would have mostly a debug screen made with uGUI which is obviously not streamed to players, but it still feels like I am streaming "a part of runtime" and I am not sure if this is breaching the terms? If this pattern if possible, then to answer the OP's question I would be able to run an ECS project on a server as well and serve the calculation result from ECS/Jobs/etc.
     
  22. hippocoder

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    Well I would hope not. I invested many years here doing moderation for free to help out both Unity and fellow users. I kind of doubt Unity would stab me in the back any more than they would others.

    Misinformation is the word used so it's best to wait for blog post.

    I have merged this thread with the general discussion thread so that people don't swamp the ECS forum with concerns about legal terms.

    TLDR: Unity have said:

    We are preparing a blog post because there is a lot of mis-information but the short summary is that using Unity as a game developer or game studio in a generic cloud (GCP, AWS, Azure) or on your own servers is perfectly legal.
     
  23. Lyje

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    That's positive news. It doesn't mean the wording of the ToS is ok - and the wording still implies generic cloud services may not be perfectly legal, regardless of whether Unity say it is or isn't - but it's good to get a bearing on their intent.
     
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  24. nsxdavid

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    Everyone who feels a bit of outrage here, just calm down and...

    No wait, you are right to feel this. The issue isn't just this specific case, but also the basic idea that Unity is both capable and willing to exercise their power in such a way. It is a violation of the basic trust relationship between a game engine developer and those who use their tools.

    I've been on both sides of the fence. We built a commercial game engine/platform (HeroEngine) and so I know a lot about that side. I sold that division off a decade ago, and studio is a big user of Unity now (and the so are many of the other studios in our larger organization Stillfront Group representing hundreds of developers). This turn of events is serious because it becomes an existential threat. We don't know when Unity will just decide what we are doing is not cool and can our projects outright.

    This is unacceptable. Unity has to both reverse this and make a solid public commitment to freedom of use of their engine to the game development community.
     
  25. Murgilod

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    Half the appeal of SpatialOS is its ability to help delegate some of the issues that come with paying for your own hosting situation and implementing everything yourself. SpatialOS as a service was fantastic.
     
  26. Ryiah

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    Thanks for the links! Having read the responses in this thread it's both very nice to read the response from Fractured's developers and very disappointing that more people couldn't have had a positive attitude.

    Instead we have almost nothing but negative attitudes (though there are a few sprinkled in the thread so don't think I didn't notice those of you with a positive attitude). Unity has been a massive benefit to this industry for years and yet when one situation where we don't even have all the facts crops up suddenly everyone forgets all of it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  27. hippocoder

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    Yeah it's fair enough because ECS is coming along, and by extension so is ECS networking. If Unity allowed this, it basically gives a green light for any company with a competing technology to sit back and hoover up everything Unity's done and that's not fair by anyone's measure.

    The fact is SpatialOS can replace the Unity parts. They will have to do a lot of work but they are valued at 1bn so they really *can* afford to do so.

    The issue I think most people have with this is how sudden it all was, so things like this, it's a good idea to have some warm up with trusted partners, to let them know of the changes and to give licensing opportunities.
     
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  28. Schneider21

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    Yikes. I have to imagine it hasn't been a good day at the Unity offices today.

    Here's the order all of this could have been done to avoid this being the mob it's turned into:
    1. Announce Unity Cloud Multiplayer Servers via blog post.
    2. WAIT A WHILE.
    3. Write blog post explaining upcoming change of TOS, and how it affects users.
    4. Launch Unity Cloud Multiplayer Services, you know, so that customers have options.
    5. Update TOS with specific wording, making it clear what's allowed and what isn't.
    6. Post announcement on forum/Twitter/blog with decision to disallow certain (spatialOS) services, indicating when they will become blocked (3+ month notice or something?). Direct them to your service, if you like.
    7. When the time comes, drop the ax on those in violation. Maybe another blog post to remind them your service is awaiting them.
    Here's what they did instead:
    1. Quietly updated TOS with vague and ominous terminology, engaged in private negotiations with large third party provider, shut down their services, made a page promoting your competing service visible without it being ready to use, stayed quiet about the whole thing and allowed the community to descend into chaos.
    I know it's a business, and I don't fault them for wanting their cut of the profits. But this didn't have to turn into the disaster it has.
     
  29. AcidArrow

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    Positive attitudes require some good will and Unity hasn't really done much to earn it lately.
     
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  30. GameDevCouple_I

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    Thanks for posting that, now we can all reserve judgment a bit and wait for that post
    Very well put. As I said earlier, the people who made unity orginnaly are still key stakeholders and I doubt they would turn evil overnight after years of creating game dev democracy in the industry
    Until the blog post detailing this from unity that has been officially said to be coming, arrives, we can’t say what they did and what they did not do. We have heard all this via a 3rd party so a pinch of salt is the recommended accompaniment with that drink.
     
