Make it Official!

Hi there,

This is my first post on the forum and the first thing I’d like to say is thank you to everyone working on this project and keep up the awesome work! Now, let me get a bit critical…

First of all, I am more of an amateur/beginner who’s trying to learn game development, especially web game development. I was starting to learn the Unity engine but then realized it’s rather overloaded for web games and geared more towards PC/console game development. So I’ve been looking for lighter WebGL-specific 3D engines, and I believe I’ve found the most promising of these: Babylon.js!

I’ve played around with the “Playground”, watched some videos and read some of the doc articles, but then what? Where can I start putting together a scence/level that is more complex than a couple of spheres and cubes?

In Unity, for example, you’d start with one of the many available sample projects/tutorials using their all-around editor where you can learn both the engine and game development in a practical way (the best way!)

Babylon, on the other hand, seems like a bunch of tools scattered here and there that you need to figure out a way to put it all together for yourself!

Oh wait, there is actually an editor for Babylon, and after I did manage to locate it (for some reason it isn’t even listed on the main page), I checked it out and I wasn’t that much impressed! Seems more like an incomplete prototype!

So my suggestion and request as a hopeful game developer is please put it all together in one visual tool (editor) and give us some practical sample projects with step-by-step tutorials (preferably video) showing us how to start building a 3D game using Babylon.

I am not asking for a full-fledged game project, but a basic one that demonstrates the essential parts of developing a 3D game, such as:

  • Setting up a scene/level with terrain, player and non-player characters, etc.
  • Adding physics, collisions, raycasting, triggers, etc.
  • Controlling animations.
  • Handling user input.
  • Creating a UI.
  • Streaming assets/levels.
  • Multiplayer functionality.
  • Networking/server-client communication.

This can start small and gradually grow into a complete sample project as new features get added to the engine and editor.

If Babylon is going to be THE engine for 3D web game development, it needs to start with a decent all-inclusive editor, not a minimalistic “playground” and some random tools all over the place, although these can be useful for specific purposes.

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Firstly, welcome to the community!

But please take care with your language and assumptions. Babylon.js is an open source web3D/VR rendering engine project staffed by dedicated volunteers and community members who do not get paid directly for their tireless efforts and passion. Comparing it to a commercial, closed source game engine that is staffed by 100s of paid employees and which has a different focus and target market entirely is not fair or helpful. I started with Unity myself, but ultimately settled on Babylon.

The Babylon.js editor, like many other projects in the Babylon.js ecosystem, is a community contribution by one individual who saw a need, and is not (to the best of my knowledge), developed by the core team.

Babylon.js is not a fully fledged game engine. Although you can of course make games with it, it doesn’t make any assumptions about what people might want to do with it, and that’s a good thing in my book. So yes, if you have a specific goal in mind, say like making a game, you will need to do some research and also leverage other javascript libraries along with Babylon to realise your dreams.

People are working to enhance documentation, tutorials and features all the time. If you see a gap then contributions are always welcome and I’ve found the veterans here are incredibly responsive and helpful if you get stuck.

Check out the docs, resources and try searching for Babylon game projects on Github. There’s plenty of reference and inspiration out there.

Examples:

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As you mentioned an interest in multiplayer, you may also want to take a look at:

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Another:

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Hey there,

Just a quick remark, BJS is already THE 3D web game development engine. What you are misunderstanding is it’s focus. So Babylon has had a focus on actual developers rather than people who want to use an editor. The lack of the editor does not make BJS less of an engine or less of a web game development reality. It is there, has been for the last 3 years and will be there for some time.

What you should have asked, is whether BJS wants to be more like Unity, something non-developers can use to make games. That is a different question. Just wanted to point it out :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the suggested resources!

I agree that comparing today’s Unity with today’s Babylon is not fair, but if you look at the beginnings of Unity, or any other popular game engine for that matter, it’s not that much different from where Babylon is at the moment. As I understand, many of the tools in the Unity editor were initially developed by the community and later purchased by Unity and integrated into their editor.

I also agree that I’ve made some assumptions of my own. However, in many of the official and unofficial articles, videos, etc. Babylon was often associated with web game development, so my assumptions can be justified.

This begs the question (or a few), and I hope someone from the management team can provide answers: What is the future vision for Babylon? Are there plans to develop it into an engine/editor for web game development? Are there plans to commercialize the project, like offering commercial licenses, enterprise plans, premium support, etc.?

Personally, I think you should consider commercializing it rather than be dependent on sponsorships.

Correct

Nope. Or over my dead body. Babylon.js will remain free and open source.

It is a tool for developers. Maybe one day we will have an editor but I don’t see that as high priority. The editor built by @julien-moreau is something you may be interested to help with to make it better.

A lot of games are done with Babylon.js already (You have some examples here: Babylon.js: Powerful, Beautiful, Simple, Open - Web-Based 3D At Its Best)

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I can’t complain about that! My concern is: What if you lose your Microsoft sponsorship? Will you and the rest of the official team continue to work on it as actively?

For a serious game development project, if you go with Unity, for example, you can be more assured that 5 or 10 years down the road it’ll likely still be actively developed and supported, but the same can’t be said about any community-driven engine!

Let me throw in another idea: Keep the core engine 100% free and open source, but make a source-available, free-to-use, feature-rich, game-development-oriented editor with commercial licenses for professional/enterprise users.

In my 20+ years experience the opposite is true more often than not - companies build or acquire good tech and end up ruining or dumping it shortly thereafter (and burning the goodwill of users) because it isn’t profitable enough, competes with another product they own or doesn’t fit their strategy anymore.

Also, Blender started life as a closed source commercial project, the company went bust and the former staff and community raised enough funds to save it by buying the IP, releasing it as open source and look at it now! It’s comparable in many ways to 3ds max and Maya and is attracting a lot of attention, not to mention enough community and corporate donations to fund ongoing development.

Open source works. Community works. But it’s good to have options - if you feel more secure paying licensing & support fees to a corporation then there’s plenty out there eager to take your money :wink:

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Sorry, but I don’t need an editor to limit what I can do with 40 years experience, so it is not in my interest for the core team to be expending limited resources building editors.

Trying to compete with Unity is madness. If someone wants to build an editor they can. Working on Babylon native will get it put into Ms office, and that will do a lot to keep it going.

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Trying to compete with Unity or Unreal Engine for the PC/console game development market is madness! Even Amazon failed to effectively do so with all the millions they’ve spent on the Lumberyard engine. However, competing for the web game development market is more reasonable.

Neither Unity nor Unreal are well-optimized for WebGL-based games as this is a secondary focus for them, so a web-specific game development editor does actually have a good chance to attract many developers/designers. But it looks like Babylon wasn’t meant to be the “Unity” for web game development?

Should I bring up the Windows vs. Linux argument? Lots of differences, I know, but it also somewhat applies.

Feel free to do a fund raising and pay a developpers team.

Also, I think the word “compete” isn’t compatible with open source logic.

I think if there was a “need” for an editor, the community would be doing alot more PRs to our editor that currently exists. I do agree however that a step by step tutorial here and there wouldn’t hurt. @PirateJC is doing a very interesting tutorial series at the moment. I’m sure if that one does well, he’ll do others. What @Deltakosh and the rest of the core team have built here, is to say the least, amazing. No other community will have /all/ your questions answered within a few hours - sometimes less than that. What babylon could use, is publicity. I’ve seen plenty of new people coming through, asking questions and answering others. The more that this kind of thing happens, the stronger the community - and feature set will become.

P.s. Forgive me for poor punctuation, and grammar mistakes. It’s 5am here and I’ve yet to sleep.

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An Editor is needed for fast prototyping usually. However, with BJS I can build a fast prototype in less than 5 days. Sometimes even less. I honestly don’t see the need for an editor, nor have I ever seen the need for one. What BJS needs, are features which would make it interesting in terms of rendering capabilities and such, that’s where the focus has been.

Actually I’m all for an official editor. Don’t forget that behind a 3D engine, half of users are cgartists which are not used to code :smiley:

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Isn’t Visual Studio Code the official editor for BJS? :stuck_out_tongue:

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@Zinger

1st - Welcome to the community! It’s awesome to have you here! This is an an incredible group of people from all over the world who are passionate about supporting and encouraging one another along our journey of learning how to create 3D web experiences.

2nd -

This is not a great way to enter into a community of people. It’s not encouraging or supportive.

3rd - You’ve asked for someone on the team to give you an idea of what our “Official Roadmap” looks like. I’d be more than happy to answer that question, but I’ll answer it at the 100,000 ft level. We actually state our intentions for Babylon very clearly and intentionally in our announcements about our latest release:

“Our mission is to create one of the most powerful, beautiful, and simple web rendering engines in the world. Our passion is to make it completely open and free for everyone.”

These are not just marketing words for us, they are carefully chosen, and they drive and inspire the direction that the technology takes.

As @Deltakosh mentioned, Babylon and it’s surrounding technologies will always be open-source and free to all. That WILL NOT EVER change.

With all the discussion around an “editor”…I’d like to take us up to a philosophical level for a moment if I may…essentially what you’re talking about is making Babylon more SIMPLE to use. That’s certainly the highest level function of an editor. Simplicity is absolutely one of our core pillars of this technology and something we think a LOT about. We have a long way to go to make Babylon more simple than it is today, and believe me, we have strong plans and passion to do just that. We welcome all feedback and ideas around the subject, so keep your ideas flowing! But definitely know that Simplicity is a major component of what we are striving for!

Again, welcome to the community, we’re incredibly excited to have you and your passion here.

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All of the things you mention in the bullet list are here… you just need to keep looking.

: )

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