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  31. mephistonight

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    Frankly, Ryiah, I don't care what Unity's PR response is. I care about facts. The facts are, Unity have retroactively applied a ToS change and actively yanked licenses from key service providers. The collateral damage will be games shutting down and devs losing years of effort. My own studio may not fully recover from this as we're developing on the SpatialOS platform.

    So spare me your hand wringing about 'attitude' and how one should be more considerate of Unity.
     
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  32. Ryiah

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    I'd understand negative attitudes if situations like this were happening semi-regularly with them. Has there been another situation lately that would earn them these responses?
     
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  33. hippocoder

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    Well I'm half-evil by default, I mean I own cats and I type stuff on computers in the middle of the night.
     
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  34. AcidArrow

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    IMO, yes.

    (but let's not get more off topic)
     
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  35. hippocoder

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    Be careful not to trigger mods by stepping into the realm of "attacking each other and not the topic" :p
     
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  36. PeterJK

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    This is some welcome clarification (and I love you Joachim), but I still have some questions.

    Like I worry that it's a case that Unity is OK with you running services for your own game in a 'generic' cloud, until potentially they're not happy about it. Like it seems like Unity can decide what is or isn't a generic service.

    Like what if my game allows users to create levels of their own, and I host my game in my own AWS/Google cloud to allow them to play the game remotely. If people are then playing creations made in my game, potentially multiplayer creations, off my cloud servers...does my game's cloud then get targeted as a competing 'service' cloud? Because people can perhaps make 'games' with my in-game tools/modding that they could otherwise have made with Unity and hosted with Unity? What if my game becomes really popular and I offer supports or hosting for other indies? Am I a service then that Unity all of a sudden won't permit to run my own or partners' games off my own servers? Like, for example: can someone make the next cloud-streamed Roblox or Dreams in Unity now, or not? It seems risky.

    We need the same simple absolute rights to run game instances wherever we want, as we assumed we had before.

    I have worries about that, and about potential traps therein, and if it might have a chilling effect on how people might innovate with Unity in their networked games and 'service games' or plans they might have if they grow and become successful.

    And - of course - am still very worried about retroactive terms changes. And still very sad for games affected today because they are hosted on non-generic service - applying a change like this retroactively seems incredibly unfair.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  37. Ryiah

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    I care about facts too and right now the only facts we have are the ones being stated by SpatialOS.
     
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  38. Teila

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    Unity seems to have always been behind in messaging. Remember the forums? LOL
     
  39. GameDevCouple_I

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    I know this thread is probably being kept open to stop people melting down over free speech etc etc

    But I really feel the longer it stays open the more out of proportion people (who to my best knowledge are not secretly lawyers dealing with contract law or law of tort by day whilst game devs by night) are blowing this...
     
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  40. GameDevCouple_I

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    Again, let’s just take a step back and wait for official word before going into melt down.
     
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  41. hippocoder

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    It's kept open because currently people are being polite. There is no squashing of freedom of speech here, but there is squashing anyone's thoughts of beating on each other, which I don't allow.
     
  42. SocialArenaPR

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    Problem is though Unity doesn't have a very good track record with Multiplayer. Their last attempt at creating the newest and greatest Multiplayer service ended in disaster. They should drop Multiplayer and instead embrace services like SpatialOS who is trying to do something far beyond what Unity's company is capable of while also working on the engine.
     
  43. LukeDawn

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  44. jwdstephens

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  45. GameDevCouple_I

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  46. snacktime

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    This is how companies like Oracle used to do business. It's a particularly nasty form of vendor lock in, and it rightly died in a fire in most of the tech industry years ago.

    We don't want companies dictating how we use their software to this extent. It stifles competition and for the end users it's a lose lose proposition.

    History is pretty clear on how this plays out. The company takes a PR hit and the community finds a path around it. IMO what will happen is this will just push the game industry to what is a more common practice in tech generally, and it won't benefit Unity. You will see an influx of open source solutions. And combined with paid support and non managed hosting you do a nice end run around Unity. And chances are these solutions will be better then what Unity provides at less cost.
     
  47. jwdstephens

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    Journalist: "I have written an article about a dispute between two gaming companies..."
    Editor: "GRAPHICS. RANSOM. CRISIS."
    Journalist: "..."
     
  48. Ryiah

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    Shame our forums are giving them a run for their money. :p
     
  49. zombiegorilla

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    Indeed.
    This is a perfectly valid topic and discussion, and an important one that needs further clarification. It is also understandable and expected that people will be emotionally invested in the issue.
    It shiuld stay open, keeping it civil, rational and non personal benefits everyone while we await clarification from unity. Thanks to folks for keeping that way.
     
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  50. Kukkino

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    There is very little SpatialOS itself that has anything to do with unity. It is game engine agnostic, you can use Unreal or even raw c, c++, c# and java workers - you can even mix and match. There is not a lot of work to do, it comes down to removing the little unity specifics required (not replacing as the code is purely for allowing unity to use SpatialOS) and telling unity developers to go away.

    It is significant setback as Unity is the furthrest developed integration, but it's really not like some people here seem to think Improbable taking large advantage of Unity by reselling their product.
     
